Jump to content
Kieran Robinson

Super 8/16

Recommended Posts

Hello everyone. New poster here.

 

I'm about to start shooting video in the new year. I've only ever worked with film photography so naturally I wanna use film for what I want to do. I'll be making a documentary of my friends band. Filming on the road, in the studio and also live. Lots of different lighting etc.

 

So my question to you guys is Super 8 or 16mm? My budget will only allow me a Krasnogorsk K3. I've also been looking at Canon 1014xl-s, 814xl and also Beaulieu 4008. Which will be best for lighting conditions?

 

Also what digital editing software is best for film and possibly mini dv footage?

 

I hope this is in the right category.

 

Thanks

Kieran

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Kieran,

 

This is coming from another amateur poster here, but I think the format choice totally depends on the look you are going for. Super 8 certainly has more a vintage look, and I think the behind-the-scenes documentary will aid from that. Everything about the cameras, from size to loading of the film, is much more convenient with S8 too. I have found that it is easier to shoot faster and dirtier with Super 8 than 16mm. It might meld better with the mini dv footage too. However! 16 has a much sharper image, and looks more professional. (16mm is my personal favorite format).

 

The Kodak 50D, 100D, 200T, and 500T stocks for both cameras should give you a nice range for lighting, although I'm not the person to ask about the cameras.

 

I use Premiere and aside from a few frame-rate annoyances (because I shoot in 18fps), it's great. Some people have recommended using Resolve, too.

 

Hope this helps! Good Luck!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree that your format choice really depends on the feel and look you are going for. The Super 8 cameras you mention are excellent, but they are high end pricey cameras. If you're new to Super 8 I suggest getting a mid range Super 8 camera and trying it out. For 16mm you have more choices than the K3 such as the Bolex, Canon Scoopic and the Pathe Webo or any of the amateur cameras like the Revere 101, Bell and Howell 240, or even the 16mm magazine cameras like the Bell and Howell 200. I have used a lot of these basic 16mm cameras with very good results.

 

Pav

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ive got a Canon 310xl already so maybe I should go for the K3??

 

Also got a Panasonic M5 and a AG450.

 

The idea is to do a kind of fly on the wall making of an EP and have music videos for a song or 2 within the documentary.

 

I love the footage of this

but I dont think itll mold right with vhs. Plus theres no way I could afford to do it all Super 8/16.

 

What price would be too much for a K3?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

With 16 you can get more bang for the buck. A lot more:

  • Black and white film stocks; negative, positive, and reversal, intermediate, sound recording, high-contrast films; rolls of up to 2,000 feet length (!)
  • Colour negative and positive films; reversal, if Ektachrome will become available
  • Large palette of cameras, cameras that allow to change lenses, wide choice of lenses and accessories
  • Duplicating and printing services of professional quality from labs, including optical sound tracks
  • Enormous choice of projectors from cheap home clapper to arc lamp equipped theatre machines
  • Viewers and editing equipment from simple pull-through devices to elaborate machinery
  • Lower prices of most everything relative to image area on film

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome to the forum!

I always like these discussions because I was there not too long ago. I too started on film, then went to video for years and in 2015 decided to get back into filmmaking on film. Just a few years later, I've had over a dozen different film cameras, super 8, 16mm, super 16mm and 35mm. Mind you, it's not a hobby for me either, it's my livelihood as I'm a cinematographer as well. What I was told and I kinda agree with this; don't worry so much about the camera, worry about the film, processing and transfer costs to make it look decent.

 

The biggest issue is satisfaction with finished product, which has a direct correlation to your skills as a filmmaker plus; equipment, stock, processing, transfer and post. A lot of people buy cameras, mess around and find out it's too difficult/costly to create great images, so the cameras sit around. It's easy to shoot 1, 100ft roll of film, it's a lot harder when you've gotta shoot dozens of rolls, it can get expensive really fast.

In terms of format, believe it or not, 16mm is about the same price as super 8 per minute of completed product at 24fps (discounting camera cost of course). It's also more difficult to get a decent image from, mainly because the vast majority of the cameras made were never that good to begin with, unserviced and the cartridge design just isn't very good, which leads to the film having an unstable look, pretty much no matter what camera you buy (yes Logmar did make a very stable camera, but they're highly sought after and are around $5k). The best super 8 (which is very expensive to achieve) still only looks like bad 16mm. Lenses, film, scanners, post processing and such, have become so good these days, there are many theatrical bound features being shot in 16mm these days because it's really the only way to make something look different then digital. Go watch shows like Westworld which is shot on 35mm and you'd never know it was shot on film. So many people resort to the smaller formats (16mm and Super 8) to achieve some sort of "look" that's different than everyone else.

The K3 is an ok camera, it does have a lot of issues... one of them is it's lack of a stable image. I haven't seen anything come out of a K3 that's anywhere near the stability of a Bolex for instance. I do feel a well tuned electronic Bolex, is probably the best 16mm camera on the market today, (price vs performance vs support) if you don't care about it being quiet enough to record sync sound audio. Yes... film cameras make quite a racket and the ones that don't make noise are called "sync sound" cameras and they're generally a lot of money. You can snag a good K3 for around $200 bux, I got mine for $150 at a camera sale and it works great. If you need to record audio and don't want a persistent camera noise in the background, ya gotta invest in a sync sound camera. There are a lot of older/less desirable cameras out there, but the entry prices start at around $1500 USD without lenses. A decent kit will run you $3k or so.

So in the end, it's one thing to be out shooting an experimental film, where you don't care about the results. It's an entirely different thing when you really care about what you're shooting and need to have a camera system that gives you excellent images with ease of use. Finding that happy medium; budget vs quality of finished product, is super hard. I tried for years to "budget" my way around filmmaking and frankly, I never went anywhere until I sucked it up and spent money on actual proper equipment. Few years later, I'm the go to guy in the area for 16mm stuff. My main camera is a Aaton XTR Prod and all in, I have around $20k into my kit. Now ya don't need to spend that much, but a decent Bolex will get ya started and I'd make sure I had enough money to shoot at least a dozen rolls before really going out to shoot much.

 

Ohh and in terms of post production... unless you have a super powerful computer with an excellent GPU, you'll be stuck to Premiere for cost vs performance. I generally recommend DaVinci because it does everything and is pretty easy to use, but it's expensive to build a decent computer that will run it well.

 

tye_w_xtr_nice.jpg

 

 

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

16mm is a great format because it has its feet in both camps, in a way. It works well for small amateur projects, even for people completely starting out, and for not much more in cost than Super 8, but also, and I think it's probably correct to say, is increasingly being used all the way up to top productions even features. It was always a great medium for 'short film festival' entries.

 

On an unrelated topic, regarding 35 compared with 16 though not part of your question, I do think ( just as an audience member), from what I've seen so far in the theatre, that 2 perf 35mm (and 'higher') is a much better look than 16 for features, but that's just my personal opinion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some truly great points were brought up. HOWEVER, this IS the Super 8mm portion of Cinematography dot com. So somehow, please, you working pros or fellow larger than Super 8mm format specialists, experts, hobbyists, show some respect for this section of the site, and either chime in with help for those working or desiring using the Super 8mm format, OR go to the other format sections and discuss away! I for one, am tired of the 8mm formats being berated. Most of us using Super 8mm (or Regular 8mm for that matter) have some kind of grip on the limitations to expect already. The 8mm format has a devoted following for various reasons. And, as for steadiness......please......despite the cartridge/camera issues, I have seen and have personally shot films in full CinemaScope (2x anamorphic 2.66:1 aspect ratio) with Super 8mm and it looks pretty damn good up on a 24ft wide screen, and even with stereo magnetic sound. Yes, it's not 16mm or 35mm, we KNOW that....it's SUPER 8mm!

  • Upvote 3
  • Downvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OP’s question is explicitly Super-8 or 16, so comparisons are unavoidable.

 

I appreciate your defence of the small formats, Martin, and I shouldn’t have written anything here because my point of view is the one of a technician. Kieran is most probably not interested in objective arguments. He picks this and that like anybody. It’s natural.

  • Downvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Also what digital editing software is best for film and possibly mini dv footage?

 

:Lightworks is a pretty flexible Professional NLE for those on a budget. It can run on relatively low powered computers, some users have it on i3 machines, although you do need to use the internal proxy editing (but you may just get away with editing standard def without that)..

 

There is a free version that is restricted to 720p and for those special projects a one month license is available with the full range of export options. If you're quick, there is a Black Friday deal on today and I believe it finishes tomorrow fir the Pro licenses.

 

It has a long history in editing feature films. .

Edited by Brian Drysdale

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello Kieran Nice to read your post as back in the 1960's I was also a new young film maker...once upon a time.

 

I started at the bottom a little Quartz 5 Standard 8mm cine camera my first epic film being a 50ft remake of Dracula with my school friends, I guess we have all done it. After learning a few skills I upgraded to the new Super 8 format back then and over the decades have tried most cameras that were made also being involved with many a film group.

 

My own tip would be start with a basic Super 8 camera perhaps a suitable Nizo which usually have a very good lens. If you are filming Positive film stock to project it on screen you will be cutting the film to edit so will need a viewer the Elmo 912 was a good one with clear screen. Projector wise a Eumig 810 or 810D was always and is still popular. You'll need a CIR tape splicer to join your clips back together.

 

If you intend to just film with Super 8 then edit in computer after having it scanned you can forget all of the above except the camera.

 

A tripod is a must from this old timer although these days you will see many gadgets to use.

 

On the 16mm front I had a K3 but many problems with light leakage from the removable side due to poor design of the lock mechanism. The Bolex 16mm cameras are excellent which I still use from time to time.

 

 

Pop in your local library as many books on Home Movie film making over the years and these are a very good start for a newcomer.

 

Have fun :-)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

On the 16mm front I had a K3 but many problems with light leakage from the removable side due to poor design of the lock mechanism. The Bolex 16mm cameras are excellent which I still use from time to time.

 

 

 

As Martin points out, this is getting away from Super-8 !

I'd just like to say that Bolex 16mm cameras also can have light leakage around the door. No problem when running but when left idle you could notice slight fogging of individual frames. I've seen it on 3 cameras especially above the gate. So I always black-tape the door.

Not a problem with super-8 :D

Edited by Doug Palmer

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks everybody for your responses. Sorry to create a debate between Super 8/16mm. I'm new to all this and confused and lost haha. Still am tbh. Lightworks looks impressive and I'll be giving that a go for sure.

 

With about £300 limit (could push higher). Is it best to get a top end Super 8 or low end 16mm? Are there filters available for Super 8? Reds, Blues that kind of thing?

 

I won't be started my project until the new year so would like to get as organized as possible.

 

Thanks everybody once more.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ya I'll chime in a bit to defend the Super 8 side of things. Contrary to what even some pros say, Super 8 can have remarkable image quality if you know how to shoot it and have a decent camera. I'd argue that the best S8 easily rivals halfway decent 16mm. And with £300 you can get a pretty dang nice Super 8 camera. Probably can nab you a Canon 814XL-S or a Nizo 801 easily. The 814XL-S and 1014XL-S will probably suit you better than the Beaulieu 4008 because they are a little most robustly made and are literally meant for shooting in low light (which I imagine you'll be doing in venues). The 4008 gives spectacular images but is a little more like a Ferrari. You gotta baby it a bit more but it's high performance. There are still places that service all of those cameras which is great.

 

But aside from debates on image quality, the largest benefit for Super 8 over 16mm especially if you're traveling with a band, is ease of use and portability. 16mm cameras are generally much larger and heavier than Super 8 cameras. Sure there are exceptions but that's the basic rule. 16mm were often metal whereas Super 8 were often plastic/metal and smaller. Plus loading and storing film for Super 8 is so easy. Just a bunch of pre-loaded carts with whatever stock you may need. And you can store em in a grocery bag or whatever you want. 16mm requires hand loading the camera (and K-3's aren't always the easiest to load. I have one), and you have to finish the roll before switching it to a different stock. Also no need to worry about light leaks or fogging your film or loading it wrong. With Super 8 you can easily just swap carts mid-roll if the situation changes (e.g. you're outside shooting then go into a venue). Also 16mm spools must be kept in their light tight boxes which you have to keep track of and take up more space than a S8 cart for the same run time. Yes the prices overall are similar these days but they both still have their pros and cons.

 

Also I'd personally say S8 cameras are much more ergonomic than 16mm cameras in general. They were literally meant to be shot by amateurs so they all have handles of some sort and an easy trigger method for filming. 16mm varies by camera and are generally much heavier and larger. Which also factors into traveling. I can easy stuff a small/medium sized S8 camera in an already packed backpack but try doing that with a Bolex or K-3. Not happening. Those require a separate case to transport them.

 

Plus... to be honest, in the smaller DIY, scrappy filmmaker world, S8 is extremely trendy right now. 16mm is definitely trending better as well but more for higher budget things like tv and feature films as mentioned above. I could link you to 10 music videos right now I've seen shot on Super 8 in the last year. And again, if you have a decent camera and get 2k scans (I highly recommend Gamma Ray Digital over Pro8), you shouldn't have a hard time getting great image quality from your films. Also Super 8 has the benefit of being able to shoot at 18fps which some people scoff at but will net you another 50 seconds per roll of film (2:30 at 24fps or 3:20 at 18fps) and if you're on a budget, that matters.

 

With that said... I've just started shooting on 16mm with a K-3 and I do love it. The image quality is definitely a step up generally speaking and it feels a little more classic in its look. But it's much heavier to lug around which I'm more of a run-and-gun kind of shooter so that inhibits me a bit. So it definitely depends on what you're going for. In the end, I'd say better to go high-end S8 than a low-end 16mm camera. Also all of these cameras have filter threads you can use to filter to your hearts desire.

 

Good luck dude! Post some results here when you finish some! Here's a little tour promo I shot for a band a couple years back shot on Nizo 801 Beaulieu 1008XL and Canon 514XL. The scan has a bit of flicker. Think my batteries were low in the 801. I edit everything in Adobe Premiere and it works great generally but Resolve is free and supports 18fps. Just a steeper learning curve.

 

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.



  • Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS



    Broadcast Solutions Inc



    Just Cinema Gear



    Visual Products



    Rig Wheels Passport



    Metropolis Post



    Ritter Battery



    G-Force Grips



    Gamma Ray Digital Inc



    Glidecam



    Serious Gear



    Wooden Camera



    Paralinx LLC



    CineLab



    New Pro Video - New and Used Equipment



    Abel Cine



    Tai Audio



    FJS International


    Cinematography Books and Gear
×
×
  • Create New...