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Phillip Mosness

A little frustrated with Kodak

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Far be it from me to tell a company how to price their goods, but I realized I was out of Tri-X in the super 8 format and so I thought I'd hop online to order a few cartridges.

Holy Crap, they're 29.99 each, the same as the Vision negative stocks. 

I really want to support Kodak, but that price just floored me. 

Tri-X in Super 8 really ought to be cheap enough to entice people into the experience, but at that price it's not that much cheaper than shooting 35mm shortends once you calculate the transfers. 

I feel a little like an old man complaining about an Egg McMuffin going up 10 cents, but it wasn't all that long ago that Tri-X was  something like $15 . 

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Yep. Unless you're ok with film chain transfers, costs savings with Super 8 is pretty minimal compared with 16mm and maybe even 35mm if you get stock cheap.

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Yeah, it's really interesting once you start looking into the economics of specific pathways in cinematography. 35mm, 16mm, 8mm, digital. I think you would choose Super 8 because you are after that specific look. It might not be much difference in price though. The equipment costs less.

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They talk analog renaissance, well, Jeff Clarke did, and don’t keep promises at the same time, worse than Film Ferrania. No new Super-8 camera since the announcement more than three years ago. Prices to simply forget about film. No new Super-8 projector. Analog renaissance? The hens behind the barn go laughing.

Move to a different film format. Super-8 is an ugly plastic throw-away thing from the sixties. Enjoy the older open concept of film on spools, of all-metal machinery that can be kept running.

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I suppose come to think of it you could easily fake Super 8, if you wanted that look, by cropping 16mm closely. Not if you are projecting though. And the image would't be exactly the same because of the different pressure plate and other factors.

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Simon, I get it, but super 8 has its place.

I projected some footage I shot when I lived in China last night and it just looks amazing to me. And the thing is, I wouldn't have shot all that in 16mm, nor do I ever look at the stuff I shot in mini DV from the same time period. I'm so happy I took that Beaulieu with me. 

We are asking a lot from this consumer format, but it delivers more and more for me. The 2K transfers of my wedding I recently got done at Gamma Ray Digital are quite striking, and again, I wasn't quite willing to drag my larger format cameras overseas.

I basically am just whining about the price of reversal.  It should probably be less than half the price of 16mm.

 

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Super 8 is expensive all the way around. At 24fps, price per minute of completed film from camera negative to transfer, is actually more than super 16. The reason is due to this super 8 renaissance, everyone is taking advantage of it claiming; "we're the only lab to do XYZ services" which is total bullshit. Cinelab has processors and transfer machines to do super 8 and the stuff looks great, for MUCH less cost.

Also remember, the little plastic housing is a cost to Kodak. It's a complicated little assembly, unlike the daylight spooled 16mm film.  It's easy to throw Kodak under the rug, but reality is all economic. People who shoot super 8, don't buy 200 cartridges at a time, they buy one or two. If more people bought super 8, they'd probably be able to lower the price, but sadly Kodak spends less money pitting 35mm and 16mm film onto cores and it's all about money. They charge a premium for those little plastic boxes with horrible pressure plates. 

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I get the complaints with price and wholeheartedly agree but S8 definitely has its place compared to 16mm. Travel. I just got back from a trip to Nepal to hike to Everest Base Camp. Had 2 Canon 514XL cameras with me (1 was a back up) with the wide angle adapter along with 4 rolls of Ektachrome 7285 with me. I would NEVER be bringing a Bolex or K-3 or similar model of camera on a trip like that but Super 8 made it possible, and even allowed me to have a backup camera in case one of these plastic beasts gave up on me.

I also recently travelled to Mexico with that 514XL and 2 carts of 7285 and could easily travel around for a day with a small fanny-pack sized shoulder bag that also held my 2 35mm compact cameras and a Polaroid SLR680 (ya I like cameras haha).

Again, lugging a 16mm camera along would've made for a totally different experience. I mean, fantastic image quality compared to Super 8 for sure but definitely not as quick or user friendly. While hiking, I could easily reach into my bag, shoot a few seconds of some gorgeous vista and toss it back into my bag before I'd be able to take a reading and set my aperture on a 16mm camera. Let alone the huge weight and size difference in a hiking pack.

And now I get to process these rolls (did the 2 Mexico ones on Monday) and project them at home super easily. Granted that cost of Ektachrome 7294 hurts a lot but for me, it's worth it to capture my travels on color reversal film. But if I had to, I'd use Vision3 as well.

 

For professional uses like short films, sure, 16mm has many many advantages over Super 8 but I think those are different markets. Although tell that to the Beyonce and Taylor Swift filmmakers who recently both shot a ton of Super 8 for their documentaries. I shoot weddings on Super 8 and love the portability and speed.

Here's to hoping someone at Kodak finally lowers prices haha. One can dream.

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