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Adam Guzik

Super 16 Camera Wishlist

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Hey, folks!

Just as a forewarning:  This doesn't really pertain to any specific camera, but rather, what I would love to see in a future, modern super 16 camera, features wise, tech-wise, etc.  

Personally, I'm torn between the super 8 and super 16 formats.  I love shooting on Kodak's modern Vision3 stocks - they're just a joy to color grade, and super 16 is not anywhere near as grainy as I thought it would be.  That said, modern super 8 ain't no slouch either, and the ease of use - especially in regards to loading and unloading - is seriously appealing.  

I keep thinking how awesome it would be if, after Kodak finally started shipping their super 8 camera (whenever that is, lol), they would make a super 16 camera designed to work with pre-loaded 100 ft cartridges or 400 ft magazines.  

I do understand that 16mm did use to come in cartridges way back when, but they did away with that for whatever reason.  But imagine if Kodak made a super 16 camera that was as easy to load as super 8.  You could have two models: 1 model for the 100 ft cartridges, and one model for the pre-loaded 400 ft magazines.  The 100 ft cartridge models would look and operate much the same as Kodak's Super 8 camera, but bigger, allowing for the 16mm cartridges.  

Meanwhile, the 400 ft recyclable magazine camera would be like this: Kodak would sell the magazines pre-loaded with 400 ft of whatever stock, and it would work only with their 400 ft compatible camera.  After you shot all the film housed inside, you'd send the entire magazine to a lab; the film would get processed/scanned, and the empty magazine would be sent back to Kodak to be re-used.  

Obviously, something like either of these cameras would be, like, inexcusably expensive, seeing how much Kodak's going to charge for their super 8 camera, but honestly, loading and unloading film is the one part of the analog process that makes me hesitate, and if Kodak were to eliminate that, I would throw all my money at.

Of course, this is assuming something like this is even possible.  I'm just day-dreaming here, yanno?  Still, I think it'd be sick to have super 16mm cameras like this.

  

 

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I mean, I don't quite see the reasoning. My 35mm and 16mm camera's are both "cartridge" based cameras. You load the magazines before you run the camera and simply slap a new one on when you wish to change rolls. The modern coaxial quick load magazines are dead quiet, pretty light and durable. To make a camera system that used a cartridge to the level of that, would be nearly impossible. They would need to have some sort of universal drive mechanism that didn't make much noise and the cartridge would need to either have a beautiful well tuned pressure plate OR you'd have to thread it like a daylight spool camera OR Logmar Super 8 camera. So I don't see how it would work really... 

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In believe Kodak's main business has always been manufacturing film, they made cameras, but other manufacturers made better cameras, most would agree that they made and still make the best film stocks. I don't agree that it would be impossible to make a camera system that used a cartridge like the old 50ft 16mm magazine cameras used. In fact only recently I started using these old cameras and  old magazines loaded with modern single perf, there's lots of these cameras about and they are cheap. The results have been excellent and using these camera has been fun. The beauty of these cameras is they are small, ideal for the individual, lone filmmaker, most accept c mount lenses, so we can use those Switars lenses, most also seem to  run at a variety of speeds from single frame, 16fps, 24fps, 32fps and even 64fps.

The downside is they are old and may not work properly, they are noisy, most if not all are purely mechanical and are spring wound, but these issues can be solved. However they only accept 50ft lengths of 16mm giving about 1 minute at 24fps.

Pav

 

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The Super 8 cartridge is incredibly cheap in every way. The plastic, the pressure plate, the spring, ect. are all made to be as inexpensive as possible yet still yield passable results. These are meant for one use and discarded. But even they add costs to the film because of the extra labor assembling them.

To make a 100' or 400' 16mm (or 35mm) cartridge system would add significantly to the cost of film because it would have to be MUCH more substantial than the Super 8 system to hold up to professional use. So basically it would be like a new Arri magazine every time. Yes you could do a deposit/return thing like bottles but would not be very practical. Not sure where you can cut corners with that design either but it wouldn't save very much even if you designed a brand new camera (which would NEVER happen.)

So we're back to loading our own magazines which goes really fast and isn't so bad once you do it regularly and is also why clapper/loaders exist. As my Kodak rep recently told me, loaders are getting twice as much money as they used to because its becoming a rare skill. (and too much responsibility for me!)

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I got over my 16mm loading anxiety pretty quickly after watching several youtube videos and futzing with some dead rolls a friend had. Its not too tricky.

Will say though, in the spirit of the original post's wishlist idea... man I'd love a 416 or an Xtera with an HD (or higher) flicker free video tap. Who wants to do a kickstarter? lol

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3 hours ago, Robin Phillips said:

Will say though, in the spirit of the original post's wishlist idea... man I'd love a 416 or an Xtera with an HD (or higher) flicker free video tap. Who wants to do a kickstarter? lol

There is a company making them now out of europe. They're going to be $12k tho when released! Nothing for the Xtera/XTR tho. 😞

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Well I just figured out that you can get an HD- Videoassists for Arriflex SR1/2 for "relatively" cheap you use the T-Bar or Top-Handle Beam Splitter… Tyler do you mean Indiecam? They do only build an HD assist for the Arricam Studio. (Which is a great one btw. and makes modern AC´s & Clients Life on Set ways easier!)

Back in the Days when I worked as Loader & AC i loaded up to 30+ Mags a Day… It never feels difficult or that I should need an "Cartridge" to load & unload. An Arri/Aaton Mag can be loaded in Seconds… :-) Less Plastic… Less Rubbish… 

Cheers

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On 6/5/2019 at 9:18 PM, Will Montgomery said:

To make a 100' or 400' 16mm (or 35mm) cartridge system would add significantly to the cost of film because it would have to be MUCH more substantial than the Super 8 system to hold up to professional use

110 stills film performed waaay below what it should have done exactly because the film wasn't kept flat enough. That was one of the reasons Kodak introduced those weird disc cameras -

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disc_film

Discs are actually the best system for keeping film flat. The only problem is that a 400 foot reel would become a 70' radius disc...

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