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Old July 23rd, 2004, 03:50 PM   #1
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Super 8

I was hoping someone could give me some information on Super 8. I know nothing about it but assume it looks like movie film. Do super 8 cameras capture sound or is it just simply a series of pictures on 8mm film? Also, how much would a super camera cost and where would I get one and the film for it? I want to capture some footage with it and then incorporate it to a dvd I'm working on, if thats even possible. Anyhow, any info would be appreciated.
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Old July 23rd, 2004, 04:23 PM   #2
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Super 8mm is ALIVE AND WELL and is a great way to begin your venture from DV to film. Super 8mm comes in 50 foot cartridges. That is about 2.5 minutes of film (at 24fps). Film comes in many varieties depending on what/where your shooting (indoor and outdoor film are two different films). A brand new 50 foot roll cartridge will cost you about $35. Processing will probably cost you about $15, prep for transfer and actual transfer to dv tape (called "telecine" - some say tel-uh-seen, some say tell-uh-sinee) will cost you even more than processing. All for 2 minutes and 30 seconds of film.

You can get old Super 8mm cameras from as low as $10 on ebay. But they still produce the high quality ones that can go up to the thousands. Check out These guys aren't letting 8mm die! Some of the older cameras record sound. But I am to believe a film cartridge with a soundtrack on it is pretty rare nowadays. They have been discontinued long ago. Even if you do find one, the actual film will be long expired and the picture will not look as good as if you bought brand new from pro8mm or a Kodak cart

Yes, Kodak still makes super 8mm cartridges. But all silent:

I shoot 16mm film sometimes from a old russian movie camera called the K3. If you think 8mm stuff is expensive, try looking at 16mm stuff. 100' rolls (not cartridges, loose rolls, manual loading!) only create about 2 minutes and 45 seconds. and cost about $50 (New Fuji-64d stock) for a 100 foot roll. Processing is about the same price but telecine is more epensive. But the quality is great.
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Old July 23rd, 2004, 04:41 PM   #3
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Go to the Kodak website to see the various super 8 filmstocks available. They are now selling their vision stock in negative cartridges I belive. So you can shoot reversal, or negative stock. Super 8 film can be had for as little as 10 bucks a roll, to close to 25. Processing and transfer can also vary. Super 8 sound cartridges are no longer manufactured, but super 8 sound cameras will run super 8 silent cartridges as well.

Cameras can be found in thrift stores for as little as 10 bucks. Often the only problem is the battery compartment is dirty. With a cleaning, they run again. I own eight different super 8 camera, and use them to teach film classes to kids. They are a great way to grasp the concept, and there's still nothing like seeing an image projected on a screen in the back yard, or in a theatre!

If you are serious, you can buy refurbished Super 8 cams running several hundred dollars.

The super 8 format differs from the regular 8 format in that it uses a larger frame area, and the sprocket holes are a different size.

If you own a variable speed projector, you can do a "poor man's telecine" by simply projecting the image on a clean screen, and capturing it with your camcorder. You "tune" the projector speed until the flicker dissapears from the image. For instance, if you shoot at 18fps, and turn the speed up to roughly 20 fps, on a three bladed shutter, that yields 60 images per second which is equal to the number of fields in video. An actual telecine projector has a five bladed shutter in it.
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Old July 23rd, 2004, 09:05 PM   #4
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Thanks fellas for the information. if you know of anyone selling a super 8 camera and/or projector, please let me know.
Thanks again!
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Old July 24th, 2004, 08:57 AM   #5
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Our Alternative Imaging Methods forum is a great place to talk about using Super 8.

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Old July 24th, 2004, 05:55 PM   #6
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If anyone is interested just how alive Super 8 is consider Guy Maddin's short film THE HEART OF THE WORLD - a super 8 film styled on the 20s black and white silent era. It is a stunner.
Also, Maddin's THE SADDEST MUSIC IN THE WORLD, starring Isabelle Rossellini was shot in Super 8. There is an anecdote in Maddin's book that describes his efforts to prepare Rosselini for the size of the camera that she is about to act for. He cannot express "small", quite small enough.

If you are considering using super 8 Black and white try hand processing. I got far superior results from the new developers manufactured for still photography than any Lab out there. Far superior. But it isn't always practicle for long projects.
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Old July 26th, 2004, 01:54 PM   #7
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A friend of mine has just finished up a documentary on our most notorious serial killer. All the re-enactments were to have happened in the early '80's, so he decided to shoot that part with Super 8, using Nikon Super 8mm cameras he found on eBay. They are just like new. The film is definitely grainy and looks like home movie film, which is why he chose it. The effect is really creepy, because the re-enactments come off almost as if there was some dude in the room where all this stuff was happening shooting film of it. Super 8 is excellent for situations where that kind of effect is desirable.
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