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Old February 4th, 2007, 03:53 PM   #16
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Alan - I cut my teeth cutting Super 8 - double system - in the early 1980s. I have used all manner of 8mm cameras, sound systems and even 8mm flatbed editors. I could cut a music video on Super 8 in perfect sync in 12 hours - so I got pretty fast at it.

Just to take the steam off this "old school" thing with regrd to super 8 / double system - there is no school - old or otherwise - that did this. Yes you could get a crystal sync 8mm camera - yes you could dub Nagra rushes to 8mm mag film - but in the 1980s the gear was esoteric to say the least - and people had access to processing, a full rnage of film stocks and spare parts for this stuff.

You are unlikely to assemble a super 8 sync setup because they were really pretty rare - and these days even getting film processed is a complete pain.

Super 8 was a format that took over from standard 8 - and often the "soundtrack' was actually recorded onto a mag strip on the side of the film. Basic tape "crash" edits were all that most people used and the sound jumped each time you did this.

Systems that used double system [and flatbed editing systems] were developed - but really - people used 16mm if they could bear the cost.

So should you.

If you want to learn to use film, and mag stock - there are planty of 16mm Steenbeck [or even Moviola style] editing systems around. Crystal cameras are available - sync sound is easy - hell get a mag tape Nagra and really re-live the past!

You will get a reasonable picture - a choice of filmstock [unlike super 8] - there will be someone who can transfer your rushes to mag stock for the audio - and some film school will have a 16mm Steenbeck in a closet you can use to cut the film with.

Why Super 8 WONT work:

The splices are really delicate. It's a toy format that was well adapted to other purposes - but there is about 1/8 the area in a super 8 splice holding the film together compared to 16mm. [They pop easily]...

If you want to shoot Neg and neg match [which is what the celluloid process is all about] you can't - you need to shoot reversal and cut your work print. It gets very dirty and is harder to clean & resplice.

There is no way to "put a kit together" out of stuff that people recommend. Sure you can hire a cool looking Beaulliau from some rental place - and you can probably buy a Mag tape Nagra for the price of rental - but getting super 8 mag film for sound - good luck. And a flatbed? Unlikely - people here aren't going to rattle off a few quick names and placed to get them from - they barely existed 30 years ago. People chucked them out.

If this does not make complete sense - let's make it really simple:

"Parts there are not".

So use 16mm if you have the urge - you can get a really old Sync CP 16 if you want ot wear a tweed Beret and plus-fours while you bark through the conical megaphone - but I'd say use a bolex if you want a really old school experience - and stick to stuff that makes it easier to shoot sound.

The idea even of calling a film shoot "old school" is using the language of a hip-hop / sneaker afficionado and applying it to what is essentially an industrial process - if you want to learn about film - I think it is more than a nostaligically fashionable notion - it's going to be a bit of a pain in the a##.....

People dont keep developing new techniques and equipment for the hell of it - there's a reason why Super 8 is a bit of a fetish item :-)
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Old February 4th, 2007, 03:57 PM   #17
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I thought that super 8mm have smaller perfs and thurs had a wider image, making it 16X9. I also thought Super 16 and Super 35 are both 16X9. Am i wrong about the whole thing? and if so, what is the difference between super 8mm and standard 8mm? (and super16 and super35 vs standard)
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Old February 4th, 2007, 05:53 PM   #18
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From the Wikipedia listing for aspect ratios..


See List of film formats for a full listing of film formats, including their aspect ratios.
1.19:1: "Movietone" - early 35 mm sound film ratio used in the late 1920s and early 1930s, especially in Europe. The optical soundtrack was placed on the side of the 1.33 frame, thus reducing the width of the frame. The Academy Aperture frame (1.37) fixed this by making the frame lines thicker. The best examples of this ratio are Fritz Lang's first sound films: M and The Testament of Dr. Mabuse. This is roughly the frame size used for anamorphic photography today.
1.25:1: Commonly used computer resolution of 1280x1024. Native aspect ratio of many LCDs. Also the aspect ratio of 4x5 film photos. The British 405 line TV system used this aspect ratio from its beginning in the 1930s until 1950 when it changed to the more common 4:3 format.
1.33:1: 35 mm original silent film ratio, common in TV and video as 4:3. Also standard ratio for IMAX and MPEG-2 video compression.
1.37:1: 35 mm full-screen sound film image, nearly universal in movies between 1932 and 1953. Officially adopted as the Academy ratio in 1932 by AMPAS. Still occasionally used. Also standard 16 mm.
1.43:1: IMAX 70 mm horizontal format.
1.5:1: The aspect ratio of 35 mm film used for still photography. Wide-aspect computer display (3:2). Used in Apple PowerBook G4 15.2" displays with resolutions of most recently 1440x960.
1.504:1: The aspect ratio of some digital SLR cameras, such as the Nikon D70.
1.56:1: Widescreen aspect ratio 14:9. Often used in shooting commercials etc. as a compromise format between TV 4:3 (12:9) and Widescreen 16:9, especially when the output will be used in both standard TV and widescreen. When converted to a 16:9 frame, only a small portion of the picture is lost, and when converted to 4:3 there is only slight letterboxing.
1.6:1: computer display widescreen (8:5, commonly referred to as 16:10). Used in WSXGAPlus, WUXGA and other display resolutions. This aspect ratio has been chosen for many modern widescreen computer displays because of its ability to display two full pages of text side by side. [1]
1.66:1: 35 mm European widescreen standard; Super 16 mm. (5:3, sometimes expressed more accurately as "1.67".)
1.75:1: early 35 mm widescreen ratio, since abandoned.
1.78:1: video widescreen standard (16:9). Also used in high-definition television One of 3 ratios specified for MPEG-2 video compression.
1.85:1: 35 mm US and UK widescreen standard for theatrical film. Uses approximately 3 perforations ("perfs") of image space per 4 perf frame; films can be shot in 3-perf to save cost of film stock. Also known as "flat".
2.00:1: Used primarily as a flat format in the 1950s and early 1960s by Universal-International, as well as Paramount for some of their VistaVision titles. Also used as one of the variable anamorphic ratios with SuperScope. Used as the aspect ratio for the DVD release of Apocalypse Now.
2.2:1: 70 mm standard. Originally developed for Todd-AO in the 1950s. 2.21:1 specified for MPEG-2 but not used.
2.35:1 : 35 mm anamorphic prior to 1970, used by CinemaScope ("'Scope") and early Panavision. The anamorphic standard has subtly changed so that modern anamorphic productions are actually 2.39[1], but often referred to as 2.35 anyway, due to old convention. (Note that anamorphic refers to the print and not necessarily the negative.)
2.39:1: 35 mm anamorphic from 1970 onwards. Sometimes rounded up to 2.40[1]. Sometimes referred to as 'Scope.
2.55:1: Original aspect ratio of CinemaScope before optical sound was added to the film. This was also the aspect ratio of CinemaScope 55.
2.59:1: Cinerama at full height (three specially captured 35 mm images projected side-by-side into one composite widescreen image).
2.76:1: MGM Camera 65 (65 mm with 1.25x anamorphic squeeze). Only used on a handful of films between 1956 and 1964, such as Ben-Hur (1959).
4:1: Polyvision, three 35 mm 1.33 images projected side by side. Only used on Abel Gance's Napoléon (1927).

And to answer your question about super 8 and reg 8 - Yes, they made the perfs smaller, and moved them outside the frame, allowng the frame size to increase in BOTH directions.

What film school are you enrolled in?
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Old February 4th, 2007, 09:19 PM   #19
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The best way to shoot a sync film is not to use super-8, while I admit I used to own 5 super-8 cameras myself, it is a very dead format to use in any serious application that requires sound synchronization. It is just plan complicated without modern digital equipment to accompany it, i.e. a portable DAT, High Quality Telecine, and then have to do post synchronization, not mention finding (I've seen a few for rent) a crystal sync Super-8 that will keep speed like Richard mentioned earlier. Now if you intended to shoot MOS (silent) and add ambient sound in post that would be a hell of a lot easier. I've done it many times and was very pleased with the results. The reason no one (armatures especially) shoots film is because it's so damn expensive, which totally bites. I personally started out filming with a 70 year old 16mm MOS camera and shot with b/w reversal when I was twelve and couldn't have been happier with it at the time. Your best bet is to rent a Bolex EL Package (or the cheapest one you can find, good luck), a DAT Package, light meter and grab a few 400ft rolls. No matter what you're going to have to spend at least a $1000 bucks or so depending on how long the shoot is. I don't mean to discourage you at all, in fact I hope that you do end up making a "real" film, that way you can be called a FILMMAKER and not a just some moviemaker (DV), there's a difference if you ask me, but hey thats just my opinion. I personally refused to buy a DV camera for six years and just stuck with 16mm,super-8 and Dbl. 8 (I prefer Double-8 over Super because I absolutely love threading film).
Keep Fighting The Good Fight,
May Film Never Be Dead,
(Although We All Know It's Coming) :(

Best of Luck
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Old February 4th, 2007, 09:34 PM   #20
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According to this site:

Super-8 frame: .228" x .163" = 1.40 : 1
Regular 8mm: .192" x .145" = 1.33 : 1

Super-16 extended the frame horizontally by eliminating the sprocket row on one side, just as 16mm sound prints did in order to fit the optical soundtrack. So the aspect ratio is wider than regular 16mm (about 1.37 for regular 16mm versus 1.68 for Super-16).

Super-35 just means using the Full Aperture width rather than the sound aperture width where room is made on the left side for the optical sountrack later, meaning that the lens is centered (or offcentered) with this in mind. So Super-35 involves re-centering the lens for Full Aperture (sprocket row to sprocket row on each side.)

Technically, 4-perf 35mm Full Aperture is what was used in the Silent Era and is 1.33 : 1 (4x3), so "Super" doesn't really mean "wider", just that the main reason one uses a camera with a "Super-35" gate is in order to get a little more width than the sound aperture allows -- the extra height you get from going to 4-perf 35mm Full Aperture isn't used although exposed. Within this bigger Full Aperture area, usually a widescreen image is composed for cropping later. Truth is that most 35mm cameras set-up for standard sound aperture formats (1.85 or anamorphic or Academy) have a Full Aperture gate and expose all of it, just that the lenses aren't centered for Full Aperture and some might even be vignetting outside of the sound area to be used. I learned that years ago when I was visiting an editing room cutting a standard 35mm 1.85 feature I shot using workprint -- I picked up a trimmed piece of film and noticed some flags in the shot on the left edge, outside the area I was framing for 1.85. That's when I learned that the Panaflex was exposing Full Aperture even though it was not set-up for "Super-35". Another shot made on an Arri-III however showed that the camera had a 1.37 Academy sound aperture gate.

3-perf 35mm Full Aperture is close to 1.78 : 1 (16x9).

You also have to separate the notion of a camera gate versus a projector gate as well -- even though Super-8 might be 1.40 : 1 and regular 8mm is 1.33 : 1, most Super-8/8mm combo projectors have one gate for both formats.

Super-8 film workflow unfortunately has centered around tape splicing and projecting your original, usually silent. Sound was always problematic because of the fact that the splice point is not the same point where the sound exists for that filmic moment since the sound head in the projector is a number of frames offset.

16mm film workflow for going from neg to print with an optical soundtrack, however, is more or less the same as it is for 35mm.
David Mullen, ASC
Los Angeles
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Old February 4th, 2007, 09:49 PM   #21
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Iíve got to tell you guys that I am learning so much about shooting on celluloid just from this thread alone. I canít imagine how much I will learn once I get my hands on all the equipment and start working.

Richard I apologize, I jumped to a conclusion about the wider frame area and thought it went from 1.33 to 1.78 when it didnít change that much.
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Old February 7th, 2007, 09:16 AM   #22
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Okay so I written my story and am looking for a camera. I wont have to film with sound because I am making a Film Noir and the only dialog is voice over. Because of the cost and hassle I wont be able to edit on film, Iíll have to do it in a computer. Now I have a few questions. I am going to have to add visual effects to a couple shots, so Iím going to need to scan the film in as an image sequence, not telecine to mini dv. What is the ďresolutionĒ of super 8mm and where can I send it to get it scanned. I would imagine that itís 1K film (I know 35mm is 4K, 16mm is 2K, so it seems reasonable). How much will it cost to scan in 8mm? More or just as much as a telecine? Thanx for all the help.
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Old February 7th, 2007, 10:31 AM   #23
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Start here.

There's lots of other choices... but I think peole learn better when they don't get too much help with their homework. GOOGLE is your friend.
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Old February 7th, 2007, 10:46 AM   #24
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Oh yeah yeah I looked that up already. I’ve been searching google and just can’t find any places that do what I want, I already understand the process. I’m just asking what places you guys use that are not to pricy and do a good job. I don’t want the film transferred to video, I want all the frames scanned in at 1K and I want to get a hard drive sent to me with just thousands of images on it that I can transfer over to my server, import into After Effects and output a dv video with timecode. If I need to do visual effects I can always go back to my original images and not have any compression artifacts. I don’t know but it seems like this SHOULDN’T cost that much more then just having the celluloid telecined, because they are about the same base resolution and compression. Anyways I’m just looking for a location I can call to ask about pricing, about quality and about turn around time.

I'll call them but I also want some other places if you guys know of any.

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