Who is still shooting on Super 8 or 16mm?

A forum to share ideas and opinions on the equipment and technical aspects of film, video and AV making.
User avatar
Blue Audio Visual
Posts: 15
Joined: Fri Jun 01, 2007 5:45 am

Who is still shooting on Super 8 or 16mm?

Post by Blue Audio Visual » Fri Jun 01, 2007 6:20 am

Hi there,

I'd just like to introduce myself, as this is my first post on the forum. My name is Bart Smith, and I run a long-established shop based in London called Blue Audio Visual, which specialises in traditional filmmaking and projection gear (Super 8, 16mm etc.)

How many members out there are still shooting on film? I recognise one or two names amongst the memberlist, so hello again to anyone who knows us already!



Bart

ned c
Posts: 760
Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2007 3:39 pm
Location: Dammeron Valley USA

Post by ned c » Fri Jun 01, 2007 3:54 pm

First, welcome and enjoy this site. I haven't used film in years though there are good arguments in its favor in this video age. I still have both a 16 mm and S8mm camera but the deterrent is cost, here in the USA a supplier offers packages of S8 and 16 mm film that include both processing and transfer to video for editing but at very high costs. The "film look" attracts a lot of attention but I would rather accept that video has a different look and it is a waste of time trying to make it look like something else. Ah, but the discipline of film, you can't shoot everything in sight and then sort it out in post, you have to think and it is a far less forgiving medium than video. I started my life as a camera assistant so tend to get nostalgic! Good luck to all who shoot film, great stuff. (anyone want to buy a Canon 1014, make me an offer)

Ned C

User avatar
Blue Audio Visual
Posts: 15
Joined: Fri Jun 01, 2007 5:45 am

Post by Blue Audio Visual » Fri Jun 01, 2007 4:45 pm

Which version of the 1014, Ned? I'd be interested in a 1014XLS, come to think of it I might be interested in your 16mm!

Bart

ned c
Posts: 760
Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2007 3:39 pm
Location: Dammeron Valley USA

Post by ned c » Fri Jun 01, 2007 8:17 pm

Yes, it is a 1014XLS, hardly used. I have a Pathe 16BTL with Angenieux prime lenses and a share in an Arri 16BL. We will keep the 16 mm cameras, the Pathe as a paper weight and the Arri just in case; although I suppose we would have to have it reconfigured to Super 16 if someone actually wanted us to shoot film. If you are interested in the Canon I will be in the UK in September. Discuss of forum if you like

Ned C

Michael Slowe
Posts: 623
Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2007 4:24 pm

Shooting on Film!

Post by Michael Slowe » Sat Jun 02, 2007 10:03 am

How nostagic is this thread! I was at my most productive when shooting on 16mm film and editing the good old film way with a pic sync, marking mag film with chinagraph for sync points and hanging up clips on nails over a linen lined bin. Any mistake and you lost a frame (I was cutting camera original Kodachrome for printing later) so you had to think things through carefully.

Filmed on a Beaulieu with a Pan Cinoe Hunting Zoom then an Angenieux and got great quality pictures. Sound, particularly sync, was a problem it is true. I went round Soho begging post houses for free transfers from pulsed tape to mag film for editing and generally had loads of help from the pros. Used Filmatic Lab in West London for prints. There was nothing like the thrill of sitting in their viewing theatre watching a brand new print of an edit I had spent months compiling. Filmatic were great, if it wasn't right they'ed do another one! Then there were the hours in dubbing studios melding four audio tracks into one. The mixers were real experts but I had to give them perfect dub sheets to work from, each track coloured individually so they could see at a glance what was required.

Ah, happy days but the expense would be prohibitive today. It's so much easier now, all the audio can be laid in our own equipment, each track balanced in our own time, mistakes easily corrected and experiment unlimited. We should be making better films but are we? There is too much speech (easy to do now) and films are longer (cheap to do) and the language of film is being re invented, not always for the better. "Silly old fogey" I hear from all the youngsters and they're probably right!

User avatar
stingman
Posts: 442
Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2007 10:37 am
Location: Isle of Wight
Contact:

Post by stingman » Sat Jun 02, 2007 10:46 am

I wondered when Michael Slowe would join in this thread :) I`ve seen some of Michaels Cine films. They are really good. As films go, I can imagine how much work went into them.
In the old days, a whole army would have been used to edit and process the film (feature films). Quite amazing really.

Ian Gardner
Moderator
Ian Gardner
Film Maker

ned c
Posts: 760
Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2007 3:39 pm
Location: Dammeron Valley USA

Post by ned c » Sat Jun 02, 2007 4:14 pm

Whilst wallowing in nostalgia, I started out loading magazines and slating shots. We shot on Ektachrome Commercial 25 asa tungsten, about 16 asa daylight with a wratten 85 and half a stop of latitude. What a boon Eastman negative was, the early version 64 asa and about two stops under latitude. The cutting copy was black & white and we had no idea how transitions really looked until we saw the answer print. The 16 mm Beaulieu camera we used a couple of time was a pain as it had no loop guides and tended to lose the loop and had a 200 foot daylight load magazine or 100 foot internal. The Arri 16 BL was the workhorse for picture and the Nagra 3 for sound recording. As Michael said the labs and services were great to work with, peopled by experts who were very willing to share their knowledge and frequently extricated us from messes of our own making.

Nice to remember but the modern NLE is definitely a huge leap forwrad. We have been talking about 16 mm but for personal films I used Standard 8 and then Super 8. Cut the camera original and then projected it! Stripe sound was originally of "telephone quality" but did improve and was better than the various tape/projector synchronising systems that required an expert to run them. What a learning experience!!

Ah well, another silly old fogey (I am actually older than Michael!)

Ned C

User avatar
Blue Audio Visual
Posts: 15
Joined: Fri Jun 01, 2007 5:45 am

Post by Blue Audio Visual » Sat Jun 02, 2007 5:52 pm

Funnily enough Super 8 seems to be really popular again these days, even though it has become even more expensive to use than it ever was over the last couple of years. I've sold pretty nearly 2000 cartridges in the last year, so there IS demand out there!

I'm even considering getting into selling Standard 8 film after a 10 year hiatus as I keep being asked about it by my customers. I'm trying to find myself a nice Bolex H8 reflex kit on ebay for my own personal fun!

Video and Film are just 'different' from each other, both of them have their plus and minus points!

User avatar
FILM THURSO
Posts: 241
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 1:37 pm
Location: Thurso
Contact:

Post by FILM THURSO » Sat Jun 02, 2007 9:13 pm

Oh since Kodak stopped K40 we've been out of the real film biz pretty much. Sickened really by Kodaks attitude to a thing called 'customer demand'. K4o was very popular and enough so that demand justified the cost of manufacture- there was and still is a market. Alas in their wisdom (?) they did replace it with the horribly grainy 64T which also has a narrower f-stop.
It's good that a reversal film is still available and it is a quality product none the less but what put so many Super 8 users out of the picture was the cost.
In 1997 silent stock retailed around £15 by 2004 it was down to just £12 pounds and this for a process-paid stock. Film making on real film was an absolute bargain and had never been more affordable to the amateur. The kick in the teeth with 64T is not the poorer results but the fact that's it's introduction saw amateur film making sore to more than double the cost because it isn't process-paid instantly wiping out many low budget users including ourselves. Even Widescreen's process-paid service doesn't take the cost below £20 (but it's appreciated).
When K40 stopped so did we, all our film stocks were run off on the various projects but we haven't restocked on film since for any project.
We are very much in favour of real film whilst appreciating the virtues of digital tech as well and we used to promote the use of real film to begginers. Now we still promote it but with the advise use it is it's appropriate and make sure you plan well to get as much out of it. It was difficult to get newbis to use film at £12 for 2.5 minutes worth- try convincing them at £24 for lower res film!

User avatar
Blue Audio Visual
Posts: 15
Joined: Fri Jun 01, 2007 5:45 am

Post by Blue Audio Visual » Sun Jun 03, 2007 5:09 am

FILM THURSO wrote: Even Widescreen's process-paid service doesn't take the cost below £20 (but it's appreciated).
At Blue Audio Visual we sell Ektachrome 64T in a process-paid at £19.99 - which is a full penny under £20! The Widescreen Centre use the same lab as we do, but are more expensive.

As to the 'poor results', I would suggest that you give it another go if you tried it when it first came out. Ektachrome uses the E6 process which was developed for stills, not motion picture. Early on the labs had difficulty getting the process right, as E6 doesn't lend itself easily to the roller processors that motion picture labs use, mainly due to carry-over of chemicals from one bath to another. The lab that we work with (Andec in Berlin) have now tweaked the process with extra wash baths and other neat tricks, and the results are excellent. It IS grainier than K40 was, but in my opinion the colour rendition is better.

If you've not used Super 8 for a while you've probably not come across the new neg stocks that Kodak released a couple of years ago, VISION2 200T & 500T. The VISION2 emulsions that they use are the very latest generation of neg technology, and the results look fantastic. Raw stock costs only £10.79, although there is extra expenditure to consider as they must be developed and telecined, but the extra speed and latitude that these stocks offer have opened up whole new worlds to the pro Super 8 user.

I would hope to see an organisation like the IAC championing and promoting REAL FILM. The discipline involved in shooting on such an expensive (but charismatic) medium can help to teach even the most die hard video user a thing or two about which shots really matter.

If anyone in Europe reading this thread wants to give it a go, I'll do them a deal at £18 for a roll of process-paid Ektachrome 64T. The offer will have to be limited to one roll per person, and will only be open until the 15th of June 2007. Send me a PM if you're interested. Please note that not all Super 8 cameras are fully compatible with 64T, if in doubt tell me which camera(s) you have and I'll advise as best I can.

Bart

tom hardwick
Posts: 827
Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2007 9:59 am

Post by tom hardwick » Sun Jun 03, 2007 10:13 am

Great thread, guys. I guess you're all familliar with the magazine 'Small Format' - a real eye-opener in to following that film still has.

I posted one of my Super-8 films up on YouTube and one of the replies was to the effect of how good my 'film look' was.

tom.

User avatar
FILM THURSO
Posts: 241
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 1:37 pm
Location: Thurso
Contact:

Post by FILM THURSO » Sun Jun 03, 2007 12:17 pm

We've used all manner of super 8mm including negative stock on limited work but the fact remains the cost of any other super 8 usage is double that of K40. The only thing nearest was the Quartzchrome from Russia which we love but we don't want to make everything in black and white.
The grainy image of 64T is exactly a problem for us because we needed the higher resolution of K40 for our re-productive work on old 35mm and 9.5mm movies. Grainy stocks are not suitable for film restorations. We have used very grainy stock on some projects spicifically for that look but our uses of film are wide and varied and we require products that maintain certain standards of image quality. Overall the quality of 64T is a backward step for our work and our budget and also when trying to promote film as better than video (which it generally is). It has to be said that our current little Panasonic video camera captures a better image than 64T, Fuji RT200 and RT25.
We will use film somewhere along the line but it is clear that the project has to be important enough to justify the expenditure. Actors are more likely to be sworn at if they get a scene wrong!
I should be clear in that I love all film but my gripe is that we have to pay far more for film now and for a product that does not yeild the same high resolution. To convince the digital brigade you need a high res film to prove it. We'll say nothing of that much lamented plastic presure plate in the cartridge. We love film- we love super 8 we just don't like having to pay so much when a cheaper and better product was available and had more than sufficient users to continue it's production. It is the cost that for most is the problem, as stated 64T wiped most low budget users off the map pushing many out of film all together and others into digital. We like both but want to be working in film but we simply can't do it any more. Love doesn't buy film stock!

ned c
Posts: 760
Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2007 3:39 pm
Location: Dammeron Valley USA

Post by ned c » Sun Jun 03, 2007 2:49 pm

To Film Thurso. Have you considered 16mm as an alternative to Super8? I know that the costs will be more but for special projects it may be possible to raise the funds and the quality is inherently much better than Super8. Reversal stocks are available and there are second hand mag strip projectors around.

It's easy to be critical of Kodak but I wouldn't want to be in their management shoes as the use of film by amateurs, both still and movie has virtually collapsed. I am sure that Kodachrome production was very dependent on 35 mm slide users and once they had gone the production became uneconomical. The film stocks on offer are the products of the Kodak Motion Picture Division and all praise to them and the specialist suppliers who are keeping Super 8 alive.

Ned C

User avatar
FILM THURSO
Posts: 241
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 1:37 pm
Location: Thurso
Contact:

Post by FILM THURSO » Sun Jun 03, 2007 7:56 pm

:shock: Er, um, like, what? Is no-one getting this down?
Super 8 shoots up to double the cost knocking my group and many others out of film all together and then it is suggested that we try 16mm- FOUR TIMES THE COST before we even think about processing. I am agast!
Look guys it's like this- if anyone can offer us process paid 64T at £16.99 (the last price we paid for K4O sound) then we might look at using film mainstream again but until then... just NO!

User avatar
Blue Audio Visual
Posts: 15
Joined: Fri Jun 01, 2007 5:45 am

Post by Blue Audio Visual » Mon Jun 04, 2007 5:42 am

FILM THURSO wrote:We've used all manner of super 8mm including negative stock on limited work but the fact remains the cost of any other super 8 usage is double that of K40.
That simply isn't the case - 64t is available process-paid in the UK for £19.99, which by any reckoning isn't double the cost of the old K40 price. It is misinformation like this that is bound to put people off trying Super 8 and seeing what this unique gauge has to offer.

As to your criticism of the quality of 64T vs. K40, granted it looks different, but whether it is better or worse is a subjective matter of opinion. Again there is the danger of a personal opinion being misinterpreted or misrepresented as being fact. I personally believe that in many ways (including colour rendition) it looks better than K40, and I repeat what I said before, which is that people should be prepared to give it another go.

My point is that people out there who run film clubs should take the opportunity to inform their members of the possibilities that Super 8 can still offer today, without dwelling on what was available in the past. You can't buy K40 anymore, so its inherent qualities and flaws are irrelevent to anyone wanting to film on Super 8 now. It is up to the end user to decide whether or not they can justify the price of using one of the 5 available new stocks. FILM THURSO - you may not be prepared to use it, but why not tell people that you know about what is available? (Maybe you have already?)
ned c wrote:The film stocks on offer are the products of the Kodak Motion Picture Division and all praise to them and the specialist suppliers who are keeping Super 8 alive.
As a point of fact it is only the VISION2 neg stocks which are true motion picture products. Ektachrome 64T, TRI-X & PLUS-X are all the result of R&D done by Kodak's stills division.

Post Reply