Q. What Super 8 camera should I buy?
A. Super 8 cameras vary greatly in terms of quality, features, size, format, and price. If I had to choose one camera to be stuck on a desert island with, it would be the Canon 814XLS (similar to the Canon 1014 XLS).
While this is a sound camera, it accepts silent cartridges as do all sound Super 8mm cameras. The camera offers dual shutters (150 and 220 degrees), an intervalometer, variable shutter, various camera speeds, and a very fast f1.4 8X zoom lens. The internal light meter is illuminated and the camera makes just a whisper of noise while filming.
Added to this is the SLR-style of viewing. It is the only camera that makes me think I am looking into a 35mm camera instead of a Super 8mm camera. The size of the image and clarity is superb.
It is made of metal and has a nice, ergonomic handle - very professional looking, too. When loaded with its 6 "AA" batteries, this camera gives the right amount of heft to ensure smooth pictures and a quality feel.
Typical prices hover in the neighbourhood of $300 - $500US.
All of these cameras offer a variety of features including manual override of the meter, various speed settings, superb optics, and solid performance.
Q. Where can I buy Super 8 cameras?
After that, try www.ebay.com and check under the "photographic equipment/movie" section. Good deals abound for overlooked models (GAF, Sankyo, Eumig). Regular 8mm cameras can be found for giveaway prices but be warned that this typically reflects their actual value! Better camera stores also sell used Super 8mm cameras. I found that the trick is to be sure you talk to someone who actually knows what Super 8mm is all about! If they look dumb when you mention anything other than APS or point-and-shoot, move on to someone else.
In Sacramento, California you can try Pardees Cameras - http://www.pardeescameras.com - they sell lots of used cameras including Super 8mm and ship almost anywhere in the world.
Where can I learn about the different Super 8mm cameras offered?
(i.e. Which ones have an "animation" setting?)
Finally, read the product descriptions on eBay for movie cameras. Often the description is mostly correct as to general specifications of the camera. Combined with item pictures, you should be able to discover quite a lot about the various movie cameras sold over the years.
Q. Where can I buy Super 8mm film
and what stocks are available?
Their Super 8mm website is here: http://www.kodak.com/US/en/motion/super8/
Many larger camera stores in metropolitan areas also sell Super 8mm film stocks. Be sure to ask a few people in the store as many newcomers are not aware of this kind of film stock. Hint: if the store clerk looks like they are in junior college, they probably have no idea what Super 8mm is!
The current offerings by Kodak are Ektachrome 125 (colour), Kodachrome 40 (colour), Plus-X (B&W) and Tri-X (B&W) film stocks. There is no current production of Super 8mm Sound film. Your only choice for sound film is to look on www.ebay.com for possible supplies of outdated film. Sound striping is also an option but I understand it is only feasible in Germany/Europe (Germany is another Super 8mm hotspot!). Third party film is also available whereby companies and individuals cut down 35mm film stocks, re-perforate the film, and load it into used Super 8mm cartridges. Look on my film links section for more information.
Q. Where can I buy regular 8mm film?
What stocks are there?
are similar to those available for Super 8mm. Two B&W speeds
Colour films available:
Visit: http://members.aol.com/Super8mm/JohnSchwind.html for more information.
Remember, super 8mm cameras always have a orange-coloured No. 85 filter in place during daylight-filming whereas Regular 8mm cameras typically do not have a filter in place. Regular 8mm cameras use "Daylight-Balanced" film while Super 8mm cameras use "Tungsten-Balanced" film for exposure under artificial light.
Who processes colour Super 8mm film? B&W film?
Please note, Kodak does not offer processing for B&W or Ektachrome film stocks. Local B&W labs typically process these film stocks. Labs like Yale, Exclusive Film and Video, Minnesota Film, etc. all happily process Super 8mm B&W and Ektachrome film stocks. Personally, I like the services offered by Martin Baumgarten: http://members.aol.com/Super8mm/Super8mm.html
Q. Who processes Regular 8mm film?
So, I now mail my film to Martin Baumgarten (email@example.com) (homepage: http://members.aol.com/Super8mm/Super8mm.html), and he sends it to Kodak and then lubricates and cleans the film prior to returning it to me. Of course, you can try to send it yourself to Kodak, but I found it wasn't worth the hassle. Plus Martin does outstanding work for very reasonable rates.
My (fill in the blank) "Uncle" gave me a really cool projector
and camera! What are they worth, can I get film?
If this fails, search the internet in general using a dedicated search tool like webferret.
Your first step is to determine if you have regular 8mm equipment, super 8mm, or even 16mm equipment! Each format carries a progressively higher price tag in operating costs.
As for initially getting into filmaking, consider that to go a shoot some film (8mm or Super 8mm) will cost approximately $25 per three minutes (incl. processing). Remember, this is not video! Add to that the cost of a replacement projector bulb ($25 if it is still available) and editing supplies. At minimum you are looking at a $200 - $300 US investment by the time you get underway with the hobby.
Things like splicers, editors, reel blanks, leader, projection screens, film cement or splicing tape all add to the final cost of the hobby. Of course, your own time should not be factored into the cost of the hobby if you want to stay happy.
Unlike video, filmmaking is not an "instant" technology. For instance, it takes at least two weeks to get your film back from Kodak. Local labs take about a week. Patience is definitely the key.
Q. I have an old projector - is it
worth using and where can I find a bulb for it?
The ones for display only typically look like they were the alien space ship drive system in some 1950's science fiction movie. They usually have lots of ribbing or vents, are made of metal, and weigh over 50 pounds - or so it seems. The reel arms are often located above and below the projection lens, and they often take low-life, (12 or 25 hour) bulbs with a filament that will break just by sitting the projector on a table. These are the projectors to avoid! Basically, anything that says "Made in USA" means you should avoid it entirely. The same goes for cameras. The lone exception to the rule would be gear made by Bell & Howell.
Usable projectors are differentiated by having halogen bulbs and high output projection lenses. They typically run very quiet and have some combination of lightweight metal or heavy plastic construction. The reels tend to be in a fore-aft position instead of top/bottom. Most importantly, projectors must be gentle on your film and not scratch it! This is most important. I find it helpful to run unexposed black footage combined with some white leader in a loop through the projector prior to running your prized project or family movie. Remove the test film and inspect it for damage. You do not want to see streaks, indents, crinkles, or hairline scratches in your film.
Q. What's the difference between
Super 8mm and Regular 8mm film?
Standard 16mm film will not work in 8mm cameras due to the lack of the extra perforations. But Regular 8mm film will work in 16mm cameras in case you were wondering
Super 8mm film refers to a standard 8mm wide strip of film that only has sprocket perforations on one side. The holes are SMALLER than those for Regular 8mm. Correspondingly, the actual film area for Super 8mm film is larger than that for Regular 8mm - a full 50 percent larger! Hence the industry term of "Super" is added to the name.
There is also Super 16mm where the film is still 16mm wide but one side of the sprocket perforations are removed and the film exposure area is enlarged to take advantage of the extra space. Other "Super" formats are also possible. The main concern when "Super" sizing a film format is film registration. Without the dual support offered by two sprockets, larger film formats tend to wobble more than the smallest "Super" film - Super 8mm.
Finally, many Regular 8mm cameras offer the standard speed of 16 frames per second while Super 8mm cameras have a standard film speed of 18fps.
Other comments by readers:
SOUND STRIPING SILENT FILM!!!
Dear Super 8 Man!
Congratulations for your homepage! Very nice! Many informations! Let me make some comments about Super 8 Projectors and cameras.
I agree with you, that making home movies donīt should be expensive. But think about the time you spend in slicing, soundtrack, film and soundtape materials.
Isnīt it worth to work with good cameras and projectors, as the high-end models of the beginning 1980 became very very cheap? It increases the production quality, as your new screen increases it, too.
I worked with a Chinon SS1200 Stereosound projector. This projector produced the sound of a motorcycle! The sound quality at 18 frames/second were very poor due to the not constant speed. The image was clear, but poor in contrast.
In a second-hand internet shop in Germany I found a Bauer Studio Line projector, sold my Chinon for about $170.- and ordered the Bauer T610 Microcomputer Stereo for $510.- The projector looks factory-new, due to is MC-lens it produces a perfect high-contrast image with perfect sharpness. The stereo sound is perfect, too, even in 18fr/s you have a sound reproduction much better than a cassette tape, including the small 0,45 mm right hand tape! The 150 W lamp allowes large sreen projection (eumig never used 150 W lamps,as far as I know).
And the best: The projector is much more silent than a slide-projector, there is really no need to put it in another room! For sound track recording, you can record mono, stereo, duoplay and echo sound.
If imploying overlay recording, you can control the result during recording with the third monitor head. The microcomputer allowes you to programm start and end position of a scene, exactly according to the frames. During recording sound, the projector automatically switches in recording position between start and end position of the scene and starts the connected tape player, too!
Itīs driven by an DC-regulated motor with one strong belt. The film canal is designed in a way, that the film is touched only at itīs borders and not at itīs surface.
Talking about cameras, I just tried many of them. Nearly all have the same problem: Itīs impossible to focus exactly, as there is no screen inside the view-finder.
Only the Beaulieu models offer this possibility. Now Iīm working with a Beaulieu 6008S with view-finder screen, digital frame meter, superimpose-button and interchangeable lenses. This way I achieved to get technical perfect material in all situations. And you can find such a camera for about $ 600.- (second hand) It is cheap, in comparison with all that video stuff.
Concerning slicers, there are very commun the Hähnel motor slicers (Bauer,too). I have a model with an in-built heater with dries the cement within 5 seconds. The cement is applicated throug a small tube with a defined quantity. Iīm mixing this cement by myself with aceton and dioxan, as it isnīt produced anymore. The results are perfect, there is no sound change, when the sliced part of the film passes the heads.
With best regards, (A German Enthusiast!)
And a reply to this contained the following nugget:
I never used direct sound film, as it is very difficult to cut. I am using a stripping machine ("Weberling") to strip my silent filmes with a stereo soundtrack after slicing. The stripping tape is actually being produced by ORWO, in eastern Germany. Every film supplier here is offering it for about $ 7.- for one roll of 230 m 0,8 mm or 0,45 mm. The sound quality is much better than the direct Kodak sound track. (The stripping tape made by Agfa, the famous F5, was even better, but there are no more stocks). Do you know the film catalogue of this provider?: http://www.wittner-kinotechnik.de/
A CANADIAN FILM PROCESSING PLACE:
Hi Super 8 Man, Good to hear from you.
Super 8 Plus-X is $11.30 per cartridge, Canadian dollars (last I heard our dollar was trading at $0.69 U.S.). The Regular 8mm is $15.00 per roll and you can request for it to be left unsplit if you wish. Shipping and Handling is extra and it depends on how quickly and how economically you wish to receive your film back.
Federal Express is our most recommended for rapid and reliable shipping, but we can send it airmail for $5.00. We prefer payment with Visa or Mastercard. These are preferable for international customers because you are guaranteed the most current exchange rate.
Thanks a lot for your interest, and pass it on!
SuperEight Filmmaker wrote:
HOW TO GET OLD FILM STOCKS PROCESSED?
Got an old film that maybe, just maybe, captures the infamous "grassy knoll" on a certain November afternoon back in 1963? Then check out: Film Rescue International located in Indian Head, Saskatchewan, Canada at 1-800-329-8988. They may be able to process your old Super 8 Ektachrome Type G and other old stocks from pre-1983. Good Luck!
FUJI LAB UPDATE
>>> Your web site is great. I would like to talk with you someday. You can call me at XXX/XXX-XXXX X AAAA. I just called Fuji about processing 8mm film for me. Michelle is no longer there. Now Doug is handling all of the Super 8 film processing, very nice. The prices have gone up a little also, $11.69 includes shipping then add tax. Thanks for the great web site.
FILM FESTIVAL NEWS...
We'd appreciate you updating your site with the following link: http://www.interlog.com/~coldsore/ associating the following text with it: "splice this! is a festival dedicated to the exhibition of small gauge films by providing a forum for independent filmmakers and super 8 buffs everywhere. The festival showcases a wide range of work from all genres and welcomes first-time filmmakers and seasoned supereighters alike." thanks very much, Dann McCann firstname.lastname@example.org
Got a question you would like to see answered?
Email me at email@example.com and I will post it here!