Super 8, Super-8-mm Motion Picture Cameras (Fri, 26 Nov 2004 10:52:03 -0400)

Subject: Re: Re: [Konvas] Super 8
Date Posted: Wed, 24 Nov 2004 22:46:01 -0500
From: colcam at
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The pressure plate was a selling point,
but it turned out more theory than any
functional factor; if the Fuji cameras
had better lenses, maybe. . .

It has been six or seven years since I
have been on a project that used Super8,
and that was only for a skeletonized
Kodak M6 fixed focus camera, powered by
two AAA batteries, slung under a six
foot rotor remote control helicopter
that was flown under a bridge chasing
a speedboat for POV footage, one pass
per cartridge-- and then it was printed
from Ektachrome onto 35mm with a mask
to add lines in order to look like it
was a video feed from a helicopter that
would "crash" later.

The guy who owned the helicopter/camera
rig wasn't the brightest bulb in the
chandelier, if you know what I mean.

I have no idea what ever happened to him.

> As I recall from my Lenny Lipton library, Single 8 also had the advantage of
> using the camera's own pressure plate, which was better/flatter than the
> plastic ones that come with the Super 8 cartridge. Now someone out there
> sells a tiny metal pressure plate for Super 8 cartridges that you insert
> before you load them into the camera and they claim that the image is
> sharper and steadier with it installed.
> I agree that Kodachrome is king. It's also pretty archival as I have films
> from my youth in the 60's and they look great.
> Yes, I think it's hard to figure out just what the length of exposure is and
> how much light is bled off by prism finders and internal filters on Super 8
> cams. I found the owner's manual to my dad's Canon 814, which I have, and
> it has no advice on using an external meter. I think you have to get close,
> and shoot a test to compare.
> But I must say that I'd only use Super 8 to get that Super 8 look - grainy,
> saturated, film, beautiful. I wouldn't use it and try to pass it off as
> 16mm. I once saw a best of the best example from Super 8 sound - a short
> film that was shot on Super 8, transferred by them to video and displayed at
> Showbiz Expo. It looked like film of course, but soft, and not vibrant -
> washed out, low resolution. As I walked away, I thought "Great attempt.
> Almost good enough"
> Has anyone done a comparison between shooting Super 8 and 16mm lately? It
> seems like those 50 foot cartridges are pretty expensive.
> Doug
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Tom Schott" (SchottTom at
> For more Konvas and Kinor information visit:
> Sent: Wednesday, November 24, 2004 5:10 PM
> Subject: [Konvas] Super 8
> > > On Nov 24, 2004, at 11:35 AM, Francis Percarpio wrote:
> > > Do not waste your time with the B&W stocks -- the graininess is
> > > unbearable.
> >
> > We've gone a bit off topic, but I just have to ask, is grain a bad
> > thing? I'll take it over pixels and compression artifacts any day.
> >
> > I shot Plus-X Super 8 years ago and if it looks the same, thought it
> > looked less grainy than the Ektachromes of the day (1980s). Maybe
> > other qualities of the film made the grain subjectively less apparent.
> > You can also do a bit of grain reduction in telecine.
> >
> > > Don't trust the internal metering systems. Treat it like a real film
> > > camera -- bring your light meter and stay off automatic.
> >
> > Agreed, but the huge zooms and prismatic viewfinders on some of the
> > Super 8 cameras make a T-stop/photometric shutter speed calculation
> > imperative. I used to aim the camera at a grey card and see what the
> > internal meter said to figure it out, assuming the internal metering is
> > accurate.
> >
> > Tom
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > --