Super 8, super-8-mm Motion Picture Cameras (Wed, 24 Nov 2004 19:51:06 -0500)

Subject: Re: [Konvas] Super 8
Date Posted: Wed, 24 Nov 2004 19:51:06 -0500
From: "Douglas Underdahl" longvalleyequip at
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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.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Tom Schott" SchottTom at
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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
> --