Advantages, if any, to working in Regular 8mm

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BrentPowers
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Re: Advantages, if any, to working in Regular 8mm

Post by BrentPowers » Thu Jul 05, 2012 1:03 am

Well, yesterday I bought a COSMICAR 1.8/25mm C-MOUNT lens from the Rex 4 source, who's quickly becoming my dealer. See, I'd just got a $60 eBay Bucks Certificate and wanting to shoot some regular 8mm to see what I come up with I prevailed upon him to find me something cheap that I could use until I get paid. It has a fixed aperture, meaning no f stops, I suppose like using an old Kodak Brownie. Using my one roll of Ektachrome 100D I'll just point and shoot, I guess, see what happens.

Tell me something, though. What about shutter speed. Is there a general rule about that? Fixed aperture, no f stops, have to focus, sure, but what else. Something I need to know here?

By the way, I've shot my first roll of super 8 Tr-X to good results. I telecined it, using a modded Bell & Howell and, since my Sanyo Xatti SH-1's power supply went down at the most oppotune moment, my trusty Flip on a little tripod.

I then went to work messing with the footage and came up with a little film I actually like very much in a single evening. Check out Brentofilm at Youtube for "Retroverse 24".

I LOVE the texture of film. Even blurry, out of focus, jiggling and whirling film. Employing many overlays, reversals, flips, etc., I came up with the kind of thing I enjoy looking at.

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Re: Advantages, if any, to working in Regular 8mm

Post by wado1942 » Thu Jul 05, 2012 1:46 am

Just make sure your lighting conditions match the lens I suppose. Whether you can change it or not, there's till an F-factor to the lens, so you can use that as a guide for lighting. You can also make an aperture to go in front of the lens. Even the Brownies had a cheap plastic thing with holes in them to stop down the light for different conditions. You can have all sorts of fun with hand-made apertures actually. You can cut out different shaped holes to get different shaped lens flares. Just be careful to measure everything properly so you know how much light is getting blocked.
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Re: Advantages, if any, to working in Regular 8mm

Post by Will2 » Thu Jul 05, 2012 4:08 pm

wado1942 wrote:While Super-8 has about 20% greater resolution & reduced grain, 8mm is more stable, suffering less from jitter/gate weave. That, and you're less likely to damage the film in projection. I do not shoot 8mm ever, BTW, but I understand the reasons for it.
The reason I like it is that it looks "worse" than Super 8; Super 8 these days looks like 16mm of the 70's. When I want a real home movie look Regular 8 is great. I'm sure some of the better Regular 8 cameras make the format look as good as possible, but I love the roughness of it with my Canon Canonet Cine. Also how compact it is and real film burns! :wink:

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Re: Advantages, if any, to working in Regular 8mm

Post by BrentPowers » Thu Jul 05, 2012 5:11 pm

Yes, I am wanting a rougher, more amateurish look to my films, for all their artiness. With my first venture into telecine I used super 8, however, it is moving in the direction I like. I am hoping for more of this soft edged quality from regular 8.

One thing I find in many of the more polished, "photographic" works I see here and elsewhere is a certain slickness, a finish that I find beautiful but not very interesting. I want to maintain an innocent eye, and keep myself inept enough to be available to the happy accident. This is why I'm actually glad that my Sanyo went down just as I was about to do my first telecine. The Flip added that extra element of instability that makes for excitement to me.

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Re: Advantages, if any, to working in Regular 8mm

Post by cameratech » Fri Jul 06, 2012 8:49 am

For me Regular 8 is the best medium to explore the artistic possibilities of film. It introduces itself with flashes and a slow fade in, it shows its grainy essence without shame, it has no desire to synchronise with reality and it bends time according to the whims of its little wind-up heart. It belongs to an era when things were made to last, and instant gratification wasn't an option.

For experimenting it's wonderful, because everything is manual. Many cameras had variable shutters (for fade-outs/ins or for playing with smaller shutter angles), rewind facility (for double-exposures), and speeds from 8 to 64 fps. Just about all of them did single frame, and (for me the best part) many had interchangeable lenses. That means you can play with the various effects that different lenses provide - crazy flare from pre-war uncoated ones, beautiful edge softening or colour fringing from lesser quality ones wide open, spirally bokeh from ones with poorly corrected astigmatism, low contrast ones, high contrast ones, and with adapters you can virtually put anything you want on there. (In my somewhat deranged enthusiasm I've used a D to C mount adapter, with a C mount to Arri PL adapter, and shot with professional Zeiss lenses.) For anamorphic experiments, the little D mount prime lenses are also easier to use than the larger S8 fixed zooms, which tend to vignette more when you put an anamorphic in front. Plus there were many filters made for D mount lenses (you often find them tucked in the pockets of an old camera case) which give all sorts of interesting effects, or just cut down the light when it's too bright. You can also use extension tubes to shoot macro, rotate a turret while filming for a special effect, project unsplit film in a 16mm projector for an interesting 4 panel show, the list goes on..

As long as double 8 stock remains obtainable I think the format will outlast S8 because the cameras are so durable. I have a little Bell and Howell Filmo turret camera from 1939 that returned footage shot at 64 fps that is rock steady. Virtually every wind-up 8mm I've bought has worked, and those that didn't just needed a bit of lubrication. The little Bolex ones, despite being among the best, are often the ones that need a bit of service - due to the choice of lubricants. I've found the same with Kern lenses, which used a grease that turns into chewing gum after too many years.

I haven't even begun to celebrate the history of cine technology that is embedded in the evolution of Regular 8 cameras, the diversity of designs spanning the 30's to the 60's, from simple boxes with a Gallilean viewing tube to complex reflex systems with through-the-lens metering and auto-exposure, but I'm starting to waffle.. suffice to say Regular 8 has plenty of advantages, particularly for aesthetic experimentation.

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cameratech
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Re: Advantages, if any, to working in Regular 8mm

Post by cameratech » Fri Jul 06, 2012 10:13 am

BrentPowers wrote:Well, yesterday I bought a COSMICAR 1.8/25mm C-MOUNT lens from the Rex 4 source, who's quickly becoming my dealer. See, I'd just got a $60 eBay Bucks Certificate and wanting to shoot some regular 8mm to see what I come up with I prevailed upon him to find me something cheap that I could use until I get paid. It has a fixed aperture, meaning no f stops, I suppose like using an old Kodak Brownie. Using my one roll of Ektachrome 100D I'll just point and shoot, I guess, see what happens.
I thought I should mention, this lens would have been designed for a CCTV camera with its own iris. Having a fixed aperture of f/1.8 will make it pretty hard to use on a film camera. Most everything will be overexposed under daylight. I sure as hell wouldn't pay $60 for it!

The other thing to know is that the reflex H8 used specially made lenses, marked H8 RX. The camera mounts are the same as C mount, but the flange depth (distance from lens seat to film plane) is shorter, meaning a regular C mount lens will focus at a different depth, so the distance scale will be way out and you won't be able to focus on anything close. H8 RX lenses (like the H16 RX ones) were also optically corrected to account for the prism that is in the light path, though that's less of an issue if you don't mind a bit of softness at the edges of your image.
Dom Jaeger
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Re: Advantages, if any, to working in Regular 8mm

Post by BrentPowers » Fri Jul 06, 2012 6:21 pm

Thanks so much for your input. In my haste I jumped too quickly but I'm hoping I can at least capture footage I can work with.

I also have a non reflex H8 which is more or less ready to go. Plus a number of D mount lenses that work with it. I could even load the thing up today and go out shooting. I only hesitated because of having acquired the lubed Rex 4.

Most eloquent praise of regular 8mm, and the upload is beautiful! What sort of work do you do? Are you involved with any cinema group? I am unaffiliated at present but this forum is a blessing to me. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area so I could go hanging out at Canyon but what they need right now is free labor and a LOT of money, certainly not some newbie haning out asking questions.

BP

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Nicholas Kovats
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Re: Advantages, if any, to working in Regular 8mm

Post by Nicholas Kovats » Fri Jul 06, 2012 8:35 pm

Agreed. A most eloquent post. One of the best.

[quote="cameratech"]For me Regular 8 is the best medium to explore the artistic possibilities of film. It introduces itself with flashes and a slow fade in, it shows its grainy essence without shame, it has no desire to synchronise with reality and it bends time according to the whims of its little wind-up heart. It belongs to an era when things were made to last, and instant gratification wasn't an option.
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Re: Advantages, if any, to working in Regular 8mm

Post by milesandjules » Sun Jul 08, 2012 9:59 am

Yeah i love standard 8 to...for all the great reasons listed above...I still haven't managed to track down a bolex rx4 h8...the 100ft loads would be a dream.

For film stocks...Don't forget Edward Nowilll in the uk can add extra sprockets to double perf 16mm film to make it regular 8. He sells some stocks, or you can send film to him (thats what we did) and he has a machine that perforates the film. I think 400ft of 16 costs like $20 to be converted to regular8 so pretty cheap.

Here is a link to some fuji 64 asa color neg we shot a while back.

https://vimeo.com/15738297

BrentPowers
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Re: Advantages, if any, to working in Regular 8mm

Post by BrentPowers » Mon Jul 09, 2012 1:49 am

That's some REALLY nice footage. I like the color very much. I check him out. By the way, do you have a URL for him? Of course, I'll just google and see what happens. Thanks for letting me in on this possibility.

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Re: Advantages, if any, to working in Regular 8mm

Post by milesandjules » Mon Jul 09, 2012 5:24 am

Here is his email.

edwardnowill@talktalkdotnet

BrentPowers
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Re: Advantages, if any, to working in Regular 8mm

Post by BrentPowers » Mon Jul 09, 2012 5:19 pm

Thanks so much!

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Re: Advantages, if any, to working in Regular 8mm

Post by Nicholas Kovats » Mon Jul 09, 2012 5:38 pm

Brent,

That address is being decommissioned. Please use edwardnowill@gmail.com for a faster response.

Regards,

Nicholas
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