Discussions about a hypothetical new S-8 camera

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Re: Discussions about a hypothetical new S-8 camera

Post by carllooper » Mon Aug 05, 2013 3:53 am

super8man wrote:Look, they have an "APP" for that:

http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-19512_7-20061824-233.html

I hate to say it but the train has left the station. I think this same discussion has been taken up in the "wooden boats" forum. Speaking from experience, while it is interesting to contemplate building a 40-foot wooden sailboat, the days of affordable and available quality timber has pretty much disappeared. There's no going back. Enjoy what we had and what is left but any talk of something new is pretty much bordering on penny stock dreams with someone behind a curtain pulling the strings. Keep your thoughts close and your money closer.
That 'app' is exactly what I would call "nostalgia", as is the movie Super8 itself, to some extent.

The 'app' acts as a substitute for history. The app applies a "vintage" look to new material - which is a way of sending that new material, back in time, into the past, and returning it, suitably aged. It is an 'app' for that, the logical conclusion to which is to decompose the image into complete noise and static and finally into nothing at all. Which is the end game of nostalgia - the destruction of history.

History is a different beast. It works in the opposite way. To create a real Super8 camera is the complete reverse. It is to bring something out of the past (whether from the machine shop or ebay) into the present and give it a makeover. But if by "Super8" one means creating the glory days of Super8 where it was a mass market item then yes - one is entirely day dreaming, living in the past, in nostalgia. That won't happen. But was this ever part of the proposition? Is it even implied in any way?

If by "Super8" is meant the creation or reconstruction of some technology, eg. a Super8 camera (a real one rather than a fake nostalgic one), this an entirely different proposition. This sort of thing is done all the time. By historians in particular. Using old methods (eg. mechanics/film) to do something otherwise done today by different means (eg. on digital). For example, I've made paper by hand. Why? Why not just buy it from the shop? Because it is an art. Something one can enjoy. But its also a way of appreciating and understanding history in a way that is absolutely not nostalgic. And it also has business potential by the way - there is a market for hand made paper.

One of the first computers (in an early modern sense), ever designed, was recently built from scratch, following the designs handed down to us by history, not least for reasons that the original machine was actually never built. It had existed on paper for centuries. When built according to the design it worked as designed. History rebuilt this machine, not nostalgia. Nostalgia would prefer to dream of the past (in Steampunk sepia tones for example), rather than actually touch it in any way. Indeed there are a now a number of projects underway, rebuilding old computers, from the last century, to the previous century, indeed right back to computers used in Ancient Greece. None of this is nostalgia. It is, instead, a way of doing history.

Nostalgia is the masking of history. History is a way (the way, the only way) of defeating nostalgia.

To say the camera won't happen, or to say it's a wet dream, is precisely to imagine it as such - as some sort of magical reconstruction of an era where everybody will be using Super8 cameras again. Which is, of course, ludicrous. It is indeed that which won't happen. But it is precisely this nostalgic interpretation of Super8 which masks the camera project itself, which is an entirely different thing: it is a legitimate way of doing history. Or at least I would hope it was, otherwise it won't happen - it could very well be someone's idea of what a wet dream might be like (how I have no idea, but for those who keep insisting it is, who am I to argue).

On a purely personal level I'd be more than happy to acquire such a camera and use it - not to recreate some "vintage" look (there are apps for that - indeed one's I write myself from scratch ) but rather, it would be to create a "look" (or what I prefer to call a reality) that is completely different from that synthesised in vintagisation. If one is into creating vintage looks, what would be the point of using pin registration - surely that would be entirely counter-productive? Indeed it is. The whole point of pin registration is to get away from stupid "vintage looks".

Strictly speaking pin registration isn't entirely a necessity as one can register frames in post. But pin registration isn't just registration - it also stops any residual movement of the film during exposure, ie. improving sharpness. This is a really cool thing. Not for those after a vintage look, or a "Super8" look (ho hum), but for those interested in the fundamentals of photo-chemical-mechanical-optical images.

The question is not why, but why not.

We have to stop thinking of film as something in some sort of life/death battle with digital, relying on increasingly desperate means, to remain relevant. A much better approach is to treat it as already dead, not just last week or next week, but a long long time ago, way before digital was even conceivable to most. To give up film ...

Once you give up film. Once you realise that you had already, decades ago, given it up, will you realise why you can, quite happily, without any anxiety at all, every now and then, and ever since, properly engage it.


As a parting note, my 10 year old daughter, looking at some black and white 16mm on TV from the forties, asked me why the people always looked better in old films? It completely threw me. I looked up from my computer and watched the film through her eyes. In what way I asked myself. What is it? What makes film work? Even when transferred to video? Something gets through and touches even the most innocent of eyes. Perhaps touches them the most.

C
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Re: Discussions about a hypothetical new S-8 camera

Post by BAC » Mon Aug 05, 2013 6:09 pm

Prisoners in Nazi prison camps built 8mm movie cameras with very limited resources. I would think it would be a lot easier with the resources available today for those of us that are not incarcerated. :D

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-23423329

http://petapixel.com/2013/08/04/wwii-pr ... eir-lives/

And you wouldn't have to smuggle parts in sausage.

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Re: Discussions about a hypothetical new S-8 camera

Post by carllooper » Tue Aug 06, 2013 4:51 am

BAC wrote:Prisoners in Nazi prison camps built 8mm movie cameras with very limited resources. I would think it would be a lot easier with the resources available today for those of us that are not incarcerated. :D

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-23423329

http://petapixel.com/2013/08/04/wwii-pr ... eir-lives/

And you wouldn't have to smuggle parts in sausage.
Yeah - that's so damned cool. They were no doubt mechanics of sorts to begin with. I couldn't do it. If I had a machine shop, and did some learning, I might be able to do it. But there must be those for whom it can't possibly be a problem, especially today. The only thing in the way would be a lack of motivation.

I want to supply as much motivation as possible.

Motivate ... motivate ...

Take my money ...

C
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Re: Discussions about a hypothetical new S-8 camera

Post by chrisgavin » Tue Aug 06, 2013 11:37 am

I saw that same story about the Prisoners of War and the film they made last week on the BBC website. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-23423329
It's a really fascinating story, and really deserves it's own thread here. I was amazed too to see this footage, and was of course fascinated by the detail of how the prisoners smuggled the camera into the camp, shot their film and somehow got the footage out again. The footage raises so many questions, not least that the shots of the POWs actually digging the tunnels must have taken some considerable lighting set up!
The old 8mm footage also includes shots of the camera and film being stashed away etc. Nobody raised this point in the BBC programme, but surely they must have had TWO cameras. ... a second unit to shoot those 'making of' scenes...
I really recommend that link to everyone, I think there's lot's there to think about.

As for this thread. A new Super 8 camera, bring it on, let's see it : )
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Re: Discussions about a hypothetical new S-8 camera

Post by S8 Booster » Wed Aug 07, 2013 12:29 am

Now lets seeeee.....,

Recently...
Dave's 400' electronically feed S8 SuperMag...
Iconoskop DS8 cam....
Herr Klose state of the art jitter free aka Kodak totally redesigned Supercart ......
The guy from NASA who constructed the state of the art film perforator......
The guy who could order ANY film stock from Kodak if only the quanta was BIG enough (K25+++++?)

Once upon a time in the 60-70s the was this medium called S8/R8 F-ilm etc.
Also there was a bunch of home movie amateur film makers which also luckily could buy this thing called Movie cameraz.
The movie camera makers put huge resources into their designs and manufacturing. The crowd horrayed and bought the gear n film. The volume was BIG.

Allthough a few atrempted to use 8mm film to make professional films i really doubt 8mm films pushed any boundaries. Ie S8 never succeded in any noticeable big screen og big distribution filmmaking.

Today you can buy 1920xX pix cams which easily can mske it to the big screen - for a few dollars more ...

This is called the D-igital Age.

I as most people here prefer film origination over D-origination by far.

I even consider ordering another 25 custom made Fuji F500 carts from PRO8mm. I am totally seduced by this film. When i see the transferred full quality it frightens me with its outstsnding sharpness and quality under ANY light condition.

Id rather put my money into queer and square film stocks from Kahl to Pro8 rather than condidering a "new" cam. I got plenty - for any format or purpose.

And if everything else fails i have this Scoopic MS with 400' mags...

My 5€ dunots...

Shoot film....
..tnx for reminding me Michael Lehnert.... or Santo or.... cinematography.com super8 - the forum of Rednex, Wannabees and Pretenders...

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Re: Discussions about a hypothetical new S-8 camera

Post by BAC » Wed Aug 07, 2013 1:35 am

Id rather put my money into queer and square film stocks from Kahl to Pro8 rather than condidering a "new" cam. I got plenty - for any format or purpose.
I agree with S8 Booster, I have 7 functioning Super 8 cameras and over a dozen functioning Regular 8mm cameras, enough to last the rest of my life. Film is the only limiting factor. Back when they were still making cameras most people only owned one and that was enough. Despite all my spare cameras if I needed to replace one they are easy to come by.

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Re: Discussions about a hypothetical new S-8 camera

Post by super8man » Wed Aug 07, 2013 5:52 am

Great examples all around. Booster's post reminded of what is going on right now in the micro 4/3 world: everyone is worried whether the camera makers will survive or fold or even if the whole format dies. LOL.

I have no doubt if someone wants to build a super 8 camera, they should. But don't go asking people to crowd source this idea. It's a certain thing to just disappoint. I too recall all the talk of a 400-foot super reel, talk of buying and perforating large rolls of blank stock to use in 8mm cams, etc, etc. Long LONG threads on those subjects. It's good to try sure...but it's also a bit naive to think that it will actually work out for more than one person. The engineer can always make a camera...but to get the rest of the crowd excited is not being truthful.

Now, here's a guy who is doing it right:

http://www.stuff.co.nz/motoring/videos/ ... ton-Martin

He's building his own personal Aston Martin with a 3D printer.

The future is very exciting.
My website - check it out...
http://super8man.filmshooting.com/

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Re: Discussions about a hypothetical new S-8 camera

Post by carllooper » Thu Aug 08, 2013 2:44 am

super8man wrote:Great examples all around. Booster's post reminded of what is going on right now in the micro 4/3 world: everyone is worried whether the camera makers will survive or fold or even if the whole format dies. LOL.

I have no doubt if someone wants to build a super 8 camera, they should. But don't go asking people to crowd source this idea. It's a certain thing to just disappoint. I too recall all the talk of a 400-foot super reel, talk of buying and perforating large rolls of blank stock to use in 8mm cams, etc, etc. Long LONG threads on those subjects. It's good to try sure...but it's also a bit naive to think that it will actually work out for more than one person. The engineer can always make a camera...but to get the rest of the crowd excited is not being truthful.

Now, here's a guy who is doing it right:

http://www.stuff.co.nz/motoring/videos/ ... ton-Martin

He's building his own personal Aston Martin with a 3D printer.

The future is very exciting.
The Super8 format died thirty years ago.

The reason it continues to be used, which is the best reason of all, is because there are those who WANT to use it, rather than because it's the only option.

Film and digital are very different mediums. They involve very different theories and practice. Of course, if you are a script writer, or an actor, or a director etc. such differences may be irrelevant or invisible, or that which is relevant and visible does or does not suit what one needs.

But for those who choose film, for whatever reason, it's purely choice. We have that choice. We didn't have it in the past. Today we do. We've had new choices popping up for decades .

Digital should be able to stand on it's own two feet rather than passing itself off as some sort of substitute for film. It is not a substitute for film. For the simple reason that digital is not film. It is not a better film or a worse film. It is just not film in the first place.

Digital is it's own peculiar force with it's own fantastic powers that continues to evolve in it's own peculiar and beautiful ways.

And film has it's peculiar powers. Not just the typical vintage or nostalgic powers conferred on such by the d-age, but it's own particular brand of fresh and invigorating sensory results.

The proposed Super8 camera is by someone who (it would seem) has already built a prototype and will be posting some pics, and more info, in a few weeks time. It remains to be seen, of course, whether that eventuates, or if it's just someone's delusion. But giving it the benefit of the doubt, I'm looking forward to that. As all those interested in film, or in Super8 would be. It's a no brainer.

It could very well remain just a one off prototype (if not delusion). What he is seeking is any interest from anyone wanting to buy one. I don't know how he's set up to do that, if he'll be making them by hand, or envisages an assembly line. I just assumed it would be by hand. If he's got his own workshop that's not out of the question, especially if you've already built a working prototype. In the past Super8 cameras were a mass market item. There would be a lot of money put into the assembly line infrastructure, because there was even more money to be made from such - much more than the cost of production. Obviously this project would be nothing like that. There are no fortunes to be made here. But there isn't necessarily any loss to be made either. If the prices people are willing to pay (their choice) match the price you are expecting to get, then it's just fine. If you want to make a lot of money there are obviously other projects which would be a much better idea. But for what it is, I can't see any problem in throwing it out there and seeing if any fish bite.

As mentioned in previous posts, this isn't necessarily about rescuing some format before it dies. Or applying electric shock therapy to some near-dead camera engineering scene. The format has been dead for thirty years. DEAD. By dead I mean in the conventional sense - as a mainstream format. Indeed, one might say it was never alive in the first place, as S8 Booster suggests:
S8 never succeeded in any noticeable big screen or big distribution film making.
Was it ever conceivable as being successful in this way? Such conceptions are/were probably far more wishful thinking than the interest being expressed in a proposed Super8 camera. On the other hand a big screen, big distribution Super8 feature film is not impossible - it's just improbable given the options available today (and in the past). On the other hand, today also brings with it improvements in film stock, and in digital transfers, that make some sorts of ambitious Super8 projects a bit more conceivable than they might have otherwise have been, ie. all else (director, actors, script, etc) being equal. However it doesn't matter. You use Super8 because you WANT to use it, for whatever reason you like, not because you necessarily NEED to use it.

If you NEED to use something - then you probably NEED to use digital. I recommend digital for all NEEDY filmmakers.

But if you WANT to use something, then that something will be what you have decided, or will decide, to use, be it film, digital, video, web cam, or tin can.

C
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Re: Discussions about a hypothetical new S-8 camera

Post by super8man » Thu Aug 08, 2013 6:35 am

I highly recommend people read the old "8mm Magazine" or the early issues of "Super8filmaker Magazine."

If you do, you will hear pretty much the same talk that takes place in today's forums. But my point is that, those formats were indeed taken seriously at the time and there were many good intentions of how the formats would be used in newsgathering, local films, distribution, etc.

Change is never predictable.

Ultimately, the internet came along and pretty much removed any need for a "permanent" recording medium such as film. The reason the old film formats had such big plans is that nobody knew what was to come. When the internet came along it proved to be such a game changer as to pretty much wipe out the need for film in every aspect. It's a digital world now.

It's not about the medium anymore...it's about the message. Super 8 has become a meme, representing jumpy/shaky images with scratches and washed out ektachrome colors.

Of course to those of us that know better, we have also learned to just keep on keepin on.
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Re: Discussions about a hypothetical new S-8 camera

Post by carllooper » Thu Aug 08, 2013 10:20 am

super8man wrote:I highly recommend people read the old "8mm Magazine" or the early issues of "Super8filmaker Magazine."

If you do, you will hear pretty much the same talk that takes place in today's forums. But my point is that, those formats were indeed taken seriously at the time and there were many good intentions of how the formats would be used in newsgathering, local films, distribution, etc.

Change is never predictable.

Ultimately, the internet came along and pretty much removed any need for a "permanent" recording medium such as film. The reason the old film formats had such big plans is that nobody knew what was to come. When the internet came along it proved to be such a game changer as to pretty much wipe out the need for film in every aspect. It's a digital world now.

It's not about the medium anymore...it's about the message. Super 8 has become a meme, representing jumpy/shaky images with scratches and washed out ektachrome colors.

Of course to those of us that know better, we have also learned to just keep on keepin on.
Hi Super8man,

yes, the internet has changed the scene. But the concept of a medium remains an important thing. I started on computer systems in the early 80s. It turned the TV set into an interactive image system. This was about 1982. It was really interesting to see the image on the screen responding and reacting to how you programmed it and how you could then interact with it, rather than just it (the screen) projecting what the TV stations wanted to project. It was a completely and entirely different "medium". I loved it. Still do. I write software for a living these days. It grew out of an understanding of digital at a fundamental level. I'm not sure one can even characterise digital in terms of a medium as such but it's at that same level,at the level of the medium, where the difference occurs. What I like about it, and continue to like, is it's difference from film. It's program-ability. It's interactivity. The algorithms one can invent and test. And what I like about film is how it differs so completely from this.

Digital photography is it's own kind of weird thing. Optics meets computer.

The friction between medium and message, occurs across a number of contexts, and has always been there regardless of the age or medium. But insofar as digital mediums can be quite opaque to many, they can be easily interpreted as no more than message machines (facebook, etc). And by inference, for a new d-generation, film can become retrospectively cast in the same light: as some old fashioned version of the new message machines - and a very in-efficient and costly message machine, when looked at in that light. One may as well, indeed, use a fake super8 camera app for that. But digital is much more than a message machine. I treat it in much the same way I treat film - as a medium one can use at it's fundamental level, not to make just websites, facebook posts, or "films" but to make art.

As you say, we don't have to subscribe to the Super8 meme - we can happily continue playing with, and pushing the mediums, any way we like. And perhaps finding different messages that might be produced through such.

cheers
C
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Re: Discussions about a hypothetical new S-8 camera

Post by DTNethery » Thu Aug 08, 2013 7:43 pm

super8man wrote:
Now, here's a guy who is doing it right:

http://www.stuff.co.nz/motoring/videos/ ... ton-Martin

He's building his own personal Aston Martin with a 3D printer.

The future is very exciting.

Working SLR Camera Created Using 3D Printer
http://www.ubergizmo.com/2013/07/workin ... d-printer/



.

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Re: Discussions about a hypothetical new S-8 camera

Post by carllooper » Fri Aug 09, 2013 3:53 am

DTNethery wrote:
super8man wrote: Now, here's a guy who is doing it right:
http://www.stuff.co.nz/motoring/videos/ ... ton-Martin
He's building his own personal Aston Martin with a 3D printer.
The future is very exciting.
Working SLR Camera Created Using 3D Printer
http://www.ubergizmo.com/2013/07/workin ... d-printer/
Yes, it's quite amazing what can be done with a 3D printer. I have a printer myself, with which I'm building a few film related things, such as lens adapters.

I've thought of 3D printing a Super8 camera on a number of occasions, purely as a concept work rather than as a workhorse in any sense. Perhaps a hand wound one. Or steam driven one. I've been creating a number of Super8 projector designs for the 3D Printer. None I'm happy with yet. There was that working Super8 projector, made in Lego, a few years back, which I found absolutely amazing.

And if you thought some things, like lenses, would be a problem 3D printing, well, they are of course a problem, but ...

http://www.disneyresearch.com/project/printed-optics/

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Re: Discussions about a hypothetical new S-8 camera

Post by chrisgavin » Fri Aug 09, 2013 4:42 am

Yes, I've been getting a few cine-related items 3d printed too. I don't have my own machine unfortunately, but since February have been sending several small print jobs over to Shapeways.com.
So far I've had quite a few sprocket wheels and a couple of film gates made for my (ever) ongoing quest to 'scan' film at home.
I'm finding it a great way to dabble in engineering and make small parts much more accurately than would otherwise be possible.
I find it a very 'trial and error' process. You design a part, get it made, test it, re-design it, get it made again etc.
I've been spending rather too much on this using the Shapeways service and owning the machine would definitely be the way to go for larger pieces or more ambitious projects.

I think someone with proper engineering skills could use this technology (and CNC too) to make intricate mechanisms, processing spirals, scanners, projectors and cameras, why not?

I think we will see somebody make a cine camera (of some sort) this way one day. It'll be a fascinating project for them, and interesting for the rest of us to see. I'm not sure this is the route to make a saleable consumer product though.
It seems at the moment that the speed and finish/quality isn't quite there yet...
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Re: Discussions about a hypothetical new S-8 camera

Post by carllooper » Fri Aug 09, 2013 5:05 am

chrisgavin wrote:Yes, I've been getting a few cine-related items 3d printed too. I don't have my own machine unfortunately, but since February have been sending several small print jobs over to Shapeways.com.
So far I've had quite a few sprocket wheels and a couple of film gates made for my (ever) ongoing quest to 'scan' film at home.
I'm finding it a great way to dabble in engineering and make small parts much more accurately than would otherwise be possible.
I find it a very 'trial and error' process. You design a part, get it made, test it, re-design it, get it made again etc.
I've been spending rather too much on this using the Shapeways service and owning the machine would definitely be the way to go for larger pieces or more ambitious projects.

I think someone with proper engineering skills could use this technology (and CNC too) to make intricate mechanisms, processing spirals, scanners, projectors and cameras, why not?

I think we will see somebody make a cine camera (of some sort) this way one day. It'll be a fascinating project for them, and interesting for the rest of us to see. I'm not sure this is the route to make a saleable consumer product though.
It seems at the moment that the speed and finish/quality isn't quite there yet...
Yes it's very slow and finish/quality can be a little rough. For functionality you can design around it's mechanical limits - and that's quite fun, coming up with solutions to problems that might be done differently were the material metal. Look and feel isn't necessarily one of it's selling points but it's not without a certain fascination - physical pixels (or voxels one should say). It's like the early days of computer graphics when you were limited to 2 colours and 10 pixels (so to speak). It was interesting how to produce images within such limits. How do you get grey tones with just 2 colours? One solution (with interesting connections to the way film works) was Floyd Steinberg dithering.

Each pixel in this image is just black or white (2 colours). Nothing in between. But for reasons that would require a bit of work, to put into words, the sensory effect is that of grey tones.

Image
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Floyd%E2%8 ... _dithering




Here's a story that connects 3D printing and Super8 (the movie):
http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2011 ... r-8-cubes/

Image

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Re: Discussions about a hypothetical new S-8 camera

Post by Tommy » Fri Aug 09, 2013 5:45 am

S8 never succeeded in any noticeable big screen or big distribution film making.


Kodak had dreams in the 60s about Super 8 becoming the format for local cable TV origination/broadcast. Remember they came out with a portable flying spot scanner in the late 70's. Alas, they did not see the incredible evolution of small format video. I believe that the BBC did utilize Super 8 for news gathering on a regular basis.

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