Advantages, if any, to working in Regular 8mm

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Advantages, if any, to working in Regular 8mm

Post by BrentPowers » Sat Jun 30, 2012 7:48 pm

I just bought a bunch of cameras, mostly Bolex 8mm jobs. The best is a newly lubed Rex 4. I am just getting back into this and finding it wonderfully pointless, yet I persist. And my native perversity wants me to go in the direction of regular 8mm, even though Super 8 seems to remain at least viable, in fact seems to be enjoying a bit of a comeback.

Say, tell, share. I especially want to hear from the regular 8mm lunatic fringe.

Thanks in advance.

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

Post by BAC » Sat Jun 30, 2012 8:54 pm

I shoot both but mostly Regular 8mm. I enjoy working with the mechanical clockwork cameras and not having to rely on batteries. I like being able to make all the adjustments, like exposure, manually rather than relying on a 40 year old built in light meter. I also enjoy projecting them with the amazingly well built old projectors like my Bolex M8 or my Keystone K109D. The equipment, cameras and projectors, were built to last and if you take care of it, will last for a very long time. The thing I don't like about Super 8 is the fact that most cameras and projectors were built in Japan at a time most manufacturing was being sent there because it was cheap. The quality of merchandise took a huge dive at that time. They were built with cheap plastic parts and were not made to last a long time. Many of the ones that have lasted are due to lack of use. Another thing I like about 8mm is you don't have to use the cheap plastic cartridges that can have problems. The film transport mechanism in a Regular 8mm camera is much better than Super 8.

On the other hand I think you get a better image from Super 8 and they are easier to use when shooting on the fly. If you don't want to take much time to set up a shot Super 8 works much better. I've used super 8 cameras for things like a rafting trip where I can just point and shoot quickly. They are also good for time lapse shots where you need the automatic exposure. I project all my film so I won't comment on the advantages of making transfers with one or the other.

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

Post by hirudin » Sat Jun 30, 2012 11:04 pm

Regular8 with the Bolex H8 RX4 can't be beat. You have the fantastic Kern glass, you can do sound sync with the ESM motor and power grip, and all accessories available for 1:1 shaft bolex cameras. PLUS! The 100ft rolls of film at even 24fps go 10mins on one roll and it gets developed at a 16mm price; 1 roll of 100D runs $47 per roll, plus $25 processing giving $72 for 10minutes of footage; that's awesome film economy. Finally, you can go Ultrapan8 with the RX4.

I'm just in post for a short film shot entirely on regular8 and it was so much fun. The only disadvantage are the rapidly disappearing film stock options. Now if we can only get that last batch of Tri-X made!!

-Jesse-

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

Post by BrentPowers » Sun Jul 01, 2012 12:54 am

Well, even though I am of the point and shoot school, I want to give regular 8mm a try. Thanks so much for the advice!

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

Post by Will2 » Sun Jul 01, 2012 6:48 am

One advantage of regular 8 if you don't want to project it is the ability to leave it at 16mm and have it transferred by any telecine house with a 16mm gate. Regular 8 and Super 8 gates are extremely rare on something like a Spirit but they can easily handle the non-split version of Regular 8mm.

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

Post by beamascope » Sun Jul 01, 2012 6:25 pm

I just like the reliability of a regular 8mm camera. No carts jamming or dead capacitors to deal with but if the clockwork camera is not taken care of it can be just as bad with slow speeds or take up reel failure. I keep an old roll of film that came in one of the cameras I bought as a test roll to ensure it does what it's supposed to do. You pop open the bolex to flip the roll and if it hasn't taken up on the spool correctly you've just exposed the whole thing to light.

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

Post by BAC » Sun Jul 01, 2012 8:58 pm

You pop open the bolex to flip the roll and if it hasn't taken up on the spool correctly you've just exposed the whole thing to light.
That's why I use a film changing bag. Use that old roll of film and practice changing the film in the dark.
Well, even though I am of the point and shoot school, I want to give regular 8mm a try.
You will learn a lot more about exposure and photography in general with Regular 8mm.

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

Post by Tommy » Mon Jul 02, 2012 4:55 am

Its more fun to shoot regular 8mm,...has more a professional 16mm ambience about it.

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

Post by joelpierre » Tue Jul 03, 2012 10:50 am

Will2 wrote:One advantage of Regular 8 if you don't want to project it is the ability to leave it at 16 mm and have it transferred by any telecine house with a 16 mm gate. Regular 8 and Super 8 gates are extremely rare on something like a Spirit but they can easily handle the non-split version of Regular 8 mm.
But if you use a standard 16 mm film in a Regular 8 camera as a Bolex H8 RX and if the transfer is made as Standard 16 mm, with a 16 mm gate, then, how do you get the 8 mm images in the right order?

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

Post by richard p. t. » Tue Jul 03, 2012 12:51 pm

joelpierre wrote: But if you use a standard 16 mm film in a Regular 8 camera as a Bolex H8 RX and if the transfer is made as Standard 16 mm, with a 16 mm gate, then, how do you get the 8 mm images in the right order?
He was talking about an advantage of using Regular 8 film, not 16mm film. You can't put 16mm film in a standard (regular) 8 camera as there aren't enough perforation. What he had in mind is that if you telecine un-slit R8 in HD on a 16mm telecine machine, you get quite a cheap telecine ... albeit one in which you have to do a few tricks to put the R8 film back together.
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Re: Advantages, if any, to working in Regular 8mm

Post by joelpierre » Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:01 pm

richard p. t. wrote:You can’t put 16 mm film in a standard (regular) 8 camera as there aren’t enough perforation.
I have a Bolex H8 REX-4 camera, and in it, the standard 16 mm film advance as double 8 mm.

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

Post by richard p. t. » Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:43 pm

joelpierre wrote:I have a Bolex H8 REX-4 camera, and in it, the standard 16 mm film advance as double 8 mm.
Hello Joelpierre,
that's quite a surprise. Yes, I think the H8 cameras use the 16mm sprocket wheels, which must move at half the normal 16mm speed. However the claw in the H8 camera will be 'looking' for twice as many perforations as the standard 16mm film has. How can the claw pull film down when there is no perforation where it expects to find it? Surely it can't. Have you actually shot film this way, or just managed to thread the camera and run the motor? I suspect that if it is possible to transport film from the supply to the take up spool, it would nonetheless not be possible to get even roughly registered images that way. But maybe you have done it?
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Re: Advantages, if any, to working in Regular 8mm

Post by Will2 » Tue Jul 03, 2012 4:00 pm

richard p. t. wrote:What he had in mind is that if you telecine un-slit R8 in HD on a 16mm telecine machine, you get quite a cheap telecine ... albeit one in which you have to do a few tricks to put the R8 film back together.
You can see from this test (about halfway through it shows the full frame).

https://vimeo.com/24659460

I don't even own a Regular 8 projector and their aren't any pro telecine houses in my area with Regular 8 or Super 8 gates, but several with 16mm gates. The best thing is to have the colorist zoom in and color each side (rotating side two with the machine) but you could just get an uncompressed HD or 2K transfer and color it and frame it yourself with something like After Effects.It really takes two passes anyway to do it right however because you need to set the color/exposure for one side then the other.

The tricky part is the grain; Cinelicious has tweaked their Spirit & software to handle the large grain of Super 8 better than the Regular 8 example shown above since they do a lot of Super 8. This was done at &Transfer in Dallas and it was probably the first time they attempted a Regular 8 transfer.

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

Post by joelpierre » Tue Jul 03, 2012 5:36 pm

richard p. t. wrote:
joelpierre wrote:I have a Bolex H8 REX-4 camera, and in it, the standard 16 mm film advance as double 8 mm.
Have you actually shot film this way, or just managed to thread the camera and run the motor?
I did a test with a 16 mm expired film in the Bolex H8 as if it is a double 8 mm film and it is progressing normally. But I have not tried in a real situation to expose a 16 mm film, because I do not know if I could use the result (put in the correct order 8 mm images).

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

Post by wado1942 » Wed Jul 04, 2012 10:07 pm

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.
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