Kodak is bringing back the iconic Super 8 film camera with a modest amount of fanfare.
I am not nostalgic about film, never having used it in the past. But I have to admit, there is something oddly appealing about this.
I like how this one journalist puts it:
No question with the recent surge in vinyl records, analog has become fashionable again. I just completed my annual viewing of Chevy Chase's Christmas Vacation (with the kids in bed of course), and the scene where he finds some old film in the attic and hooks up a projector to watch old it caught my eye this time in a different light. Perhaps in 2050, the Christmas Vacation reboot will have Clark Griswold discover a dusty hard drive in the attic and boot up his PC to discover some old AVCHD video.Those were the days: when to make a movie, all you had to do was buy a camera and some film, shoot footage with no idea of what you were getting (changing the reel every few minutes), send the film off to a developer, laboriously edit it together by hand, buy a projector, then enjoy the results in the comfort of your own home. Why did Super 8 ever fall out of favour, you wonder?
+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 30 of 33
If that article had been written on April, 1, I might have been more sceptical
The above quote tho is 'painfully' accurate(he only forgot the blacked out room for the projection ) Yet that really was the fun of it all. Anyone could be a real film-maker. Digital has, to a degree, taken that element out of the equation.
Super8 was never cheap - I try to remember now if the processing was included in the cost of the reel at point of purchase. Certainly additional costs were incurred to put a sound strip on the processed reel. But the costs now quoted are not for the masses.
I would hope the Super 8 film cartridge is the same as it was thirty years ago so I can fire up my old Super 8 cameras, a Eumig 881 PMA and Bell & Howell 2146 XL. Had a lot of fun with those doing some stop motion animation. Wonder what the film cost these days? It was getting very expensive when video was phasing in.
Mr. Clarke, Kodak CEO, was quoted by the WSJ saying that the processing would cost between $50 and $75 per cartridge. Given that each cartridge is spec'd to have 3600 frames, at 14 fps, that is just over 4 minutes of footage. So this is definitely not a toy for the cash strapped. Full article below, but I am not sure if the link is paywalled:
Super 8 is still used extensively in film schools and is a calling card for anyone wanting to break into the biz. My guess, with Star Wars VII recently surpassing Avatar as the highest grossing domestic film ever, even more big name filmmakers will be looking at film seriously again. Many hate Ep. I-III precisely because of the CG. JJ Abrams purposely filmed in 35 mm and 65 mm and avoided CG to recreate the feel of the original Star Wars. So film won't be going away anytime soon.
Super8 wasn't even used extensively in film schools in the '80s when I went to film school (and when film was still used regularly). It (8mm/Super8mm) was used for just 1 semester (the 1st production semester) to get new students acquainted with the workings/feel of the camera, and if they continued onward, all subsequent semesters used a Bolex (16mm) or better (Arri, Panavision, etc.). If celluloid film production is even being taught (can't find anything on the syllabus but 1), it's an advanced oddball/specialty class.
Nobody's going to promote relying on an obsolescent medium with such slow, tenuous turnaround and no realtime feedback, over existing current mediums with proven processes & instant feedback, regardless of any other (supposedly) perceived benefits.
AFA Star Wars is concerned, it was shot mainly in IMAX film format to be compatible with IMAX theatres (which could always be downrezzed for standard film/digital theatres). They DID use plenty of CGI, plus Digital Intermediate work. People didn't hate Ep 1-3 because of the CG (which was great at the time, but is only now bothersome due to our expected increase in CG quality base discernment), they hated it because it had stupid writing/plot/characters/acting, compared to 4-6 (well, 4 & 5 at least). Film isn't gone, but it's already been and will continue to "go away". With less major film stock supplies, and much fewer developing houses, it is fast becoming a small niche format.
Last edited by SameSelf; 7th Jan 2016 at 16:42.
super 8mm sucked then and will still suck now. it was a little kiddie format. it's worse than 10 year old camera phone video.--
"a lot of people are better dead" - prisoner KSC2-303
And yet a lot of people love it as some sort of artsy medium that digital can't capture and are nostalgic about its return.
I can't say I share your feelings about Super 8 but I do have similar feelings about vinyl, hard disk drives, and the current state of the desktop computer.
Let us just get back in that time capsule to the 60's and 70's. The man in the street, who had a little spare cash, who wanted to shoot film, got what was available back then and what he could (just about) afford. Of course he could dream about owning 16mm equipment.
Of course, if he had a crystal ball, and could wait, video cameras would soon appear - but can you remember the early ones ? Very big and very heavy and shooting VHS.
Gee. If we wanted to see a movie, or atleast a part of it, in our home (not on tv) it was Super8.
All too easy to compare what is available now to what we had back then.
As others have said, this new incarnation is not, nor ever will, be for the masses. It is intended for a niche market and prices reflect that. Good luck to Kodak I say.
Every major film school worth their salt has migrated to digital (by late '90s-early 2000s), and none of the majors (USC, UCLA, Berkeley, BYU, UChicago, UTAustin, Columbia, NYU...even FullSail) mention 8mm at all (I checked - they still do film, but mainly just 35mm for advanced projects). Yes, there are still a few minor/specialty/boutique holdouts, mainly using 8mm/Super8mm for experimental cinematography (Austin F.S.), but considering there are a lot of techniques that don't work well with the format, its use is limited. Plus, with the exception of the Logmar camera ($$$$), there haven't been any new 8mm/Super8mm film cameras produced in ~25-30 years, so no self-respecting institution is going to rely on has-been equipment when they're trying to boast their tech savvy to prospective students. So I would guess that your "many" doesn't have the same weight as most peoples'. Or your use of the term "film school".
I'm with DB83's historical perspective on its merits. Realistic.
Same as with Vinyl. I would guess that many of the people "nostalgic" for vinyl never really had a vinyl record collection back in the day (I did, ~850). Fragile & easily warpable. Deteriorating from day 1, even when stored properly. Pops & crackles (even 1/2speed mastered, direct-to-disc), never nonexistent yet growing with time. Wow & flutter. Tracking errors. Major EQ anomalies (due to mandatory RIAA curve, imposed because of tech limitations). DynRange compression to avoid overmodulation (esp. bass). Limited # of tracks/minutes.
CDs were like night (LPs) & day (CDs). Yes, in early years they had issues with distortion due to 14-16bit sampling error, but 24/96 mastering+high-bit processing+multiple-times oversampling+dithering+HDCD has completely overcome those limitations. Now, the only limitation is in the skill of the mastering engineer (and I would guess that most comparisons of LP vs. CD that cast CD in a lesser light actually are due to different mastering techniques/skills or corporate policy). And that's not even getting into the benefits of DVD-Audio or SuperAudioCD or PureAudioBluRay.
Last edited by Cornucopia; 7th Jan 2016 at 20:11.
So are you saying NO film schools use Super 8 currently? Just want to be sure what it is we are arguing about. Because this has really gotten off topic now.
^^ My friend,
You complain of this thread going off topic but it was your good self that trod that path with your comments in Post #6 (Star Wars etc.)
Unless, of course, SW was shot in Super8
First, I am not the one who waded into to this thread with an all caps "NO IT IS NOT" then immediately launched into a 200+ words rant. But I thought, no worries, it sounds like Scott just got confused and misinterpreted what I said. I will even admit maybe my language was too strong for his tastes, so no need to blast back with another rant. He is normally very helpful and generally knows his stuff. However, he blasts back with a second 300+ words rant. But I get it. He attended film school in the 80s, so this is a very personal subject for him. (It is possible that he just hates my guts.) I just don't want to hijack this thread any more with now (including my response) nearly 1,000 words about the use of Super 8 in film schools.
Second, please excuse me if I hijacked this thread by bringing Star Wars into the discussion. It was based on this comment from the original link:
This new camera is part of Kodak’s broader effort to keep film alive as a medium. A number of major recent Hollywood films were shot on Kodak film — the biggest being the new Star Wars — and 2016 is set to be the year that Kodak’s film business becomes profitable again.
Ok. Let's not come to blows over this
But I think you have your maths etc. wrong in post #4. Super8 was never 14fps - it was 18fps for silent or 24fps for sound(I did check this on wiki but your figures looked wrong to me anyway since I did use the stuff). I would be more than surprised if this latest incarnation was silent so it will be a max of 2.5 minutes per reel.
OK, and your point is?
Another product for a very limited specialty market. I predict that it will not make Kodak any money. I agree with aedipuss's post. Phones take better vids and you don't have to wait days/weeks for the processing.Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence -Carl Sagan
I still love my little old super 8 camera. Film does add something that shooting on digital does not give you ( in my view anyway). At least Kodak is doing the work for you and supplying the user with both a digital and film of whatever they shot. Hopefully the new cameras also have better lighting to them. Nothing like the small old strobe light that would melt a garbage bag, but ever so needed for shooting indoors
I would be interested in something like this.
As for the vinyl resurgence mentioned above, for many vinyl never went away to begin with. This resurgence is a bit puzzling. Seeing more info about it over these last two months or so. Puzzling because this comeback has already been in full swing for roughly the last few years now. It's nothing new. Perhaps the hooplah because Barnes and Noble started carrying vinyl againwant to see some true 3d clips, custom figures, some hardcore music and other crap?? Check out my youtube page www.youtube.com/mazinz2
One transfer firm claims that Super8 has a resolution of between 800 and 1000 lines.
Now if the common conversion of lines = pixels, Super8 is just below full HD.
Now I do not have a clue where this info comes from but it could be a ruse to convince a potential customer that a HD transfer is the absolute minimum.
But having done my own Super8 transfers I would argue with that.
Your question has multiple answers. The first one is from a theoretical perspective. I tackled this angle many years ago when I first started transferring film, and first posted this in the Sony Vegas forum:
Most literature states that 35mm film stock can achieve the equivalent of about 6,000 to 8,000 pixel resolution in the 35mm direction (of course the 35mm negative is only about 24mm tall). 8mm is less than 25% of that size (closer to 20% because of how the percentage of the film taken up by sprocket holes). This gets you down to about 1600 pixels.However ...
This is theory. Once you factor in the other things you mentioned, such as lenses and lighting, but even more important, film stock available to amateurs, the actual detail you can capture is far, far less.
While some people disagree with what I'm about to say. I have yet to find any Super 8 that will display more detail when captured using an HD setup than when captured with a scanner or camera operating in the SD mode.
So, my answer is SD. And, if I then add a subjective observation of what I actually see on the screen, the answer is, even less than SD. This is especially true if you are using any filmstock which contains grain, which is pretty much any stock other than Kodachrome. Grain compromises resolving power due to the size of the grain which, on a tiny negative, gets blown up to be a much larger percentage of the image than what you see on 35mm film.
Here is an image from Super 8 film taken in the 1960s on Kodachrome, by my dad. This frame is one of several hundred which I licensed to Sony for their "Concussion" movie:
This is as much detail as you can get from Super 8 Kodachrome.
One last thing. I have spent a lot of time over in doom9.org contributing to various threads on improving film transfers using digital techniques. The man who pioneered some of the techniques that I have then helped refine, VideoFred, has posted some amazing examples of what he can produce using a much more sophisticated scanner than I have (his equipment approaches what can be done with a Cintel or Spirit transfer system), with film taken in the past year using top-quality Super 8 equipment and modern film emulsions. Here is a great example, showing the before and after. When looking at the "after," which is the best-looking Super 8 I've ever seen, ask yourself if you think it looks like HD. As good as it looks, my answer is: not even close.
I am stunned by how great this looks and how fantastic his restoration is, but despite that, the end result is what I think you could get with the wonderful old VX-2000 DV camcorder.
Great answers guys.The main reason I am asking is because Kodak plans to convert your Super 8 film to digital captures for you. I have no idea what sort of equipment they will be using. But, assuming it is state of the art, I suppose it is reasonable to expect something similar to VideoFred's example. Who knows.
Original two page brochure PDF can be viewed here.
There's a rare video of it in action on youTube here. Skip ahead to the 6:00 min mark to see the VP-1 doing its thing.
We had some really nice Super-8 "prosumer" gear back in those days: Braun-Nizo S800, Nikon R-10, Canon 1014, Beaulieu 5008S, Fuji ZC-1000, plus Elmo, Bolex & Eumig projectors, the crazy OptaSound audio system... fond memories. True, video from an iPhone will blow away results from any of that stuff, but a phone (or vidcam) isn't nearly as challenging or fun to use. Ya kinda had to be there to get the flavor of it: today the massive consumer-subsidized support system that made it practical is all gone. Its impossible now to experience the advantages/disadvantages in context, unless you're Christopher Nolan.
Last edited by orsetto; 19th Feb 2016 at 22:13.
I've worked with indy filmmakers for years now, and they've all been on DV and HD for quite a while. And they exclusively use Mac workflows for all the post-processing.
Even in the 90s, they were saving $$$ for B&W 35mm film stock. Just look at Kevin Smith's Clerks.
The Super 8 thing is purely Kodak*, not demand.
* And even then, there is no "Eastman Kodak" of the 20th century anymore. So who is doing it? I lost track who owns it now.
I don't really see what the big deal is. Wouldn't filming digitally in something like 4 or 8K be the best? Digital will always be more accurate than analog media and it's easier to work with during editing. Probably cheaper too.
Ho ho ho! Tell that to JJ Abrams or Quentin Tarantino and you will never work in Hollywood again.
There are a few useful things to keep in mind:
1. 65mm film has a resolution something north of 8K even though it is not an apples to apples comparison.
2. While digital has come a long way, it is still not on equal terms as 65mm film.
3. To get a better understanding of the lies we have been fed, find your nearest IMAX that projects true 70mm.
But this thread is about 8mm, not something the big boys use in major studios.Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence -Carl Sagan