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This page is constantly being amended, depending upon your input and queries. Please feel free to ask a question via e-mail. If I don't know the answer, I will research it and present my findings here.
I thought about following in the footsteps of so many others and making up some bogus questions that nobody in their right mind would ever ask, such as "Why are your prices so low?" or "How are you able to offer such unbelievably fast shipping?", but I refrained, fearing that I would be insulting the intelligence of potential customers. So, here's your chance. Ask me any question and I will post your question and my answer to it. This can be relating to the products that I sell, the manner in which your shipment will be handled, or something as trivial as whether or not you need to carry an umbrella to work tomorrow!!
Super 8mm Film Cartridges
Regular 8mm Film
I will post all questions, product-related or not, and their respective answers. I will include your first name and location unless you wish to remain anonymous. Please direct all questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Zeiss Lens Cleaning Kits
35mm Camera Lenses
Sharpics Portable Studio Backgrounds
Question: I've just found an 8mm camera and a Super 8 camera while cleaning out my attic. Where can I go to find instruction on how to use them?
Charles S. - Dallas, TX
Answer: My first goal when obtaining a new-to-me camera is to acquire a copy of the instruction manual specific to that camera, especially for the super 8 cameras, since there are frequently controls on the camera for filtering and aperture adjustment that may not be readily understandable. I have a few here on my Instruction Manual page, but there are several other sources for these. You could try entering the camera brand and model number into a search engine, such as Yahoo! or Google. Some other great places to check for information about your "new" camera are The Super 8 Man , and The Super 8 List. These two sites are awesome resources for the beginner starting to experiment with small motion picture film. As you progress, you may find the forum at Filmshooting.com to be helpful in bouncing ideas off of other Super 8 and 8mm users and learning from their experiences.
The 8mm camera (or Regular 8, as it is commonly referred to) that you have found will probably be easier than the Super 8 camera to figure out without the aid of that camera's specific instruction manual. The thing to remember with Regular 8 is that the spool of film that you load will actually go through the camera twice. Once the 25ft. spool is ran through the camera the first time, you will exchange the position of the full and empty spools and run it through a second time. Each time is only exposing half of the width of the 16mm film. When you send the film off for processing, it will be split down the middle and reattached at the ends to make for a 50ft. reel of film ready for projection. A general guide on how to load the film can be found here. While the camera shown is a Kodak , the process will be very similar with othe rmodels. Care should be taken when loading your camera to ensure that you are not in direct sunlight and preferably in complete darkness, to prevent "fogging" of the film.
Question: I just bought a Super 8 camera at goodwill. What kind of film should I use?
Answer: There are currently five film stocks made by Kodak for use in Super 8mm cameras. Three of these are reversal films (Ektachrome 64T, Plus-X 7265, and Tri-X 7266). Reversal films are the kind that you will shoot, have processed by a lab, and then run through a film projector. These are the film stocks meant to be enjoyed by you and your guests as you watch the flickering images dance on your wall or projector screen. These are the three that you will probably want to consider for this goodwill store treasure. The other two films that Kodak makes are negative films (Vision2 200T and Vision2 500T). They were not meant to be projected and will need to be transferred to digital video by a process known as telecine, which is considerably more expensive than reversal processing.
That being said, of the three reversal films, I would recommend Ektachrome 64T (color) or Plus-x (black & white) if you are going to be filming scenes using natural daylight or a well-lit indoor area. I believe that your camera, the Kodak M24 does not have an automatic light meter. Please check me on this. This is good because it will allow you to manually adjust the camera for either 64 speed film (ektachrome 64T) or 100 speed film (plus-x). You are fortunate because there are some cameras that are unable to correctly read the "new" Ektachrome 64T film because the camera erroneously interprets it as either 160 speed film or 40 speed film. For more information about this subject and to find a listing of what cameras will read the Ektachrome 64T film correctly, please visit the Super8wiki. You will also find work-arounds for the cameras that do not read the film correctly.
Kodak recommends that the Tri-X be used under conditions of low-level illumination such as for night sports photography. It is not suitable for bright sunlight unless the camera can provide proper exposure (automatic or manual). You can use it for daytime photography, but it would be easier to over-expose, causing an undesireable washed-out image. Tri-X is a great film and it has it's place, but you will probably get more everyday use out of the other two films.
I would personally start with plus-x on a camera that I have never used before, primarily because it's cheaper. If the camera doesn't work, then you are out less money. Once you get your first cartridge back from processing and it looks acceptable, you could move on and really start experimenting with different films and techniques. Besides the economics of it, black-and-white film can be a lot of fun. My wife and I made a black-and-white film for a round of golf that turned out to be really entertaining. It was also nice to switch the projector over to slow motion during viewing to see how truly terrible my golf swing looks! Click here to browse my inventory of Super 8 film cartridges.
Question: How many minutes of filming can I get from one cartridge of Super 8 film?
Answer: Each cartridge houses 50 feet of film for a total of 3600 frames. This is enough film for 2.5 minutes of filming at the U.S. motion picture industry standard of 24 frames per second (fps) or 3 minutes and 20 seconds of continuous filming at the amateur standard of 18 fps.
If you are new to Super 8, this may not seem like enough time to capture any action, but you will be surprised, just as I was. When you know ahead of time that you have only 3 minutes and 20 seconds of film, it keeps you focused (no pun intended). You pull the trigger, capture the action, and let off of the trigger. It eliminates the boring fluff in between action. Everyone can probably relate to watching home movies shot on VHS or digital format that have moments of action broken up by 5 minute sequences of Uncle Gary sitting quietly at the Thanksgiving table finishing off the remains of a turkey leg. It wasn't interesting when it was shot and it probably won't be interesting to your audience when you play it for them.
Most people try to keep their shots around 3 to 8 seconds long with a few exceptions. A standard cartridge will yield around 25 eight second shots or 66 three second shots. I find this to be more than adequate to capture interesting highlights of most events or occasions. If you try this method, I think you will agree and the audience will thank you for it!
Regular 8mm film (25ft. spools) will yield 4 minutes and 7 seconds at the common 16fps setting on most Regular 8mm cameras. There are 1980 pictures per side of a 25ft. spool of film. So, to calculate how much time you can get out of your film for different speeds, you would divide 3960 (2x1980) by the desired fps.
12fps = 5 min. 30 sec.
16fps = 4 min. 7 sec.
24fps = 2 min. 45 sec.
You should be aware that if you are shooting reversal film for the purpose of projecting, you should shoot at a speed setting that you projector will run at if you want the action to appear at normal speed. Shooting the film at 16fps and projecting it back at 18fps, will speed up the action slightly, but not enough to really notice. This is a common occurrence with many of the Dual Projectors (Super 8 / Reg. 8).
Conversely, if your goal is special effects, you should shoot at a different speed than you project. For slow motion, you shoot at a higher speed and for fast motion you shoot at a lower speed. Note: Many cameras do not meter properly at the higher speeds (eg. 24, 32, 54), so you may need to open your aperture by an f-stop or two, depending on your desired speed. Consult your manual or experiement to find the best setting for your camera.
Question: How do I know what films are compatible with my camera?
Answer: I would start by printing out the cartridge notch ruler and perform the test described here on your camera.
Super 8 cameras have a notch system that lets the camera know what speed of film you are using and responds with the correct aperture based on the amount of light available. There are many cameras that automatically detect the correct speed of film, whether it be 40, 64, 100, 160, 200, etc., but unfortunately, there are some that were only designed to use one or two speeds of film. Click here for a listing of several popular models of cameras and what method they use for light metering.
It is possible to work-around this by placing ND (neutral density) filters of varying degrees on either the light meter eye or lens, depending on whether or not the camera uses non-TTL (non-Through the Lens) or TTL metering, respectively. I have also heard of cutting your own notches in cartridges to make the camera read it differently. Again, the Super 8 wiki site goes into great detail and is an encyclopedia of knowledge about the different methods that correct light metering can be achieved.
Question: Where can I send my film for processing?
Answer: That depends on the type of processing.
Black-and-white reversal films (Plus-x 7265, Tri-x 7266, Cine-x, Super Cine-x) Process D-94A.
Yale Film and Video
3906 West Burbank Blvd.
Burbank, CA 91505
Phone (818) 558-3456
Cost: $14.00 per cartridge or 25ft. roll plus return shipping
Color reversal films (Ektachrome 64T, Ektachrome 100D, Kodachrome 40, Cinechrome 40) Process E-6 and K-14 respectively.
Dwayne's Photo of Kansas
415S. 32nd Street
P.O. Box 274
Parson, KS 67357
Cost: Process E-6 cartridge - $12.00 per cartridge or 25ft. regular 8mm spool
There are many other places, but the two above have always provided excellent service. Any affordable recommendations on negative film processing and telecine would be graciously recieved.
Question: I've just received a vintage Emdeko EM 8000 as a present. Will "modern" Super 8 film still work on this camera?
Answer: Your camera is both automatic and manual exposure, so you can pretty much shoot any speed film you like (ie. Ektachrome 64T (64 speed), Plus x (100 speed), or Tri-x (200 speed). These are all reversal films. Don't worry about the negative film that I sell right now. That's more aimed at professional work and is much more costly when it comes time for processing.
You may be surprised to find out that nobody makes Super 8 cameras anymore (well, maybe Beaulieu, but that's a different story and again aimed more at professional work). In fact, most consumer-grade super 8 camera manufacturers ceased production in the early to mid 80s. Basically, Kodak continues to package film for cameras that most people have not used in around 25 years! That's pretty amazing to me!
So, to answer your question, my film will work in your camera. It was made for your camera. Here's the best part: IT'S FRESH! You probably know that film expires over time. I'm getting weekly shipments of film, so you don't have to worry about buying expired film. I can assure you that nothing in my cooler is over a month old and most of it is probably less than two weeks old.