Thursday, November 12, 2009

Tip 3 and 4 for shooting Modern Super 8 Film




#3 Correct Exposure:

Having the correct exposure is one of the most critical aspects of getting the best-looking super8 pictures. There are books written on this subject where you can learn the nuances of lighting and exposure reading. The fundamental issue for super8 filmmakers today is that too many filmmakers are relying on their aging super8 cameras internal exposure system to make this critical setting. Some of these systems were not even that good when they where new, let alone 30 to 40 years down the road. Photography is after all, painting with light. To get your best results, you have to learn about light, how it relates to different film stocks, and how to choose the best exposure setting. My super8 images improved dramatically when I bought an inexpensive light meter (About $75.00) and started taking some readings and doing some experimentation. I found that even the factory settings prescribe by the manufacture of both the film and cameras were not always optimum to make the best-looking Super8 pictures. So many factors affect your exposure. Did you know that your best exposure would be different based on if you are in wide or telephoto on your zoom? For your camera’s internal system to work, it has to be able to recognize the notch system in the super8 cartridge and be calibrated for it to work well. The ASA notches were designed to cover a wide range of ASA original films from 10 to 640 ASA measure in 2/3 stop increments. Some Super8 cameras can only recognize a single setting where others can read all six. None of this means much if the system has not been calibrated in 15years. Once you own a light meter it is possible the do some comparisons if only to understand how your system is working. I use my cameras internal system all the time but I always have my light meter to check and compare settings.



#4 Focus

Focusing a lens was such a standard fundamental procedure to taking photos or shooting movies that it is difficult for those of us that grew up with this tradition to understand that today many filmmakers do not need or know how to focus. Good super8 filmmaking depends on good manual focus because there are no auto focus systems. Filmmakers need to spend some quality time understanding it, practicing it and learning when it is the most critical and when they could let their guard down. In the “good old days “a lot of photography was restricted to outdoors because of the slow ASA. Today you can have Super8 with 500 ASA so you can film in some pretty low light. This makes seeing focus more difficult. The original design of super8 cameras did not consider this. If you are going to get good super8 footage, you need to understand focus and depth of field, and practice.

To focus a camera with your eye, the system starts with the correct setting of the cameras internal diopter. Everyone’s’ vision is slightly different so the diopter in a camera calibrates your eye to what the camera is seeing. There are many methods prescribed for setting the diopter. I learned using the infinity approach. You set the focus ring of the lens on infinity and then looking at something far away, you focus the diopter to your eye. There are numbers on every super8 lens that should correlate to the focus distance between the camera and the subject. These make great reference points to check if you are really getting the correct focus by “eyeing” it.

Most super8 cameras (except for Beaulieu) use a range focus systems. (Range Finder) This is not the easiest system to use and without the diopter, set correctly there is little chance of getting correct focus. The difficulty for modern super8 users is that when you look through the super8 camera you do not see all the information for easy focus. In particular, the F-stop or aperture and 85 filters are after where the focus optic is, so you do not see the effect of this on focus.

The other way to approach focus is to understand when it is critical and when its not. When you shoot at full telephoto, (the most zoomed in) and at full aperture (F the smallest number) on a big 10 to 1 super8 zoom the focus depth is less then an inch. This mean if your focus setting is wrong by even the slightest, or you move the camera as little as a few inches, you are out of focus. On the other extreme if your at full wide on the zoom and the smallest aperture (F the largest number) the focus depth is huge, maybe 50 feet or greater. In this situation it doesn’t’ matter where you set the focus you will be in focus.

Since most super8 film is shot in available light, you cannot change that. If you back off a little on that gorgeous lens to a wider setting and use slightly higher ASA film you will find focus to be much easier. At minimum, always make sure to vary your shoots so even if you are wrong you have a chance of having some focused material.


(c) Pro8mm 2009 www.pro8mm.com

Monday, November 9, 2009

8 Tips For Shooting Modern Super8, by Philip Vigeant



A Few tips can go a long way

Parts of my job as senior colorist at Pro8mm, is that I get to scan about a million feet of super8 film each year. In doing so I get to see what is happening in the super8 world with some vantage point based on volume. I look at my work as a two-part job. One, as a creative colorist, trying to get the most information off of the frames for our customers, and second, as an inspector looking for bugs in the over all super 8 process. When I see something that needs improving, I try to see what I can do with the technology at hand to facilitate a positive change. Internally, I can talk to my employees who are the people most responsible for each area and together we try to attack the issue. Externally, it is much more difficult. You have competitive concerns to address, and some companies just do not see these problems as issues the way I might. In addition, there are things that are totally beyond my control that can play a major roll in great looking super8 footage. These things are up to the filmmaker. Each year the technology for scanning film to digital seems to improve, resulting in more things that I can fix. Native 1080 HD film scanning now provides me with tremendous processing power to do many things that were impossible just a year ago. There are new things on the horizon as well, which will give us even greater ability to improve an imperfect image. However, there are a few things that if the filmmaker does not get right, there is very little that can be done to remedy the problem, no matter how much technology you have at hand.

As the years progress the problems seem to change and evolve with each new generation. For those who grew up with film as the main picture-taking medium some things were learned at every juncture of the photographic process. Things such as focus were so common knowledge of that generation that we often forget that this is knowledge that you have to learn. A colleague of mine who teaches filmmaking here in California said that he has to spend days of the semester going over some of this basic stuff. Therefore, here is my short list 2009 of the 8 most common areas of concern I see every day in transferring film. I hope that a few quick tips and expatiation can help you create better images with your super8 camera.



# 1 Hair in the Gate:

Because of the nature of film and the way it travels through a camera and exposes each frame, the system will build up debris in the gate that if it is allowed to accumulate, and this will block some of the image. The metal gate frames the film with what should be a smooth black border. Because you are running film over metal, it tends to leaves tiny deposits on the gate as the film passes over it. This emulsion residue is a gummy substance that is barely visible to the naked eye. If this is not cleaned, from your camera, from time to time you can have several problems. First, the gummy glue can trap foreign

Substances like hair, lint, and dust and hold it firmly, often where the image is taken in a camera. The result are these ugly black globs which start around the boarder that blocks some of your image usually on the edges but sometimes big enough to block a lot of picture. Depending on the size of these foreign obstacles, a hair in the gate can ruin a shot. In addition, the build up of emulsion can get so bad that your camera can physically scratch the film. The fix for these problems are very simple. Go to the store and purchase a child’s toothbrush. Gently brush a few strokes between every cartridge. Every, single cartridge! It is amazingly simple but incredibly effective. Do not use compressed air as all that will do is blow dirt around and it might blow debris into somewhere you cannot get it out. In addition, compressed air does not often have the force to move the object because remember, it is stuck in place. Do not use a Q-tip, as the chance of leaving a fiber of cotton is greater then the good you will do by performing the cleaning.

If your camera has never been cleaned, you might need to do some more extensive work. Once it is clean, the brush trick is all that should be need to keep you hair free.


#2 the 85 Filter Situation

In the beginning, all super8 film was Tungsten Balance, which means that the film will produce true colors under tungsten light. If you wanted to get correct colors in daylight, you had to use an orange filter called an 85 (sometimes called 85A). For convenience, every Super 8 camera was built with an internal 85 filter. The filter was usually ??? in place because most filming was done outside in daylight. There were some clever ways to take out the filter when you were filming in Tungsten (Interior Light). The filter removal system could be activated by the super8 cartridges notch system, or by a switch, or by sticking something into a place in the camera to take it out or some combination of these things.

Every super8 camera manufacturer had their own idea as to how this should be done.Text Box:  Today, you have dozens of super8 film stocks that can be either daylight or tungsten color balanced. When you film in daylight with daylight film, you do not want to use an 85 filter. At Pro8mm we. have been taking the internal filters out of super8 cameras for many years now. When this is done correctly, it can greatly improve the optical performance of a camera. Today because you can buy daylight film, it is actually inconvenient to have the internal 85 filter. Some film manufacturing companies prescribe to the cartridge notch for 85-filter removal and some do not. The standard for dealing with this 85 thing are a mess, so it is up to you the filmmaker to understand what how you camera handles this and that film you are using the correct film for your filming environment, daylight or tungsten to get this correct. Although you can do some amazing color, correction in post if you do not get this right you will never achieve the brilliance in color your images can have. In addition, all this correcting takes time, which cost money.

(insert photo EXAMPLE: Pro8-85 shot correctly Daylight no filter Shot on New Pro814 Wide. Pro8-80 shot incorrectly attempted fix in post)

What make this a little challenging is in most super8 cameras the 85 was placed behind where it can be seen with the viewfinder optics. If your camera has a switch or you toggle between the two setting for filter in and out you will not be able to see the effect of having the filter in by looking in the viewfinder. The major exception to this would be Beaulieu cameras that have a reflex viewfinder where the entire image path is viable in the viewfinder.

If you do not own a Beaulieu you must open up the camera door where you insert the film and look through the camera body. Put your eye in line with what the film will see. You must run the camera to see through. It also will help if you point the camera at something dark so the exposure system is open, or manually set the camera to exposure wide open. Once you find a position where you can see light through the camera body flip the switch that goes between the 85 filters in and out. You should see the light turn a darker orange when the filter is in. However, you are not done. Take the super8 cartridge you are about to use and put it in the camera. While doing so, look to see if it is flipping and if there is a type of lever in the camera. Now go back to check your camera and make sure that the position the cartridge has not effected the switching. The other approach is to make sure all your settings are correct and the cartridge has the correct notch for the 85 filters. A cartridge with a notch for the 85 filters will not remove the filter. A cartridge without a notch will automatically remove the filter. In some cameras, an external switch can override this, but in others, if the notch removes the 85 filter it cannot be returned with the switch.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Pro8mm Tip of the Day: How to Pick a Place to Scan Your Super 8 Film



As I was working on updating my own VIMEO and You Tube Channels this weekend, I lost myself in the many great Super 8 films that people have posted. I found that I can spend endless hours just watching everyone’s stuff, and of course, since this is my profession, I am always curious about the cameras, film, processing and scanning workflow. Some of the DIY folks have produced some really good stuff. Great in fact. Filmmakers who enjoy the power of one, and have the time to maticulate over moving their super 8 film to digital can achieve a decent result, providing they understand how to minimize the dirt, and the film was lit correctly to begin with.

What I found somewhat interesting however was how many scans done at facilities are producing results that look so bad. In many cases, worse than the DIY telecine that filmmakers have done.

So here is a tip I hope you will use. Before you choose a place to scan your super 8 film, go to YouTube and Vimeo to see what kind of quality a scanning facility can offer. Most companies now have samples of their stuff up there, or their clients have tagged what facility did the scan. Check out as many as you can find. You will be amazed at the range of what you see.

As I looked at all of my competitors stuff, as is human nature to do, it validated for me the differential between the quality of the scans that we provide far exceeds the differential in the price. One more thing…don’t be fooled by “fake” HD. HD is a native 1080 scan that comes directly off the scanner, not an SD telecine scan that is up rezzed in a computer.

Check it out for yourself.

www.pro8mm.com © Phil Vigeant, Pro8mm 2009

Friday, October 16, 2009

Why You Should Not Transfer Your Home Movies To DVD


WHY YOU SHOULD NOT TRANSFER YOUR HOME MOVIES TO DVD

As hundreds of people around the world prepare to attend Home Movie Day this Saturday, October 17th, I started thinking about how much misleading information there is on the internet from transfer houses about preservation and archiving your home movies. First and foremost is that a DVD does NOT preserve your film. A DVD is only a copy of your original film master by which you can watch your home movies. You cannot even edit a DVD transfer. As more and more people begin to think about putting their super 8, regular 8 or 16mm home movies into their Mac or some other edit program, so they can “do something” with them, I think it is important to think about why having your home movies scanned to DVD might not be the best choice. Most importantly, you never ever want to throw your original home movies away. This is your master that you will return to time and time again as scanning technology and applications change, and it needs to be cared for and protected.

The Center for Home Movies is a 501-C-3 not for profit organization that has done a tremendous job in raising the collective conscious of the public by having this annual Home Movie Day event worldwide. Home movies are our legacy, and offer a unique “you are here” view of decades past. They are an important part of personal, community, and cultural history. Go to their website www.homemovieday.com to find a Home Movie Day event near you. I guarantee that you will not be disappointed! The event is this Saturday at numerous locations around the world. Participation is simple: Bring one or more reels of your 8mm, Super8, or 16mm home movies to the event. They will inspect, and project them on a first-come, first-served basis. Damaged films will not be screened, but preservation specialists will offer expert advice on caring for at-risk materials. No films of your own? Just come and watch the show! It is free!

So as people begin to think about their archive, and perhaps select a reel or two to bring to Home Movie Day, this leaves the question, what should I do with MY home movies? You may no longer have access to a working projector, and more importantly, you would like to share your home movies with other family members. You may want to find out who else in my family has films. Maybe aunts, uncles and first cousins have films that show a different perspective or event than what your dad shot.

Pro8mm has scanned millions of hours of regular 8 , super 8 and 16mm film for the worlds most famous faces AND the general public. We feel so strongly about home movie preservation and that it should be done by a reputable company who will handle your one and only archive with integrity. Your home movies are just as import to you as the Hewlett/Packard’s, The Coppola’s. The Eagles, Van Halen, Bette Midler, Evan Picone, Estee Lauder (I could go on and on) are to them. Do you think that Richard Nixon would have sent his home movies to be transferred at Costco? To me this is like needing an organ transplant and finding a place that will do it at www.hearttransplants.com or the Kidney Depot. It is the same with your home movies. You only have one set of originals. So why not take the time to find out who is transferring them, what kind of experience they have, what kind of equipment they use and is the equipment safe for your film given its age and condition. Trust me, I have heard all the horror stories and many transfer facilities use primitive homemade equipment, some of which I have actually seen at trade shows. You could not pay me to put my film on anything that looked like it would scratch it, tear the perfs or chew the film!

Some places offer home movie transfers to DVD’s very cheap on equipment that only cost a few hundred dollars. We scan home movies on a one million dollar piece of equipment that was originally bought to do production work and documentary work of super 8 and regular 8 film. Your home movies are treated the way any professional production would be treated. Nothing drives me crazier than people who have the attitude why go to all that trouble .. “well it is just some old home movies” . I think people feel this way because your typical cheap transfer looks so bad compared to the original film which looks so incredibly good projected on a big screen. Well, here is a clip that I put up on FACEBOOK of “just some old home movies” from the 1940’s that were my grandfathers. www.vimeo.com/6974965 I had no idea that he was on the Board of Directors at The Blue Hill Credit Union, or that my great grandmother Rachel was so shy when the camera was on her. I never “got that” from the stills I had seen of her. My relatives went absolutely CRAZY! They loved it. Now I am getting my family to help me tag who these people were. Just think…The Power of Home Movies and the power of the internet. In order to do this though, your film has to be encoded to a file format not DVD. Films that are scanned as files can be used in an edit program on a Mac or PC, and, you can create stills from you film clips.

If you think having your home movies scanned by a professional motion picture company, here is what I suggest.

Set a budget. even as small as $100 -$200 dollars
Scan to file format only what you budgeted for. I would go for best quality , not quantity.
Share this high quality scan with your relatives to see if family members would like to share the cost and pool their films together to create a family archive. I think you will be surprised how many people might be interested in contributing
Do not feel that you have to scan everything at once. For my family, we scan an hour a year. You can also edit little clips and put them up for special occasions; For example, for my daughters 25th birthday, I put on FACEBOOK her 3rd birthday shot on Super 8 film. It was the greatest gift!
No matter where you scan, please take the time to find out the following by asking the facility these questions:

Find out what kind of equipment the facility has. Is it a film chain where they video tape your images as it goes through a projector. If it is, it will never render the quality that is on your original film. Or is it a flying spot scanner that is sprocketless. These render superior quality to film chain or single image capture telecines, and allow you to color correct the film. Many Ranks have a daVinci color correction system. This is like photoshop for your movies . Flying Spot Scanners are especially ideal for shrunken or badly damaged film.
2. If it is a flying scanner, what kind is it and how old is it? Transfer technology has been progressing rapidly since the 1980. The newer equipment can make substantially better images form your film.

3. Who is doing the transfer? Is it a real company or a home based business? Is it a trained film handler or archivist, or is it a minimum wage employee without professional training that is paying more attention to the internet or cell phone then your transfe

4. Do you have a choice of one light (single pass) or full scene-to-scene color correction? One light is best economy. Full color correction offers best quality and is done at a 3-1 ratio.

5. Is the film cleaned first and how? Dirty film will render a dirty transfer. Do they have technology to minimize the appearance of dirt and scratches on your transfer, such as Y Front technology?

6. Do you have a choice of standard definition or high definition? Is the high definition a “native 1080” HD scan, or is it “up rezzed’’ in a computer. Many places will call your scan an HD scan but it is film that has been video taped with an HD camcorder.

7. What do you want to do with your home movies? Do you want to edit clips to put up on Facebook, YouTube or on your iphone? Do you want to generate stills? Do you want to over-lay audio to take oral histories from family members? If so, then you do not want to transfer to DVD. You want to put them in a file format on a hard drive.

Whatever you decide, take the time to do the research. Think about how you want to share the movies. The internet now makes this so easy and so much more fun. You only have one archive. Preserve it for yourself, and for the future! And remember. Never throw away you original film! (c) RhondaVigeant, owner Pro8mm, October 2009 www.pro8mm.com

Monday, August 24, 2009

8 Tips For Shooting Modern Super 8 #2 - 85 Filter



8 Tips For Shooting Modern Super 8 #2.... The 85 Filter Situation

Now here is a topic of controversy and conversation…the good old 85 filter. There are many differences of opinion about the 85 filter. This is ours at Pro8mm. – Rhonda

In the beginning, all super8 film was Tungsten Balanced, which means that the film will produce true colors under tungsten light. If you wanted to get correct colors in daylight, you had to use an orange filter called an 85 (sometimes called 85A). For convenience, every Super 8 camera was built with an internal 85 filter. The filter was usually in place because most filming was done outside in daylight. There were some clever ways to take out the filter when you were filming in Tungsten (Interior) light. The filter removal system could be activated by the super8 cartridges notch system, or by a switch, or by sticking something into a place in the camera to take it out or some combination of these things.
Every super 8 camera manufacturer had their own idea as to how this should be done. Today, you have dozens of super8 film stocks that can be either daylight or tungsten color balanced. When you film in daylight with daylight film, you do not want to use an 85 filter. At Pro8mm we have been taking the internal filters out of super8 cameras for many years now. When this is done correctly, it can greatly improve the optical performance of a camera. These inernal filters are often made of plastic which deteriorate over time and can greatly interfere with the quality of the image. They are also dirt magnets! Today because you can buy daylight film, it is actually inconvenient to have the internal 85 filter. Some film manufacturing companies prescribe to the cartridge notch for 85-filter removal and some do not. The standards for dealing with this 85 thing are a mess, so it is up to you, the filmmaker to understand what the 85 filter is and how your camera handles this. You need to make sure that you are using the correct film for your filming environment, daylight or tungsten. Although you can do some amazing color, correction in post, if you do not get this right you will never achieve the brilliance in color your images can have. In addition, all this correcting takes time, which cost money. What make this a little challenging is in most super8 cameras the 85 was placed behind the viewfinder optic where it can not be seen. If your camera has a switch or you can toggle between the two settings for filter in and out , you will not be able to see the effect of having the filter in by looking in the viewfinder.
You must open up the camera door where you insert the film and look through the camera body. Put your eye in line with what the film will see. You must run the camera in order to see through it. It also will help if you point the camera at something darker so the exposure system is open, or manually set the camera to keep the exposure wide open. Once you find a position where you can see light through the camera body, flip the switch that goes between the 85 filters in and out. You should see the light turn a darker orange when the filter is in. However, you are not done. Take the super8 cartridge you are about to use and put it in the camera. While doing so, look to see if it is flipping a lever in the camera. Now go back to check your camera and make sure that the position of the cartridge has not effected the switching. The other approach is to make sure all your settings are correct and the cartridge has the correct notch for the 85 filters. A cartridge with a notch for the 85 filters will not remove the filter automaticly. A cartridge without a notch will automatically remove the filter. In some cameras, an external switch can override this, but in others, if the notch removes the 85 filter it cannot be returned with the switch.
(c) Pro8mm ™ , by Phil Vigeant, 2009



Cartridge on left is 7219 without 85 filter notch. On right, the notch added by Pro8mm
One thing you may find interesting in that we repackage the Kodak Vision 3 7219 which we call Pro8/19 ASA 500T with our prepaid processing and add the correct notch for the 85 filter. ($30 stock and processing…add a scan to Pro Ress that inclues prep and clean for one stop work flows with progressive discount, a yummy deal!) www.pro8mm.com

8 Tips for Shooting modern Super 8


I read allot about Super 8 in chat rooms and forums and I am always amazed how much misinformation there is. There seems to always be an on going battle between people trying to jockey themselves as the most informed expert. This wrong information and half truths hurts filmmakers. I checked on AMAZON.com and there is nothing on MODERN SUPER 8. The last book I found was written in 1981. So I though it would be helpful to have some tips for shooting modern Super 8.

Instead of giving you all 8 tips at once, I'll give them to you one at a time so that hopefully you will keep coming back and read my Super 8 blog! While some of the tips I am going to give you are “old school” common sense that any film maker working with super 8 or 16mm film should do/should have done at any time in their shooting career , some have to do directly with the new modern negative film stocks, our Max 8, 16 x 9 super 8 cameras and native 1080 HD scanning.


A Few tips can go a long way, by Phil Vigeant, owner and senior colorist at Pro8mm

“Parts of my job as senior colorist at Pro8mm, is that I get to scan about a million feet of super8 film each year. In doing so I get to see what is happening in the super8 world with some vantage point based on volume. I look at my work as a two-part job. One, as a creative colorist, trying to get the most information off of the frames for our customers, and second, as an inspector looking for bugs in the over all super8 process. When I see something that needs improving, I try to see what I can do with the technology at hand to facilitate a positive change. Internally, I can talk to my employees who are the people most responsible for each area and together we try to attack the issue. Externally, it is much more difficult. You have competitive concerns to address, and some companies just do not see these problems as issues the way I might. In addition, there are things that are totally beyond my control that can play a major roll in great looking super8 footage. These things are up to the filmmaker. Each year the technology for scanning film to digital seems to improve, resulting in more things that I can fix. Native 1080 HD film scanning now provides me with tremendous processing power to do many things that were impossible just a year ago. There are new things on the horizon as well, which will give us even greater ability to improve an imperfect image. However, there are a few things that if the filmmaker does not get right, there is very little that can be done to remedy the problem, no matter how much technology you have at hand.

As the years progress the problems seem to change and evolve with each new generation. For those who grew up with film as the main picture-taking medium some things were learned at every juncture of the photographic process. Things such as focus were so common knowledge of that generation that we often forget that this is knowledge that you have to learn. A colleague of mine who teaches film making here in California said that he has to spend days of the semester going over some of this basic stuff. Therefore, here is my short list 2009 of the 8 most common areas of concern I see every day in transferring film. I hope that a few quick tips and expatiation can help you create better images with your super8 camera.” – Phil Vigeant(c) 2009

TIP #1 HAIR IN THE GATE

Nothing is more aggravating for us and to you when we get absolutely gorgeous footage up on the scanner and there is a big yucky piece of dirt or hair in the frame. Just a small effort on your part will make your footage sparkle! BRUSH YOUR CAMERA GATE!

“Because of the nature of film and the way it travels through a camera and exposes each frame, the system will build up debris in the gate. If it is allowed to accumulate, this will block some of the image. The metal gate frames the film with what should be a smooth black border. Because you are running film over metal, it tends to leaves tiny deposits on the gate as the film passes over it. This emulsion residue is a gummy substance that is barely visible to the naked eye. If this is not cleaned from your camera, from time to time you can have several problems. First, the gummy glue can trap foreign substances like hair, lint, and dust and hold it firmly, often where the image is taken in a camera. This results in these ugly black globs which start around the boarder that blocks some of your image usually on the edges, but sometimes big enough to block a lot of picture. Depending on the size of these foreign obstacles, a hair in the gate can ruin a shot. In addition, the build up of emulsion can get so bad that your camera can physically scratch the film. The fix for these problems is very simple. Go to the store and purchase a child’s toothbrush. Gently brush a few strokes between every cartridge. Every, single, cartridge! It is amazingly simple but incredibly effective. Do not use compressed air as all that will do is blow dirt around, and it might blow debris into somewhere you cannot get it out. In addition, compressed air does not often have the force to move the object because remember, it is stuck in place. Do not use a Q-tip, as the chance of leaving a fiber of cotton is greater then the good you will do by performing the cleaning. If your camera has never been cleaned, you might need to do some more extensive work. Once it is clean, the brush trick is all that should be need to keep you hair free.

Pro8mm includes a free camera gate brush with every rental or purchase. They are also available for sale on our website for $5.00 at www.pro8mm.com. A nifty little tool that folds up small and has an attached cover, so you don’t have to worry about loosing it. Once you use it on your camera, we do not advise using it as a substitute for gum or mints when you have been on the set all day, or for that matter, the other way around! www.pro8mm.com

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Grand Opening Of Our On Line Store


Customize your own package with multi format options, buy film and processing, a camera package, or just "play" with a quote. We have re-launched our on-line store. Look for products and specials in the days to come. Email us with feedback on what you would like to see, info@pro8mm.com.

Shop till you drop at Pro8mm!818-848-5522 2805 W. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank, CA 91505

www.pro8mm.com

Friday, July 31, 2009

Amazing New Super 8 Film Stock, Pro8/47 500T


Pro8mm Announces Super 8 Fuji Eterna Vivid 500T Film





It's here! The amazing new Pro8/47 500T!
From night sky fireworks to sun reflecting on the open ocean, we absolutely LOVE the versatility of this amazing new Fuji filmstock. Available in Super8 exclusively from Pro8mm, Fuji states "ETERNA Vivid 500 expands the expressive range of high-speed film, producing sharp, color-intensive images under various challenging shooting conditions, including night scenes. New ETERNA Vivid 500 inherits its saturated color, high contrast and superior sharpness from the acclaimed ETERNA Vivid 160. Offering excellent matching with Vivid 160, this E.I. 500 color negative film expands the parameters for shooting sharp, intense color into the realm of night scenes, producing distinctive images under a range of shooting conditions.Exceptional image quality is maintained even during telecine transfer for TV work or digital processing of motion picture footage.Exhibiting superior high-speed performance, ETERNA Vivid 500 ushers in a new era in cinematic expression."

8 stops of latitude, extremely versatile in daylight or night sky, use outdoors or indoors. Add an 85 and neutraul density filter to your camera for best outdoor results. Seeing is believing.
Order at www.pro8mm.com $30 stock and processing. All inclusive packages with HD scanning to Pro Res starting at $108.00. Cut and past into your browser http://www.vimeo.com/5823843

Monday, July 13, 2009

Home Movie Collection Event For Jewish Homegrown History






For Immediate Release: July 13, 2009



The Labyrinth Project, with support from Pro8mm invite you to participate in a screening and collection event of home movies shot on regular 8, super 8 and 16mm film for a new project, JEWISH HOMEGROWN HISTORY.

What is Jewish Homegrown History?
Jewish Homegrown History is the latest multimedia project from USC’s pioneering research initiative, The Labyrinth Project, which has been producing award-winning installations, websites and DVDs for the past ten years.

What is the screening event?
Home Movie Collection Day for Jewish Homegrown History
is a community celebration of amateur cinema. Selected works will be considered for inclusion in Jewish Homegrown History, an exhibition opening at the Skirball Cultural Center in September 2010.

Where is the screening/collection event?
DATE: Sunday, July 19, 2009
TIME: 11:00AM - 5:00PM (drop in any time)
LOCATION: USC School of Cinematic Arts, SCA110



What are we looking for?

Jewish Homegrown History creates an interactive narrative of the American Jewish experience on a global and local scale. Starting with California, the team at Labyrinth has been collecting images, text and video to build a historical foundation for our online database and upcoming museum installation. There are three central themes we hope to explore: Immigration, Identity, and Intermarriage. Although archival material and published histories have been key in our research, what we really want are the personal accounts and homegrown details that bring these themes to life. We are interested in your home movies to help us tell these stories.

Your footage will be screened alongside passages from relevant literature, photos from digital archives, and interviews we have conducted with scholars, entrepreneurs and historians across California. The goal of this project is to create a productive dialogue between official history and personal narrative. We want to see how events publicized in traditional sources relate to the people who actually lived through them. We want to see the faces of the men and women who worked so hard and fought so bravely when the country went to war. We want to see the houses with picket fences and big backyards when families moved to the suburbs. We want to see the bride and groom together in love when larger forces conspired to keep them apart. Ordinary people doing ordinary things.

At the Home Movie Screening and Collection event, we will be looking for these kinds of images that enrich and contextualize the broader stories we are telling with our research. However, we also welcome divergent points of view. We expect what we see to both reinforce and challenge our own experiences and theories. We are less concerned with telling you how history happened, but rather how you can share your perspective with us. At Labyrinth, we believe that there are many paths to a destination, so for this story we encourage contributions from as many voices as possible.

We are currently focused on representing Jewish life in California, with special emphasis on Jewish neighborhoods like Boyle Heights, the Fairfax District, the Pico-Robertson Area, Hancock Park, and the Valley. We are also featuring Riverside County resorts like Murietta Hot Springs, Lake Elsinore, and Highland Hot Springs. We are especially interested in older films or videos but will look at anything up through the1980s. Additionally, we are seeking almost anything that represents Jewish life in California including:

• Worship at synagogues
• Holiday celebrations
• Dinner parties
• Recreational activities
• Places of business
• Portraits of neighborhoods and people
• Interfaith and interethnic relationships
• Political and social events


For additional information, contact:
By email: mkinder@usc.edu
By telephone, call: 213-740-5112
By postcard or letter, write:
The Labyrinth Project
School of Cinematic Arts, LPB 118,
University of Southern California
Los Angeles, CA 90089-2211
Attention: Marsha Kinder

Feel free to visit our website at http://college.usc.edu/labyrinth/



FIVE GREAT REASONS TO PARTICIPATE:

1. Come and screen your old films.
In case you do not have a working projector for your 8mm/Super8/16mm films, we’ve got you covered. If you have been curious to see what is on those old reels, this is your chance!

2. Rediscover memories of your favorite people and places.
-Want to remind your husband how stunning you looked in your wedding dress?
-Want to go back to the house you grew up in?
-Want to honor the memory of a relative no longer with us?
Come share your significant moments with an audience of family and friends. Show us the things you care about.


3. Be part of history!
Participate in a nationally recognized historical research project! Your home movies could become part of our traveling museum installation, Jewish Homegrown History, which is scheduled for the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, the New Americans Museum in San Diego, and the Judah Magnes Museum in Berkeley.

4. Transfer your home movies to HD digital video with Pro8mm and get a significant discount off their list price for broadcast quality archiving. Representatives from Pro8mm will be on hand to examine your films and give advice on how best to care for the original reels. Pro8mm has been archiving the world’s most famous faces and events for over 30 years.

5. Learn how to post your home movies to social networking sites such as Facebook, put them on your iphone, or email clips. Sharing your favorite memories with your loved ones is easy when your digitize your footage.

*BONUS*

6. Get a tax write-off!
Contribute your digitized footage to the installation or to the USC Digital Archive and get a tax write-off for the cost of the transfer.

Above all, we want to encourage people to come out and have fun. Come anytime between 11:00 AM and 5:00 PM. Bring your films, no matter the format, and we will screen them. Bring friends and family too. Cinema is a shared experience and we would love for you to share yours with us. See you July 19th!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Kurt Markus Sets Mellencamp Documentary Project



We just got the official Press Release and can't wait to share the news! Kurt Markus will film John Mellancamp on tour this summer armed with two Max 8 Classic Pro Cameras with crystal sync and tons of Pro8mm film. The project will be scanned in native 1080 on our M2 scanner. The test footage we have seen so far looks amazing! We have worked with Markus on Music Videos for Jewel (Goodbye Alice) and we love his camera work and up close and personal technique.

NEWS from Bob Merlis/M.f.h.
606 N. Larchmont Blvd. #102
Los Angeles, CA 90004
323.962.6887
bobmerlis@bobmerlis.com


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

KURT MARKUS SETS MELLENCAMP DOCUMENTARY PROJECT

Kurt Markus, whose still work has put him in the front ranks of contemporary American photographers is about to embark on a film project that will document a journey he?ll be taking this summer with John Mellencamp. Markus? extraordinary vision and focus on the American West has earned him critical accolades over the course of his 35 year long career in photography that has seen his work published in Vanity Fair, GQ, Rolling Stone, Travel and Leisure, New York Times Magazine, Outside, Esquire, Texas Monthly, Entertainment Weekly, Vogue and Best Life as well as overseas outlets. He was recipient of Life Magazine?s Alfred Eisenstaedt Photography Award for his Rolling Stone ?Sports Hall of Fame? shots of triathelete Peter Kotland.

This summer he will accompany Mellencamp with a classic Super 8 camera, capturing him on tour and as he records an album of new songs. Ian Markus, his son, is his assisting cameraman and will film digitally and capture sound. The expectation is that Markus? approach to production will capture the unrefined truth of his experience with Mellencamp over the course of July and August.

Mellencamp will record the album at a variety of historic locations during days off from his forthcoming summer tour with Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson. Sessions will take place at the First African Baptist Church in Savannah, GA, Sun Studios in Memphis and San Antonio?s Gunter Hotel. Much of the album will be recorded on location using AMPEX 601 tape recorder made in 1951 and an RCA microphone from 1949. At Sun, Mellencamp and a rhythm section will use equipment similar to that which Sam Phillips used when he first recorded Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and the other legendary Sun Records artists. T Bone Burnett, who produced last years critically acclaimed Life Death Love and Freedom is producing No Better Than This as well.

Markus, who was born in Montana and still lives in that state, made his mark in landscape, figure study, celebrity, fashion and travel. Exhibitions of his work have been mounted by the Cowboy Hall of Fame, Hills Gallery, Halsted Gallery, Staley-Wise Gallery, Gallery for Contemporary Photography and Galleria Photology. Markus published several monographs, including After Barbed Wire, Buckaroo, Dreaming Georgia, Boxers, Cowpuncher, and Dune. He has undertaken commercial assignments for Armani, BMW, Sony, Levis, Calvin Klein and Nike.

Staley-Wise Gallery in New York, The Rose Gallery in Los Angelse and Photology in Milan represent Kurt Markus? work.

# # #

Available now:



John Mellencamp on tour with Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson
July 2 - Sauget, IL - GCS Ballpark

4 - South Bend, IN - Coveleski Stadium

8 - Louisville, KY - Louisville Slugger Field

10 - Dayton, OH - Fifth Third Field

11 - Eastlake, OH - Classic Park

13 - Washington, PA - CONSOL Energy Park

14 - Allentown, PA - Coca Cola Park

15 - New Britain, CT - New Britain Stadium

17 - Essex Junction, VT - Champlain Valley Exposition Center

18 - Bethel Woods, NY - Bethel Woods Center For The Arts

19 - Syracuse, NY - Alliance Bank Stadium

21 - Pawtucket, RI - McCoy Stadium

23 - Lakewood, NJ - First Energy Park

24 - Aberdeen, MD - Ripkin Stadium

25 - Norfolk, VA - Harbor Park

28 - Durham, NC - Durham Bulls Athletic Park

29 - Simpsonville, SC - Heritage Park Amphitheater

30 - Alpharetta, GA - Verizon Wireless Amphitheater @ Encore Park

31 - Orange Beach, AL - The Amphitheater at the Wharf

Aug. 2 - Houston, TX - Cynthia Wood Mitchell Pavillion

4 - Round Rock, TX - The Dell Diamond

5 - Corpus Christi, TX - Whataburger Field

7 - Grand Prairie, TX - QuikTrip Park

9 - Albuquerque, NM - Journal Pavillion

11 - Glendale, AZ - Camelback Ranch

12 - Lake Elsinore, CA - The Diamond Park

14 - Fresno, CA - Chukchansi Park

15 - Stockton, CA - Banner Island Park

Thursday, May 14, 2009

THINK BIG SHOOT SMALL ENTRY FORM




The Pro8mm Challenge Entry Form

Name________________________________________________________________
Date__________________Phone__________________________________________
Email address__________________________________________________________
Shipping Address_______________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________
Payment Information check______ credit card______
Billing Address of Card __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Visa___ MasterCard___ American Express___
Card Number____________________________________________
EXP Date_________________ CRV Code _____
Entry Fee $108.00 OPTIONAL
T SHIRT $18.00 each S M L XL XXL ___________
(9.25% tax added to all California residents) ___________

TOTAL $___________
After you enter, you will reveive a film stock list, frame set up form, submission form, and talent release form.
1. One roll of film per entry fee.
2. All projects must be made on a single roll of Pro8mm with in camera editing only.
3. Each entry will receive a Data DVD disk copy.
4. We will send you a submission form that must be sent in with the roll before we process it, along with your frame set up form and talent release form.
5. Deadline for submission is January 1, 2010. Late entries will not be accepted..
6. All film original becomes the property of Pro8mm and will not be returned, until after the competition with both parties signing a release.
7. Pro8mm has the right to include your project in part or whole on our demo reel, website, internet, Youtube, and any other marketing or promotional means. Credit will be given if your project is selected.
8. Your submission certifies that you have all rights associated with your project. Pro8mm will not be held liable and will be held harmless for damages resulting from your project, including, but not limited to talent or copyright violations.

I have read and agree to the guidelines stated above and authorize Pro8mm to charge my credit card for the entry fee of $108.00 plus any optional items that I designated.


Signed___________________________________________________________ date____________

Extended Deadline For Think Big Shoot Small


Pro8mm Announces a Call for Entries for Our Second
THINK BIG, SHOOT SMALL FILM FESTIVAL CHALLENGE
NOW IN HD!
The Classic Super8mm Film Challenge

Call for Entries:
The Challenge is simple. Take Super 8 to the next level by shooting a project that will be viewed in HD with gorgeous 1080 resolution!!! Make a short film on a single roll, selecting from any of our 15 Pro8mm film stocks. All editing is done in the camera without splicing. Send the roll back to Pro8mm to be processed and scanned to HD in Pro Rez on our new Millennium II HD Scanner. You will get back your entry on a data disk DVD. Entries will be judged by our distinguished panel. It’s that easy! The top 25 entries will be screened at a dedicated screening and party in Los Angeles, January 2010 (exact date and location TBA.)

First Prize: Pro814 Super 8 Camera
Second Prize: 8 Roll HD Movie Film Package
Third Prize: 4 Roll HD Movie Film Package
Honorable Mention: Several Gift Certificates for HD scanning

Entry Fee: $108.00 which includes the film, processing, scanning and 6 tickets to the screening and party.


Log On to www.pro8mm.com for entry information






Pro8mm 2505 West Magnolia Blvd. Burbank, CA 91505 818-848-5522

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Pro Rez Price List





Save money when you go to Pro Res! The Pro Res HD prices are less than our standard HD package prices because there is no cost of tape! Plus, they are a dream to edit with in Final Cut Pro. Packages include your film, processing, scanning, prep and clean and full scene-to-scene color correction on the M2 scanner to hard drive.

Super8 Pro Res 422 HQ Prices

Tester (1) $108
Sampler (4) $336
Sampler (6) $454
Sampler (8) $558
Sampler (10) $672
Movie trailer (12) $767
Short film (24) $1420
You tube (36) $1985
Music video (48) $2595
Documentary (96) $5081
Feature film (192) $9965

16mm Pro Res 422 HQ Prices
Tester (1): $180
Sampler (4): $520
Sampler (8): $860
Movie Trailer (12): $1,185
Short Film (20): $1,910
Music Video (40): $3,635
Documentary (80): $6,880
Feature (160): $12,600



*No downloading fee if your hard drive is formatted MAC, and has a properly functioning ESATA or Fire Wire 800 Drive, or you purchase a drive from Pro8mm.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Pro Rez Now Available !


WE ARE NOW OFFERING PRO REZ HD SCANS DIRECT TO
COMPRESED HD FORMATS!

TEST IT TODAY!
$108.00

Film, process and scan to Data DVD
Pro8mm is now offering direct encodings of Super8 and 16mm film images to compressed HD file format Apple's ProRez422 HQ. This new system is a highly efficient and versatile way to use small gauge film in High Definition. The files are recorded in real time using a compatible hard drive system directly from the scanner. This significantly reduces the wait time and cost for HD file based sessions. ProRez422 HQ files are ideal for editing & playing high definition on Mac Computers.

ProRez HD files are 1/6th the size of 10 bit uncompressed files. They are 1.33 gigs per minute in 23:98PSF compared to 8 gigs for uncompressed files. This makes them an easier and much faster way to store data. It also makes it easier to move the data from device to device, opening the way for more and less expensive storage options. Given their smaller bit rate, these files can also be played directly on a Mac computers' QuickTime Player. Additionally, they can be used with Final Cut Pro editing software without the need to do additional compression.

Our all inclusive film packages will be available for the new ProRez codec , along with new less expensive drive storage for more savings. With the smaller size, there will be additional saving on Hard Drive space with discounts exceeding 20%.

You can sample this new workflow for $108.00, which includes a single roll of our Pro8mm film, award winning same day processing, prepped, cleaned, scanned and encoded in High Definition using ProRez HQ 422 which we will put on Data DVD.

The price for using ProRez HQ422 Codec and eSata or Firewire 800 Mac formatted drive in a scan session is $80.00 per hour. There is no additional cost for downloading to a drive. The Prorez codec can be used in all 3 common HD Standards: 1080P 23:98 PSF, and 1080I (59.94.), 1080P 25PSF.


You can also test this new workflow for free by requesting the new Pro8mm Data Demo. The Data Demo has samples of all Pro8mm Data workflows. 10 Bit Uncompressed (SD/HD), DVCAM Compressed SD, and the new ProRez HD 422.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Modernizing a Classic Super8 Filming Tool: Introducing the Max8 Professional for the 6000 and 7000 Series Beaulieu



Pro8mm is now offering a full Max8 conversion of our 7000 & 6000 series Professional Super 8 Cameras. Revered as the quintessential Professional Super8 camera in the 1970’s, 80’s and 90’s, our valued clients who own these gorgeous cameras will now have the opportunity to upgrade them to take advantage of modern Super8 in widescreen for HD filming and scanning.

Conversions are being offered for the 7008 Pro II, the Beaulieu 7008 Pro, and the 7008 S. The 6008 Pro, and 6008S can be converted as well, but will require modifications to the viewfinder and ground glass focus element at an additional cost. The full Max8 conversion expands the camera gate to expose a wider negative. This improvement yields a 20 % increase in usable image when scanning on our M2 or Y Front systems, which have a custom Max8 gate. In addition to the gate widening of the camera, the lens optic is re-centered. A new viewfinder system has been added as well so that the filmmaker can see the 16x9 framing during production. The price of the modification is $995.00.

The Angenieux 8-64mm lens is the best choice to take full advantage of the Max8 modification. The small barrel size insures that there will be no vignette through the lens. In addition, a super wide adapter can be added, which will shift the focal length to 4-32mm, also without vignetting. The Angeneiex 8-64mm lens is an extremely sharp super8 optic, and in our opinion, one of the best ever designed. The lens is available with full collimation for $800.00

We have a limited supply of 7008 Pro Max8 Professional cameras available for purchase at a special introductory price of $3495.00. This includes the Max8 conversion, Angienieux 8-64mm lens, crystal sync modification, water tight Pelican Case, battery pack & charger.

If you want to give it a test drive, the camera is available for rent with Max8 and crystal sync for $300 a day or $250.00 a day with the purchase of any film and scanning package.

Actual MAX 8 Frames


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The "New" Super8-85


(Actual super 8 frame shot with this film stock)

We now have an excellent supply of the extremely popular Super8 85 – ASA 100 Daylight Reversal. Clients love this stock and many say it is the best replacement film for discontinued Kodachrome 40. Super 8 85 is now being made from double super 8-85, supplied by Kodak, slit and loaded at Pro8mm. It has 3 stops of latitude and very fine grain. This is a traditional reversal film stock, suitable for projection, or it can be cross-processed as a negative. Cartridges sell for $30 a roll which includes our award winning processing, You can also purchase a test package which includes a native 1080 scan on our Millennium 2 to HD on Blu Ray Disk for $108.00, or in SD to DVD for $88.88. Look for a sample of this stock on Vimeo shortly.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

MOVIE MAKER MAGAZINE INTERVIEWS Pro8mm






Pro8mm Asks You to Think Big, Shoot Small
by Douglas Polisin | Published February 4, 2009

It’s a problem that every novice moviemaker faces when he or she thinks of entering a film festival: With only a single, cruddy camera, no means of editing and the bare minimum when it comes to both talent and location, how can I shoot to get the look I want? More importantly, how do I have any chance of going up against other movies if a festival only accepts perfectly polished, finely edited, big-budget masterpieces? For many, that is where the festival process ends, leaving moviemakers with the taste of failure in their mouths and great ideas wasted. But this no longer has to be the case.

With Pro8mm’s second Think Big, Shoot Small Film Festival Challenge, those who enter the festival are asked to do just that, defying its participants to shoot on a single roll with editing only allowed to be done in-camera. The irony of this is that with these technical limitations, Pro8mm has opened up a world of possibilities for beginner moviemakers looking to tell a great story. The true challenge is in coming up with an interesting story and then being innovative enough to shoot it creatively with only the essentials: A camera and some film. While it is a difficult task—a task that many big-budget directors would not be able to accomplish if you asked them to try—it is one that can be taken up by even the least experienced moviemaker, proving that no matter your monetary restrictions, a good idea goes a long way.
MM caught up with Rhonda Vigeant, one of the people in charge of the challenge, and discussed the reason behind creating the festival, what its esteemed panel of judges is looking for in a winning movie and what it is that makes the festival stand out amongst others.
Douglas Polisin (MM): How did
Douglas Polisin (MM): How did the idea for Think Big, Shoot Small come about?
Rhonda Vigeant (RV): The idea for Think Big, Shoot Small grew out of wanting to find the least expensive and creative way for our clients to test various Pro8mm film stocks and Super8 cameras. We thought it would be much more fun to have a festival where you would shoot a creative project with one roll rather than shooting test charts on a wall. Not only does it establish the aesthetic of using film, but also defines the work flow of shooting on film and screening on digital. Now that HD is becoming the dominant display format, we have adapted the concept of the original Think Big, Shoot Small to include High Definition Display. By getting filmmakers to see the result of film on Blu-ray, they will get a chance to experience the next generation work flow.
The first Think Big, Shoot Small festival in 2007 was only offered in standard definition. There were about 30 entries spanning several generations, from college students to retirees, four countries and fantastic finished entries as diverse as the filmmakers themselves.
MM: What are the most important things the judges are looking for in the entries?

RV: Originality (score from one to 10). A high score would be given for a film that is truly original with lots of creative touches, including the use of special effects, costumes, the richness and originality of the story idea and/or other filmmaking techniques.
Technical Expertise (score from one to 10). A high score would be given to the film that has good composition and exposure with few technical errors. It should have good color quality, sharpness and titles at the beginning and ending of the film. If the film is animation or claymation, a high score needs to have the above as well as smooth transitions and timing. It should look like a movie not a slide show.
Artistic Merit (score from one to 10). A high score would be given for a film that is rich in complexity and dramatic impact. Does this film move you? Does the film elicit an emotional response whether it be tears or laughter? Does the film draw you in? Does the film appeal to you and touch you in ways that other films just don’t?
MM: What do you see as the advantages to shooting with 8mm compared with other kinds of film?
RV: Super8 is the most affordable of the film formats. Most people have access to cameras very cheaply from a relative’s closet, eBay, thrift stores or yard sales. For a very small investment of $108.00, you can try the same filmmaking principles used in Hollywood, and in the larger formats, on a tiny budget (that is, film stock, processing and scanning on a million dollar state-of-the-art industry scanning machine that does native HD transfers). The Super8 film is cartridge-loaded and easy to pop in the camera. Filmmaking doesn’t get much cheaper than that! By entering Think Big, Shoot Small in HD you can experience the workflow in creating a creative project, in High Definition, with minimal cost. We hope that once people see their work on Blu-ray it will inspire them to continue working this way for both production and archiving. There is still nothing comparable to the look and feel of film, and many filmmakers just assume that they cannot afford it, or that it is too difficult a craft. Many filmmakers see digital as inexpensive because you can shoot volumes of it for little cost, but you do not need volumes to tell a great story. In fact you can do so in two and a half minutes, the length of a Super8 roll. Since Super8 was originally designed as a consumer product, compared to 16mm or 35mm, you do not need formal film education to work with it. Super8 is much more about creative instinct rather than technical understanding of how to work film equipment. You could give a Super8 camera to a five year old and they could shoot something. The intriguing thing about Think Big, Shoot Small is to see where that creative ingenuity lies. Film should not be something to be feared or intimidated by based on cost or technical skills. Super8 opens up these paths to the craft of film beautifully.
MM: Why do you want editing only to be done in-camera?
RV: One of the fundamental differences between shooting film and digital is because the cost of the film material. With film, you must plan out or storyboard what you are going to shoot before you shoot it. With digital you tend to shoot everything and then try to figure out which shots you are going to use in editing. Since this festival is about film, we wanted it to be like a real film shoot. First of all, it puts all the entries on a level playing field. It’s about what you can create, not what computer programs can do. We want to strip away all the ancillaries and give people a chance to get back to the grassroots of just shooting film. When silent films ruled, they were great! There is a magic that happens between people in a screening when a film is silent and they are able to communicate with each other while watching it—commenting and participating in the screening, not just watching the films. Because of the sense of community we are trying to create among the filmmakers, the silent showing opens up dialogue across age, lifestyle and gender among the very diverse population of participants. A film festival done this way has to be aesthetically pleasing and captivating on its own before you add the window dressing of sound or special effects.
MM: You say that people are allowed to enter as many times as possible; this isn’t all too common for festivals to do. What do you hope to see from those contestants who submit multiple entries?

RV: There are two reasons for this. First, people have a lot of ideas regarding what they may think is a worthy project. Since this festival is “all inclusive” in terms of the materials and the entry fee, every contestant makes the same investment to participate. We thought, why should we limit a person from entering twice (though no one in the 2007 festival actually did this) if they have more than one idea? It increases their chance of winning one of the prizes. Secondly, they may get back their Blu-ray disc and decide that they can do better, or discover that their camera had technical problems that they were not aware of. This allows them to give it another try before the deadline. If they think they can do better, why not let a contestant try again if it will help them to improve their skills as a filmmaker?


MM: In addition to a Blu-ray copy of their movie and a chance to be on Pro8mm’s
promotional DVD, what else do you hope that contestants walk away with?
RV: There is a huge sense of camaraderie among the Super8 community. Each contestant in 2007 brought their friends, family or crew with them to the screening and party. It was wonderful to see gray-haired men engaged in technical conversation with tattooed, pierced, pink-haired generation X’ers. You can’t put a price tag on that. The feedback we got was fantastic. Not only is the festival a really great opportunity to try something new in film but a chance to be part of something bigger than a 50-foot roll. It is common for independent filmmakers to feel isolated in a little bubble. Because the “assignment,” if you will, was the same for every filmmaker, and there is a fixed cost, there is an immediate connectivity in the group. We hope contestants will gain insight about the creative process. The prizes are great too! Even the raffle winners can (and have) produce their next project on what they may win as a contestant.
For more information, visit www.pro8mm.com.
http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=34191808

James Barfield won Think Big, Shoot Small for his claymation entry, Clay Date. His prize was a Max 8 Classic Professional Camera.

Courtesy of Movie Maker Magazine. Check out their on-line version of this post

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

ISN'T IT TIME YOU GOT INTO SYNC?


Pro8mm Announces HD Scanning for 8mm Film with Sound


GOT SOUND ON REG 8 or SUPER 8 FILM?
Isn’t it time you got into sync?
Getting Back To Our Roots with Super8 Sound™


Pro8mm has just completed the set up of a new sync sound system for the Millennium 2 HD Scanner. The new system can accommodate various sound and film configurations. The system was designed at Pro8mm, which has almost 40 years of dedicated Super8 Sound experience. We are thrilled to be able to offer this service for regular 8/super 8 production and archiving when doing a native HD scan in 1080 with the original audio track on film or magnetic fullcoat in proper sync.

The new sync sound system will be of particular benefit to our long time customers who have been with us through the evolution of single and double system sound, crystal sync fullcoat recorders, and dat audio. Pro8mm was originally called Super8 Sound ™ and was founded in the early 1970’s by a group of entrepreneurs in Cambridge, Massachusetts who invented sound for super 8. We changed the name and direction of the company in 1992 when we ceased making fullcoat recorders and introduced Super 8 negative film.


Price: There is a one time set up charge for the sync audio services when scanning on the M2.

Super8 single system (single track) $225
Super8 Stereo projects (dual track) $325.00
Regular 8 with sound $325.00
Super8 Mag Fullcoat $325.00

This creates an opportunity to take those film school projects home movies and footage you want to use in your documentary shot on regular 8 or super 8 with sound on film or mag stock and scan it to HD to create a new master with sync audio!

For more information, call Pro8mm, 818-848-5522 email info@pro8mm.com

Monday, February 2, 2009




This article appeared in todays issue of A/V Concepts. The editor is Tony Schapps, former owner of THE WIDESCREEN CENTRE in London who asked me if one of his writers could use my recent press release on the PRo814 Wide Modification.

They said:"Who wants WIDESCREEN?""Well, now we all know - 'everyone', says Jack. So, now read on..





"Many years ago, in my early days with The Widescreen Centre, the boss (yes THE Mr Widescreen himself, as I heard him called recently) tried to persuade manufacturers to offer the non-professional movie maker the advantages of widescreen, but without success. Yes, he continually hit a blank wall epitomised by the headline on this article".
"In desperation he followed his own ideas and turned himself into a manufacturer of anamorphic lenses which were modelled on the pro-cinema's versions but simplified to bring the cost down to an average cine enthusiasts level. Then came the widescreen TV revolution and suddenly EVERYBODY was trying to get in on the act.".
"Tony, being Tony, immediately re-worked his formulas to produce a 16:9 format anamorphic lens (the one that squeezes that extra information on to a standard frame, and then de-squeezes it on projection or on to a widescreen TV). This immediately allowed anyone with a camcorder to 'go widescreen'"
ENTER PRO-8 - all singing and dancing!
"Now things have gone a stage further and I can bring you news from Pro-8 in the States who have just introduced a NEW WIDE GATE modification to their already extremely popular, updated and modified version of the famous Canon Super-8 movie camera now called the Pro814".
"The advantage of this new modification gives 20% better resolution when scanning in HD because it allows for an expanded image on the
negative. Introduced just over a year ago, the Pro814 is an affordable rebuilt, recalibrated super 8 camera, modified to optimize the results of modern super8 film stocks. The modification is priced at $300.0 0 (around a couple of hundred pounds sterling) and provides you with an inexpensive way to achieve that essential widescreen capability for your Pro814 camera".
"The modification is made to the gate and block only, and does not include 16 x 9 viewfinder or any optical centring. The Pro814 is priced in U.S. dollars at $795 (about GBP 500), which includes a water tight Pelican Case and 85 filter. The intro price for their new Pro814-Widegate version is $995.00 (or roughly GBP 700.00)".
That's it for this week
JACK GROSSMANp.s. For Canon 814 Autozoom owners who want to upgrade their camera to a Pro814 the cost is $495. This removes the 85 filter, increases the pick up torque, has a recalibration so that modern film stocks can be read. Then if you want the widescreen mod, they will take off $100 and do it for $200 if it is done at the same time as the Pro814 mod since the camera is already apart. . p.p.s. You'll find Pro-8 at :http://http://rs6.net/tn.jsp?et=1102429665379&e=0019YjuiKihgoRDz1Eh170cvK33Yd-HwiiK-24SNc5cLHu0jgKHwf1nvGxR945TVOIoX1sLyARjOA-tnMeqnDunr5xpPB5p18LGFRM45d38p1dBI8I05AZPHw==
Number 98 astronomy, 3D, virtual reality, super-8, panoramics, antique replicas, audiovisual, flight simulation, andmuch, much, more!
Hi Phil and Rhonda,welcome to issue 98 dated 3rd February 2009 - enjoy!

They said:"Who wants WIDESCREEN?""Well, now we all know - 'everyone', says Jack. So, now read on..
"Many years ago, in my early days with The Widescreen Centre, the boss (yes THE Mr Widescreen himself, as I heard him called recently) tried to persuade manufacturers to offer the non-professional movie maker the advantages of widescreen, but without success. Yes, he continually hit a blank wall epitomised by the headline on this article".
"In desperation he followed his own ideas and turned himself into a manufacturer of anamorphic lenses which were modelled on the pro-cinema's versions but simplified to bring the cost down to an average cine enthusiasts level. Then came the widescreen TV revolution and suddenly EVERYBODY was trying to get in on the act.".
"Tony, being Tony, immediately re-worked his formulas to produce a 16:9 format anamorphic lens (the one that squeezes that extra information on to a standard frame, and then de-squeezes it on projection or on to a widescreen TV). This immediately allowed anyone with a camcorder to 'go widescreen'"
ENTER PRO-8 - all singing and dancing!
"Now things have gone a stage further and I can bring you news from Pro-8 in the States who have just introduced a NEW WIDE GATE modification to their already extremely popular, updated and modified version of the famous Canon Super-8 movie camera now called the Pro814".
"The advantage of this new modification gives 20% better resolution when scanning in HD because it allows for an expanded image on the
negative. Introduced just over a year ago, the Pro814 is an affordable rebuilt, recalibrated super 8 camera, modified to optimize the results of modern super8 film stocks. The modification is priced at $300.0 0 (around a couple of hundred pounds sterling) and provides you with an inexpensive way to achieve that essential widescreen capability for your Pro814 camera".
"The modification is made to the gate and block only, and does not include 16 x 9 viewfinder or any optical centring. The Pro814 is priced in U.S. dollars at $795 (about GBP 500), which includes a water tight Pelican Case and 85 filter. The intro price for their new Pro814-Widegate version is $995.00 (or roughly GBP 700.00)".
That's it for this week
JACK GROSSMANp.s. For Canon 814 Autozoom owners who want to upgrade their camera to a Pro814 the cost is $495. This removes the 85 filter, increases the pick up torque, has a recalibration so that modern film stocks can be read. Then if you want the widescreen mod, they will take off $100 and do it for $200 if it is done at the same time as the Pro814 mod since the camera is already apart. . p.p.s. You'll find Pro-8 at :http://http://rs6.net/tn.jsp?et=1102429665379&e=0019YjuiKihgoRDz1Eh170cvK33Yd-HwiiK-24SNc5cLHu0jgKHwf1nvGxR945TVOIoX1sLyARjOA-tnMeqnDunr5xpPB5p18LGFRM45d38p1dBI8I05AZPHw==

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Sweet Leaf Party




This is the best Super 8 example we have seen so far from a client who has used our work flow for Pro8mm film, processing and scanning to HD on our M2 Scanner to put up work on the internet. We love how the material looks on VIMEO compared to YouTube. Vimeo allows you to put up to 1 gig of data!!! Pro8mm does native film scans of super 8, regular 8 and 16mm to 1080. The difference is remarkable compared to scans that are up-rezed or line doubled. We also LOVE how HD looks on Vimeo compared to YouTube and we encourage filmmakers to try this site!!! We hope this work inspires filmmakers to scan to native HD! We had a blast working with Trigger Studios!
Watch the video "Sweet Leaf Party" by Break Beat!

ENCODING SUPER 8


Encoding Super 8, by Philip Vigeant


Encoding is the process of converting motion picture images into something that can be played in a computer. Computers handle film images differently than it does analogue video or digital video. Because this is a new way to look at pictures there are many changes to the traditional ways we look at them. As with all new things there a lots of choices and big companies are trying their hardest to make themselves the new standard. Things are changing so rapidly that I fear even this article might have some outdated notions before it gets published. But since so many super8 users are exploring these options I thought it would be good to try and explain some of the exciting opportunities for Super8 users in the encoded world.
There are two areas where the computer has proven itself in moving images beyond any argument. First in its ability to edit and manage and second as a way to deliver content cheaply and quickly to an audience. Although these both run through a computer the objectives and the strengths and weakness are completely at opposite sides of the image universe. On the one side you have 35mm features being edited digitally at 2K and now even 4K resolution. On the other you have You-Tube the lowest quality images imaginable that is revolutionizing the film business. The maximum and the minimum resolution have included Super8 film, and being a part of both extremes for what is clearly completely different reasons.
Let’s start with the Max. To max out what you have on Super8 in a computer you have to understand the working parameter of modern computer and storage. Even though Super8 is the smallest form of motion picture film it takes enormous amounts of data to describe each frame. A 10 bit uncompressed minute of Super8 stored at 4:2:2 1920 X 1080 High Definition resolution is 8 Gigabytes of raw data at 23:98PSF. In short hand, this is what most people call 1080p, favored by most people that originate in film. If you work in 1080i which is 29.97 interlaced images, recorded at 59.94i, it would be 10 Gig per minute. In short hand 1080i is preferred by most people who originate in video. In standard definition the same minute of 10 bit uncompressed would be approximately 2 Gigabytes per minute.
Unless you’re in the professional post production world you will probably not have the capacity to play such large data files in real time on your home computer system. This will change as computers and storage devices get faster and cheaper but for now you’re out of luck. For this reason most information is compressed in some way so that lesser systems can handle this amount of data traveling at the speed necessary to play it. The good news is even though you can’t play these files in real time you should be able to access them and convert them to something you can play. One of the advantages of computer digital is that you don’t have to have an expensive tape machine to have a very high resolution version of your images that you can directly access. To do the top quality in Standard Definition in digital video tape you need a Digital Beta deck which costs about $40,000.00. With a 10 bit file you can have the same quality on a hard drive that you can axis from your laptop, so you can get axis to high quality without the expense of high end video decks. This will become even more important as you investigate High Definition. Unlike SD that is dominated by Digital Beta, HD has many competing tape formats that can run over $100,000.00 per deck. With the ever dropping cost of Hard Drives and computing speed this workflow is much more practical for independent filmmakers.
Regardless of how you compress the files it is helpful to start with data put into a form that is most compatible with your system. In Mac World the folder form is .mov which is usually played with a QuickTime Player. In PC world the folder is .avi and the player is most often Windows Media Player. You can play some .mov folders in Windows and some .avi files in Mac but this can get sticky at times. There are also many other players and formats…more about that later.

Once your raw data is put in a folder you have 100 different options on how to compress your motion picture images. This type of compressing is called a Codec. Compressing can be done with a software program or it can be done with a hardware based compressor. Hardware based compressing is often very fast and can usually work the data in real time. Software based encoders will often have to crunch on the data for some time to deliver the new file compressed. Some Codec’s’ are very universal like mpeg2, the one used for all DVD’s. Some are exclusive to particular programs like Macs’ new Pro-Res 422 designed for their new Final Cut Studio 2. You can think of a codec like a tape digital format such as DV Compressed, which is supposed is to be roughly the equivalent to Mini DV in the computer world. On thing that is very different about computer digital is that you can dictate to the program that is doing the encoding what quality level you desire. The program that controls the encoding can adjust parameters including the over all quality, the size and even the number of frames stored per second.
(Optibase Encoder Board)

At Pro8mm we use a hardware based encoder for doing DV compression files. A DV compressed file at its best resolution setting is storing 30 (29.97 exactly) frames per second. This is approximately 1 gigabyte for 4 minutes of Super8 film, (250 Meg per minute). This would be 8 times as compressed as a 10 bit uncompressed file of standard definition raw data. When we compress to the Mpeg2 codec we use an Optibase Hardware Encoder which also has a variable quality setting. In this situation we want the best quality but we need it to play on the average DVD player. Through experience of making thousands of DVD’s of Super8 film we have found the optimum to be a compression that works out to be about 40 megabytes per minute.
One of the more confusing parts of computer based images is to know all the parameters that are needed to get an image to play on your system. For example why will your computer play a commercial DVD and not a 10 bit .mov file? Most computers, having the programs to do so can play a 10 bit file, but they can not play it fast enough to watch it in real time. There is simply not enough speed between it’s’ storage form which is the DVD drive, the computer, and the display. For example my home laptop will not play even a DV compressed folder from a DVD, but it will play a DVD with MPeg2 recording. But if I drag the folder of DV compressed files from the DVD to the desktop it will play. The speed from my DVD player is sufficient to run Mpeg2 but not Dv compressed. The speed from my internal hard drive is fast enough to run DV compressed. If I try to run a 10 bit HD file of 23:98PSF in my computer with Windows Media Player it will play, but it will skip frames and often chokes on the process. If I play the same file in QuickTime it will not work at all. Once you have some of the parameters down you can do incredible things but you need to be prepared when entering this workflow on how to put it all together.
DVD’s can be used in a multitude of ways as both a vehicle to play images in a home player and to store computer files. The DVD is defined not only as a medium but by what is recorded on the medium. The DVD that is designed to play in a DVD home player has files encoded with the codec Mpeg2. In addition these DVD’s have header information so the player can recognize it and the information that can be organized with chapter stops and menus. The DVD’s we use to record on are DVD-R which is the most universal next to the commercial DVD. Some older home DVD players will not play a DVD-R even though the correct data is recorded on them. This is due to the reading systems of the first home DVD players. You can also use a DVD-R as data storage for computers. In this form of DVD, files can but place on the DVD for retrieval by computer systems. In addition to DVD single sided recording you can also use DL dual layer DVD to expand the capacity to 8.5 Gig on a single DVD. To play what is on a DVD you have to have the right hardware and software to do the job. For example if you have home DVD player you can look at the spec page to see what format DVD this player will play. Will it play DVD-R or DVD+R? Most computers are designed to play the different formats of DVD but you have to have the correct software on you computer to play the program. For example you could have a DVD+R DL that have a DV compressed .mov file. So if you computer has DL DVD capacity and a QuickTime Player you should be able to play this file provided your computer has the speed to handle it.
Once you start playing with movie files you quickly see how limited 4.7 Gig of space of is. The solution to this problem is an external Hard Drive. Portable hard drives are the perfect way to transport large data files. Hard Drives range from a low number gigabyte to terabytes. They can have 4 different types of connection and many have some combination of these 4: USB2, Fire wire 400, Fire wire 800 and E-sata. USB2 preferred by PC and Fire wire 400 preferred by Mac can handle the same speed of transfer between your computer and the hard drive. Fire wire 800 about doubles that and E-sata about doubles Fire wire 800. The transfer rate between your computer is important for two reasons. If you are just taking files from your drive and loading it into your computer it takes about 1 GIG a minute at USB2 speed to transfer the data. 40 gigs of data take 40 minutes. If you want to play the data from your drive on your computer without transferring it to your computer then the connection speed must support the data rate needed to play the data. This is critical for all computer devices both external and internal. Since 1 minute of Super8 stored at 10 Bit uncompressed HD in 23:98 PSF is about 8 Gigabytes per minute. You need some killer speed to play this file in real time. But no matter how slow your computer is you can transfer the data to your computer or just access the data from the drive, compress it and you can play it.
Some Basic Rough Super8 Numbers: Super8 @ (Mpeg2 DVD) 40 Megabytes per minuteSuper8@ (Dv compressed) 250 Megabytes per minuteSuper8@ (10Bit SD) 2 Gigabytes Per minuteSuper8 @ (10Bit HD @ 23:98PSF) 8 Gigabytes per minute To get the best encoding you have to start with the best digital version of Super8. We usually go directly from Super8 to SDI video (Serial Digital 4:2:2) into the encoder We can also go to digital tape then from tape to the encoder with the same quality provided we are always encoding from a higher quality source. For Mpeg2 we could first go to Mini DV. (Serial Digital 4:1:1) with the same quality as 4:2:2 but we would not make a 10 bit file from taking this path. We would have to go to Digital Beta. If you transfer Super8 to VHS and then encode to DVD verse Super8 to SDI 4:2:2 to DVD. The quality difference will be amazing. You never want to transfer from a high quality medium to a low quality and then back to a high quality. This is true with all image forms including the new world of images on computer. A big mistake would be to put Super8 directly on Mpeg2 DVD if you want to edit it with a program that uses DV compression. You will see a significant loss of quality when transcoding from MPEG2 to Dv compressed. If you transfer Super8 to Dv Compressed then edit and make a DVD with the same system you will see a significant improvement in quality. Within the computer world as with all images you can always transfer between one form and another and can even get this encoder for free on the internet. But there are different quality levels of encoders and you never want to go from low to high quality when you have a higher quality to begin with.


The best quality computer file of Super 8 in standard definition would be a 10 bit uncompressed file. These files are big so prepare to keep this on a large storage device like an external hard drive. Calculate your need at approximately 2 Gig per minute for Standard Def and 8 Gig in High Def. You will probably not be able to play this large file on you current computer system. But you can bring this file into your world then using your edit program to compress them down to a size your present system can handle.
At this time at Pro8mm we are already working with many customers that get their Super8 scanned to HD and we deliver 10 bit uncompressed files on portable hard drives. These companies then transfer the files into there computer as needed and with their edit software compress the data to there desired project working standard. If a project is for the internet it has to be compressed down to the standard required to travel at internet speeds. A project on You Tube has to be 100Mb or less. Since that is just over 1 minute of DVD quality how do they do it? On a computer, the size of the image can be changed along with the number of frames per second. By making images smaller you can compact them much more than if they have to stay the standard size for television. You Tube, like so many of the internet world players have their own compression technology that will take what you send them and compress it to fit in their space. As you will no doubt experience the way this data gets compressed on the output makes a huge difference as to how it looks. You can take a look at a 1 minute sample of the 2006 Pro8mm demo up on You Tube I did several years ago (Search Pro8mm and look at A Super8 Sample) and you will see how badly the compressor handles my file. I uploaded from a 1 minute Mpeg4 .mov file that looks fantastic on my laptop. Compare this to a 6 minute version of the 2008 Pro8mm Demo we recently compressed to play on Flash on the Pro8mm new web site and you can see how important compression and the players are to the final quality of your work. Both of these come from the same standard def Digi Beta original transfer of Super8.
Compressing Super8 for small screen applications has some exciting possibilities for Super8. Because of the way compacting acts on an image the difference between originating on larger film such as Super16 and something shot on Super8 is much less apparent. Simply put the smaller you make an image the more difficult you will find judging what format it was produced on. The first time I viewed and internet music video I worked on I had to go back to my notes and check what format the job was originated on. Since I look at this type of material every day I was more than a little shocked that I could not tell weather it was Super8 or Super16. I completely enjoy the unique look of super8…. a uniqueness that is more apparent the larger you make it. It is also exciting to know that the smaller you make it, the easier it is to fool an audience into believing a production was produced at a much higher level.
When working toward an internet release or even DVD it is also possible to work with much smaller much more compressed files. You don’t need to start with a 10 bit version of your Super8 if your objective is the internet. You could have your film encoded with compression so you can work with much smaller files. In DV compressed, about 18 minutes of Super8 would fit on a DATA DVD. Since the file is small most computers will easily play the file and you don’t need a large storage device. Everything you do in editing will run much faster with smaller data. Big files require a lot of time to move. A terabyte of data traveling over a USB 2 connection between a computer and hard drive will take over 16 hours. This kind of slow movement is not a lot of fun when you’re up against a deadline. So although 10 bit is the best in terms of information, it may not be the most practical if you want to rapidly get out a project for DVD or the Internet . . . The world of images is ever changing and you will no doubt discover new and interesting ways to work with Super8. Every day I see a project that pushes the way we understand the limits and the possibilities of Super8 film. New technology is often an incredible way to enhance what we already enjoy. What I find so interesting about Super8 is how adaptable and enjoyable the look is not only on Super8, but on video, on a computer, in a theater, in High Definition, or even downloaded on the internet.Encoding Super 8, by Philip Vigeant


Encoding is the process of converting motion picture images into something that can be played in a computer. Computers handle film images differently than it does analogue video or digital video. Because this is a new way to look at pictures there are many changes to the traditional ways we look at them. As with all new things there a lots of choices and big companies are trying their hardest to make themselves the new standard. Things are changing so rapidly that I fear even this article might have some outdated notions before it gets published. But since so many super8 users are exploring these options I thought it would be good to try and explain some of the exciting opportunities for Super8 users in the encoded world.
There are two areas where the computer has proven itself in moving images beyond any argument. First in its ability to edit and manage and second as a way to deliver content cheaply and quickly to an audience. Although these both run through a computer the objectives and the strengths and weakness are completely at opposite sides of the image universe. On the one side you have 35mm features being edited digitally at 2K and now even 4K resolution. On the other you have You-Tube the lowest quality images imaginable that is revolutionizing the film business. The maximum and the minimum resolution have included Super8 film, and being a part of both extremes for what is clearly completely different reasons.
Let’s start with the Max. To max out what you have on Super8 in a computer you have to understand the working parameter of modern computer and storage. Even though Super8 is the smallest form of motion picture film it takes enormous amounts of data to describe each frame. A 10 bit uncompressed minute of Super8 stored at 4:2:2 1920 X 1080 High Definition resolution is 8 Gigabytes of raw data at 23:98PSF. In short hand, this is what most people call 1080p, favored by most people that originate in film. If you work in 1080i which is 29.97 interlaced images, recorded at 59.94i, it would be 10 Gig per minute. In short hand 1080i is preferred by most people who originate in video. In standard definition the same minute of 10 bit uncompressed would be approximately 2 Gigabytes per minute.
Unless you’re in the professional post production world you will probably not have the capacity to play such large data files in real time on your home computer system. This will change as computers and storage devices get faster and cheaper but for now you’re out of luck. For this reason most information is compressed in some way so that lesser systems can handle this amount of data traveling at the speed necessary to play it. The good news is even though you can’t play these files in real time you should be able to access them and convert them to something you can play. One of the advantages of computer digital is that you don’t have to have an expensive tape machine to have a very high resolution version of your images that you can directly access. To do the top quality in Standard Definition in digital video tape you need a Digital Beta deck which costs about $40,000.00. With a 10 bit file you can have the same quality on a hard drive that you can axis from your laptop, so you can get axis to high quality without the expense of high end video decks. This will become even more important as you investigate High Definition. Unlike SD that is dominated by Digital Beta, HD has many competing tape formats that can run over $100,000.00 per deck. With the ever dropping cost of Hard Drives and computing speed this workflow is much more practical for independent filmmakers.
Regardless of how you compress the files it is helpful to start with data put into a form that is most compatible with your system. In Mac World the folder form is .mov which is usually played with a QuickTime Player. In PC world the folder is .avi and the player is most often Windows Media Player. You can play some .mov folders in Windows and some .avi files in Mac but this can get sticky at times. There are also many other players and formats…more about that later.

Once your raw data is put in a folder you have 100 different options on how to compress your motion picture images. This type of compressing is called a Codec. Compressing can be done with a software program or it can be done with a hardware based compressor. Hardware based compressing is often very fast and can usually work the data in real time. Software based encoders will often have to crunch on the data for some time to deliver the new file compressed. Some Codec’s’ are very universal like mpeg2, the one used for all DVD’s. Some are exclusive to particular programs like Macs’ new Pro-Res 422 designed for their new Final Cut Studio 2. You can think of a codec like a tape digital format such as DV Compressed, which is supposed is to be roughly the equivalent to Mini DV in the computer world. On thing that is very different about computer digital is that you can dictate to the program that is doing the encoding what quality level you desire. The program that controls the encoding can adjust parameters including the over all quality, the size and even the number of frames stored per second.
(Optibase Encoder Board)

At Pro8mm we use a hardware based encoder for doing DV compression files. A DV compressed file at its best resolution setting is storing 30 (29.97 exactly) frames per second. This is approximately 1 gigabyte for 4 minutes of Super8 film, (250 Meg per minute). This would be 8 times as compressed as a 10 bit uncompressed file of standard definition raw data. When we compress to the Mpeg2 codec we use an Optibase Hardware Encoder which also has a variable quality setting. In this situation we want the best quality but we need it to play on the average DVD player. Through experience of making thousands of DVD’s of Super8 film we have found the optimum to be a compression that works out to be about 40 megabytes per minute.
One of the more confusing parts of computer based images is to know all the parameters that are needed to get an image to play on your system. For example why will your computer play a commercial DVD and not a 10 bit .mov file? Most computers, having the programs to do so can play a 10 bit file, but they can not play it fast enough to watch it in real time. There is simply not enough speed between it’s’ storage form which is the DVD drive, the computer, and the display. For example my home laptop will not play even a DV compressed folder from a DVD, but it will play a DVD with MPeg2 recording. But if I drag the folder of DV compressed files from the DVD to the desktop it will play. The speed from my DVD player is sufficient to run Mpeg2 but not Dv compressed. The speed from my internal hard drive is fast enough to run DV compressed. If I try to run a 10 bit HD file of 23:98PSF in my computer with Windows Media Player it will play, but it will skip frames and often chokes on the process. If I play the same file in QuickTime it will not work at all. Once you have some of the parameters down you can do incredible things but you need to be prepared when entering this workflow on how to put it all together.
DVD’s can be used in a multitude of ways as both a vehicle to play images in a home player and to store computer files. The DVD is defined not only as a medium but by what is recorded on the medium. The DVD that is designed to play in a DVD home player has files encoded with the codec Mpeg2. In addition these DVD’s have header information so the player can recognize it and the information that can be organized with chapter stops and menus. The DVD’s we use to record on are DVD-R which is the most universal next to the commercial DVD. Some older home DVD players will not play a DVD-R even though the correct data is recorded on them. This is due to the reading systems of the first home DVD players. You can also use a DVD-R as data storage for computers. In this form of DVD, files can but place on the DVD for retrieval by computer systems. In addition to DVD single sided recording you can also use DL dual layer DVD to expand the capacity to 8.5 Gig on a single DVD. To play what is on a DVD you have to have the right hardware and software to do the job. For example if you have home DVD player you can look at the spec page to see what format DVD this player will play. Will it play DVD-R or DVD+R? Most computers are designed to play the different formats of DVD but you have to have the correct software on you computer to play the program. For example you could have a DVD+R DL that have a DV compressed .mov file. So if you computer has DL DVD capacity and a QuickTime Player you should be able to play this file provided your computer has the speed to handle it.
Once you start playing with movie files you quickly see how limited 4.7 Gig of space of is. The solution to this problem is an external Hard Drive. Portable hard drives are the perfect way to transport large data files. Hard Drives range from a low number gigabyte to terabytes. They can have 4 different types of connection and many have some combination of these 4: USB2, Fire wire 400, Fire wire 800 and E-sata. USB2 preferred by PC and Fire wire 400 preferred by Mac can handle the same speed of transfer between your computer and the hard drive. Fire wire 800 about doubles that and E-sata about doubles Fire wire 800. The transfer rate between your computer is important for two reasons. If you are just taking files from your drive and loading it into your computer it takes about 1 GIG a minute at USB2 speed to transfer the data. 40 gigs of data take 40 minutes. If you want to play the data from your drive on your computer without transferring it to your computer then the connection speed must support the data rate needed to play the data. This is critical for all computer devices both external and internal. Since 1 minute of Super8 stored at 10 Bit uncompressed HD in 23:98 PSF is about 8 Gigabytes per minute. You need some killer speed to play this file in real time. But no matter how slow your computer is you can transfer the data to your computer or just access the data from the drive, compress it and you can play it.
Some Basic Rough Super8 Numbers: Super8 @ (Mpeg2 DVD) 40 Megabytes per minuteSuper8@ (Dv compressed) 250 Megabytes per minuteSuper8@ (10Bit SD) 2 Gigabytes Per minuteSuper8 @ (10Bit HD @ 23:98PSF) 8 Gigabytes per minute To get the best encoding you have to start with the best digital version of Super8. We usually go directly from Super8 to SDI video (Serial Digital 4:2:2) into the encoder We can also go to digital tape then from tape to the encoder with the same quality provided we are always encoding from a higher quality source. For Mpeg2 we could first go to Mini DV. (Serial Digital 4:1:1) with the same quality as 4:2:2 but we would not make a 10 bit file from taking this path. We would have to go to Digital Beta. If you transfer Super8 to VHS and then encode to DVD verse Super8 to SDI 4:2:2 to DVD. The quality difference will be amazing. You never want to transfer from a high quality medium to a low quality and then back to a high quality. This is true with all image forms including the new world of images on computer. A big mistake would be to put Super8 directly on Mpeg2 DVD if you want to edit it with a program that uses DV compression. You will see a significant loss of quality when transcoding from MPEG2 to Dv compressed. If you transfer Super8 to Dv Compressed then edit and make a DVD with the same system you will see a significant improvement in quality. Within the computer world as with all images you can always transfer between one form and another and can even get this encoder for free on the internet. But there are different quality levels of encoders and you never want to go from low to high quality when you have a higher quality to begin with.


The best quality computer file of Super 8 in standard definition would be a 10 bit uncompressed file. These files are big so prepare to keep this on a large storage device like an external hard drive. Calculate your need at approximately 2 Gig per minute for Standard Def and 8 Gig in High Def. You will probably not be able to play this large file on you current computer system. But you can bring this file into your world then using your edit program to compress them down to a size your present system can handle.
At this time at Pro8mm we are already working with many customers that get their Super8 scanned to HD and we deliver 10 bit uncompressed files on portable hard drives. These companies then transfer the files into there computer as needed and with their edit software compress the data to there desired project working standard. If a project is for the internet it has to be compressed down to the standard required to travel at internet speeds. A project on You Tube has to be 100Mb or less. Since that is just over 1 minute of DVD quality how do they do it? On a computer, the size of the image can be changed along with the number of frames per second. By making images smaller you can compact them much more than if they have to stay the standard size for television. You Tube, like so many of the internet world players have their own compression technology that will take what you send them and compress it to fit in their space. As you will no doubt experience the way this data gets compressed on the output makes a huge difference as to how it looks. You can take a look at a 1 minute sample of the 2006 Pro8mm demo up on You Tube I did several years ago (Search Pro8mm and look at A Super8 Sample) and you will see how badly the compressor handles my file. I uploaded from a 1 minute Mpeg4 .mov file that looks fantastic on my laptop. Compare this to a 6 minute version of the 2008 Pro8mm Demo we recently compressed to play on Flash on the Pro8mm new web site and you can see how important compression and the players are to the final quality of your work. Both of these come from the same standard def Digi Beta original transfer of Super8.
Compressing Super8 for small screen applications has some exciting possibilities for Super8. Because of the way compacting acts on an image the difference between originating on larger film such as Super16 and something shot on Super8 is much less apparent. Simply put the smaller you make an image the more difficult you will find judging what format it was produced on. The first time I viewed and internet music video I worked on I had to go back to my notes and check what format the job was originated on. Since I look at this type of material every day I was more than a little shocked that I could not tell weather it was Super8 or Super16. I completely enjoy the unique look of super8…. a uniqueness that is more apparent the larger you make it. It is also exciting to know that the smaller you make it, the easier it is to fool an audience into believing a production was produced at a much higher level.
When working toward an internet release or even DVD it is also possible to work with much smaller much more compressed files. You don’t need to start with a 10 bit version of your Super8 if your objective is the internet. You could have your film encoded with compression so you can work with much smaller files. In DV compressed, about 18 minutes of Super8 would fit on a DATA DVD. Since the file is small most computers will easily play the file and you don’t need a large storage device. Everything you do in editing will run much faster with smaller data. Big files require a lot of time to move. A terabyte of data traveling over a USB 2 connection between a computer and hard drive will take over 16 hours. This kind of slow movement is not a lot of fun when you’re up against a deadline. So although 10 bit is the best in terms of information, it may not be the most practical if you want to rapidly get out a project for DVD or the Internet . . . The world of images is ever changing and you will no doubt discover new and interesting ways to work with Super8. Every day I see a project that pushes the way we understand the limits and the possibilities of Super8 film. New technology is often an incredible way to enhance what we already enjoy. What I find so interesting about Super8 is how adaptable and enjoyable the look is not only on Super8, but on video, on a computer, in a theater, in High Definition, or even downloaded on the internet.