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Straight 8, S8, 16mm?

  1. Alex Hawley
    Wow, the options on film movie cameras are mind boggling. I must confess to recently getting a d***** camcorder to begin my cinematic forays with. Its sure a lot less inexpensive to start with. All that aside, has anyone figured out if going 16mm is significantly more expensive than straight-8 or super8? Looking at camera prices, it looks like one can get a decent 16mm Bolex for the same amount of change as a good Super 8. I'm not considering professional telecine in this estimate because that seems exorbitant no matter which film format is used.
  2. David A. Goldfarb
    David A. Goldfarb
    My sense is that if you're going to shoot neg and telecine, then it's not that much more costly to move up to 16mm. If you're going to shoot reversal, splice and project the old fashioned way, then there is some cost advantage to the smaller formats.
  3. tiberiustibz
    tiberiustibz
    Well, I've only done super8. As much as you want to argue about it, super8 is shot mostly for effect these days. The grain is very visible, and this is a positive. You can shoot feature films on 16mm. It's expensive, though, but much less so than 35 or 70mm. I don't know what you mean by straight-8. The two other formats are double-8/regular-8 which is 99.9% outdated by super8 or single 8 which is a wonderful format, the Fuji system, which unfortunately is only produced in a limited amount of film stocks. It allows full rewind allowing you to film in reverse(!) for more than 5 seconds and uses an in camera pressure plate for more stable images.

    Super 8 is great for learning film and playing around, plus shooting for effect (try removing the film gate and filing it along the side opposite the sprocket hole. With proper telecine, you can acheive close to 16x9 aspect ratio.). If you seriously want to film something, 16mm will work but is much more expensive.
  4. ic-racer
    ic-racer
    I have three 8mm bolexes and at one time considered getting a 16mm also. To get the same running time that I have with the 8mm bolex I would need the big 400' magazine sitting on top of the camera. For the same square area of film the 8mm camera takes 4 exposures to 1 of 16mm. That, coupled with a slower speed (18fps, vs 24fps) yields a considerable savings for 8mm.

    16mm 400' Trix = 75.00 + $.15 per foot processing = $135

    8mm 100' CineX = 27.00 + $13.00 processing & splitting = $40

    Estimates based on B&W reversal film from John Schwind and processing at Prep Film Services.
  5. Alex Hawley
    Alex Hawley
    Thanks ic-racer. I was hoping someone had a comparison like that. Pretty much settles the question.
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