Cinematography Mailing List - CML

Super-8 Look With 16mm

I have a short turn around S16 TV commercial shortly. Within this commercial we have the need to produce a super 8 look for one shot, I was wondering if anyone has tried to change out for a custom GG that has the equivalent neg area of super 8 when transfered on a telecine chain? I was thinking of marking up a ground glass and shooting a framing chart that would then be the transfered area. Any idea of a good stock for this application and the effective area in comparison with the total super 16 neg area. I was also looking at giving the transfer a colour twist to simulate a print that had badly aged, any thoughts on the progress of time on a 70s shot colour photo?

Shooting Super 8 isn't an option for steady issues and transfer complication reasons.

Nick Paton

>Film & Digital Cinematographer

Brisbane, Australia

Hi Nick,

Shoot the S8 stuff as standard 16mm. Use a quick stock (500 or 800) and overexpose by five or six stops, then bring it back in TK. That approach will give you a beautiful interpretation of what you are after, increased grain and 'faded' pastel color. It may or may not be easier than making up a special gg and chart. Good luck.

Anders Uhl


New York

Anders Uhl wrote:

>Shoot the S8 stuff as standard 16mm. Use a quick stock (500 or 800) and >overexpose by five or six stops, then bring it back in TK.

I just did some tests on a Quadra last week and we weren't really able to revive anything over 4 stops to reasonable results (I was testing 7277). I also didn't see enough grain in it to pass as S8. Maybe better results are to be had on a better telecine (or maybe a crummier one). But I do agree that several stops of overexposure is a good place to start, and the idea of punching in on a smaller piece of the image sounds like a good one.

Frazer Bradshaw

DP San Francisco

I must disagree slightly with Anders Uhl's suggestion to shoot Standard 16 and under (or over) expose.

I think what gives Super 8 is special look is the following :

1) small negative image area

2) unique relationship between frame rate and shutter angle and

3) lack of registration.

Most of the Beaulieu Super 8 camera's offer 2 shutter angles (90 deg and 135 deg in a guillotine format) and a variety of non-crystal frame rates from 4 to 24 fps. The non-standard shutter angles combined with the super enlargement of film grains (4x greater than in 16mm) and the relative lack of steadiness at the point of exposure are what makes the appearance of Super 8 unique, in my mind. Overexposure only gets you part way there. If you're in a large market, you should be able to daylight your Super 8 and get it back relatively quickly.

Chris Taylor

Director of Photography

Once had a similar shoot but in B/W. Shot some footage with the lens cap on. Then overdeveloped Used the zoom in TK (various zooms - different sized grain) Then made a 5 seconds loop of the desired grain. Did some kind of dissolve (not exactly that, but can't remember 7 years ago) over the commercial footage. Came out very nice.

I agree on over exposing the commercial footage and bringing it down on TK Maybe you can achieve the unregistered look by tranfering the commercial footage two or three times, each time slightly differently off centered and "weaving" them together in post. (get the same tc) Varying the shutter angle to emulate S-8 also seems the way to go. Also could do subtle speed changes.(Low Battery / Sticky Cartridge kind of look) Punching into a smaller frame area apears uncomfortable if you want some wide angle shots.

Hope this helps

>Alejandro Garcia Wiedemann


I describe what you mention, marking the g.g. and shooting a framing chart in my SuperChart manual:


but it would probably be easier to just shoot some high speed stock pushed a couple of stops ... however I would try to use one of the older stocks such as 7296. The T-grain stocks are just too fine grained.


What about Kodachrome K25 (there is some 16mm around ), shutter 220¡, 18 fps, handheld , old lens type, and reframe in TK?


Manny from Munich

Hello everybody at CML,

I recently tried to mimic the S-8mm look as follows: shot on Fuji 250T, pushed 2 stops, overexposed one stop, Coral #2 on the lens, full-straw on HMIs (interior-day), strong side-light, no-fill, blow-up printed on Agfa positive (camera original super-16). T/C transfer (on a Quadra), from the positive: it provided us with a very high-contrast look, reddish skin tones and of course grain ; the "super-8-look" is, IMHO, the result of very low exposure latitude combined with people's perception of it as "warm"; the bestway to achieve its various versions is to transfer from positive stock(as opposed to negative or low-con print).

Another way to go could be the use of 16mm reversal camera - original and cross-processing: check out the 'dream-sequences' & 'paradise-section' of Mike Figgis' "The loss of sexual innocence" beautifully photographed by Benoit Delhomme...

Dimitris Theodoropoulos


Frazer Bradshaw wrote :

>I just did some tests on a Quadra last week and we weren't really able to revive >anything over 4 stops to reasonable results (I was testing 7277).

I've had beautiful results with 5274 six stops overexposed transferred on a Spirit. I would assume that 16mm would increase the grain/noise and fall apart a little further. Obviously, one needs a reasonable amount of contrast with this approach, but it works very nicely IMHO. No, it wont be identical to Super 8, but I'm sure that Nick would just shoot Super 8 if he could. I would hazard a guess that the point would not be to replicate S8 film precisely, but to make a creative interpretation of a feeling generated by that look. That was why I made the suggestion that I did. If I'm totally off base ;-) perhaps an amateur 16mm camera would help with reg. issues? Or just shoot the chart as S8, but I would go for the faded look in camera as much as possible. There are many ways to skin a negative.

Anders Uhl


New York

I once had to create this effect on a feature I was shooting in Standard 16mm that went to answer print. I wasn't able to consider changing frame rates or punching in on the negative.

I dug out my oldest short-end of 7296, combined a heavy coral filter with a light fog filter, shot right at T22 for the depth of field and the diffraction effect that reduces resolution, and underexposed about 2-3 stops (it was 5 years ago so I don't remember the stop any better than that.

Most importantly, I handed my 16SR over to the director, who had never really held a camera before. It was important that the framing be a little off, and the hand-held not too smooth. The focus was set at 12 feet and taped off, and I told him to go ahead and use the zoom if he felt it right.

The effect was totally convincing on the video dailies, but I was surprised that it really was effective on the print as well (with some nice timing by DuArt).

If I needed to do it again, and it was for video transfer, I'd try to shoot reversal and would punch in on the negative. I'd shoot 18fps, and transfer at 15fps, which would create a slight slow motion effect and enhance the grain.

Of course, it is always better to just shoot real Super-8. But sometimes you have to fake it.

Jorge Diaz-Amador

Cinematographer/ Camera Technician

Laced an ARRI ST with a 100' roll of 7248. The camera had a variable speed motor set at about 18 fps and a low battery which kept the speed nicely inconsistent. I shot handheld and did a bit of zooming and focusing on the lens every now and then. I also played with the aperture a little.

After I had the stock developed and printed we projected the roll onto a sheet of white diffusion and shoot it at 24 fps, open lens, same stock and camera. In other words back-projection. Everything was about 1.5 to 2 stops over. The exposure was brightest at the center, getting a little dimmer towards the edges. The stock was also nicely scratched and a little soft but kept the hard contrast.

We didn't use any filters so everything turned a little blueish which definitely worked for the amateur feel, but next time I will make it warmer and probably try some of the advice I've read here.

Daniel Loher

Director of Photography

I'm familiar with a 16mm fake Super-8 process, that's relatively easy. It's the closest I've seen to that Super 8 home movie look originating on 16mm.

Assuming you've got the stop, shoot Regular 16 Kodak 7240 (asa 80 daylight) reversal. Underexpose 2/3 of a stop.

Use an older reflex cam (e.g. wind up Bolex, Krasnagorsk-3) or the parallax Filmo 70. Operate hand held.

Use a #1 Coral filter. If you can't get an older style zoom lens, add a 1/4-1/2 promist (or equiv).

Shoot at 18 fps. Process normal, make a work print. Run the work print through an older 16mm projector (or flatbed if you've got it) a few times then add any "additional" scratching if your projector/flatbed are in really good shape.

If you shot 7240 have the footage optically printed on Super-16 (79 or 98), your work print (Reg 16) will run at 18 fps, with any reduction zoom/horizontal placement you desire. Your printer (S-16) will run at 24fps. You'll add grain and loose a little sharpness. Bonus points if can get a well place hair or two in the projection gate at this step as well ;o)

If you have to shoot 7251 Ektachrome have your OP work done on slower speed stock.

If you are using a Bolex and looking for that tell-tale S-8 "roll out" look, make sure you have a light source near the taking T-stop smacking the side of the camera with the gel filter holder. Remove the filter holder and cover the gap with 3 layers of black gaf tape. Then just remove the tape at will when you want that effect.

If you use a Krasnagorsk with it's stock 5-1 zoom use at least a #1 promist (or eqiv, lee, tiffen, mitchel..etc)

Illya Friedman

>Camera Assistant (and I shoot a little on the side)

Van Nuys, CA

Do you have the option of shooting this sequence on reversal film? Highspeed reversal several stops over and under should give you the look you are after. You may want to include shots that are over and under exposed. I find that most home movie etc, have very inconsistant exposure and spots of fogging. Flash frames at the head and tail of shots also helps to sell the gag. Good luck.

Rob Skates


Redford, MI

I've had good luck simulating 8mm on 16mm as follows: shoot color neg, such as 7248, but overexpose a stop or two. Compose your stuff using only the center third of the frame and blow it up to fill full TV in the transfer... you won't get very wide shots, but none of those Super 8 cameras had very wide lenses anyway. You'll get the grain, softness, etc. that look like 8mm. What stock you shoot isn't that crucial.

Main thing: shoot and transfer at 18 or 16 fps. And one of the other looks that help is a bit of dirt, hairs, etc. Get some clear leader or clear camera negative (developed, unexposed stock), unwind it onto the floor of your office, roll it back up and transfer it on your telecine with positive, not negative setting: you want a clear (white or light grey) field with black dirt and hairs (also at 16 fps, also blown up, so the shmutz has the right scale). Add these artifacts to your footage to taste with a luminance key.

Get your film-to-tape guy to disable his cleaning roller and switch off the noise reducer on the telecine...

Skip Roessel NYC

Skip Roessel wrote :

>Get your film-to-tape guy to disable his cleaning roller and switch off the noise >reducer on the telecine...

You'll get white dust if you thread around the PTRs... black dust is more appropriate. If you want a more accurate look from 16mm color neg, you might print the film before telecine-ing it -- you'll get more contrast and the appropriate color dirt (and you can scratch the print if you choose -- just project it 20x in a dirty projector, and transfer on a telecine that doesn't hide dirt -- a Spirit isn't a good choice here).

Jeff "sadly, has gotten this effect very naturally" Kreines

A few weeks ago I needed some Super8 looking shots on 16mm. I shot on Super8 7240 using a Chinon camera and then projected those images onto a flat white screen and shot them on S16. It looked very good and very Super8. The Super8 was shot and projected at 18 fps.

Butch Calderwood ACS

Sydney OZ

Clean foamcore can make for an interesting re-photography screen, you can get a kind of halo-ey glow to things...

(Get the "no rem jet look" too maybe )

-Sam "it doesn't fold or roll up too well" Wells

Since Kodachrome 40 is available in S-8 as well as 16/S-16 I think perhaps it would be a good choice. Kodachrome 25 (available 16 only,why not S-8, I wonder). I have shot other reversals (7239, 40, 51 and Tri-X B&W), but not the Kodachrome stuff.

Could someone please expand on the difference between the ektachrome and the kodachrome? I know the 5285 (100D) and Velvia (50D) are a different breed E-6 process. It seems like the kodachrome is a different process from the ektachrome. I think all can be cross processed. (I'm not implying that the fuji or 5285 should be used to simulate S-8, lol...)

And as absurd as it sounds, what would B&W stocks look cross processed? (B&W reversal~>B&W negative or B&W processed in color negative soup? Now that would disrupt a lab-pretty much out to lunch...

John Babl


Kodachrome is dye-added, so no cross processing....also Kod25 has been discontinued......too bad, it was the finest grain film ever.....and has a very, very long storage life (better than 50 yrs without fading).

Al Satterwhite


> Why don't you do the simple thing and actually shoot Super 8

Availability of processing in Australia and turnaround and lack of good chains in S8. Also the shots need to be able to approximate a dissolved lock off of a girl growing up, I can easily calculate matching lenses etc. shooting on S16 and mixing it up a little with stock, development etc. Even if it means going in on the neg, I can use the video split, a chinagraph and knowing the focal length and zoom required I can match it back approximately to a S16 non zoomed shot. A little fudge here and there.

Any validity in using a magenta or cyan swing to give the impression that one of these die layers may have unevenly faded in comparison to other layers, maybe the use of some of the CC filters? Any numbers appreciated.

Can't obviously use a zoom on this job although I'd like to. Considering shooting and transfering at 18fps as I think we have some sync dialogue involved. Like the idea of striking a wokprint to transfer from or using one of the VNF films. Thinking about overexposing to get that little bit out of control look, (how far over do you think you might go?) diffusion sounds good (white promist in a 1/4 or 1/2). Keep the suggestions coming!!!

Nick Paton

>Film & Digital Cinematographer

Super-8 Tips

If you're just trying to see what sorts of different looks you can come up with, I've had some success doing grunge transfers by using a variable speed Super8 projector (found at a thrift store) projected onto a grey piece of foamcore. You just turn the speed knob till the flicker dissapears. Just shoot the screen direct. It's close enough for fooling around. Then you can tilt the screen during the shot, wavy glass in the light beam, etc etc. Who needs Aftereffects anyways?!

>If you're just trying to see what sorts of different looks you can come up with, I've had >some success doing grunge transfers by using a variable speed Super8 projector >(found at a thrift store) projected onto a grey piece of foamcore.

The director beat you to it. He projected the negative on a wall and shot the image with a DV-cam in "negative" mode. He got a nice usable positive image. We shot under fluorescent lights at 18 fps and ended up with a cool old-fashioned strobe. (He decided he didn't want to pay $100/roll for video transfer.)

>Can anyone tell me if there are any alternatives to Super 8 Sound for Super 8 >processing and telecine?

no one else does negative, but as posted before, duanes in parsons, kansas processes s8 kodachrome, bono labs in arlington, va processes e-6, vnf, and bw reversal pac labs in nyc processes vnf and bw reversal.

i've telecined s8 at riot santa monica with a rented gate ($400) as well as at image group in nyc. brodsky and tredwell in massachusetts are s8 transfer specialists and tape house in nyc also owns a gate.

Toshiaki Ozawa



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