Monday, January 29, 2007

"Love Song to Super-8" -blog04 - camera experiences

Our Super-8 experience is going to depend on how well 25+ year old secondhand cameras have survived. We have started out with 4 cameras on "Love Song to Super-8". In brief: a Canon 814E is looking like the champion.
In detail:
Canon 814E - lens performance unknown as yet, we have had one mediocre EIA1956 result of 500 horiz line pairs but that was with way outdated b/w film with dodgy processing - so we don't really know. BUT the Canon is standing out as giving rock steady registration. My guess is that it has a better(lower) tension on its take-up clutch than the others. The others just pull too hard.

Sankyo 620 SuperTronic - reasonable lens performance = about 550 line pairs horiz, small registration jiggle. Kinda average. Dedicated animation stand camera on this project so it can live permanently with a close-up lens and a vertical mount.

Sankyo ES44 - low-light champion but failed on set just whirring and not transporting. My guess is that a release solenoid has failed or jammed. It lasted just long enough to get an action scene where we ran the ES44 at 9 frames per second and got the actors to act out in slow motion movement - aiming for a strange quality of movement when sped back up in post. Changing between cameras is a trap - under pressure I forgot to pay attention to the ES44's unusual daylight filter switch so did an entire scene (fortunately) set to daylight while lit with artificial light. We anxiously await the result back from the lab. Maybe it will make sense as an orange-toned scene? Maybe we can correct digitally?

Chinon Pacific 200/8 XL - this is a good-looking and nicely ergonomic unit to use and our EIA1956 tests are showing excellent lens performance up to 720 line pairs horizontal which rivals HD cameras. BUT its registration is awful. Bad jiggle and one sequence shows film going momentarily out of focus which IMO is the gate spring bending under pressure. This hints at the awful truth. The take-up transport just pulls with too much tension. Just putting a finger on it makes that very clear. We've pulled this camera off the project and replaced with the Canon 814E but I am trying to figure out how to reduce that take-up tension. I have been able to partially dismantle by easily removing the film chamber backplate but I can't see enough yet to get many clues. This would be a brilliant camera if I could fix its transport problems.

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