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                      SUPER 8'S MOVIES




Super 8 mm film is a motion picture film format released in 1965 by Eastman Kodak as an improvement of the older "Double" or "Regular" 8 mm home movie format. The film is nominally 8 mm wide, exactly the same as the older standard 8 mm film, and also has perforations on only one side. However, the dimensions of the perforations are smaller than those on older 8 mm film, which allowed the exposed area to be made larger. The Super 8 standard also specifically allocates the border opposite the perforations for an oxide stripe upon which sound can be magnetically recorded.

Unlike other "super" gauges such as Super 16 and Super 35, the film stock used for Super 8 is not compatible with standard 8mm film cameras. There are several different varieties of the film system used for shooting, but the final film in each case has the same dimensions. By far the most popular system was the Kodak system.

Super 8 film comes in plastic light-proof cartridges containing coaxial supply and take-up spools loaded with 50 feet (15 m) of film, with 72 frames per foot, for a total of approximately 3,600 frames per film cartridge. This was enough film for 2.5 minutes at the professional motion picture standard of 24 frames per second, and for 3 minutes and 20 seconds of continuous filming at 18 frames per second (upgraded from Standard 8 mm's 16 frame/s) for amateur use. A 200-foot (61 m) cartridge later became available which could be used in specifically designed cameras, but that Kodak cartridge is no longer produced. Super 8 film was typically a reversal stock. Kodak makes two types of reversal film in this format today; one color (Ektachrome 100D/7285) and one black and white (Tri-X/7266). The Ektachrome 64T stock has recently been discontinued along with the 100d stock. In addition to reversals, Kodak also offers two negative stocks (Vision3 200T/7213 and Vision3 500T/7219). In the 1990s Pro-8 mm pioneered custom loading of several Super 8 stocks, and their current inventory mirrors closely what is currently available to the professional cinematographer from Kodak and Fuji. Today Super 8 color negative film is available directly from Kodak for professional use and is typically transferred to video through the telecine process for use in television advertisement, music videos and other film projects.

The Super 8 plastic cartridge is probably the fastest loading film system ever developed, as it can be loaded into the Super 8 camera in less than two seconds without the need to directly thread or even touch the film. In addition, coded notches cut into the Super 8 film cartridge exterior allowed the camera to recognize the film speed automatically. Not all cameras can read all the notches correctly, however, and not all cartridges are notched correctly (such as Kodak Vision2 200T). Canon keeps an exhaustive list of their Super 8 cameras with detailed specifications on what film speeds can be used with their cameras. Usually, testing one cartridge of film can help handle any uncertainty a filmmaker may have about how well their Super 8 camera reads different film stocks. Color stocks were generally available only in tungsten (3400K), and almost all Super 8 cameras come with a switchable daylight filter built in, allowing for both indoor and outdoor shooting.

The original Super 8 film release was a silent system only, but in 1973 a sound on film version was released. The sound film had a magnetic soundtrack and came in larger cartridges than the original because the cartridge had to accommodate the sound recording head in the film path. Sound film also requires a longer film path (for smoothing the film movement before it reached the recording head), and a second aperture for the recording head. Sound cameras were compatible with silent cartridges, but not vice versa. Sound film was typically filmed at a speed of 18 or 24 frames per second. Kodak discontinued the production of Super 8 sound film in 1997, citing environmental regulations as the reason (the adhesive used to bond the magnetic track to the film was environmentally hazardous).

Kodak still manufactures several color and black-and-white Super 8 reversal film stocks, but in 2005 announced the discontinuation of the most popular stock Kodachrome due to the decline of facilities equipped for the K-14 process. Kodachrome was "replaced" by a new ISO 64 Ektachrome, which used the simpler E-6 process. The last roll of Kodachrome was processed on January 18, 2011 (although announced last date of processing was December 30, 2010) in Parsons, Kansas, by the sole remaining lab capable of processing the format.

Super 8 film stocks other than Kodachrome—from color and black and white reversal, to color negative—can be processed same day in several labs around the world.

In April 2010, Kodak announced the discontinuation of Plus-X and E64T. In the same press release, they also announced that they would be replacing E64T with a Super-8 version of Ektachrome 100D, a popular reversal stock available to 16mm and 35mm users. Previous to Kodak's announcement, the stock had been supplied by third-party vendors such as Yale Film & Video, Pro8mm and Spectra Film and Video in the United States, and Witter Kinotechnik in Germany.

Kodak does not offer processing for its black and white Super-8 films, preferring instead to refer its users to third-party processors.

Kodak has also introduced several Super 8 negative stocks cut from their Vision film series, ISO 200 and ISO 500 which can be used in very low light. Kodak reformulated the emulsions for the B&W reversal stocks Plus-X (ISO 100) and Tri-X (ISO 200), in order to give them more sharpness. Many updates of film stocks are in response to the improvement of digital video technology. The growing popularity and availability of non-linear editing systems has allowed film-makers to shoot Super 8 film but edit on video, thereby avoiding much of the scratches and dust that can accrue when editing the actual film. Super 8 Films may be transferred through telecine to video and then imported into computer-based editing systems. Along with the computer editing option a number of enthusiasts still choose to edit super 8 film with a viewer and rewinds and then project their edit master on a film projector and movie screen.

In December 2012, Kodak discontinued the last 'official' colour reversal stock for Super 8, Ektachrome 100D, and released Vision 50D negative to the Super 8 format. This can be printed to a Super 8 positive by Andec or transferred to digital. The cost of printing negative is higher than developing reversal for shooters who wish to project their movie. The only 'official' reversal film still being manufactured by Kodak is Tri-X which is a monochrome emulsion.









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