Super 8 mm film

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Super 8 mm film (often simply called Super 8) 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 rebate opposite the perforations for an oxide stripe upon which sound can be magnetically recorded.

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.

Contents

The Kodak Super 8 system

Launched in 1965, Super 8 film comes in plastic light-proof cartridges containing coaxial supply and take-up spools loaded with 50 feet of film. This was enough film for 2.5 minutes at the U.S. motion picture professional 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, for a total of approximately 3,600 frames per film cartridge. A 200-foot 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. 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. 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 though and not all cartridges are notched correctly such as Kodak Vision2 200T. See also http://super8wiki.com/index.php/Super_8_Cartridge_Notch_Ruler for a proper guide to how the notches work and finding compatibility with various camera models. Canon also keeps an exhaustive list of their Super 8 cameras with detailed specifications on what film speeds can be used with their cameras at http://www.canon.com/camera-museum/camera/cine/series_8mc.html. 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.

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