SUPER 8 SCHOOL
- Petra Chevrier's Tips
on Buying Projector Bulbs -
- Exclusive Film Lab's Tips
for Shooting Super 8 -
- Super 8 Equipment Repair
Super 8 Camera Functions
A Check List by John Porter, 2009
1. Film Compartment ... 2. Batteries
... 3. Battery Testers ... 4. Power Controls
5. Shooting Speeds ...... 6. Single-Framing,
7. Footage Counter ........ 8. Exposure ........ 9. Variable Shutter
10. In-Camera Filter ..... 11. Viewfinder ..... 12. Lens ..... 13. Zoom,
1. Film Compartment
Open on the side of most cameras, on the back of some. Slide the
film in, L-R, gate first. The film's label will be seen in the little
window on the side of the camera, after closing. Notches
on the film cartridge set the camera's Auto Exposure Meter to the film's
Loading is usually in the pistol grip or film compartment. Check
for corroded contacts.
Motor - 2, 3, 4, or 6 “penlight” or "AA"
batteries. A few cameras use "AAA" batteries.
Exposure Meter - some meters run on 1 or 2 watch or “button”
batteries, harder to find.
Better when the camera's motor and meter both run on the same set of common
3. Battery Testers for the Motor Batteries
and Exposure Meter Batteries
Motor - push button on outside of camera, view indicator on outside
or in the viewfinder.
Some Exposure Meter Indicators also serve as the Motor Battery Tester
Meter - watch the Exposure Meter Indicator on outside of the camera
or in the viewfinder, while aiming the camera at differently lit subjects.
Some cameras' Exposure Meters are activated by squeezing the trigger partially.
4. Power Controls (some
- On/Off Switch
- Lock (to prevent accidental shooting), and Lock Run (to
run camera without holding it). - Remote Control: electric "sub-mini
phono" or screw hole, for inserting a cable release.
- Self-timer: delays the start run, then runs for a set length
of time, then auto-stops.
5. Shooting Speeds (in
frames per second)
Normal - all cameras are 18fps, many have 24fps as well. The same
Slow-Motion - 36fps, 48fps, etc. Shoot at 24fps then show at 18fps
for slight Slow-Motion. Fast-Motion - 12fps, 9fps, etc. Shoot at
18fps then show at 24fps for slight Fast-Motion.
6. Single Framing (some
“SF” or “1”, for animation or pixilation.
May work only with a remote control cable release.
Intervalometer: in increments (1 frame every 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 30,
60 seconds) or variable.
7. Footage Counter
50 feet or 15 metres in a cartridge lasts 3:20 minutes at 18fps,
or 2:30 minutes at 24fps. The advance may be indicated by “Start-50”,
"S-50", “0-50”, “50-0”, “50-End”,
Some start at "0", others end at "0", and some
will end earlier or later than the film!
The counter resets to "0" when the camera is opened,
so if mid-cartridge, note how far.
All cameras have Auto (“A”), many have Manual (“M”)
as well. Better to have both.
Use Manual to fix the exposure at a constant while moving among differently-lit
Some cameras have an Auto Lock or Hold instead of Manual,
but it's more awkward.
Aperature: variable "iris" in the lens, changes exposure
in "stops" (16, 11, 8, 5.6, 4, 2.8). Back-Light Control (“BL”
or “+”): Increases all exposures a little, while still
on Auto Exposure, to expose dark areas in the frame, such as people
back-lit or in shadow.
Some cameras have "+1, +2, -1, -2" for controlling exposure
even more while still on Auto.
All cameras' shutter speeds are about 1/43 second at 18fps, and
1/60 second at 24fps. Variable Shutter: some cameras can open to
1/30 sec., and longer for time-exposures.
Fade-In / Fade-Out, or Dissolve: closes & opens shutter,
rewinds. Manual or automatic.
10. In-Camera Filter
All cameras contain an orange filter behind the lens for shooting indoor
colour film outdoors (which is a bue light) or under flourescent lights
(which are green).
When shooting daylight colour film, or black & white film, move
the filter away
by using a switch on some cameras, or by inserting the included
flat metal “key”,
or a common "machine bolt", into the movie-light receptacle
on the top of the camera.
Close the Viewfinder (some cameras): for shooting w/o your eye
held to the viewfinder.
Diopter - Focus the Viewfinder for your eye. A subject should appear
in focus when its known distance, and the distance shown on the lens focussing
ring, are the same.
The easiest way - set the lens at "infinity", then focus the
diopter on a far distant subject. Some cameras have a Diopter Lock.
A good Eye Cup makes viewing a lot easier.
Most cameras have a permanent zoom lens, not interchangeable lenses
nor a fixed lens. Clean it carefully - a blower-brush for dust,
then lens tissue with lens fluid for fingerprints. A "Skylight",
"UV" or "1A" filter protects the lens without
effecting colour or exposure.
Focus, Depth-of-Field ("Depth-of-Focus") on side of the
lens. May change w/ zooming!
Many cameras are difficult to focus through the viewfinder. Confirm with
the lens markings. Lens Shade (some are permanent): blocks side-light
from confusing the Auto Exposure. Lens Cap protects the lens when
not shooting. Good to use, easy to lose.
Manual or Power: Power Zoom may have 2 different speeds - fast
Switch off "Power Zoom" when manually zooming. Manual
is easier with a Zoom Lever. Macro: usually the Zoom Lever
lifted past one of the Zoom ends. Focus with the Zoom.
Super 8 Equipment
Bathurst & Eglinton Streets, Toronto
Cell Phone: 416-669-7911
Russ (ex-Kominek Cameras)
Bathurst & Queen Streets, Toronto
russ at kominek dot com
Jean-Louis, Concordia University, Montreal
Repairing super 8 and 16mm equipment since 1985, 16mm Bolex cameras his
Expert at converting Bolex cameras to Super 16!
bolextech at gmail dot com
Du-All Camera, New York City
Repairs, sales, rentals, including super 8 cameras,
for over 40 years, close to Penn Station and Madison Square Garden.
Super 16, Inc., Newark Valley, New
Servicing and repairing super 8, 16mm, Super 16 and 35mm cameras,
in the Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York.
Some Tips on Buying Projector Bulbs
by Petra Chevrier, November 2009
Some USA sellers on ebay won't ship outside the
will, at good prices, including DJL bulbs, used on some super 8
Usually, if one searches diligently through all the sellers
listing, say, under "djl bulb", there will be one or two who
will ship to Canada, if not Worldwide. Also, if you can't find
anyone, then try sending an e-mail to the biggest sellers asking
if they will make an exception, if you pay full shipping costs
and buy 2 or 3 bulbs. "Please" and "Thank You" helps.
Many will be OK with Canada, as they can use US mail pretty easily.
Then, in a desperate and urgent situation, where cost becomes
less and less of an issue, you can go to donsbulbs.com.
Though costly, it’s a really useful site, see for example.
This website is amazing because it gives all the specs for every
bulb known to mankind. And you can search his database for
any bulbs with a given parameter set, such as "12 V", "100
Watt" with a "tube" type envelope, say. This is a very
useful tool, when you don’t have the bulb 3-letter code,
or only know a few things about the bulb you are seeking. (Usually I can
measure the voltage from the device, and at the very least, I know what
type of base it needs, then I can look in the Donsbulbs database
to see what bulbs this includes – their wattage, their filament
height above the base, etc.) With some careful searching, and comparison
with his list of manufacturers, you can identify the correct
bulb for a given job. But, as I said, the prices are a bit on the steep
side compared with ebay. In his defense, Don has very rare bulbs
not available on ebay.
In addition, there is Atlanta
Light Bulbs in Georgia. Also quite cheap, but they
might need a credit card -- not sure about that. They also carry
Xenon bulbs for reasonable prices, something hard to find
on the other sites. And Don is very overpriced for Xenon bulbs.