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Author Topic: Is Super 8 doomed???????
Brad Kimball
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1171
From: Highland Mills, NY USA
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted September 20, 2003 01:05 AM      Profile for Brad Kimball   Email Brad Kimball   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Well..........So, what happens when eventually our projectors go kaput and we have all this film we've invested in? There aren't any new projectors to be had and the 2nd hand ones on EBAY are becoming more scarce by the day. What do we all do?

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Tony Milman
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1336
From: United Kingdom
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted September 20, 2003 03:09 AM      Profile for Tony Milman   Author's Homepage   Email Tony Milman   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Well, of more concern are those engineers who know how to fix them. If anything kills it off it will be the inability to get repairs done.

I suspect there are lots of projectors stuck in attics and the like which have yet to be found. Many of those who could afford cine are still alive and have forgotten their projectors etc etc.

Eventually it will die- it has to- look at the average age of the cine buff ? I suspect around 60 although if you add in Ian of Perry's that would just nudge it to over 85!

Let's not look at the negatives- where are the positives? Well, for a start their is no shortage of film around. You can still buy bulbs for projectors. We have this forum and people will always try to help each other out. Most of us run more than one projector-many built like tanks.etc etc

Keep smiling it may never happen!

Tony

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Tony

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Mark Todd
Film God

Posts: 3846
From: UK
Registered: Aug 2003


 - posted September 20, 2003 06:42 AM      Profile for Mark Todd   Email Mark Todd   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Firstly on Tony`s reckoning even if Ian is well over 100, he`s a bloody Star.
Just had a bit of bad luck on a purchase on ebay and Ian has restored my faith and hope in the hobby.

On whether its dead I do think in some ways it is heading there.
In cine there were a lot of people who just liked the thrill of the big picture, some even found rewinding etc a chuff on, changing reels and all that, my favourite bits.
I think those people will fall away and many have already and we will be left with the battle hardened nit wits who just love the fiddle factor and that certain something that really is " The Cin`e Bug" some of us just will not shift it, once its there.
But with video projection now so affordable and superb for the moeny, you really have to admit ot that I think super 8 will continue to decline, its inevitable.Especially once people see the new machines vid proj wise and what they can do.
All of the dealers and CHC and Derann especially do sterling work but things always move and change.
I expect prices will start to drop, well they already have and they will come down further but I think the prognossis for dealers is still fairly good as say the price they pay for a feature at say £70 then sell on at £120 will be a £30 buy £70 sell on thing with us wallies left actually possibly buying more stuff as it becomes cheaper, we few, we happy few, we band of brothers etc etc.
So I think the future`s bright but the futures smaller. much smaller in terms of numbers in the hobby.
best Mark.

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Steve Klare
Film Guy

Posts: 7016
From: Long Island, NY, USA
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted September 20, 2003 08:17 AM      Profile for Steve Klare   Email Steve Klare   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I've had a few thoughts on this subject. There is going to come a moment of truth when the stock of surviving projectors and cameras dwindle down to a few.

If there is still a lot of interest, the prices will sky rocket on E-bay. If enough of an opportunity is felt by someone with the means to do the work, there will be newly produced super-8 equipment. If not, That's All Folks!!

Right now, there is such a flood of used equipment that there is no point in tooling up for new stuff. I was vey happy to see CHC offer a really nice new projector last year, but by the same token I got a completely servicable Bolex SP-80 Special for $100 off E-bay, and I wasn't motivated to fork over $3,000. If the Bolex rose up over a grand I'd feel tempted to go for the new unit. (I am not saying my projector is just as good as the Fumeo, just that the Fumeo is not worth 30 times as much!)

A thought I've had recently Is that Moviestuff

http://www.moviestuff.tv/8mm_telecine.html

Does a nice little business building telecine units out of reconditioned GAF silent projectors. Couldn't they or someone like them choose a limited range of sound projectors, and recondition them as well. Maybe that way a lot of "shelf projectors" could return to business.

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All I ask is a wide screen and a projector to light her by...

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Mark Todd
Film God

Posts: 3846
From: UK
Registered: Aug 2003


 - posted September 20, 2003 08:29 AM      Profile for Mark Todd   Email Mark Todd   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I`ve often wondered whats the situation with Elmo or Fuji/Yelco, both did fine machines, fuji more recently on super. you can still buy new Elmo 16mm I see.
Are they still tooled up. Surely doing say a nice St180 but with a 150 watt lamp and two outs for stereo would be a far nore doable thing that the fumeo who were out of most film peoples reach even back then( that was worth a go though).
Maybe in japan there is still a warehouse full of the stuff.
Lets face it I think the only long term hope probably rests with us, can we get say a universal Elmo soundhead made reasonably.
I see Robin who tried with the Elmo spares for a while had little interest, and he did try.
best Mark.
Can the bauer soundheads be modifed to fit Elmo`s etc by the way.
best Mark.

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Joe Caruso
Film God

Posts: 4105
From: USA
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted September 20, 2003 03:28 PM      Profile for Joe Caruso   Email Joe Caruso   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
This has been said before - Like the poster collector and the tin-toy collector, will they ever die off? - No - What has yet to be published is a definitive edition on the repair and technical aspects of all projectors - No one has conceived this yet - To pass on information and know-how to the upcoming generation, is the only way to be certain that film collecting won't perish away - Not to worry, there will always be outlets for the collector - Shorty

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Kevin Faulkner
Film God

Posts: 4071
From: Essex UK
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted September 20, 2003 04:58 PM      Profile for Kevin Faulkner         Edit/Delete Post 
I take it you folk all saw Phil Sheards (CHS) latest news letter?
For those who didn't let me pass on the news that Phil is going to get sell sound heads for Elmo's (porbably remanufactured) and he is also going to be able to get the motors rewound and presumably supply carbon brushes.
It's dealers like this that we sould now be looking to suuport because if we don't then he won't offer the service.

Kevin [Smile]

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GS1200 Xenon with Elmo 1.0...great combo along with a 16-CL Xenon for that super bright white light.

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Paul Adsett
Film God

Posts: 5003
From: USA
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted September 21, 2003 02:06 PM      Profile for Paul Adsett     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I feel that as long as people want to collect and show 8mm films, they will be able to do so. The advent of computers and EBay has greatly increased the accessability of collectors to thousands of films and equipment throughout the World, as well as connecting with fellow collectors as we do here on this forum. People are still collecting 9.5mm films from the 1920's and successfully showing them on old Pathescope equipment from the 20's and 30's. Certainly Elmo and Eumig projectors are far better made than anything that Pathescope turned out, and can be expected to last a very long time. Of course 8mm film collecting always has been , and always will be a very small specialist market. The masses went to video long ago, because it is cheap and simple, and they have no interest in showmanship. But modern video equipment is probably more obsolete than 8mm equipment will ever be. Like computers, that DVD player, flat screen TV or expensive video projector that you buy today is practically without value 2 or 3 years from now, and used VHS and DVD's sell for pennies on the dollar. And even todays DVD'S will be obsolete in a few years when high definition DVD'S come out. In contrast, good cine equipment and films maintain or even increase in value as the years go by, and are a source of unending pleasure to the film collector.

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The best of all worlds- 8mm, super 8mm, 9.5mm, and HD Digital Projection,
Elmo GS1200 f1.0 2-blade
Eumig S938 Stereo f1.0 Ektar
Panasonic PT-AE4000U digital pj

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John Clancy
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1954
From: Cornwall
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted September 22, 2003 03:41 AM      Profile for John Clancy   Author's Homepage   Email John Clancy   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Bloody well said Paul.

I have a couple of video projectors. Both were great in their day (compared to anything else) but a few years later they're considered crap. If I purchase a new one today in three years time it's obsolete.

I have two Elmo GS-1200's and they are still the ultimate in terms of Super 8 film projection. Plus they're probably worth what I paid for them. By contrast my two video projectors are practically worthless.

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British Film Collectors Convention home page www.bfcc.biz. The site is for the whole of the film collecting hobby and not just the BFCC.

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Mark Todd
Film God

Posts: 3846
From: UK
Registered: Aug 2003


 - posted September 22, 2003 07:24 AM      Profile for Mark Todd   Email Mark Todd   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hi john well I have to say I still rate video projection, however it will never dim the thrill of the real films etc for me.
It does ahve its uses even just for the films you can not get and never will on film like Zulu and mine bought second hand stands me at about £1 an hour for films watched up to now and decreasing with every watching. Also saves the projectors a bit too or I`d be wearing them all out.
But its not the same and with it you can get that half way though switch of yourself or the button syndrome.Not with lovely film.
I don`t know about others but often on a night I start to twitch and only fishing out the old elmo and having a good proper cine fiddle and film will put me right.
I`m going to make a bit more effort putting folks this way you come into contact with through ebay as people do find it by chance and once they have experiance the super 8 thing really like it.
I suppose there is a whole generation that just have never come accross it but often when they do it really lights them up, its a bit special as we all know.
I wonder how much it would say cost derann to put an add in a daily news paper 1/4 page or something, in say Home cinema magazine, might really work, maybe we should suggest it to Duncan.
I`d be happy to donate £5 or so to the cost.
Maybe we on the forum could chip in at least for a little box add fairly cheap i`m sure pointing people the way of the forum and mentioning super 8 and its still about and what it is etc.
I might give them a mail and ask how much it would cost.
Lets us all work together and may the hobby grow, its in our hands really, you never know it might really strike a chord with many people.
best Mark.

PS I`ve just emailed Home Cinema Choice a UK magazine and asked how much it is for a modest add and on the site too. i`m prepared to chance a bit of cash to help the hobby, be interesting to try and see how it goes.Asmall add extolling the pleasures etc of cine mentioning this site and the main dealer contacts.
What does everyone else think.
best Mark.

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Tim Christian
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 219
From: Norfolk, UK
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted September 22, 2003 07:54 AM      Profile for Tim Christian   Author's Homepage   Email Tim Christian   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
First, let us be clear that any form of video based on domestic TV standards CAN NEVER equal the best of S8 projected. I stopped by a new local store specializing in 'Home Cinema' a couple of days ago. They had this demo of a 16x9 picture about 120cm across. What with the phosphor bars and the lines, it was like viewing through a five-bar gate. And the price! A Fumeo would be a cheap alternative. Then there's the cheeful thought that manufacturers are already working on the next generation to make today's expensive kit worthless.

Secondly, remember that film projectors are essentially very simple pieces of electro-mechanical equipment. Model engineering magazines in from the 1920s to the '50s regularly had articles on building your own projectors for 16/9.5 and even 8mm - sound and silent. Thus, it is straightforward for a skilled person with access to a well-equipped workshop to make spares for these machines.

It is evident from the cine forums that young people are coming into cine - and projecting it. Then they start buying movies ... .

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Tim

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Mark Todd
Film God

Posts: 3846
From: UK
Registered: Aug 2003


 - posted September 22, 2003 08:17 AM      Profile for Mark Todd   Email Mark Todd   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Thats very strange I watch mine 7 feet 4 inches wide and 16-17 feet away if I stand out side the small room door there is no structure to be seen at all and mine is only a modest machine, I think they obviously didn`t know what they were doing.
Take a look at a sonyHS10 propely set up. video projection is now very good and I thin its a great complimant to our hobby.
Its easy to dismiss it in a hobby defensive sort of way but those that love this hobby will stay and those that are touched by it for the first time and feel the magic like we do with join us and stay i`m sure.

By the way I had a reply from the magazine and on line its very expensive so I suggested would they put up an article on the hobby, worth a try.
best Mark.

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Tony Milman
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1336
From: United Kingdom
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted September 22, 2003 12:38 PM      Profile for Tony Milman   Author's Homepage   Email Tony Milman   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Ironic really but s8 has introduced me to video projection and like Mark I find the image quite acceptable considering the limitations. The sound, however, is quite fantastic and this for me, together with the relative cost and availability of new material is where video wins.
Then there is also no cleaning no worrying about damage to film, quicker set up / take down etc etc.

Sure s8 has the feel, the showmanship and the joy of wondering how they can make such a great looking picture from such a small frame. There is no doubt that the sound and look of a B/W film running through the Elmo out does the VP and DVD equivalent every time.

I don't however buy into the notion that greater advertising of this hobby will attract that many people. I do support the idea and have Mark's fiver in my hand since we can but try.

Please don't get me wrong. I have really enjoyed playing with s8 in the last 12 months but long term I still don't see a future.

Tony [Frown]

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Tony

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Steve Klare
Film Guy

Posts: 7016
From: Long Island, NY, USA
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted September 22, 2003 01:51 PM      Profile for Steve Klare   Email Steve Klare   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hmmm....

I disagree (respectfully, of course). Everytime I mention Super-8 and break through the fog of it not being video, I get a shocked reaction something like "They still make that?".

What we do is almost a secret, and there are secrets within secrets. For example, I returned to Super-8 as a film maker about 3 years ago (After the pleasant shock of finding out Kodak still made film.), and was surfing the 'net for a year and a half afterwards hot on the trail of information about it before I found out about the collecting end of Super-8 and that there were even companies still making films. (I found the concept of features on Super-8 absolutely mind-boggling!)

The question is if more people knew, how many more people would join up, and what kind of commercial opportunities might develop for more goods and services?

How many people are out there thinking warmly about the good old days when they used Super-8, not realizing those days never really ended? How many people who don't remember it who would love it if they knew about it?

Strength in Numbers!

How much equipment is sitting dusty in closets that could be doing it's thing, or getting tossed in the trash because it's not deemed worthy of a place in a garage sale?

(A friend at work recently trashed an entire R8 settup before I found out!)

[ September 22, 2003, 03:41 PM: Message edited by: Steve Klare ]

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All I ask is a wide screen and a projector to light her by...

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Tony Milman
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1336
From: United Kingdom
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted September 22, 2003 05:32 PM      Profile for Tony Milman   Author's Homepage   Email Tony Milman   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Steve,

I think you hit the nail on the head. It seems that the majority of those getting involved with s8 again were involved when it was in its hey day. They now have the disposable income to enjoy it (in many cases). There are a few exceptions (I include myself in this!!).

Anyway, this is all too down beat for my liking.

Why worry about it anyway? What good will it do? Let's just enjoy it!!

And smile!

Tony [Smile] [Big Grin] [Wink]

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Tony

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Steve Klare
Film Guy

Posts: 7016
From: Long Island, NY, USA
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted September 22, 2003 06:47 PM      Profile for Steve Klare   Email Steve Klare   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
...and this time I agree (still respectfully),especially that we need to stop living under the cloud of the "coming end". As I said, I came back into Super-8 3 years ago. At the time I thought I'd buy 5 rolls of film, make maybe one movie and then the curtain would come down on the whole gauge (I gave it maybe a year.)

I'm having a great time. I have a sound projector now and I'm buying more films and making more (and better)films than ever. I'm tired of worrying about what may happen 3 years or 10 down the road. I just want to enjoy what we have today.

PS Over dinner in about 1979, my Uncle told me that the end was coming in "2 or 3 years". I disagreed

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All I ask is a wide screen and a projector to light her by...

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Douglas Meltzer
Moderator

Posts: 4554
From: New York, NY, USA
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted September 22, 2003 07:09 PM      Profile for Douglas Meltzer   Email Douglas Meltzer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
All this pessimism makes me feel like I should be getting into a hobby with a real future- vinyl record collecting.
Doug

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I think there's room for just one more film.....

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Brad Kimball
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1171
From: Highland Mills, NY USA
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted September 26, 2003 01:33 AM      Profile for Brad Kimball   Email Brad Kimball   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I may start up my pre-recorded Reel-To-Reel tape collection again. I still have all my Herb Alpert reel-to-reel tapes somewhere here in the house. The player is in the closet and I know when I used it 2 years ago, it was still working fine.

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Steve Klare
Film Guy

Posts: 7016
From: Long Island, NY, USA
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted September 26, 2003 09:54 PM      Profile for Steve Klare   Email Steve Klare   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I have a friend that collects Lionel standard gauge trains, which haven't been manufactured since the 1930s, yet they keep those trains going.

(quite an impressive sight and sound at full speed, I might add)

Maybe this is a good example for us Super-8 folks

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All I ask is a wide screen and a projector to light her by...

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John Whittle
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 791
From: Northridge, CA USA
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted September 26, 2003 10:27 PM      Profile for John Whittle   Email John Whittle       Edit/Delete Post 
Steve,

FWIW Lionel is still in business and still making trains. You can examine their catalog on line. Stuff ain't cheap. They also own American Flyer "S" gauge as well. As in any popular hobby there are resources for parts and repairs.

I imagine it'll be the same with Super8. There are lots and lots of projectors out there in cupboards and closets and eventually they'll be mined for parts. The biggest problem I see is projection lamps. The lamp for the Kodak Sound 8 is an endangered species as is the DAR lamp for the old 8mm Bell & Howell Filmo projectors. It may take mechanical revision to keep some projectors going and some others make beautiful display pieces.

At some point, someone will find a way to modify tape heads to use them in projectors, but lamps will be a constant problem.

John

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Steve Klare
Film Guy

Posts: 7016
From: Long Island, NY, USA
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted September 27, 2003 06:04 AM      Profile for Steve Klare   Email Steve Klare   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
True, but not really the same company (Actually, a good example because Lionel trains remained so popular that somebody revived a dead company to serve that market.) My friend can still buy spare parts. He pays dearly for them, just like we may someday.

However,
You've hit the exact point: Popularity. If there is enough interest in Super-8, people will take it on as a business. This is one of the reasons we need to spread the word.

Just the fact that we still have companies like Derann and CHC apparently doing very well is a good sign, and it's companies like these that will take on the technical issues in order to preserve their livelihoods.

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All I ask is a wide screen and a projector to light her by...

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Trevor Adams
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 763
From: Auckland,New Zealand
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted September 27, 2003 06:25 AM      Profile for Trevor Adams   Author's Homepage   Email Trevor Adams   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
If you feel a bit down or anxious about the future of super 8mm-indulge in a bit of diversification!Get stuck into some obsolete 9.5mm gear,or,start collecting ancient toy hand crankers.Be a bit surprised at the prices you can buy some of this stuff for. I'm surrounded by wonderful mechanical/optical devices(called junk by my better half!!) The smallest gauge I have is 4.75mm.Trev

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Trevor

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Steve Klare
Film Guy

Posts: 7016
From: Long Island, NY, USA
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted September 27, 2003 09:23 AM      Profile for Steve Klare   Email Steve Klare   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Wow!, I've never even heard of 4.75mm! What do you have?

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All I ask is a wide screen and a projector to light her by...

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James N. Savage 3
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1375
From: Washington, DC
Registered: Jul 2003


 - posted September 27, 2003 11:19 AM      Profile for James N. Savage 3   Email James N. Savage 3   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I think super-8 will be around well past our life times. It has so many different appeals to so many different kinds of people, both collectors and film makers. The simple fact that it has lasted this long is proof. Of course, it will never be where it was in the 60's and 70's, but still profitable to dealers who produce good product.

I agree with the idea of producing new parts to older projectors. I think this is where the money will be in the near future, as our more sensitive machine parts start to go bad (since most of us don't have 3 or 4 thousand bucks to put into a new projector right now).

I have no doubt that as we get desparate, we will find ways to keep these work-horses going.

And yes- WE MUST SUPPORT THOSE COMPANIES OUT THERE THAT ARE PUTTING THIER TIME AND MONEY ON THE LINE TO PRODUCE MATERIAL FOR US SUPER 8 COLLECTORS!!! If you cant afford to spend alot on the hobby, at least pick up a trailer or cartoon or something. Anything. [Smile] Nick.

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Paul Adsett
Film God

Posts: 5003
From: USA
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted September 27, 2003 01:01 PM      Profile for Paul Adsett     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Steve,
I think the 4.75mm film that Trev is referring to is the ill fated Pathescope Duplex system. Here is some info on this fascinating concept, which unfortunately was a commercial failure.
http://www.pathescope.freeserve.co.uk/Monaco/pathe4_75.html
I like to call it "Pathescope's Vistavision", as the film runs horizontally through the projector, just as in Paramount's 35mm system. Trevor is very lucky indeed to posess one of these machines. Too bad he lives way down in New Zealand or he could give us a demo!

--------------------
The best of all worlds- 8mm, super 8mm, 9.5mm, and HD Digital Projection,
Elmo GS1200 f1.0 2-blade
Eumig S938 Stereo f1.0 Ektar
Panasonic PT-AE4000U digital pj

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