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Author Topic: Standard 8 projection speed
Craig Hamilton
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 501
From: Luton
Registered: Sep 2004


 - posted March 22, 2006 08:18 AM      Profile for Craig Hamilton   Email Craig Hamilton   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hi, I have just fallen in love with Standard 8 films but need some advise on what is the best projection speed. Is it 18fps or 24 fps.

I watched Chaplin’s Shanghaied last night a nice little two reeler at both speeds and they both looked fine. At 18fps film ran for 26 mins & at 24fps it ran for 17 mins. The original full release of this film was 30 mins.

Can anyone please enlighten me as to what speed you use!

Craig

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I dream of becoming a dealer!!!!!!
Is Perry's Movies for Sale.

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Tim Christian
Expert Film Handler

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


 - posted March 22, 2006 11:22 AM      Profile for Tim Christian   Author's Homepage   Email Tim Christian   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
In silent days, film were shot at a nominal 16 fps, but this was usually a hand-cranked estimate.

Projection speed could be anything from 16 fps upwards. In fact, projectionists might get a note with the film to speed up certain passages, like chases, to make them more exciting!

In practice, 18 fps is a good compromise for showing old silents.

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Tim

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Craig Hamilton
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 501
From: Luton
Registered: Sep 2004


 - posted March 22, 2006 12:35 PM      Profile for Craig Hamilton   Email Craig Hamilton   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Thanks Tim, so in theory a 4 x 400ft feature will run for nearly two hours. I have Chaplin's the Gold Rush mounted on 4 x 400ft reels, it came as a eight reeler. At 18fps it will run for nearly two hours, the original UK release has a running time of 96 mins.

Craig

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I dream of becoming a dealer!!!!!!
Is Perry's Movies for Sale.

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Rob Koeling
Master Film Handler

Posts: 396
From: Brighton, UK
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted March 23, 2006 08:01 AM      Profile for Rob Koeling   Email Rob Koeling   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Craig,

Silent films and projection speed is an incredible can of worms.
People disagree on this a lot, but seem to agree on one thing and
that is the fact that there isn't a single answer to that question.

The topic is raised every year or so on the silent film usenet
group alt.movies.silent. See this thread that summarises the
points that are mostly made:
[url= http://groups.google.co.uk/group/alt.movies.silent/browse_frm/thread/869acef17a5a1804/3f2eaa33d16f34b1?q=%22projection+speed%22&rnum=1#3f2eaa33d16f34b1]a.m.s.[/url]

As a general rule of thumb:

For early silents use 18fps, for late silents use 24fps. If you
have a Eumig to run your R8 on, adjust the speed until you're
happy with what you see.

If you watch late silents like Buster Keaton's 'The General' or
Murnau's 'Sunrise' (both 1927), there is absolutely no doubt
about that they should be run at 24fps. I would run 'The Gold
Rush' at 24fps (it is also a late silent (1925).

Chaplin's 'Shanghaied' is quite a bit earlier (1917), but still I
would run it slightly faster than 18fps. I'm sure 24fps would not
look natural. It was probably shot at 18fps, but also (probably)
intended to be projected slightly faster.

One last thing: don't trust the running times in the IMDB. These
are often given by people who look it up on the back of their
video copy. That is not particularly accurate. If you look at the
technical specs in the IMDB, you see the length listed in meters.
That is mostly more accurate. The running time than just depends
on how fast you run it.

At the film society I used to run, we once showed a Russian
silent sci-fi film: 'Aelita' (1924). The pianist refused to play
for it at 18fps, he was afraid that the film would drag. He was
absolutely right. It was slightly too fast at 24fps, but people
would have fallen asleep at 18fps.

- Rob

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David Michael Leugers
Master Film Handler

Posts: 250
From: Fairfield, OH, USA
Registered: Feb 2004


 - posted March 24, 2006 12:29 AM      Profile for David Michael Leugers   Email David Michael Leugers   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I agree with Rob. As the silent era was drawing to a close, the median film speed was 22fps, at least that is what I read once. It certainly seems to hold out that the later silent films, especially by major stars/studios, were filmed pretty close to 24fps. Earlier silent films, notably those by D.W. Griffith and cowboy stars like William S. Hart and Tom Mix were definitely filmed around 16fps. A general rule might be to show comedies at 24fps and dramas at 16fps unless the action is noticeably too slow. This issue is the reason a good variable speed projector is almost a must for properly showing films from the silent era.

David M. Leugers

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Live Free or Die

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Tim Christian
Expert Film Handler

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


 - posted March 25, 2006 04:14 AM      Profile for Tim Christian   Author's Homepage   Email Tim Christian   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
There is some useful information on this subject
here

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Tim

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Jan Bister
Darth 8mm

Posts: 2629
From: Ohio, USA
Registered: Jan 2005


 - posted March 25, 2006 11:55 AM      Profile for Jan Bister   Email Jan Bister   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I watched my super-8 silent print of Intolerance at 18fps and it was just right throughout the entire film... it definitely would've looked a bit silly at 24fps. (Not to mention a movie that plays in less than 3 hours just doesn't qualify as an epic to me.) [Wink]

Chip Gelmini has a sound print of it, though, and I wonder if Blackhawk recorded the sound to be played back at 18fps or 24fps... well, only Chip can answer that.

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Call me Phoenix. *dusts off the ashes*

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Barry Johnson
Master Film Handler

Posts: 358
From: United Kingdom
Registered: Jul 2003


 - posted March 25, 2006 02:30 PM      Profile for Barry Johnson   Author's Homepage   Email Barry Johnson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I trundle my Std8 films through at about 20fps.This looks right to me and definately not 16fps.At ths speed they become so pedestrian I get bored!

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Standard8 rules!!

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