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Author Topic: How far can you throw Super 8mm?
Raleigh M. Christopher
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 130
From: New York, NY, USA
Registered: Jan 2016


 - posted February 22, 2016 11:38 AM      Profile for Raleigh M. Christopher     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
What is the furthest you can throw Super 8mm images?

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Steve Klare
Film Guy

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


 - posted February 22, 2016 11:41 AM      Profile for Steve Klare   Email Steve Klare   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The problem you usually run into is making it fit onto the screen. I use a screen roughly 5 by 9 and I can probably get out to about 30 feet on the standard 12-25mm lens before I run out of zoom limits.

There are also 25-50mm auditorium lenses that would allow you to do double this throw. They aren't common. They aren't cheap.

As the screen gets larger and larger to accommodate the distance, you run into the limits of brightness and sharpness.

We throw easily 40 feet at CineSea, then again the Super-8 machine there is a Xenon GS-1200 with the fast lens and the screen is about 10 feet tall: plenty of area to fill, plenty of light to fill it, fine enough focus for the image size.

I suppose the clarity of the air itself could become a factor: I just like my air cleaner than that!

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

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Osi Osgood
Film God

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From: #399R K.O.A. Mountian Home, ID. 83647
Registered: Jul 2005


 - posted February 22, 2016 11:56 AM      Profile for Osi Osgood   Author's Homepage   Email Osi Osgood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
All depends on the brightness of the lamp, of course.

I suppose in theory you could have a super 8 image thrown at such a far distance that it's barely visible, (due to lamp), but it wouldn't be too enjoyable like that.

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"All these moments will be lost in time, just like ... tears, in the rain. "

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Steve Klare
Film Guy

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


 - posted February 22, 2016 12:05 PM      Profile for Steve Klare   Email Steve Klare   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Air scatters light and it absorbs it too: more or less depending on what's floating around in it.

I guess even if you try make up for it with a brighter lamp and sharper lens you still will have to lose sharpness by the time it hits the screen. You can always make it brighter, but only close to perfectly sharp at the projector. After that the air takes over and it's downhill from there.

-then again in olden days movie theaters were as foggy as a bad day in London with cigarette smoke and they still managed to deliver the goods!

If you can't see the beam from the side it's not all that bad!

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

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Pasquale DAlessio
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From: Bristol,RI, USA
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 - posted February 22, 2016 12:23 PM      Profile for Pasquale DAlessio   Email Pasquale DAlessio   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Not sure about images but I had a projector that I just couldn't get running right and I threw that about 30 feet! Not sure if that counts though? [Confused] [Big Grin]

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Steve Klare
Film Guy

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


 - posted February 22, 2016 12:28 PM      Profile for Steve Klare   Email Steve Klare   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
-and I was actually waiting for you to post that!

Welcome back, Pat!

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

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Andrew Woodcock
Film God

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From: Manchester Uk
Registered: Aug 2012


 - posted February 22, 2016 01:05 PM      Profile for Andrew Woodcock         Edit/Delete Post 
I have a throw of approx 24ft in my lounge. To fill a 10ft diagonal 16:9 screen on top and bottom black bars, middle zoom position of f1.1 Schneider Xenovaron 11-30mm lens works perfectly.

On widest 11mm setting, the image is as wide as the lounge width in between walls.

I think on 30mm setting, I could possibly be twice this throw distance away to sill be able to fill the screen or certainly 35 feet away.

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"C'mon Baggy..Get with the beat"

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Brian Fretwell
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From: London, UK
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 - posted February 22, 2016 02:08 PM      Profile for Brian Fretwell   Email Brian Fretwell   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Must have been at least 50 - 60 feet at Ealing and the Top Hat Club for the BFCC, especially when they had the 34ft wide 'Scope screen. It looks about the same at the current venue.

I have tried 100ft onto the building over the fence at the end of my garden (signal box) but being red brick it didn't really work. It was massive picture though, you could see the bride in her white dress in the wedding film I tried, but not much else.

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Steve Klare
Film Guy

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From: Long Island, NY, USA
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 - posted February 22, 2016 02:25 PM      Profile for Steve Klare   Email Steve Klare   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
A few years ago I put Laurel and Hardy on the front wall of the house across the street! (all except the rectangle that went through their front window...)

(Screen sits in front of a picture window...but you need to pull it down first!)

This was a throw easily a hundred feet through a double-glazed window! It didn't look that great, but I did it!

With a brighter lamp, a sharper lens, sharper print, no layers of window glass in the way and a better "screen" than our neighbor's yellow vinyl siding I can imagine this working out pretty well.


As soon as I realized what I'd done, I called upstairs for my wife to look out the window...

She said "WHAT the HELL are you DOING?!!"

(Why have a hobby if you can't enjoy it! [Wink] )

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

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Andrew Woodcock
Film God

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From: Manchester Uk
Registered: Aug 2012


 - posted February 22, 2016 03:35 PM      Profile for Andrew Woodcock         Edit/Delete Post 
I bet your neighbours loved you for that one Steve! Ha ha.

You'll be getting yourself an A.S.B.O.! [Big Grin] [Big Grin] [Big Grin]

I am giggling to myself imagining your good lady screaming that out to you in the exact same way my wife would to me doing a similar antic.

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"C'mon Baggy..Get with the beat"

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Alan Gouger
Master Film Handler

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From: Florida
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted February 23, 2016 12:29 AM      Profile for Alan Gouger   Email Alan Gouger   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
In one of my rooms I have a very long white wall. As a test I decided to see how big an image I could throw, it turned out to be about 20 feet wide. I screened Die Hard in scope I was shocked how well S8 holds up when projected bigger then life, it looked close to 35mm. It may not always be the case but the bigger you zoom the image the better it looks.

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Allan Broadfield
Master Film Handler

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From: Bromley, Kent
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 - posted February 23, 2016 02:19 AM      Profile for Allan Broadfield   Author's Homepage   Email Allan Broadfield   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
As regards brightness of images in the old cinemas, in the late fifties, early sixties, by the end of the day we would power up the carbon arcs to get through the tobacco smoke and increase the sound level due to the absorption of sound in the bodies of a full house of patrons.

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Gary Crawford
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From: Manassas, VA. USA
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted February 23, 2016 08:57 AM      Profile for Gary Crawford   Email Gary Crawford   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Yes... Super 8 CAN work very well on a large screen with a long throw, but all the elements have to be there, just like any projected medium, but more so with this tiny less than 8mm frame. I've successfully shown scope Super 8 on a 17 foot screen both inside and outdoors, but almost every part of the exhibition chain has to be good. It starts with the print. It needs to be sharp, sharp, sharp....AND printed with the right density. If the thing is sharp, but a tad too dark, you are behind the Super "8 ball" right off the bat. 2. that projector had better have at least a 150 watt lamp. (I have been successful with the Elmo ST1200Hd, but with other aids in place). The more light, the better. 3. if you can swing it, put in a two blade shutter. That really adds lumens to things. 4. The prime lens....the faster the better, usually. f1.1 or 1.0 for best results...and clean it front and back. Cleaning makes a big difference in light scatter, brightness, sharpness. Same with any scope lens. 5. It helps to cut down ambient light...AND light from the screen that reflects back off ceilings and walls. Dark material on ceiling and nearby walls helps. 6. The one element we seem to have less concern and control over is the screen. A dull aged screen will defeat even the best picture being thrown onto it. I discovered special screen paint sold by Steve Osborne (The Reel Image) and it makes a very visible difference in brightness, whiteness and apparent contrast.
So..i also agree with Alan. I've run films on the big 17 foot screen outdoors and indoors...and when all the elements..or most of them..are present, and the audience isn't sitting ultra close to the screen, the effect is very much like 35mm theater. I found that particularly true with superb prints with stereo sound...like The Fog....and Thunderball and others.

There are some prints I wouldn't try to show big.... if they don't look that sharp on a small screen, putting them on the big one will just make it worse. Good print, good equipment, good screen, good environment.....and Super 8 can look VERY Super.

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Lee Mannering
Film God

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From: The Projection Box
Registered: Nov 2006


 - posted February 23, 2016 10:08 AM      Profile for Lee Mannering     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hello Raleigh. I can only draw on my own experiences projecting at amateur film festivals and the like using a standard 3 blade Elmo Xenon. The longest throw distance I achieved back then was around 100ft with one equipped F1.0 lens and Toshiba lamp. Many of those amateur films looked astounding filmed with K40 stock, carefully filmed and produced. The GS1200 Xenon projectors were pretty new then as well but what fun it was.

Having a perfect black out is also key as is a good screen. [Smile]

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Andrew Woodcock
Film God

Posts: 7477
From: Manchester Uk
Registered: Aug 2012


 - posted February 23, 2016 11:06 AM      Profile for Andrew Woodcock         Edit/Delete Post 
Based on what the image looks like in my living room on a 7ft wide image normal ratio film of even the very highest quality and sharpness, I would have thought your audience would have to sit an awfully long way away from the screen for Super 8mm to remain crisp and clear without too much grain effect.

If I blow my image up to 15ft width in my lounge, the image more often than not, looks very grainy and not too clear either at those sizes sat 23ft away.

That is using a fast lens, 2 bladed shutter and a bright lamp behind it.

I am not keen on the effect scope lenses have on clarity of image even at modest screen widths if I am honest!
Certainly not for Super 8mm anyway.

My digital projectors image however, looks superb at 15ft width for both clarity and definition even relatively quite close to the screen, so it is definitely a limitation of the tiny frame that you cannot expect Super 8 big images to look TOO good at huge screen sizes, I'd say.

15 - 20ft wide image max I would put it at and that would be with an audience about 35ft from the screen to keep things looking clear and without excess grain.

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"C'mon Baggy..Get with the beat"

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Steve Klare
Film Guy

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From: Long Island, NY, USA
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 - posted February 23, 2016 11:19 AM      Profile for Steve Klare   Email Steve Klare   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Every system has some maximum level of performance that the more you spend, the closer you can approach.

-you want to do 200 MPH, you'd better buy the Maserati.

On the other hand when I was a teenager I zoomed my Kodak Moviedeck (50W lamp, plastic lens) as wide as possible: did maybe an 8 foot wide picture...

-the awfulness was absolutely stunning!

You just couldn't focus enough.

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

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Michael O'Regan
Film God

Posts: 3085
From: Essex, UK
Registered: Oct 2007


 - posted February 23, 2016 12:25 PM      Profile for Michael O'Regan   Email Michael O'Regan   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Not sure about images but I had a projector that I just couldn't get running right and I threw that about 30 feet!
[Big Grin]

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