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Author Topic: Best Format For Cut-Downs?
David Ollerearnshaw
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1373
From: Penistone Sheffield UK
Registered: Oct 2012


 - posted December 15, 2012 02:15 PM      Profile for David Ollerearnshaw   Author's Homepage   Email David Ollerearnshaw   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I was wondering what 8mm collectors preferred format was for cut-downs/digests/selected scenes/abridgements. Based on
200ft 1r
400ft 2r
600ft 3r
800ft 4r
1200ft 6r
and I suppose you should include what was at one time the main way features were released (in the UK at least) the 1600ft 8 reeler, most seem to be cut to around 72 minutes.

This is my opinion:

200ft is not really long enough to be other than selected scene(s). I bought a few from Portland Films just before they closed. Most of these were usually just one main scene, from the film. In that context they worked really well. Disney’s 200ft spring to mind for this format too.

400ft Probably the most popular format at the peak of 8mm, Ken Films boxes used to have selected scenes on the label. Some were very good and were excellent digests of the full feature, but some were dire.

600ft A good compromise on cost verses content. Some very good films in this length.

800ft Same as 600ft. Perry’s Films were a pioneer of this format I believe.

1200ft In some ways the happy medium. Enough time to allow the story to develop and sometimes an improvement over the original.

1600ft At one time the most popular format for features. I think with some of the titles released at the time a vast improvement on the complete feature.

Of course the spool size was not always full to brimming.

Just my thoughts.

Best Wishes

David.

--------------------
I love the smell of film in the morning.

http://www.thereelimage.co.uk/

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Michael O'Regan
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From: Essex, UK
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 - posted December 15, 2012 02:35 PM      Profile for Michael O'Regan   Email Michael O'Regan   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
None of the above.

I see no point these days.
I can understand, back in the pre video/DVD era, when cutdowns/digests were probably the only affordable way to have these films in the home, why people would want to buy them. But, I can see no use for them now.
Complete film or nothing for me.

[ December 15, 2012, 05:28 PM: Message edited by: Michael O'Regan ]

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Vidar Olavesen
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From: Sarpsborg, Norway
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 - posted December 15, 2012 02:48 PM      Profile for Vidar Olavesen   Author's Homepage   Email Vidar Olavesen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I quite enjoy a lot of the digests ... I have Ringo the Lone Cowboy on DVD and 3x400' and the Super 8 is actually not boring, whilst the DVD tends to drag out a bit too much (I do like it, but it's better in Super 8 for me)

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Pasquale DAlessio
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From: Bristol,RI, USA
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 - posted December 15, 2012 02:49 PM      Profile for Pasquale DAlessio   Email Pasquale DAlessio   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
All of the above until I can get the complete feature.

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Vidar Olavesen
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From: Sarpsborg, Norway
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 - posted December 15, 2012 02:51 PM      Profile for Vidar Olavesen   Author's Homepage   Email Vidar Olavesen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
If I had to choose, I'd go for the 400' as with Star Wars, Empire and Alien, it's just action packed and fun filled for 15-20 minutes

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David Ollerearnshaw
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From: Penistone Sheffield UK
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 - posted December 15, 2012 03:04 PM      Profile for David Ollerearnshaw   Author's Homepage   Email David Ollerearnshaw   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I should have put as a retrospective view, and not based on current day.

I always wanted the complete film too, but after seeing them on DVD the abridged versions were sometimes better. Mainly talking about the 8 reeler (4x400ft) versions. It as sometimes hard to tell what was missing.

Vidar do agree sometimes the digest is better than the complete film.

Sometimes the editing changed the story too. A couple I recall were, my favourite 'Where Eagles Dare' also 'Golden Rendezvous' both changed the end.

Remember that the 4x400ft were about £80 too.

--------------------
I love the smell of film in the morning.

http://www.thereelimage.co.uk/

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James N. Savage 3
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From: Washington, DC
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 - posted December 15, 2012 03:22 PM      Profile for James N. Savage 3   Email James N. Savage 3   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
My opinion has varied over the many years of collecting. But in retrospect, I think the single 400 foot digests are the most fun to watch now. And some were so very skillfully done. When showing a digest to someone who is not familiar, these are usually the best examples to use.

Then again, some of the early 200 foot Castle Films digests were superior in flow, to their 400 foot counterparts.

There were some outstanding 800 and 1200 foot digests too though, so its almost impossible to pick just one length.

I do think that the "slightly edited" 4 x 400 foot digests are sort of impracticle, cutting out one or two scenes seems senseless to me. Give me a digest or give me full length, not full length with 10 minutes missing [Mad] .

[Cool]

James.

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Hugh Thompson Scott
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From: Gt. Clifton,Cumbria,England
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 - posted December 15, 2012 03:27 PM      Profile for Hugh Thompson Scott   Email Hugh Thompson Scott       Edit/Delete Post 
A film that seems very popular David is "Alien",where the original
ending is cut,much like Iver Films "My Name is Nobody",and
Marketing Film did the same with their version.
The digest I think is a nice idea if you want to have a couple of
hours showing highlight scenes from great movies,for instance
you couldn't expect anyone to sit through six feature films in
one go,but half a dozen digests fit the bill lovely.Who would have
thought "Ben Hur" could have been reduced to 50 minutes, but
it tells the story in an unhurried way and is beautifully edited.
The thing with slightly edited features James is that sometimes
it is a contractual thing that the releasing company must adhere,like Iver cutting the end of "Nobody".

[ December 15, 2012, 07:25 PM: Message edited by: Hugh Thompson Scott ]

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Tony Stucchio
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From: New Jersey
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 - posted December 16, 2012 11:36 AM      Profile for Tony Stucchio   Email Tony Stucchio   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I think those 2x400' digests were optimal. (32 - 40 minutes depending on the distributor.) THE STING comes to mind -- really captured the story and feel of the film and if you hadn't seen the full feature you would think it was made in that length originally.
The 400 foot digests next. 200 footers worked for those Disney's where one main scene/song was highlighted but not to tell a story.
A&C MEET FRANKENSTEIN -- 200 foot -- also worked very well and is a study in cut-downs. I haven't seen them but I have heard the same is true for FRANKENSTEIN and JAWS. In general, though, I think that 200 footers (really about 160 feet) are much too short.

Anything longer than 2x400 foot and they might as well have released the full feature.

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Brad Kimball
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From: Highland Mills, NY USA
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 - posted December 16, 2012 01:00 PM      Profile for Brad Kimball   Email Brad Kimball   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I concur. I think 2X400'ers were and are perfect. Anything more and I feel I'm pretty much investing the same money as I would the entire movie. I always wondered why complete features were never offered in the first place when sound was an option. Was it not economical for both supplier and purchaser? Was it a copyright issue? Was it both? Blackhawk issued silent features in droves all throughout the 70's so why not sound features from all the others? Maybe it would be hard to merchandise an array of 4-5 reel boxed sets for $150 and up in department stores and believe they would fly off the counters? I liked what I got and I never got upsot. I was happy to have something rather than nothing and we also didn't know the difference.

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Hugh Thompson Scott
Film God

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From: Gt. Clifton,Cumbria,England
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 - posted December 16, 2012 02:57 PM      Profile for Hugh Thompson Scott   Email Hugh Thompson Scott       Edit/Delete Post 
Remember when these films were available,thats all there was,
video hadn't taken off and we were grateful for whatever was
available.Complete features were not always available,and to say
that even being prepared to pay extra for the missing footage
doesn't bear out,that was what was available at the time.The
2x400s, if they had been more generous of footage, would have
been preferable, but U8 were rather stingy at 16-17 minutes
per spool,usually running time was about 32 mins.A far better
idea was the 600',.which gave a running time of 25-30 minutes
priced accordingly and pioneered by PM Films of Beaconsfield.

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David Ollerearnshaw
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From: Penistone Sheffield UK
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 - posted December 16, 2012 03:19 PM      Profile for David Ollerearnshaw   Author's Homepage   Email David Ollerearnshaw   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Walton Films features were almost all cut to a standard of about 72 minutes. With the exception of a small few 'The Third Man' 'Reach For The Sky' maybe a few others too.

They even cut their Tom & Jerry releases for some reason. Reading a few old issues of Movie Maker magazine from late 60's 70's quite a few readers letters were complaining about them cutting the films. The reply from Walton, was in my view not very good for customer relations.

The editing was mixed I think 'Callan' 4x400ft was well abridged. Recently watched it on dvd, I do prefer my super 8 version.

Hugh think you commented? on 'The Quatermass Experiment' the super 8 was cut yet the standard 8 was complete. Is that correct?

--------------------
I love the smell of film in the morning.

http://www.thereelimage.co.uk/

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Colin Robert Hunt
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 226
From: Milton Keynes Buckinghamshire
Registered: Aug 2005


 - posted December 16, 2012 03:19 PM      Profile for Colin Robert Hunt   Author's Homepage   Email Colin Robert Hunt   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
We are in a differant time in regards to the film digests of the past and agree on your ealier comments. To view these digests now you have to place yourself in the past some thirty years and earlier to acheive the viewing pleasure. Today when I view these prints some still have the inpact that they had all those years ago. Just to mention some that springs to mind are the 400ft of On The Waterfront, still a great cutdown from 74. The King & I a excellent cutdown using the most of it's sixteen minutes to acheive a very nice example of the film. The Mutny on the Bounty 3 part is very well done, and if you include some of the four hundred foot version. You can extend the running time by five mintutes and make a even better version. The Ben Hur mentioned earlier three parter I have in Cineavision can be extended by the four hundreed footer and there are some key scenes there that can be added. Que Vadis three parter again was a very good edit and again can be extended by the for hundred foot version. Same with Docter Zavago excelent 3 parter and again the four hundrees footer has some additional scenes.

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Hugh Thompson Scott
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From: Gt. Clifton,Cumbria,England
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 - posted December 16, 2012 03:31 PM      Profile for Hugh Thompson Scott   Email Hugh Thompson Scott       Edit/Delete Post 
Hi David,yes the 4x400 from Derann was the complete feature
while the S/8 was edited.Derann did that with a few of their films
"Island of Terror" & "Night of the Big Heat" were available full
length std 8mm, but cut down to 8 reels for S/8 col/snd release.

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Larry Arpin
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 - posted December 16, 2012 05:15 PM      Profile for Larry Arpin   Author's Homepage   Email Larry Arpin   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I always thought the 3x400 cut of Star Trek TMP benefitted in general for the film. The Harryhausen 4x200 reels were great such as 7th Voyage of Sinbad & Jason.

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Tony Stucchio
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From: New Jersey
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 - posted December 16, 2012 07:20 PM      Profile for Tony Stucchio   Email Tony Stucchio   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Back in the day there were plenty of full-length features available. Blackhawk had all the Laurel and Hardy features under Roach copyright. Many Public Domain features were available from other companies. KING KONG, FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT, THE THIRD MAN, STAGECOACH, Rathbone Sherlock Holmes films, etc. were available. Then more recent films started to become available from the likes of Marketing and others.

But the digests were a unique experience for the small gauge film collector. I think these are still a lot of fun even when I have the full movie on DVD.

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Mike Peckham
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From: West Sussex, UK.
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 - posted December 17, 2012 06:42 AM      Profile for Mike Peckham   Email Mike Peckham   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
When I was more into package movie collecting, my main area of interest was in buying feature films. I think it’s fair to say that I had “a lot” at the peak of my collecting. Now that I have renewed my interest in cine, I have been rationalising my collection in order to make it more “usable”, that is to say, I am trying to sort out which films I am likely to watch and sell on those that I am not. In doing so I have found that it’s the digests that are staying and the features that are going.

Of the digests that I am most likely to watch, it is the 2 or 3 x 400fters that make up the biggest proportion of my “to keep” pile, mostly those from MGM or Universal 8.

The other thing that I like about the digests and those who know me well will already be aware of this, is the packaging, I’m a sucker for original boxes and artwork, particularly when there’s a series involved. It’s also because of the packaging that I have been able to sneak a couple of dozen (well maybe a few more [Roll Eyes] ) films onto the book shelves in the dining room without my ever diligent partner noticing. They do after all look like very neat and colourful books.

So for me, it’s 2 and 3 x 400fters that I like the most, particularly those that have nice boxes.

Mike [Cool]

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Auntie Em must have stopped wondering where I am by now...

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Luis Caramelo
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 - posted December 17, 2012 06:53 AM      Profile for Luis Caramelo   Email Luis Caramelo   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
hi!fellas this,s an very interesting subject,this great gauge super 8 allows to see a film in different ways,i do understand there,s some collectors who can,t afford full lenhgts,and the digesy it,s an option to get some from the film,to my self i do prefer the full lenght,the films i got in my collection i can,t see them in digests,i also have some digests ,but it,s the only version whom came released in super 8,it,s betterthe digest than nothing,but if the film was released as the full lenght thats what i buy,after all this,s a private choice there,s a market for every taste...
there,s a most inportant matter witch,s every one of this forum
LOVE SUPER 8,no matter the footage...

regards;
luis caramelo

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Christian Bjorgen
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 - posted December 17, 2012 07:18 AM      Profile for Christian Bjorgen   Author's Homepage   Email Christian Bjorgen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
2x400' is my favorite. 200' is just ridiculous, and 400' is too short for it to make sense in my opinion. 3x400' is great aswell, but becomes long enough to question if it's not just as good to use the whole feature. 2x400' is perfect for screenings, as it's long enough to get the story right, but short enough to be a quick, fun screening for everyone! And if people want more, then you can just show another one! The only exception would be 3+ hour epic films, like "The Godfather", that demand an extra reel.

So for me, it's either 2x400 or full feature in a perfect world, but in this world I'm really not that picky [Smile]

--------------------
Well who’s on first? Yeah. Go ahead and tell me. Who. The guy on first. Who. The guy playin’ first base. Who. The guy on first. Who is on first! What are you askin’ me for? I’m askin’ you!

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Winbert Hutahaean
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 - posted December 17, 2012 12:09 PM      Profile for Winbert Hutahaean   Email Winbert Hutahaean   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
When I started film collecting hobby back in 1980, I had never watched any (full) movies that I had in 400 digests. So when I played the 400 digests, I never understood the story due to very short running times as well as the edit jumped from one to the other scene abruptly without making any sense.

The exception was given for Dirty Dozen which I could still follow the story because it was focusing on attacking the Nazi HQ.

So the best cut down for me is 2 x 400' (money wise) and 3 x 400' (duration wise).

I don't collect full features because they are too long for me to enjoy in my busy time unless they were offered very cheap.

cheers,

--------------------
Winbert

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David Ollerearnshaw
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From: Penistone Sheffield UK
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 - posted December 17, 2012 03:06 PM      Profile for David Ollerearnshaw   Author's Homepage   Email David Ollerearnshaw   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I made a few 600/800ft reels up with some of the 200ft sound version of various titles, a mix of different types westerns, war, comedy, etc. These seem to work well as an entertaining mix. Picked loads up from Portland Films on Shaftsbury Avenue? I seem to recall it been quite a small shop with white painted wooden holder. Bought 'The Day Of The Triffids' in scope from them (4x400) filmed in magentacolour. The dvd is not much better though.

Some of my best versions are 2x400ft 'The Great Escape' & 'The Magnificent Seven' both in scope. in 3x400ft 'The Wild Geese' was well done.

My Ken Films 'The Dirty Dozen' "feature" is edited. I believe a lot of the features done by Ken, in that first batch were edited.

--------------------
I love the smell of film in the morning.

http://www.thereelimage.co.uk/

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Hugh Thompson Scott
Film God

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From: Gt. Clifton,Cumbria,England
Registered: Jan 2012


 - posted December 17, 2012 03:19 PM      Profile for Hugh Thompson Scott   Email Hugh Thompson Scott       Edit/Delete Post 
Larry's correct I feel in that the 3x400' of Star Trek,cut through
a long film, but still gave you all the key scenes.Also the cutdowns
of Sinbad & Jason, although being only 200', they contained the
best of Ray Harry's animation. and still conveyed the atmosphere
of the feature films.Mention must also be made of "The French
Connection",which was a terrific film and an equally terrific
digest,that still has the edge of seat chase through New York.
Some features actually benefitted from a bit of pruning.

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Panayotis A. Carayannis
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 - posted December 18, 2012 06:05 AM      Profile for Panayotis A. Carayannis   Email Panayotis A. Carayannis   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I have discussed the case of complete std 8 features vs edited super 8 versions,elsewhere,and here several times.The case is that in std 8,more than 20 minutes of film fit on a 400 ft reel,so, an 80 or even 83 or 84 minute feature fits nicely in 4x400 reels while in super 8 it should need five."Half hour" tv shows (i.e.up to even 27 minutes!) would fit on a 400 ft reel while in super 8,they were put on 2x400 reels,and sold as such. The case where "most" features were released in 4x400 or shorts sworn of a few minutes was always given as the copyright holders' policy of not giving the collector the whole film so it would not hurt its theatrical commercial value!

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Joe Caruso
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 - posted December 18, 2012 11:13 AM      Profile for Joe Caruso   Email Joe Caruso   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Mike Peckham said it best for me - Shorty

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Jeff Missinne
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From: Superior, WI USA
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 - posted December 18, 2012 11:21 PM      Profile for Jeff Missinne   Email Jeff Missinne   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I think the length of a cut-down is less important than how well it was edited. Castle's 200' (400' in 16mm) ROCKET AND ROLL with Abbott and Costello took a mediocre feature (A & C Go To Mars) and turned it into a fast and funny short, eliminating the sub-plots and making use of all the best gags.

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