You heard that right. A Danish father/son company, Logmar, has designed the first new 8mm camera model to be made in 30 years. Considering the fact that we recently posted an article about Nolab's concept for a digital Super 8 cartridge that could (hypothetically) one day eliminate the need for film stock in film cameras, this may seem a little ironic. However, with that technology still in its early stages of development, the professional level Logmar Super 8 camera is very real and it's nearly available for those wanting something a more technologically advanced 8mm cam can offer.
With so many low-budget digital options, especially the newly released Digital Bolex, which abides in a similar aesthetic sensibility, the Logmar Super 8 seems like a solution to a problem that no longer exists (unless you love shooting on 8mm film and wanted a new model). However, this Super 8 camera isn't like your grandma's Super 8. It's not only built to be a solid 8mm camera, but to rival professional 16mm cameras as well.
The camera, with a widened gate made in aluminum, has several very impressive new features, one of the biggest being the inclusion of sound. An article from filmkorn lays out how the sound works (as well as the entire camera).
It will record one self-contained, lip-synchronous audio file per take, with the exact date and time of the recording stamped into the file name. After shooting, the camera or the SD card can be connected to a computer, the audio files dragged underneath the digitized film tracks in a video editor (or concatenated for dubbing them onto the soundtrack of Super 8 reels) – that’s it.
The back of the camera houses the 3.5mm stereo line input, headphone jack, 3.5mm mono microphone input, Neutrik XLR, and USB for firmware upgrades, parameter settings, and audio retrieval.
It also features a new film feeding mechanism and control unit with technology that didn't exist when Super 8 cameras were being manufactured, which the team hopes will solve some of the "bounce" issues typical of 8mm filmmaking. Lasse Roedtnes, the son of the father/son team explained this further in a thread on Cinematography.com:
The camera uses standard Kodak film cassettes, however the film is brought out of the cassette and into the widened gate with integrated pressure plate and pin registration, which completely freezes the film during exposure to make sure the bouncing never occurs which is a typical trademark of older super-8 cameras.
Lasse opted for using the Maxon D.C. motor, the same used in the Mars Rover, for the camera, which means that its precision is extremely high (while keeping motor noise low). According to filmkorn, the frame rate can be adjusted in the camera menu down to four decimal places.
Lasse lays out a few key specifications:
- Build in light meter
- Programmable frame rates: 16fps to 54fps, including 23.976fps for NTSC compatibility (with crystal phase-locked-loop synchronization)
- Remote controllable via WiFi: the camera creates its own hotspot and is compatible with Android, iPhone and Windows Phone.
- Exchangeable lenses via C-Mount
- External monitor acts as both viewfinder and camera status display
- Phase Advance feature: to increment the phase if you want to interlock the camera with a TV or fluorescent light for example to remove shutter bars typically seen
- Firmware upgradable via USB
- Runs on 7.2V video camera batteries
If things go as plented over at Logmar, the camera should be available in April 2014 at a price of $2,700 to $3,400.
So, is analog back? The answer is -- not exactly. Are indie filmmakers going to start a massive exodus back to film any time soon? Probably not. But, is a new 8mm camera about to hit the market next year for the first time in 30 years? Yes! So, it's back -- in a way. For those who love shooting with film, this is definitely an exciting development!
For a very in-depth description of the specifications of the Logmar Super 8, check out filmkorn's article. It goes into detail on everything, including the unique viewfinder, electronics, and 8mm sprocket design.
What do you think? If you prefer to shoot on film, does the Logmar Super 8 camera seem like something you'd invest in, or are you sticking with your old 8mm cams? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
- Sensational: a new Super 8 camera from Denmark -- filmkorn
- "New" super-8 camera to market -- Cinematography.com
[via RedShark News]