January 7, 2017 at 1:51AM


How can film cameras allow you to manipulate with its aperture and light sensitivity?

I recently discovered that Kodak will soon be releasing new Super 8 cameras, and I have always wanted the opportunity to explore the medium of film. Through my DSLR, I have been able to manipulate the ISO and aperture and white balance to produce shots that would look warmer or cooler depending on what I was looking for. Are there ways you can manipulate those elements in film cameras?


You can use filters. Read this article https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wratten_number

Wratten 81 and 82 are warming and cooling filters. Wratten 80 and 85 are more radical, converting between tungsten and daylight color temperatures, and also adding neutral density to rebalance indoor tungsten film for outdoor daylight use.

January 7, 2017 at 9:02AM


Anything that can be done with digital cameras can be done with film. I often shot 100 ISO Tungsten both indoors and outdoors to maintain a consistent look for Super-8 (7212 was the sharpest). There's screw-on filters to match overall lighting, graduated filters to tint one area of the frame but not the other. We also have push/pull processing, bleach-bypass, cross processing etc. to get all sorts of different looks, you can "flash" the film to bring out more shadow detail. It's customary to shoot a gray card or chip chart (a few frames is OK as long as the camera gets up to speed) so the color timer can make fine adjustments to color/density. Keep a camera report! The transfer facility has a lot of flexibility to manipulate the image, more than HD video, but they need to know your intentions. I even had part of my matte box intrude on the frame for a few shots, so they transferred the whole thing full-frame, then went back and optically (not digitally) enlarged the good portion of the problematic takes in a second pass. They generally go for the most neutral, natural image possible so if you want cool/warm tones, let them know in an amended camera report. That also saves time/money because they won't worry about bad takes. If you have them do uncompressed 10-bit, you have even more flexibility to fine-tune yourself.

On that note, I highly recommend the Super-Duper-8 (Pro8mm renamed it Max-8) mod like the new Kodaks have as it gives you more frame area. Use good lenses and always shoot in their sweet spots. Getting the sharpest image possible is a real exercise in film-making with small gauge media. Also, most S8 cameras don't have proper pressure plates or pin registration, so I suggest having the transfer facility transfer wide enough to get the entire vertical area. You get a bit of perforation on the side, which you can use as reference for image stabilization and mask/recenter in editing. I'd rather have a stable 3:2 image than a jittery 16:9 image. That also lets you have 15% more film real estate in the final product because SD-8, ahem "Max-8" is natively 3:2.

I should note that 16mm and S16 isn't much more expensive but gives a much better image. There's 4x as much real estate, better movements, better lenses, the transfer facility doesn't have to work as hard to preserve every bit of detail. SD8 can yield maybe 900 lines under ideal conditions whereas S16 can do about 1800 lines. A lot of people have confused my Super-8 for 16mm, but that was in the standard def days.

January 9, 2017 at 8:30AM, Edited January 9, 8:35AM


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