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finally, a digital super 8 cartridge
  • I've got a beaulieu 4008 mkII, a nizo 4080, and canon 1014 xl-s waiting patiently for years in my closet for this to arrive ! I knew it was just a matter of patience.

    http://hayesurban.com/current-projects/2012/3/14/digital-super-8.html

  • 39 Replies sorted by
  • Interesting, but is like placing a digital camera inside a super8mm camera, perhaps you could put an action camera, like this one http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/887139-REG/Sony_hdras15_b_HDR_AS15_HD_Action_Camcorder.html inside an empty super8mm catridge, and get even better specs than the link you posted

  • This will never work because it will be next to impossible to sync the electronic shutter of the video sensor to the mechanical shutter of the Super 8 camera. It would require variable clocking video shutter sensor tech that doesn't exist yet and sophisticated sensor technology for reading the mechanical shutter and triggering the video shutter with nanosecond latency. Even if this tech existed - how could you implement the mechanical shutter-reading sensor (a) in or on the Super 8 cartridge itself, and (b) not knowing at which place to read the mechanical shutter since the cartridge would have to work in any Super 8 camera?

    Plus, the guy who proposes this is a designer and not an engineer. He seems to underestimate the complexity of the technical design.

    Other solution: rip out the mechanical shutter from the Super 8 camera to accommodate the digital cartridge. But then the camera would have been destroyed for its original purpose, exposing film. And, even worse, 90% of all Super 8 cameras had electronically controlled auto exposure aperture - which likely would stop to work with the shutter ripped out. In some cameras - such as the top range Nizos -, electronic metering and aperture control is so deeply integrated into camera electronics that the camera stops working altogether if its disengaged.

    No offense to the designer, but this project is just a nice portfolio piece/idea. If this would ever grow into a Kickstarter project, it would be even worse than Digital Bolex.

    (Here's an article on the news item & this issue, in German: http://www.filmkorn.org/kommt-die-digitale-super-8-kassette/)

  • There are several ways that I could imagine syncing the digital sensor to the mechanical shutter - the easiest of which would be to use light detection. Also, one could use an infrared sensor to detect movement of a shutter mechanism - not entirely dissimilar from how a film SLR tracked sprocket hole movement with film. The film compartment should be otherwise light-tight and there should be very few other moving parts.

    There are probably other ways too, but I can imagine lots of other technical challenges that would be more difficult than that one. I'm more puzzled by making it only 720p, but then talking about it being 4:3 format. Is that saying that it's only going to be 720x960 (instead of 720x1280) or is it going to be 960x1280? Either way, a 5 megapixel sensor is complete overkill. 1.3 megapixels would be sufficient.

  • It's a cool idea, but if you're going to shoot digitally, why the hell would you use an old super 8 camera when there are so many superior options/optics in a small package.

    This would get an A+ in a college design class, but in the real world...

  • @eatstoomuchjam: we're talking about a video shutter, no a photo shutter. Show me a sensor with real-time dynamically adjustable shutter timing please... And how do you want to use an infrared sensor on the cartridge itself without blocking the light for the video sensor?

  • @cantsin - The article doesn't say that it adjusts dynamically. It says that it does so automatically; it's an important distinction. Two easy ways to do that would be to either use an infrared sensor located just adjacent to the normal sensor to detect shutter movement (or a non-infrared sensor to just detect incoming light). Based on the intervals of light being seen and time between light being seen, you could set the video sensor to an appropriate frame rate. Otherwise, you could potentially also use timings from the film advance mechanism to detect frame rate. I'd be more inclined to try using a sensor than a mechanical timer, though, for product longevity.

  • No, that doesn't work. Even the slightest asynchronicity between the two shutters leads to flicker and traveling black bars on the video image. You need real 1:1 absolute perfect sync between the shutters, and therefore you need a dynamically adjusting video shutter. It's not doable. The guy who put up the web page is a designer, not an engineer - all he has is mock-ups, no real technology.

  • first , people making distinctions between designers and engineers obviously know nothing about how real research is done. Go to any national lab in the country and you'll find engineers w/o degrees. Many, as a matter of fact , and I know this to be a fact because I did it. To be a degreed engineer means nothing as to his capacity to realize his project.

    and second, as to the truthfulness of his statements that a special sensor was created to sync with the cameras mechanical shutter, and he has a working prototype, you have to take that as faith for the moment, because the video proving his concept is not posted.

    ...here's what he says-interpret for yourselves !

    We have developed the first working proof of concept which we demonstrate in the video above. Now we are in the early phase of mechanical and electrical design. Preliminary solutions for the shutter interface are being fabricated presently for testing. Primary components are being sourced and priced.

  • @cantsin You're assuming that the video sensor has a shutter of its own, then? That's not necessarily true. A full-frame CCD requires a separate mechanical shutter and would be almost ideal for this sort of work.

  • Wouldn't there be too much noise and vibration from the Super8 camera motor, to get any stable picture? If he does it, I just need to convert my Edison analog audio recorder to record digital sound!

    edisonhome.jpg
    640 x 585 - 26K
  • @eatstoomuchjam The Omnivision 5600 series are CMOS sensors, and they work at fixed frame rate clocks. Sorry to sound rude, but there's no way how this can work. Also take into account that the standard fps for Super 8 film - the only speed supported by all Super 8 cameras - is 18 fps. No way that a sensor specified for 15/30/60 fps can sync with that.

    A reader's comment on filmkorn.org brings up a number of other important points; here's the translation from German: "Where's the display to control the recording? Where's sound recording? How do you display remaining storage and battery capacity during the recording? How does the film transport claw of the Super 8 camera like the fact that it's picking the void all the time? Do I have to open the camera's cartridge compartment every three minutes or does its mechanical display of the remaining recording time simply get damaged? [...] There are Super 8 cameras with variable shutter and XL (=longer exposing) shutters. How can that digital thing safely cover the whole range of 0-230 shutter degrees? Why the stupid film emulation through this digital thingie in a time where every NLE can do this better and in a more flexible manner? Who will actually sacrifice the weight and size advantages of most video camcorders over a Super 8 camera? Who wants video to only work with 40 and 160 ASA? Who wants to check 2-3 battery sets all the time? (1 for the digital thingie, 1 for the Super 8 camera and often 1 for the Super 8 camera's meter) Can I really work with this like with a Super 8 cartridge - including fading in/fading out/crossfading in the camera? Likely not? Does the thing support the single frame exposure of many Super 8 cameras, including their different shutter speeds (for some of them, the same as with 18 fps exposure, for others, bulb speed)? Likely not!"

  • Sorry, forgot the following: the oldest comment on the project page is from May 2012. So it looks as if this page/project has been up for 1 1/2 years, still without the promised demo video. Likely, the project is already dead at this point.

  • So it looks as if this page/project has been up for 1 1/2 years, still without the promised demo video. Likely, it's already dead at this point.

    Huh. :-)

    Usually all such projects end this way.

  • cantsin - Ah, I hadn't noticed that they mentioned specifically the sensor in use. Sorry, you're right. It would be very difficult to sync a CMOS sensor with a clock to the camera's mechanical shutter.

  • @cantsin: have a look at this. I cracked the shutter sync. And yes it's crucial for the device to work and give that true super8 effect. Www.twitter.com/super8digital. And explanatory video:

  • @DigitalSuper8 - so you removed the film gate and also the mechanical shutter?

  • @DigitalSuper8 That's awesome - Perhaps you can refine the design in order to avoid modifying the camera

  • @DigitalSuper8 Cool idea! Is the low resolution due to USB transfer speed limitations?

  • wow! very nice! looking forward to further refinement..

  • I'm having trouble finding the dimensions of a super-8 cartridge online and I'm not near home to measure one, but I'm curious if there would be space in one for a raspberry pi. It seems like it might be possible to fit a raspberry pi 3 with pi camera (with lens removed) and a small usb battery into a super 8 cartridge and it should be possible, I'd think, to wire a photo sensor into one of the gpio pins... and the pi 3 camera can support up to 42 fps at 1296×972 resolution.

    Without cutting a hole, you'd get no screen, but if your goal is to have something similar to the experience of shooting on film, maybe that isn't the worst thing...

  • That or now that I think of it, it might be possible to run mjpg-streamer and just have a wifi screen...

  • Mechanical shutter stays in camera of course. The whole idea is to have digital super 8, where each image capture is triggered by optically sensing the film claw and then the CMOS sensor is exposed by the camera shutter being open. So no rolling shutter cause that wouldn't work. You shoot raw images which then later you can develop with our software. This is exactly how super8 filming works: you capture separate images.

  • We've been developing this for 1.5 years now and did lots of research. Raspberry Pi 2 or 3 or similar are too big. And really you need a 2.5 inch sensor and the only useful solution is the Ximea MU9PC-MBRD cam.

  • Using infrared sensor to detect the film claw. Fps and resolution limited due to readout speed of the Aptina MT sensor.

  • @DigitalSuper8 ....lookin' good....very good, but you need at least 720p at 24fps to garner any real interest. I could imagine a small belt pack to carry a processing unit, or even better, a tablet that doubles as processor and monitor. When 4k cameras are less than $500 bucks, vga just isn't viable. Keep up the good work. And ps...you meant 1/2.5". Which reminds me...if the processors and sensors from some cheap gopro look-a-likes wouldn't be usable