Super 8 Filmmakers Guide: Working with Projectors | Shanks FX | PBS Digital Studios

Super 8 Filmmakers Guide: Working with Projectors | Shanks FX | PBS Digital Studios

undoubtedly heard about Super 8, the dramatically
improved 8-millimeter film format. [FILM REEL CLICKING] Hey, guys. Joey Shanks here once again. And this is part three of
our Super 8 Filmmakers Guide series. And in part three, we’re
going to be covering Super 8 projectors. ANNOUNCER: This one weighs
less than a telephone. But don’t let that
compact size fool you. It shows your movies
sharp and clear. JOEY SHANKS: So we’re going to
be working with three different projectors– a classic Super 8
projector that only takes Super 8 film, an older 8-millimeter
projector that just takes 8-millimeter film, and a dual
Super 8/8-millimeter projector that can do both. Now, the 8-millimeter projector
and the Super 8 projector have different sprocket
sizes in the projector. The one that does
both doesn’t deal with grooving in
the sockets when it turns the film,
which is really the reason why it can do both. Super 8 film gives you 50%
more picture area than regular 8 millimeter for bigger,
sharper movies on your screen. JOEY SHANKS: I don’t
know if you can tell. You see how the sprockets
are, like, twice as big– the 8-millimeter? It allowed for a
lot more frame size. That’s why a lot of
times, these projectors can’t play Super 8, because
the sprockets are too small. I went to an
antique store, and I found a few rolls of
random 8-millimeter film just so I could throw in
an 8-millimeter projector, because I have like two or
three 8-millimeter projectors. I got those for the “Star
Wars” lightsaber episode for the sound effects,
where Ben Burtt hooked a mic up and recorded
the motor tones of projectors. He actually did it with the
35-millimeter projector. But I kind of got away with
an 8-millimeter projector. [LIGHTSABERS WHIRRING] This guy I got off of eBay. It is a Keystone Super
8 projector automatic. The guy that was selling
this said it worked fine. And the thing is,
a lot of times when you buy these things online, the
user may not be into filming, not be into projectors
and what have you. So they may turn it on, and it
may look like its running good. But there may be
certain components that don’t work that
they don’t realize, and that’s what happened here. First off, you always want to
make sure that the bulb works. And usually, you just
unthread it here. Get it off. So this is, I think,
150-watt bulb. This is kind of what
the bulb looks like. They’ll vary in
size and strength. But usually, they
look like this. The end, it looks like this. You see, it has kind of
a– an indention here that goes outwards. ANNOUNCER: When installing
the projection lamp, line up the flanges on the
base of the lamp with the slots in the lamp’s socket. Then press down firmly and
turn in a clockwise direction until it locks in place. [PROJECTOR CLICKING] And it works like so. First, you want to make
sure the motor runs. [WHIRRING] She’s loud. So it’s turning here on
the forward position. But I go to Rewind. And the rewind doesn’t work. So I’ve gotten two
projectors, I think. And the rewind has not worked. And that’s something
that a lot of times that the people that
are selling these just don’t realize that the
rewind doesn’t work. A lot of times
what I’ve had to do is just hand-spool it to rewind
it, which is definitely a pain. And I guess this is only,
like, a two-minute clip. It’s not that bad. But I also have this
other Super 8 projector that I got that’s a dual
standard and Super 8, where you can flip a switch
and use either format. When I turn the motor on,
turns it from this one. And then Rewind rewinds
the film from here. So let’s say, if I was getting
tired of doing it like this, I could take my other projector
here, take it off like this. It’s probably not the
best way to rewind film. But we can remove our rewinder,
kind of like a VHS rewinder, you know what I mean? If you guys know what
those things are. ANNOUNCER: They thread
themselves automatically. Watch. Right onto the take-up reel. Make sure that the sprockets
are kind of sitting in there. Push down on this. [CLICK] And it kind of makes a nice
little curved cut on it so it feeds it
through a lot easier. OK. So the sprockets are
facing towards us. This is going to
let your film in. We push this down. When I just hold it
in, it’ll feed it through here, come down here. It’ll loop around. So it’ll feed back
down through there and then pop it
out through there. We don’t want to
have the light on, because if it gets
stuck for some reason, it will burn through the film. So we just want to
turn the motor on. So here we go. [WHIRRING] I see it’s going through. It should come out here. And out of the three projectors
that I tried, all of them got jammed up at
one point in time. So always be ready to
cut your projector off if the film gets jammed up. [WHIRRING] And then you turn it off. I was hoping it might,
like, catch automatically. But that’d be too
easy, wouldn’t it? Stick it on in there. OK. [WHIRRING] All right, so here’s
some of what we shot. You see that the frame is
kind of coming through there? This is your framer. So sometimes when
you’re washing it, you’ll notice,
like, the frames are like– you can see half of a
frame and the other half coming in. So I’ll just flip the knob a
little bit, and that exists it. [WHIRRING] [MUSIC PLAYING] I shot one roll of
black-and-white reversal of my friend’s daughter’s
birthday party. The great thing is
with black and white, all you have to do is get
it developed and sent back. And then we’re just
going to set up our camera and film
the white paper and essentially
digitize it ourselves. I use photography paper. I use the opposite sides
so it’s not too shiny, but it’s still really clean. ANNOUNCER: This is dirt in
the aperture of the projector, which must be carefully
cleaned before the showing, for the dirt is not
only disturbing to see, but it will scratch the film. JOEY SHANKS: An air
canister, blow it. Try to get some of the
unwanted hairs out. [BLOWING] See? I was able to get
it by blowing on it. And when you guys are
setting up your camera to record this, record at 30
frames a second, not 24 frames. Recording at 30
frames a second is going to take out that
flicker and look a lot better, believe it or not. And there is also
another technique that you guys can try out. You can pop the lens
off of your projector. And if you have a
really good macro lens, you can get super close to the
actual gate of the projector and film it that way. You might be able to get a
little bit more of a pure image by doing it this way. But for the most part, I really
couldn’t tell the difference. So I was telling
you guys about how it looks when you try to
project a color reversal. So we’re going to
do that right now. So we have our first two
rolls from “Galaxy Gulch.” [WHIRRING] All right. So I see that it’s running good. So now I’ll turn the lamp on. All right. Oh, yeah, I see
that pretty good. So as you can see– [DOOR RATTLING] Like I said, I
tried even bringing this in post-production
and flopping the colors. But it’s just– there’s
just so much information that the camera needs or
that the computer needs that you’re not going to
get the same color the way it truly looks. So this was my first time really
working with film projectors. And I think it’s a good
idea for anyone who’s starting fresh into working
with film projectors is to get an 8-millimeter
projector, because they’re
cheaper, easier to find. And go to antique
stores, thrift shops. Even go online and find
old film reels of footage and load it into
these projectors just so you can kind
of get your hands dirty and working with the projector,
seeing how it operates so, when you do make
your mistakes, it’s not going to be making your
mistakes with your footage. Oh. Catch. Yeah, it wasn’t tight enough. So– oh no. All right. It’s just the adventures
of projecting film. OK. So I don’t know if it was wound
tight enough or if I just– oh, I have it on rewind. All right. And over. Back under. And then through here,
through the gate, you just lift up and
slide it through the gate. And you want to leave yourself a
little bit of slack right here. ANNOUNCER: The film
is threaded with loops above and below the gate. If the loops are too short,
they will tear the film. Then you run it up under
here and then back over there. [INAUDIBLE] getting in
the episode like always. What’s up, [INAUDIBLE]? And she’s out. And you see the sprockets
fit in perfectly here. [CLICKING] And it’s also
really cool looking at these old-school home movies. [GIGGLING] JOEY SHANKS: For
the look, the feel, you can kind of see what
your footage could look like. [WHIRRING] And also, it’s kind of
fun to burn film frames. [CLICKING] Thanks again for checking
out part three of our Super 8 Filmmakers Guide series. Stay tuned for part
four, where we’re going to be going over, looking
at our digitized footage that we sent off and editing
our film, “Galaxy Gulch,” going over some sound issues. It’s very hard to
work with sound when you have these
noisy Super 8 cameras. [CAMERA CLICKING] We’re also going
to be seeing if we can work with some of
our digital footage and make it look
like Super 8 film. Thanks again for
checking this out. And please stay tuned for
more in the near future. Thanks again.


  • Krabbel8beiner

    August 30, 2016


  • Chris Harris

    August 30, 2016

    A 3200k replacement LED bulb would be awesome for those when using film.

  • Manny Calavera

    August 30, 2016

    Awesome stuff, I always wondered where that "bubble effect" came from, I suppose a cheap LED could fix that burning issue though 🙂

  • RolandMcGruner

    August 30, 2016

    Loving this series! Dunno if I'd even ever shoot super 8 film, but I still find this very interesting and fun to watch

  • Funky Koval

    August 31, 2016

    Hi.I just envy you ,because you've got cheap films and processing in US 🙂 .One roll cost about 1/7 of month salary in PL, but super8 is almost unknown. We've got here plenty of super cheap russian cameras and projectors, but they mostly serve as a decoration ..(Got mine rus projector for 3$).I've managed to insert diffrent objective for bigger screen, but you need stronger light source, so future lies in led, because they're more accesible than old bulbs. All best to you guys!

  • wattehel

    August 31, 2016

    You might mention you don't want to handle the bulb with your bare hands as the oils on your fingers will make certain bulbs burn out faster. Mostly halogen type.

  • Cyril ViXP

    September 1, 2016

    My friends switched the original lamp with the less powerful cool LED (also they used some kind of diffusing glass to make its light smoother on the whole field) and shoot it with the macro lens, the result was wonderful. Also, I've heard about the mechanisms which used Arduino operated motors, which was synchonised with the camera by software, and every frame was shot in photo mode, so the results had the resolution of about 4K. But now, when there are so many 4K videoshooting cameras there's no more need in such complicated mechanisms.

  • Nicolas Flores

    September 13, 2016

    Looking forward for the next one. Really carious how you manage sound.

  • Michael Crowley

    November 30, 2016

    The rewind not working is probably due to a stretched or broken belt.

  • Sam Cruz

    December 5, 2016

    "… VHS rewinder, if you know what those things are…"
    you kidding? had one of those sports car rewinder, so I would look cool rewinding my lion king movie lol

  • Xavier Peypoch

    April 11, 2017

    When is Galaxy Gulch coming out?! Can't wait to see it.

  • Fuzzbeta

    April 28, 2017

    I just bought an 8mm (not super) camera on a market, had to do some fixing but i got it working. Is it worth it to work with this as a beginner because i'll make mistakes quicker or should i just go to super 8 so it's a bit safer?

  • Loic Mancini

    December 1, 2017

    Is the 4th part available ? Can't find it


    February 17, 2018


  • Davide Aicardi

    July 23, 2018

    thanks mate, this series is pure gold <3

  • Art Last

    October 17, 2018

    Great Great info, doing a project now 68 reels, after 18 reels I switched from my sony SR11 ( as capture ) from SIMA mirror setup, to my Sony DSR-250, and WOW what a difference , something about the 250 that takes away the flicker, my setup is Sima mirror , Bell & Howell 253RS , DSR-250 connected to my "DVREX M-1 Canopus" which has "S" and RCA input so now I go directly to HDD ( actually have 4 Canopus setups) glad I kept them as with the DSR-250's which was also trying to sell, then edit through PP CS3…which is nice , as I can crop and rotate as necessary to fill the frame.and add sound in post. the trick is "when scaling up" is to check mark " Interlace" when scaling .. worked awesome, tanks for the great video again..

  • Art Last

    October 17, 2018

    I do have a question about the lens on the bell and howell, I noticed it pulls out and in like in 2 detents? whats that for? been searching with no luck.Thanks..

  • manuel salazar

    November 1, 2018

    Excellent stuff man! Hint to the super 8 transfer to video, look for a variable speed projector. These let you increase frame rate or decrease, attenuate to where you see flicker clearing up. Chinon and Sankyo both had these versions relatively inexpensive, Elmo's as well but a little higher end in price.

  • Brickhouse Films

    November 13, 2018

    I started out on Regular 8 then made my way up to Super 8. Plenty of nostalgia but the developing costs and tedious editing? Hello, digital. I still have my projector and cameras so now you've got me all hopped up to dig it all out and make some trouble.

  • Scribblebytes

    May 5, 2019

    This man is a one man Loews!

  • B L

    June 9, 2019

    It's never fun or a good idea to intentionally burn a frame of film while projecting. First of all it isn't good for the projector and secondly what is the point to destroy film?


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