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    Wednesday
    Mar142012

    Digital Super 8

    Background


    The Kodak Super 8 system is a brilliant film format that inspired thousands of wonderfully well made Super 8 cinema cameras. Unfortunately, the proprietary film cartridges are no longer in production and existing supplies are quickly diminishing.

    Considered highly collectable by many, these cameras are well crafted, well thought-out tools of cinematography. However, without a replacement for the film cartridges, these beautiful cameras are destine to gather dust in antique shops.

    The Solution

    Give new life to your Super 8 camera with the Nolab Digital Super 8 Cartridge. Shoot 720p HD video with any Super 8 camera.

    Avoid all of the hassles associated with film.

    • Footage limited only by SD card size
    • No film processing time or costs
    • No telecine transfer time or costs
    • Direct import into editing application

    How it works

    At the heart of the Nolab Digital Super 8 Cartridge is a tiny but powerful 5 megapixel image sensor similar to the one in your smartphone. Combined with a custom glass objective lens, the sensor focuses on a ground glass image plane pressed against the camera’s film gate. By using a 5 megapixel sensor we can capture 720p HD footage at the native Super 8 aspect ratio of 4:3.

    Processors integrated into the image sensor are able to  process and encode the footage in real time to a removable SD card. Optionally the same processors can apply one of two predefined Film Look color correction filters to the footage. 

    That sounds simple enough, To allow the Nolab cartridge’s image sensor to synchronize with the camera’s shutter, a unique sensor had to be developed. It’s this design that allows the cartridge to work properly in any camera at any frame rate up to 60 fps.

    Features

    • 720p HD video capture in 4:3 format
    • Frame rate automatically adjusts to camera settings (up to 60 fps)
    • Integrated Film Look options
    • Unlimited storage via removable SD card
    • Battery and recording status light

    Specifications

    • Image Sensor:  5 megapixel Omni Vision OV5600 series
    • Video Encoding: 720p HD H.264 (4:3)
    • Memory:  Removable high capacity SD card
    • Connections:  One mini USB port (primarily for charging)
    • Battery:  Rechargeable LiPo battery providing up to 3 hours of continuous recording
    • Housing:  Machined aluminum, color anodized and laser etched
    • Height:   70mm
    • Width:    75mm
    • Depth:    24mm
    • Weight:   160g

     

     

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    Reader Comments (297)

    I would really love to see this project come to fruition and would most probably buy at least one, if the price was right.

    May 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJeff NME

    It would be better if the camera recorded CinemaDNG frames at full bandwidth like the KineRAW-S8p (tm) camera. I have thought about building such a device before, its possable to locate the higher bandwidth recorder external and use a RF link to the Super8 cartrage.

    Its possable to sync the sensor to the shutter using a photo diode and adjusting the sensor clock to run faster until they are in phase then have a PLL operate to compensate for the camera's phase drift.

    Alonther solution is to run the sensor faster than the shutter and pick a frame that falls with the open time.

    Some sensors can operate at 24fps using 1920x1440 resolution which when recorded to raw CinemaDNG frames delivers higher quality.

    The ground glass is not needed and it only degrades the image quality, you can use a field lens in the gate of the S8 camera and have the relay optics have a puple that is large enough to capture the ray bundle so that there are no dark corners and no grain added from the static ground glass. A fine focus adjustment screw should be added to the cartrage to allow the cartrage FFD to be adjusted within a micron to the camera's lens to avoid focus errors with the camera's eyepiece when the field lens is used for grain free shooting.

    CinemaDNG is a better replacement for movie film over H.264 because its normally 12 bit so you get a wider grading range without adding histogram gaps.

    If you want help understanding the CinemaDNG file header or other optical issues you can contact me with "Super8 cartrage sensor device" in the email subject line.

    Dan Hudgins

    May 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDan Hudgins

    Wow, this is what I call a great idea! The Super8 stuff that is still available is quite expensive, and the idea using a regular Super8 camera which creates digital files is superb!

    How is the progress on this at the moment?

    June 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMichiel van Ginkel

    Did you guys think about starting a Kickstarter project to get the funding to get this off the ground?

    June 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLaurent

    How long do we have to wait, or is the product available ?

    October 12, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterwaldemar schwefel

    An interesting concept, no doubt. I would prefer 1080p but if you can deliver 720p raw then I am more than interested.

    November 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMatt Stevens

    Why 4:3 aspect ratio? Super-8 has an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, just like Super-16. You can crop 1.78:1 to 16:9, so why crop all the way to 4:3? Regular-8 has the old 1.33:1 square format...

    November 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAusten Hoogen

    I would certainly buy one or two, and I know of at least 20 other people in my group who would as well. Kickstarter it!

    November 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNorman

    Me too!like it very much - it would be a nice addition to my old kodak instamatic m4 and my canon 1014xl-s

    November 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMichiel van Ginkel

    Mr. Hoogen is incorrect. Super-8 has an AR of 1.33:1
    Perhaps he is .thinking of Super-16.

    November 26, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterspacecadet

    kickstart! kickstart! :)

    November 26, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterjc

    Kickstarter it, I would buy one! Have been thinking of designing one myself. You probably have a sizeable available market if you can hit the right ASP.
    Peter

    November 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPeter

    My Super8 camera has a 1 frame at a time setting for stop-go animation. Please make this cartridge single frame compatible!!

    December 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAaron Lewis

    I love super 8mm and your concept is totally AWESOME.

    Please feel free to inbox me. I'll happily share your news with the Filmmaking Stuff audience.

    "We have developed the first working proof of concept which we demonstrate in the video above."

    Am I the only one who doesn't see this video? It could be, because my work computer blocks a lot of media. Anyway, this idea is awesome. I hope it pans out!

    December 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Sumner

    Sound?

    December 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCharles Sanson

    this is such an awesome idea, i want one now.

    December 5, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterjoe

    SO, do you need volunteers for Beta Testing? Have a Beaulieu and a Bolex available for testing ...

    December 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBob Lee

    All that and it only shoots 720p? I'll just stick with shooting on actual super 8 film.

    December 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMarky Mark

    Great idea. Was just considering at picking up a 8mm film camera for fun and experimentation. This would be great for that. And people's suggestions for either RAW or 1080p would be great, as well.

    December 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSam Howlls

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