Launched in 1965, the film comes in plastic light-proof cartridges containing coaxial supply and take-up spools loaded with 50 feet of film. This was enough film for 2.5 minutes at the U.S. motion picture professional standard of 24 frames per second, and for 3 minutes and 20 seconds of continuous filming at 18 frames per second for amateur use, for a total of 3600 frames. A 200-foot reel later became available which could be used in specifically-designed cameras, but that Kodak cartridge is no longer produced. Super 8 film was typically a reversal stock. In the 1990s and today Super 8 color negative film is available for professional use and is typically transferred to video through the Telecine process for use in Television commercials, music videos and other film projects.
Compare a Super8 Film cartridge beside a compact audio cassette for scale of the super 8 film cart.
The plastic cartridge is loaded into the camera in seconds, without the need to directly thread or even touch the film. In addition, asa film speed notches cut into the cartridge prompts the film speed to the camera to allow automatic exposure setting.
Colour film stocks were available only in tungsten and almost all Super 8 cameras come with a switchable filter built in, compensating for both indoor and outdoor shooting.
The original release was a silent system only, but in 1973 a sync-sound version was released. The sound film had a magnetic stripe soundtrack, and came in larger cartridges than the original silent version so as to accommodate a longer film path and a second aperture for the recording head.
Sound cameras were compatible with silent cartridges, but not vice versa. Sound film was typically filmed at a speed of 24 frames per second. Kodak dropped the sound track film in 1997, due to environmental regulations.
A Super8 Film cartridge with a closeup of the film from wikipedia.
Kodak still manufactures super 8 colour and black-and-white Super 8 reversal film stocks, but in of the most popular stock Kodachrome was dropped in 2005.
This is to be replaced by a new E64 Ektachrome film stock. Kodak has also introduced several Super 8 negative stocks cut from their Vision film series, ISO 200 and ISO 500 which can be used in very low light.
Kodak reformulated the emulsions for the B&W reversal stocks Plus-X (ISO 100) and Tri-X (ISO 200), in order to give them more sharpness. Many updates of film stocks are in response to the growing popularity and availability of non-linear editing systems. Films may be transferred through telecine to video and are then imported into computer based editing systems. Despite this availability a number of enthusiast still choose to edit super 8 film with a viewer and rewinds. While Kodak Super 8 mm cartridges cannot be reloaded, a re loadable cartridge was manufactured in the former USSR.
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