Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Hahnel Vb-100 V-System Typ Vb 40/69

Whilst in Berlin, I acquired a Hahnel Vb-100 8mm film viewer, as a gift from some friends.

The viewer reads 8mm film which exists in two main versions: the original standard 8mm film (also called regular 8 mm or Double 8 mm) and Super 8. They are both 8mm wide, however Super 8 has a larger image area because of its smaller perforations. I am yet to find out which type of 8mm film the viewer reads.
Image from Bios computers website

'Standard 8mm film is in fact 25 feet of 16mm motion picture film which is run through the camera twice. On each run, pictures are exposed down one edge of the stock and then down the other. When the film is processed, it is then also split right down the middle and joined at the ends to form 50 feet of 8mm film.

Super 8mm film is actually 8mm wide to begin with. Also, it has smaller sprocket holes which allows for a larger image. Finally, it is sealed in a self contained cartridge for easy loading.

You do not have to load Standard 8mm film in darkness, just be sensible and load it in slightly subdued light (i.e under a tree, not out in the sun.) The outer layers of film on the spool protect the inner ones from light whilst the film is being loaded.

A couple of other points worth mentioning. Although the image area on Super 8 is actually larger, this does not necessarily mean you always get a better picture. A Standard 8mm camera has a proper film gate with a pressure plate which keeps the film steady and in position behind the gate. With Super 8, the pressure plate is plastic and is built into the cartridge. This can result in image weave and jiggle (the film is actually moving from side to side a bit whilst being exposed).

Secondly, many Super 8 cameras have such enormous zoom lenses on them (to try and appeal to as wider market as possible) that, due to the number of elements of glass in the lens, you can often get a much worse picture than that achieved with a single prime lens on an old Standard 8 camera.

Also, standard 8mm film can be wound back in the camera and then re-exposed for all kinds of special effects and double exposure tricks.'

- Standard 8 vs. Super 8, Upperfold website

An 8mm Film viewer in action

I intend to research further into the Hahnel viewer I have acquired and try to incorporate it into my project. As I have previously mentioned, I am extremely keen to incorporate actual film into the device at some stage.

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