I’m thinking of converting my Eclair NPR to super-16. This involves widening the gate, modifying the magazines, moving the lens mount 1mm, and re-etching the ground glass. Unlike an Aaton, once it’s converted there is no going back.
I’ve never shot super-16, but I like the slightly wider aspect ratio. Here’s the thing: I have several other 16mm cameras that will not be converted. If I want to shoot something with one of my other cameras (say, in a “DangerCam” type of situation), the aspect ratio won’t match the footage from the Eclair. What if I want to shoot in the regular-16 format?
(Note: I’m asking the few people on the boards that might have experience here, but I’ll provide some information to people who are curious. Regular 16mm is 1.33:1 like your TV screen. Super-16 is close to the 1.85:1 “Academy” used in 35mm. 16mm film includes space on the non-perf edge of the film for a magnetic or optical sound track. Super-16 extends the exposure of the film onto the non-perf edge. The advantage is that the frame can be “blown up” to 35mm to closely match that aspect ratio. The disadvantage is that the 16mm film can no longer have sound. So if you shoot super-16 you must either blow it up to 35, or dump it to video for distribution. Or have a silent film.)
So let’s say I want to shoot a regular-16 film using a super-16 camera. Can I simply frame the shot (by masking or changing the ground glass) so that the image on the film is correct for 1.33:1? When the film is printed or transferred, the lab would be instructed to “process as regular-16”.
I think this would work, but can any shooters out there tell me if my theory is sound?