All electronics inside the Digital Super 8 Cartridge

We’ve got a working prototype of the Digital Super 8 Cartridge that runs with the Raspberry Pi 3 in an external module with touch screen. Benefits of that solution is the high level of control of operating the Digital Super 8 Cartridge and its settings through the touch screen. Plus the additional real-time monitoring of what is being filmed (in B&W) is a plus.

However the drawback is that the ‘filmtype viewing pane’ of the super 8 camera has to be knocked out of your camera in order to enable the USB connection from the cartridge to the external module.

Some people have suggested to us to try and fit all electronics into the cartridge. Clearly we had to find a smaller Single Board Computer than the Raspberry Pi. Ports and test with the NextThing Co. C.H.I.P. SBC failed as this single core ARM SBC is simply not powerful enough. Now our hopes are on the Orange Pi Zero, which sports a quad-core ARMv7 SOC in a tiny form factor. We have ported the software and the OPI Zero performs reasonably well. Great results for VGA and QHD resolutions. But we need to find optimisations in the code and push for the 720p to runs without dropping frames as well. Whether this will be at all possible we don’t know yet.

Orange Pi Zero inside the Digital Super 8 Cartridge

Benefits of this solution is that the Digital Super 8 Cartridge can simply be dropped into your camera and you don’t have to work with external module or screen. However the cartridge will have to provide a few buttons and LEDs for powering on/off and controlling settings. Alternatively we are looking at using VNC to provide connection via WiFi to your smartphone where you can then see the desktop of the Digital Super 8 cartridge and control its settings.

We are now waiting for the appropriate Lithium Polymer battery and boost/charge circuit and first need to get all the electronics really to fit within the cartridge. More to follow.

18 thoughts on “All electronics inside the Digital Super 8 Cartridge

    1. The cartridges are built to order as prototypes. It’s a ‘maker’ project. 2 challenges: the current usb camera/sensor we used is quite expensive but due to it’s subminiature size it’s very fit for the purpose; and you need to remove the filmgate from your camera, by unscrewing 2 simple screws, which you can undo later.

      1. Can’t wait to see how this is going to develop!
        I was hunting along the same paths as you do, but never really got it flying.
        Really great to see my wishes coming alive 😊
        Respect &best wishes!

      2. I have a Nizo 4080, and would love to try your project on it. I am also experienced with RPi projects. Do you have any plans on releasing the 3D files and a BoM at some point?

        1. Yes total cost expect €750. The Ximea subminiature camera unit is €500, rest is all other components, circuits and code.

    1. Around €750 I ecpect. The sensor and subminiature Ximea mu9 itself already €500

  1. Digital Super 8? Independent cartridge only…for multiple cameras, internal memory and power supply, variable speed, hour long filming, high resolution, and you will be successful!

  2. I assume this will have rolling shutter? Why that sensor? Have you look into others? Hope you don’t mind me asking.

    1. This shutter has 1/2.5 inch size which is ideal almost same size as super8 frame. We project the focal area directly on the sensor. Plus it has global Reset release shutter and a great API

  3. I ve dreamed to build such a beast with the innards of some chinese camera… but i understand that its better to have a direct focus on the sensor.

    Anyway. Would be glad to spend 500 euros on these to revive all my old beaulieus…

    1. Thanks Bnoit! it is now 2020 and we haven’t fully cracked it still…. We would love to create a cartridge that would not ask for any mods to the camera at all…

    1. Hi Bruce! Thanks for thinking with us. That camera board looks tiny enough to fit into a cartridge. But the sensor surface is actually too small so we would have to work with further optics. That probably can be done. But most importantly we want a sensor/camera that allows global reset release or global shutter, not a rolling shutter because that will give typical webcam experience with lines going oblique when moving fast etc. So we keep looking…. thanks!

  4. I am interested in this Super 8 Digital Cartridge.

    How can I get/buy a working prototype.

    When will you begin to produce this?


  5. Hi Zelig,
    Thanks for your positive reaction. We aren’t going commercial and develop a new prototype now that should prevent a user to remove the filmgate from the camera. Stay tuned.

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