Cine-Kodak movie cameras and accessories
My wife's grandmother died recently, and my mother-in-law generously set aside some photography equipment for me that they've found in her house as they're cleaning it out. That family had some cool stuff.
One such thing is a Cine-Kodak Titler. Click on the link to see what I mean:
The titler device is in gray, and the black device is a wind-up movie camera fastened to it. Its purpose was to make it easy for movie-makers to add steady, professional-looking titles to their movies. The user would make up a title card, being careful to keep their card design within the size of the titler frame. The titler included a card with exposure guidelines for its use. I don't have any instructions with mine.
The titler I have is covered with black crackle paint, like something you'd see on a Ford Model T.
Information about the Titler seems to be hard to find. I'm trying to find out what model or models of Cine-Kodak cameras would have been used with it. I'd like to play around with it if possible. Ebay has all kinds of vintage wind-up Kodak movie cameras in 8 and 16mm, in prices ranging from $25 to $250. Seems a little indulgent when modern camcorders offer more versatility, but I enjoy some of these older things. Unlike the poured plastic camcorders of today, these cameras were metal, often with leather coverings. Someone had to put them together. They just speak of a simpler time.
Any advice would be appreciated.
The titler is a pretty simple device. It was designed for cameras that you don't look through to focus, like the one in the picture. It holds the card near the minimum focal lenth, and is big enough to fill the frame, two things you're never quite sure about when you're looking through those pop-up metal things. It's not necessary for cameras that you can look through the lens, though, because you can just set the camera on a tripod (or table) and frame/focus the title card.
If you're interested in shooting some film, look for a Super-8 camera on eBay. Avoid regular-8 (usually just called 8mm), because you can't easily get the film for it anymore, if at all, and it was a pain in the but to handle, anyway. Super-8 comes in cartridges like video cassettes, and is simple to use. I like Canon super-8 cameras from the late 70's, usually called "Canon Electric" with a 3-digit number after them. They were surprisingly advanced for home movie cameras, very user-friendly, very much like modern video camcorders. You will also want a viewer to watch what you've shot.
Read up as much as you can about shooting film first, though. Black-and-white super-8 is, I think, your best bet to start. Come to think of it, now that Kodak stopped making Kodachrome, I'm not sure there is any more color super-8 readily available. Don't be put off by the price: a 3-minute roll of film, last time I bought one, was about 15 dollars, plus another 15 to process. Plus shipping, unless you live near a lab that processes it. BUT, it's an incredibly rewarding hobby, pretty much for the reasons you've started to list above. The first time you get a roll of film back and see that string of tiny images, it's really something.
If I were you, I'd ebay the titler. It's more of a collector's item than anything you'd want to try to shoot with.