Seasonal Super 8 Throwback

I don’t know why I hang onto good stuff like this instead of putting it out when I get it. I have a bunch of Super 8 films that I shot years ago that I have yet to share. There are two films here, one is from October 2007 and one is from October 2008. Maybe I thought that I would add sound to them at some point but I never did. Instead they’ve just sat at home. I was happy to rediscover these wonderful pieces of family Americana and I am happy to share them.

I hope I don’t need to restate the importance and value of film in recording memories. The footage speaks for itself – so much more than an iPhone recording, don’t you think?

Some new gear

I guess I never wrote about it but I was able to locate and purchase a Nizo 801 Macro on ebay a while back. The camera shipped from Germany and I’m happy to say that it is in great condition.
Unfortunately, I haven’t shot any film with it yet. Though I have continued to use my Zeiss Ikon. I shot a couple more rolls with it and had them developed. They look so great. I’m just shooting the plain old Ektachrome 64T stuff – I haven’t dared to branch out yet into the other types of film – the negative stock and black and white. But I’d really like to – guess I’m just a little bit nervous about spending the money and then wrecking the film. Nothing worse than messing up a perfectly good roll of film by being out of focus or not having the aperture set right.

I’m planning on getting a bunch of film transferred to digital pretty soon here so I can edit it and throw it up on the site.

I’ve also got a couple of other new tools for the arsenal. I bought a Canon HV30 HDV camera. Yes, I know it’s not film. But the fact is that a digital camera can be great for practice shooting and test runs. Plus, for everyday use, it’s way cheaper the shooting a bunch of film. Haven’t shot anything with it yet but I’ll start playing around with it pretty soon.

I also purchased an Audio-Technica shotgun mic. Finally. I say finally because it’s been something that I’ve been trying to talk myself into buying for a while. The idea is to capture the audio on my digital recorder with the shotgun mic while shooting with the Super 8 camera. Then I will sync the sound and image in the editing process. There are all kinds of issues you run into when trying to sync sound with film – especially super 8 film – but as long as I don’t have long runs of dialogue that have to be matched up I should be okay. Much of the speaking in the film I’m gearing up for is done in voice overs.

So, except for the lighting, I pretty much have what I need to shoot this thing. As for the lighting, I will either make due with whatever I can scrounge up and buy from the hardware store or maybe I’ll decide to rent a light package. Not sure yet.

At this point I need to take the pages of notes I have and random sections of character lines and hash out a script. I’m looking at doing a 12 -15 minute film. Though the more I get into the story the more I realize that this really could be a full-blown feature film. I just have to remember everything I’ve ever learned about short film vs. feature films and not try to pack too much in. Keep it concise, to the point, don’t expound too much. Maybe I’ll write the feature version later.

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On a rather sad note – I learned that Polaroid film is ending their production of instant film. Damn, just another film breed dying. In honor of the death of Polariod instant film – I give you this link – perhaps the only way we’ll be able to remember what Polaroid was.

On another sad note – Lost in Light closed up shop in August – they are no longer doing film transfers. I thought that was a really great project and I was looking forward to sending them some more film. But I would imagine that such a project would be very time intensive so I understand the need to close. Luckily, the site will remain as an archive of the films that are there. I highly recommend checking some of them out.

That brings me to my final point: HD and HD TVs.
After years of having an old Sony TV my wife and I finally broke down and got a beautiful Samsung LCD TV. I was so anxious to pop in a movie and see how wonderful it would look. But I was shocked to find that the resolution seemed TOO HIGH! It completely destroyed the film appearance. I felt more like I was watching a soap-opera. It was as if I were looking through the eyepiece of a video camera and capturing the action myself. It was so distracting that I could not get involved in the movie. The images were flat, one dimensional, lifeless, fake, plastic. Where was the texture, the motion, the fluidity? It was gone, resolved into millions of pixels until the medium appeared non-existent. What a disappointment. Now I’ve got this damn TV and I have to find a way to make the best of it. Maybe I’ll mess with the settings some and see if I can “fix” the image. Seeing this only heightens my commitment to using film.

I found this link about Sam Bayer recently that made me feel better about shooting film. Here’s one of the videos he did.