Super 8mm Film Footage – Sundance Film Festival

thismaybethelasttime-photoI recently attended the ‘friends, family, and movie-people’ premiere of This May Be The Last Time, a documentary produced by Matt Leach, Sterlin Harjo, and Christina D. King and directed by Harjo. This was the first feature-length film backed by This Land Films a section of This Land Press based in Tulsa, OK. The premiere took place at Circle Cinema in Tulsa on the heels of a successful debut at Sundance Film Festival in January 2014. Here is the posting about the film on the Sundance site.

I was hired to work on the film last year. I worked with the director and producer and other members of the cast and crew to capture re-created historical events that took place decades. Though, there was some original home movie footage of other stuff they could not unearth any archived footage from this particular significant event. So the goal was to re-create several scenes in a manner that might pass for film footage captured in the early 1960s. Super 8 film shot in a hand-held ‘man-on-the-scene’ type way was used to create a stylized, authentic appearance.

Coming into the picture I had seen a rough cut of the film and I understood the scenes and what they wanted to capture.

The shoot was a memorable one for me as many of the shots took place with me standing in the North Canadian River with a camera in my hand. All told we shot 7 rolls of film that day at 24 fps which amounted to about 17 minutes of film. The film stock was Agfachrome 200D Color Reversal film and shot on a Canon 814 XLS.

The intention was to use about 5 minutes of the footage. I was happy to see that every roll of film turned out wonderfully; good light, good focus, and framing. Plenty of the footage made it into the final film and the trailer.

I was happy to have been given the opportunity to share in this experience. The documentary is beautiful, heartbreaking, and uplifting, all at the same time…it’s a story worth watching.

 Posted below is the official trailer for the film:

 

New Super 8 Film added – State Fair 2013

I added a new film to my Vimeo channel last night. This one is from the Oklahoma State Fair this year and features my fam at the livestock barns and at the midway. This was the first time I used my “nicer” camera at the fair. I used my Canon 814 XLS 814XLS_3to shoot the footage. I shot on Kodak 500T Color Negative film. The soundtrack is from live recording at the fair using my Edirol R-09.

Taking my Super 8 camera and filming a roll or two has become a new tradition for me. I have been doing this for 7 or 8 years now and it makes me wish that I’d been doing it since my first visit there. I think the color and movement of film really captures the authenticity of being there.

This was also the first footage I’ve edited using Final Cut Pro X. I just downloaded the trial version yesterday and was able to quickly cut together the footage and the soundtrack without any real problems – which was great. I was a little hesitant about the interface to begin with but it turns out it was more intuitive than I originally thought. I didn’t search any help documents, just went right to work. Granted, there were no real edits within the film as I like to keep the film “whole” and as uncut as possible. But I did add titles, credits, and a layered audio track. Looking froward to playing around with FCP-X some more. Migration from FCP-7 looks imminent.

Oklahoma State Fair 2013 from Aaron Gibson on Vimeo.

Cool News & Work in Progress

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I received word that a film that I did some Super 8 film work for has been accepted to Sundance. The documentary film This May Be the Last Time, directed by Sterlin Harjo and Produced by Matt Leach, both of This Land Films, will be shown at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah January 16-26.

Here is the announcement on the This Land Films website:
http://thislandpress.com/12/09/2013/this-land-films-premieres-this-may-be-the-last-time-at-sundance-film-festival/

Here is the short description of the film on the Sundance website:
“This May Be the Last Time / U.S.A. (Director: Sterlin Harjo) — Filmmaker Sterlin Harjo’s Grandfather disappeared mysteriously in 1962. The community searching for him sang songs of encouragement that were passed down for generations. Harjo explores the origins of these songs as well as the violent history of his people.”

My contribution to the film was minimal in terms of the overall production but I had a fun experience working with these guys, the talent and other crew. I was hired to shoot several rolls of film as a part of the film that re-created a specific historical event. I shot the film using a Canon 814 XLS and Agfachrome 200D Reversal film stock. The film was then digitally transferred and scanned at HD resolution.

I have seen the raw footage but not the final cut of the film – so I’m excited to see how the footage was integrated into the story.

Congratulations to all those involved! We’ll be watching the progress of this film to see the progress it makes.

Super 8 Wedding Film – Lauren and Adam

This is a short wedding film I shot in October 2013 for my brother Adam and and his wife Lauren. I’ve been shooting Super 8 film for a long time now and with this film have decided that I’m going to enter the world of Super 8 wedding films. So pass on the information and if anyone out there would like to have their wedding filmed please get in touch with me. I will have a complete website with all the information soon!

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?

New Super 8 Film – Art on the Mother Road: Part One

I’ve got a new Super 8 film to share. I expect this will be a multi-part film series which may culminate into a full film. If you like it please share it and pass it around. Thanks.

Art On the Mother Road from Aaron Gibson on Vimeo.

This is a short film that I shot sometime in Fall 2012. It takes place in El Reno, Oklahoma at the site of Rick Sinnett’s mural titled Guardian of the Mother Road. One of the projects Rick has been working on is painting a series of murals along Oklahoma’s Route 66 – known as the Mother Road. Each mural draws in components of the Oklahoma landscape and Rick’s representations of native symbolism and presents them in a symmetrical and colorful array. This short (one cartridge/50 ft reel) highlights Rick’s presence and pride in his work and how his art is positioned in relation to Route 66 and the open fields surrounding it.

I shot this film with a Canon 814 XL-S on Kodak 500T Negative film. Edited in Final Cut Pro 7. The music was a lucky find (creative commons licensed). Intro sound effect is my own recording of me putting a Super 8 cartridge in the camera and pulling the trigger.

Processing and telecine was performed by my friends at Yale Film & Video in Burbank, CA.

Thanks for watching.
More about Rick Sinnett (aka Mothman) and his current projects can be found online at:
http://siloartproject.com
http://mothcollection.com
and of course on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.

Super 8 Film/Sound Sync Test – Summit Sings


I got some developed film back today. There were two rolls that I had developed and transferred – both were shot with my Nizo 801 Macro. The first roll was some test footage for a film that I wrote and will (hopefully) be shooting soon. The second roll is of my son, Summit, singing into a microphone. There are a couple of reasons for both of these films. First, these are the first rolls I have run through this Nizo camera and I needed to see how the camera handled and how the pictures would look. Second reason was to experiment with syncing sound to the picture.

I have to say, compared to my other camera – the Zeiss Ikon, I am a disappointed with the Nizo. The ligh, colors and clarity are just not as good. True, it may have a lot to do with the user but my first experience with the Ikon yielded some much better footage. I will continue to work with the Nizo in hopes that I will learn more about it and get some better footage.

The test footage I shot for my upcoming film was WAY WAY too dark. Very under-exposed. Yes, the room was dim but there were several windows open and some additional interior lighting for a couple of shots. In retrospect I should have considered that I was shooting 64T and probably should have been much closer to the subject and had much more light.

Even more unfortunate is that the footage is SO dark that I am unable to do a sound sync edit test because I can barely see the slate or the person holding it! Suck. Oh well – that’s why it’s a test, right?

Luckily, I also recorded the test footage with my HDV camera so I may put some of that online just so you can see the conditions. Maybe someone can tell me what I should do to fix the situation – maybe I need to change my film type entirely! This also answers my questions about if I need additional lighting or not – I absolutely do.

The other film I shot, as I mentioned above, is of my son. This took place outside and all the camera setting were on auto. The picture is still a little dark, grainy, and the color is weak – though I’m sure I could fix it a bit in Final Cut if I wanted to. Good thing is that I was able to practice some sound syncing with this footage. I now realize how tricky this is and how important it is to have a slate to cue the sound/picture edit.

I also realized everything I have read about trying to sync digital sound to Super 8 film. It does not stay synced for long, that’s for sure. However, with a little tinkering I was able to keep the sound closely synced for a little while by increasing the picture speed by 10%. This doesn’t change the look of the film hardly at all but it allows it to stay a little closer in sync. it is by no means perfect, there is some obvious lag/separation towards the end. But it’s not too bad for a first try.

Again, there are some things I can do to make it better so I will continue to work on it.

For the time being – enjoy Summit’s beautiful voice.

My Dad, Super 8 Film and a Well Site


This film is in remembrance of my dad who died April 11, 2002 – tomorrow is the 6 year anniversary of his death.

I would like to share this Super 8 film. This one is from a batch of films that I had telecined several months ago. I really like this one because it’s an experience I remember – our visit to an oil well site that my dad was involved with. Honestly, I don’t know what involvement my family had with oil – maybe this was a friend’s site, maybe family. That’s a question for my mom I guess.

The film shows my brother Ryan (the first little boy you see) and I playing around on dirt piles and dangerously close to the drilling rig. I don’t see my dad in the film so I have to assume that he is the cameraman.

I have him to thank for my love of moving pictures, story telling, humor, and adventure. My dad spurred and encouraged all of those values in my brothers and I and we are each better people for it. I love him and still miss him.

Film Processed, Film Transferred, and More

Saturday morning I received my developed film from Dwaynes. The old roll of K40 film which, as I noted before was probably 20-30 years old was blank. On close inspection I could see the outlines of some figures but there was no way to make them out. It’s really too bad – a great film lost. And it gives me reason to believe that I shouldn’t go to the time and expensive of processing the two rolls of Ektachrome Type G film as I will probably get the same results and it will be money down the tubes. This just reminds me how important it is to get your films processed quickly – don’t leave them sitting around. The three rolls that I discovered probably went through many summers of sitting in a hot garage or attic and no telling how much other abuse.

The good news is that the 2 rolls of 64T film that I shot last weekend at the State Fair look great. The color is beautiful and everything appears to be in focus (based on my somewhat glitchy projector). So I am going to get these films transferred to digital, along with some footage I shot from last year’s State Fair and put together a short film. The only thing is, I wish I had sound from the fair.

On that note, I recently purchase and received an Edirol R-09 that I am going to be using specifically for sound for my Super 8 films. Of course it will not be synch sound in the strictest sense but it should do well enough and through a little editing magic I think I can make it work. I haven’t had a lot of time to play around with it yet but when I do I will post some stuff here.

Yesterday I got an email from Jen at Lost In Light telling me that my films have been telecined and are on their way back. That was way faster than I thought. I can’t wait to see the finished product. They will be posting some of the footage on their website and have requested a short write up from me about the footage – so I will post it here when that happens.

And finally – I wanted to report on yet another failed ebay bid. This time on a Nizo Professional. I have no excuse this time as I simply forgot about the auction ending time and missed the final chance to bid. I feel certain that I would have won this one because I would have bid at least $50 more than what the camera sold for. Oh well. I’m going to keep looking and surely one will go my way.