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.

S8 Films Being Transferred to Digital

Yesterday I sent off 9 rolls of S8 film to Lost In Light for digital transfer. The footage has all been captured once before by me using a DV camera and projecting the image on a small 2′ x 2′ white posterboard. I used the footage to put together a collection of home videos on DVD – a project that took me months to create. I was very happy with the end result. I did the editing, soundtrack, DVD authoring, and cover art for the box and disc.

The advantage to having the footage captured professionally is that you get much clearer colors and a greatly reduced amount of flicker. Not to mention that it is a great way to preserve the footage.

Lost In Light is a great resource if you have S8 family films that you want captured. The service they provide is free. The only catch is that they encourage you to make your films Creative Commons and allow other artists to download and use footage from them. You maintain all rights to your work, you get the original films back, and you have the option of maintaining copyright if you choose that route over Creative Commons. But I like the idea of the films being out there. I think it encourages others to do the same, it broadens confidence in the artistic community, and it provides an online resource for preserving the films. What good are films anyway if they sit on a shelf for no one to see?

On that note, I want to share another film that I found on the LIL page. This by one of the founders of the project, Jen Proctor. It’s called Alternative Forms of Energy. It’s very unique in that it uses interview audio of a man talking about biodiesel, along with organic images from hand-processed S8 film, painted with india ink and manipulated with clorox. Talk about the physical act of film making! You just don’t get that with digital. The images have the effect of playfulness on screen – contrasting blacks, whites and greys and bubbling supersaturated colors. Many times the film is like watching a dancing painting. The central images are natural ones – water, birds, islands of rock in the ocean – but these are flooded with the chaotic shapes of ink specs, lines, chemicals, and broken up by abrupt cuts. The narration keeps the whole thing linear and the edits take the pace and progress of the speaker. Overall, it’s an intriguing short film to watch.

Welcome – First Post – Two Super 8 Films

I needed a place to post about my film projects as well as things that I find interesting in the world of film. This is that place.

This blog will primarily focus on small guage filmmaking, specifically Super 8 film, as well as screenwriting, film hints, tips, and tricks, and maybe a few movie reviews thrown in here and there.

So let’s get started…
I am always on the hunt for impressive S8 material online. Today I happened upon a great site called Lost In Light which accepts various small guage films for submission and free transfer to digital in trade for making your film creative commons. They post your footage online at archive.org as well as their own site and allow people to download it for free. The benefit is that they will give you a free digitized copy of your material. For those that want to maintain copyright, have student or professional projects, this isn’t the option for you – but for those that are artists or those that have old home films, this might be the ticket for you! I have some old home movies that I think would be perfect for this – stuff that I originally captured on my own using a DV camera and S8 projector – it’s flickery and could be a lot better – so I see no harm in sharing it. Essentially, that’s what this project is all about – sharing, preserving, archiving, and re-mixing. That’s the other cool thing I didn’t mention – you are free to download and re-mix the films that have been submitted.

NOTE: To download the films linked from here right click and do “save target as” – it will go faster

I found a really great S8 movie that I wanted to share with everyone. It’s called Demolition 7. CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD AND VIEW THIS FILM. Here’s the description as written on the Lost In Light website:

Demolition 7 (by Richie Sherman, 2005, 8.5 min) is a whiskey-soaked journey through the county fairgrounds of Anywhere, USA. Through Lynyrd Skynyrd anthems blaring from PA speakers haphazardly attached to electric poles. Through frito pies and funnel cakes fingers, crowds of sticky sweet sugar, sweaty kids, and cheap beer. Through drunk friends passed out and sunburned, awaking to catch a glimpse of female figures on dirt mounds backlit by unforgiving setting sun before passing out again. Through squinting eyes and exhaust, sledgehammers clearing wheel wells. Half-ashed cigarettes dangling above 5/8? sockets, the clicking of ratchets as mesh-hatted fat men in mustaches look on.
America, reduced to the serenity of a local girl singing the national anthem, the throttling of beaten engines, and the collective anticipation the moment before impact. The demolition derby is a beautiful symphony ending in a mist of radiator steam, smoke, and heavy night air that gently guides you from fairground field parking back home again. All of this so perfectly captured though sight in sound in Mr. Sherman’s little super 8 film.
– Aaron Valdez

This film represents exactly what I love about S8 film. You cannot achieve that richness, that texture, and that genuine black and white look with digital. This is pure film.

Another film that I would like to share is in line with my other passion – rock climbing. The Short Span (CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD AND VIEW) features bouldering in multiple locations in Ireland. We get a glimpse of everything from sea cliffs to lone boulders in the middle of a field. This film to me is one of the better rock climbing films/videos I’ve seen. There are some great camera movements, such as the 360 degreee shot around a large boulder, and several freeze float motion shots – which I still cannot fully figure out how he did. It’s difficult for me to tell in some cases if this film was just kind of thrown together and he got lucky or if there was a true artistic vision in it – even some of the shots that appear washed out or blurry or glitchy work within the context and the modd of the film. It just proves that sometimes what you get on film is better than what you might have imagined while looking through the eyepiece.