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.

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?

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.