2006 2007 black and white Oklahoma State Fair super 8 film

Super 8 Films – Oklahoma State Fair

I’ve been talking about this for some time so I’m finally getting some Super 8 films that I’ve shot out here. I’ve got 8 films total and I probably won’t put them all online but I am going to get all the State Fair ones out here. Keep in mind that none of these have sound. Super 8 film is silent. That is, unless you have a Super 8 *sound* camera AND sound film. It’s not the sound cameras that are so difficult to find but the sound film can be difficult and expensive. Not to mention that to transfer both the film image and the associated sound would cost – well, I don’t know how much it would cost but I’m sure it wouldn’t be cheap.

All film was transferred at – and from what I see of the films I had transferred I am really excited about using them again for future projects.

So, a little bit about this first film (shown above):
This film was shot in Sept 2006. Every year my wife and I go to the State Fair and every year we make it a point to ride the giant slide. This year was no different. This film was shot by both of us. My wife shot the portion of me going down the slide – that’s me in the hat and glasses smiling at the camera after racing down the slide. The rest of the footage, I shot. This was B/W film and shot on my Zeiss Ikon Movieflex S8. It was a bright and sunny day so much of the images are a little overexposed. I’m sure I could up the contrast a bit in Final Cut (editing program) but I chose to keep it in it’s original unedited form.

This next film is from the State Fair – Sept. 2007.

I really like this one. It is the essence of what S8 film is all about to me. Rich colors, fluid picture, handheld camera feel, up close and real – filled with personality. This was also shot on my Zeiss Ikon Movieflex S8, this time using Ektachroome 64T film.

This film features several different elements of the state fair – the “freak” show tent, the unusual State Fair cuisine; fried Twinkies and Oreos, and a few of the lighted midway rides at dusk.

The two people in the film are Chris and Leah. Chirs is taking his first delicious bite of a fried Twinkie and then offers Leah a bite. I would note that Chirs went on to finish that Twinkie and followed it with a couple of fried Oreos. Shortly after that he was moaning with a stomache.

I especially enjoy watching the ride footage at the end and will probably shoot some more footage of rides in future films.

Hope you enjoy these two films.


audio-technica ektachrome 64T film update HD TVs Lost in Light nizo 801 polaroid sam bayer shotgun mic

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.

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.


Working on script for film

I came up with an idea for a short film and have been working on it off and on for a couple of weeks. It was one of those situations where I was writing one thing and all of a sudden a completely different idea appeared in my head and I just had to stop the first story and start writing what was on my mind. So far there are parts that are crystal clear – – like the setup, and several scenes – but the ending is still not quite so clear. But I think it will start to take shape as I continue.

The plan is to use the grain silos for a majority of the shoot. And of course I want to shoot in Super 8. I think the best bet is going to be shooting in DV on several practice runs prior to shooting S8 film, just to conserve.

The story centers around a single central character – a solider – that is on a mission but he doesn’t really know what his mission is, who the enemy is, or why he is in the situation he is in. I know it sounds very cryptic and perhaps a little corny but I’m leaving out pertinent details to preserve the originality of the story – believe me, there’s more to it.

On another note, I finally found and purchased my dream S8 camera – a Nizo 801 Macro. it was shipped from Germany and I paid about $400 bucks for it. It’s in great shape. I am still learning the ins and outs of shooting with it and haven’t had a chance to shoot any actual film with it yet. This is the camera I am planning on shooting the above mentioned movie with.

riding bikes super 8 film

Riding Bikes

With everything else going on I’ve neglected updating this Super 8 blog. I received footage back from Lost In Light – a while ago – but have only recently been able to transfer it from DV tape into digital files broken down for the web. I am still in the process of segmenting and editing them but wanted to share some of the raw footage.

So I present to you a day from my childhood. The boy on the bike is me. The boy in short shorts chasing me is my brother Ryan and the baby being pushed around in the stroller is my youngest brother, Adam. The film was shot by my Dad with a camera he bought from JCPenny – a camera I still have and, yes, it still works!

We used to visit this church parking lot that was just across the street from our house in Oklahoma City. It was a great place to ride bikes – and run. I remember riding around that big parking lot – seemed like you could go as fast and as far as you wanted.

I have many more films to add but it will take some time.

64T edirol Film Lost in Light state fair super 8

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.

64T Ektachrome film report Kodachrome state fair super 8

Film Report and More

We went to the Oklahoma State Fair this weekend and I brought the Zeiss S8 movie camera to shoot some footage. I shot two rolls of stuff like the big slide that you ride down in a burlap potato sack. Also got some footage of my friend Chris eating a fried Twinkie. Then some clips of various fair booths, the exterior of a “freak show,” and other fair stuff. I sent the rolls off to Dwayne’s today so I should have them back early next week – maybe even later this week – they’re pretty fast.

I also sent them a roll of old Kodachrome 40 film. Who knows how old it is and if there will be any pricture left on it after so many years. The film was broken on the outside of the cartridge so I don’t have any idea if they will be able to do anything with it.

I’ve also got 2 rolls of Ektachrome Type G film that my Mom handed over to me. Again, the film is probably a couple of decades old – who knows what’s on it or how degraded it is. Most places no longer develop this kind of film and the places that do charge about $35 per roll. Not cheap compared to the $9 per roll for Ektachrome 64T film. So I have to ask myself if it is worth the $70 to see about 5 minutes of film. It probably is – the curosity might kill me.

I have been searching for a reasonably priced Nizo 801 Macro camera in good condition and the other day I almost had one. It was a typical ebay moment. I had the highest bid with a mere 30 seconds to go. Then someone sitting in wait dashed in with a bid that was $50 higher than mine. The rug swept from beneath my feet. My dreams shattered. The camera sold for $250. Looking back I should have made a last ditch effort and threw in $275 – it was well worth it. This model of camera regularly goes for $350 – 400 and sometimes higher depending on the accessories and condition.

This camera has everything I want in a Super 8 camera so I’m going to keep up the quest. I know there’s one out there just for me.

Alternative Forms of Energy Film Film Transfer Lost in Light S8

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.

demolition 7 films first post S8 the short span

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 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.