Posts Tagged With: super 8 film making

Pro8mm to launch weekly podcast: The Home Movie Legacy Project

 

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December 20, 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Pro8mm of Burbank, CA launches a weekly pod cast commencing January 9, 2013 that compliments their new division, Home Movie Legacy, www.homemovielegacy.com

 

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The Home Movie Legacy Project will air live on Wednesdays at 4PM Pacific Time (7EST) with your host, Rhonda Vigeant (author of GET “REEL” ABOUT YOUR HOME MOVIE LEGACY…Before It’s too Late!) If you are the family historian passionate about preserving and sharing family films, a filmmaker wanting to use legacy or found footage in a documentary, a wedding or life-style filmmaker wanting to include super 8 film in your work, a production manager looking to incorporate Super 8 film in a current project, a genealogy buff, memory keeper, or archivist, this show is for you!

http://rockstarradionetwork.com/shows/thehomemovielegacyproject

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Rhonda will draw upon her many years of running Pro8mm, a company known worldwide as being the Super 8 experts for production and legacy footage for over 4 decades. Pro8mm has developed proprietary technology for the entertainment industry to use Super 8 film in today’s most popular television shows (American Idol, The New Normal, The Neighbors, American Horror Story), theatrical releases (Argo, Super 8, The Fighter) and dozens of music videos, commercials for national brands and Independent Films.  They have worked on thousands of super 8 and 16mm projects for the entertainment industry, and have handled millions of feet of film to archive the legacies of the world’s most famous faces. They have digitized historical material for hundreds of documentaries, as well as Presidential Libraries, and Museums.

Some shows will focus on compelling interviews with people who are sharing their personal story using home movies from the past and the present, sharing what was discovered, what was challenged or what was confirmed. Other shows will feature technical content with guest speakers that will teach you how to best move your analog media into your digital life, including how to organize it, repurpose it, share it on social media, or monetize it for a wider audience.  A filmmaker forum segment featuring Phil Vigeant, President of Pro8mm, and author of The Power of Super8 Film: Insider Secrets Every Filmmaker Should Know, (Rhonda’s business partner, husband and tech guru) will be routinely included to help you learn what the entertainment industry does with their digital assets, tips on how to become head of your own personal studio, and why filmmakers can and should continue to shoot on film in a digital world. Home Movie Legacy isn’t just about grandpa’s old home movies. The term is all-inclusive and casts a wide net on the past, present and future independent filmmaking.

Rhonda is completely passionate about the value of legacy home movies in particular, and educating people how to best care for and share them.

“Everyone has a legacy and Home Movies are a living, recorded history of our lives, our family, our community, relationships, celebrations, the way we looked, dressed, and interacted. If a picture is worth a thousand words than a home movie must be worth a million. No where else can we rekindle those moments of times gone by or see ourselves interacting with our loved ones who have passed away. It jolts the memory with such a strong emotion in a way that nothing else can. My life’s work has been dedicated to the belief that not only is it important to see these images, but it is equally as important to preserve them with integrity for future generations so your family legacy on film lives! My show will be a call to action to GET “REEL” ABOUT YOUR HOME MOVIE LEGACY…. BEFORE It’s TOO LATE!”, while enjoying stories about the masses and the moguls who launched their careers by shooting home movies on film and continue to make it a vital part of their professional work today”.

Check Our Calendar http://www.homemovielegacy.com/calendar/ to view upcoming guests!

If you would like to be considered to be a guest on the show, email me, Rhonda@homemovielegacy.com

 

 

 

                 2805 West Magnolia Blvd, Burbank, CA 91505

Categories: Home Movie Archiving, super 8 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Super 8 Filmmaking is Alive, Well and Remains a Hot Production Medium at the One-Stop Burbank Shop, Pro8mm

 The release of the J.J. Abrams film Super 8 is bringing renewed attention to the popular film format which millions of families captured their home movies on during the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. The format gave a vehicle for today’s most beloved filmmakers to experiment with a home movie camera that proved to be the gateway to some of the most prolific careers in filmmaking.  Directors such as Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Oliver Stone, Sam Rami, Tim Burton, Francis Ford Coppola, and Ron Howard, among others, have all launched careers that have roots in Super 8 film.   As kids, they picked up the family Super 8 camera and saw it as much more than a tool to make home movies.  They used Super 8 as a production tool to experiment with a craft. This is the theme that runs through J.J. Abrams film Super 8 –  a group of kids who were making a real independent movie for a film festival with a Super 8 camera.

 While the general belief is that the Super 8 format died an honorable death with the advent of consumer and pro-sumer video, Hollywood insiders and savvy independent filmmakers know that the power of super 8 film is alive and well in Burbank, CA!

The company Pro8mm (formerly called Super8 Sound) has been working on over 1,000 professional projects every year since the mid 1980’s. Pro8mm hit its heyday in the 1990’s, working on every episode of VH-1 Behind The Music, Where Are They Now, and numerous MTV shows and specials.  More recent music videos have been shot on Super 8 film for such artists as Katy Perry, Beyonce, Christina Aguilera, Harper Simon, McFly, and  John Mellencamp. Commercials for consumer products such as Ford cars and trucks, Swiffer, Home Depot,  Billabong and Roxy, as well as inserts in TV shows such as American Idol, 48 Hours, The Grammy’s, and My Name Is Earl have all embraced the Super 8 format.  Additionally, 35mm theatrical releases such as Super 8, My Sister’s Keeper, and Factory Girl have incorporated Super 8 inserts to create the sense of flashback scenes and vintage moments throughout their feature films.  This list is just the tip of the iceberg for professional applications that the Super 8 format has worked particularly well for.

Additionally, Pro8mm specializes in the HD archival transfers of homes movies and historical films for use in museums, documentaries or the personal archives of the worlds most famous faces. Pro8mm’s projects include the Hewlett-Packard Family and The Estee Lauder Family, The Richard Nixon Library, and tour footage from The Eagles “Hell Freezes Over” tour. Pro8mm has also transferred the first films of many famous directors and cinematographers.

Pro8mm focuses on a hybrid of products and services that make it possible for filmmakers to do professional production work with the Super 8 format. Pro8mm turns its work around very quickly, sometimes even the same day.  All services are on-site, including a retail store for purchasing or renting cameras and film, the processing lab, camera technicians, and the scanners, which digitize the film in 1080 high-definition to a hard drive for ease of editing.

Pro8mm rebuilds classic Super 8 cameras with modifications that a modern filmmaker would want, such as 16:9 aspect ratios and sync sound. Pro8mm also reformats over 20 different Super 8 film stocks, cutting down Kodak and Fuji 35mm film. This gives cost-effective access to the same film stocks being used to make Hollywood blockbusters. Recently, Pro8mm invested over one million dollars in a Millennium II, 4K scanner, with daVinci 2K color correction, custom modified for Super 8, regular 8 and Max 8 formats.  This is the same type of scanner you would see at a high-end 35mm post-production facility.

Over the past two years, Pro8mm has made a monumental commitment to educating the next generation about the benefits of shooting on Super 8 film.   In 2010, Phil Vigeant, President of Pro8mm, wrote a book titled, “The Power of Super 8 Film – Insider Secrets Every Filmmaker Should Know.”  The book focuses on why the pros use it, love it and keep it a secret. Phil gives his expertise on the format and explains why he invented products that change the way filmmakers and the entertainment industry use Super 8 film.  Additionally, Pro8mm has launched a series of free teleseminars that focus of Super 8 applications and technical information about the process. Pro8mm has expanded their educational products by offering free hands on film shooting workshops at schools, major industry events and even private workshops at their shop. Pro8mm also hosts their own 2 day Super 8 training workshop, where Phil Vigeant gives in-depth technical sessions on Super 8 filmmaking, and guest speakers talk about and show samples shot on Super 8 film of the many applications of Super 8, such as weddings, commercials and music videos.

COMPANY HISTORY:

Founded in 1971 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the company, which was originally called Super8 Sound ™, pioneered the belief that the Super 8mm film format had tremendous potential as a production medium.  History Of Super 8 Sound . A small group of inventors and entrepreneurs designed a line of specialty sync-sound full coat (audio tape that has sprocket holes) and cassette recorders, editing benches and crystal sync modifications to Super 8 Cameras and other production accessories. The idea was that you could replicate 35mm filmmaking using Super 8 equipment. This indeed made the Super 8mm film format and Super8 Sound ™ an integral part of hundreds of university film programs worldwide. Film programs could teach in double system filmmaking on cost efficient super 8. It became widely used by individuals with a desire to make independent films.

In 1982, Super8 Sound employee and staff accountant Philip Vigeant had the opportunity to buy the company. In the years that followed, Vigeant bought out other small companies in the Boston area including a film lab and a camera repair shop adding their services to Super8 Sound™.

A film chain telecine which transferred film to videotape was also added that year with the firm belief that the future of small format film laid in the ability to integrate it into the video arena. An in-house publication called The Independent Producer was launched which focused on the success of the independent film scene, focusing on people who were shooting on super 8. The magazine highlighted the stories of individuals making low-budget super 8 music videos and film for video distribution.

In 1987 Super8 Sound expanded the business by opening a second office in Hollywood, California. This expansion was driven by the amount of clients the company had on the west coast who were involved in producing MTV style music videos for their bands.

In 1989, another expansion was implemented to a larger Burbank location, adding a technical camera repair room, on-site processing lab, and film to videotape transfer services. Now a complete turnkey, one-stop shop, the company redirected it’s focus to meet the demands of their growing list of studio and industry mainstream clients. The Boston office was eventually closed in 1995. The Rank Cintel telecine suites with daVinci color correction were added, permanently eliminating film chain consumer quality transfers.

One of the biggest innovations for the company came in 1993 with the development of a line of Pro8mm negative film. Prior to this, only reversal super 8 film stocks were available from major film manufactures such as Fuji and Kodak. The idea was that a line of professional film stocks in the familiar easy to use 50-foot preloaded cartridges would offer a palette to filmmakers allowing for greater creative options for the cost efficient, highly portable super 8 format.

The company developed a manufacturing operation on-site to cut and reformat professional 35mm film stocks, loading it into super8 cartridges. All-inclusive packages were offered so that film, processing, and telecine could be prepaid, allowing for better targeting of the production budget. The industry, students, and independents embraced this concept with huge enthusiasm. Today Pro8mm has an expansive line of over 20 reformatted film stocks that range from 50-500 ASA and 3 different scanning systems, including high-definition. In addition, they repackage Kodak Super 8 film stocks to include their award-winning processing and HD scanning services.

Over the next 10 years thousands of projects were shot on Pro8mm film including dozens of episodes of VH-1 Behind the Music, hundreds of commercials, segways for prime time television shows, and scenes in theatrical releases.

The name of the company was changed to Pro8mm in 1998, which was more in line with the company’s mission statement and goals. Professional Super 8 and

Pro (in favor of) 8mm. The days of sound on film and mag full coat recorders were gone and the new direction of the company would be to integrate the small format film into the digital world. Profound changes were to follow to bring Super 8 into the HD world.

In 2003 Pro8mm expanded the small format product line to include Pro16mm, loading 16mm film onto 100’ daylight spools, rebuilding classic 16mm cameras and expanding our processing and telecine services.

Aligning with prosumer and industry trends, 2005 brought Pro8mm into the widescreen era with the introduction of  Max 8, a 16 X 9 widescreen super 8 camera and scanning system. Pro8mm began building classic cameras with a new expanded gate, allowing for 20% more image to be captured where the old sound stripe used to be on the film. The development of modern aspect ratio products and scanning committed Pro8mm to be on board for the world of high-definition and the future.

In late 2007, Pro8mm began purchasing HD Scanning Equipment and set up an HD Scanning Suite. Their Millennium II HD Scanner and 2K daVinci Color corrector gave Pro8mm the capability to move forward by both preserving archival material in HD or by directing scanning in native 1080 off the frame, and accommodating our production clients as all broadcast moves to digital.

As a generation of filmmakers began to finish film school without ever shooting a frame of real film, 2010 brought the company to the realization that they needed to make a hefty commitment to education people on how to shoot on Super 8 film. Company president Phil Vigeant wrote a book called  “The Power of Super 8 Film – Insider Secrets Every Filmmaker Should Know and the company began running free shooting events, teleseminars, workshops, and two-day Boot Camps for a nominal fee.

Pro8mm is applauded for being a one-stop shop where Super 8 cameras, film, processing, digital mastering, hands on training and treasured family archival home movies can all be handled by a dedicated staff with decades of experience. The company has enjoyed continuous growth for over 40 years in a niche market that in our opinion exists at all because of the dedicated hard work and entrepreneurial spirit to continuously move forward in alignment with the media industry.

Check out Pro8mm at pro8mm.com or call 818-848-5522

By Rhonda Vigeant, Director of Marketing  Rhonda@pro8mm.com

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Something Old & Something New: The Advantage of Shooting Weddings on Super 8 Film

The saying “Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue” is a good luck saying which dates back to the Victorian era and many brides will ensure that they have something of each on their wedding day. While “something old” is meant to connect the wedding to something in the past, and “something new” is meant to represent good luck and success, somehow the saying seems to apply extremely well to wedding videos. Weddings shot on Super 8 film bring that vintage look that connects you to past, yet still maintain the timeless and fresh impression of the modern bride.

While the brides of the 80’s and 90’s were all about being shot on video, the past 10 years have shown a huge resurgence toward creating montage wedding footage on Super 8 film. Maybe nostalgia is the driving force in this new twist. Or maybe part of the reason for this resurgence comes from the greatly expanded repertoire of film stock in the market.  But with tough competition from digital choices, super 8 wedding films today have definitely gone boutique.

I remember exhibiting at WEVA about 7 years ago (Wedding and Event Videographers Association.) At that time there were only a tiny handful of attendees who had any interest in adding a Super 8 package to their weddings. The idea seemed daunting and counter intuitive to the masses, and many had just invested heavily in the newest technology at the time, the digital video camera. There were laundry lists of concerns coming from the filmmakers when I tried to explain to them why they should shoot on Super 8 film instead of digital. I would hear questions like:  How do I price it? How will I know if I got the shots? What about sound? How do I edit it? What’s the turn around time? What’s the point?

Like all great ideas, sometimes it takes a little notoriety for an idea to catch on. A number of wedding filmmakers who shot on Super 8 film are now regularly featured in The Knot, Martha Stewart Weddings, Elle, Brides Magazine, The Wedding Channel, and the wedding forums and blogs for their gorgeous, timeless work shot on Super 8 film. 

There are many reasons why these popular wedding photographers and “videographers” are choosing to shoot on film vs. digital.  First of all, film is the only proven archival medium.  We know the image will still be here for future generations to enjoy.  Next, the film stocks are remarkable. Since Pro8mm invented Super 8 negative film over 15 years ago, the expanded latitude allows even a new filmmaker to achieve gorgeous shots. We especially recommend the Pro8/19.  This is a 500 tungsten Vision 3 stocks that is so versatile. You can go from indoors to outdoors without a filter and still get clear, amazing images. For those who braved shooting weddings years ago on old film stocks like Kodachrome 40, the challenge was difficult. You would have to use an 85A filter outdoors if you were shooting the ceremony in full sun. You would then have to set up lights if the reception was indoors, and the low-lit dance floor was always a problem. Combine that with about 1 stop of latitude and you had to be pretty good with a camera to get good images. Today Super 8 film ranges from 50 to 500 ASA with stocks that have up to 19 stop of latitude and 3 uniquely different film processes: color negative, color E-6, black and white reversal. Because today’s Super 8 film has greater latitude, expanded ASA’s, a variety of original stock to pick from, and you can even scan Super 8 film to HD directly, shooting Super 8 film is easier and more aesthetically beautiful than ever. There are also some special lab techniques such as cross processing, skip beach, pushes, and pulls that create tremendous variety in origination.

On average a good shot lasts for about 10 seconds so even on a budget, you have lots of shots to work with. Although that may sound intimidating to the hours of video that could be shot for a similar amount of money, the uniqueness of having real film adds a great artistic addition in quality that no plug-in can match. It is almost impossible to replicate a films unique way of capturing light therefore no plug-ins or app can replicate the look of real film.

Pro8mm has been crusading for the momentum of this growth in the wedding market by making pricing easy. Our all-inclusive fixed price packages (film, processing, prep and clean and scanning to a Pro Res file) allow for easy calculation to add a Super 8 option. For example, a 4-roll package (10 min of film) is just $336. An 8-roll package (20 min of film) is just $558 That’s for everything except the hard drive.

Weddings are a great format to experiment with because they personify originality and nostalgia. This generation was raised on MTV and nothing makes a young couple happier then to look at their wedding more like a music video rather than hours of footage that captured every second of the day. It is the highlights we remember, and Super 8 is the perfect format to capture a medley of moments.

 

Phil Vigeant is the President/Senior Colorist at Pro8mm. He is the author of “The Power of Super 8 Film – Insider Secrets Every Filmmaker Should Know.”  He was worked on thousand of Super 8 projects for production and archiving including Music Video’s for client such as Madonna, Beyoncé, Katy Perry, Paula Abdul, Mariah Carey, Neil Young, Aerosmith, Black Eye Peas:  Commercials for Nike, Billabong, Volcom, Fossil, Blue Cross, Truth in Advertising, and Television for shows like, American Idol, 48 Hours, Mad About You, National Geographic, Histories Mysteries and over 50 Feature Films that have used Super 8 film such as Super 8, 8mm, JFK, Factory Girl, My Sisters Keeper Lords of Dogtown , Red Corner, Armageddon and Pearl Harbor.

 

 

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8 Tips for Shooting Modern Super 8 #7

#7    Shooting at 18 or 24 Frames  Per Second.

frame rate knob from Canon 814

frame rate knob from Canon 814

All super  8 cameras were designed to film at 18 frames per second.  While many  better cameras have  a variable  filming speed feature,  18 fps  was the norm, particularly in the day when Super 8 was used primarily for shooting home movies.    When you shoot the film cartridge at a slower speed, it will  last longer and thus,  saves on the cost of film stock.    When your camera is running at 18 fps , you get a little over 3 minutes of running time from a   super 8  cartridge.    The better super 8 cameras that have the option of filming at 24 frames per second will get a little over 2 minutes from a super 8 cartridge.  There are some good reasons for using either speed but you have to be aware of the consequences of what you are doing and what issues it will present in certain types of production.

Because Super 8 cameras were designed to work at 18 fps, they tend to work their  best at 18 fps.  18 frames looks completely professional when properly transferred to interlaced video in standard or high definition i.e.  (1080i)  Some filmmakers prefer the look of 18 frames per second super 8 film.   24 frames per second is the establish film speed of 16mm and 35 mm professional film, as well as  many high definition formats.  When you go to a movie theater, the film  is being shown   at 24 fps.   Because it is the established production  standard, there are many devices and procedures that revolve around images shot at 24.  In fact, many fundamental devices used every day in the professional film industry will just not work with film shot at 18 frames per second.  Simple things,  such as double system sync sound are not possible with film shot at 18 fps.    This means that if you originate something at 18  frames per second you will not be able to use certain tools of the professional film trade or easily insert your footage into a 24 frame project.   For example, if you shot something in Super 8  for a theatrically released feature film at 18 fps you have created a huge mess.  There is no easy or clever method that can create 24 frames of film from 18 frames of original for 24-frame projection.  There are ways of doing this, but they create artifacts in the image or motion.  I have been involved with major  feature film productions that loved the look of super 8 so much they shot hundreds  of rolls of it for their project and then dumped every frame because they did not want to deal with the artifacts and non-conforming problems of using an 18-frame original in a 24-frame project.

When you send super 8  film into a post facility to be scanned to digital, you have to tell the facility what speed you want the scanning done at.   In 16mm or 35 mm it is assumed you are working at 24 .   As we said, there are many good reasons to work at 18.  It has a great look when done in interlaced video and transferred at the proper speed.   However, there are strong technical issues to working in 24 that are critical to getting a good look for theatrical and HD projects working in 24 fps and 24P.  All it takes is a little awareness on your part as a filmmaker to make this a smooth use of the great aesthetic of super 8 or create a nightmare that makes professional productions reluctant to use the  super 8 format.   It is all up to you.

If you do have Super 8 shot at  at 18 fps or  Regular 8 shot at 18 or 16  fps  that you want in  a 24 P project  I suggest you scan it at 24 fps.   This will create a frame for frame relationship with digital and film .  You will have no interlacing problems because the scan is frame for frame, but the  motion wil be sped up.  Then you will have to evaluate each shot and use digital techniques to achieve  the slower speed  when needed  in the material.   Ever notice how often times older  small gauge film  looks sped up when used in new production?   It is because the production company  did not want to work this out and just used the footage at the wrong speed.

As more and more projects move to high definition, you as a filmmaker will have to decide if you want to shoot 18 fps or 24 fps.   You can use either 18 or 24 in   interlaced video projects  but can only use 24 when you are working towards 24P or projects that will go theatrical  (c) Pro8mm ™ Phil Vigeant 2009

This point bears repeating.  It you shoot at 18 fps and want real motion, you must scan in  “i”, not in “p” . Even though a roll shot at 18 fps will last longer in your camera, it will takes longer to transfer.  The longer scanning session will add to your overall production costs.  It is no longer much of  budget consideration to work at 18  and more of an aesthetic choice – Rhonda  www.pro8mm.com

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8 Tips for Shooting Modern Super 8 #6 THE MECHANICS OF FILM

#6  The Mechanics of Film

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Super 8 film is a technology based strongly on mechanical principles.  Understanding a little about how the film travels through the camera will go a long way in helping you to  get great super 8 images and avoid a lot of frustration.   One of the important parts of the mechanics of shooting with film is being aware of when the film is running through the camera.  Even though super 8 film comes in a convenient cartridge and is easy to load, the camera and film have to work together.    One common problem for many new filmmakers is understanding that in a super 8 camera the footage counter works off the spinning of the take up, not actually the film moving through the camera.   Therefore, as the take up is spinning it counts off the footage.   This actually has nothing to do with whether film is moving through your camera. The take up spindle is designed with a slip clutch mechanism so that it always spins regardless if it is actually taking up film or not.  What can happen is that you think you are shooting because the camera is running, but no film is actually being exposed.  The most common mistake is  that the roll of film has been totally shot and the filmmaker is unaware of this and keeps shooting.  Often times in the excitement of shooting you fail to notice the end of the roll signal. Different cameras have different  ways of indicating you are at the end of the roll, so check out how it is YOUR camera signals this.   If you happen to  take a cartridge out of your camera and then reinsert it, the footage counter will reset to zero.   It does not know that you may have already shot some of the film.

The second problem is that sometimes a roll of film will jam, or perhaps  it never got started in the first place.   Sometimes this can be a problem with the cartridge, but usually it is with the the camera.  When you first put a roll of film in a camera, the film must engage the camera’s claw mechanism,  aligning the sprockets of the film with the camera’s claw.  Typically, this will happen automatically, but if the guides are  out of alignment, this might not take place at all and the roll will never start.   It’s an easy fix.   Usually just taking the cartridge out and reinserting it in the camera.   However if your not aware of the problem, you will shoot for the next 3 minutes and get no pictures.  The cartridge can also jam.  The most common jam problems are not the cartridge, but the cameras.   If the clutch of the take-up spindle is weak it will have trouble keeping  pace with the advancing film pulled down by the claw.  The film will build up in the take up chamber of the camera, and  at some point will not be able to support the back up and simply quit.    If you take a cartridge that has jammed like this out of the camera and turn the take up spindle to wind up the access you can typically reinsert the cartridge and start filming again.  Many super 8 cameras use the clutches spinning to tell them the roll has ended.  If the clutch is weak, the camera will keep shutting down, thinking it is at the end of the roll.  As you gain experience with super8 you will become aware of the sound film makes going through your camera.

The first indicator you  may have of  problems is when you pull a finished roll of film from your camera and it is not at the end.  With some films, there is and actual stamp on the film that says exposed.  On others it will simply pull out of the cartridge.  When you take out a cartridge, if  the film looks like it did when you loaded the camera you have some investigating to do. You should always try to run your rolls out to the end.  You do this for two reasons.   First it tells you that you have shot the roll in the first place and second,  if it does not roll out you need to investigate the issue.  It is very easy to re-shoot something or grab another take when you are in the moment.  It is often impossible to return a week later to get a shot you are  missing.

In addition to the film physically moving through the camera, it has to register each frame at  18 or 24 times a second in perfect position to get good stability from the resulting photography.  What this means is a balance must be present between the cartridge, the camera’s calibration and the type of film to make good super 8 images that have good stability or registration.

The state of super 8 is always evolving.  Most super 8 cameras are no longer in tip-top shape and freshly calibrated from the factories they were born in.   In addition,  most super 8 technology was originally  centered around one stock (Kodachrome 40) made by one manufacture.   All camera manufactures set up their new super 8 cameras to work best with that film.  Today you have over 25 different super 8 films made by different companies that all have different characteristics when running through a super 8 camera.  In addition, super 8 cameras are aging and change with the aging process.

This is not all bad.  Remember,  it is a balance between the cameras, the film and the cartridge that makes it work.  For example many older,  less expensive super 8 camera have too much take-up torque because the slip clutch system has dried out and no longer slips when it should slip.  If you shot Kodachrome 40 with these cameras or black and white traditional  reversal film, it will often produce very poor registration of the images.  If you take that same old camera and give it color negative film which is a little thicker  and has a base coating which will provide some extra drag, this combination will tend to work much better.  My experience is that different cameras just seem to like different film stocks based on the way they have aged.  If a camera has a worn down gate with a clutch that no longer slips and the exposure system is off by 2 stops you have a choice of fixing it, throwing it away or give it a different film stock that is thicker and  provides more drag with greater exposure latitude.   It will work just as well as it did when new with traditional film because  the camera was calibrated to thinner stock with less drag and tighter exposure tolerance.   My dad would say, “You either raise the bridge or lower the dam”.   The best and cheapest way to see if a given type of film is going to work well in a given camera at a given speed is to shoot a test roll.  If you are just starting in Super  8 this is the best place to check out many issues.  Do not worry about charts.  Just shoot a roll in the conditions you want to shoot in with your best effort to get it in focus with the right exposure.  Once you establish a base, you can expand your testing each time you shoot by experimenting with different stocks, speeds and exposures.  You can also use this test to check out your digital workflow.  For about $100.00 you can purchase a roll or Super 8 , including the processing , prep and Scan to digital even in HD.  (c) Pro8mm ™ Phil Vigeant 2009

Did you know that one of the improvements  Pro8mm makes to all the Beaulieu and Canon cameras that we rebuild is to increase the pick up torque?   This is because negative film stocks are thicker than traditional reversal stocks .  We do this so that the film goes through the camera better, improves registration and minimizes cartridge jams.  – Rhonda  www.pro8mm.com

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8 Tips For Shooting Modern Super 8 #1 Brush Your Camera Gate

Ugh… there  is a hair  in the camera gate!  Nothing is more aggravating for  us and to you  when we  get absolutely gorgeous footage up on the scanner and there  is a big yucky piece of dirt or hair in the frame.  Just a small effort on your part will make your footage sparkle!  BRUSH YOUR CAMERA GATE! – Rhonda

# 1   Hair in the Gate:

“Because of the nature of film and the way it travels through a camera and exposes each frame, the system will build up debris in the gate.  If  it is  allowed to accumulate,  this  will block some of the image.  The metal gate frames the film with what should be a smooth black border.   Because you are running film over metal, it tends to leaves tiny deposits on the gate as the film passes over it.  This emulsion residue is a gummy substance that is barely visible to the naked eye.  If this is not cleaned  from your camera, from time to time you can have several problems.   First, the gummy glue can trap foreign substances like hair, lint, and dust and hold it firmly, often where the image is taken in a camera.  This  results   in these  ugly black globs  which start around the boarder that blocks some of your image usually on the edges,  but sometimes  big enough to block a lot of picture.   Depending on the size of these foreign obstacles, a hair in the gate can ruin a shot.   In addition, the build up of emulsion can get so bad that your camera can physically scratch the film.   The fix for these problems is very simple.   Go to the store and purchase a child’s toothbrush.  Gently brush a few strokes between every cartridge.   Every, single, cartridge!   It is amazingly simple but incredibly effective.   Do not use compressed air as all that will do is blow dirt around, and  it might blow debris into somewhere you cannot get it out.   In addition, compressed air does not often have the force to move the object because remember, it is stuck in place.    Do not use a Q-tip, as the chance of leaving a fiber of cotton is greater then the good you will do by performing the cleaning.”                                                                                     (c) Pro8mm ™ , by Phil Vigeant 2009

If your camera has never been cleaned,  you might need to do some more extensive work.  Once it is clean, the brush trick is all that should be need to keep you hair free.

Pro8mm includes a free camera gate brush with every rental or purchase.  They are also available for sale  on our website for $5.00  at  www.pro8mm.com.   A nifty little  tool  that fold up small and has  an attached cover, so you don’t have to worry about loosing it.     Once you use it on your camera, we do not advise using it as a substitute for gum or mints when you  have been on the set all day, or for that matter, the other way around!  www.pro8mm.com

Our Tip #2 will be on THE 85 Filter Situation.

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8 Tips For Shooting Modern Super 8

I decided that instead of giving you all 8 tips at once, I would give you one a day so that hopefully you will keep coming back and read my Super 8 blog!   While some of the tips I am going to give you are “old school” common sense that any film maker working with super 8 or 16mm film  should do/should have done at any time in their shooting career , some have to do directly with the new modern negative film stocks, our Max 8,  16 x 9 super 8 cameras and native 1080 HD scanning.  These tips were written by Phil Vigeant, the owner of Pro8mm.  I look forward to your comments.  – Rhonda

A Few tips can go a long way, by Phil Vigeant, owner and senior colorist at Pro8mm

“Parts of my job as senior colorist at Pro8mm, is that I get to scan about a million feet of super8 film each year.  In doing so I get to see what is happening in the super8 world with some vantage point based on volume.   I look at my work as a two-part job. One, as a creative colorist, trying to get the most information off of the frames for our customers, and second, as an inspector looking for bugs in the over all super8 process.   When I see something that needs improving, I try to see what I can do with the technology at hand to facilitate a positive change.  Internally, I can talk to my employees who are the people most responsible for each area and together we try to attack the issue.  Externally, it is much more difficult.   You have competitive concerns to address, and some companies just do not see these problems as issues the way I might.   In addition, there are things that are totally beyond my control that can play a major roll in great looking super8 footage.   These things are up to the filmmaker.  Each year the technology for scanning film to digital seems to improve, resulting in more things that I can fix.   Native 1080 HD film scanning now provides me with tremendous processing power to do many things that were impossible just a year ago.  There are new things on the horizon as well, which will give us even greater ability to improve an imperfect image.   However, there are a few things that if the filmmaker does not get right, there is very little that can be done to remedy the problem, no matter how much technology you have at hand.

As the years progress the problems seem to change and evolve with each new generation.   For those who grew up with film as the main picture-taking medium some things were learned at every juncture of the photographic process. Things such as focus were so common knowledge of that generation that we often forget that this is knowledge that you have to learn. A colleague of mine who teaches film making here in California said that he has to spend days of the semester going over some of this basic stuff.   Therefore, here is my short list 2009 of the 8 most common areas of concern I see every day in transferring film.  I hope that a few quick tips and expatiation can help you create better images with your super8 camera.” – Phil Vigeant

TIP #1 regarding HAIR IN THE GATE will be posted tomorrow

(c) Pro8mm

Innov8ing Super 8

Innov8ing Super 8

http://www.pro8mm.com

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