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Advice on shooting Weddings on Super 8


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#1 Kenneth Wajda

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Posted 17 June 2008 - 07:19 PM

Hi,

I have a Canon 1014XLS, an 814XLS and a 514XLS and a Beaulieu 2008S.

I have a handheld meter and am very familiar with photographic techniques, filters, exposure, film stocks, etc. I've been a still photographer and video producer for 20 years.

I am going to be shooting weddings for clients in the next few months and using Super 8 (and maybe some 16mm film), but the issue is, if I want an "old-fashioned" look, do I have to give up on the "pro" techniques I regularly use to shoot digital video--steadicam, fluid tripod moves, full manual control--so that it looks more like folks "remember what it looked like."

Do I shoot with the handheld meter and lock the exposure (which will slow me down and may make me miss a shot), or use these cameras on auto exposure and let the exposure ride?

Do I shoot reversal, because that is what we used to shoot (and could even be projected by the client, if they so inclined), or negative because it has latitude?

Do I shoot at 18fps, because that's more common to the way people shot in the 60s and 70s (and it conserves film and shoots in lower light)? Or 24fps because that's easier to transfer to video for editing?

Do I use manual zoom and keep it very handheld because that's the "look"? Or do I work steady, off a tripod?

Do you know what I mean? I want a feeling of a vintage movie look. I don't want it to look amateurish, but there's a fine line if it looks too "pro", too.

Kind of like the moving camera in the old show, Hill Street Blues--they didn't want it to look too composed.

If I were doing it tomorrow, I would choose 18fps, 200T and 500T negative film, Tri-x reversal film, auto-exposure on the Canons and manual exposure on the Beaulieu, and all hand-held. But I have some time and am open to suggestions, so please, set me straight--or at least share your opinion.

Thanks.

Andrew
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#2 Matthew W. Phillips

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Posted 17 June 2008 - 07:38 PM

This is hard for me to answer because, to some degree, I think all Super 8 stock looks like it was shot in the past. How much in the past is what's the issue.

First off, I'm biased in favor of Vision2 stock. I like 500t because of the low light, but 200t is beautiful when you have more light available and it's fine grained. I think 500t has a late 70s look about it. 200t that's slightly overexposed has a late 60s to early 70s feel to it. Ektachrome 64t has many different looks depending on your lighting scheme and whether you are shooting indoors or out. Fuji Velvia 50D looks like the 80s to me. I have not gotten a chance to try the new Ektachrome 100D stock yet.

You could elect to do 18fps but if you want to be fair to your client, you should do 24fps so they wont have additional costs if they need an updated transfer in the future. I think most transfer houses charge extra for 18fps. For a wedding shot, I would probably shoot Ekta 64t slightly underexposed. I definitely would recommend shooting with manual exposure unless you are dead certain the lighting level will not change. Is there any outside work? If so, you must go manual unless you go auto-locked. The reversal vs. negative is a non-issue since you have experience. You surely would not fail to reach an acceptable exposure with reversal which allows you about 1/3 stop lattitude and if under, will actually improve your footage. If you really do want the lattitude, I would recommend 500t. You can go over about a full stop and still be ok. Some will disagree but I've done it before. There are always so-called pros with superiority complexes that think that you have to be spot-on accurate all the time or your just an inept noob.
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#3 andy oliver

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Posted 18 June 2008 - 09:08 AM

Hi, i've filmed a couple of weddings on super 8, i guess it depends if your client requires the home movie look or something alternative! . To me the home movie look is getting in close to your subject, throwing in the odd out of focus image and plenty of variety of angles albeit some very short scenes. The last one i filmed i took my std 8 bolex along and in camera fogged certain scenes. Filmstock was 100d ( std 8 ) 100d, 64t and 7266 for super 8. Inside the church i illuminated the bride and groom with a fairly high satchler 100 light from around 6 mtres away, this gave enough illumination for the rings on 100d on a 7008 with 6-80 lens, yes the colour cast was orange, but had a great warm look to the scene. Majority of outside footage was on 64t, 64t looks vintage and super 8, 100d looks a little more modern. 100d will be my preferred color stock for my next one. IMO neg looks to modern for me. As for exposure, for run and gun either 814 or 1014xls on auto for me. 18fps, cranked up to 36 fps for the confetti. 64t does go a little graing in slighlty under exp, best 64t results for me are thru the 6-80 or leicina special.
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#4 Mitch Perkins

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Posted 18 June 2008 - 09:26 AM

If I were doing it tomorrow, I would choose 18fps, 200T and 500T negative film, Tri-x reversal film, auto-exposure on the Canons and manual exposure on the Beaulieu, and all hand-held. But I have some time and am open to suggestions, so please, set me straight--or at least share your opinion.


Maybe just swap the 200T for 64T - the colours are retro compared to the negs. 500T will be good for the (darker) reception, along with 9fps on that Canon.

I always feel manual exp is the only way to go - weddings are all about the faces, which (especially in the case of the bride) can be a little over exposed, (or even a lot, a la fashion shoots), but never ever under-exposed. You can't risk exposing for the sky or white buildings behind the couple. Handheld is great, but...*good* handheld, if ya know what I mean...

Mitch
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#5 Will Montgomery

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Posted 18 June 2008 - 10:17 AM

Another alternative is to do a bad transfer. Some DVD mills have added bonus of dust bunnies and hairs in the gate. My first transfer in this century was by HomeMovieDepot.com and boy was it bad but really great for that "old fashioned" look. I think you can keep your costs down by using a really inexpensive transfer house (but not a good inexpensive one). Consider Tri-X as well if you want to push that look even farther. If you could find some old Ektachrome 160 and a place to process it that would be about as old fashioned as you can get.

For 16mm on the other hand, the beauty of it is in clean good transfers and that actually mixes well with bad Super 8 ones. Ektachrome 100D in 16mm gives just enough of a "home movie" look; kind of like home movies from Hollywood stars of the 40's & 50's.

Reversal is probably the way to go unless you are shooting inside in really low light then 500T will give you an old fashioned look due to the grain but will cost more to properly transfer.
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#6 Kenneth Wajda

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Posted 30 June 2008 - 09:31 AM

Thanks for all the help, everyone. I appreciate your advice.
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#7 Chris Burke

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Posted 30 June 2008 - 04:10 PM

I shoot Tri-x pushed two stops indoors, people love it, very grainy higher contrast. Color reversal outdoors, used to use Kodachrome,now the 7280. This will give you the home movie look right out of the box. The Vision 2 stocks are great, but may be too modern for what you need. However, using them is more fool proof, easier to get a good exposure. YOu can always tweak the vision 2 material to look older in post. Reversal is the way to go in my opinion. On a side note, every one of the weddings I have shot on Super 8 got the most kudos from everyone who watched them. Each client ended up ordering more copies. Definitely the medium of choice for nuptials. :rolleyes:

Edited by Chris Burke, 30 June 2008 - 04:12 PM.

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#8 Kenneth Wajda

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Posted 30 July 2008 - 08:03 PM

I think I have settled on three primary stocks:

64T for daylight exteriors (actual ceremony and hoopla, but used sparingly),

Plus-X for daylight exteriors (actual ceremony and environment, before and after, general coverage),

Tri-x for all interiors and late day exteriors (all prep getting ready, dressing, etc.)

And 500T as an emergency stock, just in case there is no light (though I plan on not taking the VFW Hall weddings).

I added a Sekonic L-508 meter I picked up on CL for $120! Sweet price!!!

Thanks everyone. And I am still open to new opinions if you thought of anything.

Andrew

Edited by AndrewKent, 30 July 2008 - 08:03 PM.

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#9 andy oliver

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Posted 02 August 2008 - 08:12 AM

i agree with your choice of stock, 64t looks more chrome and vintage over 100d and neg stock. IMO, 64t is great for retro type footage. I've just projected 100d and 64t of baby on lawn type footage, although grainer, 64t looks the best, more accurate skin colour saturation too. 100d looks a little too modern to me. I filmed a wedding last week on 100d plus kodaks b/w stock, although still awaiting the results, think i will go back to 64t for future retro shoots....
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