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Tired of poor super 8 look footage


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#1 CESAR DIAZ

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 04:51 PM

I know that some of this has been said before, but I am tired of seeing shaking image footage of super 8 because that's the "look" super 8 is suppose to have. Maybe it's difficult to watch a super 8 feature in the big screen but what about using a steady tripod, good lighting and good production values. If you took care of this probably many people said "Oh that's not super 8, it's looks too professional", so what, super 8 is a format that can be professional. Small camcorders where used to shoot activities that super 8 once did it, like birthday parties etc. But it looks now that the camcorder is the perfect tool for new filmmakers to make a low budget" film" that can be show in the big screen, so I think there is something missing somewhere. I have a dream that some day some one will develop a good, cost effective super 8 camera that you can shoot really good footage for the big screen; I think it can be done. Who would have thought that 30 years ago we could use the same editing software used by Hollywood professionals?
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#2 Matt Stevens

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 10:01 PM

I love Super8 as much as anyone, but it is a niche of a niche format and will only shrink more with each passing day. Sometimes progress is more of a regression than anything else.
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#3 Matthew W. Phillips

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 10:15 PM

Cesar, it is very possible to shoot Super 8 in a professional way. Just light well, get steady shots, and if you really want to get good footage, buy one of the cameras that have interchangable lens ability like the Beaulieu 4008/6008/7008/9008 or the leicina special. One fellow who used to come on this forum who I wont mention his name because he was a d*ck used to say he shot footage on a Leicina Special with Zeiss primes. He also said you can transfer at 2k and get awesome results. I guess you technically could shot with an awesome kit, fluid head tripod, dolly shots, Zeiss primes, and scan it at 2k and maybe even attempt a 35mm blowup. The only problem becomes the law of diminishing returns when you compare it to the cost of shooting larger gauge film to begin with. But if you can get your hands on gear and labor for cheap because "you know a guy" then I say go for it.
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#4 Patrick Cooper

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 12:45 AM

I remember this TV travel series which used a mixture of video and super 8 footage. A lot of the video footage would be tripod mounted but the super 8 footage was mainly hand held and shakey....why oh why did they have to treat super 8 in this manner???
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#5 Simon Wyss

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 01:32 AM

"Oh that's not super 8, it's looks too professional"

Nothing can be too professional. The more something is done professional, the less it will be noticed (at all).

Weigh content with form. Form alone is not enough, content alone is not enough.
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#6 Martin Baumgarten

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 11:50 AM

I've seen some very impressive enthusiast films shot in both Super 8mm and Regular 8mm that looked every bit as professional as anything else out there, format quality limitations notwithstanding of course. I've seen some of my own WIDESCREEN Anamorphic full Scope films projected on a 24ft wide screen and they looked just awesome. Anything handheld has to be done carefully, and those shots that are setup for a film project that can be on a tripod, should be. Use of a fluid head tripod (these days quite affordable as so many lower cost ones made for the video market have a fluid dampened head) will greatly improve panning shots. So, despite a given format's limitations due to being smaller, you can really do most anything anyone can do with 16mm or 35mm....when it comes to filmmaking technique and trying to convey a film story, and use of professional technique. The rest of course, is in the post......editing, effects, titles and sound.....all which are as involved as can be. And nothing really done in post, will fix poor quality filmaking work on location. Lastly, using some care, even home movies and documentaries shot on the cuff, can look tidier. This mentality that because a given film was done on a small gauge format, it will look jumpy and amateurish is nonsense. But then, perhaps that's another reason we all love Super 8mm, in that it allows simplicity and handholdability in situations where anything large just may not be practical (or as much fun to use!).
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#7 Matt Stevens

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 01:29 PM

Excellent post.

Let me say that with my super8 short, Miscommunications, I embraced the hand held aspect of the format and only used a tripod twice. There were two outside shots I would have loved to have shot using a steadicam, but my budget simply did not allow for it.

A steady hand is crucial when shooting super 8, as is a heavy camera. A larger, heavier camera helps. But if the mechanics are wonky, your footage is going to look jerky, even with the use of a tripod. Servicing super8 cameras is insanely expensive, so you are best off buying one that is already tip top from a reputable seller. I took a chance on my Nikon R10, a big chance, and thankfully it paid off.

As I have stated elsewhere... the biggest super8 hangup for most is the 50 foot roll. It's just too short for most to use, especially when you factor in the 'first and last ten feet of a roll are useless' rule. And it is true. But I embraced it and purposefully shot crucial stuff at the beginning and end of each roll to get that weathered look.
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#8 Matthew W. Phillips

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 02:16 PM

It's just too short for most to use, especially when you factor in the 'first and last ten feet of a roll are useless' rule. And it is true.


Back in the glory days of Super 8 enthusiasts on this forum, you would have been seriously flamed for this comment. But I will say that I disagree. The first 5 feet maybe and that is probably stretching it. The whole advantage of the cartridge over, say, a 16mm daylight spool is that ideally the whole 50 ft is supposed to be usable. If you run off a couple seconds of footage, you should be to the good usable stuff. I have never had a problem with the end of the roll unless you just keep the trigger down and dont realize the roll is over.

And I dont think the length of the roll is that limiting. Many people shoot daylight spools of 16mm despite having access to 400' cores by having the mags to hold them. This is two fold: 1)daylight spools make it easier to load with some level of light OR 2) if you load the daylight spool in total darkness, you actually get about 6 extra feet of film. When on a low budget, every few seconds counts!

To be honest, a lot of low budget 16mm shooters will even use 100' or less short ends. I dont see how this is any more beneficial than a S8 cartridge when you also factor in the loading time of the short ends.
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#9 CESAR DIAZ

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Posted 28 July 2011 - 02:45 PM

Thanks you guys for all those great responses.
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#10 Nicholas Kovats

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Posted 29 July 2011 - 02:16 PM

Might I suggest shooting with a new film format called UltraPan8? Details forthcoming. :)
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