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Have worked in digital, wanting to experiment with film...


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#1 Andrew Bacon

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Posted 26 January 2012 - 01:04 AM

I'm a (wannabe) filmmaker that has worked in digital for the past few years. I've made some short films and a handful of music videos using digital cameras, and really enjoy the entire process.

That said, I'm wanting to experiment with film and I thought that shooting something on Super 8 would be a good way to get my feet wet. But I'm a bit daunted by the whole thing and need some help. First of all, please understand that I've never done anything with film and that I'm going into this completely blind, but I think that working with film would be good experience for me to have.

Anyway, on to the questions. Firstly, what all do I need?

Obviously a Super8 camera is a must, as is film. I want to shoot in black and white and I'm not concerned about sound, which I'm hoping will simplify things to a certain extent.

So, based on what I've read what I would need is:
A Super8 Camera, film stock, a viewer/splicer and film cement to edit the developed film, and a projector to show off my finished product.

Doing a quick internet search has turned up a few labs across the country (I'm in the US, just to clarify) that develop 8mm film, and I have lighting equipment to use for indoor shoots. So, to my understanding, that should be all that I need right? The camera, the film, a viewer/splicer, film cement and a projector, right? Is there anything that I'm not aware of or not thinking of?

Also, how does the development stuff work? When I send off my film to have it developed what do I get back: the actual developed film, the negative, both? And when I'm finished editing do I have to send it off to have a final print made? How exactly does that work?


Sorry for all of the questions, but I'm just a "noobie" what wants to try out shooting on film while he still can. I love movies and the idea of working with actual film is a very attractive idea.

Any advice or tips that you can offer will be very welcomed! Thanks!
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#2 Matt Stevens

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Posted 26 January 2012 - 08:27 AM

I started with super8 about two years ago. Maybe less than that. Buy a camera, one from eBay that shoots both 18 and 24 fps. Don't buy a cheapo brand.

Buy yourself some Kodak Tri-X reversal stock and shoot a few rolls. Send it to Dwayne's Photo for processing and a standard def transfer. That way you can see what you've shot and learn. Slate all your shots so you know what settings you used.

Learn from there and improve.
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#3 Andrew Bacon

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Posted 26 January 2012 - 11:37 AM

I started with super8 about two years ago. Maybe less than that. Buy a camera, one from eBay that shoots both 18 and 24 fps. Don't buy a cheapo brand.

Buy yourself some Kodak Tri-X reversal stock and shoot a few rolls. Send it to Dwayne's Photo for processing and a standard def transfer. That way you can see what you've shot and learn. Slate all your shots so you know what settings you used.

Learn from there and improve.


So your advice would be to shoot some a few rolls and see what I come up with before I invest in editing equipment? That sounds like a good idea. Thank you!
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#4 Will Montgomery

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Posted 26 January 2012 - 12:04 PM

So your advice would be to shoot some a few rolls and see what I come up with before I invest in editing equipment? That sounds like a good idea. Thank you!

You will probably want to transfer and edit on your computer just like digital. Think of Super 8 as a capture medium but edit and finish just like you shot with a DSLR.

Once you get into it you can try cutting film but that's a whole other world. A little Super 8 viewer might not be a bad idea. Projecting your film is a great experience too; you'll see colors like they were meant to be seen.

Beware, film is a slippery slope. It's addictive. In fact Super 8 cartridges should be labeled as a "gateway drug" that leads to 16mm and the evil 35mm. You will start to knock over liquor stores to support your habit. :)
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#5 Andrew Bacon

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Posted 26 January 2012 - 12:10 PM

You will probably want to transfer and edit on your computer just like digital. Think of Super 8 as a capture medium but edit and finish just like you shot with a DSLR.

Once you get into it you can try cutting film but that's a whole other world. A little Super 8 viewer might not be a bad idea. Projecting your film is a great experience too; you'll see colors like they were meant to be seen.

Beware, film is a slippery slope. It's addictive. In fact Super 8 cartridges should be labeled as a "gateway drug" that leads to 16mm and the evil 35mm. You will start to knock over liquor stores to support your habit. :)


Hah. That's the thing though, I really don't want to edit on digital. The whole reason I want to do this is to experience a true "film" workflow, which would include cutting by hand. I doubt that it's easy to do at first, but I really want the satisfaction of cutting film with my own two hands. To a certain degree I like the idea of not having an undo button.

It'll make me think twice about how and where I make my cuts.
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#6 Will Montgomery

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Posted 26 January 2012 - 05:18 PM

It'll make me think twice about how and where I make my cuts.

Then go for it. Find a more recent model viewer and a splicing kit. Should be under $100 for both. It will be a good experience.
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#7 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 27 January 2012 - 01:29 AM

It's still film, even if you cut it digitally. I have regrets about some of the shots that I did cut up a long time ago. There's something kind of cool about capturing on film, cutting it how you like, and still having the original uncut.

I would suggest going with Kodak Ektachrome 100D or their negative stocks. I would also get a camera that does time-exposure, time-lapse, single frame, and slow motion.
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#8 jacob thomas

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Posted 27 January 2012 - 04:47 AM

Hah. That's the thing though, I really don't want to edit on digital. The whole reason I want to do this is to experience a true "film" workflow, which would include cutting by hand. I doubt that it's easy to do at first, but I really want the satisfaction of cutting film with my own two hands. To a certain degree I like the idea of not having an undo button.

It'll make me think twice about how and where I make my cuts.


I think a lot of people have this romanticized idea of cutting Super 8 when they start.

Give it a try, maybe it's just me but counting frames and guessing got old for me pretty quick. (And it's the camera original getting chopped up, scratched, etc in the process.)

Editor/viewers are in my experience pathetically dim and a lot of resolution is missing compared to projection (but I never used the very best viewers just gokos and eumigs, maybe a minette would have made a difference, my suspicion was it wouldn't have been appreciably better).
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#9 John Woods

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Posted 27 January 2012 - 10:39 PM

Give up on the idea of perfection, give up on digital sheen and fancy optical effects. Get some Tri-X film. Pick a subject and roll film. Don't worry about getting scratches on the film, if you want to keep your film pristine then keep it in box on your shelf and don't look at it. Film will inherently scratch and collect dust. If you don't like this idea then go collect action figures and keep them in their packages, in a protective plastic box inside a glass display case.

Cut your shots out of the large reel and tape them to the wall. Label with tape what the shot is. Tape them to the wall in the order you want the film to be. Then splice your shots in order and project the film. Make some trims and then you're done!

This was cut on Super 8 film and blown up to 16mm, check this out for the scratches & splices galore:

This is a great adaptation of The Tell Tale Heart that he also cut on Super 8 and had very little experience:
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#10 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 27 January 2012 - 11:34 PM

Give up on the idea of perfection, give up on digital sheen and fancy optical effects. Get some Tri-X film. Pick a subject and roll film. Don't worry about getting scratches on the film, if you want to keep your film pristine then keep it in box on your shelf and don't look at it. Film will inherently scratch and collect dust. If you don't like this idea then go collect action figures and keep them in their packages, in a protective plastic box inside a glass display case.

Cut your shots out of the large reel and tape them to the wall. Label with tape what the shot is. Tape them to the wall in the order you want the film to be. Then splice your shots in order and project the film. Make some trims and then you're done!

This was cut on Super 8 film and blown up to 16mm, check this out for the scratches & splices galore:

This is a great adaptation of The Tell Tale Heart that he also cut on Super 8 and had very little experience:


Whatever you do, I would do it soon. Because I don't think Kodak is coming back from this.
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#11 Rafael Rivera

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 01:35 PM

Add to your list of items film leader and empty reels and you're ready to cut.
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