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#1 John Sherman

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Posted 15 November 2014 - 05:10 PM

The title is pretty clear, but what makes you guys choose to shoot on Super 8? Last week, I saw a real cheap Canon 814 at my local thrift store and bought it on a lark, thinking it'd be fun to experiment with. Of course, once I got online and started pricing everything out, I was stunned at the cost. I mean, between the cartridge, processing, and telecine, it's like $25 a minute. Not to mention that I'll have to ship the film twice to opposite ends of the country before I know if it turned out any good.

 

I mean, it seems absurd to go through that process all to be able to shoot on the 70s equivalent of miniDV. So, I'm really interested to hear what attracts you to shooting Super 8. I'll admit it's got an interesting aesthetic quality to it, but outside of film nerds I can't imagine most people care.


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#2 Josh Gladstone

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Posted 15 November 2014 - 05:39 PM

Well I can only speak for myself, but I mostly process and scan at home, so for me the process is a big part of it. (It's much more affordable, too). I also live in LA, so getting things done at a lab doesn't involve any shipping for me. And I do admit that if I did have to ship film in, ship film out, etc etc I probably wouldn't do it very much. I also enjoy using old, antiquated photographic equipment to take contemporary pictures. And there really amazing getting back thousands of perfect little tiny sequential pictures. Especially when you process it yourself.

 

There's lots of other reasons too. But you're certainly right, most people don't care.


Edited by Josh Gladstone, 15 November 2014 - 05:40 PM.

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#3 christophernigel

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Posted 15 November 2014 - 06:22 PM

The title is pretty clear, but what makes you guys choose to shoot on Super 8? Last week, I saw a real cheap Canon 814 at my local thrift store and bought it on a lark, thinking it'd be fun to experiment with. Of course, once I got online and started pricing everything out, I was stunned at the cost. I mean, between the cartridge, processing, and telecine, it's like $25 a minute. Not to mention that I'll have to ship the film twice to opposite ends of the country before I know if it turned out any good.

 

I mean, it seems absurd to go through that process all to be able to shoot on the 70s equivalent of miniDV. So, I'm really interested to hear what attracts you to shooting Super 8. I'll admit it's got an interesting aesthetic quality to it, but outside of film nerds I can't imagine most people care.

First of all there is alot more to film ! also who hands and eye is behind the camera can have a big history value , if you DIY it's work out way cheaper than a Lab  doing e6 / BW , More so for me film has a magic which Digital can not touch / treat film with care will out live you ?

Love the homemade handmade film, and it's mine from start to finish , So what maybe absurd to you ! is not for real filmmakers .

You can always sell that camera on Ebay if it not for you !


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#4 Anthony Schilling

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Posted 15 November 2014 - 07:24 PM

Super 8 allows you to create visual concepts in camera that are not possible to do with video. If you know what you are doing, the images make things look cooler than they do in real life. Video has one frame rate and one look. there is no suspense, pre-meditation, or thrills... very utilitarian. 


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#5 christophernigel

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Posted 15 November 2014 - 08:30 PM

First of all there is alot more to film ! also who hands and eye is behind the camera can have a big history value , if you DIY it's work out way cheaper than a Lab  doing e6 / BW , More so for me film has a magic which Digital can not touch / treat film with care will out live you ?

Love the homemade handmade film, and it's mine from start to finish , So what maybe absurd to you ! is not for real filmmakers .

You can always sell that camera on Ebay if it not for you !

Also in this age of fast everything not much stuff out there has a soul < sure video you can do things with which you can not do with film. Film is a craft which takes time to learn ! and to some can make or lifted into a Art form , When you pick up the camera what's the reason ? what am I filming/ also there is no forgivness ! meaning one has to learn fast , and you make alot of mistakes on the way ! but that's life , you live you learn one hopes . maybe there a filmmaker in you ? yet do not know till you give it a go ! ? try it ! and it's not DV video .


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#6 John Sherman

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Posted 15 November 2014 - 11:38 PM

I didn't intend for this to be a film v. video argument Chris. My comment about it being the "70s equivalent of miniDV" was more a analogy to how it was a popular, low-cost format that delivered poor quality images, much like miniDV. Your proselytizing about film in general in interesting, but that's not what I was asking. What is it about Super 8 that makes you use it over 16mm? Is it just cost, or are there other tangible elements of Super 8 that you find appealing?

 

Oh, and about this:

maybe there a filmmaker in you ?

I am a filmmaker. Save your condescension for someone else.


Edited by John Sherman, 15 November 2014 - 11:39 PM.

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#7 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 16 November 2014 - 12:37 AM

S8mm has a unique look which is a sumflux of it's limitations. Also you can do things with a S8mm camera you can't as easily do with a 16mm system. It's all about choice, and the reasoning behind using any system really comes down to the people making that choice.


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#8 Philip Kral

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Posted 16 November 2014 - 02:19 AM

      I think we're overcomplicating the question, I don't think he meant to be going on the offense, I think he was asking a personal opinion on why we like to shoot super8.

     I personally shoot a lot of (super) 16mm, and digital from my GH4. But time to time I still shoot super 8. Particularly reversal film, I only shoot negative if I'm shooting super8 for a gig (E.g., A wedding, short film, etc). I personally shoot reversal film super8 (color if I can find it) because I actually choose NOT to telecine it (Again, unless it's negative film). I not only save money that way, but I find joy and satisfaction in projecting super8, there's nothing quite like it.

       For one- it's actually not that bad quality when you project it and see it in person. Good, well exposed footage actually looks like... well... a film. Reversal film that is telecine'd for some reason never comes out right in my opinion, it always looks like the quality takes a nosedive when color reversal is scanned.

    Which brings us to two, I like shooting super8 because it's a different skill set and getting well exposed footage is part of the craft that makes it rewarding. If I shoot strictly digital for a few months, or even 16mm, I feel like I have to break out the super8 to mix things up a bit. Part of the skill is since you only have those 50 feet (and at the cost), every shot you take is well thought of and has some relevance.

     Which brings us to a third reason why I shoot super8, I prefer to still shoot my memories/ homes movies on the format. I've been shooting the stuff since the 1990's, I constantly splice the newer reels onto the older ones. When I play them back, my life literally unfolds before my eyes. On 16mm, it's not small and handy enough and digital and video formats just aren't stable. I know that sounds weird and to some backwards, but I've gone through VHS, Vhs-c, DV cam, etc.... super8 is the only handy format that's stayed consistent and supported through the years. Unless it gets physically damaged (E.g. A flood or fire), my film will last my entire life and I'll have a reliable archive into my old age. I consider the slightly higher amount of money I pay a "front-load" to archival costs- you're paying for something solid.

 

Overall it's different aesthetic choice, just my humble opinion. :)


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#9 christophernigel

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Posted 16 November 2014 - 06:04 AM

I didn't intend for this to be a film v. video argument Chris. My comment about it being the "70s equivalent of miniDV" was more a analogy to how it was a popular, low-cost format that delivered poor quality images, much like miniDV. Your proselytizing about film in general in interesting, but that's not what I was asking. What is it about Super 8 that makes you use it over 16mm? Is it just cost, or are there other tangible elements of Super 8 that you find appealing?

 

Oh, and about this:

I am a filmmaker. Save your condescension for someone else.

John as a filmmaker then you would understand film and the value of difference formats  ie 8mm/ s8 /16mm/ s16/ 35mm etc

each has there own ?  I use super 8 film's it's easy to use and film on the fly, and DIY  , also you will  find that super 8 is no longer a low cost  format, Films as you will know, has  really gone up over the past year ?  Try using this format maybe you will be surprised ?

Also there is a new super camera being made and it/s not a cheap one ,

format , cameras are lighter


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#10 Josh Gladstone

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Posted 16 November 2014 - 06:39 AM

Super 8 is easier to work with infrastructurally. The cameras and the whole film format is more portable than 16mm. The equipment is generally inexpensive, and takes up less room in your house. It's just the smallest, easiest, cheapest way to shoot motion picture film.


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#11 christophernigel

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Posted 16 November 2014 - 08:18 AM

The title is pretty clear, but what makes you guys choose to shoot on Super 8? Last week, I saw a real cheap Canon 814 at my local thrift store and bought it on a lark, thinking it'd be fun to experiment with. Of course, once I got online and started pricing everything out, I was stunned at the cost. I mean, between the cartridge, processing, and telecine, it's like $25 a minute. Not to mention that I'll have to ship the film twice to opposite ends of the country before I know if it turned out any good.

 

I mean, it seems absurd to go through that process all to be able to shoot on the 70s equivalent of miniDV. So, I'm really interested to hear what attracts you to shooting Super 8. I'll admit it's got an interesting aesthetic quality to it, but outside of film nerds I can't imagine most people care.

Going back to your  first post ,  What was the reason to buy this camera ? its a lark ? Then this is a super 8 film part of the forum ? meaning that the one's that use this format   have a love for it !  no Proselytizing just alove for film and this format so call me a film nerd , So then try it and if not sell your camera ?


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#12 Chris Millar

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Posted 16 November 2014 - 05:27 PM

really amazing getting back thousands of perfect little tiny sequential pictures. Especially when you process it yourself.

I relate to this!

 

I love with reversal films that the image you see is the very one that was exposed to the light on the day...

 

When it comes to super8 however I tried a few reels on a Eumig Nutica I also bought 'on a lark' - but soon went back to Bolex world - just me, I like the resolution gain for not that much more hassle ( I guess I had the full home processing infrastructure there already). I'd be shooting vista vision if I had the cash - love large formats!  I get my fix from large format stills though, and still do. But yeah, super8, I can certainly see the appeal, just not for me.


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#13 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 16 November 2014 - 05:42 PM

The title is pretty clear, but what makes you guys choose to shoot on Super 8? Last week, I saw a real cheap Canon 814 at my local thrift store and bought it on a lark, thinking it'd be fun to experiment with. Of course, once I got online and started pricing everything out, I was stunned at the cost. I mean, between the cartridge, processing, and telecine, it's like $25 a minute. Not to mention that I'll have to ship the film twice to opposite ends of the country before I know if it turned out any good.

 

I mean, it seems absurd to go through that process all to be able to shoot on the 70s equivalent of miniDV. So, I'm really interested to hear what attracts you to shooting Super 8. I'll admit it's got an interesting aesthetic quality to it, but outside of film nerds I can't imagine most people care.

 

Since the time your canon 814 was originally made, how many video cameras have you purchased, paid for editing time, and so on?  

 

Isn't it possible that since your canon 814 was originally made that you have spent anywhere from 5,000 to 50,000 dollars on an ongoing supply of new and improved digital video cameras? Throwing the older one away for a new and improved version?

 

In that context, you spend a few hundred bucks, (and remember you got the camera for practically free) to see if what you did excites you or not. 

 

Wedding videographers routinely sell home movie packages in which super-8 film is used. The amazing thing is the film can be made to look like it is 40 years old (transfer quality wise) or made to look pristine, amazing, and contemporary.

 

You could just have easily made this topic about marveling that you can use 2014 digital technology to make your 45 year old super-8 film camera look different from digital video, yet remarkable.


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#14 Anthony Schilling

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Posted 16 November 2014 - 06:10 PM

I love 16mm and have a nice Bolex package with lenses. But I shoot 10 times more super 8 because it's cheaper, also easier to tote around and set up. Super 8 costs me about $40 per 50ft and 16mm is about $60 per 100ft spool (not including telecine). I also mentioned that I have an S8 scanner so the telecine costs are not an issue with S8 for me, I could have gotten a 16mm scanner but again, more expensive. When you do this stuff on a working mans budget even super 8 is expensive, so the extra 30% for 16mm is an occasional luxury. 


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#15 Dom Jaeger

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Posted 17 November 2014 - 12:03 AM

The attraction for me was always in projection, so I'm saddened by the diminishing availability of reversal stocks, but hopefully reversal will have a revival. 

 

I would argue that small film formats like 8mm or Super 8 have an aesthetic that is distinctive and much more attractive than early video formats (at least to my eyes). When you project small format film you can enlarge the tiny original up to incredible magnification, and the image still holds together, the organic nature of film grain reminds me of the pleasure you get going up close to certain paintings with loose brushwork, where the details begin to dissolve but it's still beautiful to look at. I can fill the 4 meter wide back wall of my lounge room with projected anamorphic 8mm for example, and it looks fabulous. Even friends with little knowledge or interest in visual imagery tend to find it beautiful. 

 

There is also the process, as opposed to the outcome, which many people enjoy (both the filming and the developing). I favour the older double 8mm format, with wind-up cameras and little prime lenses and daylight spools that flash and bleed light into the first few feet as you load them. For me that process is a way of stepping back in time to when things were less automatic, not as rushed or impatient. Your few minutes of footage are precious, so you shoot a little more judiciously, then you have to wait until the processing is done to actually see what you captured. There's a real thrill to that, it becomes an event and often contains surprising and artful accidents. 

 

Finally, there is the archival durability. I shoot 8mm mainly of my family, knowing that in 30 or 50 years these films will still be viewable if I simply store them with care. They won't require regular backing up or the decoding of an obsolete codec or anything more complicated than a working projector. I have 75 year-old footage of my recently departed dear Mum on a spool of 9.5mm film showing her dancing at age 6 which is still perfectly fine. Maybe my children will one day take pleasure in showing their grandkids my 8mm movies of their own childhood.

 

 


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#16 Pavan Deep

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Posted 17 November 2014 - 06:30 AM

I don’t want to complicate things, but it’s a difficult question to answer and there are many reasons why so many people like to work with Super 8. Admittedly there’s is a certain level of romance and nostalgia associated with the look of Super 8, there is the ease and portability of the format, the simplicity of simple projection, it’s also the unique impression it creates of a timeless reality of the odd movement of [usually] silent images that are filled with life, grain and magical colour.

 

For years Super 8 was the only cheap way to shoot real film, it was increadibly easy as all you did was pop the cartridge and then pressed the cameras trigger and once done you jest sent the film off for processing and then simply projected it. Things have changed a little and these days I have found Super 8 is neither that cheap nor is it easy, you buy the film cartridge and expose it, but some existing cameras won’t expose modern film correctly, you also have to pay to have it processed and then pay to have it scanned. When you take all these things into consideration other film formats especially 16mm can be cheaper to work with, but working with Super 8 is unique, it has a charm of its own that can’t be mimicked.

 

For me the process of working with Super 8 is more important than the final outcome, waiting for the film to be processed is an integral part of this process, it is an event in itself when you finally see what you’ve captured. There is always a mixture of shots, sometimes poorly exposed shots, shots that are out of focus, but at the same time there are usually many surprising and artful accidents, which you only get with Super 8.

 

Pav


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#17 David Cunningham

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Posted 17 November 2014 - 08:23 AM

I don’t want to complicate things, but it’s a difficult question to answer and there are many reasons why so many people like to work with Super 8. Admittedly there’s is a certain level of romance and nostalgia associated with the look of Super 8, there is the ease and portability of the format, the simplicity of simple projection, it’s also the unique impression it creates of a timeless reality of the odd movement of [usually] silent images that are filled with life, grain and magical colour.

 

For years Super 8 was the only cheap way to shoot real film, it was increadibly easy as all you did was pop the cartridge and then pressed the cameras trigger and once done you jest sent the film off for processing and then simply projected it. 

Things have changed a little and these days I have found Super 8 is neither that cheap nor is it easy, you buy the film cartridge and expose it, but some existing cameras won’t expose modern film correctly, you also have to pay to have it processed and then pay to have it scanned. When you take all these things into consideration other film formats especially 16mm can be cheaper to work with, but working with Super 8 is unique, it has a charm of its own that can’t be mimicked.

 

For me the process of working with Super 8 is more important than the final outcome, waiting for the film to be processed is an integral part of this process, it is an event in itself when you finally see what you’ve captured. There is always a mixture of shots, sometimes poorly exposed shots, shots that are out of focus, but at the same time there are usually many surprising and artful accidents, which you only get with Super 8.

 

Pav

 

 

I agree with everything here except that modern film is difficult to expose in old Super 8 cameras.  This really only applies to those Super 8 cameras that only accepted K40.  In those cameras, you pretty much can only use Vision3 50D with any luck.

 

Also, the cameras that were E160 only give very usable results with E100D, Tri-X/Plus-X, Vision3 200T and even Vision3 250D.

 

Other than that, any of the decent cameras produced meter from 40 up to 250.  Even with 500T, over exposing one full stop, that's fine.  Even the ones that only meter 40-160, 500T indoors will probably be wide open anyhow...  unlikely you will expose nearly 2 full stops over.  And, if you do, it will be VERY usable.

 

You want to talk about hard to expose...  The old E160 and K40 stocks were crazy hard to expose right.  If you had any back lighting the image would be too dark and in very bright sun E160 would look fine on the primary subject but all the highlights would be blown out.

 

I think it's more the standard we are held to and expecting with film shooting now that makes us think shooting Super 8 is harder these days. If it's negative, you can basically throw it in and go.  You'll be able to basically correct ( at least to as good an image as E160 was) for any error in exposure.


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#18 David Cunningham

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Posted 17 November 2014 - 08:32 AM

The attraction for me was always in projection, so I'm saddened by the diminishing availability of reversal stocks, but hopefully reversal will have a revival. 

 

I would argue that small film formats like 8mm or Super 8 have an aesthetic that is distinctive and much more attractive than early video formats (at least to my eyes). When you project small format film you can enlarge the tiny original up to incredible magnification, and the image still holds together, the organic nature of film grain reminds me of the pleasure you get going up close to certain paintings with loose brushwork, where the details begin to dissolve but it's still beautiful to look at. I can fill the 4 meter wide back wall of my lounge room with projected anamorphic 8mm for example, and it looks fabulous. Even friends with little knowledge or interest in visual imagery tend to find it beautiful. 

 

There is also the process, as opposed to the outcome, which many people enjoy (both the filming and the developing). I favour the older double 8mm format, with wind-up cameras and little prime lenses and daylight spools that flash and bleed light into the first few feet as you load them. For me that process is a way of stepping back in time to when things were less automatic, not as rushed or impatient. Your few minutes of footage are precious, so you shoot a little more judiciously, then you have to wait until the processing is done to actually see what you captured. There's a real thrill to that, it becomes an event and often contains surprising and artful accidents. 

 

Finally, there is the archival durability. I shoot 8mm mainly of my family, knowing that in 30 or 50 years these films will still be viewable if I simply store them with care. They won't require regular backing up or the decoding of an obsolete codec or anything more complicated than a working projector. I have 75 year-old footage of my recently departed dear Mum on a spool of 9.5mm film showing her dancing at age 6 which is still perfectly fine. Maybe my children will one day take pleasure in showing their grandkids my 8mm movies of their own childhood.

 

 

 

It's amazing when you think about the quality of the image available.  The Vision3 series negative and all the good reversals like Provia 100F, E100D and Velvia 50 produce an image that is at or ver near HD.  True the grain is a distracting noise at HD scan levels, but there is otherwise near HD "information" to be obtained.  That certainly cannot be said of any consumer grade video cameras pre 2005.

 

Hopefully the Ferania experiment is going to go well and they'll be able to produce a reversal (probably not in the first batch) that at least comes close to E100D.  Honestly, even if it's just significantly better than AGFA 200D I'll be happy.  I know they will likely never reach E100D level, and I'm sure they will come no where close to Velvia 50 or Provia 100F.  But, I'm hopeful that they will get me back to shooting my outdoor weddings on reversal within the next 2 years....  hopeful...

 

I have a nearly 2 meter screen in my house that's about right for Super 8 projection.  My Super16 footage could go even bigger.

 

And lastly, yes!  Archival is what it's all about.  Shoot it, process it, scan it, then maybe watch it on a projector if it's reversal.  Then wind it onto archival reels and put it in an archival can then stick it on the bookshelf in a controlled environment.  It'll be there ready-to-go for your grandchildren.  I'm actually thinking about renting a safety deposit box at the local bank for storage... I may even film-out some of my favorite iPhone videos onto 16mm and store them away this way.  


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#19 Will Montgomery

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Posted 17 November 2014 - 10:52 AM

With Super 8 images are more like memories rather than perfect, stark photocopy of an event. For me and many people I've shown films to, it takes you to that place and time much more emotionally than VHS does. Not sure what happens chemically in our brains, maybe we're just programmed from watching our parents and grandparents home movies, but it still evokes more feeling than video to me.

 

Two great side benefits are:

 

1) Self-editing; you only shoot important or good stuff because of the cost

2) As has been said, archival qualities are extremely important and today's films will last much longer than any VHS tape, DVD or Blu-Ray

 

I shoot 16mm and 35mm for different reasons, mostly due to what I believe is a better quality with much less effort than shooting a Red Epic or Arri Alexa.


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#20 Zachariah Shanahan

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Posted 17 November 2014 - 03:38 PM

I owned a couple consumer HD cameras when I was in film school but never focused on moving the camera, it was nothing special to me. I wanted to Direct, but didn't get many chances, so instead tried Writing and was lumped into Producing. Super 8 revitalised my interest in actually shooting after seeing everything look the same online in every damn film. There was something missing. I have a hard drive full of clips, but how much connection can you have to digital crap when it's lumped together with all other mp3's and media? 

 

The first rolls I bought were in Japan, directly from the lab. I'm from Aus. I shot most of them in the country and they turned out terrible. Do I care? Of course not. 

 

I send my rolls overseas to Japan for processing included, which is cheaper if I send 2 or 3 together in the same package. For Super 8, I'll send to an Aus lab for processing, but that is for Negative stock. So it goes back and forth, but you learn patience. Develop the attention to detail before rolling. 

 

I haven't sent to other telecine labs yet, but I will probably try Frame Discreet and Ochyipico (?) 

 

I'm excited to shoot again soon, because my DP mate has learnt so much about exposing film correctly since our first attempt at a 1 roll short, which was over 12 months ago. 

 

I hope to progress to a low end 16mm within 12 months after we have mastered everything to do with Super 8 and it's post-prod workflow. 


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