Hello cinematography.com friends! I just finished up my latest short film and I wanted to share it with you guys. Shot entirely on vision 3 super 8 stock (50D,500t) This was my first attempt at creating a narrative on actual film. The camera used was a Sankyo 40s xl and the process/2k scan was performed by Pro8mm in Burbank.
Must say that I stopped at 3:25. Several things don’t fit together like the title and the story until then or the scanner and the technical concept of Super-8. Can’t stand to see the perforation rock steady next to the image shaking.
One shot popped out particularly, namely when the car halts within frame. You chose a square-off perspective which gives it a pointing weight, unfortunately pointless there. Had we some information about the relationship between the two characters introduced so far, it would make sense.
Else, very wide angle lens is not understood by me. Takes out of focus don’t help much. Sorry
I would agree somewhat with Simon - There are two issues I see immediately: One is that it wasn't scanned on a scanner that can correct for the lateral perf movement problem on Super 8. That's why your frame jerks back and forth like that, and it's *really* distracting. I wouldn't consider that to be one of the charms of Super 8, I'd consider it to be a defect, and one that distracts from the story.
The other thing is that by showing the perfs, you're also making it clear to the viewer that you're flipping shots, which is equally distracting. At about 2:30, the perf is suddenly on the right, not the left, then it jumps back. It's superfluous to the story, but suddenly becomes part of it, because the viewer is left thinking about why you chose to flip that shot. If the whole thing was cropped to just inside the frames, that wouldn't be an issue.
I get that it is experimental. Good effort. I do agree with Simon and Perry. Why should the audience care about the girl or what happens to her? That is not so clear. Is it a love/ghost story? If so, if it were my film, I would do away with some of the music and find different sounds and or foley to help tell the story. I really like that there is no dialogue. I love the visuals. The super 8 aesthetic suits this project very well. I am jealous of the locations you shot at. Do you have that much snow already this season?
Hey Chris! This was actually shot last January in Utah and Flagstaff. I live in Phoenix so no snow haha. It took me a while to get the money together for a scan and come out with a final edit. Thank you for the kind words. My intention was to show that she was returning home after suffering some hard times/abuse along the way (I thought her crying in the vehicle might translate). I appreciate the input. It was experimental even in the sense that I had never tested most of the lenses/filters. Honestly pleased with my efforts and I think the next film will be better from this learning experience.
Your film is awesome! I actually watched it again this morning. It's your eye for shots, noticeable effort, and your attention to detail that I appreciate most. For Super 8, it's epic IMO.
Do put Perry, quoted above, on your list for transfer... crazy fast service and shipping, superior equipment, and his love for film is unmatched.
Also watched your "Lights and Shades" this morning for the 100th time! That film paired with that song is pretty much the mother **(obscenity removed)**. I love to watch it on my projector with the sound turned up really loud.
BTW, Harrison Jedan and I are following each other on Vimeo and I have decided... "hey, it's not a Harrison Jedan Film unless someone shoots the middle finger"
Didn't realize you're in Phoenix... that's my all time dream city to live in. Spectacular area where I feel the sky is a unique hue of blue.
Brutal honesty... Way too long. Needs significant editing.
Matte the sides so you cannot see you were flipping frame.
Never start with credits in a short film. Ever. In the modern society with limited attention spans 99% will just clock away. I had to skim through some of it simply due to having so little time on my hands.
Going from heavy grain to minimal grain was distracting at times.
As others have said, the wobble is distracting.
That all being said, at times the imagery was beautiful. You had some good sound design in spots (listening through headphones). Just keep shooting, refining what and how you shoot and keep editing editing editing.
One is that it wasn't scanned on a scanner that can correct for the lateral perf movement problem on Super 8.
The lateral perf movement problem in scans of Super8 is a problem with scanners - not with Super8 film.
Look at a Super8 camera gate, and a Super8 projector gate. On one side of the gate is a hard edge guide. And on the other side of the gate is a spring edge guide. It is these edge guides that control where the film is located during camera exposure and subsequent projection. It has always been this way. The perf plays no role whatsoever in the lateral positioning of the film.
No role whatsoever.
But if a scanner otherwise uses the perf for this purpose (to control the lateral position of the image) it will result in the observed effect (or defect): the image will jitter laterally.
In other words, any sideways jitter, in scans of Super8 film, is an error the scanner makes.
When a scanner is modified to use the edge of the film (rather than the perf) this modification is not making any correction to an error in Super8 film. It is making a correction to what was an error in the scanner.
Edited by Carl Looper, 05 January 2017 - 06:02 PM.
Hi Hunter, I thought the titles were fine; I prefer to read a book that has a title page, same with movies. I liked much of the way you tried to incorporate ultra wide shots with regular ones, the use of some filtration near the house, the music seemed fine, I loved your folly effects for location sound. I agree with the statements of scan weaving.....it was annoying and the SANKYO normally does a decent job for steadiness. I would avoid showing the perforation, it just distracts in this short story. The only other thing I feel is the editing.....one weakness so many of us have is cutting down our own work (that's why there's brutal editors in the professional industry, but even then, many a lame commercial release has been made and will be made). So, some tighter editing will help it flow better. Not sure of your story, but hey, it's art and it's experimental, so I watched it with that in mind. The grain variation is to be expected for the day and low light shots; this was common back when so many of us shot with KODACHROME in bright light and EKTACHROME 160 for low light (and even pushed it then to ISO 400 if needed, I've pushed EK SMA 7244 to ISO 800 years ago, and knew it would be super grainy, but I like the look, and it was worth it for the low light levels I was using). It was nice to see some nice exposures, good angles, and a valiant attempt. Press forward, keep shooting, have fun, and don't let any doomsayers get you down. Do check on the scan issue though and/or find another place or work on doing it yourself eventually [Super 8mm and 8mm in general has long been a DIY arena]. Best of luck in your next work!
I find DIY scanning (or indeed optical printing) is a lot of fun. I'm onto something like a tenth iteration of a DIY scanner/printer. I find DIY work (on any level) is very much part of what experimental film making is all about. Making stuff in all the odd ways one might imagine. And when you make a mistake (so called) the important thing is that it's yours and not someone elses, and therefore something you can do something about - or indeed choose not to do so. For you have that choice. A so called mistake can become a feature of a work instead. You get to decide. And either way it becomes a real thing when you do it yourself.
Edited by Carl Looper, 28 January 2017 - 09:27 PM.
Hey Hunter - I liked your film. But I would definitely put it in the experimental genre. I thought you made great use of reflections & lens flares. You had some very interesting techniques in there. Other than the framing issue, I think it was a nice piece.
Thank you Bill. Your kind words mean a lot and thank you to anyone who took their time to watch my film and give me feedback. I definitely have some work to do on the edit and this has been a great learning experience
I was really impressed with the quality of your image, great color pallettes. love the natural aesthetic that came out of super 8. You can do alot of experimentation in After effects to stabilize the movement, but I look at this as a great experiment in super 8 narrative filmmaking. congrats!
Mitch, thank you so much for the kind words. A lot of effort went into this project and I love super 8 film. Perhaps I will experiment with some stabilization. I'll be share to share my next project with my cinematography.com friends