Super Duper

Firstly, I just want to say thank you all SO MUCH for the wonderful comments on my last post!!! Oh man seriously you guys, reading them left me with a big ol' grin on my face...and the impetus to make more films! As much as I love photography, nothing can quite compare to the feeling you get when you project your first roll and watch it come to life, thinking: holy crap, I made that!

and far away

About the film itself: I shot it on a Yashica Super 40, which is a Super 8 camera. There are lots of Super 8 cameras out there, for a broad range of prices. You can get them off eBay with various levels of guarantee, and anything made by Canon is usually a pretty safe bet for a beginner. Additionally, I often see them in second hand shops for little more than a few dollars. Of course, here you take the risk of having no idea whether it will work or not. If the battery case (often inside the handle of the camera) looks clean and free of corrosion, that's a good sign. These batteries will almost certainly need replacing, as will the battery that runs the camera's light meter. This battery is a little more tricky, since it will be of the very small, round variety that is used to run watches and other small electronics.

There is a lot of information on Super 8 available on the web. This is a great resource, as is this. Super 8 film is still available, and generally costs between $8 and $14 a roll (about 3 minutes worth), depending on the brand and type. To make my film, I used Kodak Ektachrome 64T, which I purchased at Eastman Kodak here in NYC. After you shoot your film, you'll need to have it developed, which is sort of like having a roll of photos made into prints. You'll get a nifty little spool of film, which can then be put through a projector, should you have access to one. In order to edit your film (unless you want to go old school and try your had at splicing), you'll then need to have it transferred by a lab onto a DV tape, which can then be transferred, through a deck or through a DV camera, onto your computer. As far as I know, the majority of Labs that do this kind of work in the US are located in California and New York, but most of them accept mail orders. You can fill out an order form, ship your film to them, and they'll ship it back to you ready to go.

Bottom line is: this is definitely not a cheap hobby, but it is an extremely rewarding one.
If you're a student, be sure to ask about discounts, both when buying your film and having it processed, as they are very often available. Even if you only get it together once or twice to follow it all through from start to finish, you'll have a piece of work that you can hold on to forever. And it is infinitely more satisfying than a Flip Cam, I promise you. (Not that I don't want one of those to...) Feel free to email me if you have any further questions. I am by no means an expert, but I'm an excitable novice, and I would love to share what little I do know with other curious parties!


About the music: you can check out Girls here, and buy their album here. They're on tour at the moment, and will be stopping off at a few US cities come November, including my own. Can't wait!!

(last photo courtesy of Girls' myspace)


Tiffany said...

Your film is lovely! I saw Girls in Paris after reading your first post about them some time ago. Super duper. Good choice for the soundtrack.

E-BAD said...

who did you use to transfer the film? I need a cheap solution to get my mom's 1976 stop animation 35mm? cartoon into the digital realm. cute shoes!

Suzy said...

nice, dude. thanks for all this info; i showed this and other super 8's to my sister and she had a lot of questions i couldn't answer, except that, yes, she may use me as her subject because i am the vain one in the family. bwahahaha.

OH! And I posted on my delicious new romper a couple days ago- go look!! haha and that weird record store stalker said i have nice stems in it, ewwwww who are you, christian from clueless???

Seraphina said...

It is a lovely movie indeed and has also inspired me to want to dabble in some super 8 loveliness. A friend of mine shot some amazing b&w super 8 (don't know the cam) using really contrasty light- also looked amazing.
btw didn't you make a short film with a cowboy in it some time ago? did you ever post that here? would love to see it.

Frances Baker said...

This is such a helpful post, thank you so much! Super 8 film has such a fantastic quality, I've always wanted to have a go, but thouht it would be too hard. Your film was so inspiring by the way, its one of the loveliest things I've seen in a while, and really captures the feeling of summer so well.