Jeep tours 2018, Super 8 edition, Part II

More screenshots from this Summer’s film processing.  I do it as cheaply as possible but the costs do add up.  Leaving the film out of it the total for me was still somewhere around $600 for 30min of footage.

Great memories, though, and hopefully I will get that documentary made at some point.

Jeep tours 2018, Super 8 edition, Part I

This is the remainder of the Super 8 film that I shot, this was Summer of 2018 (plus one roll from last Summer) and I haven’t really used my movie cameras much since.  Processed by Spectra Film and Video, scanning by Nicholas Coyle Film and Video.

A collection of coworkers.

Jeep tours 2017, Super 8 edition, Part II

Cast of characters from the Cowboys & Jeeps days, early on in my career as a rough and ready tour guide.  Some of these jokers are still with us, others have moved on or are currently convalescing.

Again these are cropped to a 1.66:1 aspect ratio, Nicholas Coyle Film & Video scanned the film for me in 5K.  These are right out of the box HDR scans with a one-light pass.  Next step will be to get into DaVinci Resolve and color grade everything, though I still have 11 rolls of Super 8 from 2018 that I have yet to get processed and scanned.  There are still many interviews yet to conduct, and everything was shot silent so I need to get a lot of sound effects also.  This documentary is taking a lot longer than my last film; I suppose I want it to be a worthy successor.

Jeep tours 2017, Super 8 edition, Part I

Bugs, birds, sheep, hotshots, and old vehicles.  These are some of my favorite shots of the Super 8 footage I took 3 years ago now.  As much as I talk about  film photography being affordable, I have to admit that motion picture film expenses can pile up quickly, even when shopping around for the best price.  In 2017 I shot 15 rolls of super 8, but never set aside money to get everything developed and scanned, so it’s been sitting in my mom’s freezer for the last 3 years.  What else was I spending my money on back then?  Film festivals, I suppose.  I still have 11 rolls from 2018 that I haven’t sent off for processing yet; I was planning on making a documentary but put that all on hold to concentrate on photo project stuff instead.  Now I’m taking the time to get all my footage in shape so I can decide how to proceed on the documentary front.

Shout out to Nicholas Coyle Film & Video for the incredible 5K scans, I’m using up all the campaign contributions I made with this documentary project.  I cropped to a 1.66:1 ratio, but nothing has been color/contrast graded yet. that will take considerably more time I’m sure.  Nick told me the film was a bit fogged, understandable considering how long it’s been in my mom’s freezer.

A shout out to Nicholas Coyle Film and Video

When I was originally compiling my list of best prices for buying/processing/scanning super 8 film, Nicholas Coyle reached out to me on Facebook and let me know about his scanning house prices which are still the best I’ve found for a 2K scan, and I just used him myself for the first time.  He’s about to be the best price for a 4K scan.

We’ve been in touch for about a year and a half so I knew this was coming: he’s finally upgrading to a Lasergraphics 6.5K Scanstation and is running a special crowdfunding campaign to help with expenses.  So if you were waiting for the right time to get some film scanned, there will never be a better one.  $50 for 3 rolls of super 8, or $100 for 6, or $200 for 12, or $400 for 24: that comes out to $16.67 per roll for a 4K/6.5K flat scan; if you just want to scan 1 roll it’s $15:

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/help-preserve-super8-8mm-16mm-and-35mm-at-6-5k#/

Once he’s up and running the price goes up slightly but I like how it’s tiered: $15 for 2K/3K flat scan (the larger file if you’re want an overscan instead of cropped), $20 for 4K/6.5K, and then $5 more for a one-light transfer, $10 more for a best-light transfer.  Simple and still incredibly affordable compared to the competition: FPP comes close with 4K scans for $35 but there is no information on what the scans will look like, if they’re flat or color-corrected, things of that sort.  At least Coyle’s information is all out in the open and also shipping from him to me is incredibly cheap; he’s only 2 hours away from me.

I already chatted with him so the scanner is coming one way or another in the next couple months, the campaign is to help him pay off some of his initial expenses.  So please consider supporting him, as the price will be hard to beat.  I plan on using Coyle to scan all my film from now on.  Here are a few recent scans:

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Super 8 camera: Canon 1014XL-S

This Canon 1014XL-S is the first super 8 camera I used, on which I shot my first experimental documentary, Overwhelming Majority.  My friend/classmate/colleague bought it at a garage sale in California, had it sitting around his apartment for a year or two, and let me borrow it indefinitely.  I eventually gave him money to ensure that it is officially mine.  For the last two years I’ve been shooting a documentary on the Colorado Springs tourism industry using this camera, and it has served me well.

Many say that the 814/1014XL-S models are the best super 8 cameras ever made.  That’s not true, because there are features offered by other cameras that I’d like to have, but what this camera does give the filmmaker is versatility.  It has a great range of framerates, an intervalometer, a zoom lens covering 6.5-65mm, accepts all the necessary film speeds, takes only AA batteries, has exposure compensation as well as manual aperture control, and the option of two shutter angles of 150 degrees for outdoors or 220 degrees for indoors.  Plus lots more.

I also find it do be pretty ergonomic, with a handle that easily flips up or down, the filming “trigger” (for lack of a better term) can be set so that it films with or without the button constantly held down.  Most controls are on one side of the camera, which is where I like them.

My copy has seen much love over the years: plenty of scuffs, ancient masking tape on parts, a previous owner’s contact information carved into the bottom plate, the side plate came off, a UV filter that is jammed on so tight it can’t be removed, and the eyecup was lost.  I call that character.  What matters most is that it works.  And it works after having taken a considerable beating, and I’m a bit to blame for that myself I’ll admit.  It’s been thrown around my Jeeps for two summers in a row with nary a complaint.  It’s about 90% working.

The downsides?  The first thing that comes to mind is the price.  It has a reputation for better or worse, and it’s crazy what one of these go for now.  There are plenty of other cameras out there with nearly the same features, in the $100-200 price range, so I wouldn’t recommend buying one of these Canons unless it were working and cost $150-250.  I’m hearing from a lot of people that the lens has its limitations past f/4, though considering it’s super 8 film, I don’t know just how sharp one would expect the footage to be.  And evidently a lot of people think it’s way too heavy.  If you need a CLA it can be done but expect to pay a lot. There are cameras out there that are just as good that can be serviced for much less.  Personally I can think of better ways to spend the money.  I paid $200 for mine and it looks like this:

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Overwhelming Majority released to the world

Overwhelming Majority is an experimental documentary dealing with issues of alienation, isolation, and social anxiety.  I remember my teacher Jane sending me this article when I was making the film and being very intrigued by that aspect, something I’d never considered.  OM has been screening at film festivals for the last year and a half, but in light of recent events like Las Vegas, perhaps it’s time to be seen by the rest of the world.

WINNER: Best Experimental film – 2016 Blissfest333
WINNER: Best Experimental film – 2016 UCCS Short Film Festival
NOMINATION: Best Experimental film – 2017 Wales International Film Festival
NOMINATION: Best Documentary Short – 2016 Blissfest333

OFFICIAL SELECTIONS:
2017 London International Documentary Festival
2017 Carmarthen Bay Film Festival
2017 Colorado Short Circuit
2017 Wales International Documentary Festival
2017 Durango Independent Film Festival
2016 Southern Colorado Film Festival

A budget for super 8 film

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Some very kind donations/loans, a Canon 1014XL-S and 4 reels of film

I make a big deal here about motion picture film, talking about super 8, Kodak, and other things, quite a big deal considering I’ve never actually shot any myself.  That will change in the next coming weeks, thankfully.  I’ve made a few short films before, exclusively using my 35mm still cameras, have even posted two of them (here and here), and was planning on doing the same for this next project.  However, thanks to winning a grant from my university, I have an actual budget, with an increasing amount of it being dedicated to shooting on super 8 film.

I plan on keeping my shooting ratio as close as possible to 1:2, something I don’t necessarily know if I’ll be able to accomplish, but depending on how long the finished film ends up being, I’d like to see approximately 50% of the film ending up being super 8, the other half being 35mm stills, so for a ~15min film, say 6-7min or so.

Though I’ve read of plenty low-budget productions that have found it possible to shoot film, it gets a bit hard for no-budget projects.  If the option exists to borrow a DSLR from a friend, use school equipment, etc, that’s understandable.  It’s hard to argue for film when you have no money for it.  With a budget of $1000, I’m putting roughly 70% of that toward super 8 film and processing.  When there’s a will to shoot film, a way appears.  And it seems that once you’re over that initial hurdle, it gets easier.  The cost differences between 8mm processing/scanning vs. 16mm are very low, and most of the extra costs you incur come from longer film lengths in larger formats (50ft of super 8 film is equivalent time-wise to 100ft 16mm, etc).  It’s enough to make me wish I had access to a 16mm camera…maybe someday!

Colorado really is a film-user’s dream in some respects.  I found out in my research that there happens to be a full-service photochemical lab for motion picture film just up the road in Denver, so I don’t even have to send my film out of state.  I suppose they get a lot of business from the University of Colorado film school in Boulder, which by all accounts a great school (and headed up by director Alex Cox).  UCCS really is the baby brother here.  In addition to this, all of Kodak’s 8mm and 16mm film is slit in a facility near Fort Collins; pretty neat.  I’m proud to be able to finally take part in this rich Colorado film history.