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.

TBD

To be developed: ~40+ rolls of Tri-X (shot starting May 2020), 16 sheets 4×5 film (shot March 2020 or so), a couple rolls of E6 (shot October 2020), some random stuff I haven’t sent out yet like Rerapan (shot sometime in 2020), plus about 16 rolls of Super 8, which I did in fact send off recently (shot back in Summer 2018).

Much to get to.  The black & white will take the longest because it’s pretty expensive unless I do it myself and I need to wait to get back into the school darkroom…

All this equipment…Tri-X edition

Shooting a couple rolls of Super 8 film back in April 2020 during lockdown.  So here is the time delay between the immediacy of the digital camera on my phone and getting film developed, getting around to scanning it, and finally getting to the order in the queue.  But hopefully it was worth the wait!

It was more to test out my cameras than anything, but if I put my mind to it I might be able to turn it all into an “experimental” short.

Is the F6 the last film Nikon?

Since 2014 I’ve seen a few unique film emulsions be discontinued, but I’m sad to see news that this time a film camera has been discontinued.  I remember seeing that news back in October, but reading Johnny Martyr’s thoughts has made me want to comment on this myself.

First of all I agree with a lot of what Martyr says; if we can’t be bothered to buy new and support the companies still making cameras, etc. new, then we can’t expect those said companies to still make them after a while.  I’ve had plenty of arguments over the last few months with people who would never consider buying a new camera (and these are wannabe pros), whether for still photography or motion and honestly these people are thinking poor, and not thinking professionally.  If I were making a living from all that then I wouldn’t be trying to get all my equipment dirt-cheap and using it until it breaks, I’d want something reliable and if that costs more, then I’d consider it a work investment.  That would make having the F6 worth having, I think, because it would last a long time, would come with a warranty, and would still be serviced by Nikon for years to come.

Even more than the F6, the new camera I really wanted was the Kodak Super 8 camera probably made by Logmar, that has still not gotten past the prototype stage.  I’ve heard a few references to it this year, evidently Spike Lee’s COVID music video was shot with it, but Kodak lent him a few prototypes for that.  Of course talking online to people about that camera is an exercise in futility, because how dare I suggest they invest $2000 in a brand-new camera instead of spending $50 on the ‘bay for an untested pile of junk.  I suppose that the last time I talked about the camera I wasn’t too thrilled with the price either but the more I think about it the more it doesn’t seem like too much if it’s well-designed, reliable, and will last a good long time.

But while I mourn for the passing of the last film SLR, I can’t bring myself to mourn for the Nikon F6, mainly because I never really wanted one.  Evidently Canon was making the EOS-1v until just a few years ago, and no one really noted that being discontinued, but then knowing that the two last SLRs date to the turn of the millennium and were the kind of fully-automated high-tech gizmos that I’ve been avoiding most of the last decade has a lot to do with my ambivalence.  Leica’s high-tech pinnacle, the M7, was introduced and discontinued about the same time.

It should also be noted however that Leica introduced something of a throwback around the same time, the M-A which is totally free of all electronics (and also still makes the M-P which has an integrated light meter).  Personally, I see this as Leica listening to what consumers actually want, and that is a solid, reliable mechanical camera (and evidently demand for film bodies is exceeding supply).  While I agree with a lot of Johnny Martyr’s sentiments, I think that if Nikon went the route of reintroducing a non-battery-dependent mechanical camera, there would probably be a lot of people interested in buying one brand new!  I know I would be one of them.  I’ve tried researching just what the Nikon FM3a cost when it was sold new, evidently in 2001 when it was first released around $800 ($1200 in 2020 dollars), but possibly it was only going for $600 by 2006 ($800 in 2020 dollars).  To buy a NOS FM3a today would cost $1200-1500 but there are people doing it.  So if there are people willing to pay that much for a camera that hasn’t been made in 15 years, are there enough people that would be willing to buy one brand new from Nikon if they brought it back?  For $1500-1800 (maybe a little bit more)?

Because that’s what I want to see happen: I want Nikon to replace the $2600 F6 with a reintroduction of the FM3a (at $1800) and I think they could find a customer base willing to buy them.  Heck I think that even if the camera cost as much as the F6 did there would still be lots of people interested, that is half the price of a Leica body.  And also I mentioned it before but considering the 50th anniversary of the F2 is next year, what a brilliant time to think about bringing that camera back!  Nikon did after all make limited edition reproductions of the S3 in 2000 and the SP in 2005; they could do it again.  (Also Nikon, if you’re reading this, make film scanners again too!)

But if the F6 is all there is and now Nikon will be all-digital going forward, there are still lots of things we can buy brand new, from minor accessories to manual focus lenses.  I bought a few accessories myself nearly a year ago.  And I think my New Year’s Resolution will be to buy at least one brand new AI-s Nikkor lens.  Because this very well might be a case of “Use it or lose it.”  Of course the other possibility is that Nikon had a stock of brand new accessories, lenses, bodies, etc, and really stopped making all that stuff many years ago, and we’re just now getting down to the last of the stock.  In that case Martyr’s original article might have helped the F6 end just that much sooner by increasing interest and demand…

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.

Fine examples of Super 8 filmmaking, Vol. I

An old friend asked me recently for a few examples of newly-shot/processed 8mm films.  So here is my list of films I’ve watched online in the last year or so, just off the top of my head, plus a few that I return to regularly.  Some of the best examples of high resolution scanning (often 4K) and at least decent color grading:
Attack of the Legumes
Betty Feeds the Animals, dir. James P. Gannon
Facsimil, dir. Marc Marti (available for viewing every year on May 13)
Florida 2019, via Nicholas Coyle
Freelove Fenner: “The Girls from Hampton,” dir. Peter Woodford
Isolamento, dir. Carmelo Zucco
Meredith and Cameron Wedding Video, dir. David Cunningham
Perpetuum Immobile, dir. Marc Marti
Sheer Agony: “I Have a Dream,” dir. Peter Woodford
So Refined

Some perennial favorites:
Ignacio Benedeti
Nick Collingwood
Adrian Cousins
Pro8mm
Jose Luis Villar

(Longer) Films that must be paid for:
Brand upon the Brain! dir. Guy Maddin
Cowards Bend the Knee, dir. Guy Maddin
Format Perspective, dir. Philip Evans
How the Sky Will Melt, dir. Matthew Wade
It’s about You, dir. Ian Markus, Kurt Markus
Stories We Tell, dir. Sarah Polley

Some film cameras, shot on film

Most of these are old pictures, but I wanted to put them all in one place. There might even be a Vol.2 someday.  So many people use a digital camera to take pictures of their cameras and I’m tired of seeing that so I decided a while ago that I would only shoot film to take pictures of my cameras.  So every few rolls if I think about it, I’ll burn a few exposures on this subject.

With the exception of the picture that features my SPII, these were all taken with my beloved Spotmatic and when I really got serious about it I started using a tripod, long exposures (in the range of 30-90sec), and shooting with my 4/50 S-M-C Macro-Takumar.  Before that it was all with either the 1.4/50 Yellow 50 or the 1.8/55 SMC, and got some good examples of Takumar bokeh.

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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