Post-premiere: let’s change that banner a tiny bit…

There, that’s better.

Film Banner6e

Aside from that, I’m altering the film one more time, to add a seizure warning to the front.  Long story…

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Completed

Well, I locked picture and sound today, a full 22 hours before the deadline for submitting to my school’s short film festival (not that anyone reading this is in Colorado Springs, but just in case, here).  So glad to be done with it, at long last.  There is still more to do, as I’m going to submit to film festivals (I allocated funds from my budget for this) but I don’t plan to start that process until next week.  Tomorrow I have a photography critique, then music composition jury, then I officially submit the film, then there is judging that night for the festival, which I will attend.  After that I’m going on a much-deserved 2-day vacation.

Film banner5d

May 1st, Overwhelming Majority will be unleashed on the world.

Edit: and nearly a day later, I decided I’d just remix a few things…just a few things…

More thoughts on the new Kodak Super 8

It seems that finally Kodak is working on opening an online store.  It’s not ready yet, but you can look around at their film offerings, and it’s nice to be able to see the price that Kodak charges for some of those films compared to places like B&H.

At the risk of seeming like I’m turning into a bit of a Kodak fanboy with the impending release of the new super 8 camera, look at this.  People joining the Super 8 Collective have the option of getting on the waitlist for the new camera:
https://www.kodak.com/ek/us/en/consumer/secure/super-8-camera-reservation/default.htm?utm_source=yesmail&utm_medium=email&utm_content=20160405_super8_reserve&utm_campaign=super8

I signed up, though I’ll have to scrape to afford even the optimistically low-end estimate of $400.  If rumors around the grapevine are true however, things could be much better than they are with the new camera.  Evidently Kodak is pouring tons of money into the aesthetic design and little into usable features.  I hope we get the features already advertised–if they reneged on those I’d be very mad–but some of the things I’ve been hearing that are possible on the new camera, are being overlooked in favor of the way it looks, ignoring the opinions of real-world filmmakers and other knowledgeable consultants.  Features like a sound blimp, water-tight housing, remote wi-fi monitoring, things that the GoPro has that could be included and make this appeal to more serious filmmakers.

Remember what I said in this post?
as much as I root for Kodak and want them to succeed, they are still a faceless juggernaut to some degree...
I don’t care much what the camera looks like, which is why I haven’t said anything complained about it at all so far.  However, evidently Kodak is paying a lot of money to make it look that way on purpose.  And I will find it extremely annoying if I end up paying a lot of money for a design process instead of actual features.  And remember, we’re paying for it to look like this:
AX8A8258
(not my picture)

So when are they going to listen to the people who have great ideas for innovative features?  And if they don’t get this camera right, how in danger are they of shooting themselves in the foot?

We have picture!

Much to my surprise, all my super 8 footage is usable.  Here are a few screenshots just looking through the (very) big Quicktime file.

In fact, I wonder just what I’ve gotten myself into with these 4K log scans I got.  The above screenshots were much flatter, but I just brought them into Photoshop and added my standard still photography adjustments.  Now while evidently I can do somewhat the same taking video clips into Premiere or After Effects, it’s a steep learning curve for me and hasn’t been going too smoothly.  My only other option at the moment is to use the settings in Final Cut Pro X which are more rudimentary, with unsatisfying results.

I ended up sending my film to Pro8mm in California instead of my local stop, Cinemalab in Denver, which gave me more options than I needed, but also a better price all around.  Still I think that instead of 4K log scans, I’d have been better off with something that included their in-house color correction but I never asked how much that would cost.  I didn’t plan on using Pro8mm, but it turns out that Cinemalab, despite what they say on their website, does not offer super 8 processing.

So what will all this mean?  I suppose the final film won’t look quite as good as it has the potential to, honestly.  But then 20 years from now I can hire a professional to do the work for the re-release and charge you all more money to buy it.

Editorial: Kodak Super 8 camera (again) and Orbita 13, the pinhole bullet time video

With the new semester comes new assignments.  The photoblog assignments are no more.  I can’t say they were that beneficial to the class anyway, we never really discussed anything or critiqued work there, just breezed through the pictures and that still took up half the class period.  At least it helped me as far as writing prompts go, gave me content to publish on a weekly basis so this blog didn’t just die away while I focused on other matters.  For this semester, we are tasked with reading photography-related stories that the instructor finds for us, and reflecting on two of them.

http://www.newyorker.com/business/currency/kodak-and-the-analog-response-to-disruption

I think the main tone of this article is one of positivity, definitely comes from the business aspect of it; it’s apparent that the writer doesn’t know much about photographic technology, but cites several examples of success in other related fields where outmoded technology isn’t crushed by the relentless tide of progress, but is able to adapt into a niche market.  I’ve been following this news since nearly a month ago when it first broke, and there are several aspects to this that haven’t been quite covered.

First of all, Kodak is going back to one of their old business models with super 8 film, that of the all-in-one package deal: they’re putting infrastructure in place to be able to process the film, scan it (at 4K res!) and will upload the digital files online for the customers to access.  The projected cost of this will be $50-75, which I sometimes wonder about: it’s extremely competitive, almost like a shot across the bow to the processing facilities and mastering houses.  I’m going to be paying around $125 per reel for film, processing, and scanning, so it’s really attractive thinking that a year from now I (and everyone else) will have to pay only half that.  How do you keep up as a processing facility when you’re competing against the company that makes the chemicals you use?  Of course I don’t know how it will all work out, and what percentage of business super 8 film makes up from a typical processing/mastering facility.   Phil Vigeant from Pro8mm seems very positive about this publicly, but just how it will affect his business, I can only speculate.  It seems that Kodak is really wanting to exercise more control over super 8 film.  Will that be bad?  I dunno.

As far as manufacturing cameras and things go, Kodak, for the last 50 years or so, has been primarily concerned with consumer-level products, low-quality and cheap.  I don’t expect them to resurrect their Ektar lens lineup (it would be nice), but just looking at the number of features this new camera will have, I’d call it at least couple steps up from the last one they made:
-max8 widescreen
-9,12,18,24,25fps speeds, all with crystal sync
-integrated sound recording
-accepts c-mount lenses
-automatic and manual exposure modes
-digital video assist/viewfinder
-rechargeable battery with USB connectivity
-price tag is $400-750
The Canon 1014XLS I use features none of those.  It does, however, have a 36fps speed for slow-motion, and quite a nice time-lapse feature as well…I suppose it’s not quite obsolete yet!  In looking at this new Kodak camera, it seems to me that it’s almost a scaled-down version of the Logmar that came out just last year.  There have been rumors that Logmar had a hand in designing/building the prototype, which I hope is true, because otherwise, that’s more toes Kodak is stepping on.  The Logmar originally sold for $2000, evidently was a one-off batch of 50 units.  Pro8mm still has some for $5000, but I think they’ll be keeping them a long time.  I can’t see spending that kind of money for super 8 when you could get a 16mm camera for a fourth of that.

So I see a story here between the lines, one where the giant corporation is starting to stomp on some of its small-time competition, and it reminds me that as much as I root for Kodak and want them to succeed, they are still a faceless juggernaut to some degree.

Does it matter to me?  No.  Personally, I’d rather see film continue to be manufactured, and if that means that a few small businesses are sacrificed along the way, I’d call it an acceptable loss.  I’ve read a few theories about the best way to make for Kodak to make money in the new digital age, and something like abandoning its current distribution method would go a long way, I think.  One can already buy motion picture film directly from Kodak (I’ve never done it yet, but maybe I should; Freestyle and B&H do take their chunk).  I wish that the still photography side (I suppose that’s Alaris now?) did the same thing.  Off the middleman!  Still, with Fuji making a concerted effort to get out of film by the end of the decade, I’m happy to see Kodak doing so well: their film business broke even in 2015 and is expected to turn a profit this year.  That, along with the new super 8 camera and infrastructure, plus the fact that Ferrania should start making film again this year, really heralds 2016 as being a real renaissance for film.

http://petapixel.com/2016/01/29/photographer-shoots-bullet-time-using-a-ring-of-100-pinhole-cameras/

If the women don’t find you handsome, they’ll at least find you handy!
~Red Green

The guy builds his own bullet-time rig, makes his own pinhole cameras to use it, processes the film in caffenol?  Impressive!  In fact, almost too impressive…  If I didn’t know that he was making this for a masters thesis, I’d kind of think that this is a bit much, even for me.  Because I read this earlier today after seeing it on Facebook, and wondered: what’s the point?  Aaahhh, it’s to get a good grade!  But then that makes me think about why I bother with film in the first place, and how digital photographers must see me: not much differently, I’m sure.  Still, after watching the finished video, I think it’s a gorgeous work of art (dunno about the music though; it doesn’t feel connected to the images, more like it was merely dropped in).  The handmade aspects of it really do come through in the final product, you can see how imprecise the cameras were aligned, the subjects getting closer and further away and the sprocket holes appearing and disappearing, the film having different exposures, etc.  But this isn’t The Matrix.  I don’t want it to be slick.  It has all the dirt, grit, imperfections, and ultimately the tactility and uniqueness of being an analog work.  It really makes me want to step up my own game!  And also compose something different for that video…

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.

Kodak is making a new super 8 camera? Crazy!

And awesome.  The Logmar was the first new super 8 camera made in more than 30 years, now there will be a second, being put out by Kodak itself.  What a renaissance we’re enjoying now.  The specs listed on Kodak’s site are quite enticing:

-max8 widescreen
-9,12,18,24,25fps speeds, all with crystal sync
-integrated sound recording
-accepts c-mount lenses
-automatic and manual exposure modes
-digital video assist/viewfinder
-rechargeable battery with USB connectivity

These are enticing features that make me want to drop some money on one, but I wonder just how much it will end up costing.  While the Logmar was (and is) a great idea, I don’t have $6000 to spend for one.  For half (a fourth?) that price I could get a used 16mm camera, something I’ve been tempted to do in the past.  What will Kodak’s new camera cost?  Not more than $750 according to current estimates.  The only thing missing from the specs so far is the inclusion of a time-lapse feature, and I suppose a slow-motion setting; I hope that will be corrected before going into production.  All in all though, this is exciting news, and its features will make it a great improvement over most used super 8 cameras available today, my Canon 1014XLS included.

Read more about it here:
http://kodak.com/ek/us/en/consumer/products/super8/default.htm?cid=go&idhbx=super8#

http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2016/01/05/kodak-goes-retro-with-new-super-8-camera/

http://www.kodak.com/ek/US/en/corp/Press_center/Kodak_Launches_Super_8_Filmmaking_Revival_Initiative_at_CES_2016/default.htm

http://www.engadget.com/2016/01/09/kodaks-super-8-is-an-old-school-throwback/