Archive for the 'Short Film Project' Category


Super-8 attempt = colossal failure

Alfred Hitchcock once said “Anyone can make a Hollywood film.”  Well I’d like to say he was full of shit.

...but not everyone can eat five newborn puppies.

The story goes like this: Me and some friends ventured to NYC a few weeks ago to watch the St. Patty’s Day Parade, and what better place to shoot some super-8 film than the Big Apple?  You know, Gotham!  The City That Never Sleeps!  The town Woody Allen said ” existed in black and white and pulsated to the great tunes of George Gershwin.”  Let’s skip the same ole puttering around in Blandtown, USA and go shoot some super-8 film in the Capital of the World!  So I grabbed two rolls of black and white film and set out to film some scenes of the big city.  (For the other blogs of this series, check here and here.)

Welp, things went downhill right about the instant I tried shooting the film.  I got roughly 13 seconds of salvageable footage before the camera came churning to a halt.  I figured the batteries had died so I tried new ones but still no luck.  Then I proceeded to get really pissed off.  The thing worked fine up to the moment I get into the city, and yet it breaks now?  Seriously??  And it’s not like I can troubleshoot the damn thing – it was made in 1973 and I bought it from Goodwill.

At least we got front row seats to the parade.

It’s hard to pinpoint what’s wrong with the camera or if it’s even reparable.  If the camera’s junk, I still may try to get those 13 seconds i shot of the parade developed to make the most bitchin’ 13 second film in cinematic history.  (Note: I’m fairly certain a few of those 13 seconds are of Cherby’s crotch, taken as I tried to change the batteries.)

For fans of pie shaped things, here’s a chart summarizing the current costs of my stalled short film project:

I’m still trying to decided whether the $150 and the gigantic pain in my ass that this super-8 project has caused still beats chipping out $1,500 for a decent digital camcorder.  Expect some new blogs once my soul searching is complete.

A lot more money, yet a lot less ass pain...


Updated super-8 project

As an update to my earlier post, my roll of Kodak super-8 film arrived today and I am pleased to say everything works fine – the film is brand new and functional, the camera has yet to be knocked off my coffee table by drunken house guests, and the UPS man didn’t spit in my face then shank me in the kidneys as he usually does.

"Mall Cop" royalties just aren't paying the bills anymore.

Anyhow, I’m amazed super-8 film is still being produced out there.  A lot of the film I looked at on eBay was outdated and/or kept in the seller’s freezer to keep it in “new” condition.  But my cartridge came brand new from Kodak, even sealed in a foil wrapper that released a satisfying new-car smell when I ripped it open.  Despite Kodak’s financial troubles, they apparently aren’t bankrupt enough to stop selling terribly archaic pieces of film equipment.

Kodak + Super-8 film = bankruptcy?

I have some local spots planned out for this film that should look great in black and white.  All I need now is a simple script and an actor for my film.  What I need isan everyman: a downtrodden human whose plight and heartwarming story would be perfect for a avant-garde short film…

Nope, he's dead...

Him too...

Ah hell, this guy will work.


My super super-8 project

While browsing my local Goodwill store I came across a Bell and Howell Focus Matic Super 8 camera.  It looked in good shape so I bought the bastard for 4 U.S. dollars.  I plugged in some AAA batteries and much to my amazement the camera still works (anyone who’s ever browsed the electronics section of Goodwill knows that the “As Is” tag is a sure sign of junk).  It looks like I got lucky on this buy: everything works even though the camera dates back to 1974.

Harmless video camera...

... or futuristic space weapon??

Next came the challenge of finding some working super 8 film, and much to my further amazement, there are still companies out there producing it.  The now bankrupt Kodak offers a decent line of super 8 film, including negative and reversal, Ektachrome, and black and white.  I want a noir feel to my planned short film, so I ordered a cartridge of Kodak’s Tri-X B&W Reversal for $15 on Amazon.

This short film project has me excited, but there are a few factors that could become a future pain-in-the-ass.  For instance, a 50′ cartridge of super 8 film only produces about 2 and a half minutes of footage.  That’s not much to work with.  Then comes the challenge of converting and editing the fucker.  I (and I’m guessing the rest of the modern world) don’t have access to equipment for editing traditional film.  So I’ve been looking up some companies online that specialize in developing film and transferring it to digital.  This site looks promising and has reasonable pricing.  Once I’m done experimenting with the first cartridge I’ll give them a call and see what kind of deal I can strike.

In the meantime, I’ve been looking up some super 8 videos on Youtube and found some great work done by fellow film enthusiasts. Reading the comment sections has been a great help to me during this project.  This video makes great use of B&W film and music:

And here’s some super 8 footage of NYC taken about two years ago.  What an awesome vintage look:

Stay tuned for future developments!

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