an email that I sent to Jeff Mahon regarding making Super8 video's
for bands. It brings up some fairly basic points, but hopefully
it will be of some use to you ;)
Great web page!
I live in Hawaii and am going to shoot a music video with 16mm
Cool! How's the weather in Hawaii?
I own a video production company but I want the film look (So
does the band). Can you give me some advise on the production
process. I am using silent cameras so I'm wondering about the
syncing problems. I'm going to edit with Adobe Preimere. I've
searched the entire web for music video production how to's but
no luck. Your help would be greatly appreciated!
it's true you can do almost anything with super8. It's such a
good film. The only hitchs you'll find with super8 (against 16mm
and up) is:
1) The cameras are usually second-hand so always perform a test
on any new camera to make sure it actually works. Also, most super8
camera's have rotary shutters, which means a fixed shutter speed.
Therefore 18 fps will give longer exposures than 24 fps, and with
slow motion (36 fps+) you need more and more light. 16mm and 35mm
cameras have "variable shutters" so you can do cool tricks with
"depth of field" effect, exposure, and better stop-motion animation.
2) The best film to use for delicous colour saturation and fine
grain use Kodachrome 40 ASA. But it is a very slow film, so you
need BIG lights for indoor stuff. The problem with K40 is that
the bulbs used to process/print the film are copyrighted by Kodak
and there are only a handfull of facilitires left in the world.
Don't let this put you off. K40 looks amazing! Kodak will provide
you with a postage-paid envelope which you take to your nearest
Kodak head-quarters. They'll then send it to Dallas, Texas, or
whereever the nearest Kodachrome lab is. It's free, it takes 6-8
weeks to get the film back.
3) Kodak TXR 160 ASA (Reversal) can be processed with normal B/W
film processing chemicals. I'll try to find a link to a page that
describes this, it's very difficult to do.
4) I have never used Ectachrome, but it is also common. Can be
processed anywhere, but ask first.
5) Finding a good projector, and getting it transferred to BetaSPII
or whatever for TV broadcast. Make sure the projector doesn't
eat your film, like mine did. Don't watch the film too many times...
trasfer it to video straight after getting it developed, and then
watch the video.
6) Regarding syncing problems... Unless the camera being used
has a (quartz) crystal-sync, or some way of keeping time, you
usually get a bit of drift. Note that this also becomes apparent
when transferring to video, the action may appear to speed up
(some transferrs are done at 24 fps, some have a variable speed
knob), remember those old films of people woddling off trains,
and they look too fast? That's becuase it was filmed slower than
Jeff, becuase it's a music video they probably don't mind the
How long have you got to make the vid? In New Zealand, B/W has
a faster turn-around than K40. TXR-160 is to be used for live
gigs, 'cause it's faster. The only other thing I can think of
is to get a nice wide-angle lense (or even a fish-eye), as this
will add natural largeness to your pictures.
Hope some of this has been useful. I have posted a copy of this
message on my webpage, hope you don't mind. I can put a link to
your email/homepage if you want.