Super 8mm: Look Who's Back. Back Again. Vintage Film's Back.

 
 

What's the story with Super 8mm?

Super 8mm is a film format that was released in 1965 and became incredibly popular throughout the 70s as it allowed every day people to capture video with relative ease.  By the mid-70s, most middle-class households had at least a basic Super 8 camera, and an enormous projector to go along with it. Guaranteed there are Super 8 film reels kicking around in most old attics, these days. As the ebb and flow of technology goes, though, Super 8 was eventually replaced with the next form of technology and by the 80s, Super 8 cameras were no longer manufactured.

Several years ago we discovered some old super 8 reels and a projector that belonged to Nicole's grandpa. We replaced a few bulbs, plugged in the projector (ignoring the smell of burning rubber), and onto our kitchen wall we projected gritty home videos of her dad and aunts as babies, bouncing around in the back yard. We were completely enamored and knew right away that we needed to help bring this gorgeously imperfect vintage medium back into the mainstream. We'd noticed a few videographers in the US (most notably the incredible SharkPig) shooting in Super 8 and knew there must be a way to find film and a lab to process it in - and our work began.

We tracked down a lab in Ontario that sells Super 8 film and is able to develop, process and digitize film - and felt like we won the jackpot. We started shooting experiments with a Canon 518 camera found at a garage sale, and eventually upgraded to a 1979 Canon 814 XL-S, which was, at the time, the best Super 8 camera you could get your hands on. We had to have it shipped over from Norway, but my, is it mint!

In the last two years we've been perfecting the craft of shooting Super 8mm and offer it as an option for wedding and event videography.

So how does it work?

Super 8 is a film format, which means that it consists of a reel of film made up of tiny frames, which is fed into the camera in a quick series of photos, which are then sent to a lab and processed. Unlike shooting digital, which can capture hundred and hundreds of minutes of footage on a tiny memory card, Super 8 film is much less bang for your buck - a roll of Super 8 film is able to shoot just 3 minutes of footage in the 50 feet of film within the cartridge. And, it's real, light-sensitive, setting-specific film. Which means that it has all the same limitations of shooting photography on film - it only shoots nice footage in adequate light (preferably daylight) and it doesn't record audio. Just like all film, there's no instant feedback to see how you're doing - it needs to be sent into the lab, by mail, and the final product isn't seen until it's returned weeks later.

So why do we love it so much with all the limitations? Because it looks insanely beautiful and hits you with lovely, visceral nostalgia the second you see it. We're convinced that it's the best way to capture moments.

Can I kick it?

Yes, you can! We're offering Super 8mm shooting either on it's own for weddings and events (limited to about 5 reels shot during daytime hours) or wrapped up with a digital package so that you can have longer hours of coverage and still get the loveliness of Super 8mm.

We're one of the only videography teams in Canada to offer vintage Super 8mm shooting (and we'd be glad if that changed, because it deserves to be seen).

If you have questions about Super 8mm, let's talk! It's our favorite subject under the sun.

Take a peek:

 

Arrow Film + Photo is a photography and videography studio located in Edmonton and Calgary, AB and travelling to Vancouver, the Rocky Mountains and elsewhere.

Arrow specializes in shooting vintage film Super 8mm and digital mediums.