Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Pro8mm Company History


Brief Company History of Pro8mm

Founded in 1971 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the company, which was originally called Super8 Sound ™, pioneered the belief that the Super 8mm film format had tremendous potential as a production medium. A small group of inventors and entrepreneurs designed a line of specialty sync-sound fullcoat (audio tape that has sprocket holes) and cassette recorders, editing benches and crystal sync modifications to Super8 Cameras and other production accessories. The idea was that you could replicate 35mm filmmaking using Super 8 equipment. This indeed made the Super 8mm film format and Super8 Sound ™ an integral part of hundreds of university film programs worldwide. Film programs could teach in double system filmmaking on cost efficient super 8. It became widely used by individuals with a desire to make an independent film.

In 1982, Super8 Sound employee and staff accountant Philip Vigeant had the opportunity to buy the company. In the years that followed, Vigeant bought out other small companies in the Boston area including a film lab and a camera repair shop adding their services to Super8 Sound's ™.

A film chain telecine which transferred film to videotape was added that year with the firm belief that the future of small format film lay in the ability to integrate it into the video arena. An in house publication called THE INDEPENDENT PRODUCER was launched which focused on the success of the independent film scene, focusing on people who were shooting on super 8. The magazine highlighted the stories of individuals making low-budget super 8 music videos and film for video distribution.

In 1987 Super8 Sound expanded to open a second office in Hollywood, California. This expansion was driven by the amount of clients the company had on the West Coast who were involved in producing M-TV style Music Videos for their bands. Among the first professional Music Videos to come through Super8 Sound was Paula Abdul’s Straight Up http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iu4NcgQZucE,
Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas Is You
http://www.videocodezone.com/videos/m/mariah_carey/all_i_want_for_christmas_is_you.html , and
Madonna’s Erotica
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HlayVEnBrx4

In 1989, another expansion was implemented to a larger Burbank location, adding the tech room, on-site lab and film to tape transfer services. Now a complete turnkey, one-stop shop, the company redirected its focus to meet the demands of their growing list of studio and industry mainstream clients. The Boston office was eventually closed in 1995. The Rank Cintel telecine suites with daVinci color correction were added, permanently eliminating film chain consumer quality transfers.



One of the biggest innovations for the company came in 1993 with the development of the line of Pro8mm Negative Film. Prior to this, only reversal super 8 film stocks were available from the major film manufactures. The thinking was that a line of professional film stocks in the familiar easy to use 50-foot preloaded cartridges would offer a palette to filmmakers allowing for greater creative options for the cost efficient, highly portable super 8 format.

The company developed a manufacturing operation on-site to cut and reformat professional 35mm film stocks, loading it into super8 cartridges. All inclusive packages were offered so that film, processing and telecine could be prepaid, allowing for better targeting of the production budget. The industry, students and independents embraced this concept with huge enthusiasm. Today we have an expansive line of reformatted film stocks that range from 50-500 ASA and 3 different scanning systems that appeals to almost any one who has an interest in shooting a film on film!!

Over the next 10 years thousands of projects were shot on Pro8mm including dozens of episodes of VH-1 Behind the Music, hundreds of commercials, segways for prime time television shows, and scenes in theatrical releases.

The name of the company was changed to Pro8mm in 1998, which was more in line with the company’s mission statement and goals. Professional Super 8 and
Pro (in favor of) 8mm. The sound on film days and Mag fullcoat recorders were gone and the new direction of the company would be the integration of small format film into the digital world.

In 2003 we expanded the small format product line to include Pro16mm,
loading 16mm film onto 100’ daylight spools, rebuilding classic 16mm cameras and expanding our processing and telecine services.

Aligning ourselves with Prosumer and industry trends, 2005 brought the company into the widescreen era with the introduction of MAX 8, a 16 X 9 widescreen super 8 camera and scanning system. The development of modern aspect ratio products and scanning committed Pro8mm to be on board for the world of high definition and the future.

In late 2007 we began purchasing HD equipment and setting up an HD Scanning Suite. Our Millennium II HD Scanner and 2K daVinci Color corrector will give us the capability to move forward by both preserving archival material in HD or Blu Ray, and accommodating our production clients as all broadcast moves to digital by 2009.

Pro8mm is applauded for being a one-stop shop where cameras, film, processing, digital mastering, and treasured family archival home movies can all be handled by a dedicated staff with decades of experience. The company has enjoyed continuous growth for over 35 years in a niche market that in our opinion exists at all because of the dedicated hard work and entrepreneurial spirit to continuously move forward in alignment with the media industry.

2 comments:

JPX said...

This is a lot to wade through. I would have preferred an address and phone number at the top of your page and a list of your services. My eyes glazed over before I got to the end of your statement and I still wasn't able to find the answer to my question. Do you have a physical store?

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