Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Mellencamp Super 8 doc called "It's About You"... on Twitpic

Mellencamp Super 8 doc called "It's About You"... on Twitpic

Shot entirely on Pro8mm film with two Beaulieu cameras that we modified for MAX 8 and Crystal Sync, scanned in native 1080 HD to Pro Res.  Looks amazing!

MPI Media Group Presents


Directed by renowned photographer Kurt Markus and his son, Ian Markus

Opens January 4th in NY at the IFC Center
Opens January 6th in LA at the Music Hall

It's About You is a new musical documentary that offers a rare and intimate look at the life and music of Rock and Roll Hall of Famer John Mellencamp. The film premiered at this year’s SXSW festival and follows Mellencamp on his summer 2009 concert tour and during the recording of his most recent album, 2010’s universally acclaimed No Better Than This, the sessions for which took place at American musical and historical landmarks, including Sun Studios in Memphis and the First African Baptist Church in Savannah, GA. We see Mellencamp recording – with a single mike and mono tape recorder more than half a century old – in the same hotel room where legendary bluesman Robert Johnson created some of his most memorable work. Along the way, Mellencamp reveals a side not often seen by the public, in a film that becomes a soulful, highly personal meditation on small-town America.

Kurt Markus’ photography has appeared in such leading publications as Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, GQ and The New York Times Magazine, and he has shot cutting-edge ad campaigns for BMW, Armani, Nike and other companies. His unique vision has been brought to bear on It's About You, which was shot on Super 8 and whose vintage Americana look is the cinematic equivalent of a well-worn pair of jeans.
RT: 80 Minutes
Rated: NR


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Life is Super Gr8

Last month Phil and Rhonda attended the second annual Super Gr8 Film Festival in Harrisonburg, Virginia, a charming little town in the Shenandoah Valley, and home to James Madison University.

Organized by two local residents and incredibly wonderful guys, Paul Somers (artist, poet, filmmaker and educator) and Tim Estep, (TimeStepFilms), The Super Gr8 Film Festival is a community-organized event that featured 48 super 8 short films (shown over two nights) made by local filmmakers. Many of the filmmakers had never made a short film before this event.

In August of this year, Tim and Paul asked Pro8mm if we could sponsor the event and attend the festival. We were thrilled and honored to do so, as this festival is one of the first to used Pro8mm workflows entirely. Paul and Tim bought 48 rolls of film ½ Super8/66 Tri-X and ½ Pro8/13 Tungsten for the festival participants, all processed and scanned on the M2 at Pro8. As a sponsor we also added The Power of Super 8 Film Seminar to the agenda the day before the festival. This pre- event was held on campus at J.M.U. where we were joined by award winning wedding super 8 filmmaker and photographer Kate Headley who drove down from Washington D.C. to speak to an enthusiastic and engaging audience.

All the short films, approximately 3.5 minutes in length were edited in-camera, with-out sound. Each filmmaker then created an original soundtrack for his or her short film. This in some cases included live performances during the screening. This festival is unique in that none of the filmmakers get to see their finished films until the night of the festival screenings.

The screening was held over two nights at the Court Square Theatre to a packed, sold-out house. The topics covered in the films were as diverse as you could possibly imagine and they were absolutely fantastic! The panel of judges voted, and then the audience also voted for an audience favorite. The first night featured the black and white films and the second evening color negative super 8 film. An after party and awards ceremony will follow the screenings each night.

Super Gr8’s mission is to bring the community together through film. It was amazing to me how in this small Shenandoah Valley college town, everyone, everywhere we went stepped right in and got totally behind Super Gr8. Actors, filmmakers, crew and fan club were all a part of the festival is some way. This was a community labor of love unlike I have seen before. Tim and Paul spent endless hours finding cameras, getting them repaired, lending them out to contestants, and training them how to use them. They contacted local merchants to sponsor the event and local artists to raffle off their work as a fund raising effort. Even the trophies were unique, one of kind objects of art hand made out of old super 8 cameras, mounted on a stand. It was clear to us that Tim and Paul were very well respected King Pins of the community.

For me, I have to say with absolutely honest, this Super Gr8 festival was the high light of my year. Never have I met people more appreciative, warm, and friendly as I did in Harrisonburg. It affirms what I have always believed. Give people a creative opportunity, make it affordable, accessible, and add in a chance to collaborate with others without competing for anything other than a chance to totally immerse themselves in something enjoyable and enhance a sense of community pride, and you have the perfect recipe for a life that is Super Gr8!
Photos by Josh Gooden
Festival Organized by Tim Estep and Paul Somers

Kate Headley speaking at The Power of Super 8

The Super Gr8 Film Festival 2011 in Harrisonburg, VA

Phil Vigeant talking about the tiny Super 8 format

Tim Estep and Paul Somers, Super Gr8 Festival organizers

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

James Chressanthis uses Max 8 in TNT's Mystery Movie Night: HIDE

Last night I watched in awe the remarkable use of Super 8 film in the TNT made for TV movie HIDE. Based on a thriller mystery novel by Lisa Gardner, the film was directed by James Gray and beautifully shot by cinematographer James Chressanthis, ASC. Hide marks their reunion, as they have collaborated on other projects such as Ghost Whispers and Brian’s Song.

The deliberate choice by Chressanthis to shoot full Max 8 to punctuate the numerous flashback scenes by different characters in the story had a strong aesthetic punch. Never did you feel as if you were watching a home movie, but rather a vivid porthole into the memory of painful events that these characters were being asked to retell investigators. 

Chressanthis chose our MAX 8 1014 XLS camera with crystal for the Super 8 sequences. Shooting was done with  Pro8/19, a Kodak Vision 3 200T film stock that is highly versatile for both bright and low light conditions. The film has 13 stops of latitude, extremely fine grain, and an ultra wide exposure range. It captured both the shadows and highlight details so well that  in some shots you could actually see the skeletons of the mummified bodies inside the hanging body bags down in a low lit  underground pit.

We scanned the film in native 1080 to ProRes 4:4:4 HQ with 3 separate passes at different frame rates. "We shot mostly at 9FPS on the Max 8 camera. Editorially they used all the frame rate transfers:  24, 12, 6 fps.
I shot the various frame rates to speed up, slow down and blur the image and also to increase the grain.
That's because normal Super 8 is so clean that it can look like good 16mm but we wanted an edgy, grittier 
look in representing the deep memories of the characters. It looks fantastic! " says Chressanthis.

Plot Summary: Carla Gugino (Californication, Entourage) plays Boston Police Detective D.D. Warren, who is called to the grounds of an abandoned mental hospital where a buried chamber is discovered. Inside are the mummified remains of six young women, who have all been missing for years. The case leads D.D. to Annabelle, played by Bridget Regan (Legend of the Seeker). Annabelle is a young woman who spent her childhood moving from city to city, from identity to identity, hiding from someone or something totally unknown to her. D.D. uses clues from Annabelle's secret past to unravel the mystery behind her twisted family history. Mark-Paul Gosselaar (TNT's Franklin & Bash, NYPD Blue) and Kevin Alejandro (True Blood, TNT's Southland) also star. Hide is written by Janet Brownell (Eloise at the Plaza), directed by John Gray (Ghost Whisperer, Helter Skelter) and executive-produced by Stephanie Germain (The Day After Tomorrow)  (summary from TNT website)

Chressanthis has used Pro8mm workflows is such projects as No Subtitles Necessary (2008)and Brian's Song (2001). He is a three time Emmy Award Nominee, and has been a member of the ASC since 2002.

If you missed last nights premier, check for an opportunity to stream it  directly from TNT’s website

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Master vs. The Playout: Archiving and Playing your Film the RIGHT Way

While digital has presented itself as great way to watch and edit film, it has also caused lots of confusion for home movie archiving. Having worked on thousands of home movie archiving projects over the past 3 years in high definition, the colorists at Pro8mm have had a few solid revelations about this process.

One revelation is that there has not been a solid solution to the quest to find one universal digital HD format that works well for both playing movies and for archiving them. Unfortunately, what is good for archiving is not the best format for easy playback. This means that in order to have the best access to your home movies you need to see it as two formats: one for preserving your movies and one for watching them. For name sake lets call one the “The Master” and the other the “The Playout.”

Rhonda with home movies on her iPad
A master digital file is going to be the best in terms of future protection of your images because a true master is going to provide you with data in the highest quality you might require and give you the flexibility of creating different playout versions.  The best digital master must serve your needs today, tomorrow and even to generate playouts for past systems. By having a master, you will always have a way of creating the highest quality playout file to a format that is most convenient for that times. For example, today it is ‘cool’ to watch your movies on your iPad or stream them to something like Facebook, but it was not that long ago we were using DVD’s and not that long before that we had VHS. Playouts will continue to change, but the great evolution towards HD mastering has stabilized. Hard drives may get faster and cheaper, but the fundamentals of HD are now securely planted.

The master is great as a film preservation medium but having the capacity to use it as a good playout is often very frustrating.  Many things must be in sync, coded correctly and you have to have the capacity to play large file types to use a master as a playout.  Computer files can be easily be down converted to what you need for a specific playout application.  This can be done while scanning or after you do some editing to the mater files. The cost to create these specific playouts is small. So the best system is to have both a master and playout files for the various ways you want to watch your films. At Pro8mm, we can create a specific playout file for DVD viewing, Blu-Ray, your iPad or even a format to stream your home movies on YouTube or Facebook.  These Playout files are specifically formatted for these devices so that you can have correct playback speed and framing for a playout that is different from the master.

SD Masters & Playouts
For almost 20 years we used Digi Beta Tape as the masters format for storing home movies. Over the past 3 years we have experienced the evolution to HD mastering and have seen first hand the great improvement HD mastering offers for Home Movie Archiving.

There are three areas of tremendous improvement with an HD File master over Digital Beta.

1) You no longer need Ghost Frames: Whenever you create SD video from film, you have to have 30 frames per second. This is how video works and there is no changing it in a Standard Definition NTSC system. If you shot film at 18 or 24fps, you needed to create the additional frames to make a 30 frames system work.  These extra created frames where often referred to a ghost frames because the where created out of two frames of the original film. In SD, they were rarely noticed because of the low resolution of the system.  The only time you could see these frames is if you played back the video frame by frame. You would then see these added frames that often blurred part of the images in the frame. However in high definition, because of the increased resolution the ghost frames are noticeable and can be seen when you playback the video. These extra frames did nothing but take up space, create unwanted artifacts, and reduce the quality of your master.   But they where needed to make the system work.  Today, with HD scanning we can store the images frame-by-frame in the digital mastering. We no longer need these extra ghost frames to make the system work. 
2) You now have more digital to define your film: The second  improvement of HD digital mastering is having more digits to describe your frames. Typically in HD we use a 1920 X1080 standard 16x9 Mastering format. In SD,  NTSC we used (640 X 480). With HD, there is 4 times more digital to describe the detail in every frame of film from SD.  This gives you the opportunity to store more color space and finer details about every frame. A lot of detail and color can fit in 4x more space.

Lacie Rugged Hard Drive

3) The Hard Drive: The last improvement is the storage of your images. The hard drive provides you with unprecedented access at very little cost. There is no longer a need to have those very expensive tape decks to maintain masters. With SD you needed multiple tape decks because different kinds of digit was put on different kinds of tape. If you wanted to have your data in both Digital Beta NTSC and for Europe Digital Beta Pal you would need two $40,000.00 tape machines to have access to your masters. Today with hard drives,  you can store both files on a single drive. Oh and by the way, you no longer need to have two masters because you can create both a Pal and NTSC payout from a single HD Master.   Second, you can compress the data, copy the data and manipulate the data with a simple consumer computer and the right software.  You can make 2 copies of the master for preservation, you can compress some files for theI internet to stream on Youtube, and you can make the grandparents a DVD.  You now have access to all your materials, both master and playout without the cost of expensive, multiple format tape decks. Hard drives will keep getting faster and cheaper, so you can migrate your data to what ever new system of storage presents itself.

To learn more about home movie preservation and digital asset management, we are hosting a free live event and teleseminar the second week of November called “Don’t Delete My Memories: The Home Movie Conundrum Made Simple.” Learn best practices for preserving and protecting your home movie digitally and understand the ways of using your home movie archive in modern applications. We will also be announce some amazing holiday promotions just for home movie preservation. Learn how to create great holiday gifts and memorable holiday events with your home movie archive.

Click here to Register for the LIVE event in Burbank, CA - Tuesday, November 8 from 7pm - 9pm

Click here to Register for the VIRTUAL event - Wednesday, November 9 from 4:30pm to 5:30pm pacific

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Shooting National Brands with Super 8 Teleseminar

Today more than ever big national brands are forced to recreate their image and reconnect with their customers in more intimate, engaging and organic ways. Modern society tends to be very isolated and spread out as the internet makes it easy to connect facelessness through sites like Facebook and apps like Twitter.

Many companies are now focusing on personal story telling to re-focus on individual contributors as opposed to corporate culture. What better way to do this than with Super 8 film? 

On Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011 at 4:30pm pacifiwhole foodsc, Phil Vigeant, super 8 expert and author, along with special guest, Laura Merians, who tells personal stories about Whole Foods products through Super 8 film, will be taking an in-depth look at Shooting National Brands with Super 8.
Laura and Phil will be talking about how and why some very hip campaigns for companies such as Roxy, Billabong, Whole Foods, Swiffer, Ford Automobiles and hundreds of other national brands for food, beverage, clothing, sports teams, fast food resturants and more use Super 8 in their campaigns.

 laura meriansLaura Merians is a cinematographer and director based in Los Angeles and New York City. She started her career in lighting after receiving a degree in Philosophy from UC Berkeley. Laura has worked on projects for Discovery, MTV, VH1, Fox and Sony well as shooting music videos and short films. Her work has been featured in American Cinematographer, Studio Monthly Magazine, Videography Magazine and Digital Cinematography.  She recently finished shooting and directing a series of shorts for Whole foods on urban farming called GROW and a new series for the Style Network titled Tia and Tamera; she used Super 8 on both projects.

Register Now for this FREE teleseminar! Wednesday, August 3, 2011 4:30pm to 5:30pm pacific (7:30pm to 8:30pm eastern)

Click Here to Register! 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Why People Use Super 8 Film To Create Hip Campaigns for National Brands

Recently, various members of the press who have been curious about who uses Super 8 in 2011 have interviewed me. Their curiosity has been sparked by the release of the recent J.J. Abrams Film, Super 8. The press usually starts their inquiry about Super 8 with people at Kodak, or some college professors who may have taught a super 8 class “in the day.” They may have spoken to an archivist who works with home movies and historical collections that represent a fabulous montage of our history and culture from the 40’s, 50’s 60’s and 70’s. But then, invariably, the get referred to me, a director of marketing for a company that has specialized in Super 8 film for over 35 years and who has had the privilege of knowing first hand that thousands of projects of all kinds, from various industries, are shot on Super 8 film every year.

A few days after the Super 8 movie came out, I was called by MSNBC who wanted to do a segment at a real Super 8 camera store. They were hoping to see an enormous collection of vintage camera models, both obscure and common. When I told the person that called that we didn’t have any cameras like that or any projectors– she said, ok then, we will have to get back to you. Which they didn’t. They didn’t get it.

Unless the interview is being done by one of the film industry trade magazines, (which has a little more understanding for the desire to work with a variety of mediums), the conversation usually goes something like this.

Interviewer: “So, is Super 8 back?”
Me: “Back? Where did it go?”
Interviewer: “Well, who shoots this stuff? A few people who want to create a sense of nostalgia, right?”
Me: “Well no, actually it is being used in some very hip campaigns for companies such as Roxy, Billabong, Whole Foods, Swiffer, Ford Automobiles and hundreds of other national brands for food, beverage, clothing, sports teams, fast food restaurants, and more. You can see it in TV shows such as American Idol and True Blood, and Music Videos for some of today’s hottest artists such as Katy Perry and Beyonce, as well industrials, independent projects and political campaigns.”
Interviewer: To create a sense of nostalgia, right?

So instead of feeling frustrated and defensive for the umpteenth time that “they just don’t get it” or offended that no matter how much time I spend explaining about how we upgrade the cameras with things that modern filmmakers would want, state of the art negative film stocks which we reformat, 16 x 9 aspect ratios, native 1080 scanning and Pro Res files off our state of the art scanner, I started thinking about it. What is nostalgia from more if an intellectual perspective? And I decided, maybe these interviewers are more intuitive then I thought.

Nostalgia is by definition as a sense of longing. I decided to embrace this possibility. What is it that makes me nostalgic? What is it that I long for? For me it is a wish or desire to connect with people in a way that is engaging, organic, and intimate. To get away from the Facelessness of Facebook and the 500 people in my network, many who I really don’t know that well, or in some cases, at all.

I think that purveyors of National Brands get this. Modern society tends to be very isolated and spread out. Many people are looking for a simple way to communicate their product or brand. This perhaps may be the fall out from all the corruption we have seen in recent years in the finance industry, bailouts, and sex scandals among the politicians.

I think there is a movement happening. A shift toward taking back our power in small ways individually. It’s an awakening that does make us feel nostalgic for the corner store or a place like “Cheers Bar,” where everybody knows your name. The needs and wants that have been created by a corporate-driven culture that feed our egos are being replaced with a need to feed our souls. 

Community. Connectivity. Individuality.
Big brands are caught up in this, and now have to re-brand themselves to fit in with this movement and economic cycle. They want to embrace the local farmer; small bank and many in the face of unemployment are themselves cultivating entrepreneurship. They want people to see them as committed to sustainability and protectors of the environment.

So how does a company like Wal-Mart portray themselves as the local hardware store? Personal story telling. Focusing on individual contributors as opposed to corporate culture. What better way to do this then with Super 8 film?

So yes, bring on the nostalgia. Everyone loves a good story and that “feel good” feeling especially shot on Super 8 film!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Super 8 Filmmaking is Alive, Well and Remains a Hot Production Medium at the One-Stop Burbank Shop - Pro8mmSuper 8 Filmmaking is Alive, Well and Remains a Hot Production Medium at the One-Stop Burbank Shop - Pro8mm

The release of the J.J. Abrams film Super 8 is bringing renewed attention to the popular film format which millions of families captured their home movies on during the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. The format gave a vehicle for today’s most beloved filmmakers to experiment with a home movie camera that proved to be the gateway to some of the most prolific careers in filmmaking.  Directors such as Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Oliver Stone, Sam Rami, Tim Burton, Francis Ford Coppola, and Ron Howard, among many others, have all launched careers that have roots in Super 8 film.   As kids, they picked up the family Super 8 camera and saw it as much more than a tool to make home movies.  They used Super 8 as a production tool to experiment with a craft. This is the theme that runs through J.J. Abrams film Super 8 -  a group of kids who were making a real independent movie for a film festival with a Super 8 camera. 

While the general belief is that the Super 8 format died an honorable death with the advent of consumer and prosumer video, Hollywood insiders and savvy independent filmmakers know that the power of super 8 film is alive and well in Burbank, CA!

The company Pro8mm (formerly called Super8 Sound) has been working on over 1,000 professional projects every year since the mid 1980’s. Pro8mm hit its heyday in the 1990’s, working on every episode of VH-1 Behind The Music, Where Are They Now, and numerous MTV shows and specials.  This love of super 8 continues, with recent music videos shot on Super 8 film for such artists as Katy Perry, Beyonce, Christina Aguilera, Harper Simon, McFly, and  John Mellencamp. Commercials for consumer products such as Whole Foods, Ford cars and trucks, Swiffer, Home Depot, Billabong and Roxy, as well as inserts in TV shows such as American Idol, 48 Hours, The Grammy’s, and My Name Is Earl have all embraced the Super 8 format.  Additionally, 35mm theatrical releases such as Super 8, 8mm, My Sister’s Keeper, and Factory Girl have incorporated Super 8 inserts to create the sense of flashback scenes and vintage moments throughout their feature films.  This list is just the tip of the iceberg for professional applications that the Super 8 format has worked particularly well for.

Additionally, Pro8mm specializes in the HD archival transfers of homes movies and historical films for use in museums, documentaries or the personal archives of the worlds most famous faces. Pro8mm’s projects include the Hewlett-Packard Family and The Estee Lauder Family, The Richard Nixon Library, and tour footage from The Eagles “Hell Freezes Over” tour. Pro8mm has also transferred the first films of many famous directors and cinematographers.

Pro8mm focuses on a hybrid of products and services that make it possible for filmmakers to do professional production work with the Super 8 format. Pro8mm turns its work around very quickly, even the same day if needed.  All services are on-site, including a retail store for purchasing or renting cameras and film, the processing lab, camera technicians, and the scanners, which digitize the film in 1080 high definition to a hard drive for ease of editing.

Pro8mm rebuilds classic Super 8 cameras with modifications that a modern filmmaker would want, such as 16:9 aspect ratios and sync sound. Pro8mm also reformats over 20 different Super 8 film stocks, cutting down Kodak and Fuji 35mm film. This gives cost effective access to the same film stocks being used to make Hollywood blockbusters. Recently, Pro8mm invested over one million dollars in a Millennium II, 4K scanner, with daVinci 2K color correction, custom modified for Super 8, regular 8 and Max 8 formats.  This is the same type of scanner you would see at a high-end 35mm post-production facility.

Over the past two years, Pro8mm has made a monumental commitment to educating the next generation about the benefits of shooting on Super 8 film.   In 2010, Phil Vigeant, President of Pro8mm, wrote a book titled, “The Power of Super 8 Film – Insider Secrets Every Filmmaker Should Know.”  The book focuses on why the pros use it, love it and keep it a secret. Phil gives his expertise on the format and explains why he invented products that change the way filmmakers and the entertainment industry use Super 8 film.  Additionally, Pro8mm has launched a series of free teleseminars that focus of Super 8 applications and technical information about the process. Pro8mm has expanded their educational products by offering free hands-on film workshops at schools, major industry events and even private workshops at their shop. Pro8mm also hosts their own 2 day Super 8 training workshop, where Phil Vigeant gives in-depth technical sessions on Super 8 filmmaking, and guest speakers talk about and show samples shot on Super 8 film of the many applications of Super 8 such as weddings, commercials and music videos.

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.  History Of Super 8 Sound . A small group of inventors and entrepreneurs designed a line of specialty sync-sound full coat (audio tape that has sprocket holes) and cassette recorders, editing benches and crystal sync modifications to Super 8 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 independent films. 

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™.

A film chain telecine which transferred film to videotape was also added that year with the firm belief that the future of small format film laid 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 the business by opening 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 MTV style music videos for their bands.

In 1989, another expansion was implemented to a larger Burbank location, adding a technical camera repair room, on-site processing lab, and film to videotape transfer services. Now a complete turnkey, one-stop shop, the company redirected it’s focus to meet the demands of there 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 a line of Pro8mm negative film. Prior to this, only reversal super 8 film stocks were available from major film manufactures such as Fuji and Kodak. The idea 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 Pro8mm has an expansive line of over 20 reformatted film stocks that range from 50-500 ASA and 3 different scanning systems, including high definition. In addition, they repackage Kodak Super 8 film stocks to include their award winning processing and HD scanning services.

Over the next 10 years thousands of projects were shot on Pro8mm film 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 days of sound on film and mag full coat recorders were gone and the new direction of the company would be to integrate the small format film into the digital world. Profound changes were to follow to bring Super 8 into the HD world.

In 2003 Pro8mm 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 with prosumer and industry trends, 2005 brought Pro8mm into the widescreen era with the introduction of  Max 8, a 16 X 9 widescreen super 8 camera and scanning system. Pro8mm began building classic cameras with a new expanded gate, allowing for 20% more image to be captured where the old sound stripe used to be on the film. 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, Pro8mm began purchasing HD Scanning Equipment and set up an HD Scanning Suite. Their Millennium II HD Scanner and 2K daVinci Color corrector gave Pro8mm the capability to move forward by both preserving archival material in HD or by directing scanning in native 1080 off the frame, and accommodating our production clients as all broadcast moves to digital.

As a generation of filmmakers began to finish film school without ever shooting a frame of real film, 2010 brought the company to the realization that they needed to make a hefty commitment to educate people on how to shoot on Super 8 film. Company president Phil Vigeant wrote a book called  “The Power of Super 8 Film – Insider Secrets Every Filmmaker Should Know and the company began running free shooting events, teleseminars, workshops, and two day Boot Camps for a nominal fee. 

Pro8mm is applauded for being a one-stop shop where Super 8 cameras, film, processing, digital mastering, hands on training 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 40 years in a niche market that in our opinion continues to thrive because of the dedicated hard work and entrepreneurial spirit to continuously move forward in alignment with the media industry.

Check out Pro8mm at or call 818-848-5522

By Rhonda Vigeant, Director of Marketing

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Something Old & Something New: The Advantage of Shooting Weddings on Super 8 Film

The saying “Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue” is a good luck saying which dates back to the Victorian era and many brides will ensure that they have something of each on their wedding day. While “something old” is meant to connect the wedding to something in the past, and “something new” is meant to represent good luck and success, somehow the saying seems to apply extremely well to wedding videos. Weddings shot on Super 8 film bring that vintage look that connects you to past, yet still maintain the timeless and fresh impression of the modern bride.

While the brides of the 80’s and 90’s were all about being shot on video, the past 10 years have shown a huge resurgence toward creating montage wedding footage on Super 8 film. Maybe nostalgia is the driving force in this new twist. Or maybe part of the reason for this resurgence comes from the greatly expanded repertoire of film stock in the market.  But with tough competition from digital choices, super 8 wedding films today have definitely gone boutique.

I remember exhibiting at WEVA about 7 years ago (Wedding and Event Videographers Association.) At that time there were only a tiny handful of attendees who had any interest in adding a Super 8 package to their weddings. The idea seemed daunting and counter intuitive to the masses, and many had just invested heavily in the newest technology at the time, the digital video camera. There were laundry lists of concerns coming from the filmmakers when I tried to explain to them why they should shoot on Super 8 film instead of digital. I would hear questions like:  How do I price it? How will I know if I got the shots? What about sound? How do I edit it? What’s the turn around time? What’s the point?

Like all great ideas, sometimes it takes a little notoriety for an idea to catch on. A number of wedding filmmakers who shot on Super 8 film are now regularly featured in The Knot, Martha Stewart Weddings, Elle, Brides Magazine, The Wedding Channel, and the wedding forums and blogs for their gorgeous, timeless work shot on Super 8 film.

There are many reasons why these popular wedding photographers and “videographers” are choosing to shoot on film vs. digital.  First of all, film is the only proven archival medium.  We know the image will still be here for future generations to enjoy.  Next, the film stocks are remarkable. Since Pro8mm invented Super 8 negative film over 15 years ago, the expanded latitude allows even a new filmmaker to achieve gorgeous shots. We especially recommend the Pro8/19.  This is a 500 tungsten Vision 3 stocks that is so versatile. You can go from indoors to outdoors without a filter and still get clear, amazing images. For those who braved shooting weddings years ago on old film stocks like Kodachrome 40, the challenge was difficult. You would have to use an 85A filter outdoors if you were shooting the ceremony in full sun. You would then have to set up lights if the reception was indoors, and the low-lit dance floor was always a problem. Combine that with about 1 stop of latitude and you had to be pretty good with a camera to get good images. Today Super 8 film ranges from 50 to 500 ASA with stocks that have up to 19 stop of latitude and 3 uniquely different film processes: color negative, color E-6, black and white reversal. Because today’s Super 8 film has greater latitude, expanded ASA’s, a variety of original stock to pick from, and you can even scan Super 8 film to HD directly, shooting Super 8 film is easier and more aesthetically beautiful than ever. There are also some special lab techniques such as cross processing, skip beach, pushes, and pulls that create tremendous variety in origination.

On average a good shot lasts for about 10 seconds so even on a budget, you have lots of shots to work with. Although that may sound intimidating to the hours of video that could be shot for a similar amount of money, the uniqueness of having real film adds a great artistic addition in quality that no plug-in can match. It is almost impossible to replicate a films unique way of capturing light therefore no plug-ins or app can replicate the look of real film.

Pro8mm has been crusading for the momentum of this growth in the wedding market by making pricing easy. Our all-inclusive fixed price packages (film, processing, prep and clean and scanning to a Pro Res file) allow for easy calculation to add a Super 8 option. For example, a 4-roll package (10 min of film) is just $336. An 8-roll package (20 min of film) is just $558 That’s for everything except the hard drive.
Weddings are a great format to experiment with because they personify originality and nostalgia. This generation was raised on MTV and nothing makes a young couple happier then to look at their wedding more like a music video rather than hours of footage that captured every second of the day. It is the highlights we remember, and Super 8 is the perfect format to capture a medley of moments.

Phil Vigeant is the President/Senior Colorist at Pro8mm. He is the author of ”The Power of Super 8 Film – Insider Secrets Every Filmmaker Should Know.”  He was worked on thousand of Super 8 projects for production and archiving including Music Video’s for client such as Madonna, BeyoncĂ©, Katy Perry, Paula Abdul, Mariah Carey, Neil Young, Aerosmith, Black Eye Peas:  Commercials for Nike, Billabong, Volcom, Fossil, Blue Cross, Truth in Advertising, and Television for shows like, American Idol, 48 Hours, Mad About You, National Geographic, Histories Mysteries and over 50 Feature Films that have used Super 8 film such as Super 8, 8mm, JFK, Factory Girl, My Sisters Keeper Lords of Dogtown , Red Corner, Armageddon and Pearl Harbor.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Join Us for the Super 8 Weddings Teleseminar!

Please join us for our next teleseminar, Super 8 Weddings on Wednesday, June 8th!

No where do we see the love of Super 8 Lifestyle filmmaking so prevalent as we do in weddings. While brides of the 80’s and 90’s were all about being shot on video, the past 10 years have shown a huge resurgence toward creating montage wedding footage on Super 8 film.

From simple low-budget weddings to Hollywood Celebrity Extravaganza Weddings, brides, grooms, and even the guests want to get in on the act.

June is traditionally considered the start of "Wedding Season," so we thought what better time to have a teleseminar on shooting Super 8 weddings!  This event will feature wedding filmmakers Steve Moses of Vantage Point Productions and David Savinski of Capture Forever 

These two wedding filmmakers have made a HUGE commitment to their craft, and will  talk about what it is like taking a risk at someone’s wedding, that the footage being captured on 30-year-old cameras will do the job they were hired to do.  These wedding filmmakers personify the Super 8 lifestyle!

Steve and David, along with Phil Vigeant, super 8 expert and author of "The Power of Super 8 FIlm", will be sharing their Super 8 wedding sucess tips, a nd will teach you:

  • The best film stocks for shooting weddings
  • The backup debate: whether or not to have backup cameras
  • The pros vs. cons of having a video assistant
  • How to make a movie clip of your wedding footage, and how to get music rights
  • Beyond the wedding- what other "wedding" footage adds-on you could provide to make your wedding services stand out and expand your business

STEVE MOSES of Vantage Point Productions has been in business since 1982, and has shot over 2,100 weddings. Steve has been offering Super 8 wedding to clients since 2009. Along with his wife and partner, Laura, they have run a highly successful boutique studio since 1988. Their work has been featured in: EventDV magazine Top 25 Studio in the world 5 years in a row 2006 - 2010, 11 WEVA CEA’s  - Gold (Demo 2008) Gold (Pre-Ceremony 2007), 2009 WEVA Hall of Fame Inductees, 6-time WEVA presenters, Presenters, IN[FOCUS] 2010, Reaching the Next Level instructional DVD series, Educational topics: Sound design, shooting techniques, marketing & artistry, stylized filming & editing.

DAVID SAVINSKI of Capture Forever comes from a lifetime of art, growing up with a paint brush and camera in his hand. Through his love of the moving image, David formerly studied directing and cinematorgraphy. David runs Capture forever with his wife, Angela, and dogs Monster and Bouvier. David has recently added Super 8mm wedding films to his business, and he will be talking about how it gave him new opportunites in his already established wedding photography business.

Please join us for our Super 8 Weddings Teleseminar!

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011, 4:30pm to 5:30pm Pacific (7:30pm to 8:30pm Eastern).

Click Here to Register:

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

My Super 8 Movie! A Contest Celebrating Super 8 Filmmaking

A Contest Celebrating Super 8 Filmmaking
The highly anticipated summer blockbuster film "Super 8" is set in the summer of 1979. "A group of friends in a small Ohio town witness a catastrophic train crash while making a super 8 movie and soon suspect that it was not an accident. Shortly after, unusual disappearances and inexplicable events begin to take place in town, and the local Deputy tries to uncover the truth - something more terrifying than any of them could have imagined."(source:

Does this bring you back to the making of one of your first Super 8 movies?  Most of the film industry greats started out this way, making movies on Super 8 film.  Wouldn't it be remarkable to share your early film as part of our "Super 8" the movie celebration?

In celebration of J.J. Abrams movie "Super 8", we want to see your Super 8 movie!  Pro8mm will be giving away prizes for 8 lucky super 8 filmmaker's original super 8 films. Prizes include a 4 roll film package or get your original SD Super 8 film scanned for free to native 1080 HD with a free digital HD version of your film!

  1. Upload your Super 8 movie or trailer to YOUTUBE
  2. Email your YouTube link to, and she will send you a contest entry form. 
  3. Once your link and entry form are received, our "preview committee" will watch your film and review your form to make sure your film meets are entry requirements
  4. If your film is approved, we will post a link to your video under our "FAVORITES" on the "My Super 8 Movie Contest" channel on You Tube, (Pro8mm's Contest Channel),  
  5. Votes will be solicited from the public. Voting will be done via the YouTube
  6.  "Likes and Comments" feature. 
  7. The winners will be announced via the YouTube Channel, our Facebook page (, and our monthly newsletter.
  8. The top "8" winners will win either a 4 roll film package, or get their original SD Super 8 film scanned for free to native 1080 HD to Pro Res!

  1. Your entry must be an actual film that is at least one roll of Super 8 film, but does not exceed 30 minutes. Test footage is excluded.
  2. All entries must be uploaded to YouTube, and emailed to us in that format. We will not accept films mailed to our office, or posted on other Internet sites as contest entries.
  3. All entries must be submitted by June 30th, 2011 so we have time to review and pick the winners.
Any questions, pleased email 

Below is a SAMPLE CONTEST ENTRY, "Ms. Marvel's Day Off," directed by Ruckus Skye, D.P. by Pete Wages. 


Join Us for the Super 8 Lifestyle Filmmaking Teleseminar

More and more we hear filmmakers we work with say that one of the things they like best about shooting on super 8 filDaniel Lirm is the “lifestyle behind it.” So we started asking, what do you mean? What is the super 8 lifestyle?  Do you mean the lifestyle of the filmmaker who chooses super 8 or “Lifestyle Filmmaking shot on super 8 film”?

After giving this some thought, we decided it is both. There is a certain type of filmmaker who defines the super 8 life style, and clearly chooses to tell stories on this medium. There are also certain life style events, that work extremly well with the 8mm format. 

Our next teleseminar series will focus on lifestyle filmmaking, and the qualities, attributes, skills and applications that a filmmaker must know in order to be successful at one or all of these different lifestyle applications.

We will have a number of guest speakers throuPhil teachghout this series who are working in different genere's of life style filmmaking every day, such as weddings, fashion, and national brands, and have become experts in their particular field. 

Our first teleseminar in this series will feature Phil Vigeant, Super 8 expert and author of "The Power of Super 8 Film, Insider Secrets Every Filmmaker Should Know," who will talk at length about the applications for Super 8 lifestyle films, and how you can take advantage of your skill and love of filmmaking to tell stories through Super 8 lifestyle images. 

Please join us as we kick off this new series of teleseminars on Wednesday, May 11, 2011 from 4:30pm to 5:30pm Pacific (7:30pm to 8:30pm Eastern).

  Register Now for this FREE teleseminar!
Call in lines are limited so make sure you reserve your spot today!

Click Here to Register:

Friday, April 29, 2011

Is There a Super 8 Life Style?

Wikipedia defines lifestyle in its simplest terms as “the way people
Some lifestyles are easy to define.  Just watch an episode of  “Lifestyles
 of the Rich and Famous” or a National Geographic show that has a segment on some indigenous culture.  We see the lifestyle of the people pretty clearly.
In the 21st Century, particularly here in the West, there are more lifestyle options than ever before, and they are not all defined by socio-economics. Our choices for health and wellness, sexual orientation, products we use, how we transport ourselves, the way we socialize,  are choices that reflect our life style. The essence of our being.
To me, lifestyle is every day life. What we wear. What music we listen too. How we celebrate. I love to watch the everyday life of people’s home movies from the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s shot on 8mm or super 8mm film. I can walk into our scanning suite any day of the week and get a nostalgia fix when I catch a glance of a birthday party, Christmas gathering, family BBQ, beach day or Disney outing. There is something so calming about the footage. Parts of it are always predictable. I identify with it. It slows me down from the constant pounding on my computer, ipad, or smart phone. It takes me back. It makes me feel good. It reminds me – I’m ok.
I like seeing the woman dress the way my mother dressed in that era. The shape of the eyeglasses, the dishes on the table, the cars.  I get really excited when I see a lamp that is the same style of one I grew up with, or a fabric pattern that was iconic in its day.
More and more I hear filmmakers I work with say that one of the things they like best about shooting on super 8 film is the “lifestyle behind it”. When I first heard people talking in this way, I thought they meant the surf culture or the skateboard culture, or even the adult film culture of which so much has been captured on 8mm film over the decades. So I started asking, what do you mean? What is the super 8 lifestyle?  Do you mean the lifestyle of the filmmaker who chooses super 8 as the way they want to tell a story or “Lifestyle Filmmaking shot on super 8 film”?
After giving this some thought, I think I have decided it is both. There is a certain type of filmmaker who defines the super 8 life style, and clearly chooses to tell stories on this medium. They are Independent. Hands On. Above average intelligence.   They like counter-culture. They are a Risk Taker. Personable. Humble. Modest. Generous. Grateful. Patient. And, amazingly creative.  The Super 8 filmmakers that I know who are the most successful with their super 8 filmmaking possess a majority of these qualities. And it is these qualities that really put these filmmakers in a league of their own when it comes to getting the shots that are romantic, playful, emotional, personal, intimate, and heartfelt.
Filmmaker George Manzanilla who shoots his spots for Billabong on Super 8 film says what he likes is that it is the emotional connection you are able to make with the subject when you shoot them on Super 8 film. It’ s a personal format. You get images you can’t get from a digital camera. The way he shoots changes the relationship the models.
Feature filmmaker Kurt Markus and son Ian were the entire crew for the super 8 documentary “It’s About You – John Mellencamp”. His narration in the film speaks about how having another person along to do the sound would have changed the dynamic. Then they would not be just father and son messing around in America with their Super 8 cameras.
Look at music videos such as  “Two is Better Than One” (Boys Like Girls) The performance piece is shot on the Red Camera. The love story is shot on super 8. It feels so real and touches emotions deep with in your soul. Or singer Harper Simons “Berkley Girl”  (shot by Ben Kutsko from The Masses)
 Nowhere do we see this hankering for super 8-lifestyle filmmaking so prevalent as we do in weddings. While brides of the 80’s and 90’s were all about being shot on video, the past 10 years have shown a huge resurgence toward creating montage wedding footage on Super 8 film. Intimate. Personal. Playful. From simple low-budget weddings to Hollywood Celebrity Extravaganza Weddings, brides, grooms, and even the guests want to get in on the act. Check out the work of some of these amazing Wedding Filmmakers (and we have dozens more with just as awesome footage!) These are folks who have made a HUGE commitment to their craft, taking a risk (without video assist) at someone’s wedding that the footage being captured on 30-year-old cameras will do the job they were hired to do. This is not for the weak of heart. These wedding filmmakers personify the Super 8 lifestyle and personify the craft! Check out some of them and their amazing work.
The filmmakers themselves rave about the vintage charm.
Michelle Walker of Layer Cake Films on her website explains that as a super 8mm wedding film company, we create films that are original, offbeat, fun, and exciting. We strive to make custom stylized films that combine our generation’s style and sensibility with yesterday’s vintage film and retro feel. No melodramatic forced emotion! We are all about having fun and capturing the joy of your wedding day. We embrace offbeat couples.
Super 8 Film was invented as a home movie format to record the lifestyle of everyday living 50 feet at a time. Each roll is like a play list of 3 ½ minutes or less. A shot of life in  “reel” time.   Today we see a trend toward recapturing more simplistic, intimate story telling people are gravitating to simple stories. The cameras were designed for the average consumer, so that anyone could use it. I think we will see more and more filmmakers using Super 8 to capture this feeling of intimate lifestyle. The number of super 8 shots in commercials and in TV shows continues to grow with each passing. Full circle. Lifestyle filmmaking on super 8. Your own reality TV show.
How do you define the “Super 8 Lifestyle?  Please post your responses here!
By Rhonda Vigeant. Director of Marketing, Pro8mm

You can also register for our FREE, teleseminar on Super 8 Lifestyle Filmmaking, Wednesday, May 11 at 4:30pm pacific (7:30pm eastern). Click here to read about the teleseminar and register: