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:

Thursday, April 14, 2011

DO A SHOT WITH Pro8mm – Options for Life Style Super 8 Filmmaking

One of the things I love most about being director of marketing at Pro8mm is that I get a chance to come up with and implement new ideas that I hope will resonate with filmmakers. I try to think of things that are way outside the box – fun, cheap, interactive and have great content.

I came up with the idea for “Do A Shot With Pro8mm” which was introduced at Cine Gear Expo 2010. Held on the Paramount Studios back lot, I thought, instead of just having super 8 cameras on tripods like we always do at trade shows, what if we brought a bunch of cameras and let people go around the expo and shoot a roll of film, for free? Participants would get a 15-minute hands on training with one of our team members, and then get to check out a camera for an hour to shoot on their own.  Oh yeah-  and they also got some cool swag – A “DO A SHOT” t-shirt that they could keep as a souvenir! Over the day and a half expo we put through about 60 shooters. We brought all the film back to our lab in Burbank, processed it, scanned it in native 1080 to Pro Res 422 HQ, and then edited the content together on a reel. People who wanted to own what they shot could get it back on a data DVD disk for a small fee.

The results were amazing! Many of the people who participated in “DO A SHOT” had never shot super 8 film – or any film at all for that matter – and to get this kind of result blew me away. And needless to say, the crowd just loved the idea. We had many more people sign up than we had cameras and film available.
We had hit a home run for sure, and I knew that I wanted to go further with it. I had to bring this event to South by Southwest Film, Music, and Interactive Festival in Austin, but how could I cover the cost of doing this for a 4 day event and still do it free of charge? I approached Kodak about doing a co-branded event where they would provide the film and we would provide the cameras, processing and scanning. I even had T-Shirts made (in Kodak colors) that said Do A Shot With Pro8mm and Kodak. Once again, people were lined up at the booth eyeing for an opportunity to shoot on the streets of Austin, in the convention center or their favorite band. It didn’t take long for the interactive crowd to start tweeting about the opportunity. I think Harry McCracken’s blog Techland says it best “Austin’s South by Southwest conference has a relentless emphasis on the new – new tech startups, new movies, new music,…but one of the things I was the happiest to come across was old, really old

As you watch the footage from these novice shooters, it is quite apparent that just like when Super 8 was used for home movies, the POV is so intimate, personal and distinct. This is something I see from our clients who shoot Super 8 for commercials and weddings. I think this type of shooting represents a whole movement toward personal story telling, more aligned with community, connectivity, and intimacy.

The potential for this idea of showing up at an event with multiple cameras and letting participants shoot events has endless potential. Years ago, the NBA pioneered this idea with a program they called “HOOP IT UP” where some of the most loved players would show up at local inner city basketball courts and let kids in the park shoot film of other kids playing basketball. From the wedding filmmaker who wants to shoot not just the big day, but the bridesmaids picking out their dresses, or put a super 8 camera on every table, or the major brand such as a clothing or cosmetic line that is sponsoring a community event  - this is the creative way to have your client market their brand. It is the interactive nature between shooter and participant that can capture shots in this intimate way.

Super 8 Wedding and Lifestyle Filmmaker Branden Lower of A Bryan Photo says that you have to come from the place of being the uncle to get the shots. Check out his website to see the amazing Super 8 footage that defines this concept of lifestyle filmmaking.

Pro8mm is making available all inclusive multi-camera packages with film, processing, scanning, hard drives, and DVD viewing copies so that any Super 8 lover can get the supplies need to capture their own event with amazing shots of products, places and people that represent brand awarness and lifestyle filmmaking.

The Honeymoon Package: $1,188.00. Send the bride and groom off with a super 8 camera and you do the editing when they return! A perfect add on. 8-Day 1 camera Pro814 rental, 4 Rolls of Film, Processing & HD Scanning. G-Tech 320 Gig Usb2 Hard Drive  & DVD viewing copy.

The Wedding Package: $1,288.00. One for you, one for back up or to pass off to guests to shoot each other! 2 Day 2 Camera Pro814 rental, 8 Rolls of Film, Processing & HD Scanning. G-Tech 320 Gig USB 2 Hard Drive & DVD viewing copy.

The Product Launch Package: $2,088.00. Have participants and attendees shoot the event throughout the day to get that amazing personal pov.  1-Day 4 camera Pro814 Camera Rental, 20 Rolls of Film, Processing & HD Scanning, 500 Gig Firewire 800 G-Tech Hard Drive.

The 1-Day Event Package $3,888.00. Perfect for larger events!  Get amazing footage of your brand and let participants help tell the story! 1 Day 8 Cameras Pro814 Camera Rental, 48 Rolls of Film, Processing & HD Scanning, 500 gig Firewire 800 Gtech Hard Drive
Do A Shot Packages comes with suggestions on how to keep track of the cameras, organize the film and sample release forms. *Pro814 Camera Rental $125.00 with minimum 4 roll package*No Security Deposit required. * 85 Filter Rental, *Transfer based on unsupervised 24 fps rate.