Technique Thursday — Shooting Super 8 Film with Joel Serrato + D’Arcy Benincosa

Super 8.  I love just saying that name.  How cool — right?

I admit. I fell in love with Super 8 after watching one of Joel Serrato’s films.  And I bought a camera. (and if you don’t know yet.. Super 8 is a rad 35mm film camera that makes movies.. real movies with film! — or you can cheat and get the Super 8 app for your iphone.. which I love — there’s a iphone super 8 movie of my oldest on his new skate ramp on my fb wall if you wanna see).

Nope, haven’t used it yet.  I am intimidated.

So when D’Arcy Benincosa put in this submission, I decided to pick her brain (and Joel’s) and learn all I can so I can have the courage to pick up my camera and use it this weekend. Yep.. hold me to it.. 3 minutes of film.. I can do it!

from Joel (of Leo Patrone and fam):

patrone family from joel serrato on Vimeo.


Joel’s tips:

here are some favorite tips and advice from me for shooting super 8 film:

-always make sure the camera you are using feels comfortable in your! having equipment that makes you feel confident is the first step in having a great film shoot.

have some direction and thought before rolling, make sure to take charge and direct people to a comfortable position, create moments, that’s what it’s all about!

-understand some technical aspects of lighting but stay basic to shooting backlit, in open shade and of course that sunset warm light always make for good shooting.

-i would stick to auto on the camera for starters, that way you can get used to shooting with the camera first. i shoot on auto always, and just make sure to put my subjects in good open shade and or window light, when shooting inside darker spaces use higher speed film like the 500t vision3 from kodak. adding an additional video light for darker situations helps a lot!

-i would suggest doing some research on film stocks, that’s always the best way to achieve the look you want and communicate with your lab so that together you can create a good formula and look for your film. my lab is spectra film and video in los angeles, they are the best!


from D’Arcy:

D’Arcy says:

This was the first time I used my Super 8 camera. I ordered Kodak Ektachrome film from Amazon, dusted off the Nikon Super 8, made sure the exposure was just a little on the over exposed side (in-camera meter worked great!), and captured the moment.  (she metered and focused all manually and shot at 18 speed).

It was beautiful, and I learned so much even in the first attempt. If you’ve been meaning to try Super 8, here are my top five pieces of advice:

First–the entire reel of film ended up capturing just over 3 minutes of film. It was much shorter than I anticipated–and had I realized, I would have used my film more carefully.

Second, the camera is shaky already with the film running through it, so next time I take footage, I’m definitely using a tripod as I felt like this video was too shaky for the smooth and graceful look I was going for.

Third, don’t be afraid to get up close to your subject–I got so caught up in how gorgeous everything looked from far away, I forgot to take a few moments to really capture some up close and personal time with my subjects.

Fourth, make sure that whatever speed you use (12, 18 or 24 frames per second) that you do not switch during the middle of shooting. When you get the film developed, they have to develop it all at one rate, so if you do slow motion the entire time and then have them develop it at regular speed, your scanning will be messed up. Make sure you remember how many fps you shot it at so you can tell the developer! I suggest shooting it 18 or 24 (you can always slow down and speed up in final cut or iMovie).

And finally, be prepared to spend at least $120 dollars for the film, processing, and scanning to a DVD. It’s not cheap, but I also feel it’s something that just can’t be duplicated yet. For developing, I used a place in Hollywood Spectra Lab in Hollywood — it’s also the very first time I’ve gotten Super 8 developed, so I can’t make the perfect call on that yet. I have another roll that is off to another lab, and I’ll be able to compare the results much better! Happy Shooting!

Music in the video compliments of my very talented friend, Libbie Linton

Tell us what you think!! Would you like some Super 8 of your family?

And say hey!!! we are now on instagram.. come find us “letthekids”.. or hash tag us at #letthekids and show us your stuff!!!!





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