general tips super 8mm
hold the camera steady. use a tripod whenever possible. one of the
largest factors contributing to professional-quality pictures is
steadiness.remember that super 8, with its small frame is a
"close-up" medium. there is a limit to the amount of detail that
the super 8 frame can capture when compared to larger film
formats, and the comparatively small screen poses some
limitations, too. often the most effective images are those shot
at medium and close-range. be sure that your camera's batteries
are fresh to ensure proper operation of the motor and built-in
meter. if your camera has a "zoom" lens, use it sparingly. when
shooting interiors with limited light and high-speed film,
consider the use of a small "fill light", even if your camera's
meter indicated that you have sufficient light for an exposure.
this will add depth and detail to your pictures.
process your film promptly after exposure. most super 8 film
requires processing by independent laboratories. contact your
local photo dealer or your kodak representative for a list of
laboratories in your area.
how to insert the cartridge
the super 8 film cartridge fits into a movie camera only one way.
however, the manner of loading depends on the camera. in all kodak
movie cameras, you insert the film cartridge so that the notches
face toward the front of the camera and so that the cartridge
label will be visible through the window on the side of the
camera. if you have a side-loading camera, such as the one
illustrated below, insert the cartridge at the angle shown. then
press the back of the cartridge down until it is securely seated.
never force a cartridge into a camera. in the other camera
illustrated, you just slip the cartridge into the back of the
camera. be sure to read your camera instruction manual for
specific loading instructions.
if film is black--absolutely no pictures:
if film is very dark--with only faint indications of pictures:
a malfunction of the camera lens opening or metering mechanism
a weak or dead meter battery
something unusual in processing or manufacturing
if film has pictures - but no sound:
a weak or dead sound battery
a microphone-related difficulty--not plugged in, a loose plug, a
broken wire in the cord, or a defective microphone
a camera problem
if the film appears to "jump" or "chatter":
it is the lack of sufficient lubrication on the film that often
causes unsteady projection. if the film is not lubricated, some
projectors can damage the film perforations. (kodak film is
automatically lubricated during processing by kodak.) once the
perforations are damaged, lubrication will not solve the problem
of unsteadiness. such damaged areas must then be either spliced
out or duplicated. lubrication also helps prevent drying and
warping of film. for protection and long life, film should
periodically be cleaned and lubricated.
making a movie
the wonderful thing that distinguishes snapshots from movies is
motion. sometimes people forget this when they are making movies.
there are some suggestions to help you make the most of your
as you make movies, keep in mind that you are really telling a
story. like any story, your movie needs a proper introduction, a
body, and a conclusion - plus, continuity to tie all the parts
together. continuity may come naturally when you film the action
as it happens in it normal progression, or it can be created when
you edit the film into logical order later. before shooting any
movie story, it's good to write a plan. think of what you want to
film to help complete your movie story.
telling stories with your movies is quite easy. you start your
movie with a natural introduction, follow the action as it
happens, perhaps with a few scenes specially acted out for the
sake of your story, and shoot a scene or two for the conclusion.
starting and concluding your movies need not be a major
production. you can use titles or photograph scenes that symbolize
your beginning and conclusion. a handy conclusion of a picnic
story would be a scene of junior fast asleep in the car after a
in a picnic movie, storytelling continuity could be achieved by a
short title shot of the park sign between the car-loading
introduction and the arrival at the picnic area, where mom spreads
the tablecloth on the table.
you can apply the movie-story format to all your personal movies,
whether they are of a family picnic, a vacation trip, or any other
event. usually, you can make a good movie by confining you filming
to normal proceedings and doing an occasional bit of directing of
your own to keep the story moving along.
a few simple techniques can help you add a lot of interest and
variety to your movies:
the nature of your subject should determine scene lengths. because
you film different subjects doing different things, varying the
scene length almost comes naturally. you might film a long scene
for about 10 to 13 seconds - occasionally up to 15 seconds if
you're panning across a scene, or if you think the scene requires
it. a medium scene may last 8 to 10 seconds; a short scene, no
longer than 5.
suppose you're filming a group of boy scouts building a campfire.
you would probably start with a long scene to establish what's
going on and to record the parade of stick bearers. when you've
adequately covered this, you might film a medium-length scene of
one of the scouts arranging the fuel in regulation campfire style.
finally, you could film a short scene of a scout's hand applying a
flaming match to the kindling. because of the simplicity of this
action, a 5-second or shorter scene is probably all you'd need to
get the message across.
scene length is also a handy device for emphasizing the type of
action you're filming. to accentuate fast action, include many
short scenes about 2 or 3 seconds long. for lazy, slow, plodding
subjects, you might take one or two scenes about 12 seconds long.
most of your scenes will probably run from 5 to 13 seconds. too
many short, 5-second scenes may leave your audience exhausted, or
a succession of scenes running longer than 13 seconds may induce
slumber. strive for variety in scene length, with short scenes
following long scenes, and with each scene lasting just long
enough to contribute its special piece of action.
a 50-foot roll of super 8 or 8mm movie film is long enough for an
average of 20 to 24 scenes. sometimes you may get fewer or more
scenes, depending on your subject material. when you consider that
each of the 20 to 24 scenes is a "moving snapshot," you really
capture quite a bit on one roll of film.
when talking about subject distance, it's important to also talk
about subject size. when your subjects are people, a close-up is a
scene taken from 6 feet or closer and intended for a
head-and-shoulders shot. however, a close-up shot of something
much larger, such as the statue of liberty, would be filmed from a
distance much greater than 6 feet. for most of your home movies,
anything filmed at a distance of 6 to 25 feet is a medium shot,
with your camera covering a height of about 6 feet. a long shot
would be any scene filmed from beyond 25 feet.
the important thing to remember is to intermix long, medium, and
close-up shots for variety. a good rule of thumb for your filming
is to start a movie sequence with a shot to establish the action.
the most common establishing shot is a long-distance shot to show
the whole setting, but it could also be a close-up to show one
aspect of the action. then follow with a related scene shot from a
different distance. keep in mind that close-ups add variety,
impact, and interest. so, use them often when they're appropriate.
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