‘Love International’ Super 8 Promo
Film and Article by Saul Pankhurst
Over the last month or so I’ve been working closely with ‘on8mil’ and ‘Archiv’ to produce a short promotional video for the Croatian based music festival ʻLove Internationalʼ. The job entailed shooting everything on 8mm film stock with only a pair of temperamental Braun Nizo cameras to hand; the Nizo 561 and itʼs bionic twin brother, the Nizo 561 Macro.
Iʼll be the first to admit that capturing an eight day music festival on only eight (50ft) cartridges, was a daunting task. I would have felt more excited about the trip if both cameras werenʼt suffering with sticky aperture blades, an all too common problem with these older models. It was only on the fourth day of dismantling and applying olive oil to the blades that I discovered a sharp slap to the camera bodies offered a more immediate solution.
This was my first music festival production working with super8 and I was perhaps a little trigger happy to start out. But with various digital cameras capturing every film worthy moment around me, who could blame me? It took a while, but I did manage to get over the fact that I couldn’t capture everything.
What I could capture though, was around 25 minutes of footage on a mix of KODAK Vision 3 500T and Kahl NC 17 film stocks. With neither of my two Nizo cameras able to read ISO settings of over 160, I reserved the 50 ISO Kahl stock for shooting my important day scenes as I would be able to lean more on my automatic camera settings. This then left me with 500 Tungsten stock to pull as much information from the dark night shoots as possible. Having this faster film stock was also nice as I was able to stop right down and achieve more pinpoint focus in the day scenes.
I also had a lot of fun with this Schneider Kreuznach, Ultra-wide lens, allowing me to disregard the focus all together and capture the more instantaneous moments of the festival.
Reviewing the Footage
Two and a half weeks in waiting and we now have the film stock back in our hands, developed in Berlin by Andec Filmtechnik and now ready for scanning here in London. Nervously reviewing the footage as Ed at on8mil worked on the 2.5K scan, my anxieties and apprehensions regarding the project were slowly put to rest. To my pleasant surprise we were able to attain really crisp results from both film stocks. Although grainier than I had hoped to see, the 500T had managed to retain plenty of detail in both shadows and highlights. I had however been less successful when shooting in very low light, but conversely amazed to see information in my blown out images. I can’t be too surprised though, considering Kodak advise that you overexpose rather than underexpose this particular stock.
When shooting the 500T in sunlight I found myself frequently using the ND9 to bring it down to 80 ISO. But in review I noticed the results were rather dark. I’m sure that regularly failing to compensate 2/3 of a stop for the 85B filter would not have helped but i’ll blame the face- melting croatian sunshine for those lapses in concentration.
As for the Kahl NC17 results, a more experimental film stock with a beautiful but somewhat unpredictable colour palette, I couldn’t be much happier. The only thing I will say is that the image was a little soft but the beautiful pastel colours that the film renders in sunlight help to make up for that. The Kahl cartridges, with their inbuilt 40 ASA notch, meant that I could shoot the majority of the stock with auto aperture settings. This allowed me to use the automatic bulb function on my Nizo cameras. If any of you were curious as to why I’m persisting to shoot with these cameras, look no further than this feature. Automatic bulb is awesome!
Overall, I’m really pleased with the results. Ignoring of course a few in camera hairs that offered a not so subtle reminder to clean the film gates more often. The shoot has also been a real reminder of how forgiving film can be, especially if you happen to overexpose your image. And thanks to on8mil I’ve now got myself a beautiful ‘best light’ scan from which I can begin the labour intensive editing process – can’t wait.