Your Ideal Wedding Film/Video – Super 8 Wedding videographer film VS Super 8 “Style”
I began my film career using a Super 8 mm film camera at Scottsdale Community College, over 20 years ago. After moving to Hollywood in the late 90s, I shot my first short films on 16 mm film. These films won awards. My short film “All Good Things” played at The Tribeca Film Festival and was inducted into the “Triggerstreet Hall of Fame”. I was hired by a 2 Time Oscar winner to shoot another feature film “Can You Hack It” as a result. The film medium was very good to me right out of the gate. I am eternally grateful that I started with actual film. It is a foundation that I am eternally grateful for.
Vintage Style Wedding Videographer
In the last 10 years, I have been trying new ideas, and gear to really dial in this being a Vintage style wedding videographer. It has been a challenging but really exciting ride so far.
Then VS Now – 20 years ago, the difference between shooting on film and the digital medium was very different. To be blunt, digital was terrible looking, had no depth or cinematic feel. Now, it’s virtually impossible to tell the difference between film and a good digital image that has been finessed in the editing room to make it look and feel like a cinematic experience. Even the top filmmakers in Hollywood, there are only a few who still use film and they only do it because they have piles of money. If they make a mistake, they can buy their way out with more film and more takes.
The Transition – For me, starting with film then moving into the digital space has been a great experience because I appreciate the lateral capabilities of digital while remembering the amount of time, money and added steps film required to get from acetate or polyester film strips turned into a moving image on a screen. Only folks who have worked on actual film will truly appreciate digital the same way a poor kid would appreciate a clean bed if they grew up on the streets.
This is where I will say “the kids don’t know how good they have it.” And when I say “kids”, I mean anyone who makes “films” who never made a film on actual film. LOL.
There are so many things that we can compare but I want to focus on the stuff that matters to couples who are getting married or eloping, who want to capture those memories in a way that lasts, that’s beautiful and won’t break the bank. Having a Super 8 videographer hybrid background, I hope that this info is helpful in making the right decision.
Being that I shot all of my first creative projects on film, I am eternally loyal to the film medium in that it is so rich and beautiful. I will use film again in the future and am still figuring out where it makes the most sense. The math always comes back to time and money. Do I have enough time and money to do it this way?
I have been shooting films for over 20 years and weddings for over ten years. I have spent thousands of hours shooting, editing and weighing out the chances and possibilities of the two different mediums and how they will be turned into memories that last a lifetime or longer. I have almost gone back to film a few times because I do miss many aspects of it.
Here are the 7 reasons I prefer to shoot a Digital and or Super 8 “Style” VS 8mm film aka
8mm wedding videos aka actual film. I made all of my first movies on film but when it comes to someone’s wedding day, oftentimes there are no second or third takes using film which can be temperamental.
I want to start this list by saying I have the highest respect for anyone that shoots on 8 mm for weddings films or any other types of events. This in no way is to Malign or undermine any pros out there who shoot real film. Frankly, I am in awe of the folks who do this and they are worth every penny for their services because they take on so much by working with the physical film. They are magicians in their own way.
Sync Sound Issues
The difference between actual film and shooting digital is that 8 mm film shoots at 18 frames per second. This means for every one second of real time, there are 18 frames captures to create the movement of that 1 second. Digital shoots at 24 or 30 frames per second which lines up with Audio/Sounds perfect. This means there is a frame difference of 6 to 12 frames per second by shooting on film. When you add those extra frames it will effect the ability to synchronize the sounds. If the bride and groom want to have sound elements for their wedding like the recording of vows, the best man and maid of honor speeches, the sound won’t synchronize with the recorded image. To the best of my knowledge, there is no clean work around for this.
In the 1960s, I believe one of the only ways to capture any special Moments and details was on a film camera. to the best of my knowledge there are no more companies that are making up to date 8 mm cameras . If there are, please send me an email and let me know who is selling the new and cool 8 mm camera. The only way to buy these cameras are through websites like eBay or Etsy. Most of the cameras available have not been properly serviced over the years. Even the ones that have, are still very old and therefore not as reliable as a modern digital camera.
Processing time and cost
Unless you are a huge camera nerd and have your own dark room and abilities to process this film, It needs to be sent out to a professional service that can process the film. This adds weeks to the wait time of your delivery of your video/film. The film is also incredibly sensitive. it can’t get too hot or cold. And it cannot be scanned by certain machines which will also ruin the film. When shooting someone’s wedding, the amount of risk is quite High. The cost is also higher, which adds to the budget of your wedding.
After developing/processing, the film strips need to be sent to a digitizing pro with the proper equipment so it can be properly scanned into a digital format so that it can be edited into a video. Even though you are shooting on film technically, the physical film it’s still turned into a digital file so that it can be edited, audio AKA vows and speeches can be added along with music.
This means your 8 mm film it’s technically a digital video just like the other digital video.
The only way you can see your actual film in the real way is a film projector.I don’t know about you but I think the last film projector that I saw in person was in elementary school. Again, don’t get me wrong, if this is all an option for you aka you have plenty of money to spend on the “Film Only” experience, please do that.
Physical Film Stock
When shooting on 8 mm, there are many different types of Film stock. I will try not to bore you with too many nerd terms but, in short, there are different types of film for indoors and Outdoors and sunlight and tungsten AKA non sunlight. Everytime the environment and or light changes, your film stock also needs to change.
When shooting a wedding, there just isn’t enough time because the day is about the bride and groom, not the cameraman who will need a few minutes to change out his film because you went from Outdoors to indoors at your destination wedding. Most weddings do run behind schedule which makes most folks feel the need to rush. When that happens, everything gets pinched for time. Shooting film would tend to add to the timeline because it needs exactly that.
If I had my way, I would shoot every wedding like a movie because that is my background. I have yet to work on a wedding where the bride and groom and officiant and guests would like to do multiple takes in order for me to make the film that I want to make. I love tweaking and adjusting lights and would do that for hours to get it perfect. Unfortunately, I know that it’s your day, not mine and all of the other vendors would probably want to have a word with me in the parking lot after you folks leave the reception. LOL.
Even when all of the elements lean the right way and the film gods are on the side of the filmmaker, bride and groom, things can still shift. Film stock, when put into one of these old 8 mm cameras, can still go sideways. The film can get stuck or overexposed or underexposed because the light meter inside of the camera, that is decades-old, could give a inaccurate reading.
I have seen film cameras and or film have issues on set. In every scenario, it’s a shoot with a budget, back up cameras and when the camera or film has an issue, folks can take the time, make the fix and the show goes on. Extra Time and Extra Money are the 2 huge factors. Weddings don’t typically go that way.
I don’t think that 8 mm film is the best choice given the limited time that we have with the bride, groom and event. In the last 14 years, since converting to All Digital, I have shot approximately 1,000 photo and video/digital film projects. That is somewhere around 5,000 hours of video and approximately 500,000 still pictures. I have yet to lose any footage or pictures on the digital format with many different cameras.
I wish I could say the same about the film cameras. If they were as reliable, film would be my choice. That will remain my wish.
Digital Wins…for now.
The fact that I could shoot one day and be editing that night is amazing. I only made the switch (film to digital) when I knew that technology had truly caught up with the needs and taste of all of us who watch films and TV shows.
For now, for me, I can’t run the risk of losing one frame of footage on a client’s wedding day.
In closing, I have looked some Super 8 film shooters in the US and I am a fan of many of these artists. I hope my choice to stay digital does not deter you from choosing a film shooter. To build a business that stays afloat in this market can be tough and I wish every other creator out there all of the success. Building a film/photo/video skill-set takes years, education, equipment purchases and so much persistence mixed with creative passion. I hope that you find the right person or people the capture your day in the way you want it. If you have any additional questions about being a Super 8 Wedding Videographer, or if you want to learn more about Flicker Shack Wedding Films, feel free to contact me. I am glad to assist. Much love everyone.