Tag Archive for super 8 film

50 and still fabulous! ! Happy 50th Birthday Super 8 Film

 

written by  Rhonda Vigeant, Director of Marketing, Pro8mm, Author, Speaker, Radio Show Host, Home Movie Educator © May 5, 2015

 Listen to the audio version of this blog via my podcast, Listen to the podcast

 

Listen to our Radio Show Live Thursday at 4 PST/7EST

Listen to our Radio Show Live Thursday at 4 PST/7EST

 

 As the beloved Super 8 film format turns 50 years old this month we must take pause to look at some of the milestones that have allowed the once popular home movie format to defy obscurity. Now in its 5th decade of Ektachrome 160 packagecontinuous use the mighty 50 foot film cartridge has dodged planned obsolesce which is common in the digital arena. Super 8 has a loyal following, and continues to breathe new life as a professional format. It has been used in thousands of professional projects for major television shows (American Idol, American Horror Story, Aquarius, The Academy Awards) theatrical movies (Super8, The Fighter, Argo, JFK, History of the Eagles) music videos (Paul Abdul, Beyounce, Madonna, Black Eyed Peas, John Mellancamp, Neil Young, Miley Cirrus, Justin Beiber), and commercials for major brands (Target, Nike, Coca Cola, Armani).   Super 8 film has captured the attention of a new generation wanting a more permanent and archival safe format for recording milestones such as weddings and baby’s first steps, as well as filmmakers who want to continue the tradition of shooting films on film. There is an understanding that in our digital world, an analog reel of film is the only proven archival medium. Properly stored, the film will last 100 years!

A Brief History:

May 1965 marks the official introduction of the Super 8 film format,

50th birthday party

which Kodak debuted at the second season of the 1964 New York City Worlds Fair. The genius in the Super 8 system is the unique cartridge loaded film, which could easily be popped into a camera in broad daylight. While many families were beginning to bring home grown cinema into their living rooms as early as the late 1920’s, these first 16mm systems were too expensive for the average middle class family. When regular 8mm came on the scene in 1932, people loved it but research showed that consumers were easily frustrated. It was tricky for the new user to load the film in the dark, shoot off the 25 feet on one side, then go back in the dark, flip it over to the other side and shoot the 25 feet of film on the back side of the roll.

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From 1965 to 1985 millions of 50-foot reels were shot of everyday life around the world, which today represents a prolific historical archive of the way we lived. This time machine of “in the moment material” at home, abroad, and in the field is one of our most important national treasures, not only for the families whose relatives are forever present on homemoviefamilythose reels shot long ago, but also as cultural and historical evidence of some of the greatest moments in modern history. Increasingly we see this archival footage being used in documentaries such as JFK, Selma, The History of the Eagles, as well as news and history programs showcasing thousands of stories, both well known and obscure.

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super 8 movie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 1972, film schools and indie filmmakers started to recognize the tremendous production potential Super 8 film had.   At that time, the focus was on developing sound and editing capabilities. Bob Doyle, Harvard Professor founded Super8 Sound ™ (listen to my interview) During this time the Super 8 Sync Sound Recorders and editing benches were sold to hundreds of college EditingBench

and university film programs. It was a complete studio set up, and a milestone in the professional use of Super 8. These students who learned traditional filmmaking on Super 8 before advancing to 16 or 35 mm helped to evolve the format into professional work as they began working in the film industry.

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Super 8 Sound Recorder

 

While some of the biggest directors and cinematographers launched there film careers behind the families home movie camera (Steven Spielberg, J.J. Abrams, Christopher Nolan, Sam Rami, Ron Howard, Spike Lee) independent and studio filmmakers would shoot Super 8 film on a project given the opportunity that called for the unique look. This was particularly true when shooting flash backs, historical retrospectives, dreams, and what we call the “I’m on drugs” scene.

The evolution of Super 8 going mainstream was often referred to as Pro8LogoBlkPro8logo Hi-RESHollywood’s best-kept secret, and exploded when Pro8mm (formerly Super 8 Sound.  The company moved to California in 1987 and started evolving the use of professional  super 8 into the entertainment industry) introduced a line of professional negative film stocks in 1993. Up until that time, the Kodak film stocks were limited to only reversal film, which was suitable for consumer home movies, but had a limited selection of ISO’s and grain structures. The thought was if we Pro8mm (history of) could convert our slitting machine that we previously used to make the magnetic full coat audiotape for the Super8 Sound Recorders, than we could start slitting 35mm professional film stocks and put them into reloadable cartridges. With in a few months, Pro8mm had a full line of Kodak and Fuji 35mm professional stocks, spooled down to 50 feet and loaded in cartridges so they would work in any Super 8 camera.   We hit the ground running, and for over 20 years Super 8 negative film has been a part of thousand of projects including numerous MTV and VH-1 shows, specials, and videos, including almost every episode of Behind The Music and Where Are They Now?  

During this time, we also started seeing “extreme sports” brands use Super 8 in their commercials and TV shows. Snowboard, Skater Board, Surf Board, and all the associated clothing lines clothing brands such as Vans, Billabong, Volvo, Roxie loved the look of Super 8 negative film which fits perfectly with the popular “grunge” look of the era. This was followed by other big brands in the fashion industry shooting on Super 8 for Fashion Week, or in store promotions, including Calvin Cline, Armani, Victoria’s Secret, Ralph Lauren, Armani, Tori Burch, Minnetonka Moccasins, and many more.

 

With so many high profile brands and shows creating projects on Super 8 film during the 90’s, there was no longer the strong association of super 8 as being amateur home movie format. This was accelerated by the progression in scanning technology which continued to fuel the acceptance of Super 8 as a competitive force for studios and independent filmmakers. With better film stocks that were intended for transfer to digital, the power of Kodak Vision Film (1,2, and now 3) and Fuji Vivid, Eterna and Reala scanned on a professional flying sport scanner to a codec such as Pro Res in 1920 x 1080 HD, and now to 2K and beyond, the Power of Super 8 Film

Was unstoppable. The footage could use the same workflow as digital productions and could be easily edited in with program such as Final Cut Pro.

 

Another milestone Pro8mm came up with in 2001 was to expand the gate of the camera so that you could shoot a super 8 image 16 x 9. Called Max8

Max 8 is the expansion of the camera gate that changes the aspect ration from

4: 3 to 16: 9. We also recenter the optics of the camera. This feature allows you to insert Super 8 film footage in an HD workflow at the correct widescreen configuration. We also have3 a custom Max 8 gate for our scanner, so you can shoot 16: 1 and scan 16: 9. This eliminates cropping or curtains on the side of the frame. This does for Super 8 what Super 16mm did for the traditional 16mm film format – a modern application of analog film, keeping it viable in modern workflows.

 

The future of Super 8 film remains strong. This year a brand new Super 8 camera was introduced to the market. Logmar

 

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Logmar DIGICANICAL Super 8 camera 2015

Camera Solutions of Demark has brought to market a brand new camera built from the ground up. (listen to my interview with the Logmar team) Currently still in Beta Testing with 40 users world wide, it Is a digicanical Super 8 camera. Features such as

  • Pin registration & dedicated pressure plate
  • Crystal synchronized frame rates from 6fps to 48fps
  • Stereo audio recording on SD-CARD as well as true XLR 48V Phantom power.
  • WiFi remote control via iPad, iPhone or Android
  • Digital viewfinder with low light CCD sensor and video output for external monitor
  • Programmable “Function button” for: Phase Advance, Alternate speed, Rule of thirds grid etc.
  • Firmware upgradable (future proof) via standard USB connector.
  • 200ft custom reloadable cartridge option

 

This is a game changer for anyone who loves shooting Super 8 Film!

Here is a list of some current projects shot on Super 8 film or in production.

We will be highlighting these projects over the next year in a series called

 

50 Years, 50 Feet, 50 Voices

 DO A SHOT PROGRAM  (since 2012 we have put about 1,000 people through the program who have never shot on Super 8 before) http://www.doashotwithpro8mm.com/

Monsanto Years (Neil Young) http://pitchfork.com/news/59348-neil-young-announces-monsanto-themed-lp-recorded-with-willie-nelsons-sons/ )

Second Coming of Russell Brand (filmmaker Ondi Timoner; opened SXSW 2015 .  Super 8 insert shots in London) http://www.brandthefilm.com/

Montage of Heck – Kurt Cobain  (Brett Morgan, producer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WiCkJyeB0Vw

American Idol ( Owen Smith) Many behind the scenes shots

American Horror Stories (Michael Goi /James Chressanthis)

Minnetonka Moccasins Commercial https://vimeo.com/70003793

I Saw The Light http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3789828/

Marshall Head Phones Commerical https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=85WAwbwkPIs

Tory Burch Commercial  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cYwOY16mrec

 

 

 

Aquarius  http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3768572/

 

Jessie Jo Stark (music video) Monster Party http://jessejostark.com/videos,4.html

 

No Entrerence (music video ) https://vimeo.com/79759407

 

Rebel; (James Franco) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1961476/

 

Spike Lee (many projects) 2015 music video for pepsi with Kelly Rowlands super 8 cut into the digital https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=59aUxXn-BO4#t=15

 

It’s About You: John Mellencamp (Kurt and Ian Marcus)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CqUrmGmLXIE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Last Shot For Film? – Maybe Not ! – with Phil Vigeant

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No matter if you shoot on film or video, every media maker will get something out of this amazing interview with Phil Vigeant, Is it The Last Shot For Film?

Listen to the Podcast http://bit.ly/1xq1Psc

There is no arguing that media creators are producing a staggering amount of digital media on their Go Pros, iphones and Black Magic or Sony 4K digital camera.

Yet, Pro8mm, the world leaders in the innovative use of Super 8 film is the busiest it has been in years. With major indie production companies such as Radical Media, MJZ, 44 Blue and 3 Horses and a Mule, and Interloper Pictures initiating new Super 8 film projects, newbie’s are flocking to try their hand at analog filmmaking with the easy to use, cost efficient Super 8 format.

The question then becomes is there a resurgence in the interest to shoot on film because of its proven archival capacity, or, are hipsters and the Millenniums wanting to shoot film before it’s gone?

This interview, full of what I like to call “Philmisms” by Pro8mm president Phil Vigeant offers an opportunity for us to think about the future of film. Like Stephen Spielberg, JJ Abrams and so many other backyard filmmakers who threw out the camera manuals and just experimented to see what worked and what didn’t, the next generation of analog lovers will have the opportunity to experiment and learn the film craft based on over 100 years of motion picture technology.

 

I believe it’s not the “last shot” for film, but the “best shot” for lovers of celluloid, new opportunities for entrepreneurs who can emerge from the shadows of Kodak and Panavision.

 

Find the Present in the Past: One Filmmaker’s Journey

 

Find the Present in the Past:  Meet Shamey Kramer : One Filmmaker’s Journey through history and his family’s impact on his career

Listen to the Podcast http://bit.ly/1qnZd8V

Subscribe to the RSS Feed http://bit.ly/Sce3Cs

One Filmmakers Journey

One Filmmakers Journey

One of the things I love the most about having a weekly radio    show such as The Home Movie Legacy Project is getting to interview people who are telling their own stories about what they discovered in their family films, and how it helped them move forward in their lives.This was just the interview I did a couple of weeks ago with Shamey Cramer,

 

Shamey is an older returning student at Woodbury University as a film student.  Five generations of family members involved with photography and newspaper publishing has afforded Shamey to collect  a treasure trove of documented family archives going back to the 1860’s. These still images, movies, videos and other ephemera are the basis for his planned docu-series “Heidkamp: A Modern American Tribe”, tracing the journey of his German-Luxembourg ancestors and their American descendants. The first installment will be the story of his mother, Rosemary Heidkamp Cramer.

Shamey was a 2002 Semi-finalist for the Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting sponsored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences; and recently completed his historic love story “Nature of Fire” which details the 15-year affair between 18th century French physicist Emilie du Chatelet and the philosopher Voltaire. The project took fifteen years of research and the dialogue is his own translations of their written words.

Shamey tells about his family, his work on the 1996 Olympics for Kris and Bruce Jenner, his encounters with the Kardashians and how is has used his film skills in your political/human rights work, including the Federation of Gay Games.

HEALING THROUGH HOME MOVIES with the help of Transformational Education

 

Can home movies mend a broken heart?

Can home movies mend a broken heart?

  © Rhonda Vigeant 2014 Listen to the Replay of the podcast http://bit.ly/1p7zWkb   Meet my Expert Guest: Brittany Vigeant

Brittany is a coach with Momentum Education

Brittany is a coach with Momentum Education

Recently, a friend of mine who has been divorced for several years asked me if I would transfer her Wedding Video, so she could watch it on a modern playback medium. She felt it was time to give some closure to this part of her life and she wanted to look with fresh eyes and new life experiences back to her wedding day. She was moving to a new place, getting rid of old clothes, massively purging, and getting ready to change careers. She wisely thought that by watching the wedding video she would be able to gain some additional momentum to move forward as she began this next chapter. When she visited me, about two months later I asked her if she watched the movie. “No”, she said. “I’m not ready”. I thought about this for a minute, without attaching any particular meaning or judgement. I remembered all the clients I had worked with over the years who had also been resistant to watch old home movies. The fear of not knowing what is on the reels manifests itself in the cycle of desire to know and confusion about dealing with emotional scares from the people who have hurt us. Lets face it. There is a lot of pain in the past. We push the hurt way down, until something triggers a memory, and that old stuff comes up. We use imagery to play the tapes in our mind. We rewind them in our head. We press play. We feel the hurt. We hit eject. But the stories are still there. But what if those old tapes aren’t right? What if they are just stories we made up to help us cope? What if we had new evidence that we could extract from a time machine that could capture “life in the moment” and when we revisited it, it revealed new information, more details, or allowed us the opportunity to give new meaning because WE are a different person that we were when the moment was recorded? What if this “time machine we call “HOME MOVIES helped us heal from the hurt, let go of our fear, or allowed us to attach new meaning? What if they challenged everything we believed (up until now) and gave us new insight, so we could shift our focus, transform our understanding, and move forward in our life? What if we could forgive fuller, and clean up a mess or misunderstanding with an ex-spouse, family member or friend. We could have a breakthrough – an ah-ha moment that would allow us to become “unstuck”, and live more joyful, authentic and grateful lives. We could heal and we could forgive. THE POWER OF HOME MOVIES… “Images act as shortcuts to our brains, and that is why visuals are so powerful”     – Ekaterina Walter This is exactly what happens when you watch a home movie. These films are the most organic form of physical evidence we have. Our body language, posture, eye contact, facial expressions, shyness or tenacity are all captured , frame by frame. We see how the people in the film treat each other. Like magic, we are back in the moment! People are constantly looking for ways to heal from pain and hurt. We make use of various types of therapy, imagery, regression, hypnosis.   We try to access memories that have been blocked and even when we do , how do we know those memories accurately recall the way it happened? In my podcast today, Brittany and I discuss how working in the adult contemporary domains can help you have ah-ha’s where you might be getting stuck in the past.  A powerful interview you won’t want to miss!  http://bit.ly/1p7zWkb

For Lifes Posibilities

For Lifes Posibilities

Momentum Education: https://www.momentumeducation.com/     Register For a Workshop in NewYork or Los Angeles

Logan’s Syndrome – Documentaries That Give Hope

Filmmaker Nathan Meier was our guest on The Home Movie Legacy Project Radio Show

Listen to the podcast 

 

Logan's Self Portait

Logan’s Self Portait

on August 7th.  Nathan  is making a documentary that includes archival footage with a cause. The goal is to spread awareness for a rare disease called Miller’s Syndrome. Friends since childhood, Nathan joins forces with his friend Logan Madsen and as filmmaker and  subject , they join creative forces to illustrate what daily life is like for someone with this  complex rare disease. There are only 30 known cases worldwide, and Logan and his sister Heather both have it. The film makes use of home movies as a powerful visual of what life was like for Logan as a child , and now, how he adapts and copes with this disease that has so many symptoms, including being on the autism spectrum.

As a filmmaker, , Nathan Meir is a talented filmmaker who understands the narrative genre .  He raised 25K on Kickstarter.

Filmmaker Nathan Meir

Filmmaker Nathan Meir

Meet The Logmar Camera Team

Listen To My Interview with the team:

http://bit.ly/UQYBwX

“This is a crazy idea but it is a challenge”, says Lasse and Tommy Madsen in reference to the labor of love between a father/son camera design team. In 2009 they launched Logmar Camera Solutions of Denmark , deciding that they would like to work to create some kind of tech project they could work on together.

 

Father and son team who designed the new LOGMAR Super 8 Camera

Father and son team who designed the new LOGMAR Super 8 Camera

Tommy, a mechanical engineer who is soon to retire from is long career and Lasse , an electrical engineer started, like most companies in their garage.Their early projects center around taking the Russian Krasnagorsky 16mm wind-up camera drop in replacement board for that. The first brand new Super 8 film camera to come onto the market in over 30 years, the LOGMAR is equipped with features long absent or never available from legacy Super 8 film equipment.

Logmar Camera Solutions, the company behind this new Super-8 camera advances the use of the format to solve problems that have gone unaddressed in this genre of filmmaking, while adding innovative features that have long been on Super 8 filmmakers wish list. Innovative features include pin regitration that corrects horizontal/vertical motion jitter, and random image defocus . Additionally, the capacity to create sync sound in camera and have a larger film capacity option have also been included.

The Logmar Super 8 camera features include:

  • Pin registration & dedicated pressure plate
  • Crystal synchronized frame rates from 6fps to 48fps
  • Stereo audio recording on SD-CARD as well as true XLR 48V Phantom power.
  • WiFi remote control via iPad, iPhone or Android
  • Digital viewfinder with low light CCD sensor and video output for external monitor
  • Programmable “Function button” for: Phase Advance, Alternate speed, Rule of thirds grid etc.
  • Firmware upgradable (future proof) via standard USB connector.
  • 200ft custom reloadable cartridge option

This is a game changer for anyone who loves shooting analog film, especially Super 8 Film ! For more information on the LOGMAR Super 8 Camera, or the Beta Test Program , email info@pro8mm.com.  Pro8mm will be the exclusive North America distributors of the LOGMAR camera.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Show #4 Home Movies as Stock Footage: Secrets Revealed (Jan. 30)

Show #4 Home Movies as Stock Footage: Secrets Revealed (Jan. 30)

Guest: Abraham Raphael, The Archivist

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN! http://bit.ly/WAIS2J

Free Give Away:  Add Your email address on our home page and get a FREE ARCICLE just for our listeners , written by Rhonda Vigeant on Home Movies as Stock Footage!  

Click Here to Join Home Movie Legacy!

gettyEvery home movie library has clips in it that someone might want for something. It doesn’t matter whether your home movies were shot on the farm or in the city, have famous people in them or home town happenings, capture the industrial world or the arts, foreign travel, Americana, or faces and places of the here and now (that were the there and then!)  The older the material gets, the more valuable it becomes.

This show was a fascinating and lively discussion about Home Movies as stock footage.  Our expert guest, Abraham Raphael, owner of The Archivist www.thearchivist.com shared his expertise on why there is a need for new content contributors, how to get your clips into a stock footage library, what types of releases are needed, how to monetize on the sale of stock footage and ethical considerations.

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During the show we received a call from “Eleanor” who shared her story about how her engagement footage from over 50 years ago was sold to Volkswagen in a campaign called  “Smiles”, and then sold again to Discovery Channel.  She shared how she felt selling the footage commercially honored her family legacy in a different, yet significant way.

 

Phil Vigeant wrapped the show with our weekly “Tech Talk “; discussing practical technical choices the content contributor needs to make when having their film professionally scanned to increase their chances of someone wanting to buy a clip.

Abe

Bio of our Guest: Abraham Raphael is a veteran cameraman and segment producer within the film and television industry. He has worked at Sony Pictures Entertainment as a segment producer doing featurettes on such films as Monster House, Beowulf, Surf’s Up and Open Season. He has been a union cameraman for Hallmark Films and KCET.

 

 

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Abraham’s unique interest in history emerged from his research into his owngrandfather’s death on the beaches of Normandy in World War II. In 2011 this research would eventually culminate in the return of looted art stolen during the war from German museums and was a national news story. The combination of his film and historical interests would lead to the development of thearchivist.com, a website whose main purpose is to comb through home movies in search of historical stock footage. His unique expertise in identifying historical stock footage has led to sales with every major Hollywood studio and production companies the world over. Some of these shots include never beforeseen footage of Jackie Robinson, Shirley Temple, Richard Nixon, David Ben-Gurion, and many other notable personalities. Shots from the collection have recently appeared on the Dr. Phil show, Oprah, and for various commercials that seek to elicit nostalgia.

For More About the Radio Show, HOME MOVIE LEGACY PROJECT, visit www.homemovielegacy.com

Tips You Want To Know About Water Damaged Film

As my heart and thoughts are with my family, friends and everyone living on the Eastern seaboard doing battle with mother nature and the eye of storm –  Hurricane Sandy, I was thinking what can I offer to you in terms of advice about protecting your home movie legacy from Mother Nature?

I was thinking about all the film that has been lost or damaged by storm, fire and natural disaster.  After Hurricane Katrina, people were calling us for advice and help with their film  legacy that got wet.  Some waited too long.  The film dried out and became stuck together like a hockey puck!

This morning I did some research to see what some of the preservation experts suggest, and I found this wonderful article on the website of The Association of Moving Image Archivists, an organization that I hold in high regard. 

This article was written by Mick Newnham, a senior researcher for the Preservation and Technical Services Branch of the National Film and Sound Archive of the Australian Film Commission.

 

FAQ On Film Water Damage

 

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How does getting wet affect film?

Film that has been immersed in water is in severe danger of having the base separate from the emulsion. This means that the part of the film with the image on it will come away from the plastic backing that gives the film its shape. The film is also at risk of being contaminated by mold growth and debris from flood water.

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Why do I need to keep my films cool?

The most important factors in determining whether or not a flooded roll of film will survive are the total time it has been wet and the temperature at which it has been kept. The warmer the conditions, the shorter the time frame.

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How much time do I have before films that have gotten wet are unrecoverable?

This depends on so many factors, it is impossible to say for any particular reel of film. Without question, the sooner you can get the film into the hands of recovery professionals, the better. But even if a lot of time passes before you are able to start the recovery process, if the film is valuable to you, it is worth trying to salvage it. You might at least be able to save part of the film.

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Why should I store films that have gotten wet underwater? Doesn’t it make more sense to dry them off?

You should not try to dry the films! The reason for storing the films underwater is to prevent them from drying in the air. If films get wet and are not dried in a special way, the emulsion (image) from one layer can stick to the base (plastic backing) of the next layer. This is known as “blocking.” If a film develops blocking it cannot be unwound without damage.

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When my films are stored in water, will I see any changes in them?

You probably will notice changes. First, the film will probably change color slightly. Sometimes it develops a purplish or blue color after a few days. This is normal and does not indicate any problems.

After a few more days, the film will become very slippery. This happens because the gelatin at the edges of the film is starting to dissolve and because bacteria and molds are active. This is a warning sign. The film may still be salvaged fairly intact at this point, but it needs to be taken to a lab as soon as possible.

“Threads” or filaments may start to appear on the film. These are thin sections of emulsion floating away from the film base. This is not a good sign. The emulsion may not withstand rewashing intact. Take the film to a lab as soon as possible.

“Gray soup,” nasty, gooey, slimy water: the emulsion is decomposing and the film will not withstand any treatments. However, some frames may still be able to be seen and duplicated as still images. So even in this extreme case, you may still want to take the film to a lab to see what images can be salvaged.

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What happens if my films got wet, then dried out again before I could put them in water?

When a film becomes wet and then dries completely, there are two levels of damage that may occur. With luck, the damage to your films will not be too severe. Even if you are less fortunate, it may still be possible to save parts of your films.

If you are lucky, all that will happen is that the emulsion surface will become very shiny and smooth, especially around high density areas (where more dye or silver is congregated). This may occur in patches and will result in some noticeable artifacts (flaws) when the film is projected or copied.

In worse conditions, more serious damage, called “blocking,” may occur. When the film dries out, the gelatin emulsion will adhere via crosslinking to the backing layer of the adjacent wrap of film. This is a very strong adhesion, so strong that the emulstion will tear internally and some of the emulsion will remain adhered to the base where it should be and the rest will adhere to the other layer of film. It may also tear from the film base, so that chunks of

emulsion will be removed and stuck to the adjacent film layer. Or the whole film will tear. Any attempt to unwind a blocked film will result in damage to the film.

While a blocked film cannot be unwound without damage, it is possible to carry out highly specialized conservation treatments that may enable the film to be unwound. These treatments carry a degree of risk, especially if the film has been wet for any length of time before drying out. The treatments are time- consuming and expensive. Unblocking treatments should be thought of as a last resort for attempting to save films that are very important to you.

Post a question on this website if you would like to ask for more information about unblocking films or other film recovery topics. A recovery expert will answer on the website promptly.

Source http://www.amianet.org/resources/guides/Resource_FAQ_on_Film_Water_Damage.pdf

If you have any questions, or your film does get wet, please email  or call me so we can help you to make sure it is properly dried out by a professional lab!

Rhonda@homemovielegqacy.com   818-848-5522


Blog Post  © Rhonda Vigeant 2012

Mold of Super 8 Film That Got Wet

This is what mold growing on film looks like when your reels get wet. This will accelerate the deterioration of your reels!

 

GET “REEL” About Your Home Movie Legacy Before It’s Too Late!

 

There is no time like the present to look at the past! (still photo created in native 1080 HD off my super 8 film by Pro8mm    www.pro8mm.com

 
Me and my mom – 1962      © 7/12 Pro8mm  Rhonda Vigeant

Everyday I see the relief in my client’s faces when they walk into my studio with their shoebox full of films.  The stories are more similar than they are different.  They tell me that these films were shot by their grandfather, aunt and uncle, or parents. They have been thinking about scanning them for a long time.  Some clients had them converted once before to VHS or DVD and they were disappointed with the quality. “These are important to me. Can you help?”

The fact is people should be worried about their home movies.  Most want to do something with their growing and ageing collection of film and tapes, but they do not know where to begin.  We are in a digital dilemma about our growing personal libraries and it can be a daunting task to digitize, organize, and share the material. Technology is changing so fast.  We worry that we will spend money to put our home movies on yet another format that we can’t playback.  So we wait.  We lack the motivation or call to action to do something  – until we have to.

My message is GET  “REEL” About Your Home Movie Legacy Before It’s Too Late!  Too late to save the material which is in a constant state of deterioration. Too late to get oral histories from the people who can tell you who is in the films and the “reel story” on the reel! Too late because your original film master was scratched or damaged from being projected too many times or transferred improperly. Too late because you were not ready when you needed the material for an important event. Too late to use the material as physical evidence for things that may happen in life.

(how will they know what the family did in the 1940s?

Technology has given us many options and choices beyond putting your analog home movies on a DVD (passive choice).  You want to “do something”  (active choice) with the material so that the family legacy will live!

Here are some great tips of things to think about just to get the ball rolling!

1.  Vision:  What is your vision for the project?  Do you want to just see it, share it, edit it, sell it as stock footage, have it on the Internet, or use it in genealogy research? This will dictate the type of workflow and play back you choose.

2.  Preservation: Just like photos, home movies matter. There are 3,600 still images on a 50-foot reel of super 8 film! They are not just some old home movies! They are part of our family assets, and help our legacy live for future generations. The original material needs to be protected and preserved with integrity, and should only by handled by people trained in working with original material on equipment designed specifically for digitizing media. Make sure the handler has experience is assessing the condition of the film and is working with equipment that will not further damage the material.

3.  No Spoilers: Some of my clients want to see what they have before they scan it.  It is difficult to get access to good projectors and tape players. Additionally, each time you project ageing film, it runs the risk of being scratched or damaged. The perforations of the film shrink over time and often do not line up in the projector properly. Our recommendation is to scan everything. (except commercially produced films) Because you are dealing with original material there are generally no copies, and it is worth it to have a back up. I have seen Mother Nature or fire destroy entire film and video libraries and if there was no back up, it is a devastating loss. Sometimes there is a single golden nugget on the reel that makes it a compelling part of the library. A back of everything gives you peace of mind.

4. Money Matters:    As in most things in life, you get what you pay for and there are lots of places that transfer film very low quality, very inexpensively, and compromise the integrity of the material. Big Box stores have been known to send archives out of the country and do the transfer in an automated “factory style”.  How much would it be worth to you to have films and tapes scanned to the same quality as the original material looked – or even improved? A great option is setting a budget and doing a little at a time best quality by a professional company that specializes in this work.  This is a fantastic way to get the library done. Set a time line.  Increasingly, I see people scan one roll best quality, put it on the internet for family members to see and use a use a Crowd Funding Website such ad www.kickstarter.com to get family members to help pay for the project.  Seeing that one roll really gets people excited and they can donate directly to the project on line!

Monetize Your Home Movies as Stock Footage: There are amazing opportunities for clips to be sold as stock footage when scanned professionally (no roll bars, flickers, pixellated or ghost frames). One clip can sell for as much as it costs to scan the entire library professionally. This is a great investment opportunity for people who might be hesitant. Turning your film library into an investment might be something you would want to consider. A single clip of 8mm film on Getty Images or Pond 5 can be a revenue producer for you. You get paid a percentage each time it is sold

5.  Family Matters and  Getting Social:  There is a growing interest in Family History and Genealogy. More and more people are finding clues in their home movies to link them to their past and find out about their ancestors. These can be easily shared on the Internet via YouTube, Facebook, etc. You can add tags that researchers are looking for, and maybe find some long-lost relatives or they might find you!

6. Get Organized:  You probably have a multitude of film and video formats. If you want to do an assessment of what you have, get totes, put film in one and tapes in another.  When considering what to scan, start with having the oldest material scanned first, which will be 16mm or 8mm film. Use the information written on the boxes and cans to identify what might be on the reels. There may be a “favorite” remembered from the past.  Postage stamps on the boxes and postmarks are great clues! In the day, film was generally mailed to and from the lab.

7.  Common Film Problems: Here are a few things you can do to see if the film reels are in trouble. If they are, you may want to advise your client to get these scanned ASAP!

– Take a whiff! If you smell vinegar, the film has something called Vinegar Syndrome. This is the breakdown of the emulsion and base of the film. The film shrinks, becomes brittle and warped. It is accelerated by heat and humidity, so get the film out of the attics!

Mold can appear as white or green chalky artifacts on the film. This was caused because the film got wet or being exposed to condensation. Get the film out of basements or refrigerators!

-Cans That Are Rusted Shut. These can be carefully pried open with a screwdriver.

– A Reel Never Developed. Very expensive to have the chemistry recreated, but possible from some specialty labs such as Pro8mm or Film Rescue.

Hockey Puck Reel. This reel got completely wet and as it dried out, the base and emulsion began to separate and it is now a solid mass. Some specialty labs offer a rejuvenation process where you can have the reel soaked for up to 6 months. In some cases, the film can then be hand scanned and sometimes there may be an image on it.

Curled Film. The film has shrunk or got wet and should NOT BE PROJECTED UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES!

8. The Home Movie Transformation: There are now so many options for getting film and tape moved to digital that is has become very confusing. In simplest terms we want to advise consumers to mimic what the studios are doing with their films so that the material can be seen at it’s highest quality and repurposed in many ways. The best workflow means have the film transferred in high-definition (1080) not standard definition. This more closely matches the original resolution of the film and looks fantastic projected digitally on our modern flat screen TV’s. Film can be color corrected (like Photoshop for your film) where needed to fix fading and inconsistent lighting conditions.  Flying spot scanners have amazing dirt and scratch concealment tools.  This is a fantastic reason to get film converted my a professional company.  There are  many tools to improve the image/  Material that is encoded and put on a hard drive is ready to edit, upload, and watch on a computer, smart phone or iPad, or even your own YouTube channel and streamed over the internet.  You cannot easily edit a DVD.  A DVD is just a lower quality copy of your original material.

9. Scanners (This is the most important tip I can give you) Investigate how the work is being done and by who. There are so many places that now offer transfers, often on very primitive equipment. These are usually modified projectors that can compromise the integrity of the film. Clients only have one archive!  Hundreds of reels are destroyed every year. Would you go to an Internet site if you needed a new heart? You would certainly want to see the facility and c heck on the credentials of who is doing the work.  The same is true of your one and only archive!

Film Chain (modified projector with a video camera in it, which tapes the image. Does not have tools to improve the picture and can damage film).  This is what a majority of the transfer facilities use. Many places set these up factory style and the work is done by minimally or untrained film handlers. Can be very cheap and sometimes the work is sent out of the country.

Flying Spot Scanner (a sproketless, capstan system designed specifically for scanning). Same equipment used by the Film and TV industry. Has tools such as color correction, dirt and scratch concealment, high-resolution, framing options, speed control, and more)

10.  Next Ah-Ha:  One of the things I love most about having a home movie library encoded on a hard drive is that each reel or tape shows up as it’s own file when you plug it into your computer. You can name the files. Your entire media library is all in the same format, so the possibilities “ to do something” with the material are endless. You can then organize these into  “play lists” chronologically, or as projects, such as just weddings or just holidays!

To conclude, the challenges we have for film and video are the same as for still images. The chore of organizing, digitizing and migrating all the material into a modern workflow is big so be ready with the analog film material encoded and on a hard drive so it can be added to your books! It will give you an edge. Educating yourself about best practices for working with home movies raises the bar and elevates our commitment as a society to elevate how important and priceless these film treasurers are.  Get your family  people passionate about helping  your family film  legacy to live!

Rhonda Vigeant is  Director of Marketing at Pro8mm in Burbank, CA and has worked with home movies and legacy footage for 30 years. She is the author of the soon to be released book  GET “REEL” ABOUT YOUR HOME MOVIE LEGACY… BEFORE It’s TOO LATE!