Super 8: Filmen

When preparing for your Super 8mm shoot you need to decide which look fits your story and style, and then choose the right type of film stock with this clearly in mind.

There are two main types of Super 8mm film: reversal and negative. When reversal film is processed at the lab, it is ready for projection when you get it back. When negative film is processed you will get an orange-based negative back from the lab, which needs to be transferred to a video format before it can be viewed.

Negative or reversal film?
Reversal film has a limited latitude (the range between the exposures in the darkest and brightest areas) and therefore it is very important to have the right exposure, while the negative film is more flexible as it has a greater latitude for exposure. The negative film is also lower in contrast than reversal film, meaning that the negative film offers more detail in the shadows.

There are choices of black and white film or colour film, more grainy film or less grainy film, slower or faster film. What film you choose depends on what the scenes you are shooting require and what look you want. For example, if you are shooting a dark scene it would be important to have a fast film, as this is more sensitive to light than a slow film.

How much film
One roll with with Super 8mm film contains 15m/50ft film, which will get you approximately 3 minutes of footage if you shoot 24fps, and if you shoot 18fps you will get slightly more time.

Where to keep the film

Unexposed film should be kept somewhere dark and cold - a refrigerator is perfect. Exposed film should be processed as soon as possible, as it is much more vulnerable then unexposed film. If you can't develop it straight away, keep it in a freezer.

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