Super 8: Kameraet

There are literally thousands of different Super8 cameras to choose among out there, but they all work in more and less the same way. Learn to understand the basics of the camera and let your creativity grow.

A Super8 movie camera you can either rent or buy. The cameras are actually quite easy to find and pretty cheap to buy. You can buy them on the internet, at flea markets, etc. The Super 8mm cameras come in many different sizes and shapes.

Get the right exposure
In order to get the image to look right, you need to get the right exposure for the film. This is done by setting the aperture according to the amount of light. With a film camera you can't see how the exposure changes in the viewfinder as you can with a video camera, so you need to know and understand what you do.

In order to find the right exposure you need a light meter, which is a device used to measure the amount of light. You can measure either with the light meter in the camera or a handheld light meter. This is measured in f-stops. The f-stop is what regulates how much light is allowed through the lens by adjusting the area of the hole the light comes through (the iris). The smaller the f-stop number, the more light will hit the film, and the bigger the f-stop number, the less light will hit the film.

Most Super 8 cameras have an automatic light meter which will do the job for you, by reading the light in the scene and adjusting the f-stops on the camera. However, it is a good idea to try to get a camera that has both the automatic and manual light metering options. If you have both options, you can first get a general reading from the automatic light meter in the camera, and then do a reading with the handheld light meter on the exact spots of the scene you want perfectly exposed. Then you can decide which readings to use when the camera is set in the manual mode.

What frame rate to use
Frame rate is the number of frames/images that are projected or displayed per second. The normal frame rate of a Super 8 camera is 18fps (frames per second). But most cameras also have the option of shooting 24fps. The less fps the more slow motion effect you will get, and vice versa.

If the camera has a frame rate that is marked as '1' it means that when you pull the trigger, the camera exposes one frame. This is a good function if you want to do animation or a time lapse.

Shooting on Super 8mm can be really easy, but you can also challenge yourself with trying out different types of settings and film stocks. Get your camera and start experimenting with real film!

Related content:
Common types of lightning

Links:

More about f-stops by Matthew Cole
Ebay's how to buy a Super 8 movie camera
More about light meter on Wikipedia
In Norway you can rent a camera at Smalfilm.no

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