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Film maker resources

What is Super 8?

Super 8 is a small format film that was popular for making home movies 35 years ago.  Many artists and beginning filmmakers used this medium because it was cheaper and easier to use than 16mm film and could provide a way to create a very low-budget independent film.  Filmmakers such as Spike Lee, JJ Abrams, and Steven Spielberg got their first taste of film-making using Super 8, and its gritty look brought a renewed interest to the medium among artist and MTV videos responding to the rise of video use in the ’80s. 


Super 8 is a film-based, light-sensitive medium, that must be processed after shooting before the filmmaker can see the results. This is a considerably different film-making experience than digital film, and requires attention to lighting, focusing, and framing without instant knowledge of what the camera is capturing.  To truly appreciate this unique film format, it is best to forget any Disney like expectations, embrace the beauty of film, and love the imperfections that happen when recording in this unique format. 

How to make a Super 8 movie

Planning your Film

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-Your film is 3 minutes and 26 seconds

-Keep it simple

-Start with a basic idea, concept, or genre

-Get friends and neighbors to help you!

Camera Terminology & Notes

Fps= frames per second (18 normal, 24+ is slow motion)

Fader= Button that you push to make your film fade to black

Macro= focusing on close subjects (approx 3 feet and less)

Single Frame= takes only one frame, for animation or time lapse

RL or Run Lock= keeps your film running even after you stop holding the trigger

Focusing by Distance

ALWAYS use distance focusing when using a super 8 camera because it tends to be more reliable than the calibration in the viewfinder.  The outer ring of the lens has distance markings in feet.  Just estimate how far your subject is and then set the focusing ring to that distance for shooting.  


Film Counter

All cameras have a film counter to let you know how much of your 50 feet of film (one roll of super 8) you have used.  When you open the camera to load or unload film, it sets this counter to zero.


Shutter Speed (FPS = frames per second)

Many of the cameras have multiple settings for shutter speed.  18 fps is what you should select if you want a film running in normal time.  24 fps will give a slight slow motion effect and 36 fps will look like true slow motion.  A faster fps (12fps) will make the film look slightly faster than normal).  


Run Lock

Many cameras have a run/ lock or R-L function.  By setting this device, you can continue filming without having to keep your finger on the trigger.  



Some cameras have a fade button, which will allow you to have your scene fade to black. 


Single Frame

A few cameras have the single frame function, which allows you to take one frame at a time.  This is useful for time lapse or slow motion effects.



Some cameras have a macro function, which allows you to focus at 3 or less feet away.  Consult a manual about this function.

Laura Wright shared a sketch with

Lighting Tips

- Do not light your subject from behind unless you

    want it to be a silhouette.

- Do not rely on the indoor lights you have in your ceiling, direct lighting using movie lights or clip lamps will keep the scene properly lit and eliminate weird shadows.

- Bright, sunny days tend to make weird shadows on your subjects.  Bright, but overcast days are best. and tend to create soft, even lighting.

•  Pay attention to your lighting.  A good morning      sunrise or sunset can make for great light as can      carefully placed lamps in your scene.

Preparing to Shoot

After setting your camera to 18fps and turning on the light meter:

Load your film

Measure the distance to your subject and set the focus ring

Adjust for lighting

Operate the camera by turning it on and pressing the trigger

Film ideas

Who is Michel Gondry? [Indie Wire]

Who is Michel Gondry? [Indie Wire]

Michel Gondry is a French filmmaker most famous for directing and co-writing the 2004 film ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’ for which he, Charlie Kaufman, and Pierre Bismuth won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. Prior to his feature film debut titled ‘Human Nature,’ he made a name for himself as a music video director—working with such artists as Daft Punk, The Chemical Brothers, Bjork, and The White Stripes. He often incorporates his personal thoughts and fears from his childhood into his work—most notably, a recurring nightmare in which his hands grow to an enormous size. Support this channel on Patreon: Twitter: Facebook: Tumblr: This video essay was written, edited, and narrated by Tyler Knudsen. Clips used: ‘Human Nature’ (2001 dir. Michel Gondry) ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’ (2004 dir. Michel Gondry) ‘The Science of Sleep’ (2006 dir. Michel Gondry) ‘Be Kind Rewind’ (2008 dir. Michel Gondry) ‘The Green Hornet’ (2011 dir. Michel Gondry) ‘The We and the I’ (2012 dir. Michel Gondry) ‘Mood Indigo’ (2013 dir. Michel Gondry) ‘Microbe & Gasoline’ (2015 dir. Michel Gondry) ‘Dave Chappelle’s Block Party’ (2005 dir. Michel Gondry) ‘The Thorn in the Heart’ (2009 dir. Michel Gondry) ‘Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy?’ (2013 dir. Michel Gondry) ‘Around the World’ by Daft Punk (Music Video dir. Michel Gondry) ‘Let Forever Be’ by The Chemical Brothers (Music Video dir. Michel Gondry) ‘The Hardest Button to Button’ by The White Stripes (Music Video dir. Michel Gondry) ‘Human Behavior’ by Björk (Music Video dir. Michel Gondry) ‘Bachelorette’ by Björk (Music Video dir. Michel Gondry) ‘Everlong’ by Foo Fighters (Music Video dir. Michel Gondry) ‘Drugstore’ by Levi’s (Commercial dir. Michel Gondry) ‘Junior Et Sa Voix D’Or’ by Oui Oui (Music Video dir. Michel Gondry) ‘Dance Tonight’ by Paul McCartney (Music Video dir. Michel Gondry) ‘Be Kind Rewind Sweded Trailer’ ‘Taxi Driver Sweded by Michel Gondry’ ‘I’ve Been 12 Forever’ (2004 dir. Michel Gondry) Music: ‘Generique Stephane’ by Jean-Michel Bernard ‘Around the World’ by Daft Punk ‘If You Rescue Me’ Science of Sleep Sountrack ‘Theme’ by Jon Brion

Film Links

Camera info

General Resources

Super 8 Tutorials

About FIlm


Sound Links

The sound cannot be synced with your film which means that having your sound fit perfectly with what is being shown is not possible; shoot & record accordingly.

Free Audio Editing Apps


Free Sound

telling Stories with Sound


Need help adding your soundtrack?

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