You are currently browsing the monthly archive for April 2008.

The beauty of super 8 wedding films: Kodachrome, ceremonies condensed to a few minutes, and no tipsy relatives awkwardly trying to think of something to say to the bride and groom. More and more professional companies are going back going back to film for wedding documentation. Here’s a list of the few (not necessarily the best, just the ones that showed up first in Google):

Layer Cake Films (Los Angeles & North Carolina)

Reel Sixty (London)

In Films (Chicago, Detroit, Washington DC, Nashville)

Film Jones (New York City)

Take 5 (Tulsa)

Plus, a classic from YouTube:


1953 Guam Naval Base Home Movie

We watched home movies over the weekend. I was so looking forward to seeing my pudgy, sweet bambinos again now that they have grown so tall, lanky and capable. And I remember so fondly watching home movies with my family when I was a kid – tons of laughs and good memories. So, sure, great idea – let’s watch home movies.

Jessica Ciosek writes about watching old home videos with her kids in NYC Moms.

“Home Movies that Come Back to Haunt Us”

Though it was as diverse as ever in its programming of movies from everywhere and about, seemingly, everthing, this year’s well-attended Hot Docs International Documentary Festival, which wrapped on Sunday night, was for me something of a primer on the shape of docs to come–that shape being defined by the wild proliferation of consumer-level audiovisual technology over the last half-century and our impulse to record our lives as a method of either verifying or coping with it.

JB of the blog The Phantom Country reviews the plethora of documentary at Toronto’s Hot Docs festival that have home movies and home video at their cores.

“The cradle rocks above an abyss, and common sense tells us that our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness. Although the two are identical twins, man, as a rule, views the prenatal abyss with more calm than the one he is heading for (at some forty-five hundred heartbeats an hour). I know, however, of a young chronophobiac who experienced something like a panic when looking for the first time at homemade movies he saw that had been taken a few weeks before his birth. He saw a world that was practically unchanged — the same house, the same people — and then realized that he did not exist there at all and that nobody mourned his absence. He caught a glimpse of his mother waving from an upstairs window, and that unfamiliar gesture disturbed him, as if it were some mysterious farewell. But what particularly frightened him was the sight of a brand-new baby carriage standing there on the porch, with the smug, encroaching air of a coffin; even that was empty, as if, in the reverse course of events, his very bones had disintegrated.”

— Vladimir Nabokov, Speak, Memory (1951)

“I’d like to organize a Festival of Home Movies! It could be wonderful — thousands of the things… You might find an odd genius, a Fellini or Godard of the home movie, living in some suburb. I’m sure it’s coming… Using modern electronics, home movie cameras and the like, one will begin to retreat into one’s own imagination. I welcome that…”

— J.G. Ballard, quoted in ‘Interview with JGB by Graeme Revell’ (1984)

French soccer star Vikash Dhorasoo has completed his first film, shot in Super 8, titled Substitute. It will be released on May 9.

“In the summer of 2006, a friend of the French international footballer Vikash Dhorasoo gave him a Super 8 camera and told him to film what happened to him in the next few weeks. From the start, Dhorasoo couldn’t seem to get the hang of the camera: everything he shot, including himself, was slightly out of focus. Like Robin Williams’ character in Woody Allen’s film Deconstructing Harry, Dhorasoo became a bit of a blur. It wasn’t – or so you might think – a propitious start to a film-making career.”

The full Guardian article is here.

Granted, this is a little bit of a stretch, but the Chuck Prophet ad below was all the prompting I needed to post a link to Norwegian pop songstress Annie’s 2005 video for “Heartbeat”.  In it, Annie herself is shown shooting a super 8 camera, and it looks like a lot of the footage is super 8 as well.   Oh, and there are lots of red balloons.

From 3eyes:

“The HotCam is a manual control (not remote control), toy car with an onboard (driver’s view) video camera and microphone. The HotCam car enables children to record certain ‘scenes’ in their own stories. The children can then ‘play’ their captured scenes through a television in chronological order. In this way HotCam stories can be shared with parents, siblings and friends, and children can re-experience their stories.”

Go to 3eyes to see the HotCam videos by these kids.

I was leafing through the final print issue of No Depression magazine and noticed an ad promoting musician Chuck Prophet’s new album. I can’t vouch for the music, but I dig the Super 8 camera.

Chuck Prophet / Soap and Water

Here’s a great contest from the website ColorWars. The rules:

  • Find a picture of when you were very little.
  • Then try to recreate that pose and picture as best you can with the current you.

The Gallery of Winners

Anyone who has a lick of sense knows about the wealth of downloadable films available from the Prelinger Collection of ephemeral films on Archive.org. Fewer people, however, know about the equally fantastic Prelinger Library, and its role in digitizing orphaned books and journals. Among the books available in multiple forms (including PDF) is The ACL Movie Book: A Guide to Making Better Movies (1949). This book was distributed to all members of the Amateur Cinema League, America’s largest organization of amateur filmmakers. An earlier ACL book, Making Better Movies, was written by Arthur Gale and Russell Holslag, two frequent contributors to the ACL’s monthly magazine Movie Makers.

Also available from Archive.org, but not from the Prelinger Library, are two other guidebooks for amateur filmmakers: Story Telling Home Movies (Leo Salkin, 1958, McGraw-Hill) and Making 8mm Movies (Philip Grosset, 1959, Fountain Press).

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