A common anecdote among cinematographers is how the Super 8 films they shot during their youth put them on their career paths. Today, the way filmmakers use Super 8 film has evolved. Their passion for the format has grown, and the diverse uses of the film can been seen in hundreds of commercials, dozens of theatrical releases, as well as music videos and television shows. Film is also the only proven archival medium.
A new book, "The Power of Super 8 Film," takes readers on an 80-year journey through the history of the small-gauge format, which began as a visual storytelling medium for hobbyists during the dawn of the 1930s. Written by Phil Vigeant, the book cites an impressive array of contemporary cinematographers, directors, actors and musicians who have honed their artistic instincts shooting 8 mm films. These filmmakers are also inspiring the next generation of filmmakers to continue this practice.
Vigeant, who along with his wife Rhonda, has owned and operated Pro8mm in Burbank, California, for 30 years. His book describes many professional applications for Super 8 film, ranging from wedding photography to documentaries, commercials, music videos, flashbacks, and other inserts for feature films and dramatic television programs.
"Film offers aesthetic and practical advantages over digital video," Vigeant says. "It's an organic look, which filmmakers use to visually punctuate the emotional content of their stories."
As a senior colorist for the facility, Vigeant estimates that he scans about a million feet of Super 8 film annually. That experience provides him with a unique platform for witnessing how the medium is being used. His book offers tips for avoiding technical mistakes while shooting artful films in the Super 8 film format. The author also shares memories and observations about the 35-year journey that he has taken since joining the original company, Super8Sound, in 1975.
Vigeant is planning a companion product to the book scheduled to be launched this summer. He is also producing an online, home study series filled with in-depth technical tips that illustrate and explain how to create powerful Super 8 films and integrate them into contemporary HD workflows. Pro8mm is also planning to launch a series of two-day "boot camps," where participants will shoot films and follow the postproduction workflow with Vigeant from beginning to end.
For more information on Pro8mm or Vigeant's book "The Power of Super 8 Film," visit www.pro8mm.com.