Magazine article American Cinematographer


Magazine article American Cinematographer


Article excerpt

Cheers for Super 8

Having just received and read the September issue of American Cmematographer; I noted with some interest 'The Last Page' in which Super 8 is discussed as a pro format. My question is, why has it taken so long for this recognition? I have noticed recently that Super 8 is a kind of "in" format, and certain segments of the industry tend to treat it and act as if it were a new discovery. I just wish to point out that some of us older filmmakers have been using it practically since it arrived on the scene.

I'm glad that we now have cameras available with 200' loads, crystal sound sync, and interchangeable lenses, amidst other notable features; all things which my colleagues and I would've killed for a decade ago; but, to get there, we've gone through a lot of convulsions.

In fact, for a time in the mid-70's, it looked as if Super 8 might be a dying format; what with the advent of home videotape cameras and notable items such as the failure of a fine magazine dedicated to the format, Super 8 Filmmaker, and Agfa Super 8 no longer being available (as far as I know it still isn't - if it is, somebody please write me!) in the United States.

Things that are now taken for granted in Super 8 production are things that we were told were impossible just a few years ago. Not that we listened; progress is made by fools and crazies doing the impossible. My most vivid memory is from a feature length Super 8 film titled The Rave, which was produced and directed by my friend Yianni Stamas. It involved an underwater fantasy fight sequence at night in a pool using available light. All we had was an Elmo 612 (with an underwater housing, which leaked), and 50' mags of Ektachrome 16OA. It took us practically all night, and I nearly drowned twice despite being an excellent swimmer; but, we got the footage. Today, we could have done it more quickly and precisely, owing to great advances in equipment.

My main thrust is just to say that Super 8 is a great format, with unlimited possibilities; and it has been for years. Just because it is 'in' now, and the equipment is now vastly superior and on an even scale with its larger format cousins; don't treat it as a new discovery. It's been a good friend to my colleagues and I for many years, and we're hopelessly in love with it. Long live Super 8!

-William C. White

Halcyon, Calif.

Double Indemnity

In the October issue of the magazine you ran two articles by Ron Magid about The Whales of August. While both pieces were quite interesting, I was surprised to see some 400 words of identical text in both stories.

Was this an editing glitch or is Mr. Magid getting extra mileage out of a nice turn of phrase - in this case several paragraphs worth? My guess, for what it is worth, is that the block of text belongs in the first article and not in the second, though I can't quite find the proper transition.

When I see the movie, I now will be doubly sure to appreciate the stark gray house and the tiny island location.

-Jeffrey Carmel

Santa Fe, Calif.

Actually, what you were seeing (as others did, also) was the ultimate editor's nightmare: an inexplicable piece of business where identical blocks of type were set into two stories. One belonged there (in the first story) and the other replaced a part of an excellent interview with Lindsay Anderson. …

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