Session 1

Today was our first lesson of ideas and concepts. 

Were given our assignment brief. 

In groups of two, Students will research, plan and develop a collaborative one-minute film which is to be shot on a single 50ft roll of Super-8mm film stock. This one-minute film should respond to / interact with a specific space/place or area of the city of Plymouth. Students should take time to explore the city and choose a location which they feel has a distinct aura, or narrative quality. Students should also carefully consider the aesthetic & cultural qualities of the super-8mm medium when planning their film project. 


After this we were shown films made by Dan, which were all based around light and how you can make them look nothing like what they actually are.


Super-8mm film - Introduction 

It still comes in a range of sizes and formats 

Film is contained in small plastic cartridges - left to the right side of the cartridge light enters the lens of the camera 

Movie film comes in different sizes or ‘gauges’ - the width of the film in mm


65mm epic feature films - the hateful eight 

35mm feature films 

16mm indie films and documentaries - the walking dead

8mm home movies and artist films


Super 8 is a 4:3 film format (aspect ratio) single perf - holes on the left side. can get double perf with holes on both sides but they were discontinued  - can get 16:9 now.


Colour film is made up of a number of layers - sensitive to frequencies list made up of light-sensitive silver halides suspended in gelatine 

  1. Magenta

  2. Cyan

  3. Yellow

  4. Clear acetate or polyester base 


Daylight balanced 

Daylight  balance absorbs blue light - outside filming 

tungsten t balanced absorbs orange light - inside filming 


Render colours accurately 


Usually reversal stock but typically now its negative stock 

Reversal - shoot it and you develop it and the image is positive 

Negative - shoot it and you develop it and the image is negative 


Film speed 

100 ASA - slow film - bright light conditions 

500 ASA - fast film - subdued and low light conditions 


We are using Kodak vision 3 5D


Slow film 

Negative stock 

Small halides 


Expose film 

Process film 

Telecine - film to digital transer 


Screen it



braun nizo 801/pro


Outside - sun

Inside - lightbulb 


18 fps standard speed for this camera 


Remember the red dots - if you set everything to the red dots it re sets the camera 

Keep exposure on ‘autom’

Keep an eye on the footage counter 

Check the lens is clean 

Check the focus -zoom in to object focus it and zoom out 


Never use servro zoom or anything on top of the camera


Check to make sure the AA batteries are correctly inserted 

Check batteries are charged by running the camera with no film 

Check film is loaded correctly - label visible to the tiny window on side of camera

Check film door is closed properly -will click when shut 


We were asked to go around the college campus and take 10 abstract photos. This was to help us try and see objects in different perspectives to help us broaden our imagination when it comes to shots. 

My abstract photos are below.

We were shown a short video about the technology change of the future (1960) made in 1939. There were things like airships, flying cars and robots. Technology was the way forward in their eyes. There was entertainment split into categories such as coloured dancing, heavier ladies dancing, and sexy ladies dancing. We were then asked what do we think of it and I think that it showed that america has't changed and is still sexist and racist and have issues with weight.  They don't think that people will be equal in the future which is obviously a lot different now. 

Googie's architecture is a form of modern futurist architecture inspired by the the Space Age and the Atomic Age. Its an extension of aspirational futurist style  showcased at the New York 1939 worlds fair.  His architecture was quite commercial being in places such as coffee shops, hotels, fast food restaurants, cinemas, gas stations and street signs. 

His work existed at a crossroads between natural past and aspirational technological future. His art told a story. 

Typical features of his work were upswept roofs.

Final Film

18/10/16 - Ideas

We were aloud to choose our own groups for this project. Martha, Owen and I decided to work together because we are all interested in different areas of the film industry as well as having different variations of skills and talents. Also, after discussing the brief as a table we all had similar ideas of what we could do. 

We came up with 3 possible ideas of what we could do.

Idea 1:

  • At a church - creepy, secluded

  • Bible quotes whispered 

Idea 2:

  • Family holiday 

  • Film in all the popular locations around plymouth such as the Hoe, Guild hall, combed church, Pavillions, Aquarium

Idea 3:  

  • Drugged up teen - going crazy, hallucinating 

  • Use all the underpasses around plymouth as our location, the roundabout by the train station

  • Fake blood

  • Lost footage of an accident???

  • Teen wakes up and has no memory of what she's done

We decided to go with idea 3 because we think that we can get the best film out of it and easily get enough footage and get the correct shots with only one take as we all ways have to keep the fact that we have only got 3 minutes worth of footage into consideration.  We also want to make sure that it doesn't look like a home video due to the style of the camera, we want it to feel more like the style of american horror story. 


Ask one of my flat mates to act.


We also had to pitch our ideas to Dan and Rusty. 



We began the day by collecting the equipment from PCA and heading down to our location at the roundabout near the station.  We decided to film this between the hours of 11am-5pm as its the brightest time of day so we definitely know that the camera will film due to needing a decent amount of light for it to actually have a decent lit shot. 

We also had previously discussed who would do what roles. Martha would be the sound recordist, Owen would be the director and I would be the cinematographer. Even though we had chosen the roles we all had ideas of what we could do for shots and all director our actor, Milly and both Owen and Martha had a go on the super-8 camera.

Filming proved to be a lot harder then expected and I felt like I was under so much pressure as the one filming to get everything right. Admittedly, I did screw up the first shot we did as I panicked which led to me not being able to see what I was filming but after the first attempt It was so much easier and I felt more confident in using the camera.

After we felt like we got enough shots and felt like we were confident enough with how they turned out, we realised we had another minute of film left. Martha said that we should film some filler shot's of the location we were filming at, which is where she had a go at using the camera. We also decided to just film a few more shots of Milly as the whole idea is that she's hallucinating and going crazy so the more shots we have the more we have to play around with in the edit. 

Here are some photos of Milly and me filming:

After we had finished filming we went back to the college to do some foley work. We basically asked Milly to breathe into the mic, laugh and scream. Anything we thought that would add to the hallucinative effect we are going for. 

Looking at other films

Jem Cohen

Little flags

16mm black and white 

ticker tape parade 


Super-8 Black and white, low fi and grungy 

He shoots from the hip, meaning he hold the camera at hip level - this is his preferred shooting style. 

Freedom means a lot of different things to different people.

What does it mean to be free?

What does freedom mean to people?

Filmed on the streets of New York

Lostbook found 

16mm black and white

Super-8 colour 

Filmed over 5 years in the streets of new york

I like how it said as the time past on the selling stand he felt he became invisible to some people and began to notice other things that had also become invisible to the public eyes 

Tacita Dean

The Green Ray

16mm colour

The differences that exist between video and film 

So simple, one shot with a voice over 

About the belief in that you see

Film - Talking about her work and process of 'Film'

She edits to the narrative of time

Film is about the unknown - she wants the unknown 

She relies a lot on post production 

Theres something essential about a film thats flawed 



When we were introduced to the Super-8 unit I knew that this project would challenge me and the rest of the group because neither one of us had used a super-8 camera before so this is new to all of us. We were told all the things we needed to factor in such as lighting, as the camera needs to have a decent amount of light to pick up a decent image and making sure we keep track of the footage counter so we can manage what we film better.

We started by brainstorming possible ideas of what we could possibly do so we have as many different options and variety of styles of film. Ideas included filming in a church as its secluded, could be portrayed as creepy in the right light and then having biblical passages from the book of revelations whispered over the top to emphasise the way some churches can feel. This idea was inspired by one of the other students work, where they read out the graffiti that was covering the walls. We wanted to film at night but we were worried about the camera not picking up the image due to it being dark. We decided to go with our second idea which can be filmed outside and still be what we imagined and visioned which is a horror style film. Our second idea was to have a teenager experiencing a bad trip on drugs, hallucinating and going crazy but waking up and realising it didn't happen. We thought that the style of the footage after being digitalised looked vintage like old home videos and found footage that had been slightly corrupted. We thought that trying to make our film look like someone had found the footage would be a good twist but decided to just make it all a hallucination with the teenager waking up at the end.

Our inspiration for our second idea came solely came from the American TV show American Horror Story by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk. This is a show that Owen, Martha and I all love and watch. When we were shown some of the previous student’s films and saw how creepy and old looking the super-8 shots looked we all immediately wanted to do something creepy and horror like and thought American Horror Story would be a good inspiration for this. The main thing that we got from American Horror Story was the playfulness of their shots. They are all kind of trippy and distorted as well as looking obscure and creepy. All three of us have watched all of the seasons of American Horror Story and we know how crazy and messed up it can get. We really wanted ours to stand out from everyone else’s and just be completely out there and for people to go ‘What the hell have I just watched?’. I really liked the idea of doing something so out of it and just eerie and sinister.

I was so worried about how we could possibly get enough footage for a one minute film with only a 3 minute reel of film, especially as I was the cinematographer. However, this just made us plan every shot more and focus on what we wanted to show with this film.

Our filming went really well and we all felt we were able to get all the shots we needed and wanted to get. We did have a small issue with the camera at one point where it would just take photos rather than film. I have no clue as to why it suddenly stopped but after awhile it just started filming again and we could continue where we left off. Little did we know that the camera mucking up and only taking photos would create a really cool distorted effect that I would have done in the edit, it looked even better then I was expecting and I was super worried that it would have just wasted a load of footage so I’m very relieved that it came in use. This actually added and helped the style of American Horror Story, which is what we were aiming for.

I was also editing this film and because we filmed everything almost in order and basically only one take of each shot, most of it was already edited together. Where the photos were taken it created a glitchy effect so was easy to just grab those parts and put them in order.

This meant I could focus a lot more on the sound and creating a really layered soundtrack to compliment the creepy and distorted feel of the film. The sound we recorded on set included heavy breathing and laughter.

What I found most difficult about this project was just being able to see through the lens, as I struggled being able to see through it most the time and this did worry me as I was just hoping I did a good enough job. Another one of the hardest things about this project was the waiting. Waiting to get the footage back as I was so nervous about how it would turn out and if we filmed enough successful shots out of the 3 minutes we got to get 1 minutes worth of decent footage. This was so challenging for me as I’m the type of person who likes to look at the footage straight after a shoot. I think having to wait for the footage has made me a slightly better filmmaker as I think having to wait makes you think about the process more as you’ve had time to think about it and go into the edit with a fresh mind.

This project has made me appreciate digital film so much more as you are able to record as many takes of a shot as you want. You can also look back at all the footage you have got and it doesn't take weeks to get the footage back.