Super8x8

Saturday night was the conclusion to the Wellington edition of the Super8x8 film festival – its been run in Auckland two times previously but this was the first time in Wellington and it was such a fun challenge to take part in! I’ll write a bit more below about it but here are a few stills from my entry, THROWING SHAPES which I managed to win second place! The winner was PINECONE by Tim Hope which was a really nicely conceived and executed short film, which also prompted a great audience reaction..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The theme for this festival was INVERSION which could be interpreted in any way that you like, and while shooting 3 minutes of film over the course of a week might sound fairly easy this was a really excellent creative challenge as all editing had to be achieved in camera – no post production was allowed & the first time we all saw our films was at the screening… Accordingly everyone was a little nervous at the screening, so the laughter was somewhat cathartic as one by one each team was hugely relieved to see their film!
My approach was to start with the soundtrack, and attempt to work backwards – making timed notes on how long shots should be to keep some form of sync… But after carefully shooting frame by frame a leader (so sound could be easily synced live) and the titles, and then a motion control tracking shot, the next location blew my sync as I got caught up in shooting without accurately timing how long my shots were! But all was not totally lost – each shot I did I shot on video first as a test of framing & timing, but also so that I could slowly assemble a video version of my film to rework the soundtrack as necessary… So I guesstimated how much extra I might have shot at location 2, and updated my soundtrack accordingly…

While I am used to shooting film as stills, and try to be conscious of shooting digital & not just shooting excessively, the discipline required to edit in camera felt like an enormous challenge and it was a really invaluable learning experience to attempt it and to then see the results with my own attempt and with everyone elses.

One of my aims was also to attempt a number of different shooting methods, so apart from motion controlled tracking (using my SYRP Genie and slider) I also did one rotating 720 shot with camera on SYRP Genie, a stop motion shot (6 seconds at 18fps = 108 x shoot a frame & move props!) and some slow motion shooting at 54fps… I had planned to also do a timelapse shot, and a macro motion control shot but the weather turned to shite on the last two days and I had to drop those shots…

So did my film work? Kind of… It was sure fun to see it and while I never aimed to have a clear linear narrative over the course of shooting, improvising some shots and adjusting aspirations to reality my ideas evolved into something I will continue to work on – I plan to shoot another 3 or 4 rolls of Super 8 and then edit picture as well as sound & score, partly to try & make my short a little more fully realised, but also because it was such fun shooting and as I feel a lot more confident shooting on my Nizo 801 camera I want to carry on and do more with it! So you can expect an online screening in a month or so!

 

 

Tree 2

 

Rakiura/Stewart Island

 

 

Tree

 

Punikaiki in the rain…
Can 1V + Trix400

 

 

Acquisitions

 

hands up: who has stayed up way past bed time, to insure you win an auction for an obscure bit of audio gear for sale in a different time zone? (maybe) worth it for a one off – I can find no other instance of this dual resonator, anywhere…. except soon here!

 

a tape echo that uses 8 track cartidges?
sure… hate to think what my next stop will be…
stalking 8 track cartridges to erase with dubbed out space cadetship…
if you hear a bit of some dreadful 70s band in the feedback then consider it unintentional

 

of course every mixer should include an analog drum machine… and a spring reverb!

 

the museum of repurposed technology grows…

 

 

nuzic 55


▶ Brainwaltzera – muddy puddle trot

 


▶ Oneohtrix Point Never – Black Snow

 


▶ Hexstatic – Perfect Bird remix

 


▶ Perfect Bird – Guitar Vader – パーフェクト・バード

 

 

Jackson Bay

 

Fuji TX2/XPAN2 + Velvia100

 

 

Multi shoot

Having recently got a lot of rolls of film back from the lab its been interesting revisiting shots I took, in some cases months ago… And the differences in approach, to the same shot, at this location I especially found interesting, so I thought I would share the details…

Note: all photos have had no post production work done at all – these are all displayed as they came out of the camera…

The location is the river mouth at the South Coast from Wainuiomata – it was a sunny day & I arrived mid afternoon… & I lugged a fair amount of gear along the beach to the river mouth: my Canon 5D3 and lenses, Lee filters & tripod… plus my Fuji TX2/XPAN2 and lenses & Lee filters… and my field recording gear…

I shot a bunch of test shots as I walked alongside the river but it was the final curve of the river as it approached the sea that caught my eye so I dropped all my gear, set up my tripod & started shooting…

So those first two photos above, were shot with my iPhone 6s, auto-exposure auto-focus so essentially a snapshot and in such bright light the EXIF data says the exposure was 1/1522! As snapshots they capture that it was a sunny day with blue sky but as far as the water goes they are to my eyes ugly photos. Fine for documenting my setup but harsh to the eyes….

Next camera: Canon 5D3 with Zeiss 21mm lens fitted with Lee Super Stopper. Now when using such dark ND filters the sensible method would be to check your exposure without the filter and then either calculate the exposure time, or refer to the handy card of typical exposure times included with the Super Stopper (eg 1/1000 = 30 seconds, 1/500 = 1 minute) or refer to the handy app that Lee Filters make freely available…

But I quite like taking a more experimental approach that doesn’t require anything other than shooting test photos, as I sometimes capture happy accidents this way…. So after composing & focusing my shot and setting f stop and iso for typical non-ND conditions, I then crank the iso and fit the Super Stopper ND15 filter and simply start shooting bulb exposures, increasing the exposure time with each shot until I am in the zone of what I imagined/pre-visualized (nothing is more boring than shooting a 3 minute exposure and finding it is way under exposed!)

exposure time = 1/5 second iso 1250

 

 

exposure time = 3.1 seconds iso 1250

 

 

exposure time = 7 seconds iso 1250

OK so by now I have quickly shot 4 photos within a minute and am now in the ballpark of what I am after in terms of approach… So now it is time to decrease iso which allows me to extend the exposure time…

 

 

exposure time = 33 seconds iso 400
better but I want the water to be like glass

 

 

exposure time = 180 seconds iso 100
this is it, I could stop now & be happy with this result from a 3 minute exposure… but as they say, you can never know if you went far enough unless you also go too far, so…

 

 

exposure time = 248 seconds iso 100
Checking the image in the LCD display I think I am into the territory of diminishing returns, so I call this shot done, put away my 5D3 and get out the XPAN…

 

 

Now I tend to keep my XPAN2 loaded with either Fuji Velvia 100 or Kodak TMax 100, mainly due to the issue of reciprocity failure, which varies with every film stock but I know from basic research & testing that these two stocks cope well with long exposures…
This day I was loaded with Velvia 100 as I figured there might be potential for a beautiful sunset, so first as with my 5D3 I set the XPAN2 on my tripod and framed/composed and focused the shot and for reference took a shot on auto exposure:

 

 

And having shot on iso 100 with my 5D3 I know if I put the Super Stopper on my XPAN a 3 minute exposure is going to be approximately right, but to allow for some reciprocity I will leave the shutter open a bit longer…

exposure time = approx 210 seconds Velvia iso 100

 

 

Interesting huh?

You can draw your own conclusions about which shot you prefer… Velvia 100 does tend to get a slight purple cast with extended exposure times, so for example a slight tweak in Photoshop balances that out:

 

 

There is a great saying, which applies to sound as much as photography:
The best camera (recorder/mic) is the one you have with you! So while like most people I take a lot of snapshots with my iPhone I dont really consider that photography per se, it is just taking snapshots. Why? Well, I consider a photograph requires composition and control of the medium. Composing means more than just framing, composition also occurs through control of focus and exposure, both of which do not tend to occur when using an iPhone. But a photo taken with an iPhone is definitely better than no photo at all.. And if nothing else can be a useful reminder to revisit a location to shoot it ‘properly’ as is evidenced by the ugly iPhone photos at the start of this post, and the gorgeous silky tones of the long exposures…

One of the reasons long exposure photography has such appeal to me is that as with shooting film it slows the process down, so rather than bang bang bang shooting snapshots with little thought or investment in thought, process or feeling.. the photograph becomes more akin to field recording where three minutes is a bare minimum to capture an ambience, and it therefore requires you to be present and quiet for at least that long.

 

Lastly, I love this quote by Ansel Adams and have adapted it for field recording