I grew up in So-Cal surfing and making 8mm surf movies, so this was a concept that hit close to home for me, and I saw the potential and fun of it immediately when writer/director Matt Hodgson called me about this job.
The Perfect Solution –
After we looked at various reference materials, including some of my own 8mm surf films, we decided to do something a little different with this one. I hadn’t shot much with Super 8mm over the years, so we did what I always do when approaching a new film or digital project… research.
After checking around and talking with people I know, and those I didn’t know, I went to see Phil Vigeant @ Pro8mm in Burbank. I’d driven by there for years, but had never stopped in to see what the latest in Super 8mm technology was. Phil was great and really helped me to make the choice to go with Pro8mm and their Max 8 Widescreen Classic Professional Super 8mm camera, (which is is Pro8mm’s complete rebuild of the legendary Beaulieu 4008 camera), and their in house processing and best-light transfer package.
Not only did the wider gate offer us a larger negative area to be exposed, (which is never a bad thing), but it launched us into the world of a wider frame Super 8mm image. On the technical side, it also offered a 8-64mm c-mount Angenieux lens, 16X 9 frame lines, off-speed options up to 60fps, and crystal sync @ 24fps which was important because we were going to be using HMI’s for most of the shoot.
The 16 X 9 Super 8mm camera format turned out to be the perfect format to shoot with, (creating our “Hybred-Nostalgic” look), while allowing the same Super 8mm look and feel that we are all accustomed to. We really wanted to make sure that we kept the feel of a more nostalgic Super 8mm feel, but felt that a 4:3 frame on today’s modern 16 X 9 TV’s might miss that mark… looking “too nostalgic” we went with the wider the frame to give us a more cinematic feel, (which was part of Matt’s inspiration for this idea).
So we went with our gut feeling and gave Pro8mm’s Widescreen16 X 9 Super 8mm a shot, and we’ve been really happy that we made that choice. To compliment that look and feel, we used 200T and 250D Kodak as we liked the grain pattern better… as with the slower stock, the grain was actually too fine for our tastes, so we opted for the higher speed films. The added resolution from the bigger negative area actually paid off visually… I could see the difference in my tests vs. the standard Super 8mm negative size.
On the music side for the spot, Matt Hodgson said he wanted to use a really great and fun piece of music tune by the DRUMS, titled “Let’s Go Surfing” to tie it all together, and I agreed… it was perfect. (It then showed up in a Volkswagen spot, and a couple of movies, but we felt since it was an original inspiration, we should stay the course… and besides the deal with them was already done!) Our “Endless Summer” campaign direction was now a reality, and we had about two weeks to pull it off, and with the weather in both Utah (where the park is located) and the various southland beaches, being unseasonably wet and cloudy… we had our work cut out for us.
(to be continued)…
Writer/Director: Matt Hodgson
D.P.: Matthew Williams
Producer: Jeff Miller / Vineyard Productions
Editor: TJ Nelson
Music: The Drums
HD Widescreen Super 8mm Film Transfer: Pro8mm / Burbank
Digital File Color Sweetening: Jeff Tillotson / LightPress / Seattle