The Super 8 Epics (1977/2013)

In the late 1970’s, when I was still a kid, I really got into making Super 8 movies – and learning all about stop-motion animation and special-effects (well, in-camera ones!)

My Dad borrowed various cameras for me from Mount Lawley Teachers College (now Edith Cowan University), where he was Head of the Art Department. I scrimped and saved to buy cassettes of Super 8 film – black and white and colour Ektachrome. They would vanish off in the post and magically return weeks later with the results of my experiments.

After 36-odd years I’ve finally got around to digitising these early masterpieces and present them here for your viewing pleasure.

They were projected from Super 8 at 24fps, shot on an Canon 5D MII at 24fps, and down-sampled to 18fps (75%) in FCPX, with a few edits, retiming and colour balancing. The originals were shot at 18fps in BW Super 8.

This final black and white movie is, basically, the previsualisation test for my unfinished super 8 epic colour movie ‘Armageddon’ – that I’ll get round to posting here once I’ve finished fixing it up.

As far as I recall, the special effects were inspired by Star Wars, Terry Gilliam’s Monty Python animations and Douglas Trumbull’s effects in ‘2001: A Space Odyssey.’ With some passing references to Dr Who. And, of course, Vincent Price. All the important stuff!

I’ll detail the amusing story of it’s production some other time: but you have to imagine a 13-year-old-boy doing stop-motion in his bedroom, with a giant black starfield made from canvas and lights behind it, ‘re-imagined’ Airfix models moving in, um, ‘Plan 9 from Outer  Space’ ways, along complicated contraptions of fishing-line and coat-hangers that one kid could operate whilst filming.

All a bit mad, but great fun. And it all led me to where I am today, strangely enough.

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