I’ve had this post running through my head for weeks, but I haven’t been quite able to put words eloquently to my thoughts: Why a Super 8 wedding film?
Sometimes I get asked questions, like: Why Super 8 film at all? Aren’t video and videography cheaper than Super 8 film? Why film when there are video effects for that now anyway? Hey, isn’t there even a Super 8 iphone app?
So… Let me tell you about my lifelong love affair with film, and film’s unique way of capturing memories, and why I love Super 8 the way I do.
Super 8 has a magical quality to bring you right back to how you felt in that moment, whether just weeks or months ago or 20 or 30 years ago. I watch Super 8 films from my childhood, and honestly, even though I was three, maybe four, I can suddenly remember what it felt like sitting on the back porch next to my grandmother, now deceased for almost 30 years, and babbling and singing into the little microphone that came with my dad’s Sears Super 8 sound camera. More importantly than how it looked, old home movie film has the ability to transport in time, activate long-forgotten memories, and recall how a particular moment in time felt. (Not to mention, this film sat untouched for decades in my parents’ closet, then my own, and is an amazing archive that I just had transferred. Yet another wonderful quality of film: whereas that DVD or Blu-Ray may be unplayable in a decade or so, film is archival for about 100 years when kept in temperate conditions.)
It’s an amazing quality that film has that video can’t touch. Whereas video gives you a very literal moment-by-moment documentation, and both employ the phenomenon of persistence of vision which accesses visual memory in the brain, to me only film has an almost intangible quality which works with the mind to create iconic memory and transport us in time–allowing us to fill in the blanks between frames with our own thoughts, impressions, feelings, and memories.
And Super 8 doesn’t give you everything, every single moment. I think there is beauty in that. A cartridge lasts about two-and-a-half-minutes, so there’s thoughtfulness and a real presence as to what to capture. Shooting Super 8 is almost a mindfulness meditation (another reason I love it); it has a way of making you to be truly in the moment. I think watching a Super 8 film conveys a little bit of that, too.
I have also noticed, too, personally, that some of the most beautiful, dramatic, defining moments of my life take on a filmic hue when colored by my memory. And some of the best moments in life have always felt cinematic, like a movie, when they are unfolding. Maybe that just speaks to my lifelong love of film, from childhood (seeing Peter Pan and Star Wars on a Super 8 projector in my living room) to college where I studied filmmaking and film theory and shot my first Super 8 film on black and white Kodak film, to today where I am a huge movie fan and small-format filmmaker. But I have a feeling that memory is cinematic for others, too, explaining many of our love affairs with movies.
Maybe that’s a glimpse into why I adore Super 8 film like no other. And that I count myself so very lucky that I get to be the preserver of those magical memories for all the amazing couples I meet.