Birmingham in Super 8

I love Super 8 film and have a small collection of reels shot in Ireland in the 1970s (by my late father) and the late 1980s/early 1990s (by me). I’ve now gone and retrieved the whole series of 50ft cans from my mother’s house to start the process of digitising them. I had previously copied them to VHS by filming a projected image but inevitably the colour saturation suffered – the very thing that gives Super 8 its ‘glow’ (see discussion of Super 8 used for a wedding video). I do also have a couple of reels of black and white stock that even at the time (early 1990s) was extremely difficult to get hold off. I now plan to send a miscellaneous reel to these guys to get a HD transfer. I can’t wait to see the results. 

Given my footage is largely non-Birmingham based I thought in the meantime I’d do a quick search to see what Super 8 stuff was online that was filmed in around the city. There’s disappointingly little except for a nice piece shot at the Moseley Folk Festival in 2007 and a piece onThe Optophonic Lunaphone about a new instrument used by the Modified Toy Orchestra. There’s a strange short film called The Bouncy Bride of Frankenstein (b/w horror film shot in someone’s Birmingham back garden) but I did manage to find the nostalgia I was seeking with a film of Kings Heath in 1960 (actually shot on single 8):

And despite rumours of its death Super 8 as a format is very much alive. There’s even proper serious industry events about it and a wonderful, simple, yet incredibly challenging, stripped back movie-making initiative called Straight 8. Best of all, in Birmingham we have the fantastic 7 Inch Cinema who are big fans of the format and often put on dedicated Super 8 events. 

More to follow on this as my own transfer results come through.

Pic: Hollywords

One thought on “Birmingham in Super 8

  1. Wonderful film and great links!

    I’ve got a lot of home movies from early 70’s that my Father filmed using that format . I converted and put them on DVD a year ago for safe keeping.

    I can remember the sense of excitement when the filmed was returned from being developed and then setting up the projector to watch the film for the first time in a darkened living room!

    I think we’ve lost that excitement in the instant digital age.

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