Sweatin’ to the oldies

Last year in July, I took a Minolta XL-400 Super 8 camera and a cartridge of Tri-X to the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix. It was the first time I’ve shot a ‘legit’ piece since film school, like 20 years ago (damn it hurts typing that).

I thought through how to make the most of the 3 minutes, 20 seconds of footage that the cartridge would yield at 18fps. General timeline, establishing shots, panning, etc. I didn’t want to do too much planning because the people factor would likely stuff up any plans. However, at the same time I also realized that the people factor is something to capture in and of itself. There was no formal storyboard or hard shot list. Just had a rough idea of the desired flow and was flexible.

The film was developed/scanned at Pro8mm and they did a super job, but holy smokes so… many… options! If you don’t regularly do video, it’s a little overwhelming. Frame size, color, file type, frame rate, image frame, etc. I landed on the following:

  • Resolution: 2048 x 1556 2K 4×3
  • Color: ‘Best light’, which basically analyzes the first few scenes and applies exposure/color settings to entire roll.
  • Frame rate: 18fps
  • Image Frame: ‘Overscan’, which includes a little bit outside of the exposed frame. Just enough sprocket hole to quench the inner hipster, but not enough to get eye rolls.
  • Codec: ProRes 4444 HQ

If any of those are no-no’s, drop a comment and set me straight. I chose ‘best light’ because color was irrelevant and I didn’t want to screw around too much editing (still trying to just learn the basics of DaVinci). 18fps was chosen because it’s native to my camera. ProRes 4444 HQ codec was chosen because… well, I can’t remember.

When it was time to edit, I grabbed a track from the youtube audio library and synched up the shots in DaVinci. In the end, approximately 30 seconds of footage was cut, which is roughly 15% of the roll. I considered that a win, but more of the race shots probably should have been cut as they get a little repetitive.

I’m planning to put together another one this year, but on Vision3 200t. I shot one cartridge at the show this past weekend. It was the first time shooting that stuff, so looking forward to see how it compares to Ektachrome (vid below). Unfortunately, Vision3 is a negative film so no projector (denied!).

2 thoughts on “Sweatin’ to the oldies

  1. Dean Kyte says:

    Nice work, majicaryo. The Minolta XL-400 is a great camera. I just shot a cartridge of 200T myself over the weekend with my Minolta XL-401. Though it’s primarily intended for indoor shooting, on a sunny day, you can get a really beautiful blue sky on 200T.

    Liked by 1 person

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