This site has limited support for your browser. We recommend switching to Edge, Chrome, Safari, or Firefox.

Retail store Hours 9AM- 5PM Monday- Friday PST

It's Wedding Season- Essential Tips Every Super 8 Wedding Filmmaker Should Know

It's Wedding Season- Essential Tips Every Super 8 Wedding Filmmaker Should Know 

(C) Pro8mm 2024

It’s officially wedding season, and here at Pro8mm, we have seen a huge up-tick in the number of weddings being shot on super 8 film. In actuality, we see your gorgeous wedding footage 12 months a year, and have for over 50 years. But with the noticeable increase of wedding footage coming in from clients, and so many being first timers, this is as good a time as any to offer some tips to newbies and experienced filmmakers alike on how to avoid pitfalls and maximize your results.

Unlike a film production, there are no opportunities to reshoot a wedding. When something goes wrong, you want to know what can be done to fix the problem, and how to avoid it in the future.  While there is not a work around to everything that can come up, there are many things you can do in advance of the wedding, and at the event to ensure that you have a great result. Here are some essential tips every Super 8 wedding filmmaker should know.

Test Your Camera

Whether you are using a new camera or one that has been a trusted companion for years, it's crucial to test it before the big day. Did you know that 90% of cameras are over 50 years old? Even if your camera has been serviced or restored, there is still a chance it could fail when you need it the most.

Having a back-up camera is crucial, and if possible, consider having a second film shooter on hand. If you notice anything unusual during your test, such as strange sounds or the motor struggling, don't ignore it. It's better to be safe than sorry when it comes to capturing important moments.

How to Test Your Camera

Check out this informative video on how to properly test your camera before your event. It's always better to be proactive and ensure that your equipment is working. If you encounter any issues during your test, consider renting or purchasing a reliable camera from a trusted source. All Pro8mm rentals are film tested, giving you peace of mind for your important shoot. But even so, bring along a backup! Don't take any chances with your camera equipment- your clients are depending on you to capture their special day. 

Brush Your Camera Gate

Have you ever experienced the frustration of finding dirt or debris on your beautifully shot footage? It can be disheartening to see imperfections in your work that were caused by something as simple as a dirty camera gate. The good news is that keeping your camera gate clean is a straightforward process that can prevent these issues from occurring.

How can you clean your camera gate effectively?

The fix for a dirty camera gate is simple and should be done between every roll of film. Avoid using compressed air, as this can push the dirt further into the camera. Instead, opt for a gentle approach by using a child's toothbrush to lightly brush the inside of the camera gate. This method is effective at removing debris without causing damage to the camera.

For a visual guide on how to clean your camera gate, check out the video we created years ago. While the video may be dated, the technique remains relevant and can help you maintain the cleanliness of your camera gate.

Purchase the Correct Film Stock

When it comes to shooting on film, selecting the correct film stock is essential for achieving the best results. First, make sure your camera takes SUPER 8 film. There are lots of other formats out there- Regular 8, Double Super 8, 16mm, so always double check that you are buying the correct format. When it comes to choosing a Super 8 stock, understand the lighting conditions of your shooting location is crucial in making the right choice. Let's dive into how to choose the right film stock based on the lighting conditions of your shoot.

Consider the Time of Day

Before selecting your film stock, determine the time of day you will be shooting. Natural light varies throughout the day, affecting the overall look of your footage. If you are shooting during the day, you may need a different film stock compared to shooting at night. Weather conditions can change unexpectedly, forcing you to move your shoot indoors. It's important to be prepared for such scenarios by having the appropriate film stock on hand. Always have a backup plan in case you need to shoot in different lighting conditions than originally planned.

Choosing a Film Stock

If you are shooting the ceremony indoors and the reception outdoors, you will need different film stocks to accommodate the varying lighting conditions. For indoor shooting, Tungsten film such as 200T or 500T is recommended (can also be used  outside with an 85 filter.)  If shooting outdoors, Daylight film such as 50D or 250D is more suitable.

Some film stocks tend to run better in some camera models than others.  We always say the most consistent thing about Super 8 film is its inconsistency.  But we do know that color negative film is thicker than the reversal stocks.  Reversal film was the only option on the market when the cameras were built.  Pro8mm was the first company to come out with Super 8 color negative in 1992. If your camera is struggling to advance the film, your camera might need it’s take-up torque increased, as we do with all cameras we sell at Pro8mm to better transport color negative film. It can be helpful to have a few different stocks on hand in case one in struggling or the lighting conditions change. Color negative stocks have 13 stops of latitude, so you have good exposure range in most lighting conditions. 

Switching Between Cartridges

You can switch between different film cartridges during a shoot, but keep in mind that every time you change cartridges, the footage counter will reset back to 50 feet. It's a good idea to write down how many feet you left off when you took out the cartridge, so you know how much you have left.  This is a common reason why filmmakers think they are missing footage. You think you filmed something, but the cartridge was at the end.   As long as there is a cartridge in the camera,  you will hear the motor running when pressing the trigger. Switching cartridges does not rewind the film, it simply resets the footage counter. Plan your cartridge changes strategically to minimize disruptions in your shooting process. 

Check Your Camera Settings

Are you struggling with blurry footage on your camera?  One crucial setting to check is the diopter focus. Make sure to adjust it to match your eye for a clear viewfinder image. If the diopter is not correctly set, your footage may appear blurry.

Ensure Proper Aperture Settings

Another important setting to consider is the aperture. If the aperture is too closed, not enough light will enter the camera, resulting in dark or black footage. Ensure that the aperture is open enough to allow sufficient light for a clear image.

Watch this Video for Help

If you are using the 814 camera model and need assistance with adjusting your settings, watch the video below for a step-by-step guide:

Traveling with Your Film

As a photography enthusiast, you know the importance of protecting your film at all costs. Whether you shoot on 35mm, medium format, or large format, the last thing you want is for your precious images to be ruined by mishandling during travel. That's why it's crucial to understand the risks associated with checking film in your luggage.

What are the Risks?

When you check your luggage at the airport, it goes through a series of handling processes that can potentially damage your film. The x-ray machines used for scanning checked baggage emit high levels of radiation, which can fog or ruin undeveloped film. Additionally, the rough handling of luggage by airport staff can cause physical damage to your film canisters, leading to light leaks or scratches on the film itself.

How to Protect Your Film

The best way to protect your film while traveling is to always carry it with you in your carry-on luggage. By keeping your film in your possession, you can ensure that it doesn't go through the x-ray machines meant for checked baggage. If you are asked to put your carry-on bag through the x-ray scanner at security, kindly request a hand inspection of your film to avoid any potential damage.

Shooting at 18 or 24 Frames Per Second

Did you know that all Super 8 cameras were designed to film at 18 frames per second? This standard speed was the norm, especially during the era when Super 8 was primarily used for shooting home movies. While many modern cameras offer variable filming speeds, 18 fps remains the optimal choice for Super 8 cameras.

Why 18 Frames Per Second?

When you shoot a Super 8 film cartridge at 18 fps, you can enjoy a little over 3 minutes of running time. This speed not only provides a decent amount of footage but also helps save on the cost of film stock. In comparison, filming at 24 frames per second will give you about 2 1/2 minutes of footage from a Super 8 cartridge.

The Benefits of 18 fps vs. 24fps. 

Better super 8 cameras have the option of filming at 24fps. But because Super 8 cameras were designed to work at 18 fps, they tend to work their best at 18 fps.  The footage captured at 18 frames per second looks completely professional and is ideal for various filmmaking projects. One thing to be mindful of is if you are editing in with digital footage shot at 24fps. In this case, you may want to choose 24fps so that all material is at the same speed.

AA Batteries 

Most cameras run off AA batteries. Because the cameras are old, we recommend changing the batteries every couple of rolls. If you notice any issues such as the motor struggling, it could be a sign that the batteries need to be replaced. In some cases, the motor may simply be getting weak due to the age of the camera.

Light Meter Batteries

If your camera requires light meter batteries, it is essential to make sure you have fresh ones installed. Additionally, it's a good idea to keep an extra set on hand in case of emergencies. This will ensure that your camera's light meter functions accurately at all times.


Sending Film to the Lab

Now that your event is over,  it's important to ensure that your film is properly prepared before sending it off to the lab for processing. Here are some important steps to take:

Check for the Word "EXPOSED"

Make sure that each cartridge of film clearly shows the word "EXPOSED" on the edge. If shooting our Pro8-07 250D, or look for a little hanging tail that is no longer attached to the cartridge. This indicates that the film has been exposed all the way to the end of the roll and is ready for processing.

Partially Shot Rolls

Wo do not recommend you send partially shot rolls to the lab. If your event is over, find something fun to film at home before you send your film in. If we get back a partially shot roll, the lab must film the cartridge to end before it goes into processing in one of our cameras.  If the film advances to the end, and you get back a blank roll, the problem was that your camera stopped advancing the film, or, there was a user error and your aperture was closed. The only way to ensure your camera ran all the film, is for you to film with it. 

Blank Rolls

If you get back a blank roll of film, the issue may be that your camera stopped advancing the film or there was a user error such as a closed aperture, or you didn't use all the film. Check out this video for more information on why Black rolls can happen.

We understand the disappointment of receiving a blank roll, especially if it was for an important event like a wedding. Unfortunately, reshooting is usually not an option. Per our terms of service, we unfortunately cannot give refunds for camera failures or user error.  We still had all the labor and materials cost on our end, and we need to cover those costs. We also will not know its black, until we run it on the scanner.  We will however send you a coupon for a discount on a future order, but please make sure you get your camera checked.

 Choosing Digital Mastering Settings

When it comes to digitizing your film, there are several scanning options available to ensure the best results and the aesthetic look you desire. 


If you want to see the perforations on your film, it is recommended to order a Production Scan or higher. Our basic scan comes with limited scan choices; the full format overscan option is not offered in a basic scan. Here is a photo of the frame set up options to help you make an informed decision.

Color Timing

If you opt for a best light scan, make sure the entire roll was shot in good natural light and only under one lighting condition. Otherwise, it is advisable to choose a log scan and consider having the professionals color correct it for optimal results.

Why should you consider not recycling the film?

While film can last for decades when stored properly, digital files may get corrupted or lost over time. It is always recommended to give the original negatives back to the client for safekeeping. This ensures that the memories captured on film are preserved for future generations.

Remember, if you decide later to have color correction done by Pro8mm, there may be additional charges for rescanning the entire roll and applying the correction. You will also need the physical film in order for us to re-scan. 

Why are Super 8 Weddings Special?

When it comes to capturing the magic of a wedding day, nothing compares to the power of film. Remember, film is forever. From the emotional vows to the joyful celebrations, a well-crafted wedding video can truly take your breath away.

By creating beautiful Super 8 wedding videos, you are preserving memories that will last a lifetime. Be sure to tag us on social media, and send us a link so we can promote your wedding business. Mostly importantly, thank you for your continued trust to help you capture these special moments.

Courtesy of Carli Call- Gather Films

Courtesy of Regan Scaife Photo & Film

How I send my Film in For Processing to Pro8mm- Courtesy of @Madisentimp_weddings

Alesia Films IG LIVE Collab with Pro8mm - Courtesy of Alesia Films

Let's Talk "Cropping" With Super 8 Film- Courtesy of Gather Films

Pro8mm Wedding Collection on Instagram

(C) Pro8mm 2024.