Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

I feel that I am slowly accepting my old life back again, so today I attended the latest British Film Collectors' Convention over in Ealing.

I've been coming to these things for years now, although they're not really what I'm into Super 8 film-making for. I'm attracted to the whole idea of making films, while these conventions are aimed at film collectors. As a result they're predominantly populated by second-hand stallholders and geniuses who've built their own cinemas in their front-rooms.

In 2004 David and I actually ran our own stall there, and I was pleased to come away afterwards having made a profit on a broken Siemens 9.5mm projector that I'd bought from a junk shop years earlier.

Thanks to the New Zealand years, that had been the last one of these I'd attended, until today.

Arriving shortly before the end, (as usual) I missed paying full price and made a cursory circuit of the remaining stalls, pausing only to buy a DVD for Herschel as a house-warming gift. (I hope his new house doesn't get too warm, or it'll melt)

After that I crept into the darkened cinema hall, and sat down. I'd missed the big 3-D spectacles that had been screening earlier, (along with the big 3-D spectacles that they'd been watched through) but found a sequence from Paul Newman's The Sting in progress off Super 8.

The picture-quality didn't impress me, and the room was so echoey that I couldn't really tell how the sound was, but without words to fill-up my brain, it set me thinking.

My own Super 8 productions are not getting any younger, so I recently conceded that, when finished, I would probably have to show them on HD, which would sadly rob them of the magic of real film. Nothing too surprising about that, until this morning when I read of a company who actually transfer HD back onto Super 8! This was a bit of a revelation to me. Now I have the chance to strike a brand new film copy from an HD version. But would the slight drop in quality be worth the expense?

Scrutinising the fuzzy image ahead of me, I had time to suppose not.

Next up were two cartoons – Mickey and Donald in The Band Concert and Tom and Jerry in Hollywood Bowl. Both shorts were entertainingly based around an orchestral performance, but half my attention was still on the picture quality. These colours were so deep and vivid that I had never seen anything like it! If I transferred my own films to HD, these rich textures were what I could be losing forever. Hmm... Food for thought, until I later learnt that I had been watching 35mm!

The final extract was a reel of Charlton Heston in El Cid. This was showing in Super 8 scope. I'm still absolutely gobsmacked that an image just 8mm in width can be so effectively blown-up to about 4-5 metres! Incredible.

Afterwards I caught-up with the projectionist, (who I think I last spoke to in 2000) before catching the bus back home again.

I have to say, I feel quite inspired.

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