What makes great Super8 wedding films so powerful is
not just the medium. Super8 cameras are built with a
bygone technology that’s been surpassed many times over.
Putting their distinctiveness to effective use is not something
editor that happens automatically when you pick up the camera,
or even when you master its functional idiosyncrasies.
Nostalgia’s a powerful thing that every Super8 shooter
has on his or her side, but it’s not enough to make a film
work. So much of what your audience will see begins with
marking TIME what you see when you look through the viewfinder; the
camera and the medium, at best, are a vehicle for your
vision. You just have to hope that the camera’s technological
limitations don’t get in the way.
olm Tóibín’s forthcoming book, Brooklyn, set in Fast-forward to the Great Fusion Panic of 2009,
Brooklyn and southeastern Ireland in the early inspired by the release of the Canon 5D Mark II, which
1950s, is the best kind of period novel: It’s not adorns the cover of this issue and seems virtually limitless.
retro in a romanticized, nostalgic, ironic, or kitschy way, It’s not just hysteria that surrounds this camera; there’s
but it is a throwback of sorts, in that it makes no attempt also euphoria over the resolution, the image quality, and
to impose a modern sensibility or narrative style on an the bokeh. The fear, of course, is that putting that sort of
earlier time. It’s refreshing to read a quiet, straightforward moving-image capability in a still camera will put it into
book like Brooklyn that is not only set 60 years ago, but the hands of photographers, who will then use it to wrest
could have been written 60 years ago. business away from videographers.
It’s not that Tóibín is somehow trapped in the past or so In some markets, this is already happening. But even
cloistered that he isn’t connected to the current day. But, though the 5D Mark II may make videography more
like the best novelists, he’s able to adopt the perspective attractive to photographers, it doesn’t make it as attainable
of the world he’s creating to make it come alive. Of as it seems. As Patrick Moreau points out in his incisive
course, it’s always a balancing act, but it’s one that Tóibín 5D Mark II cover story, if you try to think and shoot in
performs especially skillfully in Brooklyn. two mediums at once, your work will suffer. But that
The obvious analogy in our business is the videographer won’t stop people from trying to sell it. And a glimpse of
who mixes, say, film and HD in the same timeline without the image quality may get the booking, even if the footage
making one or the other seem out of place. I appreciate doesn’t add up to a cohesive capturing of the day.
Super8 most when it feels as if it’s being used for a purpose— And then,