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Hypothetical Question....

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  • Hypothetical Question....

    I am sure we have all experienced the thrill of tracking down a film you have been searching for for ages, or an opportunity to buy an "A" list film that you never in your wildest dreams thought you would ever own ? I know I have !

    My question is.....

    If the vast majority of films from the 1930's to 1980's had been made available full length on super 8mm, then would super 8 collecting have been as exciting as we all know that it is, or would we have just become blase about the whole thing ? Would the movement have died years ago, or would it have given video / dvd a run for its money ?

    Ok folks...... it's over to you.......

  • #2
    Hi Melvin,

    I think money has always been an issue, and the cost difference and convenience of video had to take the day in the end.

    Back in the day, if people wanted any kind of movies in their homes at all, film was the thing. Either people dealt with the expense or they did without. These days, the people that collect film do it for the love of the medium, even if we do have lower cost choices too. The people who just want to watch the movies in the cheapest, least demanding way voted with their feet back in the last Century.

    Back when many, many features were being printed on 16mm, there were a few very wealthy people who had large collections and beautiful home theaters. Maybe the ones who loved the apparatus manned the projection booth at least part time. -for the others? The Butler did it! In those houses, they went digital years ago and the booth is a spare pantry now. Many have a 16mm machine stuffed and mounted, just for décor. The idea of using one is almost unthinkable!

    This of course is why so many people don't get what we do. I have a couple of features that cost three or four average trips to the supermarket. They are commonly available on disc for less than a pizza costs and take up maybe a tenth the shelf space. If you stream, you can have a different movie every night and have to store nothing at all. For somebody that doesn't care about the experience of actually showing a real film, the choice here is a no-brainer. That's why I try not to ever discuss it with them!


    • #3
      It is possible that the earlier feature releases on Super 8 were edited due to contractual reasons, as were the early Tom & Jerry cartoons from Walton.


      • #4
        Some were, to be sure. Many of the earliest features were public domain features, which could be released intact. Bigger, better and more famous, classic films, like "It's A Wonderful Life" became available. If you were dealing with a top of the line studio, then yes, editing could come into play.
        Last edited by Osi Osgood; May 26, 2022, 10:24 AM.


        • #5
          I'd say too, had the demand for many, many S8 features been present, the supply would have grown up to meet it.

          The problem is that given the prices, the demand was never strong enough to really make for a profitable business making and selling these films.


          • #6
            DVD projection is a good substitute. A decent projector doesn't cost much more than a Ebay GS1200 AND factory restore job. So around 1,800.00. usd. I paid slightly less for my Panasonic ax200 U plus dvd players with a decent dvd selector switchbox. And the quality of dvd features, and the ease to find them, is certainly a plus.

            Although given the opportunity, I would love to walk in to main street camera shops for supplies - and contact film dealers for more features far more than using dvd projection.


            • #7
              Interesting fantasy Melvin. Studios had very tight reins on their films so they wouldn’t have allowed such a thing. However they would’ve saved a ton of money not having to use 16mm for the military by making super 8 prints. But then we wouldn’t have the 16mm features and shorts to choose from these days.
              It would probably have come to a screeching halt with the advent of home video. But sticking to 8mm and Super 8 it’s still a thrill for me to find films that I had when I was a kid and find those I never dreamed existed in the 8mm formats. Thank goodness some people kept these films around and didn’t just toss them in a dumpster thinking no one would ever want them.
              Thanks to those like David Baker for keeping the hobby alive by bringing us the opportunity to get new condensed versions of popular and cult features. May the hobby continue for many more years.



              • #8
                For me only Super 8 digests were sort of affordable at that time, Features for the most part were way out of my league, plus I am sure the general public as well "cost wise". Although I still like projecting film, video projectors etc have come a long way, including blu-ray, 3D, 4K and so on, at a fraction of the cost of film so for those who enjoy watching features at home that is really the only practical way to go. I think looking back if it wasn't for those "digests" it would have been a hobby very strictly for the very rich, and I for one, would have never really bothered with it, except for taking some Super8 with a camera, but that's a different story.

                I really don't think film could have in any way given Video/DVD/blu-ray a run for its money, so my answer to Melvin is......Nope...


                • #9
                  What's interesting is even given the features we do have, to most people the idea of a feature film on Super-8 was (and is) actually pretty exotic. I've been an 8mm fan since I was a little kid: my first paycheck from my first job went towards a commercial print and a movie camera that was reduced price at a local store. (Mom and Dad bought me a projector for Christmas.)

                  So starting in the late 1970s I was a film collector: silents only. Until the late 1990s when I got on the internet, I was isolated from other people that did the same. Sound itself was exotic: I knew other people that had 8mm films, but none of them had sound. I'm actually the first person I ever knew that had a sound projector, and that came in 2002 after I heard of Derann.

                  So if you asked me in the mid-1990s if there were ever Super-8 features, I would swear up and down: "No!". -and why wouldn't I? Isolated as I was, I was the local "expert"! (This is how isolation can become dangerous!) Back around 1990 I had my collection: 20 films including my own productions and some commercial prints with one projector. I showed them a couple of times a year and was content with that. If you told me I was headed towards sound and 16mm and a permanent setup I would have really doubted that. That's the difference Internet access makes: knowledge and personal connections.

                  Maybe 8 years ago, I showed my Derann Toy Story to my friend and her aunt. The Aunt said "It's just a few clips, right?"

                  It's just the way most people imagined such things.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Melvin England View Post
                    If the vast majority of films from the 1930's to 1980's had been made available full length on super 8mm, then would super 8 collecting have been as exciting as we all know that it is, or would we have just become blase about the whole thing ? Would the movement have died years ago, or would it have given video / dvd a run for its money ?...
                    More Super 8 feature releases never happened because there never was a market for it. The cost to the average consumer (as opposed to the avid film collector) was far too high.

                    Film collecting is fading, but will be around for years to come (for those with large amounts of disposable income).


                    • #11
                      Also for some a matter of space. You could store 4-6 cut downs in the space a Super 8 feature would take up.


                      • #12
                        Like most collectors I started with digests but there are so many limitations and shortfalls with them plus once you start on features you never go back. Same with I was happy with temporary set up of screen and speakers but when you see other collectors home cinemas it pushes you to have one.


                        • #13
                          I largely agree with Mike, but I did bother with digests on a few occasions. 1. Nolstalgia. 2. Sometimes there just isn't enough time on the day for a feature. To this very, every month or so, there is another title that shows up on eBay or otherwise, that I never knew existed on super 8!