When films were made on film

A presentation by life member, Brian Meetens – Wednesday 18th October 2023

At our last club meeting, Brian presented a selection of entertaining story films made by SDFM’s predecessor, Shoreham Cine Club.  Some of these dated as far back as the 1970’s.  These were filmed using 8mm photographic film, at a time when you had to send off your raw film stock to Kodak for processing. Editing involved manual cutting and splicing and sound was added later.  All so different to modern digital video, which it has to be said, looks a whole lot easier! 

Brian wove these old films into an expert narration, recorded to camera, explaining each stage of the process.  The films themselves covered several genres – fantasy, comedy, drama and adventure and stood the test of time very well indeed.  The highlight must have been ‘Incident at Trails End’, a very convincing cowboy Western which won numerous awards, including from the USA.  As Brian put it, this was the greatest accolade they could have wished for.

Many thanks, Brian, for an excellent presentation, which was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone present.

Bob Summers

Photos: Home Page – A typical Super 8 film splicer designed to accurately cut the film and join (or splice) the edits. Pic shows splicer ready to cut the film.

Photos from Top – Brian explaining the principles of making films on film.

A Super 8 film editor, allowing you to run the film at the correct speed or hand wind the raw film material and decide where you want to cut your sequence. This particular model is a sound editor, letting you hear the sound and cut accordingly. This is because on Super 8, the sound is 18 frames ahead of the picture, meaning you need to cut for sound rather than picture, other wise you could lose some of your dialogue. This editor also allows you to record additional sound onto the film.

Frame enlargement from Shoreham Cine Club’s Super 8 widescreen western film, ‘Incident at Trails End’. The club used an ‘anamorphic lens’ to produce the widescreen image and the production was made in conjunction with the Trails End Western club, whose H/Q at the time was at Edburton, a small village north of Brighton.