Mishkin Productions Australia

SOUND AND SUPER8

Many Super8 camera's are able to use sound striped Super8 film.  Once processed this film can then be played on a sound projector.  Unfortunately this type of film has not been manufactured since the early 1990's.  There are stocks still available, and some in good usable condition if they have been kept frozen.  Camera's designed to use sound film can also use currently available silent film.  However, for many film makers using a separate sound system offers advantages such as the ease and affordability of digital recording.

RECORDING SOUND?

Most Super8 cameras are noisy, not ear shattering, but certainly noticeable.  To record sound whilst filming with a Super8 camera, first muffle the camera.  Dense materials, either cloth or plastic based sponge work best.  Always use a boom pole for the mike.  Starting with the recording device, and assuming one would want the ease of digital, many recommend DAT or hard drive recorders.  These can be rented, but are expensive, and require at least a modicum of understanding.  An often overlooked digital recording option is either the highly portable and affordable MiniDisc, or computer recording software on a laptop connected to a microphone.

MINI DISK RECORDERS?

Aside from purchasing professional and semi-pro digital recorders, which can cost up to $2000 second-hand, there is the commonly available Minidisc.  These are essentially pocket sized portable ‘walkmans’ that use Minidiscs to play music and record sound digitally.  All one has to do is connect a microphone via a commonly available cheap adapter, connect headphones to listen to quality, adjust recording level, and record.  Minidisc players/recorders are widely available in Australia, either in second hand shops or ebay. 

The minidisc  media, or disks, are affordable and available through JB HiFi, to name one major retailer.  You can purchase a Minidisc player/recorder for between $40 to $70 online, or $70 to $150 through a second hand dealer.  MiniDiscs are no longer available new.  This is not to say they are unreliable or poor quality, just that Mp3 players dominated the market.  For years MiniDisc's where the choice  of musicians recording either live gigs or at home, proving they are rugged and reliable.

LAPTOP COMPUTERS

The Laptop computer, or any portable computer, tablet, or even smart phone, with capable software can be capable of recording digital sound.  The internet offers many recording programs for free download, as well as countless "Apps".  Although the portable computer can be very handy recording sound, they are still comparitively expensive and cumbersome compared to a MiniDisc.  A way around the cost is to purchase an old laptop, even a pentium II computer running Windows 98 is capable of recording 16bit digital sound.  just buy a new battery.

MICROPHONES

Microphones are a touch more complex in variety, but can be simplified if you know how you want to record sound and with what quality.  Considering that Super8 cameras are noisy, try to avoid omni-directional microphones .  These will pick up every sound, especially a Super8 camera.  Try to use cardioid or super cardioid microphones.  Cardioid are common ‘singing’ mics, they pick up mostly what is directly in front of them.  Super cardioid mics are very directional, in some ways ideal for Super8, but one has to be careful not to aim away from the person speaking and pick up sound bouncing off the wall behind them.  Cardioid microphones are a good compromise, cheap to purchase, second hand between $90 to $150.  Super cardioid are expensive, yet very effective. 

Also be aware of the differences between dynamic and  condenser  microphones.  Dynamic are more expensive and require no power source from the recording device, a simple plug and listen mike.  Condenser mikes are cheaper, and often do not need external power, yet high-end condenser mikes may require "phantom power" to pick up sound.  These mikes may require a microphone pre-amp.  Mains powered pre-amp's are cheap new, yet portable ones are quite expensive.

CAMERA BLIMPS

The term Camera Blimp refers to a sound deadening cover that is placed on the camera, thereby reducing the noise emitted when it is running.  Traditionally blimps are available almost exclusively for 16mm and 35mm film cameras.  Due to the variety of Super8 camera designs and shapes, very few companies offer blimps for Super8 cameras.  Homemade designs vary according to requirements, from a simple blanket to purpose built covers to suit most environments.  An example of such a design is on the following web page.. 

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