Would you like the night mode on Quora?

You only have to think about the rattling of the projector

In the article Per App in the 1980s, I presented the VHS Camcorder app, which gives a digital video recording an analogue look. When filming with the app, it looks like the sequence came from a video camera and has suffered quite a bit in the years since it was recorded.

Now VHS is not the ultimate hipster technology - and in the history of moving image recording options it is only a footnote and not a chapter of its own. Because over a much longer period of time and with a much more charming result, as an amateur you have captured your memories on cine film.

Super 8 was widespread and was also used in my family. My uncle was filming on important occasions and cutting the three-minute rolls with a glue press. And we also experimented with stop motion. The camera was capable of single image exposure, so that animation sequences could be staged with Lego figurines.

Slow motion and fast motion were also possible. Likewise assembly tricks:

For example, you could incorporate a sequence upside down, which meant that it ran backwards when projected. If I remember correctly, the picture was upside down: The perforation in Super 8 film runs along the left edge to the single image, not above and below as with 35 millimeter still film.

If you had turned it around, the image would have been projected upside down. You had to think along while filming and turn the camera around for backwards sequences. Honestly, it's all a lot easier in Final Cut.

Back to the cine film: There were many other variants, as you can read on Wikipedia: With differences in format, perforation, with magnetic sound or optical sound or mute. However, this is not necessarily better today when I think of the various digital codecs, container formats and DRM methods. If you get an AVI file in twenty years, you will shake your head just as much as if you have to play or digitize a Pathé Rural film today.

Uh, back to the topic: If you want to simulate the charm of analogue cine film instead of video aesthetics, then you use the 8mm Vintage Camera app. They are available for 3 francs for the iPhone. It's not available for Android, but according to Quora, Retro Camera is the best alternative.

It perfectly simulates the technical characteristics of the film format. Use a rotary knob to select the "film", although the name is slightly misleading. It doesn't actually simulate original films like the Kodak Vision 50D, which is still available for sale. Rather, it is about color effects à la Instagram. That's a bit of a shame, because as a real Super 8 nerd, you'd like to have a simulation of the material you were using back then. But for absolute authenticity you might rent a real camera after all.

In the app you can switch from the front to the selfie camera and rotate yourself. Also something that was rather difficult with a real Super 8 camera. You have several sound options and can also turn mute in proper style. On the LensButton is used to simulate light leaks, vignettes or poor masking: it means that the image does not fill the entire format or you can even see the perforation a bit. And about the Jitter-Button you build in a picture jump.

Conclusion: It's fun and the results seem authentic, at least to the untrained eye. The far too high resolution of a smartphone camera is and will remain telltale. How big the resolution of Super-8 actually is is difficult to say approximately. It depends on the film, the lens and, in the case of older material, also on the condition. You can scan Super 8 films in HD, but in most cases SD should be sufficient.

In any case, the recordings are not as crisp and rich in contrast as we know from today's smartphone cameras. If you want to use the app for serious purposes, you will definitely want to edit the recordings manually before chasing them through the 8mm Vintage Camera app. Fortunately, however, this is possible: you can also «analogize» existing clips.

By the way: The app claims to have been used in the film Searching for Sugar Man. And in 2013 it won an Oscar for best documentary. At nofilmschool.com you can read a few details about it - and find out that “genuinely analog” is better in case of doubt:

While only a few pickups from “Searching For Sugar Man” were actually shot on an iPhone with the 8mm Vintage Camera app (most of the film was shot on Super 8mm film), the fact that these scenes blended right in and didn't detract from the story in the slightest is telling. Newer technologies are great, and they help push the industry forward (and they're fun to argue about), but in the end, it always comes down to telling engaging stories, and utilizing whatever you have at your disposal.

Speaking of the title: If you don't want to think about the sound, you can find it on the internet.

Contribution picture: A Super 8 projector (Kammerin Hunt / Unsplash, Unsplash license).

Author: Matthias

Computer journalist, family man, radio man and podcaster, nerd, blogger and skeptic. Beloved when it comes to blogging - and advocate of a free, open Internet in which not all interesting content disappears in the data silos of a few large Internet companies. If you like the blog here, you are welcome to buy me a beer or tea: paypal.me/schuessler Show all posts by Matthias

Author MatthiasPosted on Categories Android, Insider tip, iPhone and iPadTags AV production, Retro