you commence a project,
SHOOT A TEST ROLL!
importantly this will test your camera's light meter, the camera's
film transport, if the camera is working at all, your ability
to focus, your techniques, as well as giving you a sense of what
you are going to get with the equipment, people and skills you
have. If you are going to use any special filters or locations
in your shoot, or slow or fast motion effects etc., include them
in your test if you can. For the cinematographically advanced
shooting a test is still an essential step to test that the camera
will do what you know it can do, and also to callibrate your light
meter to the camera (for instruction on using a hand held meter,
click here). If you are going to shoot
film, you have to know your equipment if you are going to avoid
being disappointed. Some possible problems that a test roll will
help you avoid: does the camera actually transport the film? does
the internal light meter work? are the optics clean? is the shutter
accidently set to 'shut'? have you accidently left the exposure
compensation dial to 'over expose'? does the internal filter work?
etc etc. We have seen many rolls wasted in these and other unnecessary
ways which is disheartening for us as well as for the customer.
Just because the camera worked last time it was used, it doesn't
mean that it is still working now with the currently available
film stocks. Remember too that just because your camera produced
acceptable results with one film stock, it may not when using
another of a different film speed.
If you need any help with shooting a test, please, please, please
Also, we advise that you
ALWAYS USE FRESH BATTERIES!
a bulk pack of cheap batteries and put a fresh set in every few
rolls. Batteries are very cheap, film, processing, transfer, your
and everyone elses time are not. Keeping the camera's batteries
fresh helps ensure the camera's drive motor has enough power to
transport the film smoothly through the super 8 cartridge without
jitter or jamming.
request is that you
CLEAN THE FILM GATE!
Little bits of hair or dust in the film gate are highly visible
and distracting when enlarged on the screen. So clean the gate
often, at least whenever you change the film cartridge. Have a
blower brush and a wooden implement like a toothpick handy for
CHECK THE VIEWFINDER DIOPTER SETTING!
This is the little knob, dial, slider or some such that focuses
the viewfinder for your eye. This device can get bumped, slid,
turned, moved of fiddled with by accident without you knowing.
If focus is important (and why wouldn't it be?) don't assume that
if you set the diopter once, its still set correctly. Check it
often. For instructions on setting the diopter see the technical
tips pages of this site.
Also, if you are undertaking a major project of some kind
HAVE A BACK UP CAMERA!
You need to have a plan for if your main camera dies. What's more,
its no use if you don't know for sure that this camera works.
Save a few feet of your test roll for testing the basic functions
of your back up camera.