This is a video I created in October 2010 using old Super 8 footage from SKH Lam Woo Memorial Secondary School’s 10th anniversary celebrations held in in November 1980. The video was produced for the school’s 40th anniversary celebrations and is the second in a series of promotional videos
These Super 8 video clips were recorded during the school’s tenth anniversary celebrations in November 1980. It is the only video footage from the school’s first thirty years (the camera operators are unknown). This video features almost every clip from seven of the eight original reels of film (each real contained about two-and-a-half minutes of film). The type of Super 8 film used for these recordings cannot record sound. All sounds and music were added in the editing process.The following tracks were used as background music:
- Dustin O’Halloran – Opus 36
- Gackt – Returner
- Epik High – Forest
- Joe Hisaishi – Theme from Princess Mononoke
- Kostas Pavlidis – Spread Your Wings and Fly
- 楊庶正 – 祝福太平山 (performed by the Lam Woo’s Intermediate Girls Choir)
- Hon See-wah – Erhu Solo
- Michael Nyman – Peeking
- The Brilliant Green – Goodbye and Good Luck
The first video in this series of promotional videos was School Memories: Hong Kong in the Seventies
Here are silent versions of individual scenes:
Lam Woo Pom Poms
Lam Woo Lion Dance
Gymnastics Dance Routine
The following footage did not suit the 10th Anniversary Celebrations, so I uploaded it separately:
1980 Speech Day (Unedited footage of the school’s speech day held during the anniversary celebrations. A recent version of the school hymn being performed by the school’s mixed voice choir is used as the audio track.The film quality is not good because the lighting conditions were not suitable for shooting with that kind of camera at such a distance (the camera appears to be have been positioned on the balcony at the back of the hall). In addition, the film has deteriorated over the last thirty years and almost all colour information has been lost (the whole film had turned reddish). Basically, I just tried to make the scene visible by working with various effects relating to light (mainly luma correction).
The scanned photos seen during the end credits of the main video can be downloaded from the following flickr page:
About the Editing Process
The images were edited using Premiere Pro and After Effects CS4. The photos were retouched in Photoshop CS3.
In June, I found eight small reels of developed (and very degraded) film in a paper bag, at the bottom of a big plastic container full of old photographs from the 70s and 80s. The container itself was at the bottom of a cupboard. Our TA, Cherry, helped me track down a local company that could do a telecine transfer (i.e., create digital files from film stock)—Last Coyote Productions. When I looked at the converted ANI files, I was really disappointed. Ideally, Super 8 film should be stored in cool (just above freezing) and dry temperatures. Thirty years in the steaming climate of Hong Kong had taken its toll on the film stock. The pictures were grainy, muddy, dark and purplish—basically just shadows moving around in a purple murk—and marred by scratches, flickering, bright red flashes and squirming lilac squiggles. And there was no sound. (I didn’t know that only some kinds of Super 8 film record sound).
Each reel contained about two-and-a-half minutes of film. This is why the editing sometimes seems a little choppy. A lot of the shots were very short (just a few seconds), presumably because the video camera operators were trying capture long events in a few minutes of film.
Almost all the usable clips from seven of the reels are included in this video. The eighth reel features the speech day, which mainly consists of recordings of (silent) speeches and students receiving awards. That has been uploaded separately.
I’m still not satisfied with the images (the colours seem washed out), but they are a lot better than they were at the beginning. Fortunately, I soon learned to appreciate the flaws in the footage. The graininess gave the shots texture. Squiggles added movement and colour to the scene. Flashes could be synchronized to musical cues. Once I learned to embrace the decay and degradation, all was well.
I did learn a lot about the different colour applications in Premiere Pro and After Effects. The following effects were used:
- Auto color
- Auto balance
- Auto levels
- Brightness and contrast
- Color balance
- Color offset
- Remove grain
- Luma correction
- Luma curves
- Photo filter
- Color finesse (an After Effects plug-in that lets you handle a lot of the above effects at one time)
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