Tuesday, November 3, 2009

8mm Distress Kit Review

I had the opportunity to review Mediapreview's 8mm Distress Kit which is a $35 series of 28 clips to make your footage look like you shot it with your favorite Yashica 8-E III or Argus 8 back when 8mm meant split 16mm rather than 8mm video tapes.

What you get are two .mov files at 720x480 at 29.97fps. Every editor (and audience practically) is familiar with Artbeat's film looks so it's good to get some fresh material to work with and using them couldn't be simpler. Mediapreview has posted instructions here to help you out.

The first 60sec file has 14 clips strung together with numbers between each bit of footage so you can find one relatively quickly. My assistant thought that it would be easier to have them all as separate clips rather than two long files you have to shuttle through but I guess it's six of one really. I think it's simpler to scrub though two long clips rather than load up each one separately to find one that suits your needs. The second file has the other 14 clips and runs about 52 seconds.

The clips themselves run from leaders, mis-aligned, off-register, green keyed sprockets, dirty, grain, etc... but sadly, no burn throughs so this kit won't help you with your remake of Two-lane Blacktop. Another dificiency is the inclusion of just one dirty gate matte as item 13 on clip number 1.

However, the clips that are included are excellent at nailing that classic look of your old home movies or 1970's PSA's on PBS; they're really spot on. If you're out to re-create the healthy joys of Mulligan Stew in your backyard this kit is for you.

Basically, all you need to do is overlay the kit's clips atop your footage and choose an appropriate compositing method. I ended up using Screen a lot while playing around with the kit with some interesting and authentic results although stretching the clips to fit 16x9 footage to give it that 8mm look was pretty amusing.

For only $35, if you need that retro look and don't want to reuse the same clips that have been around for years, you really can't go wrong with Mediapreview's kit.

You can get some sample clips here and watch a demo here.

I'd like to see some more choices for mattes of dirty gates and some longer clips but the but the mood the material that is there already creates is pure authentic Radiant Screen ready fun. And yes, if you got all the references in this post you're old. Like me.

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