Straight8 Film Competition


Straight8 invites anyone anywhere to make a short film on one cartridge of super 8 — without editing. The first time filmmakers see their film is at one of our awesome worldwide premieres, like at our infamous cannes film festival screening…

It has to be within the 3 minutes 20 seconds of one piece of film they send you. It costs £60 to enter and you need to get your hands on a Super8 camera and some test film + developing (to make sure it works). The soundtrack has to be original, submitted separately. Deadline:  march 29th 2012

I am going to enter, I have an idea.

I will document how I get on with the project here.


The Idea

Film the CCTV camera on the no.49 bus in London. Each time the CCTV screen flickers to the next camera in the chain a very different scene will be staged in view.

It will take planning down to the second of each of the 20 characters that will take part.

Stage 1. Outline the characters and what they will be doing.

Stage 2. Get the soundtrack sorted in line with the storyline/planned tempo.

Stage 3. Find the soundtrack (needs to be original) to suit the tempo and activities of the characters.

Stage 4. Shoot practice timings of each character with digital camera.

Stage 5. Shoot the real thing. I will get just one chance for every character to make their movements perfectly in time without interruption from the public, the driver or the law.


Initial test.

I went on the bus and filmed the screen with my phone, it looks like each camera is on for 5 seconds and there are 10 cameras.

Issue: Do any consequtive cameras overlap in their field of view, this would give no time for characters ending in one field of view to get out of the for the next shot. Hence they would have to pass through the shot before the end of the 5 second window.

The max time is 3 minutes 20 seconds, which means a max 40 different camera shots. May not use this many.

Finding a camera.

At the moment I just need a camera.


By fantastic chance a casual super 8 enthusiast, James Mcauslan, has landed on my lap and he is joining the team. Got a camera and good understanding of the technical side to shooting. He says he has filmed with the camera twice, once it worked. Have ordered the test film from this great company: BlueCinetech that he recommended.

We meet on tuesday at the no.49 bus stop to work out how to position and secure the camera in front of the CCTV screen.





The soundtrack has to be original.

I know I want the audio to match the tempo of the film, and carry it along as at each scene change (each 5 seconds).

I know it starts quite and calm, at the atmosphere of a standard night bus, but builds into a frenzy of uncontrolled mayhem. The mayhem is hectic but always fits perfectly within the view of the camera, no drawing outside the lines on this.

I don’t  want music to be too predictable, to obvious. And it would be good if it subtlety included the same humour as the characters have.


Im now considering a bit of voice over to get the message across, if the song that emerges doesn’t make it clear. I came up with this line:

‘Remember, you are either here to serve God or have fun’. Which sums up the message. The video is mostly just fun, and doesn’t need a message, but if it had one it would be a campaign to stop the infliction of depression on public transport – and in doing so rebuild ties of camaraderie and love among people in public places. My thinking is explained in more detail in this blog post which details another project I am working on for the same campaign.


At the moment Im thinking down these lines:












UPDATE – 9/12/11


First test done.

Resolved key issues:

1. What film – colour

2. Worked out how to attach camera in front of screen.

3. Using upstairs screen in stead of downstairs screen because less near the driver who may make a fuss and there is a good pole to attach the terrifying looking camera holding arm.

4. Shoot at night time due to great look of lights outside the bus window and less ambient light so CCTV screen brighter.

5. Tested the camera – awaiting development to see if it worked/everything looks good. It did stop filming 2/3 into our test film but hopefully this was just batteries running out..


New issues:

The camera can only focus on the CCTV screen from a minimum distance of 1.2m. From this distance the CCTV screen does not fill the entire field of view as I intended. However, in the digital test we made the view out in front of the bus is fantastic, especially at night and I think will add a great thing if it comes out all visible – so a happy issue in the end.

Here is the digital test – shot with GoPro Hero 2 which is a bit fish eye so much more wide view than the Super8 will give – and of course the tone and resolution will be totally different. This is mostly done so I can work out the positioning while writing the story line.


Music Update

I met with two of Clean Bandit. Some very talented people that I hope to work with in a big way in the near future.

I hoped they might be interested in putting the orignal soundtrack together, and they seemed to like the idea, but are very busy.

After making the above test and playing their tune ‘Hallelujah’ over the top it sounds pretty perfect and hopefully they will be happy for me to use it – this will also allow my writing of the story line to go ahead straight away and not add more to their workload.

They are probably the only band that could ever get the mix of styles that I noted above in one track.