Archive | 12:20 pm

Super 8mm: Coming to a Wedding Near You

9 Oct
What do movies like The Doors, JFK, and Natural Born Killers have in common with a modern-day wedding?  The answer is super 8 mm filming of course; an answer that is more than likely obvious only to say, the likes of a professional cinematographer like my new friend Nazar “Naz” Melconian of MIMMO & NAZ.


Super 8mm film (also called “super 8”) was developed in 1965 by Eastman Kodak as an upgrade for regular 8mm film.  Popular until around the mid-eighties, its use was diminished by the increasing popularity of the video format.  Although amateur use of this film format has decreased to virtual non-existence, professional cinematographers, visual artists, and independent filmmakers continue to use super 8 for a variety of projects such as music videos, commercials, special sequences for films (a la Natural Born Killers) and even to film weddings.  If you are unfamiliar with the look of a super 8 film, take a look at this wedding film made by Naz.  Don’t forget to grab a box of tissues first, though.


[Vimeo 15604265]


Though I don’t know this couple, Christine from Toronto and Mark from Winnipeg, it feels like I’m watching my own family’s old home movies which in turn reminds of a time when my beloved Grandma Ruby wore knit tops with crazy-looking plaid pants and black horn-rimmed glasses.  Emotions immediately bubble to the surface.  It isn’t just this particular film that touches me, though.  I have not been able to watch a single one of their films without shedding a tear…or twenty.  I dare you to do the same.  You can see more of their work here.

Curious about both the artist and his craft, I approached Naz with a few questions.  He was eager to share his experience and knowledge, his answers excerpted below.

How did you get started in this business?
I never saw the wedding industry as the right fit for what I was doing creatively, I thought I would be in advertising or film-making.  Prior to my pursuits in anything creative I was law school bound as an English Literature major.  After graduation I spent a couple of years traveling all over the world , extensively through Europe, Asia and settling in Sydney, Australia.  While there, I worked for an advertising agency as a Junior Art Director and produced billboard ads, magazine/print advertisements.  It was when I came back to Toronto, Canada as best man for my best friend’s wedding where I met Mimmo, the “photography” part of MIMMO & NAZ.  Part of my speech at my friend’s wedding was a film presentation that looked back at their life story both as individuals and as a couple.  It was a huge success and a bit of an eye opener for me.  Mimmo and I discussed photography, cinema and exchanged stories about our working lives.  We both saw an opportunity, he was a photographer in the wedding industry and I was a filmmaker and someone who was about to shop his portfolio around.  We launched MIMMO & NAZ, and coffee shops and couple’s homes were our offices the first year.  But we believed in each other’s work and so did every one of our clients.  It was difficult the first two years; we started from nothing, just an idea and a lot of determination.  The industry has changed greatly since that time.  Today everything from equipment accessibility, education, to social networks, to even general quality of creative is at a premium and competitive.  Early on Super 8mm film was a hard sell to a market place that cringed at the very thought of wedding videos.  To make it even harder on myself I chose to work with film and technology that harkened back to olden days to how our parents had their very own weddings documented!


Why weddings?  Why Super 8mm Film?
I love weddings.  I really do have the best job in the world from the perspective that I am a part of two people’s most precious time together as they embark on their new life together!  I feel honored to be invited (and the way I shoot I feel like a guest and not some guy with a camera) at this moment in their entire family’s life.  I have teared-up, smiled, laughed and shared so many moments over the years with my clients.  It’s love and it’s the power of their love that I try to connect to on every job.  I love that part of my work, to connect to them in the way I need to, to make what I do feel real, honest and playful!  I pretty much fall in love with all of my brides and admire each of their husbands and all of their families that entrust me to document their day.  Pure and simple, I feel blessed with what I do every day.

As to why I chose to work solely with super 8mm film…the film is organic, its intrinsic flaws are as much a part of its draw and value to me.  It’s certainly a medium in my eyes that allows me to express and connect to the human heart.  HD video is too sharp, too clean and too visceral.  It almost instantly disconnects me from the emotion of what I am seeing or hearing.  There is a psychology to film, to super 8mm film, and it resonates with people’s memories and connection to family and their past.  What’s interesting is that even with the younger group of couples that are getting married who have no history or knowledge of super 8, the aesthetic still makes this memory-sensory connection.  Its full of character, charm and just makes a lot of sense to  both myself and my clients.  It’s more a fine art piece that’s truthful, emotional and closest to how we remember experiencing a moment in our lives!

Who/what inspires you outside of what you see in your business every day?
Music, music, music.  Documentary, journalistic & fashion photography is everywhere and it’s a major influence.
French, Spanish, Italian, Mexican, U.S. Filmmakers and their movies, films I cannot get enough of! I have a DVD library that really costs more than some people’s car.

Do you have any prediction for what will be the next “big thing” in wedding photography and/or film?
Perhaps the next big thing in wedding photography is already happening  – convergence, fusion of the mediums where both cinema, photography, voice-overs come together to tell one multimedia story of not only their wedding but even perhaps their families’ biographies. For those who solely shoot on digital video, 3D HD video looks like a trendy option (although the thought of 3D glasses to experience it all sounds costly, tedious and a bit of overkill for its use).


credits:  Video courtesy of MIMMO & NAZ, Wikipedia, feature photo

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