Brand new Digests!

In Super 8 - now - 2020!

An interview with the producer

Super 8 lives! Even now, 40 years after its high times, enthusiasts all over the world are working hard to keep the format alive. One of these Super 8 heroes is David Baker. He already released two brand new digests on Super 8: the famous all-time-classic „Jurassic Park“ (USA 1993) and the Hammer movie „The curse of the Werewolf“ (UK 1961). Off2 had an interview with him about his project:

Dear David, you just published „Jurassic Park“ as a 28 minutes cut-down and „The Curse of the Werewolf“ as a 8 minutes long digest. Is this your first activity in releasing Super 8 digests or did you already produce other titles on Super 8?
This is my first venture into releasing Super 8 digests. The idea came from when I was running my film company, the Ohio Film Collector Exchange. Plus, I have the time. And of course, being friends with Steve, who is a collector, too. I just asked Steve what he thought. He gave me good feedback. He encouraged me, he told me „Hey, that would be great, David! We need more people like you to keep the hobby alive!“. I just got this drive to, I want to see the hobby survive. Since the 1970’s, probably early 80’s – the last time Super 8​ was popular​ – no Super 8 films came out or anything. So it’s been a number of years. Decades! Now it seems to be a pretty good time, because there seems to be interest growing in the hobby again. But, it’s still not the extent that it was then. Back then, it was more of a common thing, that was before the invention of the VCR and VHS and Data and all that stuff. But anyway, this is my first venture. These were the two titles I chose to start with. It was „Jurassic Park“, because that’s a beloved Steven Spielberg movie. A lot of people still love it. And „The Curse of the Werewolf“: people still love Hammer Films! In England. And that was one that Derann or nobody – no one – over there in those days even considered to do anything with.

What was the reason for you to tackle this project?
I will be lucky if I break even on this project. I’m in it for the film, not for the money. But I also want to put the film out there, so other collectors like me can make this part of their collection. It’s keeping Super 8 alive. Not a lot of people, I think, have the ability to do what I have done here. It is very complicated and it is expensive. I did have a little bit of assistance with „Jurassic Park“ – there are people that are involved in this that shall go nameless. Because that’s the way they want it. They contribute their talents to these films that I released. It’s been a team effort.

How did you cut the feature film down to a digest? What was the source material?
„Jurassic Park“ was taken from a 35mm Fuji print. First, the 35mm print was edited with an editing bench and a viewer, that’s how it was put together to make the 28 minutes digest. After that edit was made, it was spliced together and it was send to a film laboratory. This laboratory took that, and they created a 16mm negative of that. So the Super 8 prints are being taken from that negative. When they returned my 35mm cut back – they sent me along a – what they call – „answer print“ on 16mm. It’s gonna show you exactly what they are going to print on Super 8.

„Jurassic Park“ is a nearly 30 minutes long digest. Why did you choose this running time?
Because there are a lot of good scenes that were used and it was necessary to tell a convincing story. I also incorporated some shots from the theatrical trailer that was not included in the finished feature. So its got two different shots that were added to the digest that are not in the original released feature. The target was to show some of the best scenes and give you a really good condensed storyline. The process is very similar to when you make a movie yourself. I had to storyboard it. It’s almost like you are re-filming the movie. I had to create a storyboard to put it all together. Doing something like this is very time consuming. And it does take a lot of time to put it all together. You want to make the cuts in good spots. On top of the visual, you have a soundtrack you have to redo. You got to match the soundtrack up with your visual. That’s how it ended up being 28 minutes.

Is the soundtrack recorded to the film at the laboratory in Germany?
No, the soundtrack is done here in America. The sound was taken from the Dvd. It’s recorded in stereo.

„The Curse of the Werewolf“ is a 200ft black and white digest. Why did you choose this format?
First of all, that edit was made from a 16mm Eastman print that had some fade in it. The process was just like what I did before with „Jurassic Park“. I made an edit from my 16mm print. And I had a one minute tv spot , a commercial for „Curse of the Werewolf /Shadow of the cat“, they were released back in 1961 together. I added that to the beginning of the digest. And it was in black and white, too. What I decided to do then was to try to capture the atmosphere of a Castle Film or the old classic horror movies. Because the negative was going to be made from a faded print and they could make a black and white negative, I decided doing it in black and white to make it very atmospheric. To give you that old classic Universal movie type experience. It was very successful and came out beautifully.

Why did you choose a laboratory in Germany while you are located in the USA?
Because the laboratories in the USA will not do what we are seeking them to do. They just say „No, we don’t do that sort of thing“. They don’t say it, but I think they don’t want to be involved with something using somebody else’s work. But the film laboratory takes all kind of chances… {laughing}.

What kind of the film stock is used for the Super 8 print?
The film stock we are using is the new Kodak low fade polyester. This new polyester film is supposed to be durable and will not get the acid or the fade. If you splice it, you have to use tape, you can’t use cement. I have other new polyester prints that were made by Andec {processing laboratory in Germany} several years ago, and they did not fade one bit. As far as I know, it lasts a long time.

Where is it possible to order your new movies?
Right now you have to order it in the 8mm Forum. The prices are based upon Euro, because that’s where it is produced. ​So it may fluctuate​. I try to put out a price that is good for at last a month. If there is a big change in the exchange rate or the price given by the film laboratory, I have to change the price, too. Steve Osborne is going to promote it on his website and also in his „The Reel Image“ {magazine} as well as in his periodical sales list.

Do you produce a first fixed number of copies or do you produce on order?
Well, it is on order because it is hard to project how many copies are gonna end up selling. Back in 2018, when I put out the idea in a first mention, I had over a hundred people interested in it . They sent me their emails, asked me to put them on the „wanted“ list. I think because the way things are in the communes across the world right now, it puts a kind of a damper on people being able to actually purchase one at this time. But they will always be there. Because of this situation, I have to do them on demand.

How many copies have already been ordered?
I just started selling them from the beginning of this month​ {August 2020},​ so we talk about three weeks. So far I’ve had to order about 30 prints, and these are probably 20 prints of „Jurassic Park“ and ten prints of „Curse of the Werewolf“.

What is the actual price?
Well it depends on where you live. In the US, of course, it is going to be the least expensive. Because of the shipping and all that, and you’ll get it a lot faster, too. There are different prices for different places and it depends on how you pay for. I accept Paypal, but than you have to add 4% for the fee. If you pay with a personal cheque or money order, it costs less.
But I can quote to you that right now, August 4th of this year {2020}​, if you pay by cheque or money order for „Jurassic Park“, it would be $ 275 to the US. For Paypal, it costs you $ 286 to the US. If you live in Europe or even England, it will cost you more, because of international shipping or priority mail. So you’ll have to add about $ 40, and if you pay by Paypal you have to add 4% for the fee. So it will cost you about $ 323 in England and probably a little more to Europe, Germany, Holland and places like that. {e.g. as import from US to Germany, approximately 90€ of tax and import fee have to be added on top}.​ That’s for „Jurassic Park“. „The Curse of the Werewolf“, because it is only 200ft, is much more reasonable and costs less. For cheque and money order in the US it is $ 138, $ 144 to the US with Paypal, in the UK it would cost about $ 184.

Buut you’re not the only one releasing new films on Super-8, aren’t you?
Of course not…Look, a friend of mine, he puts out features of „Jurassic Park“ and „Captain America“, and he’s putting out Minions and cartoons and all kinds of stuff. And I have to tell you why people like he and myself are not really afraid about it: first of all, there is not the demand for this kind of thing that there used to be. And second of all, „Jurassic Park“ – it has made its money! Many years ago. And then of course, Steven Spielberg, being a film buff and collector himself, he would probably think „Oh, how sweet!“ (laughing). Just the opposite of „Oh, I’m gonna sue him“ and all that… Here is another thing, too: most film companies, in order for them to take somebody to sue you, it’s gonna cost them more to do that then they actually gonna get. So it’s over-ended and they already know, they don’t care, they already know that there are not enough people out there to hurt or damage their film or whatever, and it would be pointless for them to try to sue somebody. Because the costs of suing you would be much more than the film itself that you’re putting out. They don’t care, they don’t look at that.

Where did the orders come from?
Orders from the US and mainly the UK and some from Belgium.

Since you’re so long in this hobby, in which country is the most vivid super 8 collectors scene active in the moment?
I think it’s the UK.

And how old is the usual film collector?
{Laughing…} They are senior citizens, like me…

And my final question: do you have future plans for publishing more digests in Super 8?
Yes I do, in fact I got one at the storyboard right now. Right now! The title is a secret… But I will tell you that it is a much sought after, much wanted and favorite of some collectors that …

…one of the most wanted as a digest would be „Return of the Jedi“, wouldn’t it?
I’ll be honest to tell you: that’s not it! It’s gonna be a classic film, it’s probably a favorite of most every film collector I know. They will really want this, and it’ll bring back a lot of memories for them. {It’ll be a 600 feet version of „the fifth element“.}

Thank you very much for this very interesting interview, David! I wish you a huge success for you brand new and great digests, and let’s keep Super 8 alive!

Interview conducted by Joachim Schmidt

Price update for GB/Europe

Interested buyers in the U.K. and Europe now have the option of purchasing JURASSIC PARK and CURSE OF THE WEREWOLF super 8mm digest prints WITHOUT sound recording ( stripped print only ) at a discounted price, with information included in your order package as to where to get your print recorded in the U.K. This will save you money on shipping and others fees .

In the United Kingdom:
For JURASSIC PARK : 170 pounds payed via Paypal
For CURSE OF THE WEREWOLF : 95 pounds payed via Paypal

In Europe:
For JURASSIC PARK : 260 Euros via Paypal
For CURSE OF THE WEREWOLF : 110 Euros via Paypal

Please be aware it may take up to 12 weeks to have your copy in your hand , as each print is ordered from Germany “on demand“.

David Baker, born in 1954 and recently retired, lives in Ocala, Florida. He was active in many professions, e.g. as a planetarium at the astronomy department of the South Florida Science Museum, where he created suspenseful and interesting shows. His enthusiasm for reel film started at the age of 8 years, when – as a reaction of an advert in one of his comic books – he won his first 8mm projector as a reward for selling​ ​flower seeds​ in the neighborhood.
Over the years, his collection extended to Super 8 (his main focus), 16mm and 35mm prints. But he still owns movies from his childhood. This engagement also led him to found his own company, the Ohio film collectors exchange in ​2016 ​, near Dayton, Ohio .

„Jurassic park“ is delivered on a 600ft reel, without cover. Here you can see David’s copy of „Jurassic Park“. „The Curse of the Werewolf“ comes in a well designed film box.

Stills from the Super 8 copy of „Jurassic Park“:

Stills from the Super 8 copy of „Curse of the Werwolve“:

On December 8th, 2020 the first used Jurassic Park digest was sold on eBay and achieved a price far higher than a new copy. Certainly out of unsuspectingness.

{editor’s note}

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