Super 8mm Behind The Scenes

Yes, we’re also quite looking forward to JJ Abrams’ movie Super 8. But he’s not the only one in love with this film format. So are the Ninjas.

During the production of Norwegian Ninja, several Super 8 cameras were used as props. The character ”Tromsø”, played by Stunt Coordinator Kristoffer Jørgensen, can be seen operating them in several scenes.

But why stop at only having these beautiful cameras as props? They were fully functional. So VFX Supervisor Ludvig Friberg brought along a few old rolls of black and white Super 8 film that he and Kristoffer shot during the roughly two months of production.

These rolls of film have only recently been developed and digitized (more on that further down), so the material has never been shown before. We proudly present this footage below – a mix of behind-the-scenes footage, alternate angles of scenes from the movie and other bizarre things. No sound.

Cinematography by Ludvig Friberg and Kristoffer Jørgensen.

The story of how this footage made the leap from analog film rolls into the digital realm is in itself remarkable. After shipping the rolls to the Netherlands for development, Ludvig built a telecine machine himself! Truly in the spirit of the Norwegian Ninjas.

Using a scrapped projector, a DSLR sensor, a joystick, a microswitch, a computer mouse, an LED light from IKEA and a whole lot of ingenuity, he came up with a machine that captures Super 8 film one frame at a time to a Canon 5D MkII sensor on Liveview over HDMI at 5x zoom using a 100mm macro lens.

Here it is, in action:

More shots of Ludvig’s amazing DIY rig, under construction:

Photos by Ludvig Friberg.


Super 8 as a format is only kept alive by a few enthusiasts these days, and the look is instantly nostalgic. I made my first few films on my family’s Super 8 camera, as did many, many others who were kids in the sixties, seventies and well into the eighties. Then came home video, and a new era in generational nostalgia. I wonder if the pixellated mobile videos of today, as they are shown on gigantic HD screens, will carry the same emotional weight and time stamp for the current generation. My guess is a resounding “yes”.

Postscript 2:

Don’t forget, Norwegian Ninja hits US shores on VOD and DVD on June 28!
Preorder now, or queue it up on Netflix!