History time: Super 8 was released by Kodak in 1965 as an upgrade from the previous 8 mm format. Differently from the previous format, its perforations were smaller thus allowing a larger area to be exposed. It also allocated space enough for magnetic sound recording.
Born as an improvement from basic 8 mm home movies, Super 8 acquired a legendary status, also thanks to achievements of indie film-makers that resorted to making use of it as a means to keep production costs lower. It’s not a surprise then that more than a few experimental film-makers continue to use this format extensively and that even Hollywood’s J.J. Abrams is going to pay his tribute to it with his upcoming Super 8.
Together with many other developers, New Zealand-based MEA Mobile jumped on the revival wagon, releasing iSupr8, that according to them, is an app “designed by vintage film enthusiasts” as an “effort to revive and increase awareness of a commercially dying format to a new generation”. For this app, MEA Mobile developed Tru8™, a post-processing algorithm capable to grade each pixel separately according to exposure, adding at the same time other effects like film flickering, projector framing and other realistic elements. All in the name of the most accurate authenticity of looks possible.
- Record in 360p, 480p or 720p (on supported devices only);
- Tru8™ processing;
- LED enabled (on supported devices only);
- Share via email and Facebook.
Note: A more recent review of iSupr8 is available here.
iSupr8 doesn’t work in real-time and doesn’t process videos previously taken. You take your video on the spot and once you recorded it, it is stored in your rolls gallery. From there you can either decide to process it or to trash it. Processing times are perfectly average for this kind of apps. Memory usage is also quite in the norm, meaning this app won’t cause much troubles, overloading your device beyond its capabilities and crashing continuously. The interface is clean and stylish, making the use of the app an enjoyable and rewarding experience from this point of view.
There is only one filter you can choose from, so if you expect a filter collection this app is not for you. The emulation of original Super 8 is very good though, especially in the fact the developers wisely decided to take another path from that already chosen by their colleagues: they didn’t overdo it, adding all kinds of visual mumbo jumbo, with too much dirt and scratches and extreme overly saturated or desaturated tones. As far as the final outcome is concerned, iSupr8 holds very well.
This video was shot in some of the worst possible conditions, at night and with snowy weather. Keeping in mind these considerations, the results aren’t half bad.
Despite all my previous comments, I don’t feel like giving a higher rating to iSupr8. There is a very serious issue I find with this app and it concerns the viewfinder: accurately framing your subject is absolutely frustrating and sometimes it requires a lot of testing and retakes, unless of course you’re careless enough to not mind about what will be in your final video. Some other apps in the Photography category used to have, or have still, this same issue. Just to mention a famous example, Hipstamatic developers too at first had released their app with this same problem — but partially corrected it adding a “precision framing” alongside the “classic” and imprecise one. Original Super 8 cameras did have some issues with framing, and as a matter of fact many users complained about viewfinder’s lack of accuracy. Each camera had different troublesome framing, some being a little off vertically and some other horizontally. iSupr8 is a bit of both and getting your video right is not the most intuitive task, in spite of the app’s overall simplicity.
Emulating the feel of the original Super 8 is one thing; reproducing also issues and deficiencies of old cameras is another.
Developer: MEA Mobile
Compatibility: iPhone (3GS, 4), iPod Touch. iOS 4.1 or later.