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A poorly exposed Airshow film from the 1970s

This home movie is a film which has taken a quite exciting subject and unfortunately rather spoilt it because is has been badly underexposed. The film was taken during an airshow in what I estimate to be the 1970s.

First some details of the film itself. It was shot on Kodachrome II Super 8 film and because the duration of the film is just over 6 minutes it must consist of more than one reel. I obtained it about a year ago when I bought an old 8mm Eumig Projector and it came with a selection of old home movies. I have a feeling there is another film taken at either this Airshow or another one. When I get round to converting that film to digital I’ll see if it is better exposed than this one.

To be honest I suspect I know why the film is poorly exposed. Nearly all the action is shot into the sky and this looks very much like the camera had an automatic exposure system which took the overall level of light and set the exposure accordingly. Of course it’s also possible that the photographer set the exposure themselves and just didn’t get it quite right.

Airshow film contents.

The exposure problems have rather spoilt what would have been a good film. In nearly all other aspects the photographer go everything right; The pans follow the action and aren’t too quick, the aircraft stay mostly in the centre of the frame and the focus is pretty much spot on.

It’s also true to say that the action shown would have been quite spectacular. There are images of a Vulcan bomber, some formation flying displays and a wing walker on a biplane which could have been the Tiger Club which has featured before here on Vintage Home Movies.

I suspect that the photographer must have been quite disappointed when the film was returned from the processing lab. I can imagine the anticipation of waiting to see the film that they had probably been replaying in their head for the days following the event and then finding that it had been spoilt.

Still, I think they really could take quite a lot from the film they produced. Other than the exposure the film is well shot and shows good action. It would not have been easy keeping an aircraft in the frame using a super 8 camera and they did a remarkably good job.

It’s also probably true to say that they learned an important lesson in how to expose correctly against a bright background!

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If you see anything in the film which you recognise, or you think gives clues to the location or date, please let me know in the comments below. Also, please share this post with your friends if you think they may be able to help locate a scene in this film.

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A software developer by profession and an amateur photographer by hobby I've been interested in all things photographic since I was a teenager some 40 years ago. Many of my interests centre around vintage film photography and cinematography.

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