Photographer Jason De Freitas has embarked on a fascinating endeavor that combines his love for flight and film; by attaching a 1960s Super 8 motion picture camera to a modern first-person view (FPV) drone, he has captured truly magical footage, as showcased in the captivating 3-minute video in this article.
According to him, instead of opting for a conventional gimbaled platform, he chose an FPV drone to achieve a completely unique perspective — the combination of the drone’s modern dynamic movements and proximity flying with the vintage Super 8 aesthetic results in an almost surreal outcome, as if offering a glimpse into an alternate timeline where digital cameras were never invented.
The shots captured by the Super 8 drone are particularly noteworthy because they would not have been possible during the heyday of Super 8 cameras from the mid-1960s to the late 1970s making them truly anachronistic.
To create the Super 8 FPV drone, De Freitas utilized his iFlight Chimera 7 drone as the platform. Although a larger drone would have been more practical, he challenged himself to work with his existing setup. To mount the camera to the drone, he designed and 3D printed a bracket incorporating a servo motor, enabling him to remotely trigger the camera’s shutter button from his controller.
Due to the limited payload capacity of the 7-inch quadcopter, De Freitas had to use smaller batteries and accept shorter flight times. With careful flying, he managed approximately 4 minutes of flight time before needing to swap batteries. To ensure a wide field of view for comfortable FPV footage, he attached a cheap fisheye adapter to the Microflex’s lens, compromising image quality but enhancing the ability to capture dynamic shots.
For this project, De Freitas used Kodak Ektachrome 100D film, his favorite Super 8 stock renowned for its vibrant colors and suitability for projection. The film was developed by De Freitas himself, resulting in a scratched and gritty appearance. Rewind Photo Lab in Sydney scanned the film, allowing De Freitas to share the experience online.
Despite its challenges, such as the Microflex 100’s unpredictability regarding whether it was recording during flight, De Freitas plans to replace it with a slightly larger and heavier Canon 310XL in the future.
Jason De Freitas is the mastermind behind other viral creative ventures, such as photographing the Milky Way on medium format film, constructing a camera drone capable of shooting 35mm film, and capturing the International Space Station crossing the Moon on 35mm film. More of his work can be found on his Instagram, YouTube, and website.