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I see this effect all the time used in music videos, and I always ask myself:

  • What is this effect?
  • What is the square on the left?
  • Is it the same effect?

I know it is a vintage camera effect but I want to know what causes this effect. Is it the camera? or maybe the film?

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  • 3
    Probably a filter. I doubt people purposefully misalign film and record the effect.
    – Joachim
    Aug 23 at 18:52
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    @Joachim: It's not uncommon to set the framing wide enough to capture the sprocket holes, to avoid truncating any of the picture (which, on regular 8mm cameras, will often extend past the sprocket holes).
    – supercat
    Aug 24 at 23:30

3 Answers 3

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This is a Super 8 effect! It can be done in Adobe Premiere. The rectangular shape on the left of the shot is a simulated film perforation.

(A nitpick: I see the preview image on the YouTube video looks more like the format of regular 8mm, not Super 8mm)

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  • I noticed the same thing about that sprocket hole, though many 8mm cameras would expose the image all the way out to the edge of the film.
    – supercat
    Aug 24 at 23:29
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To extend on the previous answer: this effect is simulated film perforations. In analog film recording (as opposed to analog magnetic recording or digital recording), physical film reels have recurring physical gaps close to the edge of the reel, used to mechanically transport the film through the camera (during recording) and projector (for viewing).

For viewing, a well-aligned projector would make sure that this part of the film reel isn't projected to the viewing screen, but it might show if the projector setup is sloppy. A camera mechanically aligns the recorded frames to these physical gaps during recording, so - when the project is set up to show the film perforation, it will usually show up on the same part of the screen for each frame.

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    Mostly right! There's a piece of the projector called the "gate" that does the framing. They tend to be a flat metal piece with an aspect-ratio rectangle cut out. If you left the gate out of the projector, you might see a result like the Bieber picture from the question (white shining through the hole). The other images are on black backgrounds, which indicates (or simulates) some sort of archiving procedure instead.
    – fectin
    Aug 25 at 11:12
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Many 8mm cameras will allow the focused image to extend all the way to the left edge of the film, without masking the portion of the film containing the sprocket holes. Although it is common for projectors to mask off this area because the holes would show up as a brighter white than anything else in the picture, some video transfers will services will capture a portion of the images that extends somewhat into the sprocket holes. This is done because, among other things, television sets are prone to crop the edges of the film slightly, so if the edge of sprocket holes corresponded to the edge of the video image, a television set would crop off some of the image that was inside the sprocket holes. Further, for some kinds of documentary purposes it may be desirable to show a somewhat wider frame than would normally have been projected.

While Super 8 cameras may also expose onto the sprocket holes, the sprocket holes in Super 8 film aren't nearly as wide as in the earlier 8mm format.

Incidentally, there is a slight downside to having cameras expose all the way out to the edge: a lot of movie film is manufactured with the edge pre-exposed to contain markings indicating the year of manufacture. Having a bright image pre-exposed all the way out to the edge can make such markings hard to read, at the same time as the markings will undermine the usefulness of having the image extend that far.

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