That was my recent realisation after I bought my amazing new Super-8 camera.
So, with expense in mind, I started poking around the 'net to look for the cheapest way to buy, use, develop & edit my (probably crappy-looking) Super-8 footage.
I'm just going to post what I found (and why)... and I'm sure I will have many errors in my reasoning. Googling can be fun, but it's no certainty. Please poke holes in what I am thinking so far. I know absolutely nothing about real film apart from what I found on the 'net... and corrections to my delusions are most welcome.
If anything is plain incorrect, please add a correction. This is all based on 'net findings... and if the Internet is wrong, who can we really trust?
Film is expensive, so buy from the manufacturer.
From what I can tell, Kodachrome-40 is the default film for Super-8. Buying direct from Kodak (using their online price guide) should avoid a middleman. That means (direct from manufacturer) that each K-40 Super-8 cartridge costs $10.83... although one has to buy at least 5 cartridges, if I read it correctly (We'll call that $11 a roll, for convenience. $55 minimum order)
Using film is expensive (due to waste)
Well, I had no love finding anything about conserving film. It seems like it's just a case of knowing when to film, for real. In DV, you just rewind & reuse if it's a lousy shoot. Over & over. Plus, you can cram roughly an hour onto a mini-DV, and it's no biggie if you have to change cassettes. What the heck does one do, on Super-8, which is limited to mere (un-redoable) minutes? I have an inkling of what may be required (not being a sloppy director?), but it's making me nervous.
Developing film is expensive, and few companies do
Best I can tell, Dwayne's Photo is the only American company that develops Super-8 film. (More specifically, no matter who you send your Super-8 film to... it ends up at Dwayne's) If one was to cut out the middleman and send the exposed cartridges direct to Dwayne's, their online order form quotes a $9 (per cartridge) processing fee.
That means... $20 total ($11 for the film, $9 for develop) for a less-than-4-minute straight footage, that may (or may not) have something useable on it!
Telecine is expensive
A few ways to do it, so I read.
From what I understand, a "rank transfer" is best. Apparently it involves a laser that scans each frame much more thoroughly than a simple "frame by frame" telecine capture. My own thinking is that my first lot of footage would be okay on one of those "mirror thingies"... where a projector bounces the film off a mirror, which is filmed by a DV camcorder for import. I understand that the quality will be less than even a regular frame-by-frame capture... but since seeing the prices for the above options, it doesn't seem so bad for what is basically test footage.
Like I said, all of this was found through peeking through the 'net... so if anything is incorrect, please pipe up. I know nothing about film, aside from what I looked up