Super dooper.


The story behind this film starts last year when I was researching my film for the Renfrew to Paisley Pathway project. Their route goes along an old branch line spur, and I was trying to find any footage of it. I found some cine grabs on Flickr and got in touch with the person who posted them, Alexander Cunningham, who confirmed it was indeed cine of the branch line in question, but that he no longer had possession of the reels, but gave me the details of the person who did. I got in touch with Graham Mellstrom who with Alex's consent passed over the cine-reels. I took these to my friend, Richard Weeks, Renfrewshire Leisures New Media Officer, who was able to do me a good quality frame by frame telecine of the spools. Sadly, they did not contain the material I was after, but did have lots of interesting looking footage from around the time of the Subway modernisation in the late 1970s. I sent these to Alexander who was thrilled to see his old films again, but asked "What about the sound?". Unfortunately Richards telecine does not capture audio.. and as audio on super 8 was fairly rare at an amateur level, I assumed the films to be mute. Another favour required. This time from Lochwinnoch film maker Kevin Cameron who had an s8 projector with audio, that I could borrow to lift the sound from the magnetic strip at the edge of the film. Unfortunately the sound had suffered more in the 40 years than the pictures, with magnetic drop out in places..but it was enough to bring old voices to life, including the cheeky boys playing on the tracks near the Rootes Factory in Linwood (pictured above) Alexander was happy for us to use his footage, but as it wasn't really much use for the intended purpose I decided I would interview Alexander, he had put a bit of work into his films, and it wasn't a cheap business in 1979, so I wanted to know about his motivation, his process, and of course about super 8 film-making, which I had dabbled in a little, but more as a bucket list tick than anything else. I was interested also in how Alexander would find an audience, the social aspect, in a room with like minded enthusiasts reliving your travels rather than sitting on a bus yourself, watching something on Youtube or Vimeo... Although Alexander lives in the borders now (despite hailing from Paisley) he was going to be in Glasgow for the Glasgow Vintage Vehicle Trusts open day at Bridgeton Bus Garage, which was another opportunity for nice cutaway shots and a germane interview location. Film-making is often a fairly solitary task, especially at the relatively low level at which I'm working, but as I was making this wee film, it occurred to me that as Alexander was engaged with his community in making his original cinefilms, I was engaged with my local film-making community to pull in the skills and apparatus to make it all work. Thank you to everybody who helped. The result is posted above, I hope you enjoy it!

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