Back To 35MM

By Suridh Hassan

Back To 35MM

I spent my whole teens shooting 35mm with my Nikon FM2. It didn't take long to add some Super8mm into the mix with a Bauer C107, but then it all changed with digital.  DV tapes, PD150s, Canon XL1s, moving me quickly into the world of lens adaptors, DSLRS, ENG cameras, workflows and edit suites.

Forward to 2019, after myself and my business partner Ryo Sanada closed our ‘creative agency’ in South-East Asia, he went to Brussels, I went to Seattle and we both started the long hard slog of evolving our biz back into what it should be more of - a creative collective.


I needed to get back to basics. Afters years of client work in different countries and cultures, I felt my style and ideas were all mashed up. I’ve spent too much time worrying about pixels, resolution, presets and plugins. Not to mention years of client feedback. I lost a bit of the love and the craft and I needed a bit of magic to cleanse my palette. It didn’t take long to realize the answer was get back into film.


Constraints are some of the best things for creatives. Two rolls of black and white, a camera and a prime lens. See the light, take your time, sort your settings, get your shot. It sounds basic but with only 36 shots on normal film, you concentrate, you get selective and you care. From framing, composition, exposure you really care. You don’t just bang out 10 stills in a row, choose the best, retouch the hell out of it and deliver. Instead you care about the quality of each shot and It’s taken two rolls of film for me to feel a bit sharper.




Of course i’m not giving up digital. One of my favourite things to do is shoot early morning or late afternoon cutaways (currently with my little Lumix GH5s for anyone who's interested). Shooting for sequence, getting lost in the audio and then working with that footage in the edit days/weeks/months (and sometimes years) later is a process i'll always love. And digital in its own way is not forgiving. You see clearly what’s over or under exposed and whether it's stills or video, you see your mistakes right there. And for those who work in moving image, there’s nothing like sitting there with an experienced editor letting you know how bad a shot is.



Film can be more forgiving and certain film stocks can be pushed and pulled all over the place. When you look through your viewfinder and capture that image, you don’t have clients, or your subject wanting to see what you’ve captured. There’s an element of trust across the entire shoot/location that is  important. The trust in yourself that you have the shot, the trust between you and your subject and the trust that you can deliver the work.
So I now know that film is such an important process for me, one I regret leaving years ago. I’ll incorporate it (or shoehorn it) into my own workflows as much as possible.


Find me here on
Instagram > @shazdirector / @bombstagram
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