Digital archiving – celluloid 8mm film

Once upon a time (around 1932) there was 8 millimeter film which was in fact 16mm film exposed in two operations then cut down the middle during the processing process to provide a double length (50 feet) result with single sprocket holes on one side. In our family we had one of these cameras but our memories of it have faded and we have no remaining film!

Then from the mid 1960’s came Super 8mm, a single pass (no cutting) film with smaller sprocket holes and a larger frame size – but with film of the same 8mm (7.9 actually) width. Our projector was an Eumig, from Austria – a work horse, many different models.

There are different tele-ciné processes of scanning the film for conversion to digital, the least good method is to capture the projected image on screen with a simple digital video camera. Flicker can be reduced by playing with the projector frame rate and the camera recording frame rate; our projector has stuck on 16 fps and the result can be seen on the second video below. More sophisticated approaches use back-projection for brighter and in-line capture, or even scanning individual frames to get rid of flicker entirely.


One solution is this machine that copies frame-by-frame directly onto an SD card – it is available for less than 300.- dollars. So for obtaining a good basic image for post production, that is the preferred solution – cost effective for even modest volumes of work.



Amazingly, super-8 film and new cameras are being re-introduced: some info
Finally, services for scanning film to digital are available at many levels of quality, care, and cost.