Family Film Archaelogy

film-reels.jpgSo I find myself in possession of three small reels of 8mm film. You know, “photographic material consisting of a base of celluloid covered with a photographic emulsion.” Don’t stare are me like that with your digital video camcorder. These three reels are apparently some old family film… Family Films? An ancient form of torture now recognized as barbaric and restricted by the Geneva Convention… The Geneva Convention? Hrmn, ask our president. Back on topic though, I’d like to see what’s on them precisely but seeing as I do not own an 8mm projector (nor do I trust the ones I’ve seen) I’m thinking of getting the films transferred to DVD.

Each reel is about 3 inches in diameter which should be 50 feet of media which in turns should be about 3 to 5 minutes of video (no sound), assuming my understanding of ancient visual technology is correct. There are several services that will perform the transfer and most seem to clock in around $20 total for a frame by frame transfer of all three reels to DVD, which sounds quite reasonable to me.

I have two inquiries though. The first being serious… Has anyone else ever done this sort of thing? What sort of success did you have? Any advice, warnings, suggestions?

Secondly, what do you think is on these reels? Answer in comments or with the new poll to the right.

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6 Responses

  1. amnxial says:

    I have an 8mm projector somewhere…..

  2. Mystech says:

    I’ve seen too many 8mm projectors eat aging 8mm film… I think I’m going to make sure the transfers are all good and archived before I risk that. Thanks though. šŸ™‚

  3. Lemon says:

    Yes, I had all of ours transferred to video for my mother a couple of years ago, and we’re going to take them to the same place to put them on DVD (I just couldn’t afford to do it all at once last time–there was a LOT of footage). I can’t remember the name, but they were over on Briarcliff.

    My only problems were that the film was somewhat degraded so the quality was compromised (not their fault), and they were all just randomly on there. That was my fault because I had about a hundred reels and didn’t have a projector or anything to watch them so I could number them in chronological order or at least with some continuity (there’s some hopping back and forth). My parents’ projector’s bulb burnt out some time ago and my dad tried for YEARS to replace it, but they just don’t make them anymore. They would have put them in order had I been able to.

    My suggestion: Once the DVD is retrieved, watch it alone first. šŸ™‚

  4. Mystech says:

    I think I’m safe in the sound department, these should all be silent. Still, the alone thing is a good idea. Last thing I need is a public showing of some hippy love party from the 60s featuring family members.

    Hmn, once they get back it might be a great time to try my Adobe Premiere skillz (which are currently laughable).

  5. Victoria says:

    Geoffrey, My mother has a functioning 8mm projector. She needs to find a Super 8 projector. The 8mm projector was in use in the last week and I can vouch for the fact that no movies were eaten. Getting the projector to Atlanta may be something else. If you come across a Super 8 in your search let us know.

  6. Mystech says:

    Upon closer inspection, I think at least one of these reels may be super 8mm. I had just sort of planned to let the film conversion company sort it all out since conversion of both 8mm and super 8mm seem to be the same price, grin. I’ll poke around for a super 8mm projector in any case though and let you know what I find. I suspect that eBay or Craigslist will be our best bets in general. Thanks for the offer of the loaner on the 8mm.

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