How to Digitize Super 8 Film

Written by josh michaels
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If you have old home movies on Super 8 film, the prospect of setting up the projector and screen every time you want to watch them can be daunting. Having the film professionally digitised so you can edit them on a computer or transfer them to DVD or MiniDV is generally expensive--in the neighbourhood of £162 for one hour of film transferred--but there is a relatively simple, high-quality method for digitising the film yourself.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Super 8 film reels
  • Super 8 film projector
  • Home movie screen or white posterboard
  • Tripod
  • Digital video camera
  • Videotape or memory card
  • Glass cleaner
  • Cloth

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  1. 1

    Set up your home movie screen or mount a piece of white poster board on the wall. You'll want a clean, even and blank surface on which to project the film.

  2. 2

    Set up the projector and load a reel of film, as per the projector's instructions. Check that the projector is in focus.

  3. 3

    Put the video camera on the tripod and place it just below the projector, as close as possible to the projector's lens.

  4. 4

    Using glass cleaner and a soft cloth, clean the lenses on both the camera and projector to ensure the cleanest possible transfer.

  5. 5

    Make sure the room is completely dark.

  6. 6

    Stop the camera when the first reel is done, then start it again when you have the next reel spooled and ready to play. Continue this process until all of the Super 8 reels have been captured on video.

Tips and warnings

  • If your Super 8 reels and projector have sound, connect the "audio out" jack on the projector to the "audio in" jack on the video camera to get the best possible sound in the transfer. If the output on the projector is in RCA format, you will probably need an RCA-to-mini-plug adaptor to connect to the camera.
  • Many video cameras can output straight to a computer while recording. If you have video-editing software and plan to work with the footage on your computer at some point, you might be able to record straight to your hard drive.

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