Before digital camcorders, before VHS tape cameras, the 8mm film camera was popular for making home movies. Although 8mm is silent film, the cameras were popular during the 1960s and '70s, as they were affordable and film was available in most stores. Even the local drugstore could send your film off for processing and development. Once developed, you set up your Bell & Howell 8mm projector and enjoyed the memories made on the film.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- Sturdy table or desk
- Projection screen or light-coloured bare wall
- 8mm film spools
- Empty take-up reel
Place the projector on a sturdy table or desk at least eight feet from the projection screen or wall.
Open the cover of the projector by pressing the lever button on the top and removing the cover by tilting it backward from the machine.
Lift the front reel arm up and lock it in place. Do the same with the back reel arm. The front reel is for the movie reel, while the back is for the take-up reel.
Place the film reel on the front arm by attaching it through the centre hole of the reel. Ensure that the film drops from the reel in a clockwise manner.
Attach the take-up reel to the back arm in the same way.
Press down on the level just in front of the projector lens to reveal the loop former that threads the machine. Insert the end of the film into the loop former.
Plug the projector into an electrical socket and turn the knob on the front of the machine to "Projector." Continue to hold the loop former lever down until the film advances through the machine automatically.
Release the lever when the film appears on the opposite side of the projector. Grasp the film by the end and gently pull until you have enough film to reach the take-up reel, plus several inches.
Turn the projector to the "Off" position. Insert the end of the film into the slot on the centre of the take-up reel spindle.
Turn the take up reel in a clockwise rotation until the film has wrapped around the spindle two to three times and the film is taut between the projector and take-up reel.
Turn on the projector; the film will begin to play automatically. Once the film is moving through the machine, turn on the projector lamp by flipping the "lamp" button on the front or side of the machine.
Tips and warnings
- The 8mm filmstrip only has sprocket holes on one side of the film.
- Never leave the lamp turned on when the film is stopped. The heat from the lamp can melt the film in only a few seconds.
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