Create Classic 8mm Films

Motion pictures began over a century ago, before the digital age of computers and personal devices. Just like photographs, the world's first movies were recorded on film. For filmmakers who wish to achieve an old-fashioned home movie look, 8mm film, super 8 film, and vintage editing equipment can be used.

What is 8mm film?

8mm describes a type of motion picture film that is 8mm wide. It was first invented in the 1930s and marketed for at-home use. There are two main types of 8mm film: standard or regular 8 and Super 8. The standard 8mm format was created during the Great Depression as an affordable option for making home movies. Nearly 30 years later, Super 8 was developed for the same use. Super 8 was promoted as being easier to use, and although the width of the film is also 8mm, the Super 8 projector spools are incompatible with regular 8 projectors.

What is 8mm movie reel editing equipment?

In order to create a comprehensive vintage movie, footage, also known as unedited material, can be edited or put together using vintage tools. First, the raw footage needs to be developed in a darkroom. After it's processed, filmmakers can play back their reel footage on a small viewer or on a projector. Once specific takes are chosen, the scenes can be edited or put together in the desired order using a splicer. To clarify, here are some definitions:

  • Film splicer - a tool for manually cutting and joining film together.
  • Viewer - a small monitor that allows editors to play back and view recorded footage.
  • Projector - allows playback of recorded footage onto a projected surface such as a wall or movie screen.
  • Film reel - refers to the unit of measurement of film. It is also the round object that a spool of film is loaded onto for projector playback and editing. Reels may hold about 3-15 minutes of film for playback depending on the size. They should be stored in a can.
Can you make a real movie with 8mm editing equipment?

Once you have a film reel, film splicer, viewer, and projector, you have the capability to create and play back your own vintage-style movies. Using analog film and manual tools as opposed to digital video and advanced software is a specific type of filmmaking that can be both challenging and rewarding. Computers and the internet are not parts of this experience, which is an unusual element that some might find to be liberating. However, when using 8mm formats, audio might need to be recorded separately at the same fps, or frames per second. While some 8mm and Super 8 formats do include sound, many do not. Therefore, your movie can have an authentic vintage look and feel of the silent movies of yesteryear.