Online Film and Video Equipment Museum
Welcome to our online film and video equipment museum.
If you are looking to purchase Super 8mm film or film supplies such as film leader and film splicing tape, click here to go to our film supplies page
In the interests of preserving old and forgotten formats we are publishing pictures and information from our collection of old gear, some of which still works.
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Watch this space as we continue to add to our collection. If you would like to submit additional information or pictures of similar models, please contact us.
8mm Film – The two types
There where two types of 8mm film. The first was 8mm or more commonly referred to as Regular 8 or Standard 8. This film type had larger sprocket holes resulting in a smaller image area. In later years Super 8 was developed, this film had smaller sprocket holes allowing for a slightly larger picture area. Super 8 also had the option for sound, only where a magnetic track or strip was added down the length of the film. Not many cameras and projectors supported the Super 8 format with audio.
The difference between the two formats is clear when comparing the film compartments.
Above is the film compartment (internal) from a typical Regular 8mm camera.
Above is a typical internal picture of a Super 8 camera film compartment.
Pictured below are close up’s of the two types, Regular 8 on the left and Super 8 on the right. Large sprocket holes for Regular 8 and small sprocket holes for Super 8 film.
The two types of 8mm film
Super 8 with sound has a brown magnetic strip down one or both sides of the film.
8mm Film Cartridge before being processed
Below left is a 50ft reel (75mm / 3inch diameter) on the right is a sealed cannister containing 2 x 25ft reels ready to go into a camera. During processing the 2 x 25ft reels are spliced together to form a 50ft reel. This was then returned to the customer in a prepaid postpack.
Note the date on this pack
A pack of unused 8mm film. Pathe South Africa circa 1950’s
8mm film after processing
Processed film was generally returned from the lab as a 50ft reel, pictured below, multiple 50ft reels where then spliced together to form a 200ft or 400ft reel. A 400 ft reel is pictured below. Approximate run times for each reel are as follows, these figures are approximate as run time is determined by frame rate 16, 18 or 24 fps (frames per second) and how tightly the film has been wound.
- 75mm reel diameter = 50ft = ± 4 minutes
- 125mm reel diameter = 200ft = ± 16 minutes
- 175mm reel diameter = 400ft = ± 32 minutes
8mm film if stored correctly can last for a long time, the oldest film we’ve converted to date is from the 1940’s. It was black and white but was in near perfect condition.
Film not stored correctly will deteriorate over time, the first tell tale sign is a vinegar smell when the canister is opened.
Below is an example of bad film, the film shrinks and gets brittle and as a result the edges crinkle, this prevents the film from going through the film scanner correctly. Unfortunately in this case we were unable to rescue the first section of film.
8mm Film Cameras
Some examples of 8mm film cameras, the earlier models with a wind up action. Each camera could hold a 25ft roll of film, one would have to ensure that the film was not exposed to light when inserting or removing from the camera. Exposure to light would destroy the film and meant the end of that reel. Care had to be taken to change the film under a black hood or in a very dark room. Once full the film cartridges would have to be sent to a film lab for processing, the film was then returned on a reel, generally two 25ft reels spliced to form a 50ft film reel that could then be used in a viewer or projector.
A good film camera and lens combination delivered outstanding results.
Below are two sample videos followed by frames of film using a Canon camera and lens with Kodak Super 8 film.
The first video is film captured on our HD film scanner, the second was captured using our older telecine method.
The film was correctly stored and was not run through a projector on many occasions.
8mm Film Viewers and editors
Viewers or film editors were used to view the processed film and select sections to edit. Once cut, the film was joined together using a chemical film cement.
Goko G100 S8 Super 8 Editor / Viewer
Pictured above is the Bolex 102 MTC projector / viewer, a very neat and compact machine with auto threading and multiple speed selection.
8mm film Splicers
8mm Film splicers were used to cut the film and hold it in place while the cement sets. This model splices both 8 and super 8 film.
Once spliced, film cement was used to join the film, care had to be taken to ensure the splice was done correctly as it could jam in the projector.
Watch this short video on how to splice 8mm film
8mm Film Projectors
There were literally thousands of film projectors available, in the later years some had sound options and could project both super and regular 8 film. Some even had two sound tracks, one on either side of the film, one could dub over the existing track to add a voice over. One major issue with projectors like these was that if there was a film jam the film would get burned due to the high lamp temperature.
The Noris 8 Junior manufactured around 1957 in Nuremberg. Note the manual drive handle on the side.
The eumig P8 is probably one of the most popular models around.
Pictured above are a Sekonic 80P, a Holbeck Auto, a Sankyo Sound 502, Noris Junior 8 and one of our favorites, the Kodak Brownie 8. The Sankyo still works perfectly. Below is a a sample film that was supplied with the ELMO range of projectors that feature sound.
A single frame of film that has been burned by being stopped in the projector gate.
Modern film scanning systems (such as ours) use cold light sources (LED) to eliminate the risk of burn through. Modern machines have sprocket less drive systems thus minimizing the risk of damage to the film.
Multiple runs through a projector would result in the film being scratched. It was very important that the film path was regularly cleaned and checked for anything that could scratch the film.
8mm Film Package Inserts
Some inserts found in old film packets
A sample of a commercially available film reel.
A sampl;e of 16mm film shot in Queenstown, New Zealand somewhere in the 1950’s. This film scanned on our HD film scanner
16mm Film was very popular and there a few variations. 16mm Film used an optical sound track, below are two images, the same frame of film zoomed out showing the optical audio track on the right of the frame. Conventional projectors used a light and sensor to “decode” this information. Our software reads each frame, decodes this audio information and recreates a WAV file.
16mm Film with audio track
16mm Film Projectors
16mm projectors were very common and featured an optical sound track.
This is one of our favorites the Kodak Box Brownie. Two view finders one located on the side and one on the top.
Invented by Kodak the brownie was a small rectangular shape. Probably the most important camera ever invented, it went on to sell in huge numbers. Taking a photo was as simple as raising the camera and pushing a button. Replacement film could be changed in daylight and was available for as little as 15 cents for a 6 exposure pack. The camera itself sold for around $1.00. More information can be found here: Camerapedia
Super Paxette film camera with a Chelico folding flash unit.
35mm Slide Projectors
Reflecta Diamator AF 35mm slide projectorClick below to be redirected to our various services.
Below is a small sample of our collection of cameras. There were many formats available, the most popular being VHS C, Hi8, DIgital 8 and Mini DV. Since the demise of tape based formats many solid state camcorders became available, most popular being SD card based camcorders recording in either SD or HD fomats.
VHS C Cameras
VHS Compact was a popular format as it allowed the small cassette to be inserted into an adaptor which made it compatible with a standard VHS recorder. Unfortunately we do not have any images of VHS C camcorders. They were slightly larger than the 8mm format as the cassette itself were larger. For more information of the cassette adaptor read this post on our blog.
This format developed from the Video 8 format, the difference being it had a higher bandwidth resulting in a better recording. Hi8 cameras used a similar cassette as video 8 and were generally backward compatible in that they could play Video 8 tapes. Very robust and superior in recording quality to VHS C, these cameras were very popular.
Digital 8 Cameras
Digital 8 was the natural progression from Hi8 and used the same cassettes but recorded in a digital format. Digital 8 cameras were generally backward compatible and could play both Hi8 and Video 8 cassettes. A popular format but did not stick around for too long before Mini DV took it’s hold.
Mini DV Cameras
The Mini DV format was very popular among the domestic and professional markets with variations in the pro market such as DVCAM and HDV using the same cassette but different recording formats. Pro machines could play back all formats.
SD Card Cameras
Panasonic HDC-SD20 HD Camcorder
Panasonic NV-B45 Video Tape Splicing Kit
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VHS Video Cassette Machines
The most popular analogue video format ever. Below is a short video explaining the basic operation of a video cassette recorder.
Video Head Cleaning
This is an example of a video head cleaning cassette. When the video heads on a VCR became clogged a short term and cheap fix was to use one of these. A few drops of a cleaning solution dripped into the orange hole would wet the cleaning tape. After running the cassette in the VCR for a few seconds the heads would be cleaned. The best way to clean video heads is to remove the cover and clean the heads, tape path and other devices in the tape path.
AKAI 4000DB Reel to Reel audio tape recorder. Pre audio cassette days these types of machine were very popular among the hifi enthusiast and professionals alike. Able to record both sides of a reel in stereo and at different recording speeds. Speeds were selected by placing a small adaptor over the capstan which changed it’s diameter and hence it’s tape speed. When the reel had played to the end, the reels were swapped over and inverted to enable playback of the other two tracks.
Tape was available in different duration and sizes, below is a small reel which runs for 15 minutes at 3 3/4 inch per second recording speed.
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