Super 8 Super Fun Time

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I bought a Super 8 camera off of eBay a while back. $15, “as is.”

I attempted to first test it out with some old expired Kodachrome, figuring I could develop the film myself just to see if anything appeared at all – see if the camera functioned.

That was a mega-disaster. I had difficulty getting the film into a tank (the film is smaller than 35mm width-wise, but there is so so much of it. 50ft is longer than I thought), so I am pretty sure the film got exposed to light. And then I couldn’t get the ramjet off. At all.

The camera seemed functional, though, and I’ve always liked the idea of projecting movies on the wall. We bought an 8mm/Super 8 projector, and have enjoyed watching a few movies on it – so far we have an Abbott & Costello short, a copy of Buster Keaton’s The General, and a satirical Soviet spy cartoon. So I really wanted to give this a good shot.

Cringing a bit at the inevitable cost, I bought a roll of B&W Super 8 film that included processing by Pro8mm. An expensive gamble that made my stomach turn a bit: 3x the cost of the camera to see if it functioned or not! I shot the roll during one of our days at Six Flags and mailed it in. Got the roll back this week, and, happily, there is movie! I did not pay for them to scan it, because I stupidly thought I could get it scanned here (I can, but it’s very very expensive), so I recorded a crappy copy of the movie as it played on our wall. It’s a bit dark/blurry (the projected version is nice and sharp) and there is flicker (since it runs at a slower frame rate than my digital camera will go down to), but here it is:

It is a pricey venture, so I can’t imagine we’ll make too many of these, at least not currently. I would love to try my hand at some stop-motion movies, but that will have to wait until we have a proper house with space to set things up. I’m also hoping more options will become available when Kodak re-releases all of its Super 8 things at the end of the year – it promises inclusive film/processing/scanning packages. It was, however, very fun to film and kiddo absolutely loves seeing herself in a “wall movie,” as she calls them.

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