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The Transition from Super 8 to Digital: A Trip Down Memory Lane

Film and video formats have been a constantly evolving world ever since they were introduced in the market way back in the early years of the twentieth century. Since then, we have seen their transformation from the initial 8mm and super 8 films to 16mm, 35mm, 70mm films and VHS tapes leading finally to digital discs. Digital recording is now the buzzword of the photography all over.

“Super 8” is a film format which contains a hard copy of an image on the old super 8mm films. The recorded image on the super 8 film can also be seen by holding the film to light. The format was introduced to the market in 1965 and was a popular film format for shooting for twenty years. A great many memorable events of millions of home movie enthusiasts were captured on these super 8 films. Unfortunately, technology has changed so drastically that playing of the 8mm and super 8 films directly is considered almost an enigma in today’s digital media.

It is obvious that almost everybody inherited reels of super 8 films from their parents and grandparents. These films therefore form a part of an unwritten legacy of every household of the country. Many memorable occasions were stored in these films and then forgotten. These family home movies are therefore lying stacked in houses without ever been shown or viewed by the present generation of viewers.

The problem with super 8 films is that they cannot be watched directly on modern television sets. The projectors which played those films in days past have become obsolete and have been replaced by TV screens and computers, which have no ability to play these old films in their original format.

However, while it is not possible to play super 8 films now on TVs and PCs in their original film format, present day technology at least allows for the transfer of the recorded images on these films to a modern digital format. It is therefore a good idea to convert these super 8mm films to a digital format, thereby storing their contents on DVDs or Blu-rays for long lasting preservation.

Transferring home movies from super 8 to DVD or super 8mm films to digital may seem daunting to non-professionals. However, with proper equipment and appropriate technology, the process is easy to understand and execute. We can recreate the old films on camcorders that can be fed into computers and stored on DVDs or any other digital devices of the present era. With digital conversion also comes refined imagery and clear sound without the flaws of blur and distorted edges to the pictures, which normally came with super 8 films. That way, we can view those films on a DVD player any time we wish and can also share the re-recorded video stream online for the world to enjoy the past fun.

There are several video capture kits in the market today that include a device to convert super 8 to digital format through a USB input source and a software application to edit the clips. The process of video conversion includes manual cleaning and repair of the old films, playing through the projector on the screens, recording of the images and sounds using modern camcorders followed by digital conversion and DVD burning through computers.

The entire process sounds simple but is in reality tedious and time consuming. It also requires technical knowledge to play and record old films through modern equipment. The end product, if not executed properly, may fail to please our eyes and may not give the sense of professionalism. There is a possibility of damaging the old, brittle film due to mishandling and incorrect transfer operation. In addition, super 8 equipment is difficult to operate at times, expensive to purchase and will be of no use after transferring all the reels.

Therefore, conversion of these super 8mm films to digital format is a task best left to the professionals. There are many companies around us who offer transfer services of old films to DVD but none like the video guys who do a high-quality professional job at affordable prices. If you have only a small quantity of super 8 films, this is probably the best way to go. You can then create inexpensive backups and copies and, most importantly, have access to modern digital world media for a lifetime of fun.



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