How to clean, preserve and convert Super 8 Film

By | April 11, 2021

Use your Super 8 movie editor to thread your movie on the recording reel.


Apply enough methyl chloroform or perchlorethylene to dampen your cleaning cloth. Carefully turn the assignment spool to allow the film to pass through the cloth as you gently press the fabric on both sides of the film. The bundle of film between the cloths is tight enough to apply the cleaning solution and still allows the film to pass through the cloth as you blow it onto the pickup roller.


Mount your camcorder on a tripod and focus the camera on the condenser lens on your telecine projection system. Position your telecine so that the condenser lens is level with your camcorder.


Focus your camcorder on the telecine condenser lens. Adjust the zoom lens so that the entire projected image fills the frame of your viewfinder.


Project the film by moving the telecine projector to the position of the headlight.


Press recording on your camcorder.


When the movie is finished, delete and mark the recording from the camcorder. If you are transferring multiple movies to the same videotape or DVD, note which movies were recorded for future reference.

Tips and warnings

  • Telecine transmission systems can be expensive. You may want to consult a local video production company to see if it provides telecine transmission services. If you have a large collection, consider purchasing a used telecommunications system.
  • The quality of your converted movies depends on the quality of the camcorder you use. If possible, choose a 3 CCD camcorder with precision glasses.
  • The file format is the format used by your camcorder. Some cameras record directly to DVD. DVDs provide a cheap archiving solution.
  • Do not clean your Super 8 movies too often. Overuse of cleaning chemicals can destroy the emulsion layer in the film. Degradation of the emulsion layer results in a loss of image quality.
  • Super 8mm film technology emerged in the 1960s as an affordable way for people to create home theaters and preserve family memories. For many prominent filmmakers in the 60’s and 70’s, the Super 8 film format was their first experience with the world of film production. If your collection consists of family memories or serious works of art, Super 8 movies approaching 50 years of age must be preserved and protected. You can clean your movies and convert them to a digital format for many years of enjoyment.