How to File 8mm Film

By | April 6, 2021


Clean and lubricate your library with 8mm films to be transferred. Apply methyl chloroform or perchlorethylene in a soft, lint-free cloth. The fabric should be moist but not saturated with the cleaning solution. Use an 8mm film editor to get the film on the recording roll while gently pressing the film with the damp cloth as it passes through your fingers.


Mount your video camera on a tripod level with your telecine projector. Position your telecine system so that the condenser lens is perpendicular to your camcorder location.


Pull the telecine projector with an 8 mm film and place the projector in ‘Forward – Lamp’ to project the film image onto the condenser lens.


Focus your camcorder lens on the projected image displayed in the capacitor lens of the telecin. Make sure the movie image matches the visible video image. If you use an HD camera, you have a margin on both sides of your viewfinder, as 8mm film is not a widescreen format. When focusing and zooming on the camcorder, lock the tripod so that the camera does not move during movie projection.


Rewind the movie in the telecine projector and continue projection after recording with your camcorder.


When the movie is finished, stop recording on your camcorder.


Log all available information about each movie in a document for future reference. Unedited 8mm films were about three minutes long. Your tape log will provide a guide to several 8mm movies archived on your video recording medium.

Tips and warnings

  • The video archive format depends on the type of camcorder used. DVD camcorders provide the ability to record directly on DVD. DVDs provide an inexpensive and durable archive format.
  • If 8mm telecine equipment is not available or too expensive, many local video production companies specialize in 8mm video transmissions. If you have a small number of movies to transfer, this can be a cost-effective option for purchasing your own equipment.
  • Failure to use an 8 mm telecine projection system results in images flashing continuously throughout the video. Telecine systems solve the different frame rates between film and video technology.
  • First introduced by the Eastman Kodak company in the 1930s, 8mm film offered a cheap billiard format to suit the home hobbyist. Most amateur filmmakers used the format to preserve family memories. The format grew in popularity and was upgraded to a ‘Super 8’ format that offered both color and sound at its peak in the mid-1970s. Aging 8mm movies now offer a rare glimpse into family history. Use this guide to archive 8mm movies to the latest digital video formats for future generations.