8MM FILM

DescriptionRolls of 8mm film
Manufacturer
Time Period1930s-1990s
Components27 rolls, one storage case
Details12 rolls contained in storage case
12 rolls packaged in postage bags
3 additional rolls with no packaging
DimensionsStorage case: 8.5 x 20.5 x 8 cm
Rolls in case: 7.5 cm diameter
Rolls in postage bags: 7.5 cm diameter
Unpackaged rolls: 13 cm diameter
LocationUCL Cabinet of Obsolete Media
Inventory nºUCL201707

Film projectors are mechanical devices used for displaying motion picture film projected onto a screen. 8mm film was a format first developed by Eastman Kodak during the Great Depression to create a home movie format that was less expensive than its predecessor, 16mm film, and was released to the market in 1932. 8mm film was composed of an image area measuring 4.5mm with perforations at the edge of each image allowing the film strip to pass through the camera. Kodak discontinued commercial sales of 8mm film under its brand in the early 1990s. However, it continued to manufacture the film, which was sold only by specialty independent stores.

Although multiple projectors and camera companies offered 8mm film support, a standard model was founded by the Revere Camera Company in Chicago, 1939[1]. Often 8mm projectors, like the Revere model, are made up of a two-reel system — one is the feed reel that discards the film, and the other is the take-up reel which winds the film that has been shown. The film is run at different speeds, operated by a control lever, and additional focus controls are used in order to produce the clearest image quality. The feed-reel runs slower in order to maintain constant tension on the film for the take-up reel. The size of the actual film reels varies based off of the specific film projector used, but generally, 8mm films are divided and distributed in reels of up to 2000-feet of approximately 22-minutes and 24-frames per second. Two-reel systems were a development of early and late designs; however, in the earlier models, it was necessary to rewind the film, which became an automated feature in later versions[2].

The 8mm film strip and projectors are a striking example of how material objects undergo transformative processes and develop into more contemporary usages. For example, 8mm film continued to develop into more modern constructs such as double 8, super 8, 16mm, 35mm, and so forth. The development of obsolete film projectors and film stripes is compelling because this constituted the undeniable invention of cinema. Since then, the evolutionary process of film and its progression holds relevance to technological conceptual developments that continue to utilise material across mediums and outdated “gadgets” to understand how modern alternatives continuously unfold from vestiges of the past.

S.C.


[1] Djsigg. “Revere Model 80 8mm Film Projector.” The Museum of Obsolete Technology. November 15, 2012. Accessed April 22, 2019. https://unequivocable.wordpress.com/2012/11/15/revere-model-80-8mm-film-projector/.

[2] Olson, Caleb. “Loading and Rewinding an 8mm Projector (Revere 85).” YouTube. March 23, 2010. Accessed April 22, 2019. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N9HcCIusrdY.