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10 Things You Might Not Know about Super 8 film

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By Christian Roemer

Most of us have heard about Super 8. If nothing else, we know that Steven Spielberg made an entire movie about it and even named it Super 8. What on earth makes this outdated, anachronistic format so popular?

There’s not much of a better answer than: nostalgia.

People just love the way Super 8 looks. Its sepia tones and soft audio evoke a direct line back to the mid century. Many people grew up making home movies on the handheld cameras while chasing their friends around the neighborhood on bicycles. 

 

Super 8 makes people feel like they’re back in the good old days.


Even though you’ve likely heard of Super 8 film, and you can probably even recognize Super 8 recordings when you see them, there’s plenty you don’t know about this cool format. Here are 10 fun facts about Super 8 to impress your friends over cocktails when the pandemic ends.


  1. Released in 1965 - Super 8 film first came to market in 1965. It was invented to replace previous film technologies that were much harder to use.

  2. Cartridges - Super 8 was a major upgrade over previous formats because the film came in cartridges. That made it easier to transport, load, and use. Cartridges made home video recording fool proof!

  3. 8 means 8mm - The 8 in Super 8 stands for the width of the film, which is 8 millimeters. If that looks familiar, that’s because 8mm film is a pretty standard size in old home video formats.

  4. 24 FPS - Super 8 records at 24 frames per second. The human brain needs about 16 frames per second to register motion. 24 FPS is still the same frame rate used with most movies.

  5. Silent until 1973 - When Super 8 first hit the market, it was video only. It wasn’t until 1973 that Super 8 could record sound too. That’s 8 years of a bunch of silent movies!

  6. 50 feet of film - Each Super 8 cartridge came with about 50 feet of film inside. If you would unroll it, it’d be taller than a three story building!

  7. 3600 frames - Each Super 8 cartridge can film around 3600 frames. If you used them up from start to finish, each cartridge could capture about 2 and a half minutes of footage.
     
  8. Airplane films - Curiously, beginning in 1971, films shown on planes were Super 8 format. They packed the Super 8 film in special, extra large cartridges to fit an entire movie in them. Imagine if they used the regular size! The flight attendants would have been switching cartridges like crazy to keep the movies going!

  9. Super 8 festivals - Super 8 is so popular that there are film festivals dedicated to Super 8 films! Two of them are the Flicker Film Festival and  the Super Gr8 Film Festival. Heck, I’ll bet you could even Google a Super 8 fan club in your area!

  10. Super 8 is super easy to digitize - Maybe one of the best features of Super 8 is how easy it is to digitize. If you have Super 8 films sitting around the house that you’d like to watch on your computer, Legacybox can digitize them lickety-split.

Super 8 is a popular film format for a reason. It’s easy to use, the videos look great, and the footage feels really nostalgic. People all over the world still use it to record incredible films today – almost 60 years later. Now, armed with all this info about Super 8, you have all the factoids you need to impress your friends when the conversation steers that way.

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