The very things that make many of us so passionate about the bleeding edge of visual technology make us equally attached to vintage media – not out of nostalgia, out of a love of what is expressive.

Our friends over at Retro Thing have devoted their entire site to such matters. But as we mourn the loss of the Small Thing print magazine, they have some particularly useful posts this week related to some of those older formats.

Signs of hope:

Where To Find Regular 8mm Film

— that’s the important one. It’s possible to still go pick up Super 8 film, and I’m pleased to hear the Super 8 cartridges from Kodak are still being made. I’m actually a little surprised that super 8 footage isn’t making its way into more digital visualist sets.

New Low Cost 8mm Film Transfer Unit

— likely out of reach of many of us at US$1495, but still in a range that it could impact anyone who needs such transfers.

Polaroid Fanatics Gets Another Chance

— a long shot, but it seems former Polaroid employees are trying to rescue the old Instant Integral film plant in the Netherlands. That’s heartening, because the lousy new digital-printing Polaroids just aren’t the same. The whole appeal was watching that film develop.

What’s your favorite “antiquated” medium? Do you work with formats like 8mm or even film Polaroids for your sets? How do you get them in digital form? We’d love to hear from you.

  • RoyMacdonald

    Hi, nice post.
    I'm actually building a 8mm transfer machine using an arduino that controls a steper motor to move the film frame-by-frame and a computer controled digital photo camera (ideally a DSLR, tha I don't have right now, but im prototyping with a various nikon coolpix). Everything is being controlled through processing. The idea is to have all the process automated, with a GUI to control some aspects of the transfer, and finally have a high resolution digital transfer. So far I have nothing documented but I pretend to do so and ideally transform this into an open source project.

    I'll let you know about any improvements.

  • i have a ton of lovely old super 8mm cameras collected that i never used cos kodak stopped doing it really easily. i need to get some process paid stock and start playing. i do like the idea of being able to capture straight into computer for a thousand quid. is it possible to use a high res flatbed neg scanner to do it, with a macro or two?

  • @Roy: Please share the details once you've got it working. This is the sort of stuff that keeps S8 alive!

    @chromatouch: It's hard to get good results using a flatbed scanner because of the small frame size (4.8 mm x 3.5 mm) for Regular 8mm and the need for extremely precise image registration.

    Bart at Blue in London ( can set you up with process-paid film in the UK at a great price, thanks to the weak Pound.

  • BirdFLU

    The Polaroid 600 black and white film is awesome.

  • not sure what happened to the comment i posted…oh well…short version:

    here's my adventure in super8mm

    i shoot on a 514XL-S and use a projector and miniDV cam to telecine

  • I've been approaching 8mm/Super8/16mm from a different angle. I have 8mm and 16mm projectors but only a super 8 camera (and no budget for stock)… So I started buying clear film leader in both sizes and started experimenting. It's amazingly versatile stuff. Recently I've been been resampling and re-projecting these experiments into the same space using both film and lcd projectors and VDMX. It's quite lovely. Here's a link to an earlier experiment:

    Also, this is a bit of inverted thinking… there's a guy that's been fabricating film from video using transparency film and a printer…

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  • Math

    I've been working with super8 for a while, and as it's completely different from the interactive visuals I make, I was wondering if anyone knows of projects combining both worlds?

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