8mm home movies


I’ve always been interested in photography, and over the last few years I’ve also become more interested in vintage photography, which was one of the reasons I started to collect vintage cameras and write this blog.

When I was a child my Father was also a photographer and as well as pictures he used to take 8mm home movies of us all. Showing the movies was a family event even more keenly looked forward to than the evenings viewing the slides, especially when, after viewing the latest film, he would switch the projector into reverse and show the films backwards!

When dad died a couple of years ago, I discovered all the movies he had made in a plastic box in the shed he used as a workshop. Unfortunately, rain had leaked through the roof and into the box and all the films were completely ruined. The only ones that we still had access to were a few which I had copied to video tape about 20 years ago by simply projecting them onto a screen and taping them.

Reminiscing  about the films he used to make got me thinking about all the other families who must have done the same thing and I wondered what is happening to all the millions of feet of 8mm film that must have been shot over the last 50 years. I suspect the answer is that a lot of it went the same way as our family films, but it seems a fair amount have also ended up being sold on eBay as part of house clearances etc.

eumig p8 dual projector
Eumig P8 Dual projector

So, being interested in old photographic equipment, as well as being generally interested in social history, I decided to invest in a few of these films and a projector to show them. My initial investment was for £8 for a Eumig P8 Dual projector which can show both std 8mm and super 8mm films.

The projector I bought was a ‘sold as seen’ unit so I had no idea if it would be working or not; in fact the plug had been cut off the mains lead because the seller couldn’t safety test it. So when it turned up, the first job was to fit a plug to the lead and see if the unit worked.

I did some initial tests with  a DVM to make sure that there wasn’t a short across the mains supply and also fitted a 3amp fuse to the plug before I first plugged it in, but once I’d convinced myself it was OK I connected it up and switched on.

I was pleased to find that the projector started buzzing, the motor started turning and when I switched the main switch to the ‘light on’ setting the bulb lit up and projected a nice square of bright light onto the wall. The only initial problem I can see it that the take up reel isn’t running. With the back off I can see there is a clutch arrangement on the take up spool which isn’t working so I’ll need to investigate that more fully.

For films I have invested in 3 Super 8 films which are all home movies:

  • A Holiday in Paris taken in 1969
  • A film of Yugoslavia with sound taken by a couple on holiday sometime in the 1960s
  • The Scottish  highlands in 1965

Each of these were only a few pounds on eBay. As long as you buy from auctions, the films don’t make huge sums of money – just steer clear of some of the ‘Buy it now’ sales which ask silly money for films. Although at the moment I haven’t been able to watch these, I’m looking forward to being able to soon, once I get the take up reel clutch issue sorted out.

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14 thoughts on “8mm home movies

  1. Great post! My dad was a cinematographer in the 1960s and 70s. I have a massive passion for vintage film, and taking it upon myself to revideo, scan, copy and distribute all our media – from slides, photos to super 8!
    I have a blog Hocus Focus which is starting to document How!, Here’s a Youtube (a mini version) of my Standard 8 DIY revideoing results! https://youtu.be/cR4X5wJys5A
    and loved your blog. I’m a new follower!

    1. Hi onyajay – thanks for the comments. My dad also took many films of us growing up in the 1960s and 70s but unfortunately they nearly all got destroyed before I could get them converted to video. I so wish I still had them

        1. I have a few reels but if I try to remove the film the emulsion just flakes away – they were all stored in a tin box in the roof of Dad’s shed and the rain got it and soaked them. So sad.

  2. Hello, I found your page whilst looking at Eumig P8 projectors. My dad was a projectionist all his life and somehow acquired a lot of old cine films, some are old films and cartoons and some are home movies of the 50s or 60s. I have no idea what to do with any of them but don’t want to throw then away so wondered if you could advise? They are probably interesting because of their social historical value. I also have his Eumig P8, cine film splicers and film viewer. I thought it was worth a try asking an enthusiast like yourself. Thanks.

    1. Hi Sally

      To be honest the only options you have with this sort of equipment is to either sell it on ebay, to dump it (which is a real shame) or to donate it to an interested party. I run a sister site to my blog called Vintage Home Movies (https://vintage-home-movies.co.uk) and I’m always interested in taking old 8mm home movies and publishing them for the historical interest, so if you would like to package them up I’d be happy to pay for the postage to send them to me, but obviously if you would rather try to recover the value then probably eBay is your best bet. An Eumig P8 can fetch anything between £10 and £30 and old film can make a few pounds. I suspect that unfortunately most old films end up in the dump.

      1. Hi Simon, thanks for replying. I would be happy to send them to you if you’d cover the postage. Would you like me to send photos / descriptions of what I have? The films and the box they are in weight just under 4kg, without bubble wrap so probably over 4kg fully packaged. I can inbox you details if you have an email address I can use, or via Facebook Messenger?
        Thanks again, Sally.

  3. Hi Simon, Imhave just gotten a eumig a P8 D but have no clue how to work it. Do you happen to have a copy of a manual. It looks like the feed mechanism is not working great but unsure of the problem. It could be the user. I was wondering what the switch is on the top just below the handle. Could you please assist me at all?

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