Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Editing Tricks for Amateur Vacation Video #2

Home Movies on 8mm Film

Kodak introduced its Brownie 8mm Movie Camera in 1951.  These were priced affordably (about $30) ... the "real cost" was in the film's processing.  Many dads added the role of "cinematographer" to their job descriptions!

Serious hobbyists could splice their short 3-minute filmstrips into longer spools.  Some formed clubs and edited their home movies to create stories.  But in most cases the families watched their home movies in their original form.

My father-in-law shot seventy-five minutes of home movies between 1955 and 1960.  We eventually had them transferred to VHS tape, and I've digitized the tape.   This short clip is a great example of typical 8mm home movies.  As expected there's a lot of shakiness and poor framing.  Not too different from what I produced in my first fifteen years of video!

But "8mm Dad" had a problem we don't worry about in video.  His film had a three-minute clock.  It's not unusual for these movies to suffer from sudden jumps and whip pans.  But six decades later we don't mind the technical errors; simply having the movie is a treasure.

Lesson Learned:  Once again, "preserving memories" is the hobbyist's most important result. 

Suggestion:  If you have a stash of old 8mm home movies, they are family treasures.  Digitize and share them!


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