Jump to content

8mm bulk film loader anyone?


Recommended Posts

Hi all,

N00b alert! Yes, I just put my hands on a camera my dad put away at some point in 1968/9 and my memory of working with film is hazy and fully made of cheap 35mm B&W photography darkrooms. Surely not what you call "knowledge". Anyway...

I have found at least one source of bulk 2x8mm film, which would hopefully make my filming budget a bit less desperate. But I need to load it into 7.5m spools... my naive mind immediately imagined a plastic machine that can just load my spool for me, as people do with bulk 35mm film... then I hit google and grew progressively worried.

After 36 hours of googling around I came to the conclusion that I either:
1) call the right thing with the wrong name (and so no results)
2) it is long extinct or it never existed for 8mm

Please tell me it's 1) or if it's 2)... HOW? How does a normal guy do this?


Thank you in advance!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

The best I have found so far is here:

I haven't looked much though, I first need to understand how to load it onto 7.5m reels. I'll see what I can do with a film editor once I manage to properly obscure the bathroom.

Edited by Alberto Serra
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Measure how far inside the spool the film is. You can do that in a changing bag with a ruler. The film does not fill the spool. Make some kind of stop device so when you wind new film onto a spool it will not fill past that point. A flat nail head in a block of wood would work.

Edited by Michael Carter
  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Greetings Alberto!


Are you familiar with the loading and exposing the 2 sides of the 16mm wide Double 8mm film in the camera? There is a cleaver way that was designed way back in the 1930s to prevent the user from double exposing the film.


The small 25 foot reels have different openings on each side of the reel. When you wind your bulk roll down, you have to have the film correctly orientated on the reel in order to load it into the camera properly. Wind it wrong, it won't work, simple as that.


The pic below is how the reels will sit in your camera when you load it. The gray reel is the raw film, the black reel is the take up. Look at the film feed spindle and the take up spindle, you'll see how the reel notches work to prevent wrong orientation of the reels.


The gray reel has a faint #1 stamped on it. That means the 1st side of the film is being loaded. You also see the 4 notches on the spindle hole. These 4 notches have to be up when in the camera. If you were to flip the reel over and try to load it on the feed side of the camera, it won't go. A safety step.


The take up reel has 3 notches up on the spindle hole when loaded in the correct position. I added a 2nd pic of a take up reel so you can see the 3 notches better. Usually the camera came with a reel printed like the one shown on the right below. That reel always stayed with the camera as you had wound the film back onto the reel that came with the unexposed film during the 2nd run.




3 notches up on the take up side.




When you've finished shooting the 1st side, you flip the reels over and run the 2nd side through. Then process it. Slit it in half. Splice the 2 pieces together and run it on your projector.


Again, the reel with the 4 notches up, as in the below pic, the film should be wound so it comes off the top of the reel on the right side, emulsion down, or in.




As suggested in posts above, I'm not 100% sure if these small CAMERA reels with the different set of notches will fit on the shaft of an 8mm editor, possibly they will. You'll have to try them. I was weened on shooting Double 8mm as a kid, but I didn't wind down bulk loads of film. I used to process 8mm B&W film however. I did have a Baia film slitter. The 2nd pic shows film with Super 8 sprocket holes.




If loading the camera as I explained above doesn't quit make sense, I have an instruction manual that explains the steps. I'll have to scan it 1st, so let me know.


Good luck!




(it really is very simple)



  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites


If loading the camera as I explained above doesn't quit make sense, I have an instruction manual that explains the steps. I'll have to scan it 1st, so let me know.


Good luck!




(it really is very simple)


Thank you SO much! Yeah it doesn't look terribly complex but if you don't know (as I did not know)... you're pretty much going to waste film and time! I *think* I can manage, but I think it would be really nice to publish the manual as it must be a quite common problem for n00bs like myself!


I am inheriting my dad's Gevaert / Carena Zoomex Variogon (last used ~1967 I think, but luckily he extracted the battery so it is still in working order) and he used to have the film developed, so all I have is a projector and the splicer he used to assemble his holidays movies.


If I can manage to load my reels next stop is developing them... so maybe I can cut costs to a more affordable level.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


Forum Sponsors

Visual Products


FJS International

Film Gears


Wooden Camera

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Serious Gear

Metropolis Post

Abel Cine

Tai Audio

New Pro Video - New and Used Equipment

Cinematography Books and Gear

  • Create New...