How to Convert 8mm Film to Digital Format
By Stephen Lilley
Updated September 22, 2017
Items you will need
It can be an absolute pain to cart out an old 8mm film projector and boxes of reels of home movies every time you want to show a new person the footage from the time you went on vacation in Maui. By converting all your old 8mm film to a digital format, you can easily slim the process down to popping in a DVD or double-clicking your mouse. The process is not nearly as difficult as one would think.
Project your film. You can do this onto a projector screen or onto a white wall--as long as the surface is completely flat, free of any noticeable textures and clean, you won't be able to tell the difference. Make sure the projector is displaying your film at the proper speed and in focus.
Record your film using a digital camera with a video option or camcorder. Though it may seem overly simple, this is how professionals transfer film to video. The only difference is both their film and their cameras (or often dedicated computers that scan every frame of film) cost exponentially more than yours do. Be sure your camera is recording only your image and not the wall around it, and is doing so completely in focus.
Transfer your recorded footage from your camera or camcorder to your computer. If you have a camera that records to tape, you can use a program such as Windows Movie Maker to capture the footage. This turns it into a digital file (usually a .avi) that you can then do whatever you'd like with. If your camera records to a hard drive, all you have to do is copy the digital file over to your computer and the process is finished.
For the best results, be sure to turn the "auto focus" setting off of your digital camcorder. White balance your camcorder prior to recording.
Stephen Lilley is a freelance writer who hopes to one day make a career writing for film and television. His articles have appeared on a variety of websites. Lilley holds a Bachelor of Arts in film and video production from the University of Toledo in Ohio.