How to Convert Super 8 Film Into Digital Files

By Darrin Meyer

Transferring film to digital preserves your videos, keeping them from deteriorating over time.
i film reel image by Edward White from

Super 8mm film was once a popular format for capturing home movies and other video footage. However, film has become a thing of the past for home use in the digital age, with cameras using newer and better formats for capturing video and transferring it to a computer. Still, there is a way to convert Super 8mm film to digital, with the right equipment, without the cost of paying a professional service to do it for you and the time-intensive labor of constructing an elaborate scanning device.

Load the film you wish to convert into a film projector. Set up a projection screen or point the projector onto a bare, flat surface instead, such as a white-painted wall. This method may not provide optimal video quality, but it will get the job done.

Aim your video camera at the same spot, using the tripod to stabilize the camera and keep it motionless. Prepare the camcorder for recording, inserting a tape or DVD if it uses either of those formats.

Play the film as a test run, to set the focus of the projector and center the camcorder and make any adjustments necessary (zoom, focus, etc.) to frame the shot and get the best possible recording.

Restart the film and press "Record" on the camcorder to begin recording, and press "Stop" when finished.

Return the recording to its starting point and connect the camcorder to your computer using the USB or IEEE1394/Firewire cable (whichever your equipment requires). Open Windows Movie Maker, or comparable video software program of your choice, and click "From Digital Video Camera" in the "Import" menu and follow the on-screen prompts to transfer the video to the computer.