How To Shoot Super 8mm Film

By Caleb Rexius

With vintage film frame overlays and grain making a comeback into mainstream video production, lots of creators have begun to experiment with shooting on film itself.

One of the most accessible and user-friendly film formats is Super 8mm. It’s generally affordable, easy to find, and it provides that authentic film look that’s become so trendy.

In the video above, I demonstrate just how easy it is to get started with Super 8mm film.

Inexpensive, used Super 8mm cameras and film can be readily found on sites like eBay.

I use a Canon 310 XL, but this general setup and process will be similar for any handheld 8mm camera.
All you need to add to the camera are AA batteries and blank film. This is usually a pretty easy step.

Now, once your camera is turned on, you’ll need to adjust a few settings:

– Set your focus distance
– Set the exposure for “inside” or “outside”
– Set your viewfinder focus (so it’s clear to your eyes)

You’re now ready to film, which is done by depressing the trigger button below the lens. You’ll hear a clicking sound when the camera is filming, and filming in short bursts will be key to maximizing your film. You can also look on the side of the camera for a small, numbered bar to see how much film you have left. A reel of film should last about 3 minutes at 18fps.

Be sure to use the zoom in/zoom out function to capture that authentic home video look!

Once you’ve finished your reel of film, you simply need to send it off to get developed and digitized, and then you’re done! With a bit of practice, I’ve been able to pretty closely replicate my grandpa’s old 8mm film. Take a look for yourself!

The idea of shooting actual film can be intimidating for some, which is why 8mm is the perfect format for beginners. It’s cheap, available, and easy to use, and if you follow these steps, you’ll be shooting film like a pro in no time.

Caleb is the Founder and Lead Cinematographer at Filmpac.

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