The standard 8 mm film format was developed by the Eastman Kodak company during the Great Depression and released on the market in 1932 to create a home movie format that was less expensive than 16 mm. The film spools actually contain a 16 mm film with twice as many perforations along each edge than normal 16 mm film, which is only exposed along half of its width. When the film reaches its end in the takeup spool, the camera is opened and the spools in the camera are flipped and swapped (the design of the spool hole ensures that this happens properly) and the same film is exposed along the side of the film left unexposed on the first loading. During processing, the film is split down the middle, resulting in two lengths of 8 mm film, each with a single row of perforations along one edge, thereby fitting four times as many frames in the same amount of 16 mm film. Because the spool was reversed after filming on one side to allow filming on the other side the format was sometimes called Double 8. The frame size of regular 8 mm is 4.8 mm x 3.5 mm and 1m film contains 264 pictures. Normally Double8 is filmed at 16 frames per second.
Common length film spools allowed filming of about 3 minutes to 4.5 minutes at 12, 15, 16 and 18 frames per second.
Kodak ceased selling standard 8 mm film in the early 1990s, but continued to produce the film, which was sold via independent film stores. Black-and-white 8 mm film is still manufactured in the Czech Republic, and several companies buy bulk quantities of 16 mm film to make regular 8 mm by re-perforating the stock, cutting it into 25 foot (7.6 m) lengths, and collecting it into special standard 8 mm spools which they then sell. Re-perforation requires special equipment. Some specialists also produce super 8 mm film from existing 16 mm, or even 35 mm film stock.
 Super 8
In 1965, Super-8 film was released and was quickly adopted by the amateur film-maker. It featured a better quality image, and was easier to use mainly due to a cartridge-loading system which did not require re-loading halfway through. Sometimes, the improvement was not as apparent, since the film gate in some cheap Super 8 cameras was plastic as was the pressure plate, which was built in to the cartridge, whereas the standard 8 cameras had a permanent metal film gate which was more reliable in keeping the image in focus.
There was another version of Super-8 film, Single-8, produced by Fuji in Japan. It has the same final film dimensions, but the cassette is different. The Kodak system was by far the most popular. Super-8 was at one point available with a magnetic sound track at the edge of the film but this only made up 5 to 8% of Super-8 sales and was discontinued in the 1990s.
There has been a huge resurgence of Super-8 film in recent years due to advances in film stocks and digital technology. Film can handle far greater variations in contrast than video cameras and thus has become an alternative for acquisition. The idea is to shoot on the low cost Super-8 equipment then transfer the film to video for editing. In recent years, the format itself has been further improved by enlarging the aperture of the camera to expose into the now obsolete sound track region allowing for a wide-screen image. This has been given the title "super-duper-8" or "max-8" and is gradually gaining popularity despite the availability of affordable digital video cameras.
visited on the 7 May 2009
This material explains the basic ideas and descriptions of 8mm film. It describes the differences between Super 8 and standard 8, which I should have realised much earlier in the project because it could have allowed major changes to the image I produced.
In the holidays I dove into buying two 8mm editors, one super and one standard, not having a clue about either. I figured i'd just have a go seeing as though its an analogue process the materials are all laid out infront of me, so I had a more physical relationship with the medium (as apposed to digital).