How to convert 8mm film to digital

Are you still attached to your old 8mm reels? Of Course, you would be; everybody is! But sadly, 8mm films are losing their popularity in the digital age; they are dying. Hence, storing these reels and converting them into a digital format has become important.

Luckily, there are many ways for converting your 8mm film into a digital film. You can store them on a DVD, USB drive, hard drive, or even SD drives. There are plenty of options to convert your 8mm reels into any media format and enjoy your old memories anytime without any struggle.

Now that you know that the conversion process is possible, you would be curious if it can be free of cost or is a money-oriented process. Well, there are numerous ways of converting it freely on your own. But, if you don’t want to take any risk of doing it yourself, you can hire a professional to do the work, but it’s an expensive process.

To avoid such situations, here are some easiest ways to transfer your important 8mm films into digital forms without spending a penny!

How to convert 8mm film to digital
How to convert 8mm film to digital

1.   Record while playing 8mm film

This method is the most effective only when your VHS film is in good condition to play. This is also the simplest way to convert 8mm films to digital files without spending money on high-end software or hiring a professional. In this method, you will simply re-record the 8mm film as you play it on your TV or the projector.

If you are looking for a budget way to convert your 8mm file into digital, this method seems to be the best option. To start with, you will have to gather all the equipment such as a recording camera, 8mm film, and projector. Once everything is set, you have to put your camera in record mode as the 8mm plays on the projector. After recording, you can transfer the recorded file to your computer or laptop.

This method can be troublesome for multiple reasons. One of the reasons is the bad projector surface. Make sure the surface you choose is clean and flat, possibly a gray or white plain wall. The second reason could be the camera quality. If you own an older camera version, you would not have the highest quality. Most 8mm or Super 8 films can go as far as 16 FPS, which is quite low for a modern camera to capture.

If you think the reasons mentioned could be a problem for you too, there’s another method. Swipe down!

2.   Scan each frame individually

This is another great method to transfer your 8mm or super 8 into a digital format. This method is for those who have adequate knowledge about the camera and its features. This method involves the same materials as the previous method, with the only difference being removing the projector lens.

Clean the lens, add an element that helps the lens filter out bugs and focus better on the picture quality. Now re-attach the lens on the projector and place a DSLR camera in front of that lens. Turn the camera and then cover the camera lens with the help of a cloth.

Make sure the cloth you choose is opaque so that the light doesn’t shine through. Once you have set the lens and the camera, now you can run your 8mm tape and start recording each frame that appears on the projector.

The reason why this method is much better than the previous one is due to the resolution quality. DSLR cameras will remove all the grains and capture each frame with the highest precision.

However, this process still has some cons. The scanned frames or images can still have deformity or tearing effects. If you don’t want to compromise on the quality, you have another option below.

3.   Buy a conversion machine.

Buying a VHS converter or hiring a professional is the same thing. With a single press of a button, you will be able to convert your old 8mm films into MP4 formats. Most of these converter machines can run 20 FP or more in a second and eliminate all the flaws from old VHS tapes.

These machines also allow you to carry out settings such as exposure, brightness, and contrast in your recordings. So, make sure you run some trials before recording the final film.

These machines have no other cons except for one, i.e., they are expensive.


Nobody wants their cherishable moments to vanish away. Choose the method which you find comfortable working on. If you are good with cameras, then I would suggest you go for the 2nd method, i.e., trying to scan each frame separately. 

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