Convert 8MM Film with the Canon 5D Mark II

March 16th, 2011


Super 8 and 8mm have always been my favorites when shooting video. Although transferring the film to digital has posed problems mainly because of its expense and decline in locations to transfer. The video above by James Miller shows his method for transferring 8mm footage to digital using the beloved 5D Mark II and an Eumig Mark 501 (or the Eumig 610D & the Eumig Mark DL). The end result looks great, is much much faster and way less expensive. Now I just need to get a 1D Mark IV or 5D Mark II.

Hit the jump for more information on the process and the transfer results.


00:42 – It very important to use a flat type LED’s not the dome shaped ones. The dome shape LED’s will give you lots of blooming and the focus will drift at the edges making you suspect the lens.

00:58 – I drilled 3 holes in the body of the projector for the LED flexible light strip, behind where the original bulb used to sit. I mask out light I don’t want projected with putty. The position of the lights helps mask out some of the scratches. I need to add another couple of (horizontal) lights either side of the centre light.

01:29 – I modified the original projector lens to try and achieve a flat field image. Made from the rear element from a Carl Zeiss Flektogon 35mm and attached to the original lens tube with a bit a tape no less. You could use standard lens and there are some very nice ones out there.

03:08 – Utilising the body from the old 35mm lens, it proved a good way in shielding the projector from light pollution, I also added a 12mm extension tube. A lens cloth draped over the front further seals the light from entering, of course you could just film in very low light.

00:12 – I put 2 drive belts on the motor, this slowed the motor down just enough to reduce the shutter flicker. The Canon 5Dmk2 was set to 24p and 1/50 for our electrical phase.

ISO ranged from base up to 1000, depending on exposure of original film. The footage is fine at ISO 1000 but this could be reduced by using a more powerful flat lens LED.

03:30 – Focus and frame size changed by moving the projector or camera and adjusting the screw type lens. Try and focus on the film grain and not the scratches.

00:37 – I removed the internal mask for 8mm & S8mm aspects at the gate to project an unrestricted image into the camera. You gain areas that are hidden but they have the perfs though them and you see the top and bottom of the next and previous frame, but you can re-mask in post. If it’s personal footage you want to see everything on the frame, some times it makes the difference.

You can use the crop sensor DSLR’s but the lens would need changing or modifying unless you wanted a cropped image. On this lens and projector I can not bring the camera near enough without fouling on the body of the camera or projector body to get a full image captured.

I have tried to make this project as accessible as possible and apart from the camera, all the items are fairly cheap to pick up.

Posted by on 03/16/11 in Design, Film, Photography

7 COMMENTS   »  Leave your Comment

  1. Michael says:

    Shelby,

    This is great! I just started working with a super 8 camera, and the thought of analog to digital transfer has been a point in the process I wasn’t looking forward to. This is definitely a genuine solution.

  2. Chad says:

    What music is that with the first full converted video?

  3. Gary says:

    I enjoyed your transfer examples. I have the Canon 5D Mark ii. Can I achieve the same thing with an Elmo ST-180E Super 8 projector? Have been in the film transfer business for over 30 years and am wanting to sell off my expensive transfer cine equipment and put that money into other camera equipment. Thanks for any other suggestions.

  4. Peter says:

    Excellent idea and video what you did!! Could you tell me what kind of LED light you used?

  5. I love canon, I still get so much use out of my 1d classic

  6. Jon says:

    I love your choice of music on your films. Was there any frame rate problem when you recorded?


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