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What You Need to Know about Vintage Movie Projectors and Screens

The Super 8 camera was a popular choice in the late 1900s and vintage film collectors might even still have their old Super 8 film reels. When watching these reels, you'll have to find the right vintage film projector. 

How Do Vintage Movie Projects and Screens Work?

Before the digital age, people watched home movies on movie projectors with sound projectors and screens. But how did these things work? 

  • Movie projectors work in some of the same ways a vintage slide projector works. 
  • When watching your Super 8 home films on a movie projector, you need a light source. Most film projectors made after 1963 use Xenon arc lamps to shine a light through the Super 8 film reel.
  • Film projectors need a reflector and a condenser lens. You need both to concentrate the light coming from the projector lamp. 
  • Projectors use dousers to protect the film reel from the projector light while it's not playing. It's an important part of the projector or else your whole film reel could melt. 
  • The film gate and shutter work together on a projector to pause the reel while it's playing. Your movie may just be a blur of images. 
  • The sound projector works separately, but most movie projectors for Super 8 films after the 1980s will have a sound projector built in. 
  • When needing replacement parts for your Super 8 projector, check all of these vital parts first. Finding out what part is missing on a vintage projector helps you figure out how to make it work.  

What Kind of Film Projector Do I Need for My Super 8 Videos?

  • One popular projector for Super 8 films was the ELMO projector.
  • Despite what you might have thought, this projector is not based on the children's character. It is a company that started creating movie projectors in 1921. 
  • Some ELMO projectors worked with both Super 8 film and normal 8mm film. But it's a good idea for your vintage films to use a projector that specializes in Super 8 movies instead of both. 
  • Most of these projectors have sound projectors built in, so you don't need a separate sound projector to watch your Super 8 movies. 

Content provided for informational purposes only. eBay is not affiliated with or endorsed by ELMO or Super 8.