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How Does an 8mm Film Splicer Work?

8mm film marked the modern age of film upon its creation in the 1930s by Eastman Kodak as a less costly replacement for the common 16mm. Even some new media is created using film as its media, and when film must be edited, one step of the process is using a film splicer to join pieces together.

How is 8mm film used?

Regular 8mm is actually half of 16mm film.

  • A 16mm spool containing twice the perforations as 8mm are passed through the camera twice, once on one half and then the other. This creates two 8mm sections.
  • Super 8 was later introduced in the 1960s and was loaded into cameras by cartridge, rather than by roll or tape. Super 8 also has a higher frame rate of 16 to 24 fps (frames-per-second), compared to regular 8mm having 16 fps.
  • When the reel is ready to be played, it is run through a light. The light then projects the image onto the viewing area, and the brain perceives rapidly changing images as movement.

What is film splicing?

Film splicing involves physically joining two pieces of film together, and there are multiple types of splicers designed for varied applications.

  • Tape splicers join pieces using clear tape. The advantage of tape slicers is that they work on all types, including acetate, Mylar, and polyester. A tape splicer also puts perforated holes into tape that dont have them, making less costly non-perforated tape usable. This method isnt permanent, meaning that the media can be separated and rearranged. This is why tape splicing is often used for a film that is still in the works.
  • A cement splicer joins pieces using glue. The join is chemically welded and permanent, but also invisible. Cement splicing is often used with negatives to prepare release prints. This method can be used for repair, but not for film that could be rearranged as it cannot be undone. Cement splicers can also have heating elements that set the glue faster, though this method should be used with acetate, as it may not work properly with polyester and Mylar.
  • Ultrasonic splicers are also available, and these can be used with Mylar and polyester stock. An ultrasonic splicer is powered by electricity and fuses the two pieces together. This may be more trouble-free, as other splicing methods require careful cleaning and preparation.

What features do Kodak film splicers have?

Vintage film splicers may have a place in the hearts of both creators and collectors since vintage splicers are often in usable condition and supplies are still available.

  • Modern and vintage film splicers are available to consumers, with vintage splicers from the company often appealing to collectors rather than creators. Automatic splicing is also an option, but some may prefer the hands-on approach of other methods.
  • Many Kodak splicers are universal, meaning they can be used with 8mm and 16mm stock. There are also "junior" splicers that are designed to be less complicated to use.
  • Although the splicers are vintage, its still possible to buy the original supplies for them, like the press tape.

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