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Rare Double 8mm Film with Sound

Few 8mm transfer houses do sound. Fewer still do sound from 8mm film.  Well, we do sound from 8mm film.  Moreover, we do it at no extra cost to you!

Eight-millimeter film normally does not have a sound strip.  However, we have had the opportunity to help a few customers with this very rare type of transfer.

Super-8 audio and Normal-8 audio differ from each other in that they locate their main audio strips on opposite edges of the film: The main audio strip on Super-8 film is on the side away from the perforation holes, whereas Normal-8 film has the magnetic sound strip on the same side as the perforation holes.  Thus, the few transfer houses that can transfer Super-8 film with sound will probably not be able to transfer Normal-8 film with sound.  Only transfer houses with a special sound head can transfer the sound from Normal-8 film for you.

Double 8 film (Normal 8) with rare sound strip.  Super-8 film is normally the format that would have sound.

Our transfer unit — a modified Bauer brand (Studio Class) German projector — is equipped with a DUOPLAY sound head.  The stock DUOPLAY sound head only plays back Super-8 film; however, we have modified our unit to allow for both Super-8 and Normal-8 film.  Morover, the head on our projector allows for stereo recording and playback, and for individually capturing both tracks.   Read more about our transfer unit.

Magnetic sound head WOELKE MüNCHEN FK 464 RS. This head has two tracks; one for either side of the film's edges; the sprocket hole side and the opposite side, which is sometimes referred as the balance strip.

 

Double-8 film with magnetic sound strip (and no balance strip)

Super-8 film with sound normally has two sound tracks: a wider main sound track and a slimmer balance track.  The main sound track and the balance track are located on opposite edges (but on the same side) of the film. The balance track helps the film spool-up more evenly onto larger reels.  Generally, nothing is recorded on the balance track, but it can be used to record additional sound.  More refined film hobbyists would sometimes lay down music on the balance track, without losing the original audio recording.  (This technique is more commonly practiced in Europe than in America.)

Side note: The Normal-8 sound head was located about 13.7mm ahead of the Super-8 sound head.  This discrepancy requires us to adjust for the sound placement when we finalize an 8mm transfer order.

Audio offset needs to be delayed by about 1.4 seconds

Wikipedia states that the sound is 38 frames behind the Super-8 head, but we have found the offset to be 36 frames ... with our unit.  In addition, Normal-8 with sound was usually shot at 24 frames per second — an all-around more professional speed at which to film.

 

Author: Nathaniel Courtens
Tuesday, November 30, 2021

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