How to Thread a Super 8 Projector

By Marshal M. Rosenthal

Super 8 projectors, like the 8mm models that preceded them, rely on sprocket holes in the film to engage the film gate as they move past the projection bulb. Improperly threading a Super 8mm projector can subject the film to stress and slow its progress through the film gate, allowing the heat from the projection bulb to physically damage the film. The basic procedure for correctly threading film in a Super 8 projector is the same regardless of the model.

Put the projector on a table, opposite a wall. Plug the projector into an electrical socket.

Remove the tape or rubber band encircling the film inside the film reel. Place the reel on the hub of the front film arm. Twist the film reel slightly on the hub to lock it in place.

Put on cotton gloves to keep your fingerprints from getting on the film. Gently pull out 2 feet of film from the end of the reel. Carefully thread the film into the roller that is in front of the film gate--this is either just behind the lens or on the base of the projector.

Pull the end of the film around the roller and thread it through the film gate. Thread the end of the film around the roller that is at the other side of the film gate. Pull the film up and over to the take-up back film arm.

Place the empty film reel on the hub of the take-up back film arm. Twist the empty reel slightly on the hub to lock it in place.

Insert the end of the film into the slot in the empty film reel. Use your fingers to rotate the empty reel clockwise to wind the film on the reel. Stop rotating the reel when there no longer is any slack on the film.

Turn the motor of the Super 8 projector on using the control knob. Watch as the film now moves through the film gate and gets taken up on the take-up back film arm. Turn the control knob to illuminate the projection bulb and project the Super 8mm film on the wall or a white sheet if you want to see what's on it.

Tip

Running the film reel back and forth on the projector first without turning on the bulb will lessen the tension on the reel when it is being viewed.

Warning

If the film jams in the projector, turn off the projection bulb immediately so the film doesn’t start burning.

About the Author

Marshal M. Rosenthal is a technology maven with more than 15 years of editorial experience. A graduate of Brooks Institute of Photography with a Bachelor of Arts in photographic arts, his editorial work has appeared both domestically as well as internationally in publications such as "Home Theater," "Electronic House," "eGear," "Computer and Video Games" and "Digitrends."