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How to Use an 8mm Movie Projector

Found an 8mm projector at your house? Want to watch those old home movies? Many 8mm projectors are different, but this tutorial will give you a general idea of how to take that vintage piece of equipment and put it to good use.

Things You'll Need:

  • Wall Or Sheet For Projection
  • Empty 8Mm Film Reel
  • 8Mm Movie Projector
  • Reel Of 8Mm Film

Setting up the 8mm Projector

Plug in the projector and turn it on.

The projector will have two arms, which will hold the reels of film. If they are not already out, take them out until they are in place.

Take the 8mm film reel, and place it on the front arm, or the arm closest to the projector's output. Place the empty film reel on the other arm, the one toward the rear of the machine.

Take the film, which should be wound around the front of the reel, and run it through a slot above the lens. If it is an automatically loading machine, it will do the rest of the work for you.

If the model does not load automatically, try and find the projector's original manual. Since models vary, the placement of the film may be different. For the most part, you will be running the film between several wheels before it is finally placed in a slot on the empty reel. The wheels will move the film through onto the empty reel which will catch the rest of the film as it is watched.

Set the control switch on your projector to forward projection. This makes the film spin forward.

Adjust the focus by using the knob around the projector's lens.

When done with the film, rewind the film by inserting the end of the film into the empty spool and flipping the knob to the backward projection position.


Many 8mm film projectors have automatic loading features. It will usually take your film, and run it to the second reel with the click of a button. Look for a manual for your make and model online to see how yours works. If the beginning of your film is bent or damaged in any way, try to straighten or cut it. This will make the film work well as it passes through the projector.

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