Amazon product for preserving family memories.

The most important person in my life is my grandmother. She raised me and has always been the one constant in my life. For many years now, we’ve shared a home so that we can look after each other. Every once in awhile, she gets really sentimental and walks into my office with a photo album or pile of pictures that she wants to share. Thanks to this miracle machine, it was my turn to share with her. Her mother used to document family events with an old 8mm film camera. We’ve stored the film reels for years — not well, I might add — simply because we didn’t want to let them go. We never thought that we’d be able to watch them again, but the Jancane 8mm Film Scanner made it possible to relive some old events from the past. 


This Digital MovieMaker does frame-by-frame digitizing of 8mm (or Super 8) film. It works with 3-inch or 5-inch reels and converts the film into a MPEG-4 digital file at 1080P/30fps. These files can be saved directly to a PC through a USB connection, watched on a monitor or television with a video out cable, or saved to an SD card. One 32GB SD card is provided, but you could always use your own (class 6 or higher). The machine has a 2.4-inch LCD screen, which is great for previewing the film as it gets converted and it can be used to view a playback of the converted video in playback mode. There is no software required to use this conversion device. It will work with Windows, Mac, or Linux operating systems.


Getting started with the device is very easy. It comes pre-assembled and the only requirement of the user to get it set-up is to load the 8mm film reel onto it. Loading the film can be a little bit of a chore because it has to slip underneath a couple of feet in the scanner in order for it to be pulled through the machine properly. The first time I loaded the scanner, I didn’t get the film properly placed and so it didn’t advance correctly. 

I have to admit that I was very nervous at first because the film reels I was working with were more than 50 years old and the film had been stored in a random box in a garage. So, I really didn’t know what to expect with how the machine would handle the film. I was incredibly concerned that maybe it would be destroyed. But after completing two transfers, I realized that the machine was doing a good job of being gentle with the material and nothing was damage.

The only complaint I have about this device is the reel that come with it. It is just a little snug around the film. That means that it’s easy for the film to get caught on the reel and not load properly. I had to stop one particular reel 3 times to get the film loaded onto the return reel properly. This became such a headache that I ended up pulling out a spare reel from the old film to use as the return reel. If the return reel that was provided was just a fraction wider, it wouldn’t have been a problem. 


Even though this device is expensive, it’s worth the investment if you have a lot of old home movies on 8mm film. My grandmother had dozens of films that we transferred to digital files and it was joy being able to show her moving pictures that she thought she’d never be able to see again. She was absolutely floored and in awe that it was even possible. I can recommend this device, but I also recommend being available to ‘babysit’ the machine while it’s working.