1960′s Winnipeg Life on 8mm Film

I’ve been putting this off for a few months now, but while slowly moving all of my computer equipment into my office in the basement, I, once again, crossed paths with the massive box of old 8mm film that’s been sitting in my closet…

8mm Film

My grandfather and grandmother on my mother’s side passed away many years ago, and I’ve been sitting on this film ever since then. I took a look at it about 5 years ago, and I captured some with my old DV cam, but I never did anything with it, and it sat in storage at our apartment.

This past year, my grandmother on my father’s side passed away, and she had her own vault of old 8mm film. This film was in MUCH worse condition, and there was tons of water damage, scratches, etc… I wasn’t even sure if the film would thread though a projector without shredding into a million pieces.

I’ve been in a purge mode lately, trying to get rid of a lot of old crap I’ve got kicking around, so I figured now was as good a time as any to transfer it and get rid of it. I had 2 days free and basically spent the whole weekend capturing, compressing, and uploading all of this old 8mm film to youtube. James Swirsky was kind enough to lend me his personal projector for the weekend, so I was basically set.

There’s some interesting footage here intermixed with a lot of boring crap… If you’re into Mexican Bull fights, Disney Ice Capades, dancing bears wearing tutus, or shots of cities and clouds from airplanes, we’ve got you covered. If you’re from The Pas, Manitoba, there’s some shots from around town in the 1970′s. Some of the more interesting footage I think has to be the old footage of Winnipeg and the Red River Ex from the late 1960′s. It’s pretty amazing to see downtown Winnipeg back in the day… There’s tons of foot traffic everywhere, and it really looks like a vibrant place, unlike the somewhat desolate and depressing downtown of 2011.

There’s a lot of footage of my Dad and his brother as young teenagers, hanging out at my Grandma’s cabin at Lester beach and other typical family life stuff. The 1960′s Halloween costume party at my Grandma’s house is pretty interesting…

Film Damage Elements

There was one roll that looked like it was completely over exposed, so was basically a full reel of “film gunk”. I’ve seen this kind of stuff before on artbeats and other stock footage sites, and it usually goes for extremely exorbitant prices, so I’m giving this one away for free. Yaay!

Download Film Damage Elements.ZIP (204MB)

The file is the raw 1920X1080 24fps .MTS file right from my GH2. This format is a pain in the ass to work with, but I figured I’d provide the raw file right out of the camera, and you guys can decide what format you want to convert it into. If you want to make it into an uncompressed TGA sequence, or something that works, but my general workflow is to re-render all of my .MTS files as 99% compressed PhotoJPG quicktimes. This bloats the files up pretty bad, but they’re easy to scrub, and work with in After Effects. If you want to, you can drop the .MTS file right into After Effects and start using it, but I would highly recommend re-compressing it as something a little more edit friendly before using.

Anyways, I hope someone comes across this some day and finds a good use for it. If you do anything cool with it, shoot me an email or drop a note in the comments.




  1. Hi Kert, thanks a lot for the generous donation of the film damage elements, I’m going to have a good look at that and I’ll let you know if it finds it’s way into anything I do. Those are fascinating old movies, I love the colour and texture of them and it’s always fascinating to see old film that you know only a few people have viewed before. Feels very special.

  2. Bob G says:

    I have lots of 8mm & 16mm from the 50s and 60s (work and personal) to transfer. I did a couple rolls and there was lots of flicker (fluctuation of video levels). Did you do anything to minimize this in your movies, because they look pretty good? Thanks.

    • kgartner says:

      I didn’t do anything special, other than trying to match the shutter speed of my camera (a Panasonic GH2) to the film speed. The film is being played back at 24fps, which has a shutter speed of around 1/48th of a second. The closest I could get my camera to was 1/50th of a second, so it minimizes the flicker, but it’s still there a tiny bit.