One of the hardest parts of sending your film reels for digitizing is deciding what to get done. And one of the easiest ways to save money on your project is to limit how many 8mm or 16mm films you send to a transfer service. But how can you tell what's on each home movie if they aren’t labeled? You might want to consider investing in a projector so that you can go through and view your film before sending them to get digitized.  For example, you may want to send a service like ours the birthday parties and wedding footage.  The shots of shoes or a finger on the lens?  Not so much.

The most important thing to keep in mind before starting your research is making sure you get the right type of projector for the film that you have. 16mm film, 8mm film, and super 8mm film all require different equipment due to their size and sprockets. However there are projectors called “Dual 8” that can be used for both 8mm and Super 8mm formats.

Looking to buy? 

Always make sure that what you’re investing is in working condition. Some questions to ask the seller: Does it have all the gears, belts and wires in good condition, is the bulb working and are replacements available? 

The links below will generally provide you cost effective options.  That said, it is likely only cost effective to purchase a preview machine like this if you have a few dozen films.  If you just have a handful, digitizing them is likely cheaper than buying a projector.

The Camera Shop, Vintage California USA on Etsy

Try your luck on eBay

Phil’s Vintage sells all three projector formats as well as bulbs. 

You might also search your local listings for options to rent a projector.  Places that have this option may offer per day, weekend or weekly rates. Googling “Dual 8 projector for rent near me” will list local Audio Visual rental businesses in your area.