How old did you say that was?

B&H Regent Model 122, circa 1950 (I think)My newest project I think I briefly mentioned here someplace involves this device.

I’m pretty sure it was built either immediately before WW2, or immediately after. Either way, it’s very, very old but very very cool. Bonus is it still works.

It’s a Bell and Howell 8mm Projector, Regent series, Model 122. And, it works!

You see, grandad has a little bit of 8mm film. Well, maybe more than a little bit. 17 300′ reels and over 50 50′ reels. That’s quite a bit as I’m learning. The big reals are about an hour long, give or take. The little reels are about 10 minutes long. That’s a lot of old school video.

And I’m going to make it digital.
(and yes Paul, you will get an email from this weekend)

Why am I doing it? To start, my Grandfather is a bit of a pain in the ass, control freak and some might say stubborn. He’s 82 so I cut him some slack. Anyway, the thought of this leaving his control makes him shake something aweful. And, he knows I need the work. He would rather pay me (not as much as a transfer service) than pay a transfer service. For this, I am extremely grateful. And it’s going to be fun!

I’ve already done a primilinary test of the process. Very rough, but I wanted to see what the quality would be like this way. I’m very happy with this initial test and am positive the results I get once my rig is fully setup will be very nice. Here’s a sample of my test. Details and project outline after the jump.

This was done in a not very dark room, projecting against a piece of copy paper and recording with a Panasonic SDR-S7 camcorder I was holding. Like I said, not the most ideal but it does show that this will turn out very well once my rig is setup.

The rig

  • Projector
  • Screen or whiteboard
  • Camcorder
  • A dark room

The Project

Transfer all of the 8mm film to video. Once transfer is complete we will edit and organize. After that, I’m going to setup my audio recording rig with 2 microphones so my grandparents can narrate. Once that is done, I will put that all together along with a few photos that I will scan in to produce a DVD for the family, ready by Christmas.

I’m pretty excited about it and you know I will be keeping track of progress here to help the goog out.

By Don

Lead bottle washer at, host at and tech guru for the MotoringFile family of sites.


  1. Hey DB, this is looking great! What’s the cause of the strobing light to dark and back? I’m considering a starting a similar project (8mm and Hi8 to DV) and would appreciate you posting any pointers.

  2. I think it’s a combination of things, mostly shutter speed on the dv cam and playback speed on the projector.

    I’ve been reading up and will be adjusting the shutter speed on the dv cam to 1/60 to start to see if that helps, and adjust the projector accordingly (I don’t know what the speed is, it’s just a knob).

    Don’t worry, I will be posting here as the project progresses.

  3. Yes, it’s almost certainly catching the pull down as each frame goes down the screen. I don’t think you can eliminate that using this method.

    It’s too bad you don’t live closer or I’d lend you my equipment as I’ve not got any transfer work on the horizon. Just sitting there right now looking for some film.

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