‘Okay grandpa, just what is Super 8?’ - I hear some of you young whippersnappers ask…
Super 8mm film is a motion picture film format released in 1965 by Eastman Kodak as an improvement over the older “Double” or “Regular” 8 mm home movie format.
The film is nominally 8mm wide, the same as older formatted 8mm film, but the dimensions of the rectangular perforations along one edge are smaller, which allows for a greater exposed area. The Super 8 standard also allocates the border opposite the perforations for an oxide stripe upon which sound can be magnetically recorded.
Unlike Super 35 (which is generally compatible with standard 35mm equipment), the film stock used for Super 8 is not compatible with standard 8 mm film cameras.
There are several varieties of the film system used for shooting, but the final film in each case has the same dimensions. The most popular system by far was the Kodak system.
^ information and image is taken from the wikipedia article for Super8 - to which more in-depth info can be found in the link.
An introduction to the Original Trilogy on Super 8…
Continuing on with some of the more obscure and oft-forgotten formats that the Original Trilogy saw releases for a long time ago… on CED, on VHD, on Video8, and on V2000 formats…
Only ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Empire Strikes Back’ saw Super 8 releases - unfortunately ‘Return Of The Jedi’ had no such official release… until Derann in the UK won the rights to release 20th Century Fox films on Super 8… and then released ROTJ circa 1989.
Two quality sources chronicling the history of the Original Trilogy on Super8 (far better than I ever could) can be found here:-
Star Wars comes home: the Super 8 releases from Ken Films - 2013 article at Episode Nothing (a superb & informative blog)
Watching Star Wars on film - 2010 article at the SavingStarWars website - inc ROTJ on Super 8 (by zombie84)
A screenshot image of the article linked above can be found below (click on Expand to see the image)…
Some videos with footage from the films on the Super 8 format (and info too)…
‘KEN Films STAR WARS 8mm B&W reel (no sound) HD scan and transfer’:-
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dxWtBpt5fLo - a 13 minute video at the Rockensuess Productions/RFI youtube channel
‘Vintage Empire Strikes Back Super 8 Color With Sound (both reels)’:-
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7avLx1mfN0 - a 34 minute video at the dartman71 youtube channel.
‘The Empire Strikes Back Super8 on Film Viewers’:-
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KcoqetVGRqw - a 10 minute video at the Petr Harmy youtube channel.
‘Super8 - Il ritorno dello Jedi (1983) - DERANN AGFA SCOPE’ (Return Of The Jedi):-
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nutKJsfGNYQ - a 3 minute sample video at the Super8 Cine youtube channel.
‘Star Wars Super8 Digest’ (Side-by-Side comparison video of Ken films in Cinemascope & Cineavision):-
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YO--jgUD0mQ - 18 minute video at the DotwinMA youtube channel.
‘Revenge of the Jedi Teaser Trailer - Super 8mm’ - note Luke’s blue lightsaber in use on Jabba’s Skiff Barge:-
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WNveQK87Bnc - 84 second trailer at the SuperEight youtube channel.
Super 8 Cover Art for just some the Original Trilogy releases (as found on the superb SWonVideo.com website)…
^ image from https://www.swonvideo.com/8mm/v8anhf48b&w.htm - ‘Star Wars, selected scenes, Super8 reel (7 mins), black & white, Ken films USA 1977’
^ image from https://www.swonvideo.com/8mm/8mmf64cinemascope.htm - ‘Star Wars, Selected scenes, Super8 reel (17 mins.), Color/sound, Ken films, USA 1977 Cinemascope version’
^ image from https://www.swonvideo.com/8mm/v8esbusf63.htm - ‘Empire Strikes Back, selected scenes, Super8 reel (17 mins), Color/sound, Ken films’
& by Video Collector (SWonVideo.com site owner) in this OT•com thread: 70 mm print of the Empire Strikes Back Differences
^ image from https://www.swonvideo.com/8mm/v8esbusf65.htm - ‘The Empire Strikes Back, Selected scenes, Super8 reel (17 mins.), Color/sound, Ken films, USA 1980’
^ images from Info & Images: Return of the Jedi - Super 8mm DERANN - a 2020 OT•com thread
^ although the image is from Return Of The Jedi - Derann used this as a cover for Star Wars (1977). If anyone has cover artwork or an image for the Return Of The Jedi release by Derann, please let us know 👍
A few more informative videos on the Super 8 releases for the Original Trilogy…
‘From the Star Wars Home Video Library #1: Super 8 ANH’:-
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ow8AJdgZTAg - a 15 minute video from the Nathan Butler youtube channel
‘From the Star Wars Home Video Library #1.1: Super 8 ANH Update #1’:-
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NVgwA23baOM - a 4 minute video from the Nathan Butler youtube channel
‘From the Star Wars Home Video Library #1.2: Super 8 Update #2’:-
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oicd8JHbR2w - a 20 minute video from the Nathan Butler youtube channel
Reviews & Information:
• Watching Star Wars on film - 2010 article at the SavingStarWars website (by zombie84)
• Star Wars comes home: the Super 8 releases from Ken Films - 2013 article at Episode Nothing (a superb & informative blog)
• Remember Star Wars on Super 8mm? - 2008 article at StarWars•com (via the Internet Archive)
• Celebrate The Empire Strikes Back 40th Anniv. with the Original 35-Minute Super 8 Home Release - 2020 article at MovieWeb
• SWonVideo.com Page for Super 8 - includes cover art & info (by Video Collector)
• StarWarsHomeVideo.com Page for Super 8 - includes cover art & info (by projectcclarke)
• 5 Awesome Star Wars Media Collectibles - 2015 article at StarWars•com
• The best versions of Star Wars you can buy on eBay - 2015 article at The Verge
• Fantastic Fan Made Super 8 Behind the Scenes Video Footage from ‘Return of the Jedi’ - 2012 article at Original Prop
• Star Wars: Selected Scenes - Super 8 transfer (with sound) - 8 minute video at the Nick Bontrager vimeo channel
• Star Wars on Super 8mm - 2017 discussion on Wookieepedia
• Return of the Jedi Super 8mm - 2017 forum discussion at starwarsforum•co•uk
• Star Wars, Scope Stereo feature - 2019 forum discussion at ReelMagicFilmForum
• Derann closing down - 2011 forum discussion at 8mmForum
• The Empire Strikes Back 2X400ft Ken Films - 2009 forum discussion at 8mmForum
• Return of the Jedi (Scope) - - 2007 forum discussion at 8mmForum
• The increasing significance of the 8mm full length ‘Star Wars’ feature prints - 2011 forum discussion at 8mmForum
• STAR WARS Derann feature, anyone? - 2019 forum discussion at 8mmForum
• Star Wars Trilogy in Super 8 - 2013 forum discussion at 8mmForum
• Check Out The 1977 Super 8 Version Of Star Wars! - 2021 article at Pop Culture Retrorama
OriginalTrilogy•com threads related to Super 8:
• Info Wanted: has anyone tried a Star Wars Super 8mm to DVD preservation project? - 2005 thread, by segaflip
• The Puggo Edition - webpage and screenshots (Super 8 transfers - Released) - 2006 thread, by Puggo - Jar Jar’s Yoda
• Info: Star Wars Super 8 film black & white - any use for people here? - 2007 thread, by StarWarsFan1976
• Super 8mm Digest Films and Features anyone else here collect them? - 2008 thread, by skyjedi2005
• Star Wars on Super8 (Released) - a 2013 thread, by poita
• Info & Images: Return of the Jedi - Super 8mm DERANN - 2020 thread, by marin888
• Info: Star Wars Derann Super 8mm Scope/Stereo Sound Feature Film - on eBay - 2014 thread, by JayArgonaut
• Info Wanted : anyone done a The Empire Strikes Back Super 8 HD Recreation? - 2016 thread, by Windows7Guy100
• Info: Online 8mm Preservations - 2012 thread, by none (also includes Video8 projects info)
• Info: ILM 1976-8 Super-8 - David Berry (Released - on vimeo) - 2009 thread, by none
• Help: looking for… a quality version of Star Wars | Super-8 | B & W | Silent (subtitled) - 2012 thread, by raphael
‘An advert placed by the company Leisuremail in the first edition of the British Star Wars Weekly in February 1978’:
^ the image above is from the Star Wars comes home: the Super 8 releases from Ken Films article at Episode Nothing.
Wookieepedia blurb : https://starwars.fandom.com/wiki/Star_Wars_home_video_releases
About the Super 8 format as a whole…
‘The Super 8 Gauge: A Brief Guide’:-
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AiasSJkhRQI - a 19 minute video from the Movie Collector youtube channel
‘Super 8 | Part 1 | Introduction’:-
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v4CF3XDPW-U - a 7 minute video at the Ray Roberts youtube channel
Part 2 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rf1ZdMRuWqc (8 mins)
Part 3 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7B5iM5VNMo (7 mins)
Obligatory Wikipedia Page for the Super 8 format: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_8_film
‘Live Science’ Page for info on the Super 8 format: www.livescience.com/33332-why-super-8-great.html
Legacy Box Page for the Super 8 format: https://legacybox.com/blogs/analog/super-8-film-format
Guardian article on the popularity of Super 8: www.theguardian.com/film/filmblog/2011/aug/08/super-8-camera-jj-abrams
As ever, if you see any mistakes or broken links please let us know - or have anything for inclusion to the above info too. 👍