Before video people used to shoot their home movies on cheap film stocks like 8mm which was just a strip of 16mm cut in half. In the nineteen sixties Kodak introduced super 8 film which was” super” in that it was made with smaller sprocket holes along the side so that the image surface area was greater.

Despite its cost, $15 for a three minute roll plus another $10 for developing, the obsolete medium is supported by a die hard fan base of purists, enough that Kodak still makes a few different flavors of super 8. It's tough getting developed though. Kodak has a color lab in Switzerland and as far as I know it's the only place in the world that will process the stuff. There are a few places that still do black and white, and I send mine to Batavia, Illinois.

Of course any super 8 fan worth his salt eventually tries his hand at home developing, but it's dangerous and impractical.

So what's the point?

well, for one thing it's a purist issue. There's a school of thought which says that film is beautiful and video is crass.

Also it's a real poor man's medium. The film is expensive but the cameras are cheap, 5-10 bucks cheap. So you've got to pick your shot carefully but if you drop your camera off a bridge (I have dropped a camera off of a bridge) it's no big deal. There are times when that balance of freedom and restriction is desirable.

Although super 8 is usually silent I've seen websites with sound super 8 for sale, but you'll need a sound camera. What happens is someone orders a large amount to be made, buys it in bulk and then sell off the extras.