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Almost a super 8 tradgedy


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#1 Patrick Cooper

Patrick Cooper
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Posted 20 December 2006 - 09:24 PM

I had an unusual experience with a local transfer business a few years ago. I had about 200 feet of super 8 (mostly time lapse) transferred to vhs (don't laugh cos vhs was all I had in terms of video back then) within one day. I picked up the reel of film and the tape within about half an hour and overall I was pleased with the quality of the transfer, except for one sequence where the machine the guy was using couldn't handle white clouds and blue sky.

Several weeks passed and I was reading the newspaper. In the classifieds, there was one entry from a married couple saying that they had sent their wedding film (captured on super 8 in the 1970s) to a place to get transferred and the operator had mixed up their reel with someone else's. The operator had given the wedding reel to someone else - someone who had come in to have their own reel transferred. The entry also said that this person was an enthusiast who shoots super 8 currently. The business that was listed was the same business where I had my super 8 footage transferred.

I was pretty sure that this had nothing to do with me. Afterall, the spool on the reel I got back was the same as the one I brought in. I viewed the contents of the reel just for the sake of it and to my amazement, I saw a 1970s wedding! I rang the phone number in the classifieds and got on to the husband and told him that I had his film. He said that my film was back at the transfer place. The operator (who was also the manager) had not been telling the couple the truth about their missing film for the first few weeks. He told them that it had been sent out for cleaning. Though eventually, he told them the truth. There was no way that the manager could have contacted me because he didn?t have my contact details. I arranged to meet the husband at my place to collect the film.

I later rang the transfer business and I told the manager that I was the person who he had given the wedding film to and how I found out about the stuff up. He was amazed that I found out from an entry in the classifieds of a newspaper. He told me that I could return the wedding film to him but I told him that I had already arranged with the couple that I would give the film directly to them. He insisted but I said this was not possible. Obviously, he was not prepared to miss out on making money on a potential transfer.

A few days later, the husband arrived at my house to collect the film and he was very thankful. He also thought that it was interesting that I was shooting on super 8 as a hobby. I actually tried to persuade him to buy a super 8 projector to view his wedding film in all it?s original glory. He wasn?t really sure about this! I think he was very much in tune with the modern age. I didn?t know whether he took the film back to the same place to get transferred or whether he chose some place else.

I later collected my film from the transfer business ? the manager hardly said anything when I picked up the film.

I think it?s quite incredible that the only way I found out about this whole thing was stumbling across an entry in the classifieds of a newspaper. I don?t know what the chances are of that occurring. This was a few years ago and to be honest, I have not projected that particular reel of film of mine since before the transfer. So if I had not seen that entry in the paper, it would have been an extremely long time before that couple would have been reunited with their wedding film. Who knows, they could have been wondering if it was gone for good.
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