iSupr8 and Digital-Age Nostalgia

My dad had a desktop Super-8 film viewer/editor—a little cyclopean mannikin with a milky screen, it held two small reels of film aloft with its spindly, jointed arms. I’d rummage around in the basement for home movies to screen on it; all I ever found was a reel shot at my aunt’s high school graduation. Looping and spinning the narrow strip of film, I watched little gown-clad, ant-like figures jerking to and fro in milky light.

What Instagram has done for the Polaroid, iSupr8 wants to do for another consumer-grade imaging technology of the mid-twentieth century. Of course, Instragram’s popularity comes from its social features, making sharing pics as infectiously easy as it was to flip polaroids across the table in days of yore. It isn’t clear that iSupr8 emulates the thrill of hunting up old reels of film in attics. But I’m not reviewing the app here, only noting that it’s one of a variety of vintage-video emulators out there (you can get one that makes your vids look like Chaplinesque silent movies as well). There’s something particular about 8-mm film; it was after all the home-movie medium of choice for the parents and grandparents of the generation that made the Internet.

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