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8mm film of Germany and the Rhine 1961

Following on from my last post, this post features another 8mm home movie which in this case was taken in Germany and along the Rhine in about 1961.

For the technically minded, this 50ft film was taken on Kodachrome daylight film by a lady in Blackheath, London and the box the film has been sitting in for the last nearly 60 years advises that processing needed to be completed before August 1962. It was digitised on a (broken) Winait 8mm film scanner and then converted to 16 frames per second using ffmpeg before cropping and exporting to youtube with Openshot on Linux.

I know the general location of the film because the title ‘Germany Rhine 1961’ was written on the front of the box in rather faint pencil.

Germany and the Rhine 1961

The film starts with some shots of a group in a small village in Germany looking at a map whilst standing next to a white VW beetle. I don’t know if this was their car or not, but the next scene shows cars being driven on to a ferry for transport across a wide river, presumably the Rhine.

The film then moves to some mountain shots with pictures of the same people on suspended chairs going up and then down a mountain. It’s unfortunate that the large number of digital artefacts rather spoils these images because the village in the bottom of the valley is just mushy noise, as are any trees on the sides of the mountains.

The next few seconds give us a clue as to the cine camera used to take this film. There are images of a plate of food which are out of focus and positioned off the top of the frame. This suggests to me that the camera used was a viewfinder model, which was probably also fixed focus. If the camera had through the lens composition and focus adjust, these shots would almost certainly have been in the centre of the film and focused.

Back to the clip which then shows the group at a grassy area on the banks of the Rhine, and shots of a local village with traditional buildings. I would guess the next images were taken on a boat on the Rhine and show the mountains and valleys, but again the digital noise makes it difficult to get much from these scenes.

The closing scenes of the film show the ladies in the group on the banks of the river, and then the same people in a domestic garden setting – I suspect these last shots were taken after the group returned from holiday and ‘used up’ the film; something I remember doing many times when I was a teenager and borrowed my dad’s Bell & Howell cine camera!


A software developer by profession, I've always been interested in photography and vintage photography in particular. This site is one of several I run which is dedicated to film, photography and photo equipment.

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