This post marks a significant event in the history of the found-film site – instead of featuring a colour slide or negative I’ve found, it is the first one to feature an 8mm home movie. In this case the movie was taken in Bruges in Belgium in 1957 and is one of a series of films I picked up from eBay whilst feeding one of my other passions, 8mm home movie projectors.
The quality of this clip is not brilliant, and that is the result of the mechanism used for scanning the film, which introduces a large number of compression artefacts, and my inexperience at the whole process. I’m sure I will get to understand the process better and produce better results as I get more experienced, and I expect the actual scanning process to improve when I complete my project to build a raspberry pi driven tele-cine machine.
For the record, this clip was produced with a Winait 8mm film scanner which I bought over a year ago, but which suffers from a software issue which means it crashes if I attempt to scan long films.
Although the video clip featured on this page is quite small, it actually looks better kept quite small because the compression artefacts start to impact on the image quite a lot when the size is expanded. However, if you want to watch the clip in a bigger size you can try the full screen version.
So to the actual home movie of Bruges in 1957.
The film starts with a woman walking around the market place in Bruges looking at the stalls. There is a segment where the film is fogged and some light leak to the side – unfortunately, this is a normal part of 8mm films and it happened when the camera was initially loaded and then again when the film was turned over at the mid point and light leaked into the film reel.
There are some scenes of the beach and harbour in Bruges, and then a street parade where a banner with ‘St Niklaas’ on which I assumed was a Christmas reference, but after a quick google search may refer to a Belgian town of Sint-Niklaas in East Flanders. In the same parade, a boy in costume holds a banner with the words ‘Roodkapje en de Wolf’ which refers to the ‘Little red riding hood’ tale and as well as him there are other story characters in the parade.
There are shots showing the canal and town of Bruges, which are interesting, but would be more so if the quality of the capture was better. In a later part of the film there are scenes which were probably taken at dusk where the scene is quite badly under exposed; That seems a major failing in our modern auto exposure, digital sensor world, but in the time of film photography I guess you got the best shot you could with the film you had in the camera.
Towards the end of the short film there seems to be another public parade, this time involving a golden coach. If anyone knows what event this is, or can provide modern images or map references to scenes in the film I’d be really interested to have them.
This film is just one in a series of about 20 from the same set which covers a variety of different locations across Europe and the UK and date from about 1954 up to the mid 1960s. Over the course of the next few months as time permits, I will post more of the series here on found-film.