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8mm Memories: The unique joy of the past and present co-existing in harmony.

This Christmas treated me very well. I acquired a 1235 Filmsonic XL 8mm Camera (issued in 1974) and a Hanimex SR9000 projector (1977). They are in the most imaculate condition and (as you can see) include the original boxes and manuals. The camera itself could have been picked straight from the shelf and handed to me, such is the condition.

The whole notion of vintage home recording technology just gives me retro goosebumps. In a world where digital solutions exist for everything (including recreating facsimiles of the super 8 look), it’s a beautiful thing to hold such an analogue creation. The ultimate aim is to procure some 8mm reels and actually use this thing at some point. It would be such a shame to let its functionality go to waste. But for now, it is more than enough to behold its physicality. To feel it’s weight. To thumb through it’s manual.

I’m not one to pine mindlessly for the past. I embrace new technology and use them as often as possible. What I find exciting is a world where the old and the new comfortably co-exist and feed off each other. I like to imagine a dialogue between what was and what is, one informing the other. And from a design perspective, there is nothing more enjoyable than admiring (and learning from) the aesthetics of the old. The logos and buttons on the unit itself inspire me for reasons I can’t quite explain.

If I were to tell you how long I’d spent simply staring at the diagram on the back of the Filmsonic box, it would be a bit embarrassing.

I don’t care how many movie making apps I download, none of them can do what the above diagram does… It crawls inside me and embraces whatever it is within that feels inspiration. It’s a very personal thing that I’ll likely never understand. All I know is it, that I can feel it when it hits. It’s the beating heart that makes art possible and it’s different for everybody. Rather than understand it, it’s enough to know that it exists.

The hulking Hanimex SR9000 is also a sight to behold. I can imagine a more immediate use for this in my music production (once again, this depends on my ability to procure reels). An item that has been on my wish list for quite some time is a reel-to-reel tape recorded, and the Hanimex seems like a logical step toward that goal. I can sense a tactile ability to manipulate sound in a way I haven’t been able to before. This, of course, is theoretical, but time will tell.

As with the Filmsonic, my admiration for the Hanimex goes beyond its functionality. This is, in my eyes, a marvel of retro design. Each button, socket, dial and logo inspires that same sense within me mentioned above. Just by looking at it, it fulfils a purpose.

I’m cognizant of the fact that this post may strike some as an eBay listing wherein the item cannot be purchased, but I felt compelled to share it. Not only does it strike at the heart of who I am, but it acts a great reminder about the Christmas of 2011. The Christmas where I was given a Filmsonic XL 8mm camera and a Hanimex SR9000 projector, and in receiving these objects of the past, I received so much more. I hope that you enjoyed doing whatever it is you do at this time of the year. More importantly, feel free to share your own whimsical tales of retro bliss. Stick around in the new year. I’ve barely even started.

– Matthew Revert


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