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Home /Science / How Many Feet of Film Is on a Super 8 mm Reel?

How Many Feet of Film Is on a Super 8 mm Reel?

By Elaine Elliott

Super 8 was first released in 1965 at the World's Fair by Eastman Kodak. From documentaries to MTV music videos, Super 8 was used for a variety of film purposes.  

Super 8 film is “super” in a lot of ways.

For example, Super 8 was more accessible to amateur filmmakers and had great image quality. Super 8 was also grand in its length of film. So how many feet of film is on a Super 8 mm reel? For a lot of Super 8 reels, the answer is around the length of a football field! 


Super 8 and regular 8mm reels have the same length of film depending on the diameter of the reel itself. For example, a 3-foot reel of Super 8 and 8mm both have 50 feet of film inside the spool. 


Here is a chart to remember how reel diameter length adjusts to film length:


3” Reel = 50 ft of film

5” Reel = 200 ft of film

6” Reel = 300 ft of film

7” Reel = 400 ft of film


Even though this may seem like a long length (for example a football field is 360 feet), a CD can store about 2,700-4,300 feet of reel footage. This length is equivalent to 2 hours of film.


This means a 3” Super 8 reel only has about 3.5 minutes of running time. In order to record a near full-length film using Super 8 reels, the reel has to have at least 830 feet of film – which equates to 55 minutes of footage for a silent film, and 43 minutes for film with sound.


Since both 8mm film and Super 8 film are 8mm wide and the same film length, it seems like it might be difficult to tell the difference. But the sprocket holes in 8mm film and Super 8 film vary. Super 8 will have smaller, more rectangular holes and 8mm has larger more square-like holes. 


Even with such a long length of film roll, the Super 8 cartridges were compact, easy to use, and the fastest loading cartridges on the market. Even with these conveniences, Super 8 cameras were discontinued as digital cameras became more popular. But if you are looking for Super 8 film for your old camera, some photography stores still sell the rolls.

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