Posted on January 14 2022
50 Years of Keeping It Reel # 2
In The Beginning - Harvard Professor Bob Doyle starts Super8 Sound in Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1972
Founded in 1972 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the company, which was originally called Super8 Sound™, pioneered the belief that the Super 8mm film format had tremendous potential as a production medium. A small group of inventors and entrepreneurs designed a line of specialty sync-sound full-coat (audio tape that has sprocket holes) and cassette recorders, editing benches and crystal sync modifications to Super 8 Cameras and other production accessories. They spent three months developing an electronic servo-control circuit that would match the speed of a Sony TC800B tape recorder to a one-closure-per-frame switch in a Super-8 movie camera. They were awarded U.S. Patent Number 3,900,251 for this work. They modified the guideposts in the Sony tape recorder from 1/4" to 8 mm to accommodate sprocketed magnetic film. They also installed an LED/photodiode pair to sense the passage of sprocket holes.
The idea was that you could replicate 35mm filmmaking using Super 8 equipment. This indeed made the Super 8mm film format and Super8 Sound ™ an integral part of hundreds of university film programs worldwide. Film programs could teach double system filmmaking on cost efficient Super 8. It became widely used by individuals with a desire to make an independent film.
View the history of Super 8 Sound, written by the founder, Bob Doyle and see the original Super 8 Sound Catalog
This film was made by Kodak at Super 8 Sound Inc at there headquaters on 95 Harvey St. Cambridge, MA 02140. It was shot on 16mm then printed on Super 8 Sound which was used to make this Scan. It features Bob Doyle the founder talking about the future of Super 8. Sound 8 Sound eventually became part of the group of companies marketed under the name Pro8mm pro8mm.com. The other companies include a motion picture processing lab Film Service of Boston, a camera repair company Precision camera repair of Van Nuys, CA and a transfer to video service Rupert Taylor of Belmont, CA. PS: There is a strange swirl in the audio. Its a job for protools. To learn more about Super 8 Sound visit dtvgroup.com/Super8Sound/
Bob Doyle eventually went on to pursue other interests as an inventor and philosopher, and resigned as President of Super 8 Sound in the late 1970’s.
The company was eventually taken through bankruptcy, and then purchased and reorganized by Phil Vigeant in 1980, the then staff accountant, who still owns the company and remains CEO. The company was moved to Burbank in 1987, and the name was changed to Pro8mm in 1992 along with Vigeants’ invention of Super 8 Color negative film.