Hipster Linux Box Is An 8mm Film Editor

Browsing though the junk store one day [Alec] spotted an old school 8mm film editor. For those who weren’t around, video used to be shot on film and editing it was a mechanical task of cutting (with a sharp implement) and pasting (with special tape) back together. It’s sad to see these in junk stores, but great for [Alec] who thought it begged to have an LCD and a single board computer implanted in it.  Once the editor was in hand, the machine was gutted of its very simple parts: a lamp, some mirrors and a couple of lenses. He took measurements of the hollowed out enclosure and got down to business.

The hunt for a 4:3 aspect ratio LCD was on. Through a little bit of research, an LCD security screen was ordered from Alibaba. For the brains of the build an OLinuXino A13 board was chosen due to its native VGA output perfect for the LCD screen, a decent 1GHz Allwinner CPU, and the physical size which would fit in the editor housing.

With some haggling, Linux was installed on the SBC along with some games and the system was buttoned back up. A neat touch was added to the arms where you would originally place your film reals in the form of some fold out speakers, making the whole thing look like something direct out of a classic Sci-fi film. Check out the name of the project: PCsr, pronounced PC Senior… nice!

We’d love to see some film reels added as speaker grills. Maybe there will be some leftover reels to use after converting all your old film to digital.

Join us after the break for a quick video

15 thoughts on “Hipster Linux Box Is An 8mm Film Editor

  1. Interesting hack. I still have my Dad’s Hanimex Edipet 8mm editor which has the same configuration as this Goku. Probably not many options with such a simple device. I’ve been thinking of cannibalising a cheap slide scanner from Ion to make a film digitiser. I have a lot of 8mm film from the 1960’s and 70’s. The photos of the inside spurred me to get it out and have a look. Maybe I will get to do my first Hack-a-day project!

    1. The screen was originally two layers, as I recall: a fresnel lens, then frosted glass. I experimented with keeping one or both of them in front of the screen, but the effect wasn’t worth the wasted clarity. I used to have a bigger fresnel from an overhead projector, but it almost lit my house on fire when I parked it in front of some curtains, so it got the heave-ho.

    1. Yes! I looked into doing that, as it would’ve preserved the optics, but there were two problems: all the easily-interfaced small LCDs are pretty low resolution, and all the airspace inside was taken up for the optical path, so there would’ve been no space for electronics.

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