Super 8 Test Footage Using the Canon Canosound 514 XL-S

Super 8 Test Footage - FilterGrade Blog

Shooting video with 8mm film is one of the most intriguing and fascinating ways to record video footage. It brings you back to a past time that is not easily replicated and the final product will fill you with pure joy and awe.


To learn about shooting Super 8 film, I went online and did my research on equipment (cameras, film, batteries), how to get started shooting, and how to actually shoot Super 8 footage without wasting my time, money, and memories. I learned a decent amount from my research and was able to decide what camera I wanted, what film I wanted to shoot with and how to get started, but I still didn’t have any experience so all of this information was just suggestions and recommendations to me – nothing was set in stone.

I think this is something to always remember while learning a new skill or trade while online – other people are giving you their opinion and their advice, not the correct answer. Always look for multiple sources of information to see what the general consensus is, not just what one random guy on reddit said.

After you’ve done some research, you’ll need to gather your supplies. When you first start shooting Super 8 you shouldn’t need too many supplies – I started out by buying a camera and some film. If your camera didn’t come with batteries you’ll need to buy those and then load them up so you can get ready to shoot.

For more (visual) research, check out our super 8 films here.

Getting Started

Now that you have your supplies (or even if you don’t), let’s take a look at how to get started. To film my videos, I’ve got a Canon Canosound 514 XL-S that I purchased off of eBay for around $50.  Many other cameras from Canon and Nizo are great options, make sure to do your research on what you are looking for specifically to know which camera is the best option for you.

Next, before you shoot, get to know your camera. Take a look at all of the knobs, levers, and switches that cover your camera – these are all there for a reason and it only benefits you to know what they do/how they can help you.

Film Meter

Film Meter- Super 8 Film Camera - Canon Canosound 514 XL-S - FilterGrade

Many cameras will have a meter that shows how much film you have shot/how much film is left. These tend to be very useful in order to let you know how much time is left in your video; however, if you take your film out at any point, your meter will more than likely reset, making it harder for you to track how much time you have available.

Frames Per Second Switch

FRAMES PER SECOND SWITCH - Super 8 Film Camera - Canon Canosound 514 XL-S - FilterGrade

Many Super 8 cameras will also have an FPS (frames per second) switch with different options such as 18, 24, and for some, even 36 fps. This will dictate how fast or slow you are recording, allowing for more/less key frames every second. For example, 36 fps is 2x faster than 18 fps which means your footage will be 2x shorter. This is something to be wary of before you shoot so that you know how fast or slow your film will be gone.


Zoom - FRAMES PER SECOND SWITCH - Super 8 Film Camera - Canon Canosound 514 XL-S - FilterGrade

Almost all Super 8 cameras will also have a zoom and/or auto-zoom feature. Often times you will find the main zoom feature to be the outer ring of your lens or a small knob with a rotating movement somewhere on the lens. Rotating this knob or switch to the right will zoom your lens in further, while rotating your lens to the left (counter-clockwise) will zoom you back out to infinity.

Zoom Lever - Super 8 Film Camera - Canon Canosound 514 XL-S - FilterGrade

Many cameras will also have a zoom-in/zoom-out button or lever somewhere on the camera to allow for a more steady, controlled zoom. These zoom buttons are very useful and will open your eyes to many new and unique frames that you may not have seen without the zoom feature.

Exposure Lock

The next setting to be mindful of is the exposure lock trigger. This feature allows you to lock in on an exposure setting regardless of the lighting situation. For example, say you are shooting in a dimly-lit office and you are going to be panning to an outdoors scene where it will be brighter. If you’d like to use the same exposure for the whole scene, all you will do is hold down the exposure lock trigger, allowing the whole scene to be shot at one exposure rather than switching mid-scene.

EXPOSURE LOCK -Focus Ring- Super 8 Film Camera - Canon Canosound 514 XL-S - FilterGradeEXPOSURE LOCK -Focus Ring- Super 8 Film Camera - Canon Canosound 514 XL-S - FilterGrade

Many of the Super 8 cameras will auto-expose your shots, allowing you a free range of exposure and most of the time the cameras do a great job exposing the scene correctly as long as the light meter is working properly. However, a general rule of thumb while shooting Super 8 film or 8mm film is that you never want to under-expose, but if you over-expose it is not the end of the world. The reason behind this is because if you do under-expose a shot you will have a high grain concentration and almost a fuzzy-feel to your film. You also don’t want to over-expose, but if you do it is not as noticeable and doesn’t have as much of an affect as under-exposing does.

Focus Ring

Focus Ring- Super 8 Film Camera - Canon Canosound 514 XL-S - FilterGrade

Another important setting to always think about before shooting is the focus ring. This is the ring on the outside of your lens usually and it does exactly what you think it would do – focus the subject.

One thing to utilize while focussing your subject is the zoom feature. It will help you a great deal to zoom all the way in before filming to make sure everything is in focus. After you’ve set your focus, go ahead and zoom out and begin recording.

Record Trigger

RECORD TRIGGER Focus Ring- Super 8 Film Camera - Canon Canosound 514 XL-S - FilterGrade

The last button or lever to know of is the record trigger. This is the small trigger usually located underneath your lens and relatively close to the center of the camera.

Using this trigger, you will start your camera’s motor to record your footage. Once you let go of the trigger, you will stop the motor, thereby stopping the film.

Go ahead and load your film into your camera and put your director shoes on because you are now ready to shoot.

Test Footage

To test out my Canon Canosound 514 XL-S, I decided to take my camera with me around the city (Boston)  during a run one day. I made up my mind that I would shoot some cityscapes, some street scenes, and just do my best at documenting what I saw while out for this nice Fall run.

Here’s what I was able to capture.

For more of our Film Photography resources, check out these articles below:

All resources © Moloney Creative Agency.

24 Replies to “Super 8 Test Footage Using the Canon Canosound 514 XL-S”

  1. steph says:

    hello, I found the same canosound 514xl-s..! where can I find the cartridges working with this camera? thanks!!

    1. Mike says:

      Hi Steph, when you say cartridges, do you mean film for recording videos?

      Here are a bunch of good options: Super 8 Film Types

      My brother uses Vision3 500T a lot. Hope this helps!

  2. Matt! It’s Natalie Allen!

    I’m so happy to see that you have owned this camera, upon doing some online research I stumbled upon your article. I too found this camera to be the best and had bought it just a few weeks ago on eBay. Except, I’m trying to use it today but when I put in all of the batteries… nothing happens. No lights or sound from the record trigger at all. I could really use your help on this if you could maybe email me or DM me on Instagram! You’re definitely my last resort, no other online source has been that informative. Lol


    1. Mike says:

      Hey Natalie, so good to hear from you. I will have Matt email you or even call if you’d like. :)

  3. Darian says:

    Hello, do you use kodak film for the canon super 8? Also, is it normally $40 for film?

    1. Mike says:

      Hi there, we usually shoot with the Kodak Vision3 500T Color Negative Film, and yes it’s currently priced at $44.95 USD.

  4. Laura Nesci says:

    Hi! How is sound recording done with this camera? Thank you!

    1. Mike says:

      That is a very good question Laura! Typically, we will use an iPhone to capture audio of the same time, but this is just for some sound in video edits. I believe in the past for professional productions, they would use audio cassettes or recording devices that could sync with the camera. More great answers in this forum thread on Hope this helps!

      1. Skyler Marshall says:

        In the past they made film with the sound strip, since they stopped making that film you cannot sync sound to super 8 without a $5k pro rig that uses pro film. You can sync it in post if you transfer to digital.

  5. Emma says:

    Hi Matt,
    I have the same camera, and I have my film in and I’ve been shooting around a bit.. I’m wondering if there’s any way to make sure my film is working and recording what I’m shooting before I continue to use (or hope to be using) the rest of the film?

    1. Starla says:

      I’m having the same problem! It would be great if somebody could answer this question.

      1. Matt Moloney says:

        Hey- so sorry I missed the question before! Unfortunately the only way to test if the film is actually working/recording is to shoot and process it. (costly, I know – especially if nothing comes out)

        You can test to see if the camera motor is working by putting batteries in the camera, but the camera motor working does not always mean the camera will be able to capture footage still.

  6. David Fender says:

    Im a movie collector and Wow.. just found this really cheep on a fle market, did not cost me nothing really. Some cents only.
    But did not know much about this camera, just Canon is a nice brand still today.
    So found some on ebay and other sites, looking to be a good camera indid.
    Really nice text you have put down and this test of yours are really nice, well done.

  7. Lies says:


    I just found this type of camera in an old box at my grandpa’s house. I’m still searching how this works, and this is such an useful site (thanks!!). I was wondering, after I would shoot some moments, how is it possible to convert it to my computer/something else digital?


    1. Mike says:

      Hi Lies, thanks for the kind words about our site. Once you film your Super 8 footage, you can send it to a developer like Cinelab and they will process/develop the film so you can view it on your computer as a video file. :)

  8. Tom says:

    Hi May I ask you a question? I just got this camera couple weeks ago. Everything works fine on the first roll. After I took out the cartridge the film meter is now not working. The orange indicator is disappear. I try the cartridge take out and put it back but it doesn’t come back. Do you know how can I fix this? Thank you.

    1. Matt Moloney says:

      Hey Tom! Thanks for reaching out – once you remove the film cartridge from your camera, the film length indicator will reset back to 0. Once you start shooting your next roll it should work and track how much footage you have shot / have to shoot.

      Hope this helps!

  9. Mark C says:

    Hey, Matt. I recently got my hands on this camera off of eBay and was so excited to start shooting with it after reading this. My only question is, how do I know once the film roll is done and no longer able to record? Does it stop on its own? I saw a little red marker in the viewfinder so does that mean it roll is spent? Or am I filming over previously used footage? As a precaution, I stopped just in case. Thanks for all of your help from a first-time film shooter!

    1. Matt Moloney says:

      Hey Mark! Thanks for reaching out and glad to hear you got your hands on one of these :) It’s one of my favorite super 8 film cameras.

      You can always tell when a film roll is finished up in 2/3 ways. First is the film roll indicator on the side of the camera. If you have a 50ft roll counter on the side, and you shoot the whole roll without taking it out of the camera, then the indicator will show you how many feet you have left to shoot. The second way to tell is by the sound. Once the roll is finished, the motor will sound different than while it is recording with film. Lastly, the third way to tell is by taking out the film cartridge – if it sounds like the roll is done, check the film opening on the cartridge. If it says ‘exposed’, then the roll is finished up and you can start processing!

      Hope this helps, and if you have any other questions don’t hesitate to ask :)

  10. Zoltan says:

    That Vision3 stock has such a crazy dynamic range your test footage made me want to shoot some. One question: once the negative is developed, how does one digitize / telecine it?

    1. Matt Moloney says:

      Hey Zoltan – thanks for your comment and glad you liked the test footage :) The dynamic range is my favorite part about shooting film!

      For digitizing, I normally send all my film to Cinelab in Massachusetts. You can also use Pro8mm or a few others in California and around the country. Digitizing is a tough process that requires specialized equipment since it’s such a unique medium, but it’s definitely always worth the pain and struggles.

  11. Skyler Marshall says:

    the easiest way to check to make sure your camera is running film through the camera is to mark the film with a dot, run it through the camera, if the dot is gone the camera is running the film thru the gate.

  12. Rob morris says:

    How does the pinch roller function on these ? Mine doesn’t rotate but tested it without a cartridge in place, does anyone know if a cartridge needs to be in place for the pinchroller to rotate or should it rotate with or without a cartridge in place? Or am I just missing a setting?

    1. Andrew Diestler says:

      I also have the same question and hoping to just find some cheap expired film to test on so I’m not burning $$ just to ensure the camera is functional ;) maybe if I add this comment it might get answered, cheers!

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