leaping on the home movie bandwagon

Mansfield 8mm movie outfit ad in time for Christmas 1961

Toronto. Mansfield Industries made special outfits of 8mm cameras and projectors ready for Christmas. Originally based in Ann Arbor, MI, the headquarters moved to Chicago. This page 88 ad in the November 24, 1961 issue of LIFE ┬ámagazine suggests that with this outfit anyone can make “professional” home movies… Sure.

Like so many photographic companies, Mansfield worked hard to earn a segment of the rapidly expanding amateur market. The outfit promoted in this ad addresses the 8mm movie market. Like others, their camera had a three lens turret, and a built-in “electric-eye” mechanism. And the projector was equipped with a 500w lamp. easy threading and a simple preview screen.

Both camera and projector tried to solve the most glaring amateur errors. Sadly only a professional cinematographer could determine the correct light balance, framing, editing, etc. to make such a “home movie”. And a professional would demand far better equipment than Mansfield could offer.

My thanks to George Dunbar for suggesting this romp through the past when many people tried to capture part of the home movie business. We look back today with whimsey. Every smart phone can make videos miles ahead of any home movie of the 1960s – without delays or even lighting issues.

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