I have boxes of old 8mm movie film on reels. I have heard there is equipment to scan and digitally capture the film without projecting it first. Does anyone know about this equipment and where it can be purchased?
I haven't heard of a machine that scans 8mm, but that doesn't mean it does not exist. I had 6000 feet of 8mm family home movies that I wanted to edit and save onto DVD. Living in LA gave me local access to a company called Pro8mm. They have a website with rates. http://www.pro8mm.com
Basically, I had them transfer with no telecine onto DVCam tapes, which I put in my Sony DVcam deck (you can rent these by the day). Then I started my software Adobe Premiere Pro and captured the footage like any other tape. If you do not live in LA, you can send them the tapes and they'll do the transfer. This is an expensive procedure, but the best way I know to get the highest quality off of your 8mm movies.
And There are not very many places in the US where there are even machines that can play 8mm reels.
By the way, if your movies are more than a couple of years old, do not play them through a projector. Old films can/will loose part of the physical film as it passes through the projector, thus losing the image forever. So you want to transfer them and then store them properly - temperature controlled environment.
Hope this helps...