choose film conversion process

The first table gives you an idea of what the same film looks like on each process. In addition, it describes the advantages and disadvantages as it relates to the other processes.

The second table goes through a simple discussion on the resolution of 8mm and Super 8 film. To the surprise of many, you must scan above the resolution of the film in order to get a digital copy that is as good as the original film.

8mm And Super 8 Film

SD Scan

  • This SD scan was performed with a SD frame by frame machine. The film is ran through a projector and captured using a camcorder.
  • A 480 line SD frame by frame process will get about 30-40% of the available details on the film. You can see how blurry the SD scan is compared to the Pro HD or Pro 2K scan below.
  • In addition, you can see the blue color shift. This is very common on both 8mm and Super 8 film.
  • Lastly, you can see the scratch defects on the film.

Pro SD Scan

  • This Pro SD scan (480 line) was performed with a SD Professional motion picture film scanner.
  • Because this was scanned with a professional film scanner as opposed to a camcorder (on the SD scan above) it is able to get about 60-70% of the details from the film.
  • Compared to the SD scan you can see it is about 30% sharper.

Pro HD Scan

Pro 2K Scan


Film Resolution

8mm 2K Scan

Resolution of Film

  • Determining resolution of film can be a very complicated task involving many variables.
  • The image to the left is a 2K scan (1556 lines from top to bottom) of 8mm film
  • At full frame it looks nice and clear and you don't see any film grain or digital pixilation.

8mm 2K Scan

Film Grain

  • As you zoom in you can start to see the film grain which gives the objects their definition (looks like little dots or bumps).
  • We've highlighted the smallest feature which is on the tip of the nose. This is about the size of the film grain.
  • Film grain is laid out in a random pattern.
  • Film grain is not laid out in a nice, neat pattern like digital pixels in a digital image.

8mm 2K Scan

Film Grain vs Digital Pixel

  • Here we are zoomed in enough on the 2K scanned image that you can see the digital pixels.
  • The red highlighted area is the smallest feature size which is about 1 grain of film.
  • In order to achieve a digital image as good as the film you would need to scan the film at 1/2 the size of the film grain or smaller. Here, the 2K scan is just enough to meet this requirement.


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