Is my film too old to do a 8mm film to DVD transfer?

November 29th, 2009

This is a good question and one that comes up often. 8mm film can last up to 70 or 80 years if stored properly. It should be stored in a cool dry place. Today they recommend storing your 8mm film in vented cans to allow the gases that build up over time to escape. This can make your 8mm film last longer. But, most people didn’t do this. Realistically, your film has around 50-60 years at the most. Now is the time to scan your 8mm film to DVD at 1080 or 1556 lines of resolution.

There are two tests you want to perform to see if you can transfer your 8mm film to DVD today. The first test is to take the first 3-4 feet off the 8mm film reel. Try to lay it flat on the table. If the 8mm film lays flat or relatively flat then you pass this test. If the 8mm film is warped and doesn’t want to lay flat, it may just be the first 20-25 feet of the reel. Unroll 20-25 feet and then perform the test again. If it passes the test, then at least some or the majority of 8mm film can be transferred.

The next 8mm film to DVD test is to see how fragile the 8mm film is. If you take about 6 inches of film and hold one end with your left hand and the right end with your right hand. Now, move you hands together pushing the film in the middle up into a loop. This will show how flexible the film is. When you do this, look for any cracking or breaking film and watch the sprocket holes to see if they crack or break as you do this as well. If none of this happens then you pass this test.

If your film passes both tests, then you can transfer your 8mm film to DVD and may proceed with a 8mm film to DVD order.

If you have any questions, please call us at 1-800-575-6202.

Does 8mm film to DVD run at the same speed as my 8mm film?

November 17th, 2009

8mm film usually runs at 16 frames per second. This wasn’t always the case because many times the film camera was running on batteries or a wind up device and so many times the film was actually runn between 14 and 17 frames per second. 8mm film on DVD runs at 29.97 frames per second. In order for the 8mm film to DVD to play at the right rate of motion, new frames must be added. When those new frames are added they can added as duplicate frames to keep the video progressive or as blended frames for interlaced video. Most 8mm film to DVD transfer companies will add blended frames. Blended frames can cause a ghosting type affect because you have 2 film frames blended together. It looks like a double exposed 8mm film. We try to keep the video progressive at all times. So, when doing a 8mm film to DVD project, we only add duplicate frames to keep it progressive.

There are rare times where interlacing may make the video look better than progressive. A good example is 8mm film footage of a train moving at a slow and steady rate. Interlaced frames show movement in every frame because they are blended frames. Progressive frames will not have movement in each frame since most frames are duplicated. So, in motion critical footage it might be better to get interlaced video back. Please ask if you have questions.

If you get editing files back in addition to the 8mm film to DVD, you’ll notice that you can step through the video frame by frame. You’ll see a new frame and then see a duplicate. Then a new frame and another duplicate. This keeps the rate of motion similar to the original 8mm film while converting it to a format that requires 29.97 frames per second.

In addition to speed that your 8mm film to DVD will run at, you should also look into 8mm film to DVD film transfer types and the capture resolution. These two aspects can dramatically change the output quality you get on DVD. For example, our Pro HD scan at 1080 lines while our Pro 2K scans at 2K (1556 lines).

Is my 8mm film to DVD transfer going to last as long as my film?

November 13th, 2009

If stored properly, 8mm film can last 50 years or even longer. Most DVDs only last about 10 years. So, if you decide to transfer your 8mm film to DVD, make sure that you do the film transfer to DVDs that will last more than 10 years. Some film transfer companies use archival quality DVDs which can last 50 or 100 years. In addition, some film to DVD companies use archival DVDs that include a hard coating to protect it from scratches.

Even though most people want to convert their 8mm film to DVD, you should also consider transferring your 8mm film to HD. 8mm film does have about 900 lines of resolution. DVD has 480 lines. So, in order to really archive your 8mm film you should consider transferring your 8mm film to HD instead of transferring your 8mm film to DVD.