Your 16mm film has up to 2K (1556 lines) of resolution. In order to get 100% of the film you need to get a 2K scan. If you just want DVD back then we would suggest a 1080p scan to ensure the DVD looks as good as it can.
Today, there are about 4 different types of 16mm film to DVD film transfer machines. At the low-end we have the real-time 16mm film to DVD machine. It uses a 16mm film projector and a camcorder. As the film plays, the images are bounced off a mirror and recorded by the camcorder. As you can imagine, this is not the best way to digitize your film. But unfortunately this is what you get when you take it to your local camera shop, Walmart, Costco or Walgreens. So, buyer beware!
At the middle-end we have a frame by frame 16mm film to DVD process. In this type of process, the same projector and camcorder are used but the camcorder is pointed right at the film in the projector. As a new frame enters the gate, a sync signal is sent to the camcorder and computer to take a picture of the frame. In this type of 16mm film to DVD process, the results are about 20-30% better than a real-time process. Yes, better than Walmart but not much.
The best 16mm film to DVD film transfer process uses a professional 16mm film scanner or Datacine machine. There are older professional scanners like Rank Cintel but these scanners use technology from the 1980s and can only scan at standard definition resolution. You’ll see a few companies saying they can scan the film at 1080 lines or even 2K or 3K but the fact is these old machines can’t get even close to HD resolution. So, again, buyer beware!
There are a handful of new high definition professional 16mm film scanners. These scanners typically cost over $150,000 each. These professional high definition film scanners provide the best possible 16mm film to DVD quality available.
So, the best 16mm film to DVD company will be using a professional high definition 16mm film scanner for you 16mm film transfer.