Convert 8mm Film To DVD

May 28th, 2014

Your 8mm film only has a few years left before it becomes too fragile and warped to convert to DVD. Even if you have to convert the film using a lower quality and cheaper method, it is better to do something than nothing.

There are many different ways to convert your 8mm film to DVD and there are many companies out there that do it. There are really 3 different classes of companies that can convert your 8mm film.

1)  Real-Time Film Transfer Setup

Real-Time 8mm Film To DVD Setup

The lowest class would be your high volume retail resellers like Walmart, Costco and Walgreens. They all farm it out to a company in California. They all squeeze the supplier to the point where they have to do it as cheap as possible with the cheapest equipment and cheapest work force. They are usually using modified projectors and camcorders in a closed box system. It’s kind of like using a camcorder to record your film off the wall as it plays in the projector. These machines are usually referred to as real-time film transfer machines and they cost about $2000-3000.

2)       Small Independent Companies – Frame By Frame

Frame By Frame Film Transfer Machine

The next class would be small independent companies. Basically your mom and pop shops. They might sell cameras or video games and in addition will transfer your video tapes or film to DVD. Typically they are using real-time or frame by frame machines – basically modified projector and camcorder setup. They charge about the same or maybe a bit more than the high volume retailers like Walmart but the staff is usually better trained and they might be able to give you personal attention that you can’t get from the Walmart’s of the world. There are probably about 500 of these small independent companies around in the USA today.

3)      Professional Film Scanning Equipment

Professional Film Scanning Equipment

The last class would be companies that professional scan film. Some only work on Hollywood films. Some do a mixture of Hollywood and semi professional work. A few span the entire spectrum from Amateur film to Hollywood films. Because these companies do some amount of professional film scanning they will have the most expensive and best quality machines to scan your 8mm film. The machines they scan on usually run well over $100,000 each. But if you are looking for the best quality these are the companies you want scanning your film. In addition, these companies usually do some amount of restoration. So, color correction, grain reduction, etc.

The best advice is to do your homework. Talk to at least 4-5 companies. Find out what they offer and how much it costs. See if they offer the options you are looking for. Keep in mind that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to pass your history down to the next few generations. If you can afford the best I would recommend getting the best.

8mm to DVD

November 11th, 2011

Somtimes the term 8mm to DVD can be confusing. The 8mm size has been used to describe several different formats in history. The first was 8mm film. Kodak started to sell 8mm film in the late 20’s. It wasn’t comingly used until the 1950’s. 8mm video tape was introduced in the late 1980’s for modern camcorders. It was improved upon in the 90’s with a format called Hi8. Finally, there was Digital 8 which was introduced by Sony.

Regardless of what type if 8mm format you have, rest assured that Video Conversion Experts can transfer your 8mm to DVD. We are experts in the field and can not only transfer it but offer the highest quality 8mm to DVD transfer service in the country.

We take a 3 tiered approach. Our first teir of 8mm to DVD service usually compares to the service you can get elsewhere at Walgreens, Walmart and your local camera shop. Our second teir uses professional broadcast equipment to transfer you 8mm to DVD. Usually this equipment will produce 20-40% better quality. Finally, the top teir uses brand new state of the art professional broadcast systems and restoration technology to make your 8mm to DVD video look as good as it possibly can.

Is a 8mm or Super 8 film to DVD transfer using a frame by frame method the best?

March 29th, 2010

There are 4 types of Super 8 and 8mm to DVD transfer machines out there today. Both real-time and frame by frame use a modified projector and camcorder. A real-time 8mm film to DVD transfer runs the film at full speed like on a projector. Well, on this machine it is running on a projector. The film is projected onto a mirror or surface and the camcorder records that surface. You could basically do this at home.

A frame by frame 8mm film to DVD process still uses a projector and camcorder but the camcorder is pointed directly at the film and the camcorder captures one frame at a time. A frame by frame 8mm film to DVD process will result in video that is about 20-30% better than a real-time 8mm or Super 8 film to DVD process.

The best 8mm or Super 8 film to DVD transfer is done using a professional film scanner like a motion picture film scanner or Datacine machine. A professional film scanner is made with state of the art components. These scanners typically have the ability to deal with shrunk film or film with sprocket hole damage. A professional film scanner will produce video that is about 30-50% better than a frame by frame 8mm or super 8 process.

This 8mm film to DVD order form will let you compare the options and costs of each type of film transfer. This way you can make an informed decision and stay within your budget.

What about using a Super 8 or 8mm film scanner to copy my film?

February 22nd, 2010

It depends on your goal. Some people call and want the very best no matter what. Others call with a budget in mind and want the best quality within there budget. Usually just a few customers will call asking for the cheapest. Once customers are educated they choose a higher quality option.

Professional film scanners have long been available to the professional market for years. These professional movie film scanners were typically scanning Hollywood 35mm or 16mm film. They could do 8mm or Super 8 film if they had the right gate but many times these gates cost $100,000 each or more and they didn’t have enough volume to warrant the costs.

Recently some lower cost ($100,000 plus) film scanners have come available for Regular 8mm and Super 8 film. These machines have many of the same benefits and quality of the professional film scanners of the past but are focused on smaller gauge formats like Regular 8mm and Super 8 film.

Compared to a real-time or frame by frame machine, a professional 8mm or Super 8 film scanner can many times get 30-50% better quality from the same film. So, it is definitely worth scanning your Super 8 or 8mm film with a professional film scanner that can truly archive your film.

Something else to consider is that some 8mm film transfer processes include a high definition version. In addition, some include restoration as well for color, exposure and scratch elimination. So, do your homework to find the best super 8 film to dvd company to archive your film.

Will 8mm Film to DVD transfer allow me to print pictures of frames?

January 27th, 2010

Generally, an 8mm film to DVD transfer will only allow you to watch the DVD or copy the DVD. The video on a DVD is highly compressed. In addition, video on DVD is only 480×720. If you multiple this out, you get 0.34 Megapixels (MP). This means that each frame of video is only 1/3 of a MP. Today’s digital cameras are shooting at 15 to 20 MP per picture. So, 1/3 of one MP is not near enough resolution.

In order to get a decent picture from film you need to transfer the 8mm film to HD video and bring into a video editor. HD video will be 1920×1080 or a frame size of about 1.5 MP. This is about 6 times better quality than a frame from a 8mm film to DVD transfer. You should be able to get decent 4×6 pictures provided the film frame you choose is clear and in focus.

So, if you are looking to print some pictures of your film, have your 8mm film transferred to a HD or 2K (1556 lines) video. Don’t transfer your 8mm film to DVD unless you just want to be able to view it or make copies of it.

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.

Should I transfer my 8mm film to HD or Bluray?

October 20th, 2009

8mm film has about 800 to 1000 lines of resolution. DVD has 480 lines. A HD scan of your 8mm film will capture 100% of the details from the film. An 8mm film to DVD transfer will only capture about 60% of the details from your film.

But, there are different ways to perform an 8mm film HD transfer which can make a huge difference. There is a real-time HD process, a frame by frame HD process and a film scanner HD process. A real-time HD film transfer process uses a HD camcorder and records your film as it goes by in real-time (the same speed it would play on a projector). Because it uses a camcorder in a real-time fashion, this process will produce video that is about 40-50% worse than the film itself.

A frame by frame HD process still uses a HD camcorder but the equipment stops at each frame and the camcorder is used to take a picture of the frame. This produces slightly better quality than a real-time HD film transfer process.

The best process is a HD film scanning process. The film is scanned using a professional broadcast quality film scanner used by the movie studios. An HD film scanner will produce video is that about 30 to 50% better quality than a HD frame by frame process.

Can I post my 8mm film to DVD transfer on the web or youtube?

October 9th, 2009

In general, if you’ve had a 8mm film to DVD transfer done, no, ,you can’t post it on the web or utube. A DVD can only really be viewed or copied. So, instead of doing a 8mm film to DVD transfer, transfer your 8mm film to a format like AVI files. Then you can edit the AVI files and generate a web friendly format like Mpeg4.

In addition, when you transfer your 8mm film to DVD, the DVD comes out at a resolution of 480×720. It is a fixed resolution that can’t be changed. Alternatively, when you transfer your 8mm film to AVI and edit it, you can resize the resolution when you encode it to a format like Mpeg4.

So, if you are interested in a portable or online video of your film, instead of doing a film transfer of your 8mm film to DVD, transfer your 8mm film to AVI so you can edit and produce your own web friendly video. For posting video tape material, we recommend 8mm to AVI or 8mm to DVD if you don’t plan on posting it.