There are many film transfer services, which is best?

September 6th, 2010

There are about 3 different types of film transfer services being used today. The real-time film transfer is used by about 80% of the companies out there today. The Walmarts and Walgreens type stores offer a real-time film transfer service. Real-time machines cost around $3000.

 

The next type of film transfer service is called frame by frame. A frame by frame film transfer service is like real-time but the machine stops and takes a separate picture of each frame. The frame by frame film transfer service results in video that is about 20-30% better than a real-time film transfer service. Frame by frame machines cost around $4000 to $8000.

 

Lastly, we have a professional motion picture film scanner. These were usually build just for the professional Hollywood film types but have recently been build for the small guage formats like 8mm, Super 8 and 16mm films. A professional motion picture film scanner will usually produce results that are 30 to 50% better than a frame by frame machine. So, if you are looking for the best film transfer company, you would want to make sure your film is transferred using a professional motion picture film scanner.

Can I convert VHS tape to Blu-Ray DVDs?

July 6th, 2010

Yes, you can not only convert VHS to Blu-Ray, but 8mm, Hi8, Digital 8 or MiniDV tape to Blu-Ray as well. Keep in mind that the older formats like VHS and 8mm only had 240 lines of resolution. So, putting them on a 1080 line Blu-Ray is not going to make them look any sharper. What it will do is move your degrading video from the aging video tape onto a format that will last further into the future. Professional archival Blu-Ray disks can last up to 100 years.

In addition, any professional or broadcast quality equipment can reduce video noise and tracking issues before writing it to a Blu-Ray disk. So, usually you can get better quality video when you convert your VHS tape to Blu-Ray using professional equipment. If you decide to convert your VHS (or 8mm, Hi8, Digital 8 or MiniDV) to Blu-Ray, search out a company that will do a professional job using professional equipment. This alone can make a 20-40% difference in the quality of the Blu-Ray disk.

After you have converted your VHS to Blu-Ray keep those video tapes around. Do not throw them away. You never know when you might need to transfer video from that tape again. There are cases where the Blu-Ray disk can become scratched or cracked. In this case you would have to have the VHS tape converted again.

Should I transfer my Super 8 film to HD?

April 19th, 2010

Super 8 film has about 800 to 900 lines of resolution. A HD scan of your Super 8 film will capture 100% of the details from the film. An Super 8 film to DVD transfer will only capture about 60% (480 of 800-900 lines) of the details from your film.

But, there are different ways to perform an Super 8 film HD transfer which can make a huge difference. There is a real-time HD process, a frame by frame HD process and a professional 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. Because it uses a projector and 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 and projector but it 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 Super 8 HD process uses a professional motion picture film scanner. The film is scanned using equipment like 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.

If you are looking for the very best quality film transfer, look for a film transfer company that uses a motion picture film scanner to scan your Super 8 film.

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.