8mm Film to DVD Guide: What You Need To Know

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8mm film to digital guide: What you need to know

By Brad Hinkle 9/4/2019

8mm film was one of the most exciting inventions in the world. It gave the common family the ability to shoot movies just like Hollywood did. For the first time you could record events and play them back over and over again. Never before could a family capture, store and replay the most important events in their life.

On top of that Kodak made film durable. It lasted 50-70 years on average. There's nothing made today that would last 50 to 70 years. So, not only did film give families a truly revolutionary technology, it also lasted for generations.

But, most of the 8mm film out there today is about 50 to 80 years old. Some is already too curled and fragile from the aging process to scan today. Most people also are unaware that film shrinks over time. You wouldn't notice it over the first 20-30 years but after about 40-50 years it has shrunk enough that running film through a projector or film transfer machine that uses the sprocket holes will damage the film. Those holes on the side of the film are now about 1mm closer and running it through a projector or sprocket based transfer machine that expects them to be the same distant apart they were 50+ years ago will damage the film as it goes through.

The time has come to transfer your 8mm film to a digital format that will last a few more generations. Not doing anything will only make the problem worse and in the coming years you may not be able to transfer your film to a digital format. Even if you converted your 8mm film to digital years ago there is new technology that can give you 2 to 3 times the quality you were able to get 10-20 years ago. For example, Video Conversion Experts was the first to scan 8mm film at 2K (1556 lines per frame ) and 4K (3112 lines per frame) resolution. Old and low-end transfer machines from 10-20 years ago only got about 40% of the details from the film. A 4K scan will get 100%.

In addition to that, the company has brought in technology used to restore Hollywood films so that this same technology can be used to restore your precious family 8mm film. The film scanners at Video Conversion Experts have on board hardware and sensors to know when your 8mm film is out of color balance and when the film needs more light or less light to try and correct for 8mm film shot too light or too dark. Crazy as this may sound, the company can also remove the film grain (hundreds of tiny dots that dance around from frame to frame). Removing the film grain gives your 8mm film to digital conversion a new life, literally. You'll see a new level of detail without all that annoying 8mm film grain.

When you choose a company to transfer your 8mm film to digital remember a few important things. Your 8mm film has to be scanned on a professional sprocket-less scanner. This is the only way to get both high quality and to avoid damaging your film. As you might guess, there aren't many companies left in the United States that can do this. The professional sprocket-less scanners cost about $100,000 to $500,000. You won't find these machines at big box stores or your local camera shop. These places use sprocket based machines and they are usually using a standard definition camcorder to record your film. This isn't any better then what you could get in the 1990's and it will also damage the 8mm film.

So, anyone with old film is encouraged to transfer their 8mm film to a digital format before it is too late and to transfer it on a professional sprocket-less scanner to avoiding damaging it.