Film Editing

8mm Conversion Thoughts by Harold Brown

Me editing a home movie in 1976
Me editing a home movie in 1976

I was surfing the net today looking at the "how to" videos for film conversion (16mm, 8mm and Super 8) and was amazed at what I saw. Obviously you can convert your films however you what, but personally I would never put one of my films into an old projector and watch it. Too many dangers with that. People can say whatever they want, but I have seen film sprocket holes just shredded by projectors because the film was just breaking apart. Next comes the big burn hole in a couple of frames from the old "hot" bulbs. That still brings on flashbacks for me. Projectors converted for film transfer use "cool" light sources that also distribute the light evenly over the film rather than the typical hot spot you see when projecting film from a standard projector. Treat your film as fragile and valuable. Please do not capture your video off of a projected image on a wall or sheet of paper. That's like filming your wedding on your cell phone.

Typically the biggest problem projecting your old films is splices coming apart, and it isn't unusual to see scotch tape used instead of splicing tape. Film can be pretty dirty as well. Cleaning it helps for a better transfer so you don't see all that "stuff" clinging to the film. The Buddy Rich film on this site had a scotch tape splice on it that I didn't touch. I had to edit around it rather than try and fix it. It is also why you have to inspect the film before you project it. Over the years your film can have mold embedded into it that cannot be removed. There are a few ways that you can work around this after the film is digitized, follow this link to read more. The prep work done before converting helps for a better end product. For an overview of transfer methods see my Film Conversions page.

I really enjoy taking one of my old Super 8 films and bring it back from the coma it has been in since the 70's. Ask your parents and other family members what film they may have stuck in the corner of their house and get started bring them back from the brink.