Film Transfer FAQ

Film Transfer FAQ

Most film we have seen, even 70+ year old film, is in surprisingly good condition.  However, it is wise not to project the film.  Old film dries out and needs to be lubricated to avoid scratching and breakage during projection.

The most common problems are with old splices that have come loose.  If there are any problems with especially brittle films, they can usually be addressed,  no one should ever take extraordinary steps with your film without consulting you first.

Your film is irreplaceable and it should be treat as such.  A good transfer projector is very gentle on old film and will never damage it.  They use a low wattage light source, so there is never any danger of burning the film.

Before transferring the film is should be cleaned and lubricated. Modern 3 chip digital cameras for capture are typically used, and all transfers should be fully attended, meaning that the transfer is monitored and adjusted for exposure, color shift and color fading during capture. Some film transfer services view only the first few feet of film, then lock the camera settings and walk away. With an unattended transfer, any later changes in color and brightness will result in a poor transfer. Make sure you know that your transfer will be fully attended.

8mm/Super8: Assume 3.5 minutes for a 50 ft (3 inch diameter) reel, 14 minutes for a full 200 ft (5 inch) reel, 28 minutes for a full 400 foot (7 inch reel). If you can make a count of each reel size and estimate the percentage fill, that can provide a very close estimate of costs, exclusive of repairs.

  Before and After - Buddy Rich in Idora Park, Youngstown, Ohio

Before and After - Buddy Rich in Idora Park, Youngstown, Ohio

Work can be guaranteed but not the quality of your films. Some film is in excellent condition and others are very poor. You can find examples of various film conditions on our site along with before and after pictures of how we were able to "fix" the video conversion in post. These fixes can be very costly depending on what is being done and what rate is charged.

If you plan on doing the editing yourself do not have your video paced onto a DVD. The MPEG2 file is compressed and not the best to edit from. You will want to have the original AVI file created at capture time. This can be placed onto a miniDV tape or hard drive for your edit source. The client 8mm films on this site were either transferred by us or supplied to us in an AVI format (less compression than MPEG2). 1 hour of video would be about 11gig. You most likely don't have a computer powerful enough to process loss-less video (no compression).

We encourage you to search the net and select someone you feel comfortable with doing your film to video conversions. There may be someone locally you can deal with as well.