There are several different ways to have your film transferred into a digital format. In order to get a quality transfer from your film you will want to find a company that specialized in film to DVD or other digital media.
If your film was stored properly most 8mm and Super 8 film will last between 75-85 years without to much degradation. If you still have a working film projector and you can play the film without a problem then you should get a good quality transfer from your film. Even if the film does not run smooth through your projector, many companies will have the expertise and equipment to get your film to play back smoothly.
Most film transfer companies use a film projector that displays the image through a telecine and is picked up by a 3 chip video camera to record the image. The quality of the transfer will depend on what type of telecine is being used and what type of video camera is tied into the transfer system. A professional quality 3 chip camera is going to give far better results than a cheaper 3 chip consumer camera. The average charge to transfer your film to a digital format is anywhere between $.012 to $0.18 per foot of film. Archiving your home movies to a digital format is an investment that should be taken seriously since you may not have another chance to transfer them again. The old saying you get what you pay for applies here, so cheaper is not always better.
There are many companies that offer slide scanning and they might be able to give you a slightly better scan quality and eliminate this time consuming process, but there is a certain level of satisfaction that comes with scanning your own slides. It gives you the opportunity to get rid of any unwanted slides that really have no meaning. The shot of a flower or tree, faded or discolored slides or the scenery shot that went wrong. If you are going to attempt to scan your own slides here are a few tips before you get started.
Buying a slide scanner
The slide scanners that are in the consumer category range anywhere from $75.00 to well over $250.00. The more the slide scanner is usually will give you a better workflow and quality. You should look for these features in a slide scanner.
Make sure the slide scanner will work with your computer and there is no software or compatibility issues.
Speed of the scanner
There are many slide scanners that require you to scan your slides one at a time to your hard drive in you computer. Each slides averages around 60 seconds to scan, then you will need to name it and file it. If you have several hundred slides you better set aside a couple of days to complete the scanning process. The pricier slide scanners will be able to scan your slides in a couple of seconds saving you a tremendous amount of time in the long run.
Quality of the scan
The scan quality is going to depend on the DPI (dots per inch) you are able to scan your slides at. A good range is 2000 DPI to 4000 DPI. 2000 DPI is good for archiving and creating prints up to 5×7. 4000 DPI is good for making prints up to 8×10 and is a true archival setting.
Through the years of video tape camcorders the 8mm video format was able to come up with three different formats over the time of its manufacturing. Each of the 8mm video tape cassettes look the same, but the record formats got better over time. The first tape to hit the video recording market was the 8mm tape also referred to as video 8, the second format was Hi8 and the final format was Digital 8.
Most of the video camera manufactures made their cameras backwards compatible so if you upgraded your camera to a newer format you were still able to play your older 8mm video tapes. There were some Digital 8 cameras manufactured that would only play the Digital 8 format. All the 8mm formats were put into the same size cassette but it was the Digital 8 tape that was the easiest to identify since they printed on the cassette digital 8 running time 60 minutes. Also printed on the cassette was HI 8 running time – 120 minutes since they could be used in either format camera.
The 8mm formats was very popular back in the day and that leaves several tapes out in the public loaded with home movies. With today’s technology it is best to have them transferred to a DVD, digital tape or a hard drive. Video tapes have a shelf life of about 15 years if stored properly. Over time the metal particles of the 8mm tape will fall off creating the video picture to deteriorate or not be playable at all.
The CD-R stands for compact disc recordable and can up to 700 megabytes. The discs are manufactured by using an injection mold blank data spiral. After the data spiral is laid down, a photosensitive dye is added, then the disc is metalized and a finish lacquer coat is added to the bottom to protect the disc from scratches. The laser that writes to the CD will change the color of the dye in the disc which allows the read laser on the player to read the data from the CD.
Once a CD-R has become finalized in your computer the data becomes permanent and cannot be changed. The longevity of a CD-R disc is between 15 to 100 years and will depend on storage conditions, what the quality of the writing drive was, and the quality of the disc that was used. What typically happens over time is the fundamentals in the dye will change causing read errors in the disc that ends up in data loss.
The CD-RW stands for compact disc rewritable. These disc are manufactured using a metallic alloy instead of a dye like the CD-R. The write laser will heat and change the properties of the alloy which in turn changes its reflectivity allowing you to write to the disc. The write speed of the original CD-RW in the early days was only 4x speed and the high speed CD-RW were manufactured differently that allowed write speeds between 4x to 12x.
The CD-R is widely known for its capability to be able to be duplicated. Many companies use the CD-R to hold important data that will be included in a kit or other application then distributed to their customers. There are many companies that offer CD duplication and packaging. Need to locate a CD Duplicator? Try searching online for a phrase such as CD Duplication Los Angeles.
If you are considering transferring your old 8mm, super 8 or 16mm film to DVD you want to look for a company in your area that offers this service, usually a video production or media transferring service will offer what you are looking for. Many can be found by searching for relevant keywords in Google, such as 8mm Film to DVD San Diego. But, if you are a do it your self kind of person then here are some important facts about how to go about it. First you will need a good projector to display your film, preferably with a 3 shutter blade and a variable speed control. If you kind find a projector that plays 8mm and super 8 film that would be even better. Next you will need a video camera that has speed control, variable exposure and if possible a 3 chip camera. A three chip camera will give you better results in your film transfer and the camera is cost a little more to purchase. If you already have a camera, run a test and see if you are happy with the results. If you could find a film transfer box that will make your film transfer come out that much better. If you want to go on the cheap route you can project your image on a white card or use a white wall. If you end up using the white card or wall you need to make sure the video camera is parallel with the film projector lens to give you the best alignment on your transfer.
Now you are ready to test your transfer system. The video camera will capture the image from your projection and you can either record the image in your camcorder or use its video outputs and go to a DVD recorder or even better would be a computer. If you go to a computer the camera will need a fire wire output on the computer will need a fire wire card in it. The computer will also need some kind of video editing software to capture the image. If you decide to go with the film transfer box the film projector will project the image into the box and reflect it off a mirror which is then picked up by your camera. Proper alignment of the camera and the box is very important. By using one of these two methods you should be able to get your film transferred to DVD or even better a hard drive on your computer.
You have been cleaning out the garage and have discovered a box full of video tapes from the years past. In the early days most home videos were shot with a large camera and a separate recorder. I am sure you have not watched these movies in several years so now would be a good time to move them over to a digital format and here is why. Video tapes will deteriorate over time which is normally caused by poor storage, humidity and heat. Video tape is made up of metal particles and when these metal particles start to flake off over time due to poor storage your memories and starting to fade away forever. Once this process takes place there is no turning back time to retrieve them. If your tapes were stored properly in a cool dry space then the lifespan of your video tapes is around 15 years.
By transferring your home videos to a digital format you will end the deterioration process before it only gets worse. There are two digital medias to consider, transfer your video tapes to DVD or to a hard drive. If you are interested in editing your home movies then going to a hard drive would be the better choice. You can have them transferred to work on a PC or a Mac and both computers come with free editing software. For the PC you would use movie maker and the Mac you would use iMovie. If you are not interested in editing, then having them transferred straight to a DVD will be the way you want to go. Many companies will do this for you, you can find them with your favorite search engine. Try searching for video to dvd or video transfer and the city you’re located in, such as Video to DVD San Diego. After you make the original DVD it is always best to get a copy of each master DVD as a backup if anything were to happen to your original. The smallest scratch on the bottom of the DVD disc can make the disc unplayable. So, if you have discovered those box of old home videos now is the time to get them to a digital format and preserve them for generations to come.
The CD and DVD duplication process requires a few key components to be able and create a quality product. The most popular method is duplicating or burning a disc by using a CD / DVD duplication tower. These towers can burn or copy from 1 disc up to 15 disc’s at a time. The duplication tower will take the information from your CD or DVD disc and copy that to an internal hard drive in the duplication tower. Once the media is stored onto the hard drive you are ready to duplicate your disc. If you are duplicating multiple disc it is best to buy them in bulk online to get the best deal. There are many suppliers available that offer good quality disc at a low price, so make sure you do your homework on what will work best for you. You can try buying your disc locally, but most often they can match the prices you can find online. Once you have located your media it is time to duplicate your disc. The CD will burn faster than the DVD since the DVD can hold more data on the disc.
Depending on the size orders you are duplicating it might be beneficial to have more than one duplication tower to speed up the process. Now that your disc are duplicated you will want to be able to print on the CD or DVD to give it a more professional look. There are a few different ways that can be achieved by either using a thermal or ink jet printer. The most cost effective printer will be the inkjet printer. The ink is cheaper than thermal and the quality is very satisfying. Also available is a combo unit that will duplicate your disc first then print on them all in the same pass. Now that we have completed the duplication and printing process it is time to choose your packaging. There are many choices available so it is best to know how the CD or DVD will be distributed. If it is for resale or point of purchase then you will want to consider packaging that can display printed material about your product.
If you don’t want to take on the task of duplicating CDs and DVDs yourself you can always have a local duplication company do it for you. Many can be found by searching for phrases online such as CD Copies Orange County.
Do you have a large collection of photos that span over years of family events and vacations? The fear of loosing them due to water or fire damage or years of deterioration can be devastating. This is why a smart choice is to have a photo scanning service digitally scan and restore your photos for future preservation. Once in a digital format they are no longer at risk like your regular analog photos.
I would recommend looking for a professional photo scanning service that can take on the job. Many can be found online, just search for something like Photo Scanning in San Diego. When pricing out different companies sometimes choosing the cheapest company is not always your best bet. You are making an investment and you do not want to compromise the quality of your job over a few dollars. I would bring in a few photos, ask for a high resolution scan and check out there quality before bringing them the entire job. You will also want to choose a company that offers various formats to save to like GIF, PNG or JPG and have them put on a CD or hard drive.
When you are ready to place your order make sure and have your photos in a numerical order and it is best to mark them on the back with a pencil. Using a pen can bleed through the photo paper and sticky notes can fall off. This way when you get your CD back the photos are in a proper order to follow. Once your order is complete I would recommend getting a few backup copy’s on CD. These can be stored in various locations if anything were to happen to your master CD.
Having your photos digitally stored is a great way to preserve your memories but it also allows you to now share them with friends and family. This can be done by email, Facebook, Youtube or any media outlet.
If you are willing to perform the daunting task of transferring your old 8mm film to DVD then here are a few tips that may make your job a little simpler. To transfer your 8mm film to DVD you will need the following: a digital camcorder, a movie screen and an 8mm film projector. If your 8mm projector is no longer working you can find many good deals on them on eBay. Maker sure the seller has a guarantee and a return policy in the event there is a problem. Once you have your equipment lined up it is best to do the film transfer in a dark room. Put up your screen up and align the camera and projector so they are no farther than 8 feet apart. This will give you better picture quality when recording. Try to align your video camera so it is directly next to the projector. This may take a little adjusting to get the correct alignment. Once you are set up it is now time to record your image. It is good to have a can of compressed air when doing the transfer so when hair images appear on the screen you can easily remove them.
When you are finished recording all of your film it is time to take your digital tape and capture it into your computer. If you have a PC you can use Windows Movie Maker and for a Mac it will be iMovie. Once captured into the computer you have two choices: do a little editing to remove unwanted shots or go straight to creating your DVD master.
Transferring the 8mm film by yourself may be a fun challenge, but for best results you might want to have a professional film transfer company do it for you. For example, they have access to high end color correction equipment and that will give you a better transfer than consumer machines. To find a local company you could try searching in Google or Yelp. A query like Film to DVD Orange County should give you many choices for your film transfer job.
Here’s an interesting Youtube Video I found on how compact discs are made: