MOBILE USERS: m.isthmus.com
Connect with Isthmus on Twitter · Facebook · Flickr · Newsletters · Instagram 
Monday, September 22, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 69.0° F  A Few Clouds
Collapse Photo Bar

Digitizing 8 mm film

Wiis, PlayStations, iPads, blogging platforms, Facebook and anything else worthy of buzz in the digital world.

Digitizing 8 mm film

Postby ilikebeans » Mon Mar 23, 2009 2:41 pm

Hey all,

Anyone been through the process of scanning/digitizing 8 mm film (both regular and Super 8 )?

I've got a good recommendation for vipdubs locally, but thought I'd throw the question out for other possibilities. I understand Costco also does it, but my instincts tell me right away that, while it might end up cheaper, the quality and attention to detail might not measure up.

I'm looking to make high-quality archival copies, since the films are all deteriorating. Not sure if the ones from the 1940's are even usable anymore.
ilikebeans
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 2800
Joined: Mon Nov 05, 2007 2:23 am

Re: Digitizing 8 mm film

Postby supaunknown » Mon Mar 23, 2009 4:12 pm

I work for Vipdubs and have been running all the film transfer work for the past 8+ years or so. In my time here and working at film labs I'm sure I've handled over a million feet of film (and counting).
Of course we'd be glad to take your order. I take pride in doing the best job I can but I'll be honest and tell you we can't provide History Channel-type film transfer work at Vipdubs. We employ the tried & true method of simply capturing the projected image through a mirrored light transfer box. There are more detailed transfer methods available (at higher cost of course), mainly wherein the film is scanned one frame at a time. An internet seach will yield a few places down a Chicago that do this. Sorry, I'm not familiar enough with the work from any specific company to give a solid referral.

The 3 most important aspects of making a good film transfer are:
1) Focus
Make sure the image is focused as crisply and sharply as possible. Also, the video camera too. A camera's auto-focus feature is pretty much useless when transferring film so you need to make sure the camera itself is set to 'manual focus'. I find sections of film containing high contrast lines and detail are great spots to try to get the focus of the projector and camera dialed in the best.
2) Framing
Make sure the film is projected straight on, rather than at an angle. Sounds simple, and it is, but you'd be surprised how often I see home transfers where one side of the captured image is much larger than the other cuz folks had the projector/camera too far apart and/or off to the side. Fill as much of the video camera's viewfinder as possible (and use as little zoom to do so as possible) while also keeping as much of the original film's image in the frame as possible. Make sure your corners are lined up evenly.
3) Sync
To make a long story short, this is what will minimize 'flicker'. For 8mm film, generally, you want to set the camera shutter speed manually at it's lowest number of f.p.s. (usually 30 or 60 f.p.s) and then run light through the projector and adjust it's variable speed control knob (if it has one) until you see the least amount of flicker in your viewfinder. Keep in mind that projectors tend to run a little slower until they've had a chance to heat up a bit.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
supaunknown
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 5577
Joined: Mon Jun 24, 2002 3:22 pm

Re: Digitizing 8 mm film

Postby supaunknown » Mon Mar 23, 2009 4:52 pm

As long as those old film were stored well, they should be OK. Film nevers ceases to impress me at how resilient it is. I've run lots of film from the early 1930s that came out of people's closet shoeboxes that looked amazingly fresh.
A good test is to open the film container and give it a little whiff. If you smell ammonia, then the film is heading south of cheese.
Water damage is the worst. Tough to salvage when all the colors have bled into each other. Very sad.
supaunknown
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 5577
Joined: Mon Jun 24, 2002 3:22 pm

Re: Digitizing 8 mm film

Postby Renee Gabel » Tue Mar 24, 2009 5:47 pm

If this is the same business that used to be off of Broadway, I had a terrible experience with them a few years ago digitizing an 8mm reel film and never went back.

The clueless receptionist totally mislead me on the price and the quality of the digitizing was unwatchable.

I ended up using an old film projector at the library and filming the movie off the screen with my mini dvd recorder with much better results.
Renee Gabel
Forum Addict
 
Posts: 162
Joined: Mon Feb 02, 2009 12:25 am
Location: Dane County

Re: Digitizing 8 mm film

Postby supaunknown » Wed Mar 25, 2009 9:40 am

Renee Gabel wrote:If this is the same business that used to be off of Broadway, I had a terrible experience with them a few years ago digitizing an 8mm reel film and never went back.

The clueless receptionist totally mislead me on the price and the quality of the digitizing was unwatchable.

Hmm. Very sorry to hear that. Please email sales@vipdubs.com if you'd like to discuss it. We'd be glad to do what we can to make things right.

Our film transfer pricing has only changed twice in the entire time I've been here. If we're doing a direct camera to recorder transfer, we charge a set amount per film foot + media/master cost. If there's a need for encoding to a specific file format there would be additional charges per minute of encoding.
supaunknown
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 5577
Joined: Mon Jun 24, 2002 3:22 pm

Re: Digitizing 8 mm film

Postby donges » Wed Jan 06, 2010 11:28 am

Just a shout out to vipdubs here for a project they did for me for Christmas. Old 8mm contained in a cartridge that played in a freaky projector (no threading! no touching the film!) that never worked right.
The projector has been long gone for at least 20 years now, so these films hadn't been watched for at least that long. And they weren't in that great of shape back then.
But they came out great on the DVD format.
Price was reasonable, project was delivered when promised and quality was excellent. Highly recommended if you want to archive old footage you have in a box in the basement.
donges
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 1524
Joined: Fri Aug 31, 2001 1:03 pm
Location: between the lines...

Re: Digitizing 8 mm film

Postby supaunknown » Wed Jan 06, 2010 2:43 pm

Thanks Donges! Hearing feedback like this is so nice. I'm glad you liked the job we did.
supaunknown
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 5577
Joined: Mon Jun 24, 2002 3:22 pm


Return to Technology & Video Games

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests

moviesmusiceats
Select a Movie
Select a Theater


commentsViewedForum
  ISTHMUS FLICKR

Promotions Contact us Privacy Policy Jobs Newsletters RSS
Collapse Photo Bar