There are many ways to transfer 8mm, Super 8 & 16mm movie film to digital formats such as DVD, Blu Ray and other computer files.
Before we begin this 'guide' trust me on this one: Take any claim of method or technology on a film transfer website with a grain of salt. You need to see actual proof, which this day and age, should be a descriptive video showing the complete method, like you see on our site, Gotmemories com . If you do not see video of their equipment and how they are converting, the words on their sites are not worth the time of day. Claims of 'proprietary information' ie to protect their technology is not the truth. Truth being they are projecting film onto a wall and video taping off it.
Moving on to methods:
The most popular method for home users and 90% of the 'professional' 8mm film transfer industry is to run movie film through a standard film projector unit and then project the image onto a white piece of paper and record with a camcorder.
The results are usually poor, full of flicker, which comes from the difference in frame rates of standard movie film projectors which are 18 frames per second. NTSC (US Format) Camcorders record at 30fps, so that results in a flashing on the screen of the image.
The only way to eliminate that is to speed up the motor to 20fps on the projector, but doing so does speed up the film so everyone is moving quicker than normal. Again, that's the amateur way of converting 8mm film to DVD & digital. (Amateur methods is what 90% of film transfer 'professionals' do, although eBay listings/websites don't usually admit that) Typically these methods can warrant a 50% reduction in quality over the original film.
The other method of film transfer, which you'll hear a lot is 'Ariel Method' Which is basically again, a standard movie film projector that projects the 8mm, Super 8, 16mm image onto an angled mirror/box, then reflects onto a condenser lens, 3 feet away is a standard camcorder that is zoomed in on the condenser lens and recording the film to either a tape in the camcorder or hooked up through a computer.
Again, this is going to lose you about 20-30% of the original quality of the film. Also to note that these units are home made, or sold by a company called Moviestuff and other eBayers, they use old GAF/Ansco projectors which have two nasty 90 degree turns in the 8mm film feed channel, so if the film is not 100% spliced correctly, can get caught up in those areas and the projector does not sense an issue, so if the film transfer machine operator is not 100% on the ball, the film will bunch up like an accordion and is basically destroyed at that point. The makers do state to hand feed until the film is outside of the projector, but again, this is down to the operator, most don't.
Next is 'Frame by Frame scanning' which is a term that is thrown around so much in this industry. You've got guys working out of their garages, projecting onto literally bed sheets claiming 'frame by frame' just to get your business.
Frame by frame is a technique of capturing each frame of film, so basically, in every day terms, you get a nice clear image every time you hit the pause/jog shuttle button on your remote. That's basically it, all that hype over the term and that's what it boils down to!
There are ways to capture the 8mm movie film transfer.
Home Movie Transfer DIY: To a camcorder, i.e mini dv tape, which is very 1990's. Through a camcorder to a capture device that hooks up to your computer and delivers the content into your editing software.
Companies either chose computers, same way as above, or set top hard drives, set top DVD recorders.
Nowadays, we are entering the world of HD transfers. A frame of Super 8mm film has about 1k lines of information, 720x480 is the best possible resolution there. With high definition 8mm film transfers, you can capturing much more than is viewable. The difference can be stunning! Again, a lot of companies are claiming HD transfers, but all that has changed is they are now using a prosumer $800 HD camcorder to film off the wall. If you goto Gotmemories com you'll see videos of exactly how we convert 8mm film to HD.
17X 3INCH 50FT 8MM 16MM SUPER 8 MOVIE FILM TO DVD
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