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Old August 31st, 2004, 03:33 PM   #1
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Any quality houses to do 8MM film transfers? . . .

I have 3+ hours of regular 8MM film my dad shot from 1951 to 1961. I'm looking for a high quality transfer to MiniDV and DVD. Some of the tape needs restoration (some water damage).

I have no interest in spending the time or money to do this one-time job myself.

I know there are many services out there, but does anyone have first hand experience? Looking for top quality, don't mind paying a bit more.

When high definition becomes more widely available in the next couple of years, will a transfer such as described here benefit from this higher quality format, or does the current state of the art (DV) capture all of the quality that a 1950's 8MM film has to offer?

Thanks. Roy
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Old August 31st, 2004, 05:43 PM   #2
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For the best, industry leader in 8mm film transfers look no farther than Pro8mm in Burbank CA. pro8mm.com The type of film transfer they do there is EXACTLY the kind they do for feature films...on a SPIRIT machine. In fact...many features have gone there for work (NATURAL BORN KILLERS). They can transfer your film to DV, Beta, Digibeta, D5..whatever you want.

But...they are expensive. You said that cost wasn't too much of an issue, but this place charges $265/hour. That's an hour of operator time, not running time of your footage. 3 hours of footage will probably take you 5 to 6 hours of telecine time...unless you just want them to do a best light transfer (and not color correct as tey go along) then you might get it done in 4.

Another good place, in North Hollywood, is Yale Labs. They offer a similar type of transfer, but it isn't on the CUTTING edge like Pro8mm. They are just a small step down, and their prices are too. They run about $200/hour.

Both places will make your 8mm look as good as it possibly can, the difference is that Pro8 is the cream of the crop, the industry leader, and where film studios go if they need 8mm transfers.
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Old August 31st, 2004, 09:54 PM   #3
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Thanks Shane. A few follow-up questions.

1. Will these guys give a small job like this the attention it needs (I'm no Neil Young or "Natural Born Killer")? Have you used these guys?

2. Yale seems to feature their transfer work more than Pro8mm. Is there equipment any different from each other and others is it just the care, because their prices are steep?

3. Any reason to wait and do this in a High Definition format? Or does the current DV format provide all of the quality that could be wrung out of a 1950's home 8mm film.

Thanks again.
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Old September 1st, 2004, 12:56 AM   #4
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<<<-- Originally posted by Roy Lubetkin : Thanks Shane. A few follow-up questions.

1. Will these guys give a small job like this the attention it needs (I'm no Neil Young or "Natural Born Killer")? Have you used these guys?

Yes...for my home movie footage I shot on Super 8 to intercut with my video footage, and for professional shoots I have done for The History Channel. They give you the full attention you are paying for.

2. Yale seems to feature their transfer work more than Pro8mm. Is there equipment any different from each other and others is it just the care, because their prices are steep?

Pro8 has the Spirit telecine machine...which is THE telecine machine. Yale has a Rank/Cintel telecine machine, which 5 years ago was THE machine. Both are very good.

3. Any reason to wait and do this in a High Definition format? Or does the current DV format provide all of the quality that could be wrung out of a 1950's home 8mm film.

DV would be fine for 8mm home movies. Not much will be gained from this old footage by going HD...but it all depends on what you are going to do with the footage. If you are going to screen in on a theater screen, go HD. If your target is DVD only...DV will be fine.

Thanks again. -->>>
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Old September 1st, 2004, 03:51 AM   #5
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Pro8mm does not use a spirit datacine - they use a rank cintel with a davinchi color corrector -- muwahahaha! Also the gent who runs the place is like the #1 guy when it comes to 8mm/super 8mm color correction and with telecine the operator (colorist) is the name of the game.

The reason I know, is because I am using them for a current project and I happen to have the price list for telecine right here

Note: Yes they will give you the time of day and the proper scene by scene color correction and repair. Trust me -- these guys are pro's and handle all the customers with respect. I have seen the repair work they have done on old movies -- fabulous.

Regular 8mm gate set up fee 138.00 plus 255 dollars an hour - plan between 2 too 3 times the amount of film you have if you want it properly color corrected.

I know this sounds very expensive, but that film you have will look 10 times better than it ever has. (also, negotiate the price ask for less and you will get it)

Yale is also a very good solution -- they charge something like 160 an hour or less and they are one of the last places in the US who handle ektakrome film


Give em a call!
www.pro8mm.com
www.yalefilmandvideo.com
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Old September 1st, 2004, 09:43 AM   #6
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You could go to the "SHOOTING 8mm" board and ask there. (Sorry, I don't know how to post URLs, just GOOGLE it.)

Based on what I've seen on that board, opinions on Pro8mm are mixed. "Pro8" is the "Michael Moore" of that board. Just the mention of the name starts the fur flying.

I have never used them, I am not trying to discourage you from using them. I have no first hand experience with them. I don't use any transfer houses. For my projects, DIY transfer is fine. You are in a different position and we all want you to have a good experience with the transfer.

The only reason I bring this up is because the people who are unhappy with Pro8 are VERY unhappy with them, just as the people who love them REALLY love them. I'd go to the board, do a search on Pro8 and read the posts.

Then make up your own mind. Shane has given you valuable first hand experience that is positive. We also know that you just can't make everybody happy. It's all about making an informend choice.

Shane, I'm glad you had a good experience with Pro 8. Many people agree with you and say their service is second to none.
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Old September 1st, 2004, 11:27 AM   #7
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Thanks for the replies. The Shooting 8MM site does have a lot of info on it.

Joe, I see what you mean about Pro8MM. Film & Video Transfer of Norridge, CA seems to get high marks.

Anyway this is for a home production, but I want to just do it once and do it right. Actually, I did transfer to video back in 1985, but I'm sure that the quality will be much better now.

The question is, will there be a quantum leap in quality in the near term with the HD transfers. This will be ultimately edited into a DVD production for home viewing (large screen), sort of a documentary on my parents.

Thanks.
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Old September 1st, 2004, 01:43 PM   #8
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Until HD-DVD becomes widely available PLUS the nessassary components to edit and deliever the HD material from your home computer -- even if you capture your 8mm stuff anamorphic you will still only be projecting 480 lines on your big screen.

Relax on the HD transfer. Unless you have a 30,000 dollar deck available then its not an issue. Also, if its really bothering you you can do a HDCAM dub concurrently with your dvcam or miniDV transfer.
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