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Old March 1st, 2005, 09:07 AM   #1
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restoring old 8 mm film to mini dv

Hello all,

Like a lot of us, I am wanting to restore all of my family's old 8 mm silent film movies, preferrebly to mini dv and un edited. While searching on the web I discovered a company in Australia that actually digitaly scans each frame and then can output to DVD or as I said mini dv for a master file.

This seems like a superior method to the other way of simply using a cam corder to reshooot your film images that are projected on to a wall.

My questions are:

Are there any companies here in the USA that scan 8 mm movie film frame by frame? It makes me a little nervous sending all my original film to Australia.

Is this method the best way if quality is the priorty?


Thanks,


Mark
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Old March 1st, 2005, 09:53 AM   #2
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http://www.moviestuff.tv/
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Old March 2nd, 2005, 09:21 AM   #3
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I checked out that site, but when you see the equipment they are using and how they carefully word their procedures it seems they are merely recording each frame with a camcorder rather than actually digitaly scanning each frame as I believe the place in Australia does.

Thanks

Mark
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Old March 2nd, 2005, 11:54 AM   #4
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"Digitally scanning" each frame.

If you are talking about the way a digital intermediate is made in feature filmmaking, I can't imagine any cost effective way to do this for 8mm film.

The most common way to transfer is 'poor mans' telecine. Aim it at a screen and shoot. Not a bad way to do it, but not the best.

After that, you are into telecine transfers. The projector performs the pull-down, and aims the imagine into a video tube. A variation would be a rank-cintel, also very expensive, but several facilities offer this for super 8.

The moviestuff process, utilizes a 3ccd camera to capture EACH FRAME independantly, as a single image file and store them to disk. This is the closest approach to placing the negative frame on an optical scanner, and scanning 2k resolution for an image. You still wind up with one frame, one image. No blurring of frames across fields, like you get with a telecine image.
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Old March 2nd, 2005, 12:25 PM   #5
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Check out pro8mm.com. They are located in Burbank CA and are the PREMIERE place to go. Many Hollywood features that have 8mm footage (Natural Born Killers) go there. As do many people wich home movies and independant short films. But, they ain't cheap. About $265/hour. But they use the same machines that Pro labs use to transfer footage to tape.

Yale Labs in North Hollywood is similiar, but a little cheaper.
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Old March 2nd, 2005, 12:49 PM   #6
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I would try a poor man's telecine first.

Not because I'm sure you'll be satisfied, but because you can - assuming you have a Mini DV device which you say is your preferred delivery format and the projector you once used?

If you're not satisfied with the result, then consider a standard and competitively priced telecine.

You may be surprised how little difference there is between such a telecine and the high end stuff considering, again, that your preference for delivery is mini dv?!

$265 an hour is a lot. Half that price is a lot. Why not put the money towards a progressive scan Mini DV cam instead, do it yourself without any interline blur problems... and have a new a camera for this millenium when your finished!

I shot Super 8mm off the wall a month ago at 25p and was surprised how good it looked - as was the guy operating the projector who had seen a lot of poor man's telecines..
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Old March 4th, 2005, 07:40 AM   #7
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Rich,

Thanks for your reply and help. I am still pretty new to all of this, so I am not exactly sure of how things work or the terminology. After your second post I have a better understanding. I agree with you. I already called Movie Stuff and got more info. The method of telecine tranfers is the way to go. Especially when you consider the cost verses quality. It sounds like the quality will far exceed many other methods and the cost is with in reason.


Thanks again everyone

Mark
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Old March 4th, 2005, 08:47 AM   #8
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Hi Mark,

Whatever you choose for the conversion, have them do a sample first if you're particular about the quality. I had a bunch of old family Regular 8mm films transferred to miniDV a couple years ago. They used an Elmo TRV series telecine to miniDV. I ended up being unhappy with the results; it isn't entirely terrible or unusable, but definitely not the best.

Reg 8mm film was generally shot at around 16fps, but the Elmo speeds up the film slightly to use a 20fps-to-30fps film-to-video transfer. Somehow due to timing issues of the equipment, I guess, two adjacent film frames would appear interlaced together on every third VIDEO frame, and try as I might in PPro and After Effects, I cannot fix it...this "film interlace" seems to be in the image for both fields of a frame, as best I can tell...and the cadence changes by a frame plus or minus too frequently to manually extract frames.

If I had them just do one or to reels first, I'd have saved hundreds of dollars. I now need to get around to finding someone to do frame-by-frame transfer to get the quality I want.
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Old March 4th, 2005, 08:57 AM   #9
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Pete

Moviestuff in Houston does the frame to frame transfer to a video file.

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Old March 4th, 2005, 12:13 PM   #10
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Thanks Richard, I'll definitely give them a call. Here's the actual link to their web site in case anyone else is interested:

http://www.moviestuff.tv/

I'll report back if and when I actually see their operation and "the goods."
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Old March 4th, 2005, 05:52 PM   #11
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I found a couple by using Google. Haven't used them so can't say if they live up to thier 'web-speak'.

http://www.grafxpress.com/enter.html

http://www.diginovations.com/memoryw...m-transfer.htm

http://www.ahrensarchival.com/

Doesn't appear to be that uncommon. Just Google "film to dvd" and sort through the results.
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Old March 4th, 2005, 08:46 PM   #12
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Hey guys,

When I spoke to a gentleman at Movie Stuff, he informed me that his company is the actual manufacture of the equipment that everone else uses. He said that he uses top notch CCD's for his frame by frame file transfer. He is in Houston TX, and I feel it is worth it to send him my film since he probably knows more than anyone how to use it.

Pete, I will take your advice and do a test sample first.

Thanks

Mark
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Old March 4th, 2005, 09:47 PM   #13
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Mark,
That's why I recommended them in the first place. The American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences uses his sniper machines to transfer their old archival 8 and 16mm films.
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Old March 5th, 2005, 04:43 AM   #14
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"Pete, I will take your advice and do a test sample first."

That's good - and don't be reluctant to test telecine too, that way you can compare them! If you're willing to spend this much money, a second test is no outlay or hassle, right?

Good luck - it will be so great to have all your material at your fingertips, in great quality and preserved forever.
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Old March 5th, 2005, 05:10 AM   #15
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Here is a relevant thread from the past.
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