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Old April 10th, 2020, 12:10 PM   #1
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Convert old home movies

My parents want me to convert their old 8mm home movies. I told them it be better to send them out to a service that does this for a living. Has anyone done this and recommend places? Googled it bunch came up. Many will put them on dvd some offer hd. Is it worth the extra cost of hd. What’s a good resolution for 8mm? Most charge by the physical length not sure whats a fair price.
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Old April 10th, 2020, 12:51 PM   #2
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Re: Convert old home movies

I tried doing it myself - results with cheap projector and screen terrible. A local firm did one for me, and while better than mine, still not wonderful. I went to a firm 30 miles away who had a real telecine and the results were amazing - they charged by the minute though. So it was expensive and high quality. If the movies are priceless, it was worth the money - well, it was for me,
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Old April 10th, 2020, 05:37 PM   #3
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Re: Convert old home movies

Thanks for the info Paul. Out of curiosity I looked at what B&H offered in the way of scanners. Reading the reviews made me appreciate what a professional service does. The cheaper machines ($400) were fraught with jamming issues and highly compressed codecs. The well reviewed ones were cost prohibitive ($900+) would only make sense if you wanted to make a side business out of it or had a lot of movies to scan. Even those machines take a long time to scan.

So I’ll check out some services and let you know how it all works out.
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Old April 10th, 2020, 11:37 PM   #4
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Re: Convert old home movies

We’ve got a number of Standard-8 and Super-8 films from the 1950s through the early 1980s that I’ve been wanting to copy. Been through some trial-and-error attempts with mixed results:
1. 8mm projector and an old glass-bead screen with a cam (AX100)
2. 8mm projector with a heavy white cardboard sitting on a chair and a cam
3. Sent film to a Costco lab (I think in Arizona) for duplication

The best effort was #2 by setting the projector on the dinette table facing a white cardboard sheet on a chair. The “screen” was about 3 or 4 feet in front of the projector. In order to eliminate parallax it was set at a slight angle to both the projector and the cam. This way the finished copy was a rectangle and not a parallelogram. Set the cam, AX100, on the table beside the projector with the lenses at the same height.

It took a number of tests in order to get the the frame rate matched up to minimize the flicker. The projector had an adjustment to vary the speed slightly. The really big problem, though is the very short life of the projector bulb and the high expense for the bulb replacement ($83 > $90 plus tax for the Super-8 Bolex 18-5L and slightly less for the Standard-8 Bell & Howell/Keystone projector). There have been aftermarket conversion kits for the bulbs - just checked and for the B&H it is only ~$40 for the kit w/bulb and the replacement bulb (200 hr) the ad said is only ~$15.

The quality of the home-made film is respectable and everybody (family) who has seen them like them. It is understood it doesn’t have to be perfect and it isn’t but seeing someone who is 80 today and was a little kid back then, or when they got married, kids, grandparents, etc., is worth the effort.

The 5 rolls copied by Costco were a real disappointment, would never do it again. Some of the other labs, I’m sure, would be better but at a huge cost if there are many to copy. May cherrypick a few key rolls.

My plan was (this was 6 years ago) to make copies of everything, then with the digital copy make titles and add lower-thirds, and voice-over. During the copy process I retained the projector “clicking audio” and planned to save that for the final recording, reducing or cutting it out for the voice-over. Actually worked on the title for a couple using the Motion app, fonts, and colors typical for the year. Some still photos can also be copied, then, in combination with the Ken Burns effect, to give it a bit of a video look.

Because these are personal videos, for the one when I was drafted and had to report for duty in Rhode Island, we drove on Route 66 through Texas or Oklahoma alongside the railroad with a train running about 70 mph and I had a film of that so adding a piece of the song “Rock Island Line” (there was a Rock Island box car) can be added, then when I was discharged we took the northern route back home (Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, etc) and for part of that video it will be “Goin’ to San Francisco With Flowers In Your Hair”. Never so glad to get out! There is a lot one can do to "dress up" those old movies.

Need to get retrofit bulbs. It’s all on my To-Do list.
Copies of slides and negatives are also on the list.
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Old April 11th, 2020, 02:57 AM   #5
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Re: Convert old home movies

Not sure if this would work. But I would steal the wife's greaseproof paper (tracing paper) project onto this capture from the other side with a video camera then mirror back on whatever video editor program you have.
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Old April 11th, 2020, 05:35 AM   #6
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Re: Convert old home movies

Rosco makes a PVC rear projection screen product called "Twin White" that I have used for theatrical applications. It minimizes the "hot spot" from the projector, but is a "low gain" screen, meaning it sucks up a lot of the light.. Probably not an issue if you are just filming a screen, but it requires a big projector if you use it for theatrical rear projection.

https://us.rosco.com/en/product/twin-white-rosco-screen

I think there are some other companies that make a similar product. You can buy it by the yard from theatrical suppliers, Rose Brand was always one of my favorites before I retired and they are very helpful if you contact them. They might have some small scraps left over from custom screens that they'd sell you cheaply.

https://www.rosebrand.com

But this sounds like a lot of trouble to do by yourself, especially if it involves messing around with old projectors! And very time-consuming to setup, film, edit and convert the format.

This place used to run a lot of ads, don't know anything about their quality. Has anybody used them? Unfortunately, all my old home movies are long gone, but I do have some old Hi-8 tapes and tons of old slides that my father took.

https://legacybox.com

As a general technique if you're filming a rear projection screen, I wonder if you could shoot some footage of a blank screen, open a frame in Photoshop and create a gradient to counteract it? Could be as simple as putting a black circle in the center of the image and using the blur filter on it, then adjusting the tranparency. You could then overlay it on the video. I have frequently used similar techniques to fix lighting problems in performance video that I've shot.
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Old April 11th, 2020, 05:57 AM   #7
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Re: Convert old home movies

The biggest issue we had was sprocket hole damage to the fragile old stuff - the proper firm removed all the old leaders, and damaged lead ins that had been caused by lacing up on word out projectors. Saving as much good footage and not requiring repeated start/stops. The long spools would then play continuously and easily be chopped up on the editor. I gave them an empty external drive and they put the lot onto that.
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Old April 11th, 2020, 07:48 AM   #8
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Re: Convert old home movies

Thanks for all the info.

At first I thought I would have trouble finding a place, turns out everyone has got into the business ie Walmart, Costco, etc. I’m more inclined to go with a smaller place for quality reasons and considering that it could be damaged or lost in the process. Btw all the big box stores stopped processing or taking orders due to the pandemic.

Last edited by Pete Cofrancesco; April 11th, 2020 at 09:04 AM.
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Old April 11th, 2020, 09:32 AM   #9
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Re: Convert old home movies

I know it's off-topic, but thought you could all use a good laugh. Here I am as a budding young filmmaker in 1963 with my Revere 8mm camera! Shot quite a lot of footage with it during the 60's, some of it inspired by TV shows of that era. It's all long-gone now, which is probably all for the best. ;-) This looks like the same camera, but mine had a 3-lens turret.

https://www.madeinchicagomuseum.com/...vere-camera-co
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Old April 11th, 2020, 09:58 AM   #10
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Re: Convert old home movies

Thx for sharing Boyd love the glasses. My dad taught high school photography/film in the 70s. He took us to class a couple of times, in the attic he had a darkroom and film viewer for editing. Hard to believe how much the technology has advanced. If you took ppl from this era and transported them back in time they’d lose their mind wait for film to be developed, physical cutting and splicing film to edit.
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Old April 11th, 2020, 05:51 PM   #11
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Re: Convert old home movies

Quote:
Is it worth the extra cost of hd....What’s a good resolution for 8mm?...
Much discussion of this 15-20 or so years ago as digital photography was gaining popularity, especially with respect to stills. At that time there appeared to be some consensus that around 9 megapixels was good for full frame 35mm film.

Bottom line is it depends on the quality of the film you have. Potential image resolution depends on the film's capability, the shooting lens, and any camera shake/jitter/judder, and subject motion.

My impression is that with typical Joe or jane Six-pack 8mm or Super8 home video SD DV is probably fine. It won;t look any worse than trying to project the film in a economical home projector (if you still can find one). For quality film shot with a good camera by a reasonably competent cameraman you probably would do well to go with HD, especially if it is 16mm film.

Higher resolution is also good if you plan to do any editing or restoration.

If you send film out to a service, try an unimportant test reel first to determine whether or not they go a decent job and do not damage the film.
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Old April 12th, 2020, 05:12 AM   #12
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Re: Convert old home movies

Quote:
Originally Posted by Donald McPherson View Post
Not sure if this would work. But I would steal the wife's greaseproof paper (tracing paper) project onto this capture from the other side with a video camera then mirror back on whatever video editor program you have.
For rear projection a good sheet of ground glass works well. The larger the glass dimensions the finer the image. 8' x 10' works well with modern HD/4K cameras. Built the ground glass into a blacked out box and the results are more than acceptable for 8mm and 16mm. Squared up with the camera you get rid of parallax errors. Then as you say a horizontal flip in your NLE corrects the image.

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Old April 12th, 2020, 08:02 AM   #13
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Re: Convert old home movies

I have a 16mm 400ft reel with sound to convert to 2K on a thumb drive. Quotes are around $390. Anyone know cheaper? Pretty sentimental as it was a gyroplane company advert that I was in as a child in the 1960's.
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Last edited by Mark Williams; April 12th, 2020 at 09:18 PM.
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Old April 12th, 2020, 12:46 PM   #14
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Re: Convert old home movies

^-- I'm sure the Costco route would be cheaper but wouldn't look as good...

Btw, I was watching this review of the Wolverine scanner ($400). It's entertaining to see what's involved. The biggest downside besides being a pain to operate, it doesn't do sound.

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Old April 14th, 2020, 11:03 PM   #15
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Re: Convert old home movies

Back in the 80's I did many transfers on the Elmo TRV-16 and TRV-8s video transfer projectors. They also made a 35mm reversal and neg transfer unit the TRV-35G. They had no lenses. They were projectors with CCD units in place of the lens block. They had video and audio outputs and Proc Amps for video level adjustments. They occasionally turn up on eBay for pretty cheap prices. Replacement drive belts for them always seem to be available.

Another way to do the transfers is to use a FRONT surfaced mirror mounted in a blacked out box sitting at 90 degrees to the lens. Use a close up diopter on the projector lens to allow focusing on the mirror. Or buy one of the many that came with built in lens like these ones. Projector in one end and video camera in the other at 90 degrees. Film projectors are really cheap to pick on eBay. Just make sure you can get globes or that it comes with one or two if you buy one.

Chris Young

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Spi...-/113707905793

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-AZT....c100047.m2108
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