Film Transfer Process
Step 1: Film Cleaning and Preparation Before 8mm Film Transfer
Your film is cleaned and splices are repaired if necessary. We usually find regular 8 and super 8mm home movie film to be in good condition. Three inch film reels may be spliced on to larger reels with leader material left on to separate individual movies.
Step 2: Digitizing During 8mm Film Transfer
A trained operator uses our own custom engineered telecine equipment which passes the light image of the movie film directly into a professional video camera, hence the term "film to video". A single high quality photographic lens is used on our projectors. No screen or frosted glass is used in the conversion (such as the consumer film to video box from the 1970's). The entire frame of film is visible during the conversion. The standard film gate of an 8mm or super 8mm film projector would cut out some of the image, but our capture extends to the edge of the sprocket holes. Our cameras are professional 3CCD cameras from the Sony DXC series. This setup is optimized for recording very small images such as 8mm film frames. We do not use the Elmo Transvideo telecine projector or Goko telecine projectors designed over 20 years ago, which are unfortunately still used by some in film to video transfer. Likewise, we do not use DV camcorders. Our DXC camera with 1,140,000 pixels offers 40% higher resolution than any MiniDV or DV camcorder. We are capable of focusing on the individual grains of film which makeup each frame. Because the grains of film are visible we can know that the resolution of the transfer is limited only by the film itself and not the camera or transfer process. Your picture will be the absolute best as the film allows it to be. View some of our 8mm transfer samples.
Step 3: Color Adjustments During Film to Video Conversion
The projected light image is separated into the three primary colors and digitally processed. The DXC cameras have large 1/2" CCD's and unique PowerHad technology which help with low light situations and great colors. An auto white tracing feature constantly adjusts and corrects many blue and red color shifts. For example, if your teeth and the clouds and everything else that should be white are actually blue from a color shift the digital processor in the camera adjusts these back to white and removes the excess blue from the rest of the 8mm film frame as much as possible. The results are outstanding for many 8mm film movies which were improperly exposed or super 8mm film which often has blue and red color shifts. Of course, there are limitations to this technology (extreme color shifts may be impossible to correct) but such attempts at improving your movies are a must.
An operator constantly monitors the film to video transfer. Each frame of film is saved as a frame of digital video. During this process the frame rate of the 8mm movie is adjusted and synchronized so it can be displayed with no flicker. The cameras digital processor adjusts the colors, taking out the human guesswork and delayed reaction to constant changes. Our LED technology is able to automatically adjust the amount of light required to optimize your movie depending on its exposure level. Relying solely on a camera iris for exposure adjustments is insufficient, we are actually adjusting the amount of light used in the film transfer process. The many adjustments we are able to make during the transfer is unique to Home Movie Depot and is much more sophisticated than simple brightness control.
Step 4: Direct Transfer 8mm to DVD
To transfer 8mm to DVD directly clean video signals (all of the original high quality) are sent to various recording devices simultaneously. Super 8mm sound film is transferred with the original soundtrack. We convert 8mm to the same format used to record Hollywood movies to DVD. We use high-grade DVD media and print your customized title directly on the DVD. Your movies are never double compressed such as the conversion of 8mm film to DV (digital tape) and then to DVD. Of course we never transfer 8mm film or Super 8mm film to VHS and then use the VHS to make a DVD.
VHS and other analog tapes are acceptable for viewing but their resolution is far lower than DVD or Mini-DV. Using VHS for a master tape is not recommended unless no other source is available. Many customers have sent us 8mm and super8 film originals that they had previously transferred to VHS and were amazed at the difference of our transfer to DVD.