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11-24-2010, 03:58 PM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
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Thank you for your solid information about transferring 8mm/Super 8 film to digital formats. Do you have any recommendations on good transfer houses out there? I am considering CinePost and Woodland, among others. If you have posted something on this topic before, please direct me to it. Thank you very much.
I've actually written quite a bit on the topic of 8mm film -- just not on this site to date. I was usually replying to questions on other forums. Most questions on this site tend to be about tapes (VHS, 8mm, S-VHS, Hi8, MicroMV, DV, etc) and streaming video (professional H.264 encoding, etc) -- and restoration thereof -- when the topic is video. Not that we don't want more film questions, just that not a lot of them get asked here.

I have, however, bookmarked a number of those threads on the other sites!

NOTE: As much as I like videohelp, and have been a long-time member there, it's a heavy-traffic site that tends to accumulate a lot of crappy advice, in addition to the good advice. In re-reviewing those threads, I wanted to point out that some of the people who made comments don't really have a clue what they're talking about. So you can ignore a lot of the comments being made. A number of them were simply spammers (fake reviews, ad posts, etc).

You can trust the information from these people: lordsmurf (me!), edDV, BJ_M, filmboss80, VegasBud, 2Bdecided, OldMedia --- most of them work in the video field professionally (or retired), and have extension knowledge on this exact topic.

The threads for further reading/research

I would suggest Woodland or Cinepost -- or better yet, Cinelab.

Note that several sites use "Woodland" and "Cinepost" so click my links for the correct site!

I've seen the Woodland work, and it's fine. Soft and fuzzy 8mm home movie films are now soft and fuzzy DVDs. No, sorry, no way to "CSI" the videos and make it tack-sharp HD! Although it may appear sharper, due to inconsistencies between your home projectors and the professional ones.

The do-it-yourself options sound enticing, but they're all varying degrees of a crappy method. You're best sending it somewhere where the film is first cleaned, then played or scanned, and finally archived to DV tapes. Let a professional archive your memories. Don't be a cheapskate and botch up the family archives.

You can then have them make DVDs from the DV tapes, or make the DVDs yourself. I prefer this because it's hard to screw up DV, but it's easy to make a crappy DVD with over-compressed settings. Plus film moves too much to get a solid quality MPEG-2 DVD-Video encode. It's not that DV is "better" or "more archival" (or any such nonsense), but rather it's compressed less. For sake of argument, broadcast MPEG-2 specs (i.e. Matrox codecs) would be just as good as DV, but maybe not as easy to work with by laymen. Uncompressed/lossless 4:2:2 would be even better, but near-untransportable. DV50 would be great too, but equally inconvenient for most average consumers.

Some of my own professional work has been to take DV tapes of scanned/recorded film, and then create DVDs for archive, and even H.264 web streams for viewing.

Whatever you do, don't use the "film-to-video" guy. I'm convinced that he's an utter moron, based on the incoherent semi-truthful scaremongering rubbish he's posted as "guides" on his site. More on that at http://www.digitalFAQ.com/forum/show...sfer-2538.html

I would actually be wary of a number of those so-called "popular" places to get it done. The ones that pop up on page 1 of Google when you search for "convert film to DVD", or some similar search query. It's often unmonitored and rushed worked, sometimes even bulk outsourced to various places (even India!) --- so beware of that, too.

Oh, and welcome to the site.

While I've given you links to many other places, it may be a lot of info to digest. So feel free to come back here with questions, and I'll answer as best as I can, or refer you to more information that will help. Sometimes you need a guide to filter through all the stuff you can read online.

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Last edited by lordsmurf; 11-24-2010 at 04:33 PM. Reason: typos
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11-24-2010, 05:35 PM
NJRoadfan NJRoadfan is offline
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Any reviews of Moviestuff?


I realize they are primarily in the business of selling telecine equipment, but they are offering what looks to be a decent transfer service. I'd love to see the results of their scanning method. They also offer the option of putting footage onto a hard drive the customer provides for a discount which is a plus.

FWIW, I think my mother kinda go burned by a "well regarded" local film transfer service. We had about 120mins worth of standard 8mm film transferred to DVD for around $300. The quality is horrible as they crammed 2 hours onto a DVD (made Ritek if you care to know), and it likely wasn't encoded with a decent MPEG-2 compressor. I'd like to see it "done right" eventually, but I have to get close to 30 years worth of analog video out of the way first.
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11-26-2010, 06:45 PM
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Sorry, but I don't consider Ritek an "archival" grade disc. Bad choice on the part of the stripmall service. So typical. Those have historically been pretty terrible, since the CD-R days in the 1990s -- before most modern "burners" (i.e., people who burn discs) had started to do so. It's sad to see businesses using crappy media, be it Ritek or the so-called "archival gold" junk. Those are some of the most unreliable discs, in terms of archival use. Great for duplication, because you can easily/cheaply replace the duds. Hard to replace a master or archive.

I'd like to see the Moviestuff.tv setup myself. I've read some good things about it, from people who are knowledgeable on film work.

As per the first post, I think it would be wise to make DVDs yourself -- just get DV tapes from the conversion service. Or both the DV and a DVD. Or some other format that you know how to work with, be it DV25, DV50, MPEG-2 I-frame, lossless or uncompressed video files, delivered on hard drive. I work with a lot of hard drives, for (S-)VHS-to-digital or (Hi)8mm(tape)-to-digital work. Making less and less DVDs these days, because people want to final-edit and final-encode on their own -- which is fine by me. A lot of higher-end professional work goes straight to broadcast/streaming. Of course, making your own DVDs assumes you're competent at it, and have time/equipment to do, which can also be an issue.

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