Transferring Methods

Film Transfer Methods

There are three methods to transfer Films to Video.

  1. Projecting a Film to Screen.
  2. Telecine Method
  3. Elmo’s TransVideo Machine.


Projecting Film To Screen Method:

First: Set up your 8mm projector to project on a screen or a white piece of poster board (available from any art supply house). Non-glossy white poster board works best in my opinion.

Second: Using a tripod, place your camcorder as close as possible to your film projector. If your camcorder has a video-out jack, run a line from the jack to the input on a TV or monitor. This will enable you to see the
8mm image you will be recording with the camcorder without having to look through the viewfinder of the camcorder. Using the zoom control on the camcorder, fill as much of the TV or monitor’s screen with as much of the
projected image from the 8mm film as you can.
Third: If your camcorder has a microphone input jack, use an external mike while you are recording the 8mm film image. This will help eliminate the projector noise and allow you to record dialogue during the transfer. If you sit next to a stereo speaker with some music playing that will fit the mood of the 8mm film, you can move the mike toward the speaker to pick up the music when you aren’t adding dialogue. External video mikes are relatively inexpensive (Radio Shack has them) and can add a great deal to the interest of your old 8mm film stock. If you plan to make the transfer with family members present, pick up an extension cord for the external mike so you can pass it around and let the other family members add
dialogue as well.
Fourth: Now it’s just a matter of starting both the film projector and the camcorder. If your camcorder has a fade control, do a “fade-in” when the 8mm image first appears. If the camcorder can’t fade up from black, leave
the lens cap on, start the camcorder, then slowly remove the lens cap when the 8mm image first appears. You can also consider adding titles if your camcorder has that capability.

In my opinion, this is simplest way to transfer home movies to video, although it may take you several attempts to get the timing right. Bear in mind that there will be a slight flickering on the finished video. This can’t be helped when you perform the transfer at home because of the difference between 8mm movie film and video; Super 8mm and 8mm film was
recorded at either 18 or 24 frames a second, while video records at 30 frames a second. That difference causes a slight flicker. If your 8mm projector allows you to vary the speed between 18 and 24 fps, as some projectors did, experiment with the adjustment and you should be able to minimize the flicker.

If it’s extremely important 8mm film stock you want to record onto video, give some thought to having it professionally transferred. A company that can professionally provide you with a video copy of your film stock should
be able to eliminate the flicker completely through the use of a special projector made for that purpose. You may find that the cost is worth it. Professionals also can add music, titles, etc., and they usually charge by the foot. If you’re interested in having it done professionally, check the Yellow Pages under “Video/Film Transfer.”

Good luck,




Telecine Method

Converting films by this method gives excellent picture quality. The telecine unit can be purchased from Best Buys or local Circuit City stores. If can’t find, go to Yahoo for listings or  go to Ebay. The unit doesn’t cost that much($30.00).

  1. The projector is placed at one end and the camera at the other end.
  2. The camera is carefully framed to get the right frame and good focus.
  3. Make sure there is no light in the path of image beam that ejects from the projector and recorded in the camera. Also turn off all the other lights in the room where this conversion is being done.
  4. Record in the camera with which you are shooting the film. Therefore the quality of the image depends on the quality of the camera.

Some Precautions:

  1. Use remote control for pausing and recording purpose. Otherwise you might move the camera from its position.
  2. Keep the path of the projection away from the outside light.



Elmo Converters

These converters were made by Elmo in the early 80’s. With the advancement in technology, Elmo discontinued the fabrication of these converters. There is no known cheap and professional method to convert films to video by any other equipment beside them. Today these units cost $8000.00/piece (used).

In these converters, the camera lens is placed very close to the burning point of the film. The burning image of the film falls directly on the CCD of the camera. So there is very minimal loss of quality. Through the designed circuitry, the image is processed and brought out by RCA jack. These converters have iris to control the over exposed images to some extent.  These units also control the focus of images.

You can look for these converters from under the following key words

Elmo 8mm converters

Elmo TRV8 or Elmo TRVS8

Film to Video Converter