Transferring 8mm Films

by / / Published in Knowledge Base

Several things determine the quality of the video. We are not referring to the creativity, but the technological aspects. Among them, resolution or the number of lines is the most important factor. Just watch a standard video feed on a HDTV and then switch on to a HD feed and you would notice the difference immediately. The HD version invariably is much detailed and sharper. The reason here is the number of lines. While a standard picture has 480 lines, the HD feed has 1080.

If you apply the same analogy to 8 mm films, they have their own set of limitations. An 8 mm film’s resolution is limited by the frame size and the grain size of the film. Research indicates that an 8 mm film has resolution of 700 horizontal lines. Thus, it can be safely said that a standard 8 mm film can offer a resolution of 700 by 480. If you wish to transfer an 8 mm film into HD format that is easily achievable.

Pitfalls of Transferring

An 8 mm film can be transferred into HD digital format through multiple ways. The most common is real time transferring. Real time transferring is nothing but capturing the film as it is through various means. Thus, if a 5 inch reel has play time of 6 minutes, the film capturing will also take 6 minutes. Real time transfer can be done in several ways. The simplest method is to project the film contents on a screen and capture it with a HD camera and the work is done. Others use a mirror and a camera for the same process. Few others first transfer the contents of an 8 mm film on a VHS and the digitalize it. The 8 mm film transferred in either of the above mentioned methods usually has faded colors and the images are blurry. The resultant image quality is 30 to 40 percent lower than the original film quality.

Latest Mechanisms

The latest method of transferring 8 mm films into HD format is called frame-by-frame. In this method, a specialized device captures each frame separately and then collates the entire frame sequences as a continuous film. These machines cost a minimum of $50,000. As each frame is captured separately, the resultant movie quality is 40 percent higher than the original.

As the equipment is mightily expensive, not everybody can afford it. Some companies claim that they provide frame-by-frame 8mm film transfers, but in reality, all they are doing is real-time transfer. Be aware of such companies. Some companies also offer restoration services, which are genuinely based on frame-by-frame technology. One way to identify genuine service providers is the pay rate. A frame-by-frame transfer will cost you anywhere between 30 to 60 cents a feet.

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