Movie Films Professionally Transferred to Digital Video

Transferring film to video requires highly specialized equipment and processes. The series of videos below (Coming soon, in Spring 2013) will describe, demonstrate, and compare our systems and services so you can make an informed choice.  We have some exciting new developments–a new frame by frame system, some new advanced film-specific restoration processes, and a new low-cost option as well.

Boys with Super 8mm FilmsThe Process:

Every job is customized to follow the most effective means of transforming your movies from film on reels into the ideal finished product of your choosing.

The Express service (below) takes a shortcut that generally does not compromise the quality of the transfer, but does restrict or eliminate many of the post-production possibilities that make the Archival service so valuable.

Click here for price list

Express Service

Choose this if your film is important enough for a very good transfer, but not enough to justify any optional expense. Both lower and higher cost HD options are coming available, and a video to compare them all.

The Process

  1. Preparation: Cleaning, inspection, and repairs as needed.Optional consolidation of small reels to large.
  2. Transfer film direct to the DVD-ready MPEG-2 File format.
  3. Compiling and optional basic editing and re-arranging of segments.
  4. Optional menu creation with identifying titles and thumbnails.
  5. Create master DVD; burn additional DVDs from the master file.
  6. Typeset and print title information on all DVDs and load into cases.

 

DVD artwork from Film frame

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Archival Service

Choose this if you value your film as important history to be optimally preserved and presented, with further options to improve, edit, and enhance the finished product.

The Process

Same as the Express Service, except that step 2 transfers the film to the less-compressed, edit-friendly AVI format, before outputting & encoding to MPEG-2 and continuing on to DVD.  The AVI format enables the following processes to occur in the order as follows:

1. Precise and extensive editing and re-arranging of material.

2. Fix, by re-doing & editing, any technical
problems in the transfer.

3. Color Correction not only corrects the color problems of various film stocks having been used for both indoor and outdoor lighting conditions, but also corrects for and optimizes the saturation, brightness, and contrast of the film images to the new specifications of digital video.

4. Add Text Information such as names, places, and dates anywhere throughout the presentation.

5. A simple narration track can be a fun way to incorporate stories or personal reflections, and is also the most effective way to provide important background and factual information.

6. Music, of your choosing, can be a nice way to personalize, enhance, and liven up the silent film images.  When chosen and mixed carefully with the pictures, it can completely transform the viewing experience.

7. Still images can be made from any frame of film.  These images can become unique additions to your photo albums, and are most often used as the label design to print on the DVD, or as the basis for a slide show that makes for a nice bonus at the end to re-cap the film presentation.

This 3-minute excerpt shows a glimpse of West African Tribal life as it was before Civil War ravaged small tribes such as this one a few years later.  The project came to me as several small reels of super 8 film and a handful of audio cassettes.  After converting everything to digital, I made a initial reference DVD of the silent film, as well as audio CDs from the cassettes.  After a thorough review of both by the film maker, I had instructions to combine the appropriate segments of sound and picture.  Up until that point I had found both recordings to be interesting, but a bit too chaotic and seemingly random to make a deeper impression.  That all changed when sound met picture.  The footage came to life much more vividly than I had expected.  What had seemed like exotic but otherwise typical amateur recordings had suddenly transformed into living history.  After some experimentation with placement and editing, the somewhat distorted and jumbled sound that I had found difficult to listen to now seemed to fit right in as if it was recorded that way.
The client was thrilled to know that she could narrate the film in real time while watching it, so she prepared notes from from the DVD and her own diaries.  A lot of customers initially think it would be too elaborate or fancy to narrate their old home movies, but it’s very easy to do and is the most effective and personal way to transform the silent images from an entertaining curiosity into a meaningful experience.  The added context and colorful stories of this narration make the people and places real again, which is a sentimental reminder of journeys past, and a fitting tribute to old friends.