Digitally archiving super8mm film?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ted Lee, Jul 31, 2002.

  1. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    hi all -

    i recently found some of my parents old super8 film. i'd like to archive this stuff to some digital format. as my parents are no longer alive, i pretty much consider this stuff priceless and would like to have this memorabilia as safe as possible.

    i believe it is currently possible to transfer this stuff to vhs tape, but i'm hoping for something more permanent. also i suppose i can go from film to tape to digital? but i'd be afraid of too much generational loss.

    so, does anyone have any ideas or info on this. i did a search here and on google, but didn't really find anything useful.

    thanks in advance,

    ted
     
  2. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    Any good house is at least telecineing to MiniDV, DigiBeta, or BetacamSP. All but one is a digital format, so I wouldn't worry about the loss
     
  3. TomMadden

    TomMadden Agent

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    I'll bet that if the film were properly stored, it would last longer than any of the magnetic media mentioned above. Magnetic media has a very finite shelf life. However, if stored in the proper conditions, it can last for a long time. If you go this route, I would suggest using a widely distributed format. If you use something which requires a playback machine that is hard to find now, imagine how hard it will be 10-20 years down the road.
    The jury's pretty much still out on the long term stability of optical recordable media as well. Some manufactures claim up to 100 years for their media. See the cdr-faq at http://www.cdrfaq.org/faq07.html#S7-5
    With that being said, you may want to consider transferring the flim to a DVD-R. Find a place to telecine it to a miniDV tape. You can then use a miniDV camcorder and a Mac or PC to create a DVD-R with all of your video clips on it. You may even be able to find a place to this for you in one step.
    You may want to see if you can get the old film transfered on a more stable new film. That may be a good approach, too.
     
  4. Jeff D

    Jeff D Supporting Actor

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    I'm interested in this too. I was planning on doing the transfer to VHS years ago. The films are my grandmothers and I'd really like to get them in a format she could easily enjoy...

    I think I'll look into the 8mm to DV. From DV I can make VHS or DVDs pretty easily. Sounds like the best method to me!

    The delivery for my upcoming wedding tape will be DV.
     
  5. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    thanks guys...i'll check out the miniDV route. [​IMG]
    btw jeff - what are you doing over here? [​IMG]
     
  6. Jon Duke

    Jon Duke Stunt Coordinator

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    Any idea how much the going rate for doing this is? I know it was pretty pricey a number of years back, but the ease of DV, I figure it must be cheaper now.
     
  7. Mike Brantley

    Mike Brantley Stunt Coordinator

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    Ted, check out my Web site at www.super8filmmaking.com and follow the link to Supplies & Services. There are some transfer outfits and labs listed, I believe. There's also some info via the link on my site called Video Connection. And you can also ask the fine folks on my own forum, accessed via the site.
    Good luck. Whatever you do, don't throw out the original film footage after you "archive" it to digital. If it's Kodachrome especially, it'll probably last longer and look better than whatever you copy it to!
     
  8. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    awesome site mike! thanks for the heads-up. i've bookmarked it and will definitely review it in detail later.
    i noticed there are MANY listed in the supplies section. do you have a particular knowledge/recommendation of one that can do what i'm asking?
    i'm a little hesitant to send this stuff via mail, but i suppose that's a risk i'd be willing to take...i think. [​IMG]
    again, thanks for the info...i appreciate it.
    [edit] oh..and i DEFINITELY will not throw away the originals...no matter what. i'll keep those until they disintegrate. [​IMG]
     
  9. Mike Brantley

    Mike Brantley Stunt Coordinator

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    Ted, Dallas Digital Video now will copy your home movies to DVD for what seems like a reasonable rate for about the quality/price you likely are looking for. (You can spend as much as you want for more professional results!) I have not personally used their service, but others have recommended it to me.

    I have a couple of Panasonic DVD-R/RAM decks and a MiniDV camcorder and am looking into methods for transferring my own home movies to DVD myself. As discussed on my site, the chief obstacle to overcome is flicker from these do-it-yourself methods. Anyway, I've been saying I was gonna do this forever, but time is something I keep running out of these days!

    Good luck. Once you get your movies onto DVD, you'll be able to more easily make copies on DVD-R or VHS to distribute to your other family members if you want. As DVD grows and grows, it'll become about as universal a format as VHS, I would think.
     
  10. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    thanks mike - i'm going to check with my sister to see if this is something she wants to do. i think we're both a little worried about it getting lost in the mail, but maybe we'll just hope really hard that it makes it okay. [​IMG]
     
  11. Mike Brantley

    Mike Brantley Stunt Coordinator

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    Yes, I know what you mean. What good is insurance for something that can't be replaced? If your film is lost in transit and you have insured it, you get new film. But you will have lost the images that cannot be replaced.

    If you have a digital camcorder and a movie projector, you can try one of the do-it-yourself methods. You might be surprised and pleased with how it looks to project the films onto a small screen (say a sheet of white inkjet paper) and shoot that with your camcorder. You'll get some flicker, but this can be minimized by messing around with the manual settings of the camcorder.

    Then import the digitized footage into your computer via Firewire, edit the clips together and burn them to DVD. This way, the precious film never leaves your possession. The DVD recording decks, such as my DMR-E20, can be used instead of a computer, but you have less flexibility. (I don't yet have DVD writing capability on my computer.)

    Maybe you don't have all the gear to do this yet, but you could elect to hold off the project until you do. Your film is probably safe for a long time to come if stored properly in a cool, dry, dark place. Most home movies are on Kodachrome, which is very archival. Think how long it has lasted already, and I bet it looks as good as ever. Strangely enough, some of the home movie stuff lasts longer than some of the stocks professional motion pictures are shot on!

    Good luck with your project, whichever way you go.
     
  12. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    mike - that's a great idea. [​IMG]
    i didn't think trying it at home would work, but really, what have i got to lose?
    my sister just purchased a top of the line sony mini-dv camcorder plus they have a pretty decent sony notebook, so all the firewire capability is already there. if not, i'm sure i can find appropriate pc resources for the rest of the project.
    you're correct about how good the film looks. i was quite surprised when i first watched it. (i really LOVE the "retro" look of the film...talk about journeying down nostalgia lane!) i also agree that i'm in no big hurry to get this done, but i figure the sooner the better.
    so, i'll definitely try the home-brew approach first. thanks for the additional suggestions. i appreciate it!
     

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