Film to DVD
Film to DVD Facilities
We are equipped with a full set of 6 high-end Tobin Video Transfer telecine machines, all with high-resolution and 3CCD built-in cameras, flickerless speeds, automatic exposure correction, and digital footage counters for no-guess billing. This is more complete and of higher quality than what most consumer / industrial facilities have.
We have equipped our Film to DVD department with our finest and latest equipment. Our superior technology, combined with our experience in the video transfer business since about 1983, assures you of the best quality results in the industry, at reasonable rates! Our retail store is in Otis Orchards, Washington.
Our previous transfers were regarded as among the finest and now we are even better. Here’s why:
1. Broadcast quality direct imaging 3CCD cameras in almost every machine, for the best possible resolution and color. Direct Imaging is a superior replacement for the previously best Aerial Imaging.
2. Exclusive Tobin technology enables the film to be transferred at very close to the same speed as it was filmed, with no trace of flicker, fixed grain pattern, hot center and dark corners, or other image artifacts. Super-8 film is transferred at exactly the correct 18.000 FPS (frames per second) rate, and it is rare in the industry for super-8 sound to be copied correctly.
3. Our experienced technicians splice, repair, hand clean and lubricate the film prior to transfer.
4. A digital footage counter for accurate no-guesswork charges.
5. Scanning in real time for many formats eliminates slow and expensive computer-dependent transfer by hobbyist-grade equipment, that others “spin” into a feature instead of a deficiency. Super-8 film has some frame blending which is not noticeable in normal viewing.
We will answer most of your questions here:
How much film do I have?
That’s easy. Measure the diameter of the reel in inches. The approximate length in feet follows:
3" = 50' 4" = 100' 5" = 200' 6" = 300' 7" = 400'
Rest assured that our digital footage count will give a fair price that is not rounded up.
What format film do I have?
If you don’t know, that is fine, just send it in and we can figure it out! If the film is 8mm or 5/16" wide it is either regular-8 or super-8. If the film is 16mm or 5/8" wide it is 16mm. We have pictures here and this page also will help you determine if it is sound or silent. A 3 inch diameter small roll will run for about 4 minutes if 8mm, 3-1/2 minutes if super-8, or 1½ to 2½ minutes if 16mm.
Splicing, repairing, etc.
We will splice your small 50' rolls of 8mm/S8 into 350-400' lengths on new reels for $1 per small roll, and this includes the cost of the new reel. 16mm is $1 for each 50' roll or $2 for each 100' roll. To add up multiple reels to the running time of the digital master or DVD without waste, we put 8 50' rolls of super-8 or 7 50' rolls of regular 8mm on each reel. Fresh new leader and trailer film will be added if needed, and any suspicious looking splices or tears will be repaired, for $1 each. We will then hand-clean and lubricate the film to remove much of the dirt and give a smooth no-problem transfer.
Please number the rolls so we can put them in the right order. Maybe spell out or underline “six” and “nine” as these can be confused otherwise. Or if you don’t know the order because nobody labeled the film boxes with a date or event when they came back from developing, or likely put the rolls back in the wrong boxes, (naughty, naughty!) you can so mark the order form and we will splice them in random order. Someone (not us) could then do video editing to re-arrange the sequence after viewing the transfer.
Should I splice the rolls together myself?
No! Please don’t! Our splices are precisely scraped and aligned using professional grade equipment, with a permanent solvent weld using fresh film cement. (Except polyester base Fuji and Focal which must be tape spliced.) Among the public on the other hand, film splicing is a lost art. By the time you locate and buy larger reels, a good splicer and fresh film cement or unexpired splicing tapes, then spend hours splicing, and then pay us anyway to repair all the likely deficient splices that would break or jam in the equipment, it will cost you more than if we do the splicing in the first place, which by the way includes the cost of the reels.
What should we transfer to?
Video tape might still be the best for long-term storage. We recommend making a digital master on MiniDV tape for you to keep in a safe place, and make one or more DVDs from it for viewing. If the DVD is left out in the sun, or your dog or baby chews on it, another DVD can be made without having to redo the transfer. Or if you prefer we can make a DVD directly from the film.
DVD guarantee: We guarantee that your DVD will play on a modern DVD player that is rated to accept DVD-R and DVD+R discs as well as the commercial stamped-out ones. If you have a low-cost or older model DVD player that will not play a recordable DVD correctly even though it claims to do so, send the disc back to us and we will make a VHS copy at no charge, to tide you over until you get a better DVD machine. All we ask is payment for postage and handling, and two pre-filled mailing labels, to return your DVD and VHS tape separately.
What about sound?
If your super-8 or 16mm film has sound on it, we will of course record it along with the picture. Note that in the case of super-8 sound film, we can only take audio from the Normal magnetic stripe, so anything you have added later to the Balance stripe will not be heard.
We no longer add legal background music, which you have only heard before when riding in an elevator, and most customers hate. It is highly illegal for us to copy music from copyrighted and performance-right discs or tapes and we are not in a mood to go to prison over it. It is still illegal even if you bought the records, and even if we did it for free. If you want to add your favorite music to your tape later, yourself, fine. Or you could just play your favorites on the stereo while watching the DVD, which actually might be the most enjoyable approach.
Do you offer video editing, color correction or special digital effects?
We are not equipped for these functions, and our low price per foot has no allowance for these very time-consuming operations, which elsewhere can cost hundreds of dollars per hour of labor required to do the work. We can cut out blank or defective film before transferring if you request it. We can do the transfer with AWB “Automatic White Balance” which may help moderately off-color footage somewhat, but can cause odd color effects with perfectly exposed film. If your footage resembles the proverbial “black cat in a coal mine at midnight” we can crank up the video AGC “Automatic Gain Control” in addition to increasing the light level, but this can result in off-color and streaky formerly black areas and extreme graininess so the transfer resembles an army of insects crawling all over the screen. With some film, a good looking transfer is simply impossible to achieve.
How do I send the films to you?
We accept shipments by all carriers. Make sure the box is well packed, and marked with waterproof ink or has a laser-printed or waterproof label in case it is raining somewhere enroute. Enclose the order form, and the return labels filled in legibly with waterproof ink. Send with delivery signature required and a tracking number. Insurance is optional, but remember that the carrier will only reimburse for replacement cost and not sentimental value. We have heard that FedEx will not pay insurance claims for lost films.
How long will it take?
This depends on our order backlog. We do the work in the sequence received. We could finish in a few days if business is slow, or it could take weeks during the usual Christmas Present holiday rush. If completion time is critical, inquire and we can advise the current status.
How do you return to us?
We generally divide up the return into two shipments, to guard against total loss by any one carrier or at one time.
The master tape and DVDs are usually quite light, so we can send these by Priority Mail or First Class Mail, with Delivery Confirmation, and insured for the cost of re-doing the transfer, if it becomes necessary. This package includes the invoice and receipt, and should arrive in a few days.
The original film is heavier and more bulky, and this is generally sent by a lower cost means such as Parcel Post (or UPS Ground if we can ship collect on your account.) This includes Delivery Confirmation or UPS tracking. We normally insure for the present replacement cost of the film and processing, and currently we figure about $25 per 50' (50¢ per foot) of super-8 or 8mm, and $60 per 100' (60¢ per foot) of 16mm.
If you have preferred carriers, let us know and we can send whichever way you wish. We have heard however that FedEx will not pay insurance claims for lost films.
Order blank with price estimate is here.
The FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page is here.
The page for making DVD copies from your master tape is here.
Rights Notice: Material on film, tape, disc or otherwise may be subject to stated or implied Copyright or Performance Right, or the right to privacy, etc. Unauthorized duplication may be a violation that is civil or criminal in nature. Services offered by Film to DVD should not be construed as inviting criminal activity. The user should ascertain if duplication might violate any rights, and obtain a written release from each affected party. Consult your attorney about any specific instance.