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8mm film to DVD with Samnsung SMX-F44BN Camcorder problems

by Jimster2010 / January 8, 2011 3:17 AM PST

I am trying to preserve my parents old 8mm projector home movies with a Samsung SMX-F44BN camcorder. What I am doing is playing the movies onto matte photo paper and then recording back with the camcorder. All seemed to be going well at first until I noticed that the camcorder's "focus" keeps dropping out. It will then re-focus but by that time a lot of the footage of the film is messed up. I am not familiar with all of the camcorders various settings. I originally tried doing it with the Smart Auto feature but kept having the focus issues. I then tried putting the camcorder into manual focus mode figuring this should solve the problem in that the focus would stay where I had it set but for some reason even in manual mode the camera still drops its' focus at various times.

Any ideas what may be causing the focus to drop in and out? Why isn't manual focus mode staying at the focus I set it at.

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8mm film to DVD with Samnsung SMX-F44BN Camcorder problems
by cnetforum11 / January 9, 2011 2:30 AM PST

I am doing the exact same thing over this winter. I have decided that the following works well:

NOTE - I don't find a big difference in room lighting but I use a semi-dark room.

Set the projector up so it projects a sceen size about 2' by 2.

If so equipt, focus the projector to it's best image quality.

Attach the camcorder to a tripod and turn on the camcorder.

Take the camcorder out of the "AUTO" mode.

Zoom the camcorder to the full extent of the optical zoom.

Manually focus the camcorder so that the camcorder capture is as clear as possible.

Zoom the camcorder out just to the point that the camcorder fully covers the screen image.

Manually select the camcorder shutter speed to 1/60.

Set the camcorder so that the exposure control is in manual mode. If the camcorder has an manual adjustment for exposure all the better. Start the projector and use the manual exposure control to achieve a nice bright (but not washed out) image. This setting might have to be changed depending on the projected scene. Better yet - if you have editing sofeware, you can edit the captured video brightness with the software to account for the various scene differences.

You may have to vary from these settings but they should get you in the ball park. Remember your final settings as they my revert if/when the camcorder is turned off between sessions.

Hope this works for you!

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8mm film to DVD with Samnsung SMX-F44BN Camcorder problems
by Jimster2010 / January 9, 2011 12:35 PM PST

Thank you very much! I will try your ideas. Is it your opinion that the brightness is somehow screwing up the focus and not a problem with how the camcorder handles the focus control?

Thanks again!

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8mm film to DVD with Samnsung SMX-F44BN Camcorder problems
by cnetforum11 / January 10, 2011 7:56 AM PST

I'm not sure that there is a correlation between exposure and focus but I know that if you use manual focus it will remain at that focal point ubtil such time as you engage AUTO or physically move the focus ring (or lever or what ever)again.

I have no familiarity with your camcorder so I don't know for a fact that it has manual focus and exposure but most camcorders do have auto and manual settings. Check your manual for the focus and exposure controls.

Of course it goes without saying, if the projector is out of focus then the camcorder will pick that up as well.

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8mm film to DVD with Samnsung SMX-F44BN Camcorder problems
by Jimster2010 / January 12, 2011 8:15 AM PST

I did have my camcorder set for manual focus and still the focus was dropping in and out. I will try some of your suggestions and see if I get different results. Maybe I also had the projector screen set too small the the 2'x 2' will make a difference as the camcorder may be more apt to stay in focus. I hope so anyway. Btw, what were you projecting the image onto? I was told to use matt photo paper but it is only 8'x11". Maybe white construction paper would work?? I also did not use a tripod as I do not have one. I just had the camcorder sitting beside the projector.

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