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Converting Film Reels

by betsyrose1988 / August 10, 2008 3:02 PM PDT

Hello, I am working on starting a business doing film editing/photo slide shows/etc. I am all set up for everything, exept for converting the old film reels to DVD. Of course, this is what I have had the most requests for. I am looking for the equipment to do this, and any instruction books etc. on it would also be helpful, if there is any. Because this is not just for a few old reels that I have stored somewhere, I want something that works the best, even if it is slow, takes up a lot of CPU space, or is expensive. I work off of both Mac & PC platforms, so I don't have any compatability issues. Any info on this will be helpful, becuase right now I am just looking into it, and don't have any time issues. Thanks in advance.

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by ramarc / August 11, 2008 1:28 AM PDT
In reply to: Converting Film Reels

you'll probably get more feedback on a forum devoted to professional video but for a relatively low-cost option, i suggest you look into a custom made projection box and a high definition camcorder.

the projector displays the image on a sheet of vellum or frosted glass which the camcorder would then record.

P< | >C

the image would be mirrored and you'd use your software of choice to flip it. this layout would avoid any keystone issues but you'd have to use a very low output bulb or you may get a hotspot in the center of the image.

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Oh no...
by Willy / August 11, 2008 1:33 AM PDT
In reply to: Converting Film Reels

You got a problem, IMHO. Before any fancy digital equip. was around or specially build to handle VHS transfer recording, they did it this way: play movie on screen and record it on another media. Effectively, you're left in the same boat, unless some vendor offers such equipment, google the business side, I'm not into any video buffing. The owner home version of VHS to DVD was a small player screen box and it wasn't the greatest output or very limited but got the job done. As the difference of film and VHS is obvious you see your quest before you.

tada -----Willy Happy

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Never been easier to research such things.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 11, 2008 1:35 AM PDT
In reply to: Converting Film Reels

Reading you find not only your posts but companies that do this. From this you can find the gear, the costs, the fees and develop your business plan.

What most discover is that there is no money to be made here.

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Easy Way?
by ednachman / August 15, 2008 1:46 PM PDT
In reply to: Converting Film Reels

I was in the CBS Network studios in the 60's and they aimed the film projector directly into the television camera.

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Film to DVD
by Denis Tailor / August 15, 2008 8:53 PM PDT
In reply to: Easy Way?

I'm from the UK and was a photographer for quite a few years till the ol eye sight started on its down hill approach, anywho, pointing a projector at a camera ( if this is pos) would give you a back to front image, surely, we ( thats a friend of mine and me) were asked to do that very thing for Video tape and the best way was to have a small screen and projector, 8mm are hard to come by now so I will wish you luck.........Denis

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Oh, Really?
by Flatworm / August 15, 2008 10:45 PM PDT
In reply to: Easy Way?

No, they didn't. This wasn't how it was done at all, and would have provided unacceptable results. Film cameras operate at 24 frames per second. NTSC television displays at 30 frames per second. This results in rapidly scrolling bands if you do it your way.

The way the old guys recorded TV before the days of videotape was to use a specially constructed camera called a kinescope that operated at 30 fps, and that carefully synchronized the TV output and the framing of the camera.

It was somewhat more complex to put film on TV. One in four frames had to be repeated to make the framing match.

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Oh, Really?
by ednachman / August 15, 2008 11:55 PM PDT
In reply to: Oh, Really?

You're correct about the kinescope. My terminology was in error.

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Converting film reels to DVD
by Tonyshapps / August 15, 2008 8:59 PM PDT
In reply to: Converting Film Reels

Until I retired a little while back I owned a firm doing precisely what is asked for above. Before we installed our machinery for this process we throroughly researched the market to see what was available.

The only decent method is to opt for 'broadcast-standard' copies?

To do this we ended up with a machine from MWA Nova GmbH called the Flash Scan-8 which digitises the movie image allowing you to output on DVD and Mini-DV (the latter bein a popular production tool).

It converts from either Regular-8 or super-8 and can copy with frame rates ranging from 3-25. Offers full colour correction, a scratch reduction system and can be set for SDI, RGB, YUV, FBAS and Firewire outputs.

Take a look at their site

They have an USA outlet,


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Capturing movie film on a PC
by mjd420nova / August 16, 2008 12:28 AM PDT
In reply to: Converting Film Reels

I am presently using a desktop with an Intel Core Duo CPU, 4 GB of memory, WINXPPRO, two 320 GB hard drives, a DVD burner drive, a Hauphage video capture card and an BGF Nvidia 512MB video card matched with a 22 inch widescreen LCD display. I use a regular VHSC camcorder with the video output fed directly to the input of the video capture card. I have a Telecine device, that is basically a mirror that you focus the projector (8mm movie or slide) into and the mirror reflects it unto an opaque screen. The camcorder picks it up and feeds it to the PC. There are many programs to use for the video editing portion of the operation, but you save I save it to the second hard drive. I can then edit and put together the video streams and save to the DVD. This works very well for old 8mm movies and using single frame I can also do slides too. This is very important for me as many of the 8mm movies are over 45 years old and are becoming quite brittle and this may be the last chance to save them.

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Capturing movie film on a PC, then copying it on DVD Burner.
by resterikajm / August 16, 2008 1:10 AM PDT

Thank you for your information regarding this method of converting old movies or video tapes to dvd. i learned a lot from you. more power to you.

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