After having 8mm film reels digitally archived, film looks very grainy/ filled with static. Is this

Discussion in 'Amateur Video Production' started by Phil Edry, Oct 4, 2004.

  1. Phil Edry

    Phil Edry Guest

    Observe these one-second clips of uncompressed .avi files.

    I hired Digital Transfer Systems ( ) to archive a number of 8mm
    film reels Frame-By-Frame (process described in detail here:
    ) for a client of mine. I asked DTS to clean the film by hand, and
    then to burn raw, uncompressed .avi files onto DVDs to make sure I
    wasn't losing any quality to MPEG-2 compression. That meant that only
    15 minutes or so of footage could fit on an entire DVD. After going
    to these great lengths, I was disappointed to find my video to be very
    grainy. (If the clips are too short, go walk through the clips frame
    by frame and you'll get the idea.)

    To my untrained eye, it looked grainy in a digital way -- as if the
    grainy noise was generated digitally during the transfer rather than
    actually appearing that way on the film (the film is 60-80 years old.)
    I've only sent 12 of 30 reels to DTS and I am trying to determine if
    I should send the rest of the reels to them or not. Did they screw
    up? My questions are as follows:

    Questions related to graininess:

    - Is the graininess digital in nature or does the film actually look
    like this?

    - If the graininess is digital, is it because my archivists screwed up
    or were using poor equipment?

    - If they didn't screw up and this graininess is something I just have
    to deal with, are there any good filters that could take care of the
    noise? Should I look into plugin filters for After Effects or some
    other sort of software?

    General 8mm questions:

    - 8mm films tends to run at 16 fps, right? The .avi files I recieved
    play at 29.97 fps. Adobe Premiere and Vegas 5 don't seem to have an
    fps output at 16 fps or a multiple of 16 fps. What's the best way to
    make the footage play at the proper speed without losing too much
    quality to frames not lining up?

    - Any good books on the subject?

    I appologize for the long-windedness,
    Phil Edry - Aspiring Archivist
    Phil Edry, Oct 4, 2004
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  2. Phil Edry

    Frank ess Guest

    Seems to me your fps info is not correct, at least for 8mm I was
    familiar with in the mid-60s.

    The clips look very good to me; I think your service did a good job.
    Frank ess, Oct 4, 2004
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  3. Phil Edry

    usenet Guest

    Kibo informs me that (Phil Edry) stated that:
    Super-8 is a very, very low-quality film format. Even 16mm looks pretty
    rough when it's digitised, much less 8mm.
    usenet, Oct 4, 2004
  4. Phil Edry

    david.mccall Guest

    What he said. It looks just like 8mm home movies to me.

    david.mccall, Oct 4, 2004
  5. Phil Edry

    Mark Weaver Guest

    For digitizing 8mm home movies, I pointed the video camera at the screen
    while everyone watched. The result is kind of cool--I got the movie
    watching experience on tape -- projector clickety-click sound and running
    commentary by assembled family members. Not just a transfer, but a new,
    mystery-science-theater style 'work of art' ;) Video quality wasn't bad
    considering the source -- in some ways better than the original film, since
    the AWB on the camera took care of some yellowing with age.

    Mark Weaver, Oct 4, 2004
  6. Phil Edry

    Tom Guest

    frames per second because that is the scan rate of a crt. If they played
    at 16 (or 18,which I believe is the 8mm rate) you would have black bars
    running down the screen as you viewed it because of the out of sync. A film
    transferred correctly however, will use equipment that repeats a frame every
    so often to add the necessary frames to give you the 30 fps. If they
    simply sped up the projector, the action would appear jumpy and speeded up
    like the old silent films.
    Tom, Oct 4, 2004
  7. Phil Edry

    Gordon Moat Guest

    While 8 mm is not much for quality, and enlarging could show more apparent
    grain, it appears that your problem may have more to do with the use of AVI
    files, and compression issues.
    You might ask them to try a different compression algorithm, but you really are
    limited to what will work with AVI files. The newer MPEG-4 codec is much better,
    and provides some nicer options. Other options are things like QuickTime and the
    Sorenson codecs, or various other codecs like CinePak.
    There is Media Cleaner Pro, from Terran Interactive. You need to be careful
    using software on low quality video files, since you can lose a great deal of
    detail in the process, even if you are a bit careful.
    If you are looking to play these back on a computer, then you could use 16 fps.
    The same would be true for a digital projector run off a computer or laptop. The
    29.97 fps is an NTSC standard for television playback. Obviously, there is some
    conversion involved to go from 16 fps to 29.97 fps.
    Similar to what another responder suggested, I have seen reasonably good results
    from projecting 8 mm, and 16 mm, films and video taping the screen. While that
    would not be a fast approach, you might have a better source to start with, or
    just keep them on video tapes. You could still have the movies put onto DVDs.
    Perhaps you might want to try one that way, or ask a bit more.

    I hesitate to recommend any books, since video editing, film conversion, and
    codecs, are all specialized knowledge. There are no books I know of that will
    provide you with a do-it-yourself solution.
    Gordon Moat, Oct 4, 2004
  8. Phil Edry

    Frank ess Guest

    Dear Tom.

    Please be more careful about your snips and attributions. Not a single
    word in this post can be attributed to me.

    Thank you,
    Frank ess, Oct 4, 2004
  9. 8mm most certainly runs at 16 fps. Super-8 runs at 18 fps. Home silent
    16mm runs at 16 fps and sound 16mm at 24 fps.
    Michael Weinstein, Oct 5, 2004
  10. Phil Edry

    ClueMan Guest

    Go to Get VirtualDub, one of the best video
    editors out there, super-fast processing (way faster than
    TMPGEnc), tons of options -- and it's free. Then check out all
    the free plugin filters that people have written for it (spread
    around at various sites online). You can clean up any noise to
    any degree. One of my personal favorites is the free UnShake
    filter that they have, an image stabilizer for those zoomed
    handheld shots. But that's not related to your question, it's
    just one of the many amazing things that this program does for
    free. Software like that used to cost thousands of dollars -- and
    still costs that much to those that don't know any better. They
    love to think that you only get what you pay for. Cool, let them
    think that. People like that only make me think that there's a
    sap born every minute.

    As to your other problem, you can also use VirtualDub to adjust
    the frame-rate to anything you desire without changing the
    playback rate. I believe there's even a plugin that will recreate
    inter-frame images if you want to upsample to higher frame-rates
    while producing smoother motion (temporal interpolation).

    I didn't bother to check out your video clips. The above info
    will solve any problems that that company created for you. You
    should have just done it yourself. Isn't it fun trying to fix
    problems that you willingly paid for? As they say, "You get what
    you pay for!" :)
    ClueMan, Oct 5, 2004
  11. Phil Edry

    wheat Guest

    As clueman mentioned, Virtual Dub is incredible. I've just encountered some
    great russian filters that work with Vdub, one being a really great
    'denoiser'. Go to
    I looked at one of your examples. I thought it looked fine for an 8mm
    transfer; just the nature of the format.

    wheat, Oct 6, 2004
  12. Phil Edry

    Derek Gee Guest

    Super-8 can also run at 24 fps, but very few shot it at that speed.

    NTSC television runs at 29.97 fps, so the company doing the transfer has to
    do a conversion for you to view the films shot at those various frame rates
    on TV. That part is likely fine.

    I can't comment on the noise issue as I was unable to view the examples as
    the files appear to no longer be on your site. I get a 404 when trying view
    or download them.

    Derek Gee, Oct 11, 2004
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