Help - digitizing old 8mm, 16mm movies.

Discussion in 'Photography' started by Frank Stokes, Apr 17, 2005.

  1. Frank Stokes

    Frank Stokes Guest

    Hello all,

    I have some very old 8mm and 16mm family movies (mostly B&W and all silent),
    and the estimated cost of having these digitized commercially is in the
    thousands of dollars, which is much more than I want to pay.

    I've heard that one can project them on a screen and record them with a
    camcorder. Can anyone give me any details about this technique? I've been
    told the results are not of good quality, but I plan to buy a camcorder
    anyway, so I might as well go for features that will help in this regard.
    Can anyone tell me what features to look for in a camcorder (consumer level)
    that will maximize the quality of the finished product? I want to be able
    to view the videos on HDTV and computer screen.

    Thanks for any advice you can give me.

    Frank Stokes, Apr 17, 2005
    1. Advertisements

  2. Frank Stokes

    ian green Guest

    don't know about 16mm but i re/recorded 8mm bw films
    after adjusting levels in adobe premiere the quality was good enough for

    one simple advice :
    make sure your projection is free of any distortion
    place your camcoder as near your projector as possible


    ÑÎ ÇÒÉÎ / ian green

    Xeto : photography
    ian green, Apr 17, 2005
    1. Advertisements

  3. Frank Stokes

    Marvin Guest

    There are devices that take an analog video input and give a digital output. One is at It should give a MUCH
    better result than what you propose.
    Marvin, Apr 18, 2005
  4. Frank Stokes

    chrlz Guest

    Marvin, he did say these were 8mm and 16mm *films*. They are not on
    videotape, which is what the device you linked to, is for. There *are*
    devices that will take a moving film image and convert it to digital,
    but I'm not aware of who makes any that are in the reach of the typical
    home user.

    So I would agree with Ian - a good projection screen, a completly
    darkened room, and placing the camera very near the projector to get as
    square on as possible, along with using manual focus to prevent
    AF-hunting.. There are 'boxes' around that you point the projector
    into, and then point the camcorder lens into another opening, but I
    have not heard good comments about them, and it seems that the above
    method gives better quality anyway.

    Most name-brand camcorders should do this pretty easily. Make sure
    that the camcorder has manual exposure settings/focus and also DV-Out -
    that allows you to connect the camcorder to a firewire-carded computer
    so you can offload the movie and get it into DVD-able format.
    chrlz, Apr 18, 2005
  5. Frank Stokes

    chrlz Guest

    chrlz, Apr 18, 2005
  6. Frank Stokes

    dj_nme Guest

    I don't that is practical (or even possible) for capturing _film_ into a
    digital format.
    The best way that I've used is to project the film onto a proper screen
    and use a mini-DV camcorder set up as close as possible side-by-side to
    shoot the screen.
    The room should be farily dark and the camcorder on a sturdy tripod.
    dj_nme, Apr 18, 2005
  7. Frank Stokes

    Ric Trexell Guest

    I already sent an email to Mr. Stokes about this but if you would like to
    see some video that I captured from a movie projector to a full size VHS
    camcorder hooked up to a Dazzle Video Creator, go to this website and then
    scroll down the page till you see pictures that say "View". Click on some
    of them and you can see some examples. One is only 1.5 mb. so if you have a
    dial up connection, that may be all you want to get. These were taken while
    I was in the Navy and a really good one is the one about a rescue of two
    pilots that we picked up that were shot at off Vietnam. The boat was
    launched wrong and took on water. The movie camera was a fixed focus Kodak
    Super 8 type that were popular in the 70's. So this is not the best quality
    but does give you an idea of what can be done. Hope you find it
    interesting. This is the link.

    Ric Trexell, Apr 18, 2005
  8. Frank Stokes

    Marvin Guest

    Marvin, Apr 18, 2005
  9. Frank Stokes

    Gonzo Guest

    (Not for sure if this made it the first time so I am posting again).

    The main thing for the 8mm/S8mm is to get a projector with a variable speed
    setting or to get one of the GOKO telecine machines that come up on ebay
    every now and then. A camcorder with adjustable shutter is also a plus. By
    adjusting the shutter speed or the projector speed you will minimize the
    flicker that results from the frame rate of the projector not being the same
    a the camcorder. The GOKO machines reduce flicker by using a prisim instead
    of a shutter, creating a fade from one frame to the next.

    The 16MM and 8mm/S8mm with sound will require the camcorder with adjustable
    shutter speed (scene settings sometimes work , potrait and spot light seem
    to work the best).

    I personally do not project on a screen. Instead I project on to a piece of
    printer paper (whiter the better) clipped onto a clip board. I keep the
    picture size between 4 to 6 inchs across. I seem to get better focus that
    Gonzo, Apr 19, 2005
  10. Frank Stokes

    Gonzo Guest

    1. Advertisements

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.