Need to convert 8mm and Beta tapes to DVD (maybe some PAL to NTSC too)

Discussion in 'Professional Video Production' started by MissT, May 31, 2005.

  1. MissT

    MissT Guest


    Can someone please recommend a *great* US-based video conversion
    company for me? I have around 5,000 feet of 8mm and super8 film, along
    with a dozen Beta tapes that I want to convert to DVD. My sister also
    has some PAL tapes she wants converted to NTSC. I've seen some bad
    conversions before, so I'm looking for somone who can do a great job.
    I assume I'll have to ship my film to a professional company for the
    type of results that I want. I want a US-based company with a
    rock-solid satisfaction guarantee because I've been burned before.

    Email recommendations to misst0601 at yahoo dot com.

    MissT, May 31, 2005
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  2. 5000 feet! That's quite a bit. My record so far is just under 6900 feet of a
    combination of 8mm and Super 8 footage. The project ended up on a 7 volume
    set of DVD's, each with about 1 1/2 hours of footage on them. Each DVD
    included main menu and chapter menu which led to each title describing
    included events preceeding the footage, as laid out by the customer
    according to a chronological timeline.

    It was a very tedious job because no matter how good you log the footage
    somewhere along the line it all starts to look so familiar, and makes you
    think you have accidentally repeated footage in the wrong place. You see, in
    order to make something like this work you not only have to bring the
    footage into the system, but you have to review that footage at least 3
    times to have a good idea of how to music track it. Without music the silent
    films can be quite boring when one is used to hearing the projector noise
    while watching. Plus, you have to music track it from royalty free material
    because it is illegal to use copyrighted songs by popular and past popular

    Once the videos are created then there is the task of creating the MPEG-2
    files needed to write the DVD's. At the time we did this big job our fastest
    system was a PIII dual-1GHz processors with 1GB of PC133 RAM. Encode times
    were about 5 to one. And then there was the task of creating the individual
    DVD layouts complete with chapter points - which had to be manually located,
    marked and linked to the appropriate buttons.

    The customer ended up with 6 copies of each of the 7 volumes at a cost of
    just over $5000.00. Even though our computers have been upgraded to
    dual-Xeon's and LGA775 3.8GHz processors, I would hesitate to attempt a job
    of your size for any less than the above mentioned price. Actually, I would
    think anyone in their right mind would charge even more than that.

    Larry Johnson
    Digital Video Solutions
    877-227-6281 Toll Free Sales Assistance
    386-672-1941 Customer Service
    386-672-1907 Technical Support
    386-676-1515 Fax
    Digital Video Solutions, Jun 1, 2005
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  3. MissT

    MissT Guest

    Wow, that's a very high price. But thanks for your info though. I
    know it's a lot of work, but there must be people who do this type of
    thing all day long. I'll keep looking.

    MissT, Jun 3, 2005
  4. MissT

    TomF Guest


    I had my family's video tapes and film converted to DVD last yaer by a
    company (Dr. DVD) that specializes in doing nothing but that. After
    searching for over 2 weeks, I feel like I found a gem of a company.
    They did over 4 decades of our home movies for a very reasonable price
    (can't recall the $$ but we certainly got our values worth within a
    week or so).

    We sent them boxes of 8mm camcorder tapes, beta tapes from the 80s, and
    tons of super 8 film reels (the small ones). They sent them all back,
    along with the DVDs and the video looks just like the originals. They
    state that they've done work for Hollywood, and I was skeptical at
    first. I now believe them based on the quality of their finished discs
    (not only the clean video but their packaging was great with a picture
    from the movies and titling).

    I highly suggest you give them a call. I'm sure thier number is on
    thier web site, which is I doub they'll remember me,
    but tell them that a past customer Tom Finder referred you. Good luck
    on whomever you go with.

    TomF, Jun 3, 2005
  5. Debenham Media Group is excellent and reasonably priced:

    Raskolnikov Alexis Friedemann, Jun 3, 2005
  6. "MissT" wrote ...

    Price per foot: Regular-8 12¢ (silent only)
    Super-8 11¢ (silent) / 14¢ (magnetic
    Richard Crowley, Jun 3, 2005
  7. MissT

    chebba Guest

    chebba, Jun 3, 2005
  8. I spoke from the standpoint of "doing this type of thing all day long". We
    do top quality work with absolutely beautiful end results. You can find
    services for less, but if they are truly talented at what they do they are
    not going to give away their services in order to make the same wage as
    someone working at a fast food joint.
    Digital Video Solutions, Jun 3, 2005
  9. Sure, it all sounds like it may not be expensive from the outset - even at
    12 cents a foot. Let me break it down for you in accordance with another
    company who charges ony 12 cents a foot. By the way this is guaged from the
    original job I spoke of earlier with 6970 feet in a combination of bith 8mm
    & Super 8.

    1 - 6970 feet @ .12 = $836.40 (8.7125 hours, just under 9 hours)
    522.75 minutes of music tracking @ $2.00 per minute = $1045.50
    106 titles @ $3.00 each = $318.00
    106 custom chapter points @ $5.00 each = $530.00
    7 - DVD masters (master quality) @ $150.00 each = $1050.00
    42 - DVD copies (6 per volume) @ $20.00 = $840.00
    7 - custom DVD covers (full size cases included) @ $100.00 each
    (collage of pictures from films included in each volume) = $700.00
    42 - copies DVD cases & covers @ $15.00 each =$630.00

    Total for above: $5949.90

    The above pricing was derived from Integrated Imaging at and not from the price list at our company.
    Integrated Imaging actually charges about $1000 more than we do.
    Larry Johnson
    Digital Video Solutions
    877-227-6281 Toll Free Sales Assistance
    386-672-1941 Customer Service
    386-672-1907 Technical Support
    386-676-1515 Fax
    Digital Video Solutions, Jun 3, 2005
  10. MissT

    Jeff Rife Guest

    Digital Video Solutions () wrote in
    We do all of this with custom-shot footage for customers (as opposed to
    conversion from film), and I have to say these prices are quite high.
    Unless the copies are pressed DVDs (not -Rs), that part is insanely high,
    as it takes no effort to load a DVD-R robot that duplicates and prints
    Also pretty ugly. A $0.20 DVD case plus a $0.05 piece of paper plus less
    than $1.00 of ink and time selling for $15. What's worse is that you could
    get a high-quality color copy of the original made at a place like Kinkos
    for less than $5/copy.

    It seems the best bet would be to get the converter to do nothing but
    convert from film to some medium-compression format (like DV), and then
    do the titling, chapter marking, and sound yourself. Extra copies of both
    DVDs and covers can be made at the local Kinkos.
    Jeff Rife, Jun 3, 2005
  11. Why does the price to produce certain types of entertainment vary so much?
    It costs more to produce a feature film because the talents and number of
    people having those talents is greater, therefore more cost per production.
    Why does it cost so much to restore an antique car? Because there are less
    available parts and when necessary parts are custom manufactured. Note the
    use of the term custom. Custom according to the specifications needed for an
    irreplacable item. Something that cannot be obtained elsewhere.

    To create a truly appealing set of DVD's and covers takes talent. Photo
    collages take time to create whether you are a whiz at Photoshop or not.
    From films the right frames must be chosen, but they can't be chosen until
    each frame can be viewed individually or as a unit. This takes time. Time is
    money in a business.

    If you think everything is very simple, then this is why you charge what you
    charge. You give simple products, you take the simply method for MPEG-2
    encoding and your graphics are simple. Thus your simple pricing.

    There is a wedding videographer in my area. He charges only $500 for
    shooting the wedding party arriving, the bride getting ready, the groom
    getting prepared, the ceremony, the reception and the complete video edited
    package, which includes the edited video, a photo montage set to music (a
    simple cross dissolve from picture to picture) all the pictures he scans one
    by one. The he then gives them their choice of either VHS or DVD and only
    charges $10 for VHS or DVD copies. The labeling is a simple set of text on
    white backgrounds. Totally generic.

    The video is sub-standard. The camera jerks and he continues to compensate
    in zooms, pans across the room at lightening speed as if at a football game
    trying to get all the action. In short the quality of all of it is terrible.
    But, it is cheap and all those wanting to spend no more than $500 flock to
    his door.

    I am glad he weeds those people out before they come to us.
    Digital Video Solutions, Jun 3, 2005
  12. MissT

    Jeff Rife Guest

    Digital Video Solutions () wrote in
    Yeah, I know. We do this every day (and likely on a far larger scale than
    you do), and it's really not as hard as you say, if you have a staff of
    20 good artists. The better they are, the faster they are if they are just
    plucking and pasting. It's really not very creative for them, and they'll
    be the first to admit it. Real design (like where they create 3D CGI for
    title sequences) is what's fun for them, and what takes them time.
    And yet we shoot commercials using HD gear and air them on national network
    TV (that's ABC, CBS, NBC, etc.) for not a whole lot more than that. Some
    have cost the customer less than $2000 because they were just straight
    shoots with few edits after the fact.

    Jeff Rife | "Because he was human; because he had goodness;
    | because he was moral they called him insane.
    | Delusions of grandeur; visions of splendor;
    | A manic-depressive, he walks in the rain."
    | -- Rush, "Cinderella Man"
    Jeff Rife, Jun 3, 2005
  13. So, list these national recognized commercials. I am interested to research
    the consistency of your claims.
    Digital Video Solutions, Jun 3, 2005
  14. MissT

    Jeff Rife Guest

    Digital Video Solutions () wrote in
    They are various PSAs for alcohol and drug education.

    Jeff Rife | "My God, what if the secret ingredient is people?"
    | "No, there's already a soda like that: Soylent Cola."
    | "Oh. How is it?"
    | "It varies from person to person."
    | -- Fry and Leela, "Futurama"
    Jeff Rife, Jun 3, 2005
  15. MissT

    Newbun Guest

    In this age of digital, what is the difference between a master and a
    Newbun, Jun 4, 2005
  16. A master costs more ?

    Cheers - Neil
    Neil Smith [MVP Digital Media], Jun 4, 2005
  17. MissT

    ushere Guest

    the packaging and labling

    ushere, Jun 4, 2005
  18. MissT

    David McCall Guest

    The master is the one that takes all the time to create.
    Much of the time the first master could stand some
    improvement so you do it again. Sometimes it takes
    a bit of fussing with it to come up with settings (both
    video and audio) that work well for the entire disk.
    This should be a matter of setting up top bars and
    tone, but that is only adequate if the people producing
    the video did their job impeccably.

    I have to master 1 hour shows to DVD from analog,
    and it takes a minimum of an hour just to get it into
    the machine. Usually it takes much longer because
    the audio gets a little to loud or soft, or the color is
    off by enough in some parts to make me want to
    make an adjustment or 2 and go again. Once the
    master is created you have to at least spot check
    it to make sure it is good. If there are problems,
    then I do it again. It often takes me over 3 hours
    to master a 1 hour show. $150 isn't that bad.

    This person is only getting 6 copies of each disc.
    That isn't much. I'd usually only charge $10 per disc,
    but I could understand that $20 isn't that far off for
    such a short run.

    $100 for a custom cover design isn't that bad either.
    $15 each to duplicate the covers seems a bit high.

    Individually, the prices might be a just a little high,
    but the job is big enough that maybe there should
    be some discounting in there. I think the big point
    that is being looked over is that this is 7 separate
    full production runs. If the runs were bigger (2000
    of each disc) then the price per disc would be
    much less.

    No matter how you slice it, this job is big enough
    that it would take all day (probably more) to crank
    out this job. Then you have to figure in the sales
    and advertising, paying the staff and the rent. You
    also have to make up for the odd days that didn't
    have decent size jobs, or had last minute cancellations.

    There just isn't much incentive to be in the business
    if you can't make a profit. Sure you could do this job
    for much less in your basement with no staff or health
    insurance, and only the cost of materials as hard
    expenses, but it would take an individual at least
    2 days to fill this order.

    So, no, it isn't the special packaging that makes the
    masters expensive. In fact masters usually don't get
    any special treatment in packaging, they are just the
    first usable disc in the run. It's the mastering process
    that makes them more expensive. If everything went
    perfectly you could charge quite a bit less, but if you
    have been in this business for very long you know that
    jobs where everything goes perfectly are few and far
    between. Somebody has to pay for all of those less
    than perfect days, and the only person to do that would
    be the client.

    David McCall, Jun 4, 2005
  19. MissT

    Jeff Rife Guest

    () wrote in
    A DVD master has all the information necessary to hand the disc (or tape,
    as they are usually stored on digital tape when working with studio movies)
    to a DVD pressing plant and have them stamp discs. It includes special
    layout instructions for dual layer discs if that is required.

    Now, whether that's what the OP is talking about, I highly doubt, as an
    end-user would have zero use for such a thing.
    Jeff Rife, Jun 4, 2005
  20. MissT

    FullertonB Guest

    Tom and MissT,

    I too have been looking for a company like what MissT is looking for
    but I've been procrastinating for almost a year now. My brother in law
    in FL had his done recently and I think he used the same company Tom
    did. Dr. DVD's name sticks out in my mind since it's such a catchy
    name. yeah, I'm pretty sure it was them who did it for my relatives.
    I haven't used them yet, but my relatives are very happy with what they
    got back, that I'll probably use Dr. DVD too when I get around to it.
    I'm a big procrastinator 9ask my wife and she'll tell ya). Also, I
    heard the company they used were in north CA, which is where Dr. DVD is
    located according to my brother in law is so a stickler
    for things like this that he did a lot of research before he had his
    done -- enough research that I don't have to and I'll just use the same
    company he did. He bought us an extra copy (no idea how much extra
    copies cost), but I thought they did a good job too (although I never
    saw the originals).

    Anyways, I'm babbling now, so good luck with preserving your movies.

    FullertonB, Jun 24, 2005
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