Refilming Old 8mm Home Movies with Recommended Camcorder

Discussion in 'Amateur Video Production' started by SanDiegoGuy, Nov 11, 2006.

  1. SanDiegoGuy

    SanDiegoGuy Guest

    I have a large box full of old, 8mm reel home movies--the kind that
    plays on old-style 8mm projectors.

    I want to somehow transfer all these onto DVDs and/or into my PC.

    It is expensive to have this done through a professional video company,
    so I probably would be better off trying to buy my own camcorder and
    refilm all the 8mm reels and then upload via USB to my PC.

    I have read reviews for a lot of different camcorders, and it seems
    that
    the majority of them do not film very well in low-light conditions, so
    I am not sure my idea will work all that great because I would be
    filming the
    8mm reels in low-light conditions in a darkened room.

    My questions are the following:

    What does everyone think about this idea?

    Has anyone tried this before and what were the results?

    Are there any recommendations for camcorders that film well in
    low-light
    conditions and would be suitable for what I am trying to do?

    Thank you.

    Jay in San Diego
     
    SanDiegoGuy, Nov 11, 2006
    #1
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  2. SanDiegoGuy

    sgordon Guest

    http://www.moviestuff.tv/8mm_telecine.html

    : I have a large box full of old, 8mm reel home movies--the kind that
    : plays on old-style 8mm projectors.

    : I want to somehow transfer all these onto DVDs and/or into my PC.

    : It is expensive to have this done through a professional video company,
    : so I probably would be better off trying to buy my own camcorder and
    : refilm all the 8mm reels and then upload via USB to my PC.

    : I have read reviews for a lot of different camcorders, and it seems
    : that
    : the majority of them do not film very well in low-light conditions, so
    : I am not sure my idea will work all that great because I would be
    : filming the
    : 8mm reels in low-light conditions in a darkened room.

    : My questions are the following:

    : What does everyone think about this idea?

    : Has anyone tried this before and what were the results?

    : Are there any recommendations for camcorders that film well in
    : low-light
    : conditions and would be suitable for what I am trying to do?

    : Thank you.

    : Jay in San Diego
     
    sgordon, Nov 11, 2006
    #2
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  3. SanDiegoGuy

    gpsman Guest

    Disclaimer: Transferring your films to video can be a royal pain in the
    ass.

    You won't be shooting in low-light so any of the Mini DV consumer
    camcorders in the $300 range ought to work fine. I transferred -a lot-
    of 16mm using an expensive TOTL Elmo (1993) and just shooting the
    projected image off a screen worked better and was less PITA.

    Attention to detail will provide the best results and for best results
    you're going to have to play around with the setup a bit.

    I used white foam core board for the screen since it was the smoothest
    thing I could find with the least amount of "grain".

    You want to ensure your projector is in good shape, clean lens, etc.
    The film itself also needs to be cleaned for the best results. Keep a
    can of air handy to blow hair/fibers out of the film gate.

    The angle of the two lenses should be as parallel as possible and
    you'll want a separate (minimum 15") monitor to ... monitor the
    transfer.

    You'll have to play around with the size of the projected image to see
    what size provides the cleanest results. Your projector manual should
    provide some guidelines. Bigger is better, mostly, up to the point
    where you start to lose luminance.

    Use manual white balance and balance between reels using the projector
    lamp for light bouncing off whatever screen material you decide to use.

    You'll also likely have to refocus the projector between reels, running
    each reel during focus, then backing it up and starting over for the
    shoot.

    After transferring a few reels the price to have it done professionally
    will seem like a bargain, but very likely would not provide better
    results... depending on how much you value your sanity/time you're
    willing to expend/how important the films are.

    Try not to be too picky. It doesn't make much sense to drive yourself
    nuts attempting to provide a better viewing experience than just
    showing the films the old fashioned way. If you get started soon
    they're probably make a great present, if not this Xmas, then next.
     
    gpsman, Nov 11, 2006
    #3
  4. SanDiegoGuy

    nick666 Guest

    I have had good success with the above method too. Great results just
    projecting against a white wall (balanced of course), and the auto
    functions of my cheap camera did wonders for color etc, and the final
    footage actually looked richer & brighter..
     
    nick666, Nov 12, 2006
    #4
  5. SanDiegoGuy

    dwlong Guest

    I have the Video CineMate. Works well.
     
    dwlong, Nov 12, 2006
    #5
  6. Just don't let the shutter speed of the camera get too high, or it will
    begin flickering like a bastard. Set it manually to around 1/60th of a
    second. Then vary the projector's speed to see if you can eliminate even
    more flicker. The 8mm films shot at 18fps can be set to 20 for an ideal
    flicker-free rate. Set exposure and color manually as well, so they
    don't vary all over the place during projection.

    Gary Eickmeier
     
    Gary Eickmeier, Nov 12, 2006
    #6
  7. SanDiegoGuy

    stauffer Guest

    You don't need to worry about low light. A rear-projection setup-
    mirror and small rear projection screen is a cheap setup- say forty
    bucks or so. The projector is so close to the screen that even with a
    wimpy projector the image is plenty bright, and virtually any camcorder
    will work fine. I have used both Hi-8 camcorder through digitizer box,
    and a newer MiniDV camera. Both are far beyond what is needed for 8mm
    movies. The 8mm movie resolution is the limiting factor here.

    The results are not comparible to a modern camcorder in quality, but
    for old irreplaceable movies, it is nice to have them in a modern
    format. Plus, with even inexpensive video editing software to add sound
    and such, and then dump to convenient DVDs, it is a great way to
    archive all those old family movies for the kids, grandkids and future
    generations :)
     
    stauffer, Nov 12, 2006
    #7
  8. Scott en Aztlán, Nov 14, 2006
    #8
  9. Thanks for posting - a fascinating read. I wonder when he'll finish the
    project and whether it will be worth it?
     
    Malcolm Stewart, Nov 15, 2006
    #9
  10. Judging from the ancient scanning hardware featured therein, those
    pages haven't been updated in quite some time. My guess is the rest is
    left as an exercise for the reader. :)
     
    Scott en Aztlán, Nov 20, 2006
    #10
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