videotransfer (videotransfer) wrote,

DIY Film and Video Transfers

video transfer
Everyone's film or video that truly ought to be transferred to DVD. The good news is that video transfers aren't all that hard. And the more old film rolls or old tapes that you've, the more it's going to be worth doing that conversion to DVD or digital video yourself. So on this page, I am going to give you some pointers for transferring your own film and video. First though, a bit advice to get you started.

5 Tips Prior to Started

1. Original is always best: If you have 8mm, regular or Super 8, as well as 16mm film that has been recently transferred to VHS video, make sure you work with the original film and never the VHS or VHS-C tapes. Why? Because VHS is a reasonably low resolution video storage medium. The image produced when playing an old VHS tape on your own VCR is equivalent to around 250-300 lines of horizontal resolution in your TV. Standard definition TV (NTSC) is 480 lines; hd is 720. Going back to your original films and achieving those reconverted will always be the best option.

2. Be realistic: Old home movie cameras wasn't that great, so the video you develop from it won't be any better. Take Super 8: The video size was tiny and was terrible in low light, camera focus was ordinarily a problem, Super 8 cameras was lacking image stabilization or color balancing, there is certainly mostly no audio (of course, if there is it's compromised) and frames-per-second was low (super 8 recorded at 18 fps) when compared with today's 30 fps. Like I said, be sensible about when you look at the connection between conversion of your 8mm film.
home movies videos

3. Create a master video file: Huh? We started this short article by agreeing we wanted to transfer our old home movies to DVD. Actually, DVD is not best digital video quality that you could achieve. DVD's are set up with the MPEG-2 format, that's has been a very efficient but highly compressed format for several years but is now a somewhat dated video codec.

Don't misunderstand me - DVDs continue to be a great way to watch videos transferred from your own home movies but your best bet is to first produce a master file of uncompressed video (since you're already going to all the trouble of converting your footage). You may then use that master file to edit, build your DVD, or your online video, or your iPhone video, or perhaps your hard-drive-archive of family video, photos and documents, or anything you have in mind (or that your kids may have at heart - in the future). With uncompressed video, you keep your options open.

4. Most improvements comes into play editing: A good film transfer is essential, and depending on the good your film, a careful clean may net you some improvements. However the "OMG" moment will only come as soon as the thing has passed through the editing suite. Why? When your home footage - shot on daylight balanced film - could have been recorded with a range of "non daylight balanced" conditions: Some scenes will likely be too yellow (shot inside under electric lights), too blue (shot outside in shade, or on a cloudy day), darker and uneven or too bright. And you'll have some just plain junk shots to boot (it happens to all of us) that you'd rather lose from your final.

To correct these issues will require a scene by scene inspection and a scene by scene approach. It's pretty simple to do, and fairly quick once you get the hang of it: a simple color correction filter within a standard editing program like Final Cut Pro has a great balance.

5. Decide if it's definitely worth the effort of DIY film transfer: In case you have one or two old film reels, a treadmill or two video cassettes, this may be a lot much easier to go to your local video transfer vendor and get them to do the job.

But if you do have a shoebox brimming with stuff, then it may make sense to do it yourself. And, as I said, it's not that hard.

Video Conversions many different Formats

Transferring 8mm or 16mm film: You are going to need that old projector to convert 8mm or 16mm film to video. (Sorry, the one magic machine having a door that takes a vintage film roll and reels out digital video is s professional video conversion company!) Regardless of whether you do it yourself or go on it to the guy with the mall, the film will get played, then recorded.

The fundamental, DIY method, for converting old films on 8mm or 16mm film to video are these claims: Simply project the show onto a screen (of whatever size) and (digital) video record the end result. You get a pretty good result doing that: provided you might be careful with the focus of the projector, have a nice flat screen, shut out stray light sources, properly adjust your cam corder, and position it over a tripod as close to the projector as you can.

There are two important challenges to conquer with this method of film transfer. First, there is certainly potential for distorted aspect ratio - "key stoning" brought on by the difference in position relating to the video camera and the projector lens. The answer is to correct the distortion in editing (not so difficult) or to project right into a film transfer box with internal angled mirrors.

The other challenge is to reconcile frame rates relating to the original 8mm film and your video camera. Provided you can synch the frame rates, by adjusting the projector or the video camera or both, you are able to settle on a final output frame rate when you are getting the video into your computer.

Transferring VHS and VHS-C tapes: A lot of weddings found their way on to VHS tapes and so are now trapped there. The recording company may have filmed over a higher resolution medium but often the product was delivered in VHS as well as the original recording is actually always lost.

Anyway, you have three basic choices for getting those old VHS tapes digitized. First, buy a dual DVD-VHS player for your local Best Buy, slot with your tape, drop in a DVD and record! Simple, effective and fast. Downside, the result will not be the best quality. Remember that VHS was never great to start with - so you may struggle to tell the difference in the result. And, in order to create a digital video file, just rip the DVD you simply made on your computer.

Second way for converting VHS video: Connect your digital video camera to your VHS player with RCA cables (or even a Video-S cable if available - as well as the RCA audio cables). Hit "record" for the video camera, "play" on the VHS player and stand back! After you have the video, play it, or transfer it on your computer in the normal way.

Can you hook up your VCR on your PC or your Mac? Yes and no. VHS is analog, not digital, and your computer only eats digital meals. So you will need a device between your VCR and your PC/Mac (and possibly additional software) for any successful video transfer.

Video 8, Hi8 and Digital 8 Transfers: These cassettes stumbled on replace the much larger VHS cassettes in consumer video cameras. The best, least expensive means for converting these video formats is to use the original camera being a player and output the signal either to your current video camera or direct on your computer.

Video 8 and Hi 8 were analog formats, so they really cannot go direct on your computer. You will have to use a capture device like a modern video camera (or even a video deck for those who have one). Digital 8 was a digital format so - determined by your computer configuration - it must be ingestible directly without the need for an intervening device.

Take care in handling your old 8mm or 16mm film and video. Such as the be too nervous Body of the advantages of film and video cassettes is breaks can be repaired.
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