A few years back, I had a few 16mm films transferred to DVD. The place I used had a telecine
projector, and then went through a NTSC video chain to a professional-grade DVD recorder. It came
out fine. These films were not Beautiful Visual Pieces of Art and were somewhat faded and scratched
from being enjoyed too much over too many years. The results look just fine and we are very happy to
have the films in a playable format.
My point is, it depends on the quality/value of the original product before you go dump a huge
amount of money into it. Even the telecine method, which is not Beautiful Visual Pieces of Art grade
(that's done with high-rez digital scanning, frame by frame), cost a good bundle (about $150 per
hour of film content). The transfer place did good sync work and some color correction, so the NTSC
video off the DVD plays very nicely (not blinky or rolling).
For what it's worth, I feel the same way about photos. We've been scanning family snapshots for
years now, and it's come to conclude that fast and efficient beats Perfect Color Rendering And
Restoration. We save the fussy stuff for the few truly beautiful images in the collection. Meantime,
everyone has hundreds of fun photos right at their fingertips on their iPads and iPhones, plus the
digital files are spread out over many hard drives at once. We also go through a strict culling
process before scanning. One of the first things we did was remove all photos from albums and boxes,
lay them out in piles and sort them into "sessions" (events, specific times when photos were taken).
This then makes it very easy to see that we and our parents spent finite times take pictures (and
none of us are professional shooters) and thus usually one or two images per "session" told the
whole story and were best as far as people or things in the photo (subject compsition), focus and
lighting (technical aspects). Those photos were then scanned, but all photos were kept in organized
and labelled containers. At some dim and future time, someone may want to re-sort and re-think and
maybe scan other images, but for now, we feel like we all have the "greatest hits" right at our
fingertips. I would call that a collector's approach to moving old media into a new utilitarian
medium. Accumulation would be the inefficient and costly process of "scan everything". We're about
to apply the collectors' approach to the many boxes and carousels of slides, and we'll be even more
careful there since we need to outsource that scanning.
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "John Haley" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Tuesday, April 02, 2013 8:06 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Question re transferring 16 mm film
> Thanks. I wasn't proposing to copy this film that way (reshooting it off a
> wall), just saying that is what I would do with something that is not
> important. This film is important, and I have had a good crash course on
> transferring it here on ARSCLIST. Thanks again to everyone.
> Best, John
> On Tue, Apr 2, 2013 at 6:08 AM, Don Cox <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> On 02/04/2013, Randy A. Riddle wrote:
>> > I'll just back up what everyone else is saying - you don't want to
>> > transfer it by playing it through a projector.
>> > Film transfers are done in a couple of ways. An older method uses a
>> > special projector with five blades to account for the differences
>> > between the frame rates of film and NTSC video used on dvds. More
>> > recent methods that give you higher resolution scan the film directly
>> > to digital and preserve the frame rate, so it could be used in its
>> > original form for high definition streaming or blu-ray.
>> > If you try to transfer it with a projector, you'll get loss of image
>> > quality and probably some strobing, since the speed of the projector
>> > isn't matched to your video camera.
>> Also there would be keystone distortion and probably uneven lighting.
>> It is the equivalent of transferring a cassette by playing it on a
>> ghetto blaster and recording the sound from the ghetto blaster with a
>> cheap microphone.
>> Don Cox
>> [log in to unmask]