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John:

Adrian is correct - if you want high-level film scanning for archiving 
and preservation, Duart is one of a dozen companies in the country that 
offer 2K+ scanning to file of your film, but this may be overkill based 
upon what you think "optimal" picture quality is and what your end-user 
needs are. You say you want to transfer to DVD, in a better quality than 
just shooting the film off a screen - so you may not need the services 
of such a high-end company, nor want to pay the high production costs.

It's much more complicated than this and there are many factors to 
consider, but simply put, if you're only going to DVD just to watch the 
film once in a while and this is for your own enjoyment, then yes, there 
are better ways to transfer the film than to just shoot it off a wall. 
Many companies offer a decent to high-quality telecine film transfer 
chain all the up to frame by frame scanning to transfer your films. 
Methods of how the actual transfer works and the quality output runs the 
gamut. Beware of online businesses that boast all types of "special" 
techniques that they use to transfer family films. Stay with places that 
someone on this list or other professional listings recommend.

Richard is correct and 16mm film can benefit from much higher resolution 
scans, but again - what do you want to do with this on the back-end? 
Just to view this once in a while and to have a bit of a leg, you might 
consider at least scanning the film to HD resolution and authoring to 
Blu-ray. If you're looking more for a way to preserve your film to a 
higher quality digital master file that will better move to new higher 
resolution formats in the future the possibilities are many in what 
formats and quality levels to go to, to many to mention in a brief 
email. Generally put, the higher the transfer quality and resolution you 
want, the more the cost. From around $400-$500 for a very good quality 
transfer to standard def or high def video file to several thousand 
dollars (and more) for 2K+ film scanning (assuming we're talking about a 
16mm film that as approximately an hour in length).

If you want professional input and advice, I suggest you seek the AMIA 
(Association for Moving Image Archivists) list-serve for opinions and 
options. They are to film as ARSC is to audio. Be prepared to state the 
title of the film, and what you want to do with the digitized version on 
the back-end (the uses you will need the transfer for).

Also is the issue of copyright. Do you own the rights to this film? If 
not, very few (legitimate) companies will be willing to transfer the 
film for you.

Kind Regards,

John Schroth
Media Transfer Service. LLC


On 4/1/2013 6:39 PM, John Haley wrote:
> Dear All:
>
> I have lots of experience with audio but less with video.  I am soon to
> have in my possession a 16 mm reel of film of an important musical
> performance (audio and video).  I am wondering what is the best way to
> transfer this to DVD, both audio and video.  Ordinarily, for something not
> so special, I would just show the film with a projector against a wall and
> reshoot it with a video camera.  But I am sure there are much better ways
> of doing this, to get the optimal picture quality.   And for the audio on
> the film, I am assuming that getting the audio feed from the film projector
> would be the best bet.  Movie folks have to deal with this issue every day
> to transfer films to DVD.  Does anybody know what they do and what kind of
> equipment they use?   I'm sure it goes onto a computer for working it over,
> but how do they digitize the picture?
>
> Thanks,
> John Haley
>