Convert Super 8 Film to Digital
A Journey Down Memory Lane
While growing up, we had this Super 8 film camera. We took it everywhere, and we took tons of pictures and made loads of memories with it. But that was more than half a century ago. Fast forward to the present, and I am loaded with boxes of super 8 films that are going bad. I was about to lose many years of beautiful family memories, so I decided to do the best thing at that point. Get the films digitized.
It was easy for me to do. I already worked in the industry and had expertise converting films to digital video files commercially for people. People always seek my company and me out when they want to convert their old home movies into digital video files.
If you are looking for how to convert super 8 films to digital and preserve family memories, you are in the right place. I will provide you with a concise guide on how to go about this. But first, let’s answer a few questions about converting your super 8 films.
Why Go Digital?
I understand why you might want to keep your old super 8 films. Picking them up is like taking a trip down memory lane. It’s nostalgic and fills us with emotion.
But when you convert a film reels into a digital format, it becomes easier to download and transfer. You can store them on a DVD, on your PC, or on a USB drive. You can even convert them from one format to the other. This makes it easier to share your memories with the people you love.
When you convert your reels into digital, it becomes easier to edit them. You can format the quality of the video, add audio recordings, edit the sound, or even add subtitles.
But the best thing about converting your old home movies to DVDs is that a DVD is built to last longer than film. It is safe and light and does not easily break. You can rest assured that your memories are safe within that DVD.
Are you thinking about converting your super 8 film into a DVD? Are you looking for tips on doing this without damaging your memories? Then keep reading.
What Options Are Open To You?
This is the first question you have to answer. What are my options? Are there options that are better than the other? There are different options, but choosing the right one can be the difference between getting high-quality video files with good sound quality or blurred-out camcorder recordings with terrible sound.
The DIY Option
Converting your super 8 films into digital files might seem like an exciting DIY project. You might even want to get some of your friends to help you with the digitizing process.
So you are going through Amazon looking for machines that convert film reels to digital formats. You are searching on Google for the easiest way to convert your reel film into digital format. Of course, doing the digital transfer yourself might save you a bit of money, but it is not the most brilliant idea, and here is why.
Why DIY Might Not Be The Best Idea For You.
While it might seem like an easy DIY project, converting a super 8 film to Digital is a time-consuming process, and you could easily make an error that will ruin the video files.
Let’s say you have the time and are meticulous, and you feel that you can digitize your old analog media; what about quality then? The professional-grade film transfer equipment used by industry experts costs thousands of dollars to purchase, while the digital converters you are seeing on Amazon cost a couple of hundreds.
When you consider the expertise of the companies that offer digital conversion services and the quality of the equipment they use, you will realize that it would be so much better for you to find one of these companies to convert your super 8 films for you.
Digital Conversion Service
This is the best option for people who want to have their super 8 films converted. Hiring a professional digital conversion service is similar to this example. It might not be as cheap as DIY, but a good file transfer company is worth its weight in gold. Once they are done, you will have a digital copy of your super 8 film with enhanced picture quality and audio.
How To Find The Best Digital Conversion Company To Convert Your Super 8 Films.
You Are Faced With A Difficult Decision.
Finding the best company to help you transfer the contents of your film reel to DVD isn’t a walk in the park. In the past, it would have been easy because there were not a lot of companies that offered this service.
Presently, there are hundreds of digital transfer companies, and more keep popping up each day. All you have to do is run a Google search, and you are bombarded with a slew of these companies, all boasting of offering the best digital service. Choosing has never been more difficult.
Referrals Are An Idea, but They Are Not The Best.
You may decide to ask your friends who have gotten similar services done for them, but you can’t completely trust their judgment because the digital transfer of reel films is a complicated process.
Your friends or family members are not experts in film conversion, so they couldn’t possibly tell when a company is good enough.
Quality Reel Film Conversion Companies Are Hard To Find.
With most digital transfer companies, you cannot be sure that you are getting the best quality. Some companies display your movies on a surface, capture the images using a camcorder, and make a copy of these images. The thing about this is that you might be comfortable with the quality of videos you get, but we believe that your memories deserve the best.
Other digital companies use old equipment discarded by companies like ours as we continue adhering to industry best standards and upgrading to the latest equipment.
So, you can see that finding the right company for your digital conversion needs is not such an easy prospect. But you don’t have to worry. Below is a guideline that will help you decide on the media conversion company to hire.
Here Are The Things To Look Out For When Choosing A Company To Transfer Your Super 8 Films To Digital.
When looking for a file transfer company, there are many things to look out for. Some are obvious, like the amount of experience the company has. Others should be obvious, but people seem to neglect them. That is what we are going to be talking about next. Some of the most important things you should look out for are:
- Do they use the right techniques?
- Do they use the right equipment?
- Do they provide several storage options and digital formats for your files after conversion?
Let’s take a clear look at what these things mean and the impact they could have when you are trying to convert super 8 films to digital.
Do They Have The Right Techniques?
Every digital file conversion company should follow certain techniques and industry best practices. These techniques don’t focus on the file conversion process themselves but also on best practices that should be followed before and after the transfer process.
If you choose a film transfer company that does not follow due process, then you will not get the highest picture quality you can from the super 8 films. Below we have documented what the process should be like for you and the company you choose.
It Starts With You: Packaging and Delivering your films.
The first step is yours to take. Once you have chosen the company, collect your super 8 reels, carefully organize them and take an inventory. Package the reels, put a shipping label on the package, and send them to the film transfer company when you are done.
When sending, use a carrier that has the option to track your packages and one that offers insurance. We do not want anything happening to your package.
What Happens When The Reels Get To The Company?
When your reels get to the company, they will be inspected. The company will have to check if the films are good enough to convert. After inspection, the reels are cleaned.
Cleaning The Reels.
This is like the rate-limiting steps we learn about in science classes. It is the first place things can go seriously wrong. If the reels are not cleaned properly, the reels could be damaged beyond repair and all your original media lost forever. They might literally clean away your precious memories.
There are different cleaning solutions, so ensure that the company you choose uses the best, so they don’t harm the reels.
Let’s Talk Equipment.
Choosing a company with the right equipment is necessary. They should be the latest in the industry and highest quality.
There are a few features that the machines a digital conversion company should have. I will list these features under appropriate headlines.
This is the first and one of the most important features. How does the converter scan the super 8 films? Most companies have two ways of doing this.
- The continuous capture
- True frame-by-frame scanning.
The scanning method to look out for is frame-by-frame scanning. It ensures that the end product has the right speed and that the sound capture is the best possible. Using this scanning method also makes editing easier. This is why it is the method we use at Legacy digital. This method gives you the highest picture quality and audio accuracy possible.
The next question should be, what screen resolution or aspect ratio will my converted files be in. You should be looking at Full HD resolution at or above 1080 or 2k. This is the resolution supported on most TVs and other devices.
After converting, the files can be exported to different video file formats and stored in a thumb drive, DVD, sd card, or hard disk drive. With all these, you can download your video files to a computer.
Converting Your Super 8 Film To Digital Files
You must ensure that your files are protected during recording and scanning. In the industry, there are two major methods for doing this.
The Incandescent Process
This process was common in the past because of the converters used then. They made use of incandescent light bulbs. While these light bulbs were a good idea back then and got the job done, they could damage the film and didn’t allow for enhancement.
The Cold Led Lighting Process
This is safer than incandescent bulbs. They use cold Led bulbs that are cool but still very bright. The good thing about these bulbs is that they come with an adjustment option to get the best quality.
At Legacy Digital, we only use the cold led light technique for recording our reels.
After Recording, Comes Editing.
After recording, the next step is to upload the media on our computer, crack open the editing software and start editing. The scene-by-scene color correction is important. We will check how good the coloring of each scene is. If it needs editing, we will do that. Then we use our software to check for and reduce pixilation to give the videos a more natural feel.
Because we know how important these edits are, we provide them at no extra cost when you get our Premium Quality service.
Converting The Videos To Desired Video Formats and Transferring To Desired Device Types.
It's time pick and convert the videos to different file formats. We will advise you on the best format to use, depending on what you will use the video for.
When we are done, we will pick the right device or devices, if you wish, and ensure the files are stored properly.
Shipping Your Stuff Back To You.
That’s it. We are done. The next step would be shipping your reels and the digitized copies back to you. We will put them in a box, put a return shipping label on it and send them back to you.
Throw A Party And Enjoy Your Digitized Old Home movies.
And once they get to you, you can sit back, relax, and enjoy your professionally digitized media with loved ones. That is what we at Legacy Digitals live for.