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Is There A Way To Convert Old Home Movies On Film To Some Digital Form


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Yep, my grandfather had a "movie camera" way back when my cousins were younger (late 60's and 70's).

Is there an easy, cheap (okay, free would be best) way to convert them into .mpgs?

I just got a DVD burner for my 'puter. I have a Sony DVD Handycam which if I have to use saves stuff on my HD in the .mpg file format. Somehow I vision cobbling some type of box together or something.

The Nero 6.0 Express software could probably handle other formats too and I could probably mix and match formats together in order to make a video compilation.

Thanks,

Chills

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You can have it done professionally, or, if you shop around a bit, you can find a box and mirror combination that's specifically designed to allow you to do this with a digital camcorder and computer connection. Personally, I'd pay someone to do it rather than spending the time to run all the old films . . . if I had any of the old films . . . if I had a projector for the old films. Sigh.

Lee

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Yep, my grandfather had a "movie camera" way back when my cousins were younger (late 60's and 70's).

Is there an easy, cheap (okay, free would be best) way to convert them into .mpgs?

I just got a DVD burner for my 'puter. I have a Sony DVD Handycam which if I have to use saves stuff on my HD in the .mpg file format. Somehow I vision cobbling some type of box together or something.

The Nero 6.0 Express software could probably handle other formats too and I could probably mix and match formats together in order to make a video compilation.

Thanks,

Chills

I have experimented with serveral methods of converting 8mm to digital and found that the best results were obtained with a simple setup. The box with the mirrors produced terrible results (flicker was extreme and annoying). My best results were produced by using a digital video camera to record the movies that were projected onto an old movie screen. Set the movie screen about 10 to 12 feet away from the projector. Put the digital video camera on a tripod next to the projector. Start playing a movie and zoom the camera until you have just a small amount of the white movie screen visible around the picture. This will give you the appearance of watching an old movie. After making all the proper adjustments, start playing your movies and recording them. The video camera will also record the sound of the projector's shutter.

This will become a very time consuming project. You will be recording in real time, transfering the videos to a computer, editing the videos (old 8mm movies are loaded with bad scenes, boring content and shaking cameras), and then burning the finished product to a DVD disk. If you have a computer with a 1394 firewire port, you can consolidate the recording and transfer operation into one. You will also need video capture software on your computer. Put the video camera in the record mode (do not press the record button), connect the 1394 cable to your computer and start your video capture software. Your capture software will monitor what the camera lens is seeing. Start playing an 8mm movie, watch the image on the computer screen, and when you are ready to record, click the record button in your capture software to start recording directly to your computer hard drive. Work in a darkened room for best results.

The sound recorded by the video camera can be rather loud and annoying. Some video editing software will allow editing the native audio track. You can mute the sound or lower the volume level to suit your taste. You could also mix in another sound file with the recording, or record your own narration.

While this can be a very time consuming project, doing it yourself will produce a finished product of your choice. Sending them out to be done by someone else will be no different than having to watch the old movies, including the boring stuff.

Good luck with the project. I spent several months producing a DVD for my daughter.

Larry

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Thanks Lee Bell and LJE for your advice.

Currently, I don't even know if I have the projector let alone the rolls of film. I just remember Grandpa playing those movies back when I was kid.

See all my cousins are 10 + years older than me, so I missed out on the whole hang out with your cousins at Grandpa's farm during summer vacation thing. Grandpa sold the farm in the mid 70's, or so.

It looked like fun.

Dagnabbit!! You just can't take too many photos and/or videos of your family and friends.

I think if I can pull this off like LJE explains above, I think the clicking noise of the projector if not too loud will add an air of nostalgia/authenticity to the DVD's that my cousins should really enjoy.

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Have it done by a professional service. They will supply the final in VHS, or DVD typically, some can provide AVI/MPEG. It is really cheap to have it done in comparison to the hassle of doing it yourself and the quality difference is huuuge!

Most older professional transfer services use aerial image systems (mirror box) with flicker free, or synchronized shutter projectors. The newer/better systems do frame by frame scanning in an automated system that handles the film a lot gentler than a projector. Frame by frame scanning is the recommended method if the footage is old/brittle and/or means a lot to ya'. Every time you run old film in a projector you risk damage and the lamp heat fades it more each pass.

Here are some links to pro transfer services:

http://www.imagepreserves.com/services.html

http://www.dpsvideo.com/filmTOcd.htm

http://www.homemoviedepot.com/

http://www.bestfilmtransfer.com/files/page3.html

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