Diy 8mm film scanner

Diy 8mm film scanner

My family, like many families in the days before video cameras, captured snippets of family history four minutes at a time on 8mm reels of film. Around the time I was eleven or twelve, about junior high, I got interested in making animated films, partly inspired by Terry Gilliam's crazy animations scattered about various Monty Python episodes.

diy 8mm film scanner

Scraping together about twelve dollars for film and developing, I could make a movie with my brother or with friends. These were largely unplanned productions, figured out after the film had been bought, the film loaded, and the "talent" assembled. We didn't have a tripod, lighting was poor, and the results were, uh, "organic" like dung is organicbut were still a lot of fun to make.

In the summer ofin my mother's basement I came across the box containing all the family movies. It had been many years since I had seen them.

Years before a couple of my siblings had had the films transferred to VHS, but I had lost the tape. Film transfer technology has gotten much better in the intervening years, so I decided then to have them recaptured. This page is a summary of what I learned about it, and how I went about getting a good quality restoration.

I'm not saying this is the best way; it is just the way I did it and if you are considering doing something like this yourself, maybe you can learn from my missteps. This summary is hardly comprehensive. Here is a good write up of many of the issues.

Added Note that this web page was writtenimmediately after finishing up the film conversion project. I have not worked on it or thought much about it since.

I am contacted, at least monthly, by someone asking if I will convert films for them. To head off more of that: sorry, the answer is no, I don't do that; I already have a full-time job and not enough free time.

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Others ask for me to recommend a place to do the conversion. Because I haven't looked at all at this sector in 8 years, I really have no useful opinion. I'm sorry I can't be more help, but this article already contains all the things I knew when I was somewhat up to date. Back in VHS days, one common method of transferring films to tape was quite simple: the film would be projected on a screen, and a video camera would film the screen and capture the image in real time.

Such transfers didn't require much more than what any camera store already had on hand, and so many stores offered such services. In fact, one can do this at home. One problem is that the frame rate of films are different than the frame rate of video. For instance, regular 8mm film is typically 16 fps, super 8mm films is typically 18 fps, and video is 30 fps really It is very possible to get strobing effects from the mismatch in frame rate.

Another problem is that most projectors don't evenly light the frame: the center is brighter than the edges, producing a "hot spot" effect. If either the projector or the camera filming the image aren't perpendicular to the projection surface, image distortion may result. There are slightly better units dedicated to the job that can remove some of these problems, but they still suffer from the problem of unsynchronized frame rate conversion:.

Do not under any circumstance settle for this option, no matter how cheap.

diy 8mm film scanner

The next step up is "frame by frame" transfer. In this setup, a modified projector advances the film by one frame, and an image sensor mounted directly in front of the lens of the projector captures one frame and the data is transferred to a computer. Then the film is advanced to the next frame, and the process repeats, typically doing ten or so frames per second. By synchronizing the display of each frame to the capture of each frame, there is no flicker induced by having some frames captured while the film gate is closed or only partially open.

In addition to the inherently better capture, software on the computer can perform image processing to remove defects like scratches, do color balance correction, and set light levels. Up-converting from the film's natural frame rate to videos 30 fps can be done in an intelligent way to minimize the distortions that may occur.

This approach is more expensive than real time transfer, but the quality is worth it.Make social videos in an instant: use custom templates to tell the right story for your business. Alternative to convert Super8, 16mm and 9. Now with optical sound extraction. There is also a new free software for 35mm films under development with a beta version. This method is the same thing of a frame by frame filmscan, a thing serious filmmakers dream about. You can get this with a projector, but you will need a frame by frame projector, or a very slow motion projector and rebuild the movie in video editing software.

If you work with a big transparency lid scanner like the Epson V and V and low dpi setting, like dpi, you can scan one 50 feet super 8 cartridge in one hour work, and one feet 16mm reel in two hour work, good for a DVD quality output or to share on internet. Also using unsharp mask in scanner software gives good quality and faster workflow to improve the image.

You can chose low, medium or heavy unsharp mask in EpsonScan software. Working at dpi for Super 8 or dpi for 16mm film, the highest quality possible, It will take 1 minute and 50 seconds do to each scan, counting the time to run the film manually, click scan and the scanner work itself, and the number of frames per scan will reduce signifcantly due to limits in file size, increasing the number of scans. So it will be about 8 hours work to scan one 50 feet Super 8 cartridge or 16 hours work to scan one feet 16mm reel, if you do not stop.

DIY work means you really need to work, so if you think you can do it, go on and read the full text bellow, all you need to know is here. Then take a deep breath and go ahead I found some unsuccessful try outs but suddenly I was pointed to a German super8 enthusiast who developed a great solution to extract frames from scanned filmstrips with great quality and stabilization. I downloaded his free software and did some trys with the provided film strips he included in the software.

The software was very mature in development, version 5, with the main features ready to do the job for regular 8 and super 8. The idea is simple and smart, the software uses the sprocket holes as reference to find, align and extract the frames. I became excited about the results I got and started talking to him by email about it, and I asked him to include an option to extract Max8 Super Duper 8 and to correct some small bugs I found. So after this first improvements I e-mailed him with the idea: "16mm extraction - freedom for indie filmmakers" and he got excited and started developing it.

After some weeks he came up with an early version, now a. I do not know anything about computer programming, but I know how to test it carefully, and wich features to request to cine production. This was the way we worked togheter. We started an intensive e-mail exchange, about e-mails since the beginning, many versions have been developed for me to test to find bugs and to give him ideas of aspect ratios and features.

When I saw a perfect functional version working I decided to get a film scanner. So I bought the flatbed Epson V, the cheaper one, after reading lots of reviews.

He finished the bug corrections and features implementation and merged Super8 and 16mm extraction into one software and then Wolfgang Kurz called it CineToVidPro 1. The work with high dpi resolution became more stable also. Now the version 1. Before contacting Kurz, read the help files and also the tutorials and sites.Many of us have these old 8mm family videos lying around and many of us have lamented at the perspective cost to get them converted to digital.

He cracked open an 8mm projector and replaced the drive motor with one he could run at a much slower speed, allowing him to be able to capture each frame individually with his digital camera. Some old rolls came in foot lengths [ frames]. I have a few spliced together foot reels of regular 8, at 80 frames per foot. A good pro DSLR will handle between kk shots before the shutter gives out. If you do this a lot, I recommend getting a good machine vision camera.

The projectors are not meant to run cool. They rely on the film moving past the gate fast to keep the heat from damaging the film.

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When you do freeze frame, they kick on extra fans. Luckily, many of the old bulbs can be replaced with plug in LED modules. They might for others too.

High-Quality Film Transfers With This Raspberry Pi Frame Grabber

The other upside is that LED bulbs will last way longer than a straight replacement bulb will. Lastly, diffusion. Not all projectors have adequate diffusion between the bulb and the film for evenly lighting the frame. But becomes critical when you want to capture reversal films like Vision3. A bit of frosted glass or a couple of diffusion gels with a LED bulb of course would solve this cheaply and easily.

Thanks a bunch. No, it was a DLD bulb. Excellent hack. This gives a much better result than those machines which transfer to NTSC encoded video. NTSC cannot encode the full dynamic range of Kodachrome film. I am surprised at how well each frame is registered. I did notice a lot of dirt on the tranferred images.

The Partical Transfer Rollers would work very well at the low speed used. Great hack if I ever saw one. Even if it is good forexposures, doing this sort of thing will chew that up fast.

Charles: I think part of the charm of this is that the particles transferred over to the film. It really maintains the look and feel that would come from watching that 8mm film. I had a projector jam on me and melt some priceless family film. That might be worth a writeup and submission in and of it self…. Just did the same thing without modifying a projector.

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Just project onto a matte white card, roughly 3 feet from the projector. Most low-end models can be or will naturally be focused at this range. Get a decent video camera and set it up parallel to the projector. Zoom and focus I found it easier to focus on a sheet of paper with black and white print before runing the film.

Correct cropping, etc later.Instead of dishing out hundreds of dollars to have 8mm film transferred professionaly, what's the optimal way to do it yourself? I already have a DVD-burner and firewire and capture cards on my computer.

How can I transfer the 8mm film? Is there a way to go straight from 8mm film to computer or do you have to go to vhs, and then from vhs to computer. If anybody knows of a device that can "scan" 8mm film or a method that can acomplish the same result I'd be forever grateful.

diy 8mm film scanner

Thanks in advance, Eugene. I assume you mean you have a 8mm camcorder that you want to transfer to computer? If so this is what I do. I have a ATI video card that has a video in port that I plug in my camcorder to and capture the movie.

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Depending on the quality you save it as determines the size of the file. There are several ways to go about transferring 8mm, super 8mm, 16mm, etc. You asked about 8mm, so I'll just answer for 8mm. Elmo used to make an 8mm telecine transfer machine. They show up on ebeigh from time to time. You run the film just like in a normal projector. The machine projects the film onto a ccd cell, and the output is typical VHS quality output.

You can feed this just like a live TV broadcast into something like the Phillips DVD burner that has recently come available, but the quality won't be very high typically around to lines per picture. The Elmo units have a frame per second and shutter blade combination that synchs the film to the TV signal.

The closest easy synch for 8mm is to run it at 20 fps with a 3 blade shutter, but I don't know for sure that this is what the Elmo unit does. Goko used to make a Telecine Player model TC There are 8mm and Super 8mm models. You can pick these up on ebeigh too. The Goko units are also similar to projectors, but instead of projecting the image onto a ccd cell, they project the image so that it appears to be floating in air inside the machine.The Microtek i scanner set up for 16mm film scanning.

Document lid is removed. Corners cut from corrugated cardboard are affixed with sticky foam tape to provide repeatable alignment for the LightLid. You can just see the strips of transparency film on the glass at the bottom of the photo. Close up of the edge of the film gate.

There are two layers of transparency material making up the the gate. The first layer is a narrower strip stuck on the glass with double-stick tape, carefully aligned with the scanner axis. The movie film edge rides along this narrower strip.

Over the narrower strip is a second wider strip that just presses the film stock against the glass and holds it in position. I also used a third strip not shown against the opposing edge of the movie film, but this may not be needed.

Film strip in place in the gate. A sheet of white paper is under the film just to make it visible for this photo. Pen marks indicate various frame edges to keep track of where to manually advance each strip. Note that this piece of film has torn sprocket holes from clumsy projection many years ago. In this photo the film stock and LightLid illuminator are in place.

The alignment of the LightLid does not need to be nearly as precise as the film in the gate, since the lighted area is larger than the film strip, but the cardboard corners keep the unit from sliding around. A few sample frames scanned from the 16mm movie stock, which is year-old Kodachrome film.

The lighted scanning area on the Microtek i is about 7 inches wide, so each strip could contain 24 complete movie frames, each 7. The scanner's dpi resolution somewhat worsened by JPEG compression of this sample image does not recover the full details in the film stock. More expensive scanners like HP c should have enough resolution to recover all the film's details.

My motive for this project centers on my desire to preserve and view a short clip of year-old 16mm movie film, which happens to be the only movie of me taken during my childhood. The bald baby is me! And that's my mother holding me. June, There are no other movies of me until video camcorders arrived in the s.

Tiny portion 0. Note how the analog grain renders shading, such as the gradients of the lady's cheek or the fontanel on the baby's head. Dust appears white because this photo used reflected light from a white base under the film, which also inadvertently included reflected light off the surface of the film.

I should have used a light box such as the LightLid to properly illuminate the film for this microphotograph, but I did not have one handy. Although the poor illumination does not render the colors well, the spatial resolution is adequately sampled. The digital camera and this microscope work so well together, that they suggest another inexpensive means by which movie film could be digitized in high quality.

At 10X magnification, the field of view of the microscope is adequate to view a whole 16mm movie film frame in the unzoomed view of the camera, with the frame itself covering about x camera pixels.

A film stepper could register each frame under the microscope using a similar technique to what I propose for the flatbed scanning. The exposure could be automatically taken in the digital camera and transferred to the computer using control methods implemented in the interface of certain Kodak models.

One could play with the trade-off of the complexity of mechanical film advancing and registration, versus software which registered and extracted frames.

Enlarged by a factor of 4 unaliased to set forth the pixelated image, which is most prominent in areas of highest intensity gradient, such as the transition of the lady's hair to cheek, or the shadows of the baby's eyes. By comparing to the microphotograph, it is apparent that this film scanner is doing a thorough job of capturing the film image in all its detail. Dust artifacts on the image are mostly not on the film but on a clear carrier I was forced to improvise to trick the film scanner into thinking the 16mm film was 35mm.

Dust appears dark because this is a transmission scan. Note the that dust fiber on the upper right edge resolves to 1 or 2 pixels across; this approaches the Nyquist limit, proving that the digital samples genuinely resolve at that spatial frequency.Years ago, people used to record their memories on film.

However, if not properly kept, the film has a tendency to decay. For instance, Super 8 and 8mm films should be stored in a cool, dry place. Nowadays, many people are transferring their old 8mm and Super 8 films to the more robust and adaptable digital or DVD formats.

diy 8mm film scanner

Sending your films to a professional video conversion facility will ensure the best results, and you even have the option to restore the film through color correction and grain elimination technology. However, if you want to save on costs and make it more personal, you can also make this a worthy do-it-yourself project. There are many reasons why people are opting to convert their 8mm or Super 8 films to a more playable format. The film breakdown involves the release of acetic acid, which diffuses the surface of the film.

Many people are seeing the need to preserve precious family memories or important film memorabilia by converting 8mm film to DVD or digital or Super 8 to digital format. Others just want to enjoy and share these classic movies with their families for years to come. Converting 8mm and Super 8 to digital format will surely maximize its shelf life and preserve its quality. This modern format is also more convenient.

If these are not preserved, they will be lost forever. Videotape formats called 8mmHi8 and Digital 8 videotape were used in camcorders manufactured by major brands such as Sharp, Canon, and Sony. These camcorder videotapes are not the ones being referred to in this article. In the same way, Super 8 and 8mm films are also subjects of confusion.

Both of these films are wide from edge to edge, and at first glance, look quite similar to each other. Both 8mm and Super 8 films are used to record home movies, providing generations with cultural gems about real life with family and friends. However, the Super 8 film has smaller sprocket holes on the edge. The Super 8 format was introduced by Kodak in Along with the film, they also sold compatible cameras and projectors.

It is easier to use than the 8mm film because the cartridge loader did not need reloading or re-threading halfway through, and it also had fewer jamming issues compared to other film formats. This format was also very convenient because it was packaged in plastic cartridges.

It also has smaller and more widely-spaced perforations. Super 8 films have much smaller sprocket holes. The holes are aligned to the middle of the frame. This means that the image area is bigger, making it have more quality images. Super 8 films also have up to lines of resolution. The width of each film, including the holes is 7.

The frame itself measures 5. In fact, the Super 8 film format is still being used in the art film community for commercials, short films and music videos as a cheaper alternative to high-definition video. Super 8 films was a breakthrough when it was released because it removed the need to manually thread the film on the spool. This means that loading the camera required only two secondsor even less.

Before the Super 8 film was released, the camera had to be opened and the spools flipped so that the unexposed film edge could be recorded on during the second pass through the camera. The Super 8 also revolutionized the amateur film genre because it provided great image quality.

The whole foot cartridge could now be shot without interruption.The 8mm film format dominated the second half of the last century. It was your go-to mainstream format and solution for amateurs, family movies, and indie film-makers. But as technology moved onward the 8mm film was left in the bin of history, leaving behind a vast amount of film roles in need of digitization before the decay of time renders them unwatchable and useless. Standard 8 — released a decade before the World War II, the 8mm film emerged as an economic and viable alternative to the expensive 16mm film.

The measures refer to the width of the film strip that is used to record a motion picture, or is being fed to the projector. Double 8 — is effectively a 16mm film, but containing double the perforations on the edge of the strip compared to standard 16mm film. Super 8 — launched inthe Super 8 offered a much needed superior upgrade to the standard 8mm and was widely adopted and popularized as your amateur film-making asset. In fact, the J.

Previously, the 8mm film strip had to be manually reloaded and re-threaded halfway through. Single 8 — An alternative to Super 8, the Single 8 was introduced by Fuji.

It is basically a Super 8, with the same image clarity, but contained within a different cassette. There were additional types like the Straight 8 and UltraPan 8, but were much less prevalent, and at the end of the 8mm life cycle.

The biggest difference within the 8mm film strip format remained between the Standard 8 and Super 8. Therefore, even if your 8mm film is stored within a film can with leader tape, you could tell which one it is just by the size of the sprocket holes, which you can additionally verify if they are placed beside the center of the frame.

However, if you have quite a lot of film rolls to convert, it will be a much cheaper solution to get the equipment needed and convert it by yourself. Furthermore, consider the privacy concerns. Do you really want a company to digitize all of your private moments? And who knows what will they do with the created digital files, as they can all be easily and instantly shared across the internet.

You never know if there is some rogue employee just about to be fired, and his parting gift to the company is ruining their reputation.

8mm Film to DVD transfer (Do it yourself)

Once you have considered these factors, Legacybox is one of the best solutions for making your digital conversion happen. The whole process is as simple as it gets:. If you opt for their service, they will send you a Legacybox, which is a sturdy box that will endure the rigors of shipment. If you go the DIY route it will be far less intimidating and time-consuming than you would imagine, primarily thanks to the automated and budget-friendly device from Wolverine.

Once you properly mount into its reel slots, you are ready to go. It will digitize each frame, all of which will be clearly visible on its LCD color screen. The digital output format is your standard MP4, viewable by any software, and the highest resolution is up to HD — p, at 30 frames per second.

The other digitizing solution for almost four times the price, but for FullHD output at p, comes from Pacific Image. Between the two, it is difficult to argue for the latter except if you really need that slight resolution upgrade. Considering the hefty price, it might be better to just send your 8mm to Legacybox instead. Best 8mm Converter on Amazon. Please Share!


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