3 Reasons to get your films transferred now
We often hear from our clients that they haven't watched the films in over 30 or 40 year? One reason is that their movie projector no longer works, if they can even find it. Once your family memories have been transferred from film to DVD or digital files you'll be able to watch them anytime you want. The longer you wait, the more you'll lose of the picture quality, and eventually their condition will be so bad that they can't be converted at all and the memories lost forever.
We transfer the following 8mm and 16mm movie film formats to video
Click on the corresponding format that matches your film for more information
Your family memories deserve the best transfer service available...
But how do you know?
There are many different methods available for transferring films to video and a significant difference in the levels of quality between them. Since most companies don't reveal very much about their service, it's hard to know what you're really getting. We compiled over 16 years worth of research into the various methods available to provide you with a foundation of information to help you choose the service that's right for you. We've provided a summary here.
Projecting on a wall or screen
As of this writing, sadly, there are some companies out there that are just pointing a movie projector at a wall and videotaping it with a cheap camcorder. There are so many reasons why this is bad. It's hard to believe they actually charge people for this level of service. Even if they used a screen instead of a wall you can expect the picture and color to appear washed out or faded, there will be significant flickering of the image and you even see the texture of the wall coming through into the image. A few places have opted to use a cheap film transfer box that typically yields similar results. Don't waste your money on these.
Notice how most companies conveniently omit their resolution and transfer quality information from their websites.
More than half of the firms are employing the use of the Elmo (or similar) Telecine projectors. These units were manufactured in the 1980s when VHS was the primary format for video recorders. The picture resolution of VHS is only 240 lines so the video chip inside the telecine machines was only capable of transferring film at 240 lines. Unfortunately the telecine machines being used now are these very same machines. Even though DVDs will handle at least 480 lines movie transfers from these companies will only yield VHS quality of 240 lines. It's hard to believe how much some of these companies are charging for this. Costco, Walmart, Walgreens, CVS and RiteAid are among the companies that ship their customers' films out to another company that uses this old, out-dated technology. You can read more about what Costco and these other firms aren't telling their customers here.
I have to admit this sounds like it should an ideal method of film transfer, at least on paper, but it's not. The idea of scanning one frame-at-a-time should produce better results, but it's limited to the video chip being used for the transfer. Most of the devices I found being used never exceeded 450 lines of resolution. Ultimately, the quality of the transfer will be determined by the quality of the video image processor or video chip being used.
One of the better methods available for the transfer of 8mm and 16mm film involves the use of a Rank Cintel film scanner. Hollywood movies have been transferred using one of these machines. While it does provide a decent product, the machine itself is quite expensive and the cost for transferring your home movies may be be unreasonably high. 8mm films contain such a small image and are often very grainy. It may not be worth paying a lot more for a tiny improvement in transfer quality.
Our custom-built film to video movie transfer method involves a mid-air transfer using high-contrast imaging from the film directly onto a $10,000 800-line, 3 CCD chip video capture device. A cost-effective, high-resolution option that provides more than 3 times the resolution and clarity of the old telecine machines mentioned above and costs a lot less than the Rank film scanner. In addition to transferring more of each frame of film than most of our competitors, it allows for manual brightness adjustments and moderate color-correction during the transfer process. It produces some of the best results we've seen at this price level for film transfer. We invite you to try it out yourself.
For more information of the various transfer methods, check out our film to video transfer methods page.
4 ways to save your memories
Most movie transfer companies offer conversion from film to DVD only. If your disc ever gets scratched or damaged, you'll have to pay to have all of your movies transferred all over again and that can get expensive. Look at the surface of some of your discs now; how do they look? We offer 4 ways to save the memories from your home movies that are just not available from most places. And ONLY Sunray Video offers ALL 4 of them.
Digital Master Tape
DVDs require compressing 2 hours of video down to 4.5GBs of data. Our digital master tape will contain the original uncompressed version of your film transfer project. From this master we can make additional or replacement DVDs, digitize your films to a flash or hard drive or convert them to any other format you desire, now or later. And you'll never need to have your films transferred all over again. We provide a digital master tape with every order. Available on DVCAM or Mini DV (and Digital 8 while supplies last).
Gold 100-year Archival DVD
Standard Water-resistant DVD
DVDs require compressing 2 hours of video down to 4.5GBs of data. Our digital master tape will contain the original uncompressed version of your film transfer project. From this master we can make additional or replacement DVDs, digitize your films to a flash or hard drive or convert them to any other format you desire, now or later. And you'll never need to have your films transferred all over again. We provide a digital master tape with every order. Available on DVCAM or Mini DV ( and Digital 8 while supplies last).
Digitizing to flash or external hard drive
If you are ambitious enough to want to edit your own films, we can digitize your films to AVI, MOV or MP4 files and put them on a flash or hard drive for you.
And no stick-on labels that can ruin a disc.
We print custom-designed labels directly on the face of your DVD so you'll never have trouble with a disc that stops playing after a few years or a label that could peel off inside a DVD player forcing you to buy a new one.
We've invested the past 17 years researching the best equipment for providing a high-quality transfer at a reasonable price without sacrificing picture quality or damaging precious film.
We provide the only movie transfer service that includes:
Sunray has transferred over 3.5 million feet of movies and films to video and DVD.
We offer one of the best film to video transfer values available. For pricing and order info click here.
Not sure what's on your movie films? Need help putting them in order?
We offer 2 options to help you with editing or rearranging the order of your films.
1. We can transfer your films to a hard drive where the reels can be shuffled around into the correct order. You can do it yourself or sit down with one of our experienced editors.
2. We are the first and only company to offer 8mm & Super 8 film projector rentals anywhere in the U.S.A. Screens are also available. Our supply is limited, so give us a call to reserve one today.
Projectors are only available in the San Diego area. 16mm projectors not available.
How does Sunray compare with other film transfer services?
From time to time I search the web to see what our competitors are saying about their movie film to DVD transfer process and there are 2 things I notice the most. The first is that they don't say anything about their transfer process or the level of quality they provide.
For example, there are about 20% of the home movie transfer companies out there that just project the film onto a wall and record it with a consumer camcorder. About 40-60% of the companies are using 25-30 year old technology that feature a single 240-line video chip. Back in the days of VHS, only 240 lines of video resolution were needed since that was the limit of VHS video tape.
A few place have been misleading consumers into believing that a frame-by-frame process is best, while failing to disclose that their video chips typically offer less than 500 lines of picture resolution. If you're going to invest the money to transfer irreplaceable home movies, why not try to get the best picture quality for the money.
By comparison, we employ a transfer technology that provides 800 lines of video information. The quality of the video chip being used has the most significant impact on the quality of the transfer.
Read more about the differences between the various film to video and DVD transfer methods here.
The 2nd thing I notice is that virtually no other company offers a digital master or even a free copy with their transfer. So, if your DVD should ever get scratched or damaged, you'd have to take your films back in to have them transferred all over again, assuming you still have them. We believe you should have a high quality digital master of you home movies, so you'll never have to worry about damaged discs again. We'll even include an extra copy for free on most orders.
Did you know that a few companies will put a stick-on label on their DVDs? Stick-on labels have been known to cause damage to DVDs over time. After a few years, some discs just won't play anymore. In some cases the labels have peeled off inside the DVD player and damaged the player as well as the disc.
And very few companies offer the 100-year Gold Archival DVDs. One of the reasons that Gold is so valuable in our society today is the properties it contains; mostly that it is not subject to rust, corrode or break down over time. That is what makes it so valuable for producing true long-lasting archival DVDs. The "100 year archival DVDs" offered by most of our competitors do not contain any gold, instead they used a metal composite that is subject to corrosion over time. You can read more about the Gold DVDs below and on our DVD FAQ page.
In the pages on our website (listed below), I've compiled years of research to provide you with the most comprehensive information on everything you should know about putting your 8mm, super 8 and 16mm movie films on DVD. I've included a lot of missing and misleading information I've uncovered from competitors' websites. At Sunray, we believe it's important to keep consumers up-to-date on the latest trends in our industry and informed on how to keep from being ripped off by other film transfer companies.
Great Gift Idea
I remember, when I was growing up, our family had several reels of 8mm movie film I used to thread through our projector and watch. There were many special memories including Christmas time in the house I grew up in. My poor Dad, he received so many "ugly" ties but, he always smiled anyway. Then there were the various vacations they took, Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, and of course those infamous camping and fishing trips. Since, I was the youngest, there weren't as many films with me in them but they were still fun to watch.
Some years ago, I came up with this wonderful idea. Wouldn't it be great to transfer those precious memories to DVD and give them to each member of my family as a Christmas present? I'm sure they haven't watched any of those films in probably over 30 years. You would think that after transferring millions of feet of other people's 8mm and 16mm films, over the previous 10 years, that I would have wanted to do this sooner. Well, the truth is I was waiting for the right time when I could achieve the best possible quality of transfer and be able to archive them onto a digital medium. Our company has been offering the digital master concept for over 7 years but, it was only a few years earlier that I was able to find the best method for transferring my films to video. I'm also happy that I'll be able to preserve those special moments on DVD for my family's future generations to be able to enjoy as well. I'm very pleased that we are able to offer this quality of transfer to our valued customers.
While I was transferring my family heirlooms, I discovered how badly the film had deteriorated. I didn't remember them looking that way. I must admit, I was very pleased with how they turned out. Some of them came out better than they looked on the actual film. Some of the objects in the film that used to be white, had turned yellow. But after transferring them to video, they became white again. I didn't realize that transferring some of them would actually make the picture look better than it was on the film. Unfortunately, much of the footage could not be improved, but it was nice that some of it turned out great. My family was ecstatic to receive the DVDs. It may have been the best gift I have ever given them.
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