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Converting 8mm Film & Super 8 Film to Digital and DVD

Including 8 mm & Super 8 film to MP4, MOV, AVI, usb and Blu ray transfers

In case you’ve been wondering, can 8mm film be put on DVD? The answer is 8mm and super 8 film to digital and dvdyes. Transferring 8mm film to CD however, is not feasible due to the limited capacity of the disc.  For more on this read our article on the difference between CD and DVD. Super 8 and 8mm film to digital conversion is becoming more popular.

Searching for the best company to transfer your super 8 film or 8mm film to dvd or digital has its challenges. Simply asking the question how much does it cost to transfer 8mm film to dvd doesn’t really cover everything you should know before converting your family’s films. Paying more does not always result in better quality. Some companies care more about your money than your 8 mm film.

Many 8mm film to digital conversion service companies may indicate how much they charge, but don’t provide much information as to the process they use or the quality you will receive. If you’re going to invest the money to convert your family irreplaceable memories you should make sure you’re going to be happy with the result.

We’ve put together several articles on converting 8mm and super 8 film including some comparisons between different methods for transferring 8 mm film. We want to make sure that you receive the best film conversion service for your needs. We also discuss “vinegar syndrome” and how it may affect the 8mm film transfer process.

Did you know that 8mm film and 8mm video are not the same?

Many people confuse 8mm film with 8mm video; they are 2 very different types of media. Since they require a completely different method for conversion, the transfer cost varies significantly. 8mm film usually comes on round reels like the one in the photo above. If this is what you have then you are in the right place.

If this does not match what you have, you may have 8mm video instead. You’ll know as 8mm video is magnetic tape that is encased in a rectangular cartridge. You’ll find more information about this media on our Video 8, Hi8 and Digital 8 to DVD and digital transfer page.

You’ll find additional info in our blog article on the difference between 8mm film and 8mm video.

How to choose the best company to transfer 8mm film to DVD or digital?

While prices vary widely, more expensive does not always mean better quality. There is also a lot of misleading, missing and confusing information out there regarding the transfer methods being used. For example, no one mentions that cleaning the film can actually lead to removing images from and/or damaging the film.

We’ve invested a lot of time gathering information and breaking it down for you to help with the process. We believe in making sure you get the best service that will fit your needs.

There are essentially 2 parts to the film transfer process.  The first part is the equivalent of shining a light through the film to get an image to convert. The second part involves converting the visual image into digital video and this is where most companies fall short.

Our method of converting 8mm film to DVD and digital transfer to MP4, MOV and AVI files is what really separates Sunray Video from our competitors. We cover various process for transferring film in our article methods used for transferring film to digital and DVD.

What makes our 8mm film to DVD and 8mm film to digital conversion service better?

High resolution custom-built transfer system

Our custom-built film to digital video transfer method uses 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 (Elmo) telecine machines 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.

Film transfers performed in our studio – Faster Service

We never send our clients’ family memories overseas or to a transfer factory. All 8mm film to DVD and digital transfer orders are done right here in our San Diego studio. This enables us to provide a better quality transfer and faster turnaround than most other companies. Most orders are completed in less than 2 weeks! And we handle every film transfer project personally and treat them like our own.

Digital master

All films are converted to digital video and put onto a digital master tape. The DVDs or digital file/s are then made from the digital master. Once the film transfer process is completed you will be given the digital master to keep along with your order. Think of it like a backup for your films.

If you choose to get your films on DVD and the disc ever gets scratched or damaged beyond repair we can make a new one from the digital master. If you choose a digital file instead and your file gets lost, damaged or your drive should happen to crash, we can use the digital master to make a new one for you.

Using the digital master eliminates the need for transferring your films all over again, saving a lot of time and money. None of the other transfer companies provide this service.

Digital conversion to MP4, AVI or MOV

Sunray was one of the first companies to provide super 8 and 8mm film to digital conversion service. After converting your film to MP4, AVI or MOV files, they can be put onto a USB flash drive or external hard drive for your convenience.

AVI and MOV files offer the best quality. MP4 files are more compact as they are compressed to 1/10 the size of AVI or MOV. AVI and MOV are also better for editing purposes should you decide to do that.

Many places only offer MP4 versions of your films. We offer AVI, MOV and MP4 formats for your convenience.

First to transfer film to true Archival Gold DVDs

Your family films cannot be replaced and it’s important to preserve them as long as possible. That’s the reason we became one of the first companies to transfer film to Gold Archival DVDs. Their 100 year lifespan makes it one of the longest lasting media options available for saving your films. We’re one of the few companies that uses actual Gold Archival DVDs.

Color correction adjustment option

As movie film ages the colors may shift from their original condition. Most film conversion companies will transfer the film as it is. We offer the option of adjusting the color on a scene-by-scene basis so you can see the images closer to what they used to look like.

Volume discounts

Many transfer services will charge you the same price per foot of film regardless of how much you have. The more film you bring in, the more you’ll save.

 

These are just a few of the reasons people choose Sunray Video for transferring their videos; we’ve listed more reasons below. Very few video transfer services can match the variety, quality and fast service we provide. Our reviews say it all.

Bring in your videos today to get your FREE estimate! Or give us a call 858-578-4786

 

Don’t take our word for it, see what our clients had to say.

Highly Recommend!

I was lucky to find Sunray Video Production services here in San Diego. I had some very old Super 8 & 8 mm movie film from my parents from the 60s and 70s that I have been worried about for years. I knew I needed to get them transferred soon before they deteriorated or were destroyed in a fire. Sunray Video took my shoe boxes full of film and within a short time had all my family memories transferred to disk and digital format. I can now view my movies from my Dropbox app on my phone and share with anyone in the world. I highly recommend Sunray Video to anyone looking for an affordable and local resource for movie film services!

Stan W.

Wonderful job!

I sincerely want to thank everyone at Sunray Video for the wonderful job that was done on my 8mm film to DVD transfers. I will not hesitate to recommend your company to anyone wanting to preserve their family film treasurers!

Cynthia B. - San Diego

I received my films today and you did a GREAT job!

I received my films today and once again you did a GREAT job! There are very few people in the world, much less companies that I would trust to handle these family heirlooms and I am happy to say I'd trust you with all of our family movies. Thank you for your work on this...it means more than I can say. My whole family appreciates it! THANK YOU!

Elisha G.

I would recommend Sunray without hesitation

I had Sunray Productions transfer thousands of feet of 16mm films from my grandfather's hunting trips back in the 1960s. The films are a part of our family history and are very important to us. Kirk did a wonderful job with the films and was very helpful to me in answering my many questions. I would recommend Sunray, without hesitation, to anyone who needs film copied/transferred.

Jerry H.

Read more reviews

 

8mm film types

What does 8mm film look like? It looks like a very long strip of film images or series of photos. 8mm refers to the width of the film (8 millimeters) from the edge just outside the sprocket holes across to the opposite edge.

8mm film

8mm Movie Film

Super 8 film

Super 8 Movie Film

Super 8 Movie Film with Sound

Super 8 Movie Film with Sound

Polavision Film

Polavision Film

What is the difference between 8mm and Super 8 Film?

Regular 8mm film has larger sprocket holes running along the edge while Super 8 film has smaller sprocket holes (see photos above).  The smaller holes allows for a larger frame or image size within the same film width. The larger the frame size, the better the image quality typically. Both regular 8mm film and Super 8 film are 8mm (milimeters) wide from edge to edge (top to bottom in the photos above).

8mm Film

8mm film (sometimes referred to as regular 8) was one of the earlier and most widely used film format by many families for capturing memories of their children and special events.8mm film first appeared in the 1930s, a product of the Eastman Kodak company.  It served as a lower cost alternative to the 16mm film format.

The oldest format of 8mm film, Regular 8 film has larger sprocket holes than Super 8, resulting in a smaller frame size for the images captured.

Super 8 Film

We commonly get asked when referring to 8mm vs super 8 film, what is the difference? Introduced in the mid 1960s, Super 8 film was considered an improvement over regular 8mm since it had the capability of capturing more picture information with a larger frame size due to the smaller sprocket holes.  With the development of the film cartridge, super 8 film could then be loaded into a camera much faster than 8mm reels, in an average of about 2 seconds.

Super 8 film will have smaller sprocket holes running along the edge (see photo).  The smaller holes allows for a larger frame or image size over the same film width. The larger the frame size, the better the image quality typically.

As for watching the films using 8mm vs super 8 projector, you would need the appropriate projector to play the corresponding film type. There are some projectors that will play both movie film formats or film types, but not all of them will.

Does 8mm film have sound?

Some 8mm film may have sound, most of time it will be on super 8 film. Super 8 sound film looks a lot like Super 8 film as it is the same width (8mm) and has the same sized sprocket holes, but sound film has a brown magnetic strip running along both edges of the film (see photo).  The magnetic strip provided the ability to record audio on the film itself that could be played back while the film is being viewed on a project, provided the projector has sound capability.

Polavision Film

Launched in 1977 by Polaroid, the Polavision 8mm film was designed to do for movie film what the Polariod Land instant camera did for photographs, creating films that you didn’t have to send out to a lab for processing.  While it was intended to make home movie recording and viewing easier, you needed to have the Polavision projector/viewer unit in order to watch them.  Otherwise you’d have to break the film out of the cartridge (pictured below) and put it on a film reel in order to watch them using a standard film projector.

Unfortunately the Polavision only lasted a few years. VHS & Betamax video tape disrupted any chance the format had of being successful. About 50 Polavision cartridges will fit onto one DVD. We have to remove the film from the cartidges and put them onto 7″ reels before we can convert the Polavision film to DVD or digital files.

 

Here is a clip we found featuring one of the original television commercials for the Polavision film system.

How many feet of 8mm film will fit on a DVD, usb or hard drive?

A DVD can hold up to 2 hours of film.  That’s the equivalent of about 1,700 feet of regular 8mm film or 2,000 feet of super 8 film. If you want to convert 8mm or super 8 film to AVI or MOV files you will need 13GB available for each hour of film. MP4 files require 1.3GB per hour of film.

The following is based on 2 hours of film:

Film Type2 hour DVD can holdAVI or MOV file size
MP4 file size
 Regular 8mm film 1,700 feet 26GB 2.6GB
 Super 8 film 2,000 feet  26GB 2.6GB

 

How many feet of film is on an 8mm film reel?

You can estimate the amount of film on an 8mm or super 8 film reel by measuring the diameter of the reel. The most common 8mm film reel sizes can range from 3″ to 7″ in diameter.

If the reel is full it can hold the following amount of film:

How much does it cost to transfer 8mm or super 8 film to DVD or digital?

Film transfers are based on the length of film, measured in feet. To determine how much film is on an 8mm film reel simply measure the diameter of the reel. Using the table above you should be able to estimate how much film you have. If you’re still not sure feel free to bring your films to our office and we’ll be happy to help you figure out how much you have and provide you with a FREE estimate.

You’ll need to decide if you want the film on DVD, digital file or both. If you find yourself wondering “how do i get 8mm film on my computer?”, we can help. Your 8mm and super 8 film can be converted to digital files such as MP4, AVI or MOV. Check out our article on the difference between DVD and digital to see which is the best option for you.

As films age the colors may shift, making the images appear more blue, pink or another color range. In some cases we can try to adjust the colors to bring them back to their original state. The “color correction process” involves more time and labor on our part, so we have to charge accordingly.

We offer 4 options for transferring your movie film to digital form:

  1. DVD option includes: 1 Archival Gold DVD copy and 1 standard DVD copy.
  2. Digital file option includes: Digitizing to AVI, MOV or MP4 file/s. No DVDs are included with this package. Only 1 file format included.
  3. Color-correction option includes: Scene by scene color-correction applied then put on 1 Archival Gold DVD copy and 1 standard DVD copy. Digitizing to AVI, MOV or MP4 file/s may be substituted for DVDs. DVDs or available for an additional charge.
  4. DVD and Digital file option includes: 1 Archival Gold DVD copy with 1 standard DVD copy AND digitizing to AVI, MOV or MP4 file/s. Only 1 file format included.

Current turn-around time for 8mm film is 7-10 business days.

Gold DVD
MP4/AVI/MOVColor-Correct
Up to 499 ft.28/ft.28/ft.34/ft
500-1,499 ft.24/ft.24/ft.30/ft
1,500-2,999 ft.22/ft.22/ft.28/ft
3,000-4,999 ft.20/ft.20/ft.26/ft
5,000 + ft.18/ft.18/ft.24/ft
Gold Archival DVDYesNoYes
Standard DVDYesNoYes
Digitzing to FileNoYesMay be substituted in place of DVDs

*Price does not include Hard drive or Flash drive.

All film transfer order under 250 feet will be charged a minimum transfer charge of $50, Premiere package subject to $60 minimum.

For DVD and digital file (MP4, AVI or MOV) add $20 per hour of film.

Polavision film add $4 per cartridge to cover labor required to remove film from cartridge.

Additional Film Transfer Services Available

  • Add music or projector sound: $ .01 per ft
  • Add titles between reels: $5.00 per title
  • Add chapters to DVD: $5.00 per chapter
  • Additional Gold DVD copies: $15.00 per disc or 3 Gold copies for $40 (Each gold disc comes with a FREE standard dvd copy)
  • Additional Standard DVD copies: $8.00 per disc or 3 for $18 or 5 for $25

 

Here is a sample of our transfer taken from a regular 8mm film:

How to Order

Step 1:  Number your movie film reels in the order you want them transferred (if you have a preference).

Step 2:  Most films have no sound. We’ve become so used to watching TV with sound that it will seem strange to watch your movies without sound. Back in the day when people watched their home movies, they would hear the sound of a projector running. If you like the nostalgia of the projector, we can add projector sound to your film to DVD transfer. We can add music or you can provide your own music, if you prefer. Decide what sound you want to go with your films.

Step 3: As part of the aging process many of the films may have colors that have shifted from their original color. You will need to decided if you want to have us color-correct the films to try to bring the colors back to as close to their original state as possible.

Step 4: Do you want any titles added between any of the film reels in the video? 

Step 5: Decide what format you want your films converted to, DVDs or digital files (MP4, AVI or MOV). If you only want DVDs skip to Step 7.

Step 6: DIGITAL FILES: What file format do you want them in: AVI, MOV or MP4? Will you be providing your own external USB hard drive or flash drive or do you want us to add one to the order? If you’re providing your own, don’t forget to include it with your videos. If you do not want any DVDs skip to Step 10.

Step 7: DVDs: Decide how you want your DVDs to be labeled. How do you want it to read? This is just for your benefit so that one day in the future, when you pull out the DVD you’ll know what’s on it. (Example:  Smith Family Movies) We will combine the films to fill up the DVDs, 2 hours per disc.

Step 8:  Do you want any chapter titles added to the DVD menu? Determine how many you want and write down what you want the title/s to say.

Step 9: Do you want your videos on Gold Archival 100-year DVDs? Will you need any additional DVD copies for anyone else? How many?

Step 10: Do you have any video tapes you need transferred to DVD or hard drive? Do you have any photos or slides you need scanned to digital files? This would be a good time to get them together and bring in with your videos.

Step 11: Now you’re ready to bring your films to Sunray for transfer. Select the option below for dropping them off in person or ordering by mail. If you prefer to ship them to us, we recommend using a courier such as UPS or FedEx for shipping as they have good tracking systems so you’ll know where the package is at all times. 

Order by Mail

Have questions?

Call us at 858-578-4786

Why choose Sunray Video for your film transfer?

Before you send your money and irreplaceable memories out to be converted, you’re entitled to know what’s going to happen with them. Most companies say very little about their actual transfer process or how their process compares with others.  You shouldn’t have to make such an important decision based solely on price. We think there are some things you should know about our process.

High resolution custom-built transfer system
Most transfer processes requires light to go through the film to project the image onto a surface (screen, wall, or video capture device). Resolution of the transfer device determines the quality of the transfer. Our custom-built film to video transfer method projects the image directly onto a $10,000 800-line 3 CCD video capture device that produces more than 3 times the resolution a clarity of the old telecine machines, built in the 1980s, used by other transfer services.

Our system captures 25% more of each frame than standard telecine
Our custom-built transfer system allows us to capture close to 25-30% more of each frame image than the old telecine machines and allows us to manually adjust for changes in brightness of the film image.

Digital master tape included with order
Many transfer services convert film only to DVD; what happens if the disc gets scratched or damaged?  We provide a digital master tape with every order that contains 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 without the need to have them transferred all over again.  Available in DVCAM, MiniDV and Digital 8 while supplies last.

100 Year Gold Archival DVD
Do not be fooled by imitation archival DVDs. We can put your films on a true Archival Gold DVD with a 100 year lifespan, several times longer than standard DVDs.

Digital MOV, AVI or MP4 files
We can digitize your films to AVI, MOV or MP4 files and put on a flash or external hard drive.  We recommend MOV and AVI files if you plan to edit the movies.  MP4 files are ideal for sharing or watching on computer or TV with a USB port.

Projector Sound or Music may be added
For silent movies we can add projector sound or music, as you may not be accustomed to watching TV without sound.

Broken film repair included
We will repair broken film when necessary.

No harsh cleaning chemicals used that can damage your film
Cleaning chemicals can strip away part of the images on your film due to the way they are used. Cleaning the film is not necessary and will not prohibit dust and debris in the air or transfer machine from becoming attached to your film.

All films returned in original condition
We return all films to you in their original condition.

Experienced Technicians
Each of our technicians has over 23 years of experience in transferring film. Every foot of film is monitored throughout the transfer process.

Most Regular 8mm or Super 8 film is at least 40 years old. Now is the time to decide: do you convert them to a new format so you can view them and share those memories with your family or do you throw them out. Why keep them in storage any longer?

At this age, many of the films are well into their degeneration process, where the colors have already started changing and the images on the film are fading. Some films are well into the acetate film base degradation process [use link here] (often referred to as vinegar syndrome due to the odor). Film in the advanced stages of this process are usually damaged beyond the ability to transfer and those memories are lost forever. The time to act is now.

8mm Film Transfer Tips & FAQs

What is an Archival Gold DVD?

Inside every DVD and CD is a reflective layer of material, usually made of some type of metal composite, that helps the DVD (or CD) player to read the information contained on the disc. A Gold DVD is a DVD that uses 24k gold as the reflective layer within the disc....

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