Converting 16mm Film to Digital and DVDIncluding 16mm film to digital, DVD, MP4, AVI, MOV, usb and Blu ray transfers
When you’re ready to convert your 16mm film to digital or DVD, there are many factors to be aware of. 16mm film has not aged so gracefully and signs of vinegar syndrome have become more common over the past 10 years. This makes the process of a simple movie transfer a bit more challenging and can make the cost to convert 16mm to DVD seem trivial.
How to choose the best company to transfer 16mm 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 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 16mm film to DVD and 16mm film to digital conversion service better?
True Full Frame transfer
We are able to transfer the full frame for every frame of film. Many of our competitors only transfer about 75% of the image.
Film transfers performed in our studio – Faster Service
We never send our clients’ family memories overseas or to a transfer factory. All 16mm 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.
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 16mm 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.
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.
How many feet of film on a 16mm film reel?
You can estimate the amount of film on a reel by measuring the diameter of the reel. The most common 16mm film reel sizes can range from 3″ to 15″ in diameter.
If the reel is full it can hold the following amount of 16mm film:
|Diameter (inches)||Length (# feet)|
How much 16mm film will fit on a DVD, flash or hard drive?
A DVD can hold up to 2 hours of film. That’s the equivalent of about 2,700-4,300 feet of 16mm film depending on the speed the film was recorded at. If you want to convert 16mm 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 Type||2 hour DVD can hold||AVI or MOV file size||MP4 file size|
|16mm||2,700 – 4,300 feet||26GB||2.6GB|
How much does it cost to transfer 16mm film to DVD or digital?
Film transfers are based on the length of film, measured in feet. To determine how much film you have you will need to measure the diameter of each reel of film. Using the table above you should be able to estimate how much film you have. If you bring your films to our office we’ll be more than 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:
- DVD option includes: 1 Archival Gold DVD copy and 1 standard DVD copy.
- Digital file option includes: Digitizing to AVI, MOV or MP4 file/s. No DVDs are included with this package. Only 1 file format included.
- 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.
- 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 16mm film is 8-10 business days.
|Up to 1,000 ft||.28/ft||.28/ft*||.38/ft|
|1,001 – 2,500 ft||.26/ft||.26/ft*||.35/ft|
|2,501 – 4,000 ft||.24/ft||.24/ft*||.32/ft|
|4,001 – 6,000 ft||.22/ft||.22/ft*||.30/ft|
|6,001 + ft||.20/ft||.20/ft*||.28/ft|
|Gold Archival DVD||Yes||No||Yes|
|Digitzing to File||No||Yes||May be substituted in place of DVDs|
*Price does not include Hard drive or Flash drive.
Bring in your 16mm film today and get up to $400 off your transfer!
All film transfer order under 200 feet will be charged a minimum transfer charge of $50.
For DVD and digital file (MP4, AVI or MOV) add $20 per hour of film. $30/hr for 2 digital file formats.
Additional 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 $21 or 5 for $30
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.
Drop Off in Person
Order by Mail
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.
Our technicians have over 50 years of experience in transferring film. Every foot of film is monitored throughout the transfer process.
16mm film that has been stored is most likely 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.
Types of 16mm film
16mm refers to the width of the film from the edge just outside the sprocket holes across to the opposite edge. Most 16mm film runs at either 18 or 24 frames per second.
16mm Movie Film
16mm movie film was introduced by Eastman Kodak in 1923 as a lower cost alternative to 35mm film. Over the years, in addition to home use it was used in the educational, government, business and medical fields. Eventually 16mm became common for news-gathering and television programs. Unfortunately due to the material composition of 16mm film, it has been know to deteriorate much faster than 8mm or super 8 film.
16mm film without the inclusion of an audio track limits the projection to picture only without any sound.
The addition of the optical sound track to 16mm film opened up new filmmaking possibilities. It can often be identified by the squiggly line along the edge of the film.
16mm magnetic sound movie film
16mm film with a brown magnetic strip along the edge of the film offers an alternative method for recording sound on the film.
What’s the difference between 16 mm and 8 mm movie film?
As the name suggests, 16mm film is twice the width of 8mm film from edge to edge. The larger film size allows for a larger frame or image size, providing a much improved picture quality.
16mm Film Transfer Tips & FAQs
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