Identify old cine films. The difference between Super 8, Standard 8 & 16mm film

Customers are often confused by the type of film they have and ask me how they can tell the difference between Super 8, Standard 8 and 16mm film.

Here is a basic guide to help you identify your old cine films.

 

Super 8 Film

Super 8mm film measures 8mm across and has sprocket holes down one edge. The sprocket holes on this type of film are smaller than standard 8mm film

Super 8 Sound Film

Super 8 sound film measures 8mm across & has sprocket holes down one edge & a brown tape strip down one or both sides of the film. The holes are smaller than standard 8mm film.

Standard 8 Film

Standard 8 film measures 8mm across and has sprocket holes down one edge. The holes are larger than Super 8mm film.

 

16mm Film

16mm film measures 16mm across and can have sprocket holes down one or both sides of the film.

Unprocessed Film cartridges

We can transfer all of the above films types with the exception of un-processed film. Un-processed film is locked in its original camera cassette box. You will need to have the film processed by a film developer before we can transfer the film.

Costings of Transfer of Super 8, Standard 8 and 16mm film

The transfer of Standard 8 and Super 8 film (sound and silent) is the same standard price, which is £30.00 for the first 50ft unit of film, followed by £5.00 for each 50ft unit on large reels or £7.00 if the 50ft unit is on a single 50ft reel. 16mm film is transferred at the same rate except the first 50ft unit is charged at £50.00 rather than £30.00.

Transfer is to either playable DVD or digital files.

Digital files are available as 576×720 AVI or QuickTime files. We normally supply QuickTime files for Apple Mac users and AVI files for PC based user. These files work out at approx 12gb per hours worth of footage.

We can also output to QuickTime ProRes 422 progressive HD 1080P 1080×1920 files which are much larger at approx 32gb per hours worth of footage.

Please remember to supply us with a USB hard drive or memory stick for us to copy the very large files onto for you.

Cine Film Conversion Customer Reviews

I always love receiving customer reviews and positive feedback regarding our film conversion service. Here is the latest one to come through:

 

Paul

Thank you very much for my DVDs, which arrived safely yesterday.

I have viewed all five files and I was so surprised at what I saw – films of me (mainly) in Germany aged two, at my Grandmother’s house in Greenford aged three to four and scenes from Cyprus (where I spent five happy childhood years 1963 – 68).  The remaining footage was of The Trooping of the Colour which my parents attended when my father was in the MoD (probably 1963 before we headed for the Med).

What was particularly exciting was that I have NEVER seen any of those films before.  I suspect much owing to the fact that we owned a slide projector (which is still in existence) but not an 8mm cine projector.
The viewing was worth every penny; my only regret is not having done sooner when my mother was still alive (she died in Feb aged 89) – riddled with dementia and a loss of short-term memory, the images may well have provided her with excitement too!
P Brown, Kent

Cine film transfer review – another happy customer

Always good to hear feedback about our service. Today I had the following message about a recent cine film to digital file transfer that I did:

Just a quick email to say that the film arrived yesterday. The quality is amazing. Thanks so much for the work as well as getting it done so quickly, it’s great to see footage from almost 60 years ago so clearly.

From Daniel G, in Barnet EN5.

Standard 8mm Reels 50 foot or only 25 feet long?

Many customers ask me if their small single standard 8mm film reels are 50 feet long or only 25 feet long. The confusion comes about as some customers have the original film box that came with the film when purchased. This box will state 25 foot as the length of the cine reel. However the original standard 8mm film which is put into the camera is 16mm wide, so in effect it is actually 16mm film, but with extra perforations at the side of the film. During filming the user would have to turn the standard 8 film over to film on the other side. When the processing factory developed the film they would split it down the middle and then join the two ends. So 16mm film 25 foot long is then turned into 8mm film which is 50 foot long. So what is given back to you for projection was 8mm film as a 50ft reel.

Transfer 8mm, Super 8 & 16mm Film to HD 1080p Files

Remember we can transfer your old cine film to a set of HD QuickTime files for your own editing requirements.

The files we supply are QuickTime ProRes 422 1080p Progressive. As your cine film (8mm or 16mm) is 4:3 the film transfer file will be in 16:9 with your cine film in the middle. This means you will have black bars at the side of the image like this:

A short test demo file to check if you can use the converted film transfer to HD file format can be found here

Full details of our HD Cine film transfer can be found here.

Transfer 8mm and Hi8mm Video Tape to Digital File QuickTime or AVI.

The transfer of 8mm and Hi 8mm video tape material to either DVD or Digital is done in our own processing studio here in Crawley. We don’t pass on your tapes to anyone else.

If you’re having your 8mm and Hi 8mm video tapes transferred to DVD then the default method is to transfer each 8mm or Hi 8mm tape onto its own DVD. If there is a weak signal on the tape we often use an image stabiliser as part of the transfer process, so as the image integrity is kept.

If you are transferring your 8mm and Hi 8mm video tapes to digital file(s) we supply two types of files for our customers. QuickTime for Apple users and AVI files for PC based users. We ALWAYS need a USB portable hard drive so as we can copy the very large files onto for you. USB memory sticks are not usually suitable due to their size and formatting. We need to be able to copy single large files from each tape. It works out at 12gb for each hours worth of footage.

We only charge for what is on the tape, if your family video ends with the last thirty minutes of an episode of Kojack then we ignore this and only charge for your actual home footage, unless advised differently.

Always send your tapes via secure post (Special Delivery or Signed For) enclosing all of your contact details.

Video tapes are processed in real time, but we always try our best to have them ready in around 5 to 8 working days.

Super 8, Standard 8 Film Splicing. Can Spliced Film be Transferred to Digital or DVD?

Customers often ask me if the quality of their splices within their cine film will effect the transfer to either DVD or digital file.

For those who don’t understand what film splicing is, it was a way of joining together all of the 50ft small reels of cine film onto a larger reel, either 200ft or 400ft. This saved the home projectionist the time and trouble in changing the reels every three to four minutes. You could join eight 50ft reels onto a 400ft reel giving a 30minute running time ( at 18 FPS). Some more expensive projectors even had the spool capacity up to 1200 foot, meaning that 24 x 50ft reels of cine film to be joined together.

Many are worried if the splices are still strong enough to hold the film together. If the film has been stored correctly then yes the splices usually do hold together. The more modern tape splices seem to hold out the best compared to the cement method, which seem to become very brittle over time.

We are very used to film arriving in all conditions, from the very poor, to film which is so good it looks like it was filmed yesterday. So please don’t worry we always work around any splicing issues with cine film when it is transferred.

You can still buy the splicing tape although you may find it easier to buy from one of the many sellers on eBay. If you need to recut the film you will need some form of cine film splicer which allows you to cut the film and line it up read for an accurate splice. Such items are also easily available on eBay.

My Cine 8mm or 16mm Film Smells of Vinegar. Can it be transferred to DVD or Digital?

If your 8mm or 16mm film has a very strong smell of vinegar you may be wondering if it still can be transferred to DVD or digital files.

Films which have a strong smell of vinegar are suffering from a form of decay known as ‘Vinegar Syndrome’, which is more correctly known as acetate film base degradation. The reasons for this decay is due to the chemical nature of the plastic film and its progress very much depends on storage conditions. The symptoms of such a decay are a pungent vinegar smell, followed by shrinkage, buckling and embrittlement. Storage in warm and humid conditions greatly accelerates the onset of decay. Once vinegar syndrome begins the remaining life of the film is short because the process speeds up as it goes along. Early diagnosis and cool, dry storage are the best defences at keeping the decay at bay. Not all film stock is prone to such decay and is more common with 16mm film stocks.

Can such decayed film be transferred? Yes in the early stages before the buckling of the film starts. If your film is starting to buckle it is almost impossible to achieve an even focus across each film frame as it is scanned. This is due to the fact that the film does not lay flat.

The best thing to do is to let us see the film. There are thoughts that vinegar syndrome can infect other film reels. How true this is I don’t know, but for safety it is advisable to store such smelling film separately from films not effected.

 

How to transfer VHS to DVD or Digital File

The transfer of VHS material to either DVD or Digital is done in our own processing studio here in Crawley. We don’t pass on your tapes to anyone else.

If you’re having your VHS tapes transferred to DVD then the default method is to transfer each VHS tapes onto its own DVD. If there is a weak signal on the tape we often use an image stabiliser as part of the transfer process, so as the image integrity is kept.

If you are transferring your VHS tapes to digital file(s) we supply two types of files for our customers. QuickTime for Apple users and AVI files for PC based users. We ALWAYS need a USB portable hard drive so as we can copy the very large files onto for you. USB memory sticks are not usually suitable due to their size and formatting. We need to be able to copy single large files from each tape. It works out at 12gb for each hours worth of footage.

We only charge for what is on the tape, if your family video ends with the last thirty minutes of an episode of Kojack then we ignore this and only charge for your actual home footage, unless advised differently.

Always send your tapes via secure post (Special Delivery or Signed For) enclosing all of your contact details.

Video tapes are processed in real time, but we always try our best to have them ready in around 5 to 8 working days.

Cine to DVD Transfer Reviews

It is always so good to hear reviews from our customers regarding their film transfer especially when there is an emotional connection. Here is one letter I recently received from one of our customers who needed their cine films transferred to DVD:

Dear Paul ,  
 
Many Many thanks to you and your Company for being so efficient in transferring the Cine to DVD with so little time given. My cousin did manage to see them on Mother’s Day which was her birthday as well. The reason for this email is because she died this week after a long battle with cancer. I understand from her husband that she did see the DVD’s on her birthday and this was obviously very special to all of their immediate family.
 
I am sitting here watching them now and these memories are invaluable to all of the wider family as well. Without your Company these memories would not have existed as we do not have the original projector. I would be very pleased to recommend your company as you have produced them as well as could be done considering they were amateur films.