In 1923, Eastman Kodak introduced 16mm film and Cine-Kodak, the first successful amateur movie camera in the U.S. This innovation represented a major breakthrough for amateur filmmakers and home movies. The new film was made with non-combustible acetate plastic, a far safer alternative to the dangerous and flammable cellulose nitrate used in 35mm film. And because 16mm film created a positive camera original, this eliminated the time-consuming, two-step process 35mm film required to create a negative and then print a positive from it. Less than a decade later, 8mm film was introduced, although 16mm continued to be widely used for decades. Throughout the 1950s, professionals still shot nearly all television news, educational films, and scientific research on 16mm.
Transferring film to USB protects decaying memories from disappearing forever and provides convenient access to watch movies that have likely not seen the light of day in decades. When cellulose acetate film deteriorates, this can cause vinegar syndrome and the release of acetic acid. Once this reaction has taken place, it cannot be reversed. The acetic acid causes an odor that can cause serious respiratory issues and fading of dye, brittleness, and shrinking of the film until it crumbles.
If you own a treasure trove of home movies and have the time and desire, it’s possible to transfer 16mm yourself. Here is a step-by-step guide to a popular, albeit not always effective method called reverse Kinescope that utilizes a 16mm projector and camcorder.
If the above method sounds cumbersome, indeed it is, and often produces less than satisfactory results. Professional scanning services have the equipment and expertise to make the most of your 16mm films. In many instances, digital movies can turn out better than the original. Of course, like any other professional services or products, not all are created equal.
When you choose ScanCafe to transfer your 16mm films, our dedicated technicians give your celluloid memories the attention they deserve, spending up to two hours per movie film reel, including:
Don’t let your cherished memories gather dust and degrade—get them transferred professionally and enjoy watching them for years to come!
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