How Film Scan Works | ScanCafe

How Film Scan Works

Our approach to scanning has always been to make it high-quality, safe, and easy, and we've brought that philosophy to scanning 8mm, Super 8, and 16mm movie film. For more about how easy it is, read on.

How it works

1. You Order

2. You Ship to Us

3. We Scan

4. You Download
How Photo Scanning Works

5. We Ship to You

6. You Enjoy & Share



You place your order

  • Place your order using our online order form
  • You'll be asked to estimate your order quantity. We'll provide a handy calculator to help.
  • Printer required. Our system is integrated with UPS, so we'll automatically generate a pre-paid UPS shipping label that you'll need to print out from your home or office.
  • Partial payment. When you place your order, you will make a payment equal to roughly half of your order.
  • For custom titles for each reel on your finished DVD, use our DVD titles worksheet on the order form.
  • USA Standard option: Your film will be transferred in our Indianapolis lab with a 4-6 week turnaround time.
  • USA Express option: You can choose to get your film scanned in our Indianapolis labs for a faster turnaround. learn more »

  • Two

    You ship us your items

  • Use a sturdy box, not an envelope. See our packing tips.
  • Fill your box. If your movie film reels are already inside a cover or canister, use those. If not, enclose each reel in a ziploc bag to prevent dust buildup, and make sure that the end of the film is not loose. Be sure to fill your box with padding so that your reels aren't jostled in transit.
  • Label your movie reels to correspond to the DVD Titles Worksheet you filled out when you placed your order. We'll make sure that information is reflected in the final navigation menus of your finished DVD.
  • Drop off your box at a UPS location. Your order is tracked from the minute you hand it to UPS.
  • We'll send you an email when we receive your originals.
  • We will handle the rest of the shipping for your order, which will include transporting it via air freight (the most secure form of shipping in the world), to and from our scanning facility in Indianapolis, IN. read more about our safety »

  • Three

    We scan your movies

  • First, your movie film will be inspected and physically cleaned. Minor repairs (like worn splices) will be performed.
  • Then, your movie film will then be scanned, frame by frame, at HD resolution. No sound is captured at the moment.
  • We will splice together your small reels of film onto a larger 7 inch spool. Your film will be returned to you on the larger spool. Your original empty spools will be returned to you as well.
  • After that, we will perform digital dust & scratch reduction.
  • Then we will prepare your order for television viewing by manually retiming the digital file, without the use of interlacing or pull-down.
  • We will fit as much of your movie film as we can on a single disc, though for quality reasons we will not put more than 2 hours on a given disc.

  • Your Download

  • After you complete the payment, we make the scanned movie files available for download.
  • You may download the scanned movie files to your computer.

  • Four

    We ship your order to you

  • After your order is processed, you will not review it (as you can do with photo orders here at ScanCafe).
  • After your order is processed, we will prepare your USB or DVD, which will be either a standard USB or DVD or Blu-Ray, as you choose. (If you have an HDTV, we recommend Blu-Ray). A standard USB or DVD should play on any DVD player and TV, but a Blu-Ray disc will only play on a Blu-Ray player.
  • The return shipment is sent via UPS and is also trackable during the entire trip to your door. You have the option to request signature delivery at time of final checkout, which means that the package cannot be left at your door without signature from someone at your address.

  • Five

    You enjoy & share!

  • Your Movie USB or DVD will not be copy-protected, so you are free to make copies for friends. That will, however, require knowing how to "burn" DVDs and appropriate "ripping" software. You may find it more convenient to order duplicate USB or DVDs when you place your order.
  • Your discs will contain files that are very large and may not be suitable for sharing directly over the internet. They are designed to be watched on a TV or computer.
  • More questions? read the FAQ »