How Movie Film Scanning Works at ScanCafe | ScanCafe - How Film Scan Works | ScanCafe

How Movie Film Scanning Works at ScanCafe

Our approach to scanning film 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

One

Placing 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 deposit payment of 50% of your total scanning fees, based on what you estimated when placing the order.
  • For custom titles for each reel on your finished film files, we recommend clearly labeling your reels and/or providing a titling sheet.
  • USA Standard option: Your film will be transferred at our Indianapolis lab with a 3-4 week turnaround time.
  • USA Express option: You can choose to get your film scanned in our Indianapolis labs for a faster turnaround.


  • Two

    Ship Your Film to ScanCafe’s Lab


  • Use a sturdy box, not an envelope. See our packing tips to ensure your film doesn’t get damaged.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • *Turnaround time depends on the type of media sent in the order. Updated estimate turnaround time is provided when we receive your order.


  • 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.
  • 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.



  • Get Your Download



  • After you complete the payment, we make the scanned movie files available for download.
  • A free digital download is available with your order by default. If you are interested in a USB file, you may select this option when placing your order.
  • 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 have a review option before finalizing payment (as you can do with photo orders here at ScanCafe).
  • After you finalize your order payment, we will prepare your Digital Download or USB.
  • 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 the time of final checkout, which means that the package cannot be left at your door without a signature from someone at your address.


  • Five

    Enjoy and share your film!


  • Your movie files will not be copy-protected, so you are free to make copies for friends. You may find it more convenient to order duplicate USBs when you place your order, and let us take care of that work for you.
  • 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.
  • Read our FAQs for more questions.
  • Award-winning quality and guaranteed safety at industry-beating prices. Start Your Film Transfer Now