Convert Old Home Movies to Digital | Film to DVD | ScanCafe

Convert Old Movies to Digital

Movie film is a very close cousin of photographic negatives and slides, and suffers very similar decay over time. If you need a quality film scanning service to transfer movie formats such as 8mm film to digital, then you have found it in ScanCafe where we turn your old home movies into treasures you can share. Our experienced technicians can digitize 8mm film as well as 16mm, 35 mm and Super 8 movie film.

Here's what the service includes :

  • HD scans to capture details
  • Full frame scanning -- nothing cropped out
  • Scene-by-scene color correction
  • Free digital download and USB Drive or DVD available
  • Amazing value: $0.28 per foot

Order Movie Film Scanning Now
Fading, Scraching, and Color Shift
35mm Movie Film

How Transferring Film to Digital Works

We have designed the whole process to be as PAIN-FREE as possible.

Send
All you have to do is ship your reels to us and we will take care of the rest for you.

ScanCafe's Technicians
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. Your movies will be transferred at our Indianapolis lab with a 3-4 week turnaround time.

Enjoy & Share
At the end, you will have all your movie memories safely transferred from your tapes to a digital download, or DVD or USB drive.

What Sets Our Film to Digital Services Apart

Our Quality

Note differences in frame size, color, and sharpness,. Movie: W Lagrone, 1971

Compare these two stills. They are from the same Super 8 footage--one scanned by a competitor, and one scanned by ScanCafe. Can you see the differences? We'll discuss them in some detail below.

Full Frame HD Scans

Why Full Frame Matters. In the large picture above of a "raw" HD scan of a single Super 8mm frame, the area marked "A" is what you would get with a typical SD scan, even some with "expanded" gates. But that still leaves a lot of your memories on the film, and not on your DVD. In the two smaller stills, taken directly from finished DVDs, you can see that in the competitor DVD you might not ever know there was a man walking by on the beach. Movie: W Lagrone, 1971

Our HD scans are designed to capture every last detail of what's on a movie frame, even if that movie frame image is larger than the traditional area set forth in the official SMPTE spec for 8mm and 16mm film projection and scanning. We do this because we believe your memories are important, and it's a big project to convert your home movies to digital. You only want to do it once. The only part of the frame we crop out are the sprocket holes of the film (some cameras did capture a little information above the sprocket holes). Whether you download the files or get them saved on USB stick or DVD, you will still get the benefit of our HD scanning.

Our Handcrafted Approach

At ScanCafe, we don't digitize 8mm and other movie film by threading your reels onto a machine and coming back when it's finished. Instead, every reel of your order is cleaned, viewed, scanned, and edited by a dedicated technician, who gives your memories the attention they deserve.

A technician will spend approximately up to 2 hours per movie film reel addressing all of the issues below, and then some. Handcrafted attention to your memories is the only way to ensure quality in the film to digital transfer process. For each movie reel we perform:

Physical Inspection, Cleaning, and Simple Repairs

Physical Inspection, Cleaning, and Simple Repairs
Old movie film can have many problems, like deteriorated splices, curling, stains, and splotches. Your order begins with a thorough inspection, and your film will be spot cleaned and simple repairs like bad splices will be handled for you at no additional charge. We will also splice 50-foot reels together onto archival 400-foot reels.

Manual Full Frame (HD) Scans

Manual Full Frame (HD) Scans
Because movie cameras were very different in how much of the film they exposed, we have to manually adjust for each reel in order to give you the maximum amount of image. Automated services simply make all images the exact same size and crop. We will splice together your small reels of film onto a larger 7 inch spool. Once your old movie is transferred, your film will be returned to you on the larger spoo, along with your original empty spools.

Scene-by-scene Color Correction

Scene-by-scene Color Correction
Other services, if they offer any color correction at all, might correct the entire reel based on the first few minutes of the reel (among Hollywood studio professionals, that's referred to as "one-light" color correction.) But our experience is that color correction needs vary from scene to scene, and so correction needs to be tailored to each scene.

Manual Retiming

Manual Retiming
Old movie film was not meant to run at the same speed as your television, so in the process of digitizing your movie film, the speed must be adjusted. Automated services have to guess at how to do this speed adjustment based on what type of movie film you have--but even 8mm film had as many as 4 different possible film speeds! The only way to truly figure out how to adjust your old movie film for speed is to adjust it first, then look at it, and adjust again until the motion seems normal to a trained human eye.

No Interlacing

No Interlacing
Another problem in retiming your old home movie film is what technique you use to make sure the film looks fine when it runs on television. Most services use a process called interlacing to adjust the speed of your film for television; the problem is, interlacing can cause annoying visual problems in some players when you play your DVD on your computer. Because we think you should be able to enjoy your movies on your computer too, we use a technique that will minimize those problems.

Custom DVD Title Generation for Optional DVD

Custom DVD Title Generation for Optional DVD
Titles--that is, how you navigate the contents of the DVD--are not an afterthought best left up to a computer. We allow you to name each reel, and we create a beautiful DVD whose titles will remind you more than a little of the last Hollywood movie you bought. We want watching your movie film memories to be a popcorn-and-soda experience for the whole family.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why standard definition?
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Do you clean my movie film?
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How do I know how much movie film I have?
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How should I organize my movie film prior to sending it in?
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What type of movie film do I have?
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