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The History of Motion Picture Film for the Home User

Back in the day before digital cameras, before video cameras and VCR’s, family activities were recorded on 8mm film, Super 8mm film and to some extent on 16mm film. In 1922, 16mm motion picture film was introduced by Eastman Kodak as the first amateur film gauge. The film, cameras and projectors were all fairly expensive at the time and were not commonly found in your average household because of the tough economic times that the country was going through. Previous to this, motion picture film was available in a 35mm format but was highly flammable and reserved for Hollywood and professional film makers only.
In 1932 Eastman Kodak introduced a brand new film gauge that was based on the 16mm format. The frame size was 1/4th the size of its predecessor and came on 25-foot reels that required splitting and once spliced together yielded double the length of film that you started out with. The end result after processing left you with a 50’ reel that contained around 3 minutes of viewable film. It was then called “Double 8mm” or “Double Run 8mm.” Today it is known almost universally as “Regular” or “Standard 8mm film”.
At the end of World War II the economy was given a big boost with the return of GI’s from overseas and taking home movies became a big hit with American families.
The 60’s brought us a lot of new changes in the film manufacturing industry. In 1965 Eastman Kodak introduced the newest film gauge known as “SUPER 8mm film”. This new film as well as regular 8mm was 8mm wide, but had smaller sprocket holes, which resulted in an increased image area of 25%. This was a huge improvement. Unfortunately with the advent of this new super film, it also required that you purchase a new camera as well as a new projector.
By the late 70’s the end was near for movie film as a way that American families captured their family history. A format war erupted as Sony with Betamax and JVC with VHS had competing systems that were totally incompatible with each other. VHS won over the apparently superior Betamax which had a smaller cassette and is widely said to have a better picture quality than the VHS format. This has become a classic case study in marketing.
You may be surprised to learn that in many cases filmed home movies from the 40’s and 50’s have held up better than VHS or camcorder tapes from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. Numerous studies about videotape longevity and stability indicate that the quality of videotapes deteriorates each time they are viewed and will significantly deteriorate after several years even if not viewed regularly.
The rate of inevitable video tape deterioration is related to the environment that they are stored in. With heat and humidity being the biggest factors, proper storage has a huge impact on life expectancy. The most common form of physical damage to videotape is running tapes through a VCR that is old or has not been properly maintained.
We perform all work on-site, using the same state-of-the-art equipment used by the Academy of Motion Picture Film Archives for true frame-by-frame scanning, at up to full 1080p High-Definition. Prior to scanning, your films are inspected, with splices replaced if needed, cleaned and lubricated. Basic post-processing is then performed to adjust color, contrast and brightness.

 

Sample Clip done in our lab:  1957 8mm Kodachrome

How can I tell how many feet of film I have?

Answer:

Please look at the following illustration as well as the chart below to help you decide the type of film you have as well as how many feet of film you have. The number of feet and amount of times are approximations.

8mm-Super 8mm

7 inch reel in diameter = 400 feet = 30 minutes
5 inch reel in diameter = 200 feet = 15 minutes
3 inch reel in diameter = 50 feet = 3 minutes

16mm

15 inch reel in diameter = 2300ft = 64minutes
13 11/16 inch reel in diameter = 1600ft = 45minutes
12 ¼ inch reel in diameter = 1200ft = 34minutes
10 ½ inch reel in diameter = 800ft = 22minutes
7 inch reel in diameter = 400ft = 11minutes
5 inch reel in diameter = 200ft = 6minutes

 

  • All films are cleaned, old splices removed and replaced, transferred to 400' reels where needed and returned to you for long-term archival storage.
  • Transfers are done in-house using a frame-by-frame digital capture process to assure the best image quality possible.
  
Pricing for Basic Transfer service: 
8MM, Super8 and 16MM movie film.
$59.99 for the first 250 feet of Film per disk.
  • Additional footage up to 1,600 feet total per DVD disc, approx. 2 hours of viewing:
    • Silent film: $0.16 per foot
    • Sound Film: $0.50 per foot
Optional Additional Services:
  • Full standard-resolution Digital Video file in AVI format to bare 1TB hard drive:
    • Bare 3.5 inch SATA drive (we provide): $120.00* up to 400 feet, $0.10 per foot therafter. (*) Prices for drives may vary according to market.
    • Bare 3.5 inch SATA drive (customer provided): $50.00 up to 400 feet; $0.10 fer foot therafter.

    NOTE:

    • Hard drives we provide come with the manufacturers warranty. Customer provided drives must be new factory sealed drives. Drives will be formatted for use on PC.
    • Use of an external drive dock such a the ThermalTake 5G available thru Amazon and other online suppliers is recommended. External dock, internal installation in customers PC, or use of other suitable drive enclosure will be required by customer to access video files.
 
VHS or Camcorder tapes to transfer?  Click here...

 

 
 

8MM Kodachrome (1956)

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Rancho Santa Margarita, CA

 949-858-7465

 

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