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.
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
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
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?
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.
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
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
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.
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.