I have 13,000 ft of 16mm color film and two B&H sound projectors. Also, I have stored away a "Movie Mite" projector and maybe that one has a speed adjustment.
Although I spent a lot of time and money over many years film editing and transfering sound, we never show them anymore. Now I am into digital video and computer editing - DVD production and would like to transfer these to video.
There are countless labs that will do this for 10-20 cents per foot and I am seriously looking into this. However, I am also researching the alternative of doing it myself with one of the several "mirror boxes" What little I have read on this method, seems to indicate that "flicker" will be a problem as my projectors run at a fixed frame rate of 24 fps and video will be 30 fps. Also my Panasonic PV-GS120 camcorder might pick up the grain on the glass and I can't slow the shutter down below 1/60. Some sources say I can correct that with the editing software on my computer.
Has anyone used the mirror boxes like the popular Ambico brand? They seem to be offering many of these things on Ebay, would this method be worthwhile for someone like myself that has always looked for quality? Or should I not waste my time experimenting.
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Originally Posted by rcpetersDonatello - The Shredder? Michelangelo - Maybe all that hardware is for making coleslaw?
Nothing but trouble --- hot spots, bad focus, washed out color. Only reason to use one is if it was something so rare you needed to do it on the spot before say, giving the film back. You would be REALLY disappointed!
I transfer film, and believe me, it is a lot of work just to get some of these films to look presentable and with "decent" color with the exposure varying so much, and trying to keep it all in spec...
Many thanks for the info guys. Telecine=Pull Down, sure learned a lot reading about 3:2 Pull Down. Avid has the software for $500 bucks which can adjust for the 24-30 fps during fire wire transfer.
I did a crude but convincing experiment. I projected some 16 mm film to white matt paper board and video recorded it with my digital camcorder hand held. With a little zoom, I was able to get a full frame with out being in the projector's light beam. Then captured it on my PC with Windows Video Maker. The flicker is apparent, but not as bad as I had expected. Colors were a big disappointment. Even in the LCD viewfinder, they were either too reddish or blueish and appeared grainy on the computer screen when displayed full screen. So, I cancelled all of my auction sniper bids to Ebay for one of those mirror boxes and I will pursue professional lab transfer. However, I think it would be better to edit my film library down to a couple hours of film with family shots with carefully selected travel scenes and have that film transfered to video for transistions, titles and sound editing. I have all of the original film sound tracks on audio tape so I can mix those with background music where appropriate. A couple hours of video should be a manageable project as I have already completed a 45 minute DVD from minidv tape source with very good results.
The MovieStuff folks in Texas are transferring a 100 ft. sample of my film. From what I have read their process should be good enough for me.
I will still be interested in hearing anyone else's experience with white board or mirror box transfers. Particularly those who have done this with 16 mm film.
For best results on short notice, I'll go with what edDV said; that's a great price for some heavy-duty work.
That being said, how much of this is "get everything primo ASAP" and how much is "this could be kind of a fun project, is it at all worthwhile to try this at home?" If it's the former, go with the outsourcing. If it's the latter, then I've had some really good results with the following semi-home-built rig:
* 16mm projector that I got from an old transfer house that was modified with a 5-blade shutter and other tweaks (dunno all the specifics but you could probably look it up) so that the projector still ran at 24fps but there was no flicker when capturing at NTSC 30fps rate. Wasn't too much $$$.
* Some light-reducing filters to go between the blazingly hot projector bulb and the film gate so I don't blow out the tubes in the:
* 3-tube video camera. Not camcorder, older but still very good 3-tube Panasonic video camera that wasn't that great for field work (phosphor lag on moving images), hence the great deal from somebody moving up to a 3ccd camera instead. Also picked up a lens that allowed close focusing on:
* Mirror box. Basically just a front-surface mirror inside a black shell that I mounted on a diagonal between the projector and the camera. Imagine a capital "L" with the camera at the top of the L, the projector on the bottom right, and the mirror box at the right angle. Bolt everything down and tweak like hell to get it all lined up.
What you end up with is a scratch brew "aerial image projector," where the projector isn't really displaying the picture right on the mirror, but between the mirror and the camera, floating in space, and the camera (thanks to the close-up lens) is able to pick that up. You have to cut the light from the projector so you don't overwhelm the pickup tubes, but again if you can find somebody who's got either a modified projector or the parts to modify one yourself, this is part of the deal.
Does this sound like a lot of work and/or a pain in the keister? Again, for me, this was fun, plus I've got all sorts of parts lying around for projects like this so that was a bonus. And the results are pretty darn good! If you've got zillions of feet of film, it can be worth it, depending on how picky you are about the results. It does help if the film is in good condition to start, of course, the less work you have to do to clean it and/or post-production color correction and all that stuff, the better.
Anyway, hope this gives you some more ideas as to whether this is something you want to consider or not.
I made the unfortunate decision to pay over $600 to have my 8mm film transferred to DVD by Film-To-Video.com / Film-To-DVD.com [dba Bruce Mayfield, Santa Fe, NM]. Their manager, Carol, demonstrated the most astounding rudeness that I have ever experienced. Indeed, she was so shockingly ill-mannered that the only place I can imagine such behavior going unnoticed is in New York City. Lack of professionalism aside, the quality of the finished product was no better than what I could have obtained locally for a fraction of the price (and without being subjected to anyone’s appalling lack of manners). Never again! Buyer beware.
B. J. Lowe, Phoenix