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  1. Hello!

    I am trying to help my Dad get 3,200 feet of 8mm film from his childhood transferred and restored. This 8mm film is from the 1950s up through the early 1980s. I'd like the absolute best restoration possible (grain removal, color correction, stabilization, etc.). I am not able to do it myself, so I'd like to send it to a professional company. I was wondering, does anyone have any companies that they'd recommend?

    The two companies I'm leaning toward are Memorable (found here: https://gomemorable.com/) and Video Conversion Experts (found here: http://www.videoconversionexperts.com/). Both companies specialize in 8mm restoration, and they use sprocketless scanners and perform grain removal, color correction, and stabilization. They appear to be the best companies I can find, but I'll take any recommendations I can get. Price isn't an issue. Memorable will do all my footage for $830, and Video Conversion Experts estimates it'd cost me $2,000. I don't see much of a difference between the two companies though, so I'm leaning toward Memorable. (But if anyone can point out a huge difference that favors Video Conversion Experts, let me know).

    A quick note: I'm not at all interested in DVDs, I'd much rather just have digital files of the highest quality. That way, I can make my own DVDs and make them the way I want (I don't need somebody adding some goofy menus or music or bells and whistles - I just want a straight transfer). I'd also just like to have the digital copies since they'd be higher quality than anything put on a DVD.

    Additionally - the only thing I'm unable to find is a company that's local to me (I live in Philadelphia). That way I could drive the footage directly to the place and pick it up. I'm a little nervous about sending all of our 8mm footage in the mail and would be devastated if it was lost. So any companies on the East Coast (I'd drive to pretty much anywhere between New York, New Jersey, Philly, etc.) would be incredible. Sadly, I can't find a single company that matches Memorable and Video Conversion Experts on the East Coast.

    I'll end there - thanks so much in advance for any help or advice!!!

    Have a good one,
    Tony
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  2. The videoconversionexperts site looks promising.

    Send one reel of film to whichever place you pick and then see if you like the result. Don't send everything in at once.

    You definitely should rethink your statement, "I'm not at all interested in DVDs." The reason you need to have DVDs is that they are the ONLY thing that will likely last as long as you, and probably your offspring. Thumb drives, disk drives, "the cloud," and every other digital storage media is not likely to last more than 10-15 years. Accelerated aging tests on DVDs suggest that good quality media will likely last 100 years or more. Because of DVDs success, you will likely be able to find players that will play them for decades and decades to come. As proof of that statement, the audio CD was introduced around 1983, and 35 years later (over 1/3 of a century) you can easily find players.

    I do film transfer and restoration for a living so, because I do it myself, I don't know which companies do the best job. The most important thing is to get the best possible transfer. Once you have that, you can do the restoration at a later time, possibly using a different firm than the one that did the transfer. So, pick the company based on the quality of their transfer, and not on their restoration skills.

    The key to getting a good transfer is using the best equipment. The Spirit or Cintel transfer systems are the best, and is what "Hollywood" uses. Obviously, the transfer must be "frame accurate," which both these systems will do.

    For 8mm, you should ask whether they will transfer the image that is located in between the sprockets. This is something many people don't know about, but many 8mm cameras actually took an image that was the full width of the frame. When projected, the projector gate masks off the image between the two sprocket holes. There can sometimes be some very interesting and precious material in that missing 20% of the frame. I always transfer it, and then either include it, with the sprocket holes masked off, or with duplicate material inserted into the sprocket holes; or I mask it for the DVD, but keep extra material on the editable files stored on the disk drive.

    As for sending the material outside of your local area, there is obviously a small risk any time anything gets shipped, but if you use FedEx (the most reliable carrier, IMHO) you'll be pretty safe. Some of the high-volume transfer places send the stuff overseas for the actual transfer. ScanCafe, for instance, sends everything to India.

    As for pricing, basic transfers can be had, via Costco or Walmart (both of whom send their transfers to YesVideo) for as little as $0.13/foot (that is how film transfers are priced). Most other places usually have pricing somewhere around $0.30/foot, with additional charges for each DVD burned, for the disk drive, etc. Your $2,000 quote comes out to almost $0.63/foot, which is quite high.

    Only a few places offer restoration, and not all of them do a complete restoration job. Also, some restoration steps don't necessarily make the film more watchable. In particular, I am not a huge fan of grain reduction, because it can introduce artifacts if not done properly. Sharpening, which can improve apparent detail, can also ruin the look of the film.

    I don't do restoration for the general public, so I am not offering my services. However, you might want to glance at this "before/after" clip I created for a client to see some of what can be done. For most amateur film, the things that make the biggest difference are: gamma correction; color correction; stabilization; and dirt removal. On some clips, flicker reduction can be really important, as you will see in some of the clips in the middle of this short featurette:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tBAHzO7rJS0

    Film should always be cleaned before transferring, but home movie film usually hasn't been handled professionally and so has a large amount of embedded dirt. Digitally removing this dirt is possibly the most important restoration step.

    BTW, if any of your film is scratched, you need to inquire about whether they can do "wet gate" transfers. It is the only practical way to remove scratches, because they cannot easily be removed digitally without a LOT of operator work, something you won't get even at $0.63/foot.
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  3. Dinosaur Supervisor KarMa's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by johnmeyer View Post
    You definitely should rethink your statement, "I'm not at all interested in DVDs." The reason you need to have DVDs is that they are the ONLY thing that will likely last as long as you, and probably your offspring. Thumb drives, disk drives, "the cloud," and every other digital storage media is not likely to last more than 10-15 years. Accelerated aging tests on DVDs suggest that good quality media will likely last 100 years or more. Because of DVDs success, you will likely be able to find players that will play them for decades and decades to come. As proof of that statement, the audio CD was introduced around 1983, and 35 years later (over 1/3 of a century) you can easily find players.
    OP clearly said that they would rather do a DVD transfer themselves rather than have the transfer house do it for them. Especially if this is the only copy you get back from the company. Personally I would rather have a higher quality original file than a MPEG2 video that's DVD-Video compliant as my only copy. I don't think it's a matter of OP hating the DVD optical disc as a means of data storage but the DVD-Video with template menus that OP takes issue with. And I would too, data storage is cheap and there are better quality alternatives to DVD-Video like lossless, H.264, or even the JPEG/TIFF/RAW originals that were produced while the film was being capture.

    As far as optical discs being the best way to store data for the long term, I would mostly agree with that. I have my own cold data storage containing nothing but DVDs and Blurays with added PAR2 recovery data. But in the end you really just don't know, and every brand and batch of discs can perform very differently. I regularly visit reddit.com/r/DataHoarder/, and over there I've either talked with or simply read other people's problems with optical disc. Ranging from having minor trouble backing up CD-Rs from the 90s to someone buying expensive Japanese DVD-Rs in 2000s and then losing most of his TB collection in recent years as the dye became unreadable. Personally I've never had any trouble reading my own late 90s CD-Rs or 2000s DVD-Rs, and I always bought the cheap stuff too. But I have had failed HDDs.
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  4. Member
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    Captain,
    I went through a similar 8mm and 16mm transfer saga back in 2006 and then again in 2012. I documented my experience in this July 28, 2014 thread.
    https://forum.videohelp.com/threads/279366-8mm-film-to-dvd-and-which-video-transfer-system-to-use

    creakndale
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  5. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Going with either of those places would be a huge mistake.
    Read this: Suggested Film to DVD Professional Transfer/Conversion Services

    "videoconversionexperts.com" has always had a lot of BS/FUD and bad examples on the site, going back 10+ years.
    For example, right now: "Be aware, a DVD will not play back in Windows 10, Apple OS 10.7 or any OS after these" < That's 100% horseplop.
    Don't trust those people.
    Many of their examples have the ringing/halos from hell.

    Wetgate is honestly a necessity, not an option. It's the difference between quality and a polished turd.
    Want my help? Ask here! (not via PM!)
    FAQs: Best Blank DiscsBest TBCsBest VCRs for captureRestore VHS
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  6. Originally Posted by KarMa View Post
    OP clearly said that they would rather do a DVD transfer themselves rather than have the transfer house do it for them. Especially if this is the only copy you get back from the company. Personally I would rather have a higher quality original file than a MPEG2 video that's DVD-Video compliant as my only copy. I don't think it's a matter of OP hating the DVD optical disc as a means of data storage but the DVD-Video with template menus that OP takes issue with. And I would too, data storage is cheap and there are better quality alternatives to DVD-Video like lossless, H.264, or even the JPEG/TIFF/RAW originals that were produced while the film was being capture.
    True enough, but the way he worded it made it sound like he might, or might not, get around to doing them. Since the whole point of this exercise is to get the movies in a format that is likely to last as long as the movie films lasted (90+ years for many films I've transferred), DVD is the only option.

    Here's some film from 1928 that I transferred, timed to play at 12 frames per second (the original speed, as near as I could tell). Will your digital transfer still be playable in ninety years? DVD is the only option that has a prayer of still being viable after that amount of time.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1YekFxBYKNM

    Should he encode to h.264 or h.265 and put those on a data DVD rather than encode using MPEG-2 and then authoring a traditional video DVD that will play in any set top DVD player? I don't think it will make any difference whatsoever in what you see on the screen. The reason for this is that even 16mm amateur (not professional) film is pretty low res, and has so many issues and quality problems that the quality of the encoding will seldom add or subtract enough from the end result to be any real factor.

    This is even true of capturing in HD. I do use an HD camera when capturing, but then I have the camera do a down-res to SD. I have compared the end result to keeping the end result in HD and for 8mm (the lowest resolution film format, by far) and even Super 8, I cannot detect any difference. For some 16mm material, HD does produce a better result, but not by much.

    I like doing a traditional, authored DVD, because you can do menus and provide navigation that can be quite useful, especially for people who might view this decades from now and not be familiar with the material.

    And speaking of not being familiar with the material, I always tell my clients to play the DVD in front of their parents, if they are still alive, and use an audio recording device to capture what they say when they view the film. I then have them send that to me and I create a new DVD that is identical, except it now has a sound track. Here is one such result:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d2dcV7hUOJA
    Last edited by johnmeyer; 25th Apr 2018 at 13:15.
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  7. Member
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    Originally Posted by johnmeyer View Post
    You definitely should rethink your statement, "I'm not at all interested in DVDs." The reason you need to have DVDs is that they are the ONLY thing that will likely last as long as you, and probably your offspring.
    How do you put a 16 or 18 fps film on DVD-Video?
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  8. Originally Posted by JVRaines View Post
    Originally Posted by johnmeyer View Post
    You definitely should rethink your statement, "I'm not at all interested in DVDs." The reason you need to have DVDs is that they are the ONLY thing that will likely last as long as you, and probably your offspring.
    How do you put a 16 or 18 fps film on DVD-Video?
    You use hard-coded pulldown (repeated fields), just like 24 fps film has been shown on TV for years. I use Vegas and, by turning off "smart resampling," it pads out the video with added fields.

    I also have several AVISynth scripts I developed that do this. For instance, for 18 fps, this works:

    Code:
    separatefields()
    selectevery(6, 0,1, 0,1, 2,3, 2,5, 4,5)
    weave()
    This is a more generic way of doing it:

    Code:
    ChangeFPS(60000,1001)
    AssumeBFF() # or TFF, as required
    SeparateFields()
    SelectEvery(4, 0, 3)
    weave()


    When doing 18 fps (Super 8), you can even use some tricks to encode it using special (non-standard) "soft" pulldown, meaning that the encoding is actually done at 18 fps, but the player adds the pulldown at playback time. This has the advantage that players which can ignore the pulldown flag can actually show you the film at its original cadence (i.e., fps).

    You also have the option of synthesizing intermediate frames in order to create something that "feels" more like video. I did that with the following early 1940s 16 fps film because, at 16 fps, the horizontal judder when the camera pans while following the parade was very distracting. Using motion estimation to create the intermediate frames completely eliminates the judder, but does create artifacts. This film clip does an excellent job showing some pretty nasty ones (you'll see the antlers on the moose morph and break as it passes by):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8HjRN0rw5M
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  9. Member
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    Okay, that's what I thought. From a preservation standpoint, users should be aware that hard pulldown changes the film into something else. Maybe it's enhanced, but it's not a faithful representation of the original. In the archival work that I do, we prefer digital video files that can run at the same rate as the original.
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  10. Originally Posted by johnmeyer View Post
    The videoconversionexperts site looks promising.

    Send one reel of film to whichever place you pick and then see if you like the result. Don't send everything in at once.

    You definitely should rethink your statement, "I'm not at all interested in DVDs." The reason you need to have DVDs is that they are the ONLY thing that will likely last as long as you, and probably your offspring. Thumb drives, disk drives, "the cloud," and every other digital storage media is not likely to last more than 10-15 years. Accelerated aging tests on DVDs suggest that good quality media will likely last 100 years or more. Because of DVDs success, you will likely be able to find players that will play them for decades and decades to come. As proof of that statement, the audio CD was introduced around 1983, and 35 years later (over 1/3 of a century) you can easily find players.

    I do film transfer and restoration for a living so, because I do it myself, I don't know which companies do the best job. The most important thing is to get the best possible transfer. Once you have that, you can do the restoration at a later time, possibly using a different firm than the one that did the transfer. So, pick the company based on the quality of their transfer, and not on their restoration skills.

    The key to getting a good transfer is using the best equipment. The Spirit or Cintel transfer systems are the best, and is what "Hollywood" uses. Obviously, the transfer must be "frame accurate," which both these systems will do.

    For 8mm, you should ask whether they will transfer the image that is located in between the sprockets. This is something many people don't know about, but many 8mm cameras actually took an image that was the full width of the frame. When projected, the projector gate masks off the image between the two sprocket holes. There can sometimes be some very interesting and precious material in that missing 20% of the frame. I always transfer it, and then either include it, with the sprocket holes masked off, or with duplicate material inserted into the sprocket holes; or I mask it for the DVD, but keep extra material on the editable files stored on the disk drive.

    As for sending the material outside of your local area, there is obviously a small risk any time anything gets shipped, but if you use FedEx (the most reliable carrier, IMHO) you'll be pretty safe. Some of the high-volume transfer places send the stuff overseas for the actual transfer. ScanCafe, for instance, sends everything to India.

    As for pricing, basic transfers can be had, via Costco or Walmart (both of whom send their transfers to YesVideo) for as little as $0.13/foot (that is how film transfers are priced). Most other places usually have pricing somewhere around $0.30/foot, with additional charges for each DVD burned, for the disk drive, etc. Your $2,000 quote comes out to almost $0.63/foot, which is quite high.

    Only a few places offer restoration, and not all of them do a complete restoration job. Also, some restoration steps don't necessarily make the film more watchable. In particular, I am not a huge fan of grain reduction, because it can introduce artifacts if not done properly. Sharpening, which can improve apparent detail, can also ruin the look of the film.

    I don't do restoration for the general public, so I am not offering my services. However, you might want to glance at this "before/after" clip I created for a client to see some of what can be done. For most amateur film, the things that make the biggest difference are: gamma correction; color correction; stabilization; and dirt removal. On some clips, flicker reduction can be really important, as you will see in some of the clips in the middle of this short featurette:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tBAHzO7rJS0

    Film should always be cleaned before transferring, but home movie film usually hasn't been handled professionally and so has a large amount of embedded dirt. Digitally removing this dirt is possibly the most important restoration step.

    BTW, if any of your film is scratched, you need to inquire about whether they can do "wet gate" transfers. It is the only practical way to remove scratches, because they cannot easily be removed digitally without a LOT of operator work, something you won't get even at $0.63/foot.

    Hi John! Thanks so much for your response and for all of your detailed information, I really appreciate it! Concerning the DVD vs. digital, that's a good point about the DVD. I was hoping to make my own DVD, so I certainly wasn't discounting the option of having a DVD. It's just that some transfer companies emphasize how "fancy" their DVDs are (they put in added music, menus, sound effects, etc.), and I could care less about any of that. I just want a company who will give me a fantastic looking transfer and some restoration (I would love to do restoration myself but don't think I'll have the time or knowledge), hence why I said I wasn't interested in a company producing a nice DVD.

    However, I'll be sure to keep in mind what you said about DVDs. For my current home videos that I take of my family, I don't have any DVD backups however. I have everything backed up digitally. I have 3 hard drives at my own home containing all of our videos, and my Dad stores a hard drive at his house of all the same videos. So between the 4 hard drives in 2 different locations, I always assumed we had everything backed up very well. I certainly understand that hard drives do not last as long as DVDs, however I frequently plug in all 4 hard drives and just figured I'd replace them as needed. I take far too many videos nowadays to do a DVD backup of everything haha, so this is how I'll likely store all of my videos.

    I plug my 3rd hard drive into a WDTV which is plugged into my 60" screen TV. This has been a really fun way to view all of my home videos with my kids - I thought I'd simply add my Dad's videos to this collection. But I do appreciate your advice about DVDs, I will back up the old footage on DVDs. I'll also be sure to ask the questions you recommended - thanks again! And I checked out your video, your restoration is amazing!!!
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  11. Originally Posted by KarMa View Post
    Originally Posted by johnmeyer View Post
    You definitely should rethink your statement, "I'm not at all interested in DVDs." The reason you need to have DVDs is that they are the ONLY thing that will likely last as long as you, and probably your offspring. Thumb drives, disk drives, "the cloud," and every other digital storage media is not likely to last more than 10-15 years. Accelerated aging tests on DVDs suggest that good quality media will likely last 100 years or more. Because of DVDs success, you will likely be able to find players that will play them for decades and decades to come. As proof of that statement, the audio CD was introduced around 1983, and 35 years later (over 1/3 of a century) you can easily find players.
    OP clearly said that they would rather do a DVD transfer themselves rather than have the transfer house do it for them. Especially if this is the only copy you get back from the company. Personally I would rather have a higher quality original file than a MPEG2 video that's DVD-Video compliant as my only copy. I don't think it's a matter of OP hating the DVD optical disc as a means of data storage but the DVD-Video with template menus that OP takes issue with. And I would too, data storage is cheap and there are better quality alternatives to DVD-Video like lossless, H.264, or even the JPEG/TIFF/RAW originals that were produced while the film was being capture.

    As far as optical discs being the best way to store data for the long term, I would mostly agree with that. I have my own cold data storage containing nothing but DVDs and Blurays with added PAR2 recovery data. But in the end you really just don't know, and every brand and batch of discs can perform very differently. I regularly visit reddit.com/r/DataHoarder/, and over there I've either talked with or simply read other people's problems with optical disc. Ranging from having minor trouble backing up CD-Rs from the 90s to someone buying expensive Japanese DVD-Rs in 2000s and then losing most of his TB collection in recent years as the dye became unreadable. Personally I've never had any trouble reading my own late 90s CD-Rs or 2000s DVD-Rs, and I always bought the cheap stuff too. But I have had failed HDDs.

    Thanks Karma! Yes, that is what I meant - I do plan to do a DVD transfer eventually (but on my own), but I'm most interested in the highest quality digital file for now. And in order to be burned onto a DVD, wouldn't the original digital file have to be compressed and therefore "downgraded" in quality? For this reason, the digital file is more valuable to me (I'd much rather watch the original file on my TV via my external hard drive plugged into my WDTV as opposed to watching a downgraded DVD). This is just me though. I have 4 external hard drives stored in 2 separate houses, I check them regularly and buy new hard drives when they fail (though none of ever failed yet), so I feel pretty secure about not losing my data.
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  12. Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
    Going with either of those places would be a huge mistake.
    Read this: Suggested Film to DVD Professional Transfer/Conversion Services

    "videoconversionexperts.com" has always had a lot of BS/FUD and bad examples on the site, going back 10+ years.
    For example, right now: "Be aware, a DVD will not play back in Windows 10, Apple OS 10.7 or any OS after these" < That's 100% horseplop.
    Don't trust those people.
    Many of their examples have the ringing/halos from hell.

    Wetgate is honestly a necessity, not an option. It's the difference between quality and a polished turd.
    Hi Lordsmurf! Thank you very, very much for this information, this was extremely helpful! I read through just about all of the post that you linked here. It sounds like you are definitely recommending that I do not choose either Video Conversion Experts nor Memorable.

    Do you have a preference between Cinepost and Cinelab? Also, do you have a preference as to what kind of services I should choose from them? (They offer many different restoration options, I'm not sure which options would give me the very best restoration and quality). Thank you so much again for your very helpful information!!
    Quote Quote  
  13. Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
    Going with either of those places would be a huge mistake.
    Read this: Suggested Film to DVD Professional Transfer/Conversion Services

    "videoconversionexperts.com" has always had a lot of BS/FUD and bad examples on the site, going back 10+ years.
    For example, right now: "Be aware, a DVD will not play back in Windows 10, Apple OS 10.7 or any OS after these" < That's 100% horseplop.
    Don't trust those people.
    Many of their examples have the ringing/halos from hell.

    Wetgate is honestly a necessity, not an option. It's the difference between quality and a polished turd.
    PS: Lordsmurf, do you have an opinion on Cinelicious (found here: http://cinelicious.tv/), Film and Video Transfers (found here: http://www.thetransferstation.com/), or The Digital Convert (found here: http://www.thedigitalconvert.com/)? They were also mentioned in the thread you gave me, I thought I'd ask you for your opinion on them. Thank you so much once again for your help and advice!!!
    Quote Quote  
  14. Originally Posted by creakndale View Post
    Captain,
    I went through a similar 8mm and 16mm transfer saga back in 2006 and then again in 2012. I documented my experience in this July 28, 2014 thread.
    https://forum.videohelp.com/threads/279366-8mm-film-to-dvd-and-which-video-transfer-system-to-use

    creakndale
    Great to know, thanks so much for sharing creakndale!! Looks like the company you went with is sadly now out of business though, that is a shame.

    Another question - looks like this eBay offer from CinePost is still available (the one mentioned in the thread LordSmurf posted):

    https://www.ebay.com/p/Cinepost-Wetgate-Film-Transfer-to-ProRes-HD-1080-of-8mm-or-16mm...75.m4097.l9055

    Great deal! I'm wondering, does this include all of the restoration services they offer, or is it just a basic transfer? I'll ask them and let you guys know when they get back to me. Thanks!
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  15. So I e-mailed several companies that were recommended on the thread LordSmurf provided. So far, I've heard back from The Digital Convert and CinePost. Their replies to me are below. They both offer WetGate services and other restoration. They also both offer MP4 digital files as well as ProRes files. The Digital Convert offers DVDs for free. Both look good, although The Digital Convert is a little cheaper. Any feedback is more than welcome:

    The Digital Convert

    Hi Tony!

    We'd be happy transfer your 8mm films! Our standard transfer is $0.30/ft and includes basic color and exposure correction, as well as image stabilization. For restoration, we offer two options: Wetgate Scanning and Software Restoration. Our Wetgate scanning applies a liquid to the film as it passes through the scanner to fill in scratches and remove excess dust and dirt. The restoration software further removes dust and scratches that may have been missed by the wetgate, as well as reduces grain and increases sharpness. Individually, these options are an additional $0.15/ft, but bundled together are $0.25/ft. I've attached a sample frame illustrating our various restoration options.

    3200ft with Wetgate+Restoration would be around $1,760.

    We won't add any music to the films as we strive to preserve and enhance the original films faithfully. You'll receive full HD files with your films displaying in the original aspect ratio so you don't lose any information. For orders over 400ft we include a set of playable DVDs at no extra charge. We can also author Blu-Ray discs for $30 per disc, if you're interested. Normally we provide our customers with MP4 files for their films, but upon request we can deliver uncompressed Apple ProRes Files. Although it is an Apple codec, it is compatible with Mac and Windows. You may need to install additional drivers, but we will include those on your hard drive. We can give you both the uncompressed ProRes files as well as the compressed MP4s for easy viewing and sharing. ProRes files are very large, equaling about 1GB/min, so for 3200ft you will need at least 240GB of free space. A 1TB drive should be more than enough.



    CinePost

    Hi Tony,

    We are a full service post production facility and we have the ability to do grain reduction and stabilization. Usually stabilization isn’t needed since our telecine runs smooth (unless the film is damaged/warped). Typically you want to see some grain since that lets you know you’re in focus, and HD transfers will show film grain especially with 8mm.

    Once the film is transferred to a digital format we could do additional digital restoration work as needed. Here’s a quick breakdown of cost for a 3,200ft. film transfer project:

    64 x 100ft. of 8mm xfer to ProRes HD + MP4 @ $22/ea = $1,408

    4 hours prep/breakdown @ $50/hr = $200

    1TB USB3 hard drive @ $100

    Total = $1,708 + shipping

    For digital restoration work we would charge an additional $10/roll to add stabilization or grain reduction ($640 if we did all 3,200ft.), but you may decide it’s not needed after seeing some samples from your material. We could upload MP4’s for you to review and then do additional work if you request it. The ProRes files will be your “archival master” copy that can be viewed with QuickTime on a PC or edited with most video editing applications. The MP4 copies will play back in most video playback applications so those would be what you use to exhibit the film and play on your TV.
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  16. They both sound quite good.
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  17. Originally Posted by johnmeyer View Post
    They both sound quite good.
    Thanks John!! Yeah, I was surprised to see that they both offered WetGate services. I'll let everyone know who I go with and what the results are like. Thanks so much again everyone!!!
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  18. Hi again everyone!

    It's very clear that CinePost is the most recommended 8mm transfer company! The only problem for me is that it's out of my budget (I can't afford to spend much more than $1,000), so I am looking for a possible cheaper alternative. Memorable is the best alternative I've found, and they're having a fantastic sale at the moment (it'd be about $800 for my 3,200 feet of 8mm film as opposed to $2,000 from CinePost).

    I was curious how Memorable's transfer/restoration compared to CinePost, so I e-mailed them and asked if they could compare their services to CinePost. This was their response:

    "Looking at the samples on their website, the 8mm transfers lose focus both on the left and right side of the gate. We use a sprocketless scanning process to digitize 8mm film which produces edge to edge focus, stabilizes the footage, removes dust, reduces grain, and color corrects the original."

    I found this interesting. I am honestly (and clearly, haha) a complete novice to all of this, but is this true? Does some of CinePost's sample footage lose focus on the left and right side?

    I am also curious how sprocketless scanning compares to CinePost's WetGate transfer (and which process has the advantage).

    Thought this was interesting to share here. Thanks all!
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  19. Hi again everyone!

    It's very clear that CinePost is the most recommended 8mm transfer company! The only problem for me is that it's out of my budget (I can't afford to spend much more than $1,000), so I am looking for a possible cheaper alternative. Memorable is the best alternative I've found, and they're having a fantastic sale at the moment (it'd be about $800 for my 3,200 feet of 8mm film as opposed to $2,000 from CinePost).

    I was curious how Memorable's transfer/restoration compared to CinePost, so I e-mailed them and asked if they could compare their services to CinePost. This was their response:

    "Looking at the samples on their website, the 8mm transfers lose focus both on the left and right side of the gate. We use a sprocketless scanning process to digitize 8mm film which produces edge to edge focus, stabilizes the footage, removes dust, reduces grain, and color corrects the original."

    I found this interesting. I am honestly (and clearly, haha) a complete novice to all of this, but is this true? Does some of CinePost's sample footage lose focus on the left and right side?

    I am also curious how sprocketless scanning compares to CinePost's WetGate transfer (and which process has the advantage).

    Thought this was interesting to share here. Thanks all!
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  20. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    It's all about wetgate. No amount of magic will outperform it, no matter the claims or marketing. Wetgate removes debris, diminishes scratches. Wetgate almost always is combined with pre-capture film cleaning.

    "sprocketless scanning" looks to be a marketing term exclusive to Memorable. So pretty useless. Zero information on exactly how dirt, dust, debris (hair, etc), and scratches are actually handled.

    You get what you pay for. Perhaps save up?

    You're talking archival/restored film work vs. just transferring it as-is.

    At worst, give each a test of 1 reel. Compare results. (And please share those with me!)

    This is probably what you should expect: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HOCfXuVJrPo

    Avisynth can't fix it like wet-gate can. But Avisynth after wet-gate can be pretty impressive, removing the remaining junk entirely.
    Last edited by lordsmurf; 1st May 2018 at 10:11.
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  21. Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
    It's all about wetgate. No amount of magic will outperform it, no matter the claims or marketing. Wetgate removes debris, diminishes scratches. Wetgate almost always is combined with pre-capture film cleaning.

    "sprocketless scanning" looks to be a marketing term exclusive to Memorable. So pretty useless. Zero information on exactly how dirt, dust, debris (hair, etc), and scratches are actually handled.

    You get what you pay for. Perhaps save up?

    You're talking archival/restored film work vs. just transferring it as-is.

    At worst, give each a test of 1 reel. Compare results. (And please share those with me!)

    This is probably what you should expect: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HOCfXuVJrPo

    Avisynth can't fix it like wet-gate can. But Avisynth after wet-gate can be pretty impressive, removing the remaining junk entirely.

    Hey lordsmurf! Thanks so much for the response, I really appreciate it. Yeah, I agree, I haven't seen too much information about sprocketless scanners online and how they operate exactly. I did find a few other places that use them or at least talk about them, but not many (see below):

    http://www.videoconversionexperts.com/FilmtoDVD/default.htm

    https://www.bhphotovideo.com/explora/video/buying-guide/guide-scanning-motion-picture-film

    Also agreed, I'd like to hear more from Memorable about how they remove dirt/dust. I actually did e-mail them about it, so I'll share what they say. It definitely seems like you're saying Wetgate is the most effective way to remove dirt/dust. Out of curiosity, are there any other effective ways aside from Wetgate to remove dirt and debris?

    Thanks for the link to the video! There is definitely a big difference between the non-Wetgate transfer and the Wetgate one.

    That's a great suggestion about sending a reel to each place. Unfortunately, it's all up to my Dad - it's all his footage, and he's a real cheapskate, hahaha. It's all home videos of my Dad as a kid and my grandparents. It'd be really cool to see clear footage of them all from decades ago. I'm bugging him to go with the best place available - like I said though, he's a cheapskate, haha. I'll keep twisting his arm.

    Thanks again for all of your help and information, you're a wealth of knowledge! (I'm a fairly experience video editor, but 8mm transferring is "Greek" to me, I know nothing about it).
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  22. "Sprocketless scanning" means that the film is advanced with pinch rollers rather than a standard projector pulldown claw. This means that film with damaged sprocket holes can be transferred without causing frames to mis-register, or not be transferred at all. Damaged sprockets are extremely common, and with some client film they happen in every reel.

    It is most definitely not a useless marketing gimmick. The really high-end transfer systems (Spirit & Cintel) transfer film this way. Also, the high end of Roger Evans' MovieStuff products now feature this capability. It is sometimes called "continuous scanning."

    Vinegar syndrome (VS) film can sometimes still be transferred with a sprocketless scanner, if it isn't too far gone, although many companies refuse to transfer VS film because the "infected" film leaves behind residue that will then cause good film later transferred in the same machine to develop the same irreversible, degenerative chemical process.

    Wet gate is essential for scratches, but doesn't do anything for dirt. This is because it works by filling in the scratch "divot" in the film, and therefore providing an optical bridge across the scratch so that it doesn't show up. By contrast, dirt sits above the emulsion, and so the liquid goes on top of the dirt, and therefore the dirt is still just as visible.

    Dirt should be removed chemically (film cleaning solution on a cloth), or through ultrasound, prior to the transfer. Most of the residual dirt which isn't removed by this mechanical process can be removed digitally. For negative films, dirt can also be removed via an infrared channel using a technology called ICE, originally developed by Applied Science Fiction. It was common on slide scanners (most of the Nikon slide scanners had it). I don't know if Cintel and Spirit transfer systems use it. It does not work on B&W or Kodachrome.
    Last edited by johnmeyer; 1st May 2018 at 12:10. Reason: Added links
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  23. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by johnmeyer View Post
    "Sprocketless scanning" means that the film is advanced with pinch rollers rather than a standard projector pulldown claw.
    It is most definitely not a useless marketing gimmick.
    Not a gimmick, but term. I forget the jargon for what you describe, but Google only returns the above company for the exact term "sprocketless scanning". As such, I'd not assume the term describes that process.

    Wet gate is essential for scratches, but doesn't do anything for dirt.
    It's been some time since I last read up on this, but loose dirt/debris tends to be dislodged. That's better than nothing, which is what happens on most dry methods. And as I said, it's unusual for a wet-gate transfer to not be cleaned first (if for no other reason that to not taint the wet-gate chemicals, which probably have some recycling life).

    I don't know if Cintel and Spirit transfer systems use it. It does not work on B&W or Kodachrome.
    I've always heard that ICE doesn't work well on moving film, and I think it's only because most of it was Kodachrome.
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  24. Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
    Not a gimmick, but term. I forget the jargon for what you describe, but Google only returns the above company for the exact term "sprocketless scanning". As such, I'd not assume the term describes that process.
    Yes, you are completely correct: "sprocketless scanning" is not some sort of industry-accepted term. You are also right that there isn't any single term which everyone uses to describe it. Many (like MovieStuff) simply say, "our products don't use the sprocket holes to advance the film."

    You also mention that wetgate helps dislodge dirt. That is very true. The application of the coating involves a wiping action across the film, so dirt is removed as part of that process. My only point is that the mechanism for hiding scratches (filling them which gooey liquid so they optically disappear) doesn't also work to hide any residual dirt.

    BTW, for those who haven't see the magic wet gate can do, Google it on YouTube and look at the results. If you have any film which is heavily scratched from going through dirty projectors too many times, you most definitely want to get your film transferred with a wet gate system. While scratches can be removed digitally, I am not aware of any AVISynth or other free plugin that can do this, and even with the commercial scratch removal tools used on Hollywood film, it requires a lot of manual intervention, marking scratches manually. This is way too costly for amateur film.

    Thus, wetgate transfer is the only viable, cost-effective way to remove scratches from amateur film.

    Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
    I've always heard that ICE doesn't work well on moving film, and I think it's only because most of it was Kodachrome.
    The "sprocketless" systems all use a scanning system, where the film is exposed directly onto the scanning element rather than being projected through a lens. Once you have this optical path, the light source can be switched back and forth between visible and IR light.

    I think the reason ICE isn't offered on most movie film transfer systems is that most older amateur film is B&W, because color was so expensive, and much of the color movie film (especially Super 8) is Kodachrome which, as you note, doesn't pass infrared light in the same way as most other film. Thus, the percentage of amateur film on which ICE would work is relatively low. By contrast, most professional film was shot on negative stock, and ICE works really well with that kind of stock.

    With Kodachrome and B&W, the trick of subtracting the image captured with infrared light, which scatters dirt differently, from the image captured from normal visible light, doesn't work.
    Last edited by johnmeyer; 1st May 2018 at 13:08.
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  25. Originally Posted by johnmeyer View Post
    "Sprocketless scanning" means that the film is advanced with pinch rollers rather than a standard projector pulldown claw. This means that film with damaged sprocket holes can be transferred without causing frames to mis-register, or not be transferred at all. Damaged sprockets are extremely common, and with some client film they happen in every reel.

    It is most definitely not a useless marketing gimmick. The really high-end transfer systems (Spirit & Cintel) transfer film this way. Also, the high end of Roger Evans' MovieStuff products now feature this capability. It is sometimes called "continuous scanning."

    Vinegar syndrome (VS) film can sometimes still be transferred with a sprocketless scanner, if it isn't too far gone, although many companies refuse to transfer VS film because the "infected" film leaves behind residue that will then cause good film later transferred in the same machine to develop the same irreversible, degenerative chemical process.

    Wet gate is essential for scratches, but doesn't do anything for dirt. This is because it works by filling in the scratch "divot" in the film, and therefore providing an optical bridge across the scratch so that it doesn't show up. By contrast, dirt sits above the emulsion, and so the liquid goes on top of the dirt, and therefore the dirt is still just as visible.

    Dirt should be removed chemically (film cleaning solution on a cloth), or through ultrasound, prior to the transfer. Most of the residual dirt which isn't removed by this mechanical process can be removed digitally. For negative films, dirt can also be removed via an infrared channel using a technology called ICE, originally developed by Applied Science Fiction. It was common on slide scanners (most of the Nikon slide scanners had it). I don't know if Cintel and Spirit transfer systems use it. It does not work on B&W or Kodachrome.
    John, this information was extremely helpful, thanks so much for taking the time to explain all that!! It sounds like there might actually be advantages to the sprocketless scanner Memorable uses. They did e-mail me back in regards to the difference between their dirt removal process compared to CinePost's. This was their response:

    "I think our dust and dirt removal process is better...looking at the same sample video on their website there is constant dust and dirt flying across frames. Our perfected software restoration process analyzes each frame against previous and future frames to determine dust, even dust embedded in celluloid that can't be removed with a wetgate process."

    Again, I'm a complete newb, so I am not able to make an accurate comparison of the two companies, haha. But is it possible that even though Memorable doesn't use a wetgate process, their finished product could have some advantages over CinePost's?

    For example, it sounds like CinePost's wet-gate process is very useful for heavily scratched footage. I think the 8mm film I have is actually in pretty good shape in terms of scratches. I'd be more concerned about the dirt and dust on my footage. I'm wondering then if, between the sprocketless scanner and the software restoration Memorable uses, their processes might be more appropriate for my film?

    In the end, my Dad will probably just want to go with the cheaper company, haha. However this information is all extremely helpful. Thank you very much again!!!
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    One thing to beware of: too much "restoration" that is not expertly done is worse than none, because you can't go back. For example, heavy-handed noise filtering may remove a lot of dirt, but it can also wipe out detail. This is a potential problem in any moving picture process.
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  27. Originally Posted by JVRaines View Post
    One thing to beware of: too much "restoration" that is not expertly done is worse than none, because you can't go back. For example, heavy-handed noise filtering may remove a lot of dirt, but it can also wipe out detail. This is a potential problem in any moving picture process.
    Totally agree. "Less is more."
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  28. Hey!
    Very good work you have there!

    Originally Posted by johnmeyer View Post
    The videoconversionexperts site looks promising.

    Send one reel of film to whichever place you pick and then see if you like the result. Don't send everything in at once.

    You definitely should rethink your statement, "I'm not at all interested in DVDs." The reason you need to have DVDs is that they are the ONLY thing that will likely last as long as you, and probably your offspring. Thumb drives, disk drives, "the cloud," and every other digital storage media is not likely to last more than 10-15 years. Accelerated aging tests on DVDs suggest that good quality media will likely last 100 years or more. Because of DVDs success, you will likely be able to find players that will play them for decades and decades to come. As proof of that statement, the audio CD was introduced around 1983, and 35 years later (over 1/3 of a century) you can easily find players.

    I do film transfer and restoration for a living so, because I do it myself, I don't know which companies do the best job. The most important thing is to get the best possible transfer. Once you have that, you can do the restoration at a later time, possibly using a different firm than the one that did the transfer. So, pick the company based on the quality of their transfer, and not on their restoration skills.

    The key to getting a good transfer is using the best equipment. The Spirit or Cintel transfer systems are the best, and is what "Hollywood" uses. Obviously, the transfer must be "frame accurate," which both these systems will do.

    For 8mm, you should ask whether they will transfer the image that is located in between the sprockets. This is something many people don't know about, but many 8mm cameras actually took an image that was the full width of the frame. When projected, the projector gate masks off the image between the two sprocket holes. There can sometimes be some very interesting and precious material in that missing 20% of the frame. I always transfer it, and then either include it, with the sprocket holes masked off, or with duplicate material inserted into the sprocket holes; or I mask it for the DVD, but keep extra material on the editable files stored on the disk drive.

    As for sending the material outside of your local area, there is obviously a small risk any time anything gets shipped, but if you use FedEx (the most reliable carrier, IMHO) you'll be pretty safe. Some of the high-volume transfer places send the stuff overseas for the actual transfer. ScanCafe, for instance, sends everything to India.

    As for pricing, basic transfers can be had, via Costco or Walmart (both of whom send their transfers to YesVideo) for as little as $0.13/foot (that is how film transfers are priced). Most other places usually have pricing somewhere around $0.30/foot, with additional charges for each DVD burned, for the disk drive, etc. Your $2,000 quote comes out to almost $0.63/foot, which is quite high.

    Only a few places offer restoration, and not all of them do a complete restoration job. Also, some restoration steps don't necessarily make the film more watchable. In particular, I am not a huge fan of grain reduction, because it can introduce artifacts if not done properly. Sharpening, which can improve apparent detail, can also ruin the look of the film.

    I don't do restoration for the general public, so I am not offering my services. However, you might want to glance at this "before/after" clip I created for a client to see some of what can be done. For most amateur film, the things that make the biggest difference are: gamma correction; color correction; stabilization; and dirt removal. On some clips, flicker reduction can be really important, as you will see in some of the clips in the middle of this short featurette:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tBAHzO7rJS0

    Film should always be cleaned before transferring, but home movie film usually hasn't been handled professionally and so has a large amount of embedded dirt. Digitally removing this dirt is possibly the most important restoration step.

    BTW, if any of your film is scratched, you need to inquire about whether they can do "wet gate" transfers. It is the only practical way to remove scratches, because they cannot easily be removed digitally without a LOT of operator work, something you won't get even at $0.63/foot.
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  29. Originally Posted by JVRaines View Post
    One thing to beware of: too much "restoration" that is not expertly done is worse than none, because you can't go back. For example, heavy-handed noise filtering may remove a lot of dirt, but it can also wipe out detail. This is a potential problem in any moving picture process.
    That is a great point, I certainly wouldn't want a faulty restoration process getting rid of some of the details of the film. I'm looking at some of the examples on Memorable's website - I think they look pretty decent, but as I said I also don't know what I'm talking about, haha:
    https://gomemorable.com/services/film-transfer
    Thanks for the food for thought!
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