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  1. Hi,
    I've been directed here by the very nice and very helpful people at digitalfaq regarding a handful of vhs tapes that are giving me problems, and one tape with 8mm film footage that looks very shaky for most of the tape. Quick rundown of my capture chain:
    • JVC HR-S9500U
    • Magnavox vcr/dvd recorder as passthrough
    • ati aiw usb (grey box, known as usb2.0n, not ati 600 usb)
    PC
    • Windows Vista 32 bit
    • 8gb dual channel ram
    • ssd boot drive, 2tb wd black capture drive
    • intel 2500k locked at stock clocks
    • Asus xonar Essence STX pcie audio card

    I'm capturing using virtualdub with huffyuv. Most of my captures look pretty good. The passthrough does a decent job as a framesync, but has its quirks, namely that turning on line tbc on the jvc when playing certain, more worn tapes, causes flagging at the top during specific scenes (but not always). Line tbc on or off, I don't have dropped frames or audio drift ever since switching from xp to vista (probably driver conflicts or something)

    I'm nearly done all my captures, and just about ready to start on post processing. Before I do, I'm trying to finish the last 3 problem tapes.

    tape 1 - moderately crinkled at beginning
    tape 2 - looks like a tracking issue, but is most likely baked in. appears as several lines of noise during specific scenes. The lines change with the scene, and about halfway through the tape, they stop and don't come back. This cassette had a cracked screw post by the supply reel and a metal guide roller bouncing around inside, so I transplanted to an unneeded blank tape, but the issue remained the same. I captured with tbc off, then went to do a pass with tbc on, but now the video has severe snow during most scenes. Does this on 2 different vcr's. might need to mask the bottom of those scenes in the tbc off video and like with it.
    tape 3 - I just fixed it right now, was having dropouts every 3-4 seconds, but switching to manual tracking resolved it. yay

    Lastly, the tape with the shaky 8mm footage. It seems this footage was taken between 1956-1961, both colour and monochrome. The footage was in apparently terrible condition, and while being dumped to tape sometime around 1984, was from what I was told "disintegrated as it went through the projector"
    The tape plays back fine, but the footage for most of the tape is very shaky. It looks like this could be caused by a mismatch in framerate, and I may possibly need to inverse telecine? Not too sure yet. Some other suggested ideas for the cause of the issue were that the film physically stretched/shrunk, or the projector was wonky and had trouble keeping the projected image steady.

    Here's that thread:
    http://www.digitalfaq.com/forum/video-workflows/11332-planning-transfer-project-3.html#post75391

    samples of problem tape 2 and tape with shaky footage:
    http://www.digitalfaq.com/forum/attachments/video-workflows/13112d1613874252-planning-...ject-clip1-avi
    http://www.digitalfaq.com/forum/attachments/video-workflows/13113d1613874630-planning-...ject-clip2-avi
    http://www.digitalfaq.com/forum/attachments/video-workflows/13114d1613874725-planning-...ject-clip3-avi
    http://www.digitalfaq.com/forum/attachments/video-workflows/13115d1613875773-planning-...ject-clip4-avi
    http://www.digitalfaq.com/forum/attachments/video-workflows/13116d1613876094-planning-...ject-clip5-avi

    Could someone take a look at the shaky footage clips and let me know what to do to improve it a bit? The other tape I might just have to live with, but if you have any ideas to try let me know! thanks
    Last edited by bbmaster123; 21st Feb 2021 at 16:06.
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  2. Member DB83's Avatar
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    Although anyone can read the DigitalFaq topic, one has to be a member to download the attachments.


    In fact, and for others who might have similar issues, you should always post attachments direct to the current topic.
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  3. Originally Posted by DB83 View Post
    Although anyone can read the DigitalFaq topic, one has to be a member to download the attachments.


    In fact, and for others who might have similar issues, you should always post attachments direct to the current topic.
    My apologies, I've reuploaded the same clips here, each of them under 99mb due to file size restrictions over on that forum
    Image Attached Files
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  4. Member DB83's Avatar
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    I noticed that Johnmeyer was mentioned in the topic. He is, indeed, the member here who can probably assist.


    What may be useful, if indeed you know, is how the film went from the projector to end up on a VHS and with non-native sound. But I do not think inverse telecine is going to help that much. That will simply return the footage to 24 fps and it was originally projected at 18 fps. You now have burnt in footage.
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  5. Originally Posted by DB83 View Post
    I noticed that Johnmeyer was mentioned in the topic. He is, indeed, the member here who can probably assist.


    What may be useful, if indeed you know, is how the film went from the projector to end up on a VHS and with non-native sound. But I do not think inverse telecine is going to help that much. That will simply return the footage to 24 fps and it was originally projected at 18 fps. You now have burnt in footage.
    hopefully then, he will see this and offer some thoughts.
    I wasn't alive yet when this happened, but I've been told the film was projected from the original 8mm film onto some surface, probably a white wall, and the resulting image taped with a camcorder. The film was silent to begin with, so in the 80s when this was dumped, my mum put a soundtrack together and had the guy dub those songs onto the vhs. I will just replace the songs with their cd quality counterparts.

    I can't see a reason for this to have been telecined, but the shakiness does kind of resemble that type of artifact when going frame by frame. combined with the fact that its interlaced sometimes results in 3 distinct edges on objects.

    you're sure its 18fps? The guy on the other thread said 16fps and when I guessed (I haven't actually counted yet) I guessed 12fps. I know pretty much nothing about 8mm film, never even knew we had film to begin with until fairly recently.

    I was told avisynth may be able to help, even if just slightly. I've never put together an avisynth script together myself, but I can read one and understand mostly what its doing.
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  6. Originally Posted by bbmaster123 View Post
    you're sure its 18fps? The guy on the other thread said 16fps and when I guessed (I haven't actually counted yet) I guessed 12fps. I know pretty much nothing about 8mm film, never even knew we had film to begin with until fairly recently.
    The majority of "Standard-8mm" movie cameras ran 16 fps as their default normal speed, with a few later models rising to the 18 fps that became the default for Super-8 movie cameras circa mid-1960s. It is very unlikely these scenes were shot at 12 fps: that would have been an uncommon optional frame rate on most Standard-8 cameras of the period you mentioned (1956-61), also the footage would appear more unnatural and sped-up. Of course anything is possible: many older spring-wound Bell & Howell cameras made in the 30s and 40s were still in use in the 50s, some of those had a 12 fps setting, and by 1984 multi speed projectors were common. But its a safe bet these clips were 16 fps.

    The shakiness is inherent to many 16-18 fps handheld 8mm home movies, transfers to videotape by aiming a video camera at projected film often compounds the effect. Others with more experience in this tricky 8mm film>videotape>digital capture task may have suggestions on how to minimize the shakiness with software.
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  7. The majority of "Standard-8mm" movie cameras ran 16 fps as their default normal speed, with a few later models rising to the 18 fps that became the default for Super-8 movie cameras circa mid-1960s. It is very unlikely these scenes were shot at 12 fps
    So then Ill probably need to count the number of unique frames during a panning section or something, because I honestly don't know what the original frame rate really was. I just guessed 12fps based on what I see during playback.

    Interesting to learn about the history though. That must have been sooo cool when they upped it to 18fps

    The shakiness is inherent to many 16-18 fps handheld 8mm home movies, transfers to videotape by aiming a video camera at projected film often compounds the effect. Others with more experience in this tricky 8mm film>videotape>digital capture task may have suggestions on how to minimize the shakiness with software.[/QUOTE]

    There is definitely some shakiness from the camera during recording, but that I can live with. Its the projector shakiness that I want to try to minimize a bit. Shame I don't have the original film or I would just recapture that directly. Hopefully an avisynther knows some things I can try.
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  8. Originally Posted by bbmaster123 View Post
    Interesting to learn about the history though. That must have been sooo cool when they upped it to 18fps
    If you think that was exciting, you shoulda seen the reaction when Super 8 offered 24 fps so advanced enthusiasts could match up with the pro 16mm and 35mm frame rate! Two whole minutes per film load at 24 fps- woo hoo! And didja hear about that amazing new phenomenon of "XL" cameras that let you shoot in "natural room light" with high-speed (160 ISO) Ektachrome?

    It was a fun era to live thru, I gotta say: geek city if you were into convoluted electromechanical A/V. I came of age during the pinnacle of Super-8 evolution, right before "portable" 8-lb VHS decks killed 8mm movie cameras dead (sending creative options back to the stone age in the process: '80s video was pretty limiting in many ways vs what you could do with the best film movie cameras). During the mid '70s thru early '80s you had the gamut to choose from: single-speed plastic movie cameras from Kodak, advanced Canon and Nikon Super 8s right up to sophisticated $1000 German Nizo semi-pro Super-8s and the incredible $2000 French Beaulieu "pro" Super-8s (mind you, $2K in 1979 is $8K in today's money). Synchronized sound was an exotic feature outside the low-end amateur market: most of the top cameras took silent cartridges, requiring terrifyingly expensive outboard Swedish Nagra audio recorders or dedicated contraptions that used perforated tape the same size as Super 8 film. The outboard quartz oscillator module syncing camera to audio recorder alone was nearly as big as a Go Pro digital action cam.

    Today we can shoot clearer footage in much lower light with the iPhone or Galaxy in our back pocket, at a fraction of the cost, but the geek fun factor is zero.
    Last edited by orsetto; 21st Feb 2021 at 20:32.
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  9. Member DB83's Avatar
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    Re the film speed, I probably did not pay so much attention to the original filming date at assumed Super 8 rather than Standard 8.


    Yet I guess back in the day there were few economic options to go from 8 mm to vhs. About 15 years ago I dabbled with super 8 transfer and used a mirror-box and camcorder as a pass-through to record the playback direct to a PC. There was still flicker to deal with. Today there are more sophisticated affordable options.


    Waiting now for Johnmeyer.
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  10. Two whole minutes per film load at 24 fps- woo hoo!
    well I personally can't see the difference between 16 and 18 fps, but 24 fps is noticeably more fluid, thats pretty cool! I'd have been geeking out over that! Instead I geeked out over overclocking my early pentium 4 and modifying windows - cuz what else did 90s kidz have to geek out on aha

    About 15 years ago I dabbled with super 8 transfer and used a mirror-box and camcorder as a pass-through to record the playback direct to a PC. There was still flicker to deal with. Today there are more sophisticated affordable options.
    that cool, how bad was the flicker? was it because the light source 60hz pulse? how did you deal with it?
    I can imagine if you did this 15 years ago it would have been SD interlaced, eh?
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  11. Member DB83's Avatar
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    IIRC It was dealt with by a vdub filter. I'm not so technically minded as to how the flicker occurs but the projector shutter does produce it. Not so visible when you project to a screen but more noticeable on a small window. The camera just transferred what it saw.
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  12. The video clips have tracking problems. In addition to adjusting the tracking manually, as you've already done, I would recommend trying the transfer on another VCR, if you can find one. Even if it is a cheap, lousy VCR, I have found that for both audio and video problems, you can sometimes get better transfers, or at least different problems, when you use a different VCR on a problem tape. You still want to use your better setup for the other tapes.

    For the film, it was clearly transferred on a Goko transfer system which used a rotating prism to, in essence, add pulldown as it did the transfer. I briefly owned one, after many sites said it was a great transfer machine.

    It is not great, and in fact is awful.

    So much for "great" advice offered in Internet forums.

    I bobbed one of the film clips and looked at it field-by-field. It can be improved massively by picking which fields match, discarding the others, reassembling the fields into frames, and then timing the result to play at the correct speed. It won't be perfect, but it will certainly get rid of the Goko telltale ghost frames (caused by the prism as it rotates) that make it look so awful. I have done this in the past using TFM and TDecimate, but using some very non-standard settings. I am not in my office at the moment, but if I get there today I'll try to see if the fix can be done easily, using some scripts I've developed in the past.

    There has been discussion above about film playback speeds. That discussion was a little misleading. For amateur 8mm and 16mm film, there was never any standard. However, most 8mm and 16mm silent amateur film was shot at 16 fps, and I'm 98% certain that speed will work for your film, once the garbage fields are removed. For really old films (pre-war, but mostly from the 1920s and early 1930s) the film was hand-cranked and could be almost any speed. You have to judge by watching. Super 8 silent film was always 18 fps. Sound film was always 24 fps.

    You clearly have Super 8 film (it is 4:3, not 1:1, like 8mm). So it should be timed to play back at 18 fps, once the extra fields are removed.
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  13. Thank you for this johnmeyer! You clearly know what you're talking about here.

    The video clips have tracking problems. In addition to adjusting the tracking manually, as you've already done, I would recommend trying the transfer on another VCR, if you can find one. Even if it is a cheap, lousy VCR, I have found that for both audio and video problems, you can sometimes get better transfers, or at least different problems, when you use a different VCR on a problem tape. You still want to use your better setup for the other tapes.
    I have 3 working vcr's one is the jvc Im using, the other is the combo unit I'm using for passthrough, and the third is a jvc 3500u or 3800u, I can remember off the top of my head. It works, but audio heads must be going, sounds like a cloth over the speaker. I didn't try that one. I don't know why, but when I opened it there was also no grease/lubricant anywhere, so I put it aside and looked for a model with line tbc.

    The tape with the tracking issue and the tape with the shaky footage look pretty much the same on both my decks, other than the jvc putting out a better image to begin with. I'm leaning towards the issue being baked in since it changes when the scene changes, and disappears completely right at a later scene change. This is how it was before and after transplanting from the broken cassette to an unused one.

    For the film, it was clearly transferred on a Goko transfer system which used a rotating prism to, in essence, add pulldown as it did the transfer. I briefly owned one, after many sites said it was a great transfer machine.

    It is not great, and in fact is awful.

    So much for "great" advice offered in Internet forums.
    Well the result I have certainly looks awful. Of course, whoever it was that used this machine on our footage was using it before the internet. Interesting, so it is telecined?

    I bobbed one of the film clips and looked at it field-by-field. It can be improved massively by picking which fields match, discarding the others, reassembling the fields into frames, and then timing the result to play at the correct speed. It won't be perfect, but it will certainly get rid of the Goko telltale ghost frames (caused by the prism as it rotates) that make it look so awful. I have done this in the past using TFM and TDecimate, but using some very non-standard settings. I am not in my office at the moment, but if I get there today I'll try to see if the fix can be done easily, using some scripts I've developed in the past.

    I'm assuming using TFM/Tdecimate requires you to feed it something like a pattern of frame 1 keep, remove frame 2 remove, frame 3 keep etc, assuming the pattern is constant? and from what I'm understanding, I'll need to deinterlace before removing garbage frames, then separate back to fields after?
    Edit: nevermind I must've read that wrong. logically and ideally I would want to keep them as fields the whole time. I would just be matching the fields not frames.

    thanks again for your time johnmeyer!
    Last edited by bbmaster123; 22nd Feb 2021 at 13:23.
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  14. I'm at my office computer, but have to do my taxes first. May take all day.

    The decimation will require TFM & TDecimate, and maybe SRestore. There have been several scripts posted at doom9.org which deal with restoring transfers done by just using your video camera to capture the image as it is projected on the wall. Your situation is similar, but the blending done by the Goko is unique to that machine, so I think some customization will be needed. Here is that thread, but as I said, I think you'll need to modify the script for your transfer:

    The power of Avisynth: salvaging "botched" transfers of old 8mm films to DVD

    I will try to look at this eventually, but I have other priorities at the moment.

    P.S. If you have access to the film, I'd re-transfer it. I doubt very much that the film was "in terrible condition," since Super 8 is a relatively modern format and was usually done on Kodak emulsion. I've transferred Kodachrome that was stored in a Wisconsin garage attic for almost sixty years. It was in perfect condition, despite the -20 to +140 degree temperatures to which I'm sure it was subjected.
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  15. Originally Posted by johnmeyer View Post
    I'm at my office computer, but have to do my taxes first. May take all day.

    The decimation will require TFM & TDecimate, and maybe SRestore. There have been several scripts posted at doom9.org which deal with restoring transfers done by just using your video camera to capture the image as it is projected on the wall. Your situation is similar, but the blending done by the Goko is unique to that machine, so I think some customization will be needed. Here is that thread, but as I said, I think you'll need to modify the script for your transfer:

    The power of Avisynth: salvaging "botched" transfers of old 8mm films to DVD

    I will try to look at this eventually, but I have other priorities at the moment.

    P.S. If you have access to the film, I'd re-transfer it. I doubt very much that the film was "in terrible condition," since Super 8 is a relatively modern format and was usually done on Kodak emulsion. I've transferred Kodachrome that was stored in a Wisconsin garage attic for almost sixty years. It was in perfect condition, despite the -20 to +140 degree temperatures to which I'm sure it was subjected.
    no hurry or anything, I'm not even going to get to it until at least Saturday.
    The original film being in terrible condition is just what I've been told. I've never actually seen it myself. Its my grandparents footage, maybe they do have it somewhere and forgot? Last time I asked what happened to it, I got a shoulder shrug and an I don't know through closed lips. It could have been chucked, passed to other family members... I'll ask again just in case. I would definitely go the recapture route if its at all possible.

    glad to hear your film was okay in a presumably un-insulated attic for 60 years as I'm not too far away and have very similar weather.
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  16. Those of us who tried to help narrow down the frame rate were going on the info presented by OP, who said he believed the films were made between 1956-1961. That period would have been Standard 8 only, as Super 8 didn't arrive until late 1964. Evidently the dating info written on the VHS copies is inaccurate, since johnmeyer seems certain the clips are actually Super 8 format. Either way, the frame rates discussed will stand: most anything shot in the late 50s-early 60s on Standard 8mm (that is not obviously a slow or fast motion trick effect) will be 16 fps, which was the default speed on every Standard 8mm movie camera from the wind-up cast iron Bell & Howells of the 1930s thru battery-powered cameras of the late 1950s/early 1960s. There were no completely manual hand-cranked unsteady-fps consumer Standard 8mm cameras: all were spring wound or battery motor driven at a nominal steady 16 fps (unless slower/faster speeds were deliberately chosen for an effect).

    Most home movies shot in Super 8 will be 18 fps, which was the spec Kodak introduced with that format. Later more advanced silent Super 8 cameras offered optional 24 fps, but this was rarely used for typical "home movies" because it burned thru film much faster and cost more to shoot. Most Super 8 sound-on-film cameras were also 18 fps: some could be switched between 18 fps and 24 fps, but here again the majority of home shooters would choose 18 fps to extend running time and film economy. Super 8 at 24 fps, whether sound or silent, was the niche purview of advanced enthusiasts and documentary pros who needed to maintain parity with 16/35 editing and lab standards.

    As johnmeyer recommended, it would be best to recapture from the original films if they could be found. Both Standard 8 and Super 8 were physically durable unless their sprocket holes were mangled badly by a rotten projector. Kodachrome was as archival as it gets, B/W the same, some Super 8 Ektachromes have faded in color but should still retain a usable image.
    Last edited by orsetto; 22nd Feb 2021 at 18:38.
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  17. I tried to improve the Goko film transfer footage, but didn't have much success. I thought SRestore might help, since the blended frames resemble the problem that function was designed for.

    This AVISynth code:
    Code:
    bob(source,-0.2,0.6)
    output=srestore(frate=16, omode=6)
    gave me a proper progressive output, but it didn't make any improvement on the blended frames.

    Perhaps someone else will come up with a better fix.
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  18. I spent another half hour trying various Srestore and TFM/Tdecimate approaches late today. I can decimate the original correctly so that I have a 16 fps progressive result, but unfortunately the Goko creates entire frames that are blurred. The only hope would be to recover only the non-blurred frames and then use motion estimation to create intermediate frames to replace the ones that were blurred. I think this actually could be done, but I don't have the time to create and perfect the detection code.

    If you can find the original film, you can produce a beautiful result, I am sure. The film looks like it was in great shape, despite what someone told your grandparents.
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  19. Originally Posted by johnmeyer View Post
    I spent another half hour trying various Srestore and TFM/Tdecimate approaches late today. I can decimate the original correctly so that I have a 16 fps progressive result, but unfortunately the Goko creates entire frames that are blurred. The only hope would be to recover only the non-blurred frames and then use motion estimation to create intermediate frames to replace the ones that were blurred. I think this actually could be done, but I don't have the time to create and perfect the detection code.

    If you can find the original film, you can produce a beautiful result, I am sure. The film looks like it was in great shape, despite what someone told your grandparents.
    Well thank you for spending the time on it! I'll experiment a little too on the weekend.
    I will be visiting the grandparents on the weekend, luckily they live very close so I'll scour their basement where they've been storing everything, and maybe with a little luck I'll find some forgotten reels buried under 100 unrelated items

    And no worries, I'm already happy with the info everyone here has shared. I feel like I'm being pointed in the right direction
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  20. If you do find the film, post here to get advice on what to look for when you start searching for a place to have them transferred.
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  21. Hope you find the original films!

    If you do, examine each reel closely and use this comparison pic to identify for certain whether they are Standard 8 or Super 8. That will tell you what the baseline original frame rate was (16 or 18 fps). Some families did switch from Standard 8 to Super 8 over time, so its possible a box of several reels may contain both types.

    A decent overview of 8mm film capture can be found here: if you do track down the films, post back per johnmeyer to get targeted recommendations.
    Last edited by orsetto; 24th Feb 2021 at 12:44.
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  22. If I do find them this weekend, I will definitely post a new thread! In the meantime, I am going to read through all the threads you've both linked. Thanks again for your top notch input here!
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  23. I am 100% certain that they are Super 8. The attached images show that 8mm is almost exactly square, whereas Super 8 and 16mm (and SD video) are all 4:3.
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  24. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by DB83 View Post
    Although anyone can read the DigitalFaq topic, one has to be a member to download the attachments.
    And anyone can join as a Free Member.

    Originally Posted by johnmeyer View Post
    So much for "great" advice offered in Internet forums.
    Don't forget Youtube, where any idiot can make a video -- and many do. It's a great place to learn how to ruin VCRs ("clean VCRs"), breath in potentially toxic mold ("remove mold"), and rape the quality of videotapes with a dimwitted conversions ("little weird tape transfers"). When you're a newbie at something, realize that people who know as much as you do, or less, are touting themselves as "experts" with their Google degrees and misunderstandings of the topic at hand. You must learn how to vet sources these days, or else you could easily fall into QAnon/etc type nonsense, those weird echo chambers you find online.
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  25. Member DB83's Avatar
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    ^^smurfy. I appreciate that.


    But twas not the point of the comment as I am sure you also appreciate.


    BTW glad to see you back in circulation. Bet that pedal-power generator comes in handy at times
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  26. So I did visit the grandparents, and found quite a bit! I don't know where that whole destroyed film story came from, but its in my hands now!

    Looks like we've got...hmm.
    19 25ft reels, 2 400ft reels, and 1 200ft reel, as well as a few small boxes of kodak photo slides, camera negatives, and 5 8mm video tapes, 3 video8 and 2 hi8.
    It looks to me like some of it may be standard 8 and some super8 as the sprocket holes look different on certain films than on others.
    Some of it went moldy as well. Some of it is still clean, but I didn't want to touch the moldy ones yet. They were in the basement under a bunch of crap for 20-25 years in an open plastic bag.

    I have no idea whats on the video tapes. My parents have an 8mm camcorder, but its been busted for many many years.
    I found a new, sort of a camcorder depot type business near my area, and they carry pretty much all the sony trv models. I was thinking to pick one up from them, which say, top 3 models would be the most recommended with tbc? Or should I send those in with the films?
    Last edited by bbmaster123; 28th Feb 2021 at 16:38.
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  27. bbmaster123,

    That is GREAT news!! You are about to get a huge surprise when you see what it really on those films.

    As an example of what it is like to get a good, proper transfer, my father had his 16mm and Super 8 films transferred to S-VHS tape by Shutan (Chicago photo place) back in the early 1990s. Years later, when I bought and then built my own film transfer systems, I re-transferred the films. Some of the 1940s color film had faded a little, but most of the rest hadn't changed.

    But here's the point of the story: the difference between my transfers and the ones done by the "pros" was night and day, because the technology for doing it correctly was not readily available back then.

    This brings me to the big question: where will you have these films transferred?

    Here are the things you need to look for when choosing where to have it transferred.

    1. They must offer "frame accurate" transfer. This means that one frame of film ends up on one frame of video. You then time the video to play back at the proper speed. What you DON'T want is a transfer which captures the film from a projector. With this approach, which that Goko sort of uses, you end up getting some frames where the projector shutter is closed, resulting in underexposure, and other frames which are blends of adjacent frames. Both things result in blur and flicker.

    2. They should offer the result on a thumb drive or disk drive. DVD is OK, but makes it tough to do more with the video at a later date. Also, people are not playing DVDs as often in 2021. These days I usually offer the original editable files on a disk drive along with MP4 files that will play on a TV via a USB thumb drive, or can be transferred to a phone or tablet where people increasingly are watching things.

    3. Most film transfer businesses offer HD resolution (1920x1080). That is more than enough for Super 8, and even 16mm. You don't need to pay extra to get 4K resolution, because it won't give you any additional detail, will result in huge files, and will make any post production work you do much more difficult. Quite frankly, even SD (720x480) resolution is sufficient for Super 8 and 8mm (and even some 16mm).

    4. All places should clean the film before transferring. Ask them how they clean it, and whether they will be able to remove much of the dirt on the film you think has gotten too filthy. Also ask what cleaning solution they use. Some use chemicals that really shouldn't be used, and others use nothing more than isopropyl alcohol which will work and won't hurt the film, but won't be very effective.

    5. Consider using "wetgate transfer," if they offer it. With this option, they coat the film with a solution that fills in the scratches, so that when the light shines through, they literally disappear. Dirt and other artifacts are easy to remove digitally, but scratches persist in the same place from frame to frame, and are therefore extremely difficult to remove after the film is transferred. Of course you don't know if the films are scratched badly. The scratches usually result from being projected a lot, and if they were only projected a handful of times, they may not have many scratches. The only way to know for sure is to project the film, or at least look at a few frames, several feet into the reel, using a strong magnifier.

    6. Some places offer additional services for an extra fee. One of the most important these days is "restoration." It is actually pretty remarkable what can be done using a computer. I've done quite a bit of this and have posted one of my "before/after" videos several times before in this forum:

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

    I highly recommend that you consider having this done, if your budget will allow.

    You can have film transferred at Walmart or Costco (although Costco may be exiting the business). They both send the stuff to YesVideo. If you want the best quality, you should look for a local place which uses a Cintel or Spirit transfer system ($100,000+ units). I did some transfers, using my equipment, of some 16mm film that was smuggled out of Germany by a Jewish man who owned a movie camera factory in Dresden. The Smithsonian Channel licensed it, but wanted to re-transfer using their "Hollywood" transfer outfit down in L.A. I had them send the results to me, before I sent it to the Smithsonian, so I could compare to the work I've been doing. As I expected, even at the higher resolution and with all the advanced optics, they didn't extract a meaningful amount of additional detail. However, their equipment did a better job in the shadows. Many of these places have excess capacity and don't charge that much more than a business which uses lesser equipment. I haven't looked at prices recently, but $0.30/foot used to be the average. I just did a quick calculation, substituting 50 feet for what you say are 25 foot reels (the small reels are 50'), and you have a total of 1,450 feet which, at $0.30/foot comes to $435.

    Make sure you get some samples of the work any transfer place does. One of the most unforgivable sins is to overexpose the highlights. Your clips had this problem. This should never happen, but is all too common.

    One last idea. Before I got into doing film transfers, I took the original S-VHS tapes, sat my mom and dad down in front of the TV, and while the films played, I recorded their comments. Here is one such film:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d2dcV7hUOJA

    They both died just a few years later, and the secrets of what was on some of those films would have died with them. I've had a few of my clients follow this advice and they always write back a few years later of how precious it is to have that narration.

    If you have any other questions, just ask.
    Last edited by johnmeyer; 28th Feb 2021 at 17:47. Reason: typo
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  28. Originally Posted by johnmeyer View Post
    bbmaster123,

    That is GREAT news!! You are about to get a huge surprise when you see what it really on those films.

    As an example of what it is like to get a good, proper transfer, my father had his 16mm and Super 8 films transferred to S-VHS tape by Shutan (Chicago photo place) back in the early 1990s. Years later, when I bought and then built my own film transfer systems, I re-transferred the films. Some of the 1940s color film had faded a little, but most of the rest hadn't changed.

    But here's the point of the story: the difference between my transfers and the ones done by the "pros" was night and day, because the technology for doing it correctly was not readily available back then.

    This brings me to the big question: where will you have these films transferred?

    Here are the things you need to look for when choosing where to have it transferred.

    1. They must offer "frame accurate" transfer. This means that one frame of film ends up on one frame of video. You then time the video to play back at the proper speed. What you DON'T want is a transfer which captures the film from a projector. With this approach, which that Goko sort of uses, you end up getting some frames where the projector shutter is closed, resulting in underexposure, and other frames which are blends of adjacent frames. Both things result in blur and flicker.

    2. They should offer the result on a thumb drive or disk drive. DVD is OK, but makes it tough to do more with the video at a later date. Also, people are not playing DVDs as often in 2021. These days I usually offer the original editable files on a disk drive along with MP4 files that will play on a TV via a USB thumb drive, or can be transferred to a phone or tablet where people increasingly are watching things.

    3. Most film transfer businesses offer HD resolution (1920x1080). That is more than enough for Super 8, and even 16mm. You don't need to pay extra to get 4K resolution, because it won't give you any additional detail, will result in huge files, and will make any post production work you do much more difficult. Quite frankly, even SD (720x480) resolution is sufficient for Super 8 and 8mm (and even some 16mm).

    4. All places should clean the film before transferring. Ask them how they clean it, and whether they will be able to remove much of the dirt on the film you think has gotten too filthy. Also ask what cleaning solution they use. Some use chemicals that really shouldn't be used, and others use nothing more than isopropyl alcohol which will work and won't hurt the film, but won't be very effective.

    5. Consider using "wetgate transfer," if they offer it. With this option, they coat the film with a solution that fills in the scratches, so that when the light shines through, they literally disappear. Dirt and other artifacts are easy to remove digitally, but scratches persist in the same place from frame to frame, and are therefore extremely difficult to remove after the film is transferred. Of course you don't know if the films are scratched badly. The scratches usually result from being projected a lot, and if they were only projected a handful of times, they may not have many scratches. The only way to know for sure is to project the film, or at least look at a few frames, several feet into the reel, using a strong magnifier.

    6. Some places offer additional services for an extra fee. One of the most important these days is "restoration." It is actually pretty remarkable what can be done using a computer. I've done quite a bit of this and have posted one of my "before/after" videos several times before in this forum:

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

    I highly recommend that you consider having this done, if your budget will allow.

    You can have film transferred at Walmart or Costco (although Costco may be exiting the business). They both send the stuff to YesVideo. If you want the best quality, you should look for a local place which uses a Cintel or Spirit transfer system ($100,000+ units). I did some transfers, using my equipment, of some 16mm film that was smuggled out of Germany by a Jewish man who owned a movie camera factory in Dresden. The Smithsonian Channel licensed it, but wanted to re-transfer using their "Hollywood" transfer outfit down in L.A. I had them send the results to me, before I sent it to the Smithsonian, so I could compare to the work I've been doing. As I expected, even at the higher resolution and with all the advanced optics, they didn't extract a meaningful amount of additional detail. However, their equipment did a better job in the shadows. Many of these places have excess capacity and don't charge that much more than a business which uses lesser equipment. I haven't looked at prices recently, but $0.30/foot used to be the average. I just did a quick calculation, substituting 50 feet for what you say are 25 foot reels (the small reels are 50'), and you have a total of 1,450 feet which, at $0.30/foot comes to $435.

    Make sure you get some samples of the work any transfer place does. One of the most unforgivable sins is to overexpose the highlights. Your clips had this problem. This should never happen, but is all too common.

    One last idea. Before I got into doing film transfers, I took the original S-VHS tapes, sat my mom and dad down in front of the TV, and while the films played, I recorded their comments. Here is one such film:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d2dcV7hUOJA

    They both died just a few years later, and the secrets of what was on some of those films would have died with them. I've had a few of my clients follow this advice and they always write back a few years later of how precious it is to have that narration.

    If you have any other questions, just ask.
    Thanks for this. There's a lot of good info and lessons in this one post!

    I haven't done a whole lot of looking at different places yet. I will most likely be paying to get the highest quality transfers I can get. Following your list of considerations, here is what I will be looking for

    1. frame by frame approach is a must, no projectors
    2. as uncompressed a file as they will offer - ideally uncompressed, but it doesn't matter to me whether that's on thumb drive, cloud, or hdd, but not dvd. no mpeg for me pls
    3. 1080 for sure. I get that 4k is excessive for 8mm film. I might pick 4k for the image slides though.
    4. I'm going to make sure they're actual pros who will properly clean the films with appropriate chemicals. Some ARE mouldy, so they will need to offer this and do it right
    5. I'd pay extra for wetgate transfer, that sounds nice
    6. I can do most of the restoring myself, but then I've never needed to deal with scratches


    The only place I've seen so far was legacybox, haven't spent that much time on it yet. I will see if I can find out their methods, plus look into some competitors.
    and then when its all completed, we will definitely be sitting down and watching it all together! My grandparents will love it. for sure. And so will the rest of my family.

    Still also need to look more into video8 and hi8 tapes.

    Thanks jonmeyer!
    also, that footage was very interesting to watch!
    Quote Quote  
  29. One note: "uncompressed" is massively over-rated. In fact, IMHO, it is a bad idea. Why? Because you have two other options that are better in every way.

    First of all, you can choose "lossless" compression. This does not degrade the image in any way. I see zero reason to EVER get, use, or capture uncompressed video.

    The other option is to capture and save using an "intermediate" codec. These are designed so that you can compress and then re-compress (for multi-step editing) with virtually no additional artifacts. They are also a joy to edit because NLEs can play them without utilizing all your CPU power just to uncompress them. Here is a list of some of the better options:

    Compare 50 Intermediate Codecs on One Page
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  30. oh sorry I just assumed you knew I meant avi with huffyuv compression, I know I said uncompressed but I just meant not mp4. Im all up to speed on codecs and such

    I just did 30 vhs tapes in virtualdub in huffyuv on a good capture chain. all the info for that is on the digitalfaq thread, and op on this thread.

    regardless, I've been looking and found a place near my area that does wetgate transfers, and looks like they are competent, but they want 93 cents/foot CDN. Pretty pricey.
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