8mm transfers

Hello web, it’s been a while. I wasn’t sure whether to close up this site, for lack of inspiration. The web is brimming over with eager bloggers and I feel poorly equipped to add anything exciting into the mix. Regardless, I thought it might be nice to at least put a fresh post up, so anyone out there wondering, knows I am still here.

I’ve had some time off work recently, and I’m inching through the todo list, some items of which have been pending for years. One such is the transferal of my late Pa’s 8mm cine film to digital. Being as we both shared an interest in the moving image, it’s an ideal opportunity to gather some fine archive footage, and enjoy the quite charming documentation of my Dad’s life and loves.

My research pointed to a number of individuals offering 8mm telecine, a frame-by-frame conversion of the old film to digital. However, I was particularly taken with a company in Nottinghamshire which scans with a 2k machine, and can offer HD at 1080p. They are Alive Studios, (please read the updated warning)and are where today I’ve sent my 27 reels.

A bitchy aside, there are wealth of websites offering this service that look a lot like this website. The stretched images, HTML-tables-from-Word, or even Microsoft Front Page stylings terrify me, but I’m sure the service isn’t at all related to the web design. Sorry, Stephen from Seaford, if you’ve spotted this.

Back to Alive Studios, and after some consideration I’ve decided the quality of my cine won’t really benefit a great deal from the extra HD resolution, so I’ve opted for the cheaper standard definition. I have however asked for a progressive frame rate, since interlacing from old TV technology gives me the creeps. I haven’t had a cathode ray tube for some time and have never missed it.

Previous attempts at converting my 8mm have including projecting the footage (using an old 1950’s beast of machine) and capturing it with a 3ccd camera as it projects. The results aren’t bad but it’s time consuming. Also whilst in Amsterdam, I paid to have a couple of reels cheaply digitised to PAL DV. Here is an unedited clip of that earlier conversion. You can see I didn’t deinterlace the footage before uploading, and the wavy lines show that.

8mm Cine test

There is plenty of other news, but this will do for now. Oh, and I love my iphone4. My newly discovered freedom of walking around/sitting on the beach/making tea and talking to people on the mic and earpod combo is unbeatable..As is the nifty HD camera… and Angry Birds.

Update 7/01/2011 Alive studios never processed my cine reels. It took 3 months and 3 frustrating phone calls to discover nothing had been done, and I requested them sent back. I’m slightly embarrassed that the shiny website had me fooled. If anyone else can recommend a UK company that can telecine to progressive digital files, please comment!

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