Moving Image Transfers


Attempting to run old film or videotapes through a projector or VCR may result in irreparable damage to the images. Film shrinks over time and can become brittle. Videotape can shed and become unplayable. We recommend that you transfer your films and videotapes to DVD, Blu-ray or digital video files so that you can continue to enjoy your family memories and share them with others without risking damage to the original material.

Northeast Historic Film is a non-profit moving image archives and its staff members are trained to handle and care for motion picture film. Our archivists have received the highest levels of film preservation education and training from the L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation and the University of East Anglia and are always happy to advise you on steps you can take to help preserve your original films for the future. Our clients include universities, museums, archives, libraries, historical societies, television stations, artists, documentary makers and many hundreds of individuals with films and videos dating back to the 1920s. The technical services department also works on Northeast Historic Film’s own holdings, which include over 10 million feet of film and thousands of videotapes.

We will carefully inspect, assemble and repair your 8mm, Super 8mm, 9.5mm or 16mm films and transfer them to the format of your choice. Films are digitized using our new MWA Flashtransfer Choice 2K+ digital scanner, which allows us to deliver the highest quality images on DVD (standard definition), Blu-ray (high definition), or as digital video files such as Uncompressed 10-bit MOV, Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) and 2K DPX.

Videotapes are digitized at native standard definition resolutions and can also be delivered on DVD or as digital video files. Additionally, both film and videotape originals can be transferred to standard definition NTSC MiniDV, Betacam SP and Digital Betacam videotape.

Free estimates are always available in person, over the phone or by mail. In the event that your film needs special care that isn't offered in-house, we can refer you to the proper laboratories.



For film, the inspection and transfer process involves several steps. First there is an initial inspection to determine physical condition and to order the films chronologically if needed. Next, we replace leader for the head and tail and make repairs to splices and perforations. Your films are assembled onto archival grade cores or reels and then placed into archival grade canisters for optimal long-term storage. Notes are recorded on inspection sheets regarding the condition of each reel including deterioration (such as shrinkage, vinegar syndrome, water damage or mold) and repairs required (such as splices replaced or torn perforations fixed). We clean the films using Particle Transfer Rollers and then perform a supervised transfer using our filmscanner, the MWA Flashtransfer Choice.

The Flashtransfer Choice is a sprocketless and claw-free film scanner, using laser technology for film transport. Using a high quality Basler CCD camera and Canon lenses, the scanner and its software create progressive scan digital video or image sequences up to 2336 x 1752 pixel resolution. Our most frequently requested resolutions are 720 x 480 (NTSC Standard Definition) and 1920 x 1080 (High Definition). The scanner also includes sound heads for magnetic (16mm and Super 8mm) and optical (16mm) tracks.

All high definition video will feature a 4:3 image embedded in a 16:9 image with black bars on the sides to maintain the full original image of the film. The master progressive scan video that is created will match each video frame to a corresponding original film frame (no frame blending or interlacing) and will run at the original speed of the film (e.g. 16, 18 or 24 frames per second). If needed for broadcast, the video can be embedded in and output to a 23.967, 24 or 29.97 frames per second video by duplicating or blending frames. This will be done for DVD and Blu-ray discs, which can only handle standard frame rates for video and not home movie film frame rates such as 16 or 18 frames per second. Standard 3:2 pull-down flags will be applied to films running at 24 frames per second if needed for DVD.



For all projects, the final cost will be Labor + Delivery Materials (DVD, Blu-ray or digital files) + Applicable Shipping/Tax


Film labor costs are estimated at the following rates for fair-to-good condition film:

16mm (silent, optical and magnetic sound): 16¢ per foot

Regular 8mm (silent): 28¢ per foot

Super 8mm (silent and magnetic sound): 28¢ per foot

9.5mm (silent): 25¢ per foot

Additional labor costs will be charged at $65 per hour for films which need extra repair or handling. Clients will always be notified for cost approval before this work occurs.

How much film do I have?

Here are some common reel diameters:

3 in. = 50 ft. of film

4 in. = 100 ft.

5 in. = 200 ft.

7 in. = 400 ft.

12 in. = 1200 ft.



Videotape labor fees are billed at $15 per original tape. Discounts are available in the case of numerous tapes that are less than full.

Video formats: VHS, VHS-C, Hi8, Video8, Digital8, MiniDV, HDV, 3/4-inch U-matic, 1-inch Type C, Betacam SP, Digital Betacam



DVDs: $10 each

Blu-ray: $15 each (coming spring 2014).

Digital File Creation: $15 per runtime hour of film or $15 per original videotape.

File types available: Uncompressed 10-bit QuickTime mov, Uncompressed 8-bit QuickTime mov, Apple ProRes 422 (HQ), DPX (individual image frames), TIFF (individual image frames), MPEG-4, H.264, DV and others.



Back-ups to LTO tape

Climate controlled archival storage onsite (link)

Advice for home storage

Some Things To Consider  

  • If you need to inspect your film, treat it gently. Try not to put fingerprints on it and be aware that it may be brittle or damaged.
  • Don’t throw anything away! Are there notes on the can or in the container? Even after the transfer, films and videos should never be thrown away. If stored properly, they will always be a good back-up in case of loss of discs or digital files.
  • We can work on film or video of any subject. It does not have to be home movies or related to New England/Maine. Your payment for this work does help support Northeast Historic Film’s archival preservation activities.
  • If you cannot come to NHF with your collection and you must ship, we have a couple of recommendations. Be sure to tape the film canisters closed. Pack all canisters, boxes, reels, and documents securely to keep the contents from shifting during shipping. Use a shipping service that tracks and allows you to insure your shipment such as FedEx or UPS.

For additional information and estimates, contact us at 207-469-0924 or email Technical Services.

Click for a printable version of our Film ID Card (PDF file).  This will provide you information on how to handle your film and what to look for when you consider transferring your film to a new format.