Moving Image Transfers
NHF CAN TRANSFER YOUR FILMS AND VIDEOS TO DVD, BLU-RAY OR HD DIGITAL VIDEO SAFELY AND ECONOMICALLY
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. For thirty years, our past and current clients have included universities, museums, archives, libraries, historical societies, television stations, artists, documentary makers and many hundreds of individuals with films and videos dating back to the 1910s. The technical services department also works on Northeast Historic Film’s own archival holdings, which contain over 10 million feet of film and thousands of videotapes.
We will carefully inspect, assemble and repair your 8mm, Super 8mm (including Polavision), 9.5mm or 16mm films and transfer them to the format of your choice. Films are digitized using our 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 (in standard or high definition or 2K) in various file formats such as Uncompressed 10-bit MOV, Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) and 2K DPX or TIFF files.
Videotapes are digitized at native standard definition resolutions and can also be delivered on DVD, Blu-ray 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.
ABOUT FILM INSPECTION AND TRANSFER
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 film scanner, 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, Super 8mm and 8mm) and optical (16mm) audio tracks.
All high definition film-to-digital video transfers 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. This means that the actual resolution of the film image is about 1440 x 1080. The digital video file that is created for each film will be progressive scan, meaning that each video frame will match a corresponding original film frame (no frame blending or interlacing) and will run at the original speed of the original film as best as we can identify (e.g. 16, 18 or 24 frames per second). If needed for broadcast use, we can embed and output the footage to a 23.967, 24 or 29.97 frames per second video file by duplicating frames with a software conversion. This conversion will automatically be done for home movie films being transferred to DVD and Blu-ray discs, which can only handle standard frame rates for video (29.97 frames per second) and not home movie film frame rates such as 16 or 18 frames per second.
The final cost for all jobs will be Labor + Delivery Materials (DVD or Blu-ray) + Processing Fee + Applicable Shipping/Tax.
LABOR - FILM
Film labor costs are estimated at the following rates for fair-to-good condition film (except 2K transfers*):
16mm (silent, optical and magnetic sound): 20¢ per foot
Regular 8mm (silent and magnetic sound): 35¢ per foot
Super 8mm (silent and magnetic sound): 35¢ per foot
9.5mm (silent): 25¢ per foot
Additional labor costs will be charged at $65 per hour for films which need excessive extra repair or handling. Clients will always be notified for cost approval before this work occurs. The labor costs include all inspection, repair, assembly, supervised film scanning and digital file editing time spent. Digital video file creation is included in the labor cost, if digital video files are requested (see below, under Delivery Materials).
*2K (2336 x 1752) scans can be estimated on a case by case basis, due to the higher level of work involved.
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.
LABOR - VIDEOTAPE
Videotape labor costs for all formats, except 1-inch Type C,* are billed based on the running time of each tape.
Less than 15 minutes: $15
15-60 minutes: $20
60+ minutes: $25
*1-inch Type C tapes are billed at a labor cost of $30 minimum.
Video formats: VHS, VHS-C, Hi8, Video8, Digital8, MiniDV, HDV, 3/4-inch U-matic, Betacam SP, Digital Betacam, 1-inch Type C*
DVDs (Standard Definition, 720x480): $10 each
Blu-ray (High Definition, 1920x1080): $15 each
Digital Video Files: included in Labor cost (see above, depending on format of original materials)
Digital Video Files are included as part of the the Labor cost, if they are requested. When the work is completed and we know how large the files are, customers will need to provide an external hard drive. We can write to both Windows (NTFS) and Mac (HFS+) formatted drives, connected via USB 2.0/3.0, FireWire and Thunderbolt. Occasionally for smaller files, we can upload them to our file sharing service online.
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.
For all projects, there is a flat $15 Processing Fee to cover the basic intake and administrative time spent on all jobs regardless of their size.
OTHER AVAILABLE SERVICES
Back-ups to LTO data 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 helps support Northeast Historic Film’s archival preservation activities.
- If you cannot come to NHF with your collection and you need to ship, we have a couple of recommendations. Be sure to tape the loose 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.
- We are unable to digitally scan 35mm film in house, but are happy to assist in assessing the condition of any film type and in recommending laboratories that can handle other formats.
- We can also assist in assessing or identifying videotape formats that we do not work with in house.
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.