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Digitize your own cine film, or outsoure to specialist?

Digitize your own cine film

Norm translation
Cine film
Have you got old super 8/double 8/16mm films lying around, which you want to digitize? Digitizing 8mm cine films yourself is possible. Although the quality which is gained is surprisingly less than when it is done by professionals. We explain the different ways of digitizing and give some advise for what you need for the digitizing.

super8 film transfer - DYI or professional scan?


1. Digitizing super 8 on DVD via the projection screen

The easiest, but the worst method to digitize your precious super 8 or 8mm film to DVD, is by projecting on a projecting screen (or a white piece of paper) and capturing the image with a camera. The camera can be attached on a DVD recorder or a computer to capture the images. Then the film is burnt on a DVD. Flickering images, a clear hotspot, less contrast and colour difference are in this method almost always the consequence.

2. Digitizing 8mm via glass screen

Another method to digitize cine film, for instance digitizing 16mm to DVD, is by means of a glass screen. The projector projects the image on a tilted mirror and afterwards on the glass screen. If you use a consumer camera without variable shutter time you will see flickering of the image. A clear hotspot is unavoidable with this method, except when you zoom really closely on the image which causes at least loss of 25% of the image. Colour difference and clearly less sharpness and contrast are the most common complaints when it comes to digitizing cine film.

3. Letting a professional digitize

Would you like to let a professional digitize the cine films? Let someone digitize in a high quality on DVD? And for an affordable price?

Do not be tempted to digitize and digitize your cine film to DVD with old telecine scanners from Sony (BM2100), Elmo (TRV) and Fumeo. These telecine scanners from the '80s only have a few simple VHS cameras with 240 screen lines. Our telecine recorder with a professional, industrial camera reaches a resolution of 800 screen lines!

The professional telecine recorders use a industrial camera and a modified projector or an especially designed telecine scanner. Both give an exellent result. The difference between telecine scanners and modified projectors is not visible. The difference can only be measured with an oscilloscope.

Most professional telecine recorders make use of the Hitachi HV D30P cameras. The flash scan of MWA, some recorders of moviestuff and the modified projectors from different providers make use of this camera. The prices of telecine recorders for 8mm and Super 8 cine films vary from about € 4.500,- to € 135.000,-

Van Eck Video Services makes use of a modified telecine scanner, which provide the highest quality scans, to digitize cine films, Super 8 and double 8. Our cine film scanners take a seperate picture of every image in high resolution.

A table of comparison for scanning by yourself or letting a professional scan it

Method Quality
1. Doing it yourself with white paper moderate
2. Doing it yourself with a telescreen
daylight screen
3. Letting a professional scan it at
Van Eck Video Services

Transfer your films yourself

In this explenation we are going to make use of a tele screen or glasscreen.
The glasscreens van Doornen give the best results. We advice the hama 3012 telescreens as the best purchase.

Place the projector at the side of the telescreen. Place the camera in front of it (see the next picture)

It is important that the speed of the projector is put on 16,66 images per second for a projector with a three-shutter (which most projectors have) and 25 frames per second for a projector with a double-shutter. This is to minimalize the flicking of the image. This requires a projector with continuous adjustable speed.

There are actually 2 groups of film projectors with continuous adjustable speed

1) Analog adjustable . There is no electrical control in here. The speed is managed by the amount of electricity the motor gets. This works, only is the speed not constant. When the projector heats, or the power on the reels changes (for instance when the film is played a part) the speed will vary. So practically it will be necessary to change the speed a little during the transfer.

An example from an analogue constantly adjustable projector is the Elmo GP-E projector. The most projectors in this class have a price between €110,- and € 160,-

2) Digitally adjustable. There is a electronic control with feedback. This feedback makes sure the projector will run at a constant speed. An example of such a projector is the Braun Visacustic 2000. There aren't a lot op projectors that have 16,66 frames per second with electronic feedback. This type of projector is also very expensive. But we have made electronic conversion kits to make this possible.

When your projector has no adjustable speed, it is possible to modify this with a few changes in the electronics. We sell conversion kits for this. we have these conversion kits now:

Conversion kit To be able to change the speed electronically continuous
Bauer T502/T5010/T525/T610
Elmo ST-600/SC-18
Eumig RS-3000

PA-0008 Eumig RS-3000 speed modification kit


Tested in:

- Noris Norisound 110
- Noris Norisound 810
- Noris Record 200 SM
- Noris Record 324
- Noris Record SM3

The speed of the projector can be measured by the next device: Speed-o-meter - ELV RC200

Light / bulb

When transferring films, it is important that you can adjust the brightness of the bulb. For dark images, you need extra light and for light images, you need to turn down the light intensity.

If you filmprojector has a cold-morror lamp, we advice to use the filling dimmable LED lamp:

Projector Lamp LED 2900 lm - dimmable

This lamp can be used for normal projection and for digitizing your films using a glass-screen or normal screen.



If the films contain sound, there are three ways to transfer it:

1. Copying sound from the projector speakers with the camera microphone. This is the simplest way, but there are a number of disadvantages: all ambient sounds in the room and the sound of the projector are also registered. There is also a great loss of quality.

2. Sound directly from the projector (audio output - often DIN5 ) to sound input from the computer. Here is no quality loss and also the ambient sounds are not recorded. The disadvantage of this way is that the video signal and audio signal are separate and synchronizing image and sound requires an extra step in the post-processing of the image and sound. These cables are often suitable for this purpose:

3. Sound from the projector to microphone camera. This is the best way. The image and sound arrive synchronously on the camera. Afterwards, the sound no longer needs to be synced with the film. What is important, however, is the use of an audio attenuator. The impedance of the output signal of the film projector is too high for the microphone input of the camera. The audio attenuator solves this problem. Besides the above two cables, an attenuator should be used. For example the Nedis Karaokemixerset. It is important to adjust the strength of the signal with the volume knob so that it is not drowned out, but also not too weak. Here is a picture of the way of connecting it:

Camera settings

Configure the camera on the manual-mode. Adjust the settings for brightness, aperture and the focus by hand.

The frames of the camera can be put from the camera on the computer for the finishing touch and export to files, DVD or Blu-Rays

Finishing the video

After the video ís recorded by the camera, there are some post-processing steps. The most important is to correct the speed. The speed at which the film is recorded by the 8 mm film camera is different from the speed in which it is digitized. The formula to calculate the correct rate conversion is: 100 * (1 / (digitized speed / original speed)) %. For example, a movie recorded at 18 frames per second and digitized at 16.66 frames per second needs o be corrected by a factor of 108%.

Table with most common speeds:

original speed digitized speed rate converstion factor
16 16,666 96 %
18 16,666 108 %
24 16,666 144 %


We hope to have given you enough background information, which will give you the best choice for your situation.

If you have a question, please let us know. Do not be afraid to call us or send us an e-mail!

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