0 Replies Latest reply on Sep 16, 2014 2:31 PM by AlanKl2

    8mm film to digital

    AlanKl2 Level 1

      I have about 30 reels of 8mm, 50 feet each.  I'm using Premiere Elements 8.


      Which process should I use to convert the film into a file format that would be best to use with displaying on HDTV using the Premiere?

      Thanks.  Alan

        • 1. Re: 8mm film to digital
          John T Smith Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          You need to find a company that will convert film to digital... what you want is DV AVI type 2 with 48khz sound, if you are going to edit with PreEl


          Also be aware that 8mm film is about (or below?) the resolution of VHS, so viewing on a HD TV is not going to be all that great

          • 2. Re: 8mm film to digital
            oldevhs Level 1

            A number of years ago I had several thousand feet of 8mm & Super8 movie film converted to digital format for editting purposes --some of the film was over 60 years old at the time.  All film is checked, breaks are repaired as needed, and cleaned before digitizing.  While much of the film was already spliced on large reels (up to 400 feet each) many of the reels were 50 foot reels.  The 50 foot reels were spliced and combined onto larger reels.  Over the years their archiving options have changed somewhat as media technology has unfortunately evolved.  I chose to have the film converted onto DVDs (so that I could quickly review various 'events') and also copied onto D8 video tapes (for reliable capturing to .avi files for editing.  They may no longer offer D8 tape, but I believe they offer dv-avi files on external HDs at a reasonable price.


            I've been completely satisfied with the service offered by Home Movie Depot ( http://www.homemoviedepot.com ). I believe they still offer a free trial of up to 50ft of film.

            • 3. Re: 8mm film to digital
              big sandy lake Level 1

              I am not completly sure of Johns response about being equivalent to VHS. I think it depends on what depth of scanning they offer when converting your film. It could be much greater than VHS if you used the highest level of scanning now being offered. That being said a lot depends on the condition of the film. I did the same as you with my film but am now considering sending my 800' of film back to be scanned at HD level for about 47c a foot. Kinda spendy but thats 1556 lines or 2K of digital information per frame and thats worth it to me. Check out http://www.videoconversionexperts.com/Film_to_DVD/default.htm



              • 4. Re: 8mm film to digital
                AlanKl2 Level 1

                The fellow I spoke to at one of the companies that do this service said that you really can't get more than 720x480.  So beyond that my PS3 player (or Premiere), will have to up-rez it to let's say 720 lines. 


                My question is which format is best to change it into for loading into the computer and editing in Premiere?  What are the optional formats to input and their pros and cons?

                • 5. Re: 8mm film to digital
                  Steve Grisetti Adobe Community Professional

                  Ideally you want your video in a DV-AVI format (which is not to be confused with any old AVI format). Most telecine companies won't give it to you that way though. The files are too large. So if they give it to you as DVD files (VOBs or MPEG2s) that will do too.


                  Though version 8, unfortunately, does not work well with MPEGs as source video. (If you do decide to do it, make sure, when you set up your project, you go to Settings and select Hard Disk Camcorder/Standard Definition 720x480.) And then make sure you render your timeline whenever you see red lines above your clips.


                  Version 11 does a much better job of working with MPEG2s as source video, and it sets up your project automatically to match your video specs.


                  Meantime, don't worry about the lack of resolution of standard definition video. 8mm movies were very low resolution anyway and they likely have deteriorated over time. The quality will look as good in standard definition (up-rezzed by your disk player) as it would in high-def, but without the added expense.

                  • 6. Re: 8mm film to digital
                    Keledole Level 1

                    Have a look at this company. 




                    They are a professional house that has done some standard definition transfer and color correction work for my 50+ year old 8mm and super8 mm films.  They can do hi def and I believe uncompressed to a range of formats but be aware that Premiere Elements may choke on the hi def files depending on your hardware.  I had standard definition AVI files put onto a hard drive and used them for editing.  I have personally found that the standard definition DVD's I created were pretty good.  In my opinion it was the content of the video that delighted the viewers in seeing their departed relatives in days gone by and not that the difference in quality between standard and high definition.  Stabilization was a big part of the editing process in creating a pleasantly viewable production.

                    • 7. Re: 8mm film to digital
                      oldevhs Level 1

                      At the risk of upsetting some folks --don't over think the resolution of digitized 8mm/super8mm HOME movies.


                      HD or SD really isn't the issue.  The true issue is what is already on the old film.  While you can improve some aspects of the material (lighting issues primarily) you really can't add resolution that is not there to start.


                      My two biggest surprises when dealing with digitalization of film from the 1930's through the 1960's:

                      1. the optics were primitive by today's standards; and unless someone followed the photographer around with a tape measure (to manually correct the manual focus of the day) you will wind up with digitized images that are not (were not) trully focused.
                      2. after digitalization, amazing corrections/edits CAN be made to under/over exposed scenes.  The simplest application of the Shadow/Highlight pre-set can make people (never seen when originally projected) pop out of shadows or glare.


                      Additionally, the auto-focusing of the 1970's Super8 cameras also did not compare to today's technology --they were slow, easily fooled.  And zooming compounded the focusing errors.


                      Go for it.  Send one or two small rolls to a company of your choice --many of them have been doing this conversion for years and already have an idea of what you are looking for and can expect.

                      • 8. Re: 8mm film to digital
                        AlanKl2 Level 1

                        Thanks for all your replies.  So once I finish the editing, I could burn a DVD with menu's etc.  Which output shoudl I select? The presets when starting a New project that seem that they may work are: 


                        DV Standard 48Khz

                        - For editing with IEEE1394 (FireWire/i.LINK) DV equipment.

                        - Standard NTSC video (4:3 interlaced).

                        - 48kHz (16 bit) audio.

                        - Drop-Frame Timecode numbering.


                        or HArd Disk, Flash Memory Camcorder?

                        - For video files produced by standard definition hard disk based camcorders like JVC Everio, Sony HDR and DCR.- Standard NTSC video (4:3 interlaced).

                        - 48kHz (16 bit) audio.

                        - Drop-Frame Timecode numbering.


                        They both are also described as:

                        Editing mode: DV NTSC
                        Timebase: 29.97fps

                        Video Settings
                        Frame size: 720h 480v (0.9091)
                        Frame rate: 29.97 frames/second
                        Pixel Aspect Ratio: D1/DV NTSC (0.9091)
                        Fields: Upper Field First

                        Audio Settings
                        Sample rate: 48000 samples/second

                        Default Timeline
                        Total video tracks: 3
                        Master track type: Stereo
                        Mono tracks: 0
                        Stereo tracks: 3

                        • 9. Re: 8mm film to digital
                          filmtransfer Level 1

                          Hi Alan,


                          I apologize for any mis-information you've received.

                          I've been transferring film for 11 years, and back in 2002 DV-AVI would have been the correct answer (although Premiere Elements 8 didn't exist back then).

                          Today, there are immense benefits of scanning film on the most advanced hardware which support resolutions up to 2336x1752.

                          The best output file is debatable, but the sweet spot between size and quality would be a .mov in the Pro-res HQ codec.

                          It appears Premiere Elements 8 supports .mov from the documentation, but I haven't tested the codec above in this particular configuration.

                          To be on the safe side, you could start with a 2336x1752 (scanned and restored professionally) stored in a .mov Pro-res HQ file, use that as your archival/preservation master, and then down-convert from there for your intended software. Elements 8 might not work with files larger than 1920x1080, so you could down-convert as suggested, or upgrade your software to support import of the higher resolutions files.

                          If you're working in an HD timeline, the software might resize it for you to fit the sequence, but other times you'll have to manually scale the video to fit correctly inside your HD timeline.


                          There's lots of information above, so feel free to contact me if you have any questions.




                          • 10. Re: 8mm film to digital
                            the_wine_snob Level 9



                            Thank you for the information on the current state of tele-cine.


                            As Premiere Elements has an upper limit for a Project at 1920 x 1080 (it can Import 2.7K footage, but only into a full-HD 1920 x 1080 Project), that would likely be the ultimate for Frame Size. Note: Premiere Pro has a limitation of ~ 10K resolution, IIRC, so one could benefit from higher resolution tele-cine output.


                            The ProRes CODEC can be a bit of an issue, especially if one is on a PC. I also suspect that PrE might have issues with it.


                            Not sure how PrE might, or might not handle Black Magic's DNxHD CODEC, but there seem to be fewer issues with it, and especially on a PC. PrPro, again, can handle it nicely, but do not know if that is available from your lab, or others?


                            H.264 might be as universal as it gets at this moment, being supported by PrE for full-HD 1920 x 1080, but perhaps the new H.265 will be viable, when more readily available? Not sure if we will see much of it, until a few major camera mfgrs. begin supporting it.


                            Again, thank you for your comments.



                            • 11. Re: 8mm film to digital
                              filmtransfer Level 1



                              Interesting - never had the need for 10K as of yet, but I'm sure that would make a killer presentation display if everything is kept native from capture to distribution.


                              I've experienced numerous problems with DNxHD in the past, mainly CPU requirements are much higher and limitations on resolution, bit-rate and color space (hence quality ceiling) (DNxHD is an Avid codec - Blackmagic has their own codec implementations)


                              I work with Pro-res on PC all day long and the Windows decoder allows import of the Pro-res HQ files into virually any video program I throw at it. Add FFMPEg into the mix and you have a lot of versatility which I highly recommend.


                              H.264 is a problem for archiving film to digital unless you encode using i-frames only, otherwise you don't get an exact represenation of the film frames in the digital realm.

                              Also very CPU intensive compared to some of the optimized lossless codecs like Pro-res HQ. Canopus HQX is also a good cross-platform codec for consideration.

                              Cineform also was good at one point, but with the buyout by Go-pro their roadmap is unclear and our customers have been having problems moving forward with Cineform onto the latest releases of OSX.




                              • 12. Re: 8mm film to digital
                                the_wine_snob Level 9



                                Thanks for the correction - brain cramp on my part. As you point out, DNxHD is AVID, not BM. I should know better.


                                Also, thank you for sharing your experience with DNxHD, and other CODEC's.






                                PS - I will be sending you a PM, asking about your services.

                                • 13. Re: 8mm film to digital
                                  bruce josephs Level 1

                                  8mm film has more resolution than standard definition but less definition than HD (1920 x 1080 pixels). So scanning above HD is a waste of time and money. As the user requires for use on a PC it is not a good idea to output in ProRes. Whilst it is possible to get CoDecs that will read ProRes, it is an Apple only format and it can not easily be written from a PC. DNxHD is a format for high end PCs. Given that the user uses a PC with Windows Adobe Elements a lighter option may be a better option. Quicktime using a Sorensen CoDec may be a good option.


                                  In terms of the actual transfer. You need to see samples of the work done by the transfer company. There is a huge difference between the high end and the low end of film transfers. A high end transfer company will be able to restore the footage so that black blemishes are not so evident. See [removed spam link] The company has been transferring film footage to digital for longer than most companies currently around and has happy customers around the world.

                                  • 14. Re: 8mm film to digital
                                    Slartibaartfast Level 1

                                    If you want the best from Standard 8 or Super 8 film, you will get more than standard definition and less than high definition. If you want the best it must be scanned and restored in high definition and then output to a completely uncompressed format for storage. There is actually more information stored in each frame due to the fact that the grains of the film lie in different directions and are different sizes and shapes.


                                    [removed spam link]