A couple dozen hours of my family's 8mm film have fallen in my lap along with the responsibility to try and digitize it for posterity and burn it out to disc media. This raw film footage would be more enjoyable with significant trimming in the form of clip selection, cutting, reassembilng the order (because different reels were spliced years ago out-of-sequence), adding a few titles with dates and places, and so on. Sounds perfect for Premiere Elements 9. I have not used PE before, so I know there will be a learning curve. I'm a lynda.com subscriber, and they have instructional videos for PE9.
But what's the best way to capture this 8mm film and get it into PE9?
I know there are services that will capture 8mm film and burn it to DVD, but I saw that Bill Hunt advised in another thread that "having the old film telecined onto DVD is not the best" way to go. Also, one service I found also recommend not doing this with PC editing the ultimate goal. Perhaps they've had unhappy customers who had problems importing and editing. It's also quite expensive with so much film to transfer. One pays typically about 25 cents per foot even though a fair amount of it may not make the cut, and the quality may vary depending upon the service.
I have a Hi8 camcorder and a MiniDV camcorder. I can project the film onto a screen and capture it on tape myself with a camcorder. My film projector can vary the speed if needed in an effort to get around the flicker issue caused by the difference in frame rate between film and video. I see in other in other forum threads that I would need to get a D-A interface to go from camcorder to PC to import the video to DV-AVI type II format.That camcorder-to-PC transfer would also have to be done in real time (again, a second time, counting the screening of the film).
Another possibliity is that I could buy a flash-card or hard-drive based camcorder, ideally a camcorder supporting 24p recording, to sync up the frame rate more easily. Would I then be able to copy clip files using a card reader and import them into PE9 without transferring a second time in real time? Would there be a noticeable quality difference in either of these two approaches other than possible flicker? The time savings, if a second real-time playback is avoided, might make this worth getting for this reason alone. My budget would restrict me to spending no more than about $500 on such a camcorder. What format would the camcorder need to record in?
From what I've seen, I don't really need to work in HD or burn out to Blu-Ray for image quality reasons, because these formats exceed 8mm film's resolution.
My first rec. would still be a good telecine lab, and have them transfer the digitized film to miniDV tape. A good telecine lab will do several things:
One can shoot onto a high-reflectivity, flat screen and shoot with a camera, but one will never be able to exactly match the axis of the projector lens, so some keystoning will exist. Optically, this method will never be as good as with a telecine machine, properly set up and calibrated.
If you have a miniDV camera, it should have a FireWire connector, and so long as you have one on your computer, with the proper cable, you will NOT need an A-D bridge, as you can Capture directly from the miniDV tape.
There are some companies that sell telecine equipment, and some will be available without the miniDV camera, and/or the projector. Due to the mechanics and optics, these are very expensive, so one would need to have a lot of film, to justify their expense. Also, one should clean the film carefully, and repair any bad splices. Lastly, a good telecine machine will likely have a liquid gate in the projector, and this will help diminish any scratches, etc.
Just my feelings.