Transfer old 8mm to video

3 replies [Last post]
Richard Choroszewski
Joined: Sep 28 1999

I have tons of old 8mm (both std and super)going back decades and my projector is getting long in the tooth. I would like to transfer to video,
1 to preserve the information
2 to send copies to old friends on a format they can use
3 to re edit the good stuff

I have a Panasonic 110 3 CCD and have a decent budget (say, but not limited to, 2.5k to 3k) to buy a PC and NLEditing software etc.

Although I have a good grounding in PC's I've found the introductory 'Help Me I'm New!' text a little basic, and the contents of the Computer Video Magazine a shade complicated as I am only into DV in the last fortnight!

Any tips as to transferring the 8mm to DV? and video editing hardware and software generally?

Storm/Edius3.01 PAL 3Ghz Pentium in ASUS P4G8X M/board WinXPProSP2. 3x120G ATA & 2x300G Sata Raid0. 1024Mb DDRAM, Matrox Parhelia, 2xTFT 20" +SB Audigy2Platinum

Nigel Longman
Joined: Apr 28 1999


I too have lots of old cine film that I intend to tranfer to video one day. I've read that the best way to do this is to project the image on to a plain white surface and simply video the picture from the screen with the camera located beside the projector, but I havn't yet tried this. You shouldn't need to project a big picture, I intend to try about 12" across. With the camera near to the projector keystone effects will be minimised.

As for the sound a direct link from the projector to the PC video card sound input would be the way to go (assuming they are sound films!).

If you have lengthy films you will either have to capture them in short lengths or use capture software that has a continuous 'multi-file' capability (to over-come the 2GB windows file size limit). The latest FAST software can do this and I think Canopus software can do it too.

Flicker or strobing will almost certainly be a problem depending on whether your films are 16, 18 or 24 fps and the number of blades on your projector shutter (probably 3). I intend to experiment with different shutter speeds on the camera and slightly varying the projector speed to try to minimise this effect. You'll also probably get a bright 'hot-spot' in the middle of the picture due to uneven illumination. I've thought of using a 'lollipop' shaped device to obscure the centre of the beam to reduce this.

Re-editing the footage will be a breeze once its captured and in the PC using Premiere, Ulead Media Studio or whatever. Believe me you won't miss those scissors and the tape or cement splices. And once edited you can transfer it back to tape.

Video editing hardware and software? FAST AV Master seems popular for analogue input/output, Canopus Raptor for digital i/o. FAST supply Ulead Media Studio, I'm not sure what you get with Canopus - I think its Premiere. Both Ulead and Premiere have their followers - its really personal preference based on their respective features.

So there you have my thoughts on the subject of copying film which I hope may be of some use to you, although as I said I've yet to try it myself.

One final word, think twice before buying one of those black plastic video transfer devices containing close-up lenses, mirrors, translucent screens etc. I think you'd probably get as good results using a sheet of white paper as suggested above. And its a lot cheaper.

Good luck. Perhaps you could let us know how you get on.


(Incidentally have a look at my ad in the classified secton for a cracking NLE AV Master set-up for sale. Could save you a few bob if its what you're looking for.)

David J
Joined: Nov 23 2000

I find it helpful to have a gentle background light on the projection screen (if transferring that way) to knock down the contrast a little. Video isn't too hapy with the full dynamic range of film.

I also find that winding up the reds gives a much more satisfactory colour intensity match between the video and original film. If you capture straight into the computer, use the colour adjustment slider (assuming you have one in your capture software).

A few test runs will sort out the small print, but make sure you've got some strong reds in the test footage.

Joined: Sep 23 1999

I've just tried transferring some 8mm film to video using the 'project onto a screen and video it' method.

The results are reasonable, but you need to be careful with the white balance, and I found flicker a bit of a problem. It seems that the minimum flicker occurs at a speed about half way between 18 and 24 frames per sec on my projector (it has a 3 blade shutter).

At 18 fps (the speed at which I shot all my film), a slow flicker with a period of about 1 second occurs which is quite distracting (if I run at 24fps, the flicker is very fast and makes the result unwatchable).

The main problem with running the 18fps footage at the slightly higher speed needed to reduce flicker is the effect on the sound, which is more noticable than you might expect.

I used the slowest shutter speed on the camcorder (i.e. 1/50s), as I assumed faster speeds would cause more flicker (though I haven't tried it).