Film Transfer FAQs

What types of film do you scan and transfer?

8mm film (including film with mag sound strip), Super 8mm film (including film with mag or optical sound strips), 9.5mm film, 16mm and Super 16mm film (including film with mag or optical sound strips), 35mm film (including film with optical or mag sound strip).

What is your Film Scanning Process?

Our technicians have over 30 years combined experience in film transfer. After receipt and inventory of your film, we apply labels to your film reels to identify items as yours, determine a chronological or customer specified sequence for film capture, and then inspect your films for damage or needed repairs before cleaning; using Solvon film cleaner and conditioner for film cleaning. Cleaned films from small reels are aggregated on to 400ft reels for film transfer.

We have 3 types of film scanners: MovieStuff Universals with a 2K camera (for 8mm, Super 8mm, 9.5mm, 16mm, and 35mm films), a Lasergraphics "Archivist" with a 5.3K camera (for all types of 8mm and 16mm films, with and without sound), and a Cintel 2 with 4K camera (for all types of 16mm and 35mm films, with or without sound). Each film frame is captured, and the output of the capture can be MOV, MP4 and AVI video formats, or DPX, TIF and JPG image sequences, and the outputs are stored in our centralized NAS. If audio is present in your films, our scanners have integral sound readers for both optical and magnetic sound. Once in our storage network, our film editors can use Adobe's Creative Cloud suite (Premiere Pro & Media Encoder) to provide color correction, digital noise reduction, sound editing, and then output files to your specified format. We can offer most types of file formats, and our resolution options for output are standard def (SD), HD, 2K, and 2.5K for 8mm films; and up to 4K for 16mm and 35mm films.

We have special warped film gates for 8mm and 16mm films, and these help us provide a stable capture and solid moving image.

Film from small reels is returned on 400ft take-up reels, along with the empty 3-inch reels and original boxes. If you require us to return all films to their original reels, we can do this as part of the agreed upon service fee for your project.

We offer related service products for enhanced color correction, digital noise reduction, audio capture, background music for silent films, custom menus and onscreen chapter titles.

How is audio captured off film sound strips?

We capture film video and the film’s audio at the same time, using the Lasergraphics scanner for 8mm and 16mm films, and the Cintel C (capstan) scanner for 35mm films. If necessary, we can enhance the audio for best playback.

How is audio captured off film sound strips?

We capture film video and the film’s audio at the same time, using the Lasergraphics scanner for 8mm and 16mm films, and the Cintel C (capstan) scanner for 35mm films. If necessary, we can enhance the audio for best playback.

What can you do for movie films that have shrunken or become warped?

We have special film gates for warped 8mm and 16mm films, that have a pressure plate so that films lay perfectly flat as they pass underneath the scanner’s camera, and we move the film through the scanner at a much slower frames per second, allowing for a stable, smooth, solid capture and transfer. Results are amazing. There are optional price mark-ups for this service. NOTE - if films are brittle, and break during the cleaning process, we will not be able to transfer these films.

What do you do with films that are tinted red, blue, or other colors, due to fading of film dyes over time?

There are two processes to correct excessive film tinting - the 4K film scanners have inherent color grading software to correct film tinting during the capture phase, and if additional color correction is needed, we use color correction tools in Adobe’s Premiere Pro or Blackmagic’s Davinci Resolve to make further improvements.

What size hard-drive or flash drive do customers need for film transfer?

Estimate 5GB per hour of content for MP4 files, 10GB per hour of content for HD or 2K MP4 files, 50GB per hour of content for HD ProRes MOV files, and 100GB per hour of content for uncompressed MOV files.

Do we return the customers’ original film?


Why do we return film, from 50ft and 100ft reels, as spliced together film on 400ft reels?

Saves time and money. However, if you prefer, choose the option to have us return all films back to the original, smaller reels. The charge for this service is $2 per film reel. By the way, all film boxes and film cans, with their labels, are returned back to the customer.

What are some of the common problems in Film Transfer?

    The more common problems in film quality are described below:

  • Jumpy or Vibrating Pictures - caused by either damaged film perforations, or by incorrect film loading in the original movie camera.
  • Black film- If there are sections in the customer’s film that are black, showing little or no image, that is due to film that was either badly exposed or not exposed at all. At Cintrex AV, we will remove these sections before making the film transfer.
  • Thin, Light Pictures- Light or overly bright picture is caused by film that was Overexposed when it was developed.
  • Wavy Pictures- happens because the film is warped or shrunken.

  • Blurred or Fuzzy Pictures- This is caused by incorrect setting of the camera focus or extreme close-ups taken with a fixed-focus camera.
  • Blurred or Doubled Images- Pictures that show double images or blurred scenes with a vertical “jumpy” effect are caused by problems with threading the film into camera or a camera that is out of adjustment.
  • Heavy, Foggy Shadows- This is caused by failure to make allowances in exposure for side or back lighting. For example, a scene that is shot with the sun facing the camera. In this case, special allowances must be made when exposing the film due to the amount of light that is captured. Better results will be seen when the camera operator shoots with the sun or bright lighting behind the camera, sometimes called front lighting.
  • Pictures Misty or Flat All Over- This is caused when the camera lens is veiled with dust, moisture, or oil.
  • Light Circular Spots or Curved Streaks- This is caused by the sun or a light source shining on the camera lens when the film was captured.
  • Lines and Scratches- Continuous or intermittent perpendicular lines or short perpendicular scratches in the picture are caused by dirt and other particles that accumulated in the camera that captured the film. It can also be caused by film that was not properly threaded into the camera.
  • Excessive color tint - Film decay, possibly due to original film quality, or storage conditions. These tints can be removed with color correction.