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 sound strip).

What is your Film Scanning Process?

All film conversion processes include film inspection, cleaning, and repair. We use MovieStuff Universal Mark I and Mark II film scanners to capture each film frame. The captured film content is transcoded into an intermediate AVI or MOV file type or Image Sequence, and then edited and reformatted into your specific requested product output. Examples of output are DVD, Blu-ray Disc, MP4 movie files for viewing on computer, MOV or AVI movie files for editing, and Image Sequence Files (also for editing). Available film output resolutions are: 720x480 (DVD), 960x720p (data file), 1920x1080i (Blu-ray Disc), HD 1920x1080p (data file), 2K-2048x1536, and 2K-2048x1152 (data file)

Film from multiple small reels (3” reels) is consolidated onto larger 7 inch reels for transferring purposes and for better storage. All original film is returned on either the film’s original reels or on 7 inch 400ft take-up reels. We offer ventilated archival can containers as an option for long term storage. The film reels or canisters retain their original markings (customer notes and sequence numbers).

We offer related service products for 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 separately, and then synchronize the two media back together during the final editing process. We will also enhance the audio for best playback. The film’s audio, on either magnetic or optical strips, is played and captured using a film projector. With optical strip sound, we sometimes record the sound’s waveform images with the film scanner, and use specialized software to reproduce the audio.

If the movie film is silent, we offer unlicensed background music from a library of easy listening, instrumental, country western and soft rock selections. If your customer prefers licensed music for their background music, we supply that as well. They need to tell us what they want from which artists. The customer may also want to add voice-over narratives to the film transfer; the third person narratives are a great way to hear the stories that went with some of those memories.

How much film can fit on a DVD or Blu-ray disc?

DVDs can hold up to 2 hours of playable content or 4.7GB of data. This is equivalent to 1,600ft of regular 8mm film, 1,800ft of Super 8mm film, 3,200ft of 16mm film, and 10,000ft of 35mm film. Blu-ray Discs can hold up to 3.5 hours of high definition film content, approximately 25GB of data.

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.