Cine Film Basics
By Cine Film we normally mean the popular (Standard) 8 mm and Super 8 and less frequently seen 9.5 mm and 16 mm, motion picture film formats used for home movies. I will concentrate on the more popular 8 mm sizes as that is what we see the most of when transferring them to DVD. The film is called 8 mm as it is (approximately) eight millimetres wide. It exists in two main versions — the original standard 8 mm film (also known as standard or regular 8), and Super 8. Although both standard 8 mm and Super 8 are 8 mm wide, Super 8 has a larger image area because of its smaller and more widely spaced perforations (see diagram).
Both are easily transferred to DVD using a frame by frame process that individually scans each frame and then assembles them as an MP4 format film available to play immediately. However, we use a film editing programme to check the scanned film and where necessary correct any colour cast – this is a tint of a particular colour, usually unwanted, which affects the whole, or portion, of a photographic image evenly. It can be caused by the chemical process in development and the fading of pictures over time or exposure to UV light or other extremes – temperature for example – often Cine film ends up in the loft or attic and is subjected to extremes which is why getting it transferred as soon as possible is a must.
Using video editing software allows us to review and correct the speed of the Cine Film. The frame rate can be anywhere between 18 and 24 frames per second. Our scanner produces an MP4 file at 30 frames per second (fps). We, therefore, need to adjust this to make the film playback normally and not as if playing at double speed which it can sometimes look like. Here is a link to our Cine Film Transfer Page.
Reasons to transfer from Cine to DVD
- The enjoyment of rediscovery – precious memories that have been lost for many years. Transferring Cine Film to DVD can lead to the unearthing of long-forgotten Weddings, Birthdays, Anniversaries, Christenings, Holidays and major events.
- Easy viewing – to view a Cine Film can be complex and time-consuming, even if you have working equipment it has to be assembled and set up and the room darkened. Often the equipment doesn’t work that well, and servicing old projectors can be costly and time-consuming. Getting the framing right and not scorching the film are all big problems. With DVD footage, on the other hand, it is easier to watch, pause and replay, and to enjoy at leisure.
- Degradation risk – Cine Film, degrades, discolours and gets hard and rigid and unable to be played at all. Surprisingly, Cine Film lasts longer than video film but still fails over time. This is partly a result of its chemical composition but also due to the effects of time and any damage incurred by original viewings can lead to the film quality degrading.
Now is the time to act as Cine Film use started to decline in the 1970s and so many films we see are getting on for 50 years old or more. Our Cine Film Transfer Service Page gives prices for transferring from Cine to DVD.
Approximate Guide to how much Cine Film you have
A shoebox of Cine Films stored in your cupboard or attic/loft may well contain 10 or more reels of film but just how much is on a reel? The table below gives you a rough idea of how much film is on a reel:
Do Not Put Off Getting Your Films Transferred
We see a lot of films where the splices (connecting one scene to another in a film) have broken requiring us to reconnect these to get the film to transfer. The colour cast problems mentioned earlier will not correct themselves and whilst we have tools to correct this, the earlier the film can be transferred, the better. Films fade and details and resolution are lost as the pictures fade away. We have seen a number of films now beginning to show signs of chemical decomposition, these present themselves as a sticky film (stuck together and totally destroyed). As a white musty dust along the edges of the film which we have been able to work with but is an obvious sign that the film is breaking down. Additionally, we have seen film that has hardened which is very difficult to work with as it can easily snap and break.
With most film over 50 years old and not having been stored in the optimum of conditions, now is the time to hunt out those boxes of film and get them transferred. You never know what treasured memories you will unearth and you can save them before they have gone forever. Our Cine Film Transfer Services Page shows our prices.
Fish Photographs courtesy Wikipedia creative commons