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Film to Video Transfer Won't Bring Back Your Youth, But It Can Help You Relive The Memories

Aug 17, 2007
We never take enough pictures of the important times in our lives. And, worse still, many of those times are locked away in arcane video formats in the attic or storage locker and we don't have them available to share with friends and family or to engage in a little quiet reverie ourselves.

The good news is that just about any media format can be transferred into newer digital technologies like DVD so they will last longer and be available when the moment is right to relive those memories.

There are a number of alternatives for converting your older media whether VHS / Beta tape or older film stock to a format which is usable in today's modern devices.

Methods for transferring film to video:

Believe it or not, converting film to video is a relatively uncomplicated process. You can certainly buy expensive tools and hire professionals to do it for you, but for the do it yourself types theres a method you can use right at home if you still have the projection equipment to match the film media.

This method is called a "screen projection transfer":

Very simply you project and record at the same time. Using your older projector you project the original movie onto a screen from which you can record with your newer modern video camera. Many feel as though this method provides nearly the same results as professional work (or at least good enough when factored against the cost savings). It may take a few tries to get it right, but at least you'll have your memories in a place where they're much more easily accessible without the trouble of unpacking and setting up the old projector.

Try these tricks to improve the quality of your new recording:

If possible, use a variable speed projector. This way you can adjust the speed of the film to eliminate flicker allowing a cleaner recording.
Use a video monitor (or TV) attached to the video camera with which you're recording the film. This way you can be sure that the output is going to be as clean as possible without relying on the 2.5" screen of your video camera.

Make sure your video camera is as close as it can be to the projector lens to avoid distortion due to viewing angle.

Don't darken the room too much. If the room is too dark it may cause your video camera to adjust for the low light and over-emphasize contrast issues in the original.

Try different screen types. You might find that a matte finish is better than a projector screen when rendered on your video camera.

It is definitely worth a little effort to preserve your valuable memories. Take your time and get it right. A little experimentation up front should be expected, but you'll thank yourself in the end.

If you've got a bigger budget, there are some readily available tools which can ease the process and will probably improve the end result as well.

Telecine Transfer Box: This box actually connects to both the camera and the projector. The film projects into the box where there are both a mirror and a rear-projection image screen. By connecting the camera to the other end of the box you can record a much truer image than with screen projection transfer.

Multiplexer: A multiplexer is a complicated system which actually project from the projector directly into the camera through a system of mirrors and lenses. The image quality is great, but they are not cheap - this is more of a professional solution.

Professional Film to Video Transfer Services: There are a number of transfer services available. These services often engage in a number of video conversion and transfer services. While they're going to be more expensive than doing it yourself, the quality afforded by a true professional is well worth it.

Do be sure, however, that you do a little homework. Nothing could be worse than losing those memories to someone else's carelessness or unscrupulousness.

As you can see, all hope is not lost when it comes to preserving and displaying your filmed memories. You can entertain at parties, keep the grandkids enthralled for hours, but most important, assure you are leaving just one more part of a rich legacy to those who come along in the years to come.
About the Author
Published by editorial staff of The National Tollfree Directory. For information about Video Conversion , Video Duplication and International Video Standards Conversion , visit The Transfer Zone at http://www.thetransferzone.com/ . Direct feedback on this article to editorial@strbusinessmedia.com.
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