By Andy Goldsmith, Mar 28 2016 07:53PM
REELS OF SUPER 8 CINE FILM
You've just been in your loft and discovered a box containing reels of old cine film.
You remember them being shown during the 60's and 70's when your family got
together to view the latest home movie. With curtains drawn, and lights turned off, the film would be shown (all 4 minutes of it) the lights were switched back on then after a bit of fiddling about, the next film would be played. Half way through the second reel the projector would jam, your dad would swear under his breath, splice the film back together and then it was all systems go.
There was no way of knowing just how precious these films would be 40 to 50 years later. Now that you've discovered these little gems, wouldn’t it be great for you and your family to be able to see them again.
Maybe you've found the projector too?
Should you attempt to relive your memories by plugging it in, loading it up, just for old time sake?
Judging by the amount of film converted each month, this happens to families the world over. Fortunately most would not attempt to play these irreplaceable pieces of history on their old equipment.
Since its retirement, stored away in the loft, your projector has baked through the summer months and froze during the winter, it would be a miracle if it worked at all.
They were quite rough on film anyway, so now after all these years the chances of it running without damaging old and brittle film is unlikely.
So what's the best option?
If you happen to find some unprocessed Kodachrome ‘Standard 8' or a 'Super 8' film there are a few companies that will develop it for you.
It will cost you around £40 per 50ft.
The end result would only be black and white. That's because Kodak stopped making the required K14 chemistry some time ago, so this is really your only option. ( Although I can't help thinking that one day in the future somebody will persuade Kodak to do the right thing and bring the process back )
Stranger things have happened – They are now launching a new re-vamped Super 8 cine camera!
There is a range of Ektachrome reversal and Vision 3 neg stock available too
For processed films on spools the news is much better.
Many companies offer a cine film transfer service. They would typically use specially designed machines or modified projectors to carry out this work.
It is widely known that a small number of companies still use ordinary film projectors, focusing onto white boards then aim their camcorders at the projected image and filming the result. High quality results will never be achieved this way. Doesn't your precious family archive deserve better?
In their day the results of analogue cine transfers copied onto tape wasn't too bad. Having said that, try watching a VHS copy of your 80's holidays or re – runs of classic TV programmes from the same period straight after the latest James Bond blockbuster on blu ray, you’d be shocked to see how fuzzy they both look compared to the HD film you've just bought.
Your modern wide screen TV that takes pride of place in your living room is capable of producing stunning images with vibrant colours, so unless you transfer your film using the very latest equipment available you'll find the results disappointing
So what is the latest equipment?
OUR RETRO 16 FRAME BY FRAME FILM SCANNER
Automated scanners captures your film 'frame by frame'
At apg video we use both Moviestuff Retro 8 / 16 film scanners and Tobin TV8 telecine machines. Then with specialised software the 4000 scanned images from a typical 50ft spool are turned into a very high quality transfer. During this process your images are density/colour corrected making sure you get the very best viewing experience.
What happens to my movies then?
We generally place your transfer onto either (HD) Blu ray or (SD) DVD.
You might like to do some editing, maybe place all the weddings onto one disc, or cut out scenes that are no longer of interest so the scanned jpg/movie files can be placed onto a storage device like a USB memory stick or hard drive for you to work on at a later date.
This system is extremely versatile so if you intend to send your captured footage to friends in the USA for example the project can produced in NTSC too.
Now what happens if this box contains slides or old negatives what can be done with these?
Taking pictures using colour reversal film such as Kodachrome was extremely popular since it's introduction in the 30’s. They were often loaded into slide viewers or projected onto walls or screens. Kodachrome was the most popular, but was discontinued in 2009.
When your film was finished it was placed into the envelope supplied and sent to Kodak where it was processed and put into cardboard mounts then returned back to you. All within a week if you were lucky, maybe longer during peak seasons.
A far cry from the 'instant' Digital age we have today.
In this box of goodies you might have found some old negatives. Maybe you’ve discovered some long forgotten black and white 120 film. These were larger than the 35mm film you might be used to. They first appeared in 1901 for the Kodak ‘Box Brownie’ and you can still buy it in different versions today.
You might find other film sizes too, such as 127 / 620 or some colour 110/126
Now most people have photographs stored away, some recent, some much older. These might be damaged or faded. Very few will have their negatives attached.
If you have found any of the above what can be done with these?
Photographs can still be produced from all of these finds, Many like the idea of creating digital files, where prints can be created at their convenience.
A slideshow with backing track using images from your negatives, slides and prints for watching on your television or computer can also be created. The perfect gift for a family member or relative
Reel to Reel
Long before the invention of the CD and MP3 people recorded onto Reel to Reel magnetic tape. Having family and friends around for a good old ‘Knees up’. Their recorder and microphone would be placed in the middle of the living room to record the occasion, often somebody would get on the piano that always seemed to be around back in a day. These recordings too can be transferred to a modern format making it easy for you to listen to. Perhaps a recording from one of these reels could be added to the slideshow made from your other originals?
REEL TO REEL TAPE AND AUDIO CASSETTE
VHS / Camcorder tape
You might find some old video tapes lurking in the box.
Experience has shown that they seem to deteriorate far quicker than film. So it might be worth getting these converted before it's too late. Mould can quickly take hold and then all might be lost.
This VHS tape contained a very important family event. It had been stored in a box in the shed by mistake after a house move and was covered in mould spores
So we started by cleaning the entire tape. We replaced all the moving parts and finally fitted a brand new outer shell.
We were then able to produce a surprisingly good copy to DVD
This tape had a happy ending, but some are just too far gone to save
So you see, that trip into the loft for the Christmas tree, or to mend a leaking pipe could be the start of a preservation project that will ensure your family’s history is safe for everyone to see for years to come. Your films/tapes are far better being stored out of your loft anyway, protecting them from the lofts extreme temperatures that they endure each year. Place them in a cupboard until you decide what to do next.
Should you require more details on the choices open to you, please visit our website on www.apgvideo.co.uk or you can email me directly on [email protected] so that I can answer any specific questions that you might have.
Bring your family history back to life, you’ll be so glad that you did...