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How to Transfer Cine Film to Video

Updated July 19, 2017

When it comes to shooting cine film, the most expensive part is the cost of transferring your film to video (also known as a telecine). The cheapest option for a telecine process would be to transfer the film to video yourself using a projector and video camera. The quality of this process varies and pales in comparison to a professional telecine, but for those with the equipment, it can be a very cost-effective way to make a video backup of cine film.

Affix the piece of white paper to a flat surface. The paper needs to be as flat as possible, as even the smallest crinkle will cause visual distortions.

Set up your projector pointing toward the white paper. Adjust to get the image at a relatively small size on the paper.

Load your film into the projector and focus the image.

Place your video camera on a tripod and place it nearby the projector and point the lens toward the projected image. Angle the camera to find optimum framing.

Zoom to fit the image completely in the video frame.

Adjust the exposure on the camera to look as close to the projected image as possible.

Keep the projector's bulb on after the film has finished. Adjust the camera's white balance off of this light.

Reload the film into the projector.

Turn off any lights that might be on in the room.

Load a tape or memory card into your camera and then press ""Record."

Turn on the projector and let the film run all the way through. Watch the video camera's viewfinder to make sure there are no problems.

Let the film finish running through the projector,. Stop recording the camera and check to see that your video has recorded properly.

Tip

While this process is relatively simple, it will require a bit of trial-and-error before you can get the perfect settings. You may find yourself projecting your film over-and-over again before attaining acceptable results. It is difficult to obtain video quality that is comparable to a professional telecine service. Detail will be murky and colours will not appear as vibrant as expected.

Warning

Cine film can become very brittle over time, even in the best conditions. Many consumer-level projectors will put enough wear on brittle films and may cause the accidental destruction of your film. If your film is brittle, you may consider sending it to a photo lab to be telecined to avoid damage. You may notice that the video camera is picking up a flickering image. Fix this by adjusting the shutter speed on the camera to match the shutter speed of the projector. If your projector has a variable speed motor, you can also use the "speed" knob to help eliminate flicker.

Things You'll Need

  • Film projector
  • Video Camera
  • Tripod
  • White sheet of paper
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About the Author

J.M. Chanel began writing in 2002 as a webmaster for an independent film company. He graduated from West Virginia University, earning a Bachelor of Science in journalism. Chanel has been contributing to online publications since 2010.