How to Transfer Cine Film to Video

Written by j.m. chanel
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How to Transfer Cine Film to Video
Transferring your old home movies to video can be done at home, if you own a movie projector and video camera. (film 9 image by Aleksandar Radovanovic from

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.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Film projector
  • Video Camera
  • Tripod
  • White sheet of paper

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  1. 1

    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.

  2. 2

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

  3. 3

    Load your film into the projector and focus the image.

  1. 1

    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.

  2. 2

    Zoom to fit the image completely in the video frame.

  3. 3

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

  4. 4

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

  1. 1

    Reload the film into the projector.

  2. 2

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

  3. 3

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

  4. 4

    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.

  5. 5

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

Tips and warnings

  • 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.
  • 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.

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