Transferring film to DVD can be expensive if left to professional transfer houses. With the right tools, you can do it yourself, though the results may be less than optimal. If you have the money to have the transfer professionally done, you'll get stronger, crisper and brighter transfers. If you don't have the money, or you love do-it-yourself projects, this process will give you decent results.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Processed 8mm movie film
- 8mm Movie Projector
- Flat, white wall or movie screen
- Dark Room
- Video Camcorder with exposure and focus controls
- Video Editing software
- DVD creation software
- DVD Burner
- DVD-R discs
- Label maker and labels
Set up your projector so that it throws a fairly bright image on your screen, about 2 feet wide. Load the film and turn off the lights in the room. Ensure the image is focused and there isn't a huge hot spot at the centre of the screen. If you do see a hot spot, move the projector further away from the screen. While you won't be able to completely eliminate a hot spot (due to the properties of the projector's lens), but you can minimise it by moving the projector. Bear in mind that the further you move the projector, the dimmer the image will become.
Set up your video camera by connecting it to your computer via FireWire. Your camera should be in record mode so that it can send a live image to your computer. Aim the camera at the 2-foot-wide image on your movie screen so that the edges of the image are just out of view, then focus for clarity and adjust the iris control to get the proper exposure.
Open your video editing software. Open the "Capture Footage" dialogue and make sure the video signal is coming through. Check all settings, but disengage the "capture audio" setting, as you won't want to capture the clacking of the projector. You should be capturing the footage to an external hard drive that can handle large files.
Begin capturing the footage, ensuring that the camcorder remains in focus. This is a good time to watch the footage and log the good shots on a piece of paper so you can edit it later should you choose to. Repeat Steps 1 through 4 until all your reels of film have been captured.
Save the project on your computer when all your footage has been captured. Now you get to edit. Drag your footage into the timeline, and using the log sheets you created, edit the footage to your liking. Or just leave it the way it is--it's up to you.
Use your DVD creation software to create a DVD with fun themes and menus. Burn the final program to the DVD-R discs. While the DVDs are burning, create labels using your label maker software and stills from the footage you transferred. Apply the labels to the finished DVDs, pop them in cases, and now you have your 8mm movie footage transferred to DVD!
Tips and warnings
- Ideally, use a room without windows.
- Use a room where you will be undisturbed by opening doors.
- A glass bead projector screen will produce brigther, sharper images.
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