March 15, 2011 by admin
We are presenting a continuing series to explain what effects, phenomenon, and peculiarities one should look for in evaluating the quality of a home movie film conversion and transfer to DVD. These considerations are applicable to regular 8mm, Super 8mm, as well as 16mm film conversion and transfers. The consumer does not have to be an expert but merely needs to know about some key elements to be aware of. While there are many service providers that will perform home movie transfers with varying degrees of excellent quality, it only makes sense to avoid those which might provide disappointing results.
At W. Cardone Productions we recommend that you try different providers with sample reels and then evaluate the results before selecting one to transfer your entire collection. We make this especially easy for you in that we will transfer one 3” reel (50 feet) of your regular 8mm, Super 8mm, Super 8mm sound, 16mm, and 16mm sound (magnetic or optical) for free so that you can evaluate our results for yourself.
In this second installment we will examine video grain. From time to time we will add additional posts relating to the quality of regular 8mm, super 8mm, and 16mm home movie film transferred to modern media.
Video grain is very much similar to film grain. Film is manufactured in different “speeds.” We have fast film to use where we anticipate low-light shooting scenes and we have slow film to use where an abundance of light is available. The first question the uninitiated might ask is, “Why not just always use fast film?” For our discussion here, there is a trade-off between the two with respect to granularity or the ability to capture fine detail. In video we have the same consideration to deal with. Where the video camera is looking at a low-light environment, and after opening its iris all the way it still needs more light, it will increase its video gain in an attempt to compensate. Think of this as turning up the volume knob on a radio so that you can hear it better. If the video camera determines that it needs more light it will automatically increase its gain but this is at the expense of producing granular results. Yet while increasing the gain slightly degrades the captured image, it is much better than shooting with insufficient light.
One very popular method used to convert home movie film to digital media is to project the movie film on a specially prepared surface. One of the key elements to success, among literally dozens, is projecting sufficient light such that the video camera does not try to compensate by increasing its video gain.
When evaluating a film conversion and transfer of your 8mm or 16mm film be sure to carefully look for a granular element evenly distributed over the entire television screen. It might be described as a sparkly effect or maybe just a lot of sand. It might not be obvious because there are varying degrees. If the camera only had to slightly increase its gain there might be no granular effect visible at all. But if the video camera was straining with all its might increasing its gain as far as it could, the granularity will be unmistakable.
Please look for additional posts where we will discuss still other considerations relating to home 8mm movie film conversion and transfer to DVD. And also please remember that at W. Cardone Productions we are among the top service providers treating your family treasures with the respect they deserve.