Master the Art of 8mm Film Conversion with Our Comprehensive Digital Tutorial

Master the Art of 8mm Film Conversion with Our Comprehensive Digital Tutorial

If you have old film reels with priceless home movies taking up space in your basement, storage space, or attic, then those memories are at risk of being lost forever. That’s because 8mm film deteriorates over time and is vulnerable to humidity, water damage, heat, and sunlight. 

With over 20 years of experience, Capture put together this guide to 8mm film conversion to ensure your analog movie film is preserved for future generations. Plus, digital video formats are easier to share over social media and email, allowing you to enjoy your precious memories. 

Keep reading to learn more about 8mm film, different digitization options, the possibilities of digital files, and more. 

Jump to:

 

Understanding 8mm Film

8mm film is a film format that was originally released by Eastman Kodak as an affordable alternative to 16mm film. 

Later, it was adapted as Super 8 film which was a very popular way to capture weddings, graduations, holidays, family gatherings, vacations, and other memories in the 1960s and into the 70s before being replaced by videotapes like VHS tapes and Betamax. 

So, what’s the difference between 8mm vs Super 8 film? Super 8mm film is simply an updated version of 8mm film with a slightly larger frame size that was contained in a cartridge. This made it easier and less cumbersome than a standard 8mm film camera. 

While filmmakers still use Super 8 and 8mm film, they are rarely used for personal home movies these days. However, many families still have old home movies on old film reels, but most people don’t have an old film projector or know how to view 8mm film without a projector. That means you can’t watch your home movies and precious memories. 

Not only that, but over time, these old film formats start to degrade. Colors begin to fade, they collect dust and scratches, and even begin to deteriorate to the point of losing the memories altogether. This is especially true if you don’t use the best practices for how to store film.

Those challenges are the reason why it’s so important to figure out how to digitize Super 8 film. That way, you can better share, enjoy, watch, and preserve your favorite memories. So, how can you convert 8mm film to digital? Before you preserve 8mm film, you need to prepare it. 

Pre-Conversion Considerations

Before you can convert Super 8- or 8-mm film into digital copies, you need to start by assessing the condition of your film. As we mentioned before, a lot of old film is damaged by water, heat, dust, debris, and mold. Additionally, it could be torn or brittle. 

If that’s the case, then you’ll need to clean and repair the film. Cleaning involves getting a microfiber cloth or Q-Tip and a small amount of 98% isopropyl alcohol and carefully, meticulously, and slowly cleaning the film frame-by-frame. 

In the case of more serious damage, you will likely have to remove the damaged sections and then use splicing tape to reconnect the sections. Remember that any removed sections will not be scanned or digitized, but splicing film can at least allow the scanning process to be completed. That means high-quality digital copies even if the original version is in bad shape. 

Capture offers cleaning, splicing, and scratch reduction as needed as well as original audio and enhanced color. That means if you choose us to transfer your film to digital, you won’t have to worry about doing too much yourself. 

Finally, make sure you label and organize your film reels. This will allow for better-organized results while also keeping the original film reels organized when you get them back. Plus, if you are performing 8mm film scanning yourself, this will make it easier to organize the digital files on a thumb drive, Google Photos, or slideshows. 

8mm Film Transfer Options

When it comes to the digitizing process itself, you have two main options: convert 8mm film to digital files yourself or use a professional 8mm to digital service. 

DIY 8mm Conversion

DIY film conversion is a convenient option that can cost as little as $150 to $400. While it won’t be as high quality as professional results, it can be excellent quality if you know what you’re doing. 

If you plan on digitizing your film reels yourself, then you’ll need a film scanner. The other option is to use a projector and your phone or a digital camera to take photos. This is not recommended because the quality won’t be good. 

There are a few film scanner options to choose from including Kodak REELS machine, Wolverine 8mm and Super 8 Film Reel Converter, and others. 

Make sure you do your research to find out which digital converter offers the best high-definition and frame-rate quality. You should also consider pricing, reviews, the type of video files that it creates, and whether it works with your Mac or Windows computer. 

To convert 8mm to digital you need to follow the specific steps of your film scanner, which include

1. Threading the Film into the Scanner

After setting the film reel onto the machine, you can carefully thread the film into the beginning of the scanner. This generally involves starting the projector feed while gently threading the film through.

2. Start the Film Scanner

Now, following the instructions on your specific device, start the film scanning process. As it starts, make sure that it’s working properly. Some options even have a screen so you can watch as you digitize 8mm movie film so you can ensure top-quality results. 

3. Upload the Digital Files

After the process is complete, then you can upload the digital files to your computer, hard drive, USB flash drive, SD Card, or another storage device. Sometimes, this will require an adapter as well. Then, you can convert 8mm to DVD, use editing software, and share the files over social media and email.

Professional Conversion Services

Professional film to digital conversion will have the highest possible quality, but only if you choose a reputable provider. There are tons of options available, so make sure you read Capture vs iMemories, LegacyBox, and ScanCafe reviews to get a clear picture of the quality and satisfaction of customers.

Additionally, to determine the best company to digitize home movies, you should consider turnaround time, types of film they can accept, pricing, and security for your memories. For example, Capture offers a state-of-the-art tracking and security system for complete peace of mind every step of the way as well as an industry-leading 30-day turnaround time. 

Pricing is usually determined by the feet of film that you need transferred, but some do it by the number of reels you have, including LegacyBox. Make sure you compare pricing based on your order and keep in mind that some companies charge extra for a digital download, while others only charge for DVD or USB copies. 

Post-Conversion

After you convert your film, there’s so much you can do with it, including some things we strongly suggest. 

Depending on the digital converter or transfer service you use, you might have MP4, MOV, AVI, or other film formats. If you want a different format, then there are some affordable video format conversion options to change to one more suited to your needs. 

One thing you should absolutely do to ensure your film memories are never lost is to back up your files and store them on at least two different devices. Cloud storage is a fantastic option, but even then, you should have another copy on your computer, mobile phone, or on physical media like DVDs or USB thumb drives. 

Also, with digital format versions of your film reels, you will now be able to enhance and edit the home movies. You can cut out portions, add special effects, improve the color, and do so much more with editing software. 

Not only that, but you can share them over social media and email, have digital projector or computer slideshow viewing parties, add them to digital photo frames, make virtual scrapbooks, and create digital heirlooms that make great personalized Christmas gifts. 

When it comes to your own home movies, there aren’t many legal considerations. However, we do recommend getting anybody’s permission before putting their image on social media or anywhere public.

However, if you have film reels that contain Hollywood movies or other copyrighted films, then digitization might be illegal. Keep this in mind before you start converting to make sure you are staying within legal as well as ethical guidelines. 

Conclusion

Don't wait too long now that you know how to convert 8mm film to digital. Your film reels are only going to keep degrading, so to preserve them in the best possible quality, try to get started as soon as you can. If you’re using a professional provider, make sure you find the best option with good security, fast turnaround time, top-quality results, competitive pricing, and a track record of successful film transfers. 

Capture has transferred memories for over 12 million families and offers a satisfaction guarantee, a multi-million-dollar tracking and security system, 30-day turnaround time, and included cloud storage. 

Plus, we can transfer most home movies formats including 8mm film, Super 8 film, 16mm film, and various videotapes like 8mm tape conversion, MiniDV, Digital8, Video 8, VHS, VHS-C, Betamax, and more. 

Click here to choose Capture for top-quality film transfer! 

FAQs

Can all types of 8mm film be converted to digital?

Yes, but not all digital converters or film scanning services can accept all film types, so make sure you double check before spending any money.   

How long does it take to convert 8mm film to digital?

If you do it yourself, it will take a while. That’s because most film transfer devices only convert to digital in real-time, which means it will take the length of the film to transfer (after learning how to do so, installing software, and preparing your film).

A professional service can take anywhere from 30 days to 12+ weeks, so make sure you keep that in mind before placing an order as well. 

Can damaged 8mm films be restored during the conversion process?

 Some professional services offer film restoration in addition to conversion. For example, Capture will clean, splice, and reduce scratches as needed while also having the ability to enhance color. 

If you’re doing it yourself then it will be a separate process. Afterward, you can use video editing software to restore the video files too. 

What is the cost range for converting 8mm film to digital?

It can vary greatly from $30-$50 per reel or 100 feet of film to as much as $1 per foot of film. Capture charges only $29.99 for the first 100 feet and 25 cents per foot after the first 100. Click here to place your order today! 

 

 

 

 

Back to blog
1 of 3

Preserve Your Memories Forever

Photo Album Scanning Service

Photo Album Scanning Service

We scan the photos directly from the album pages, without...

Regular price

$29.99

Professional Digital Scanning Service

Professional Digital Scanning Service

We digitize images and videos saved on obsolete devices like...

Regular price

$29.99

Premium Film Transfer Service

Premium Film Transfer Service

Convert Your Old Film to Digital Copies, USB, DVD &...

Regular price

$29.99

Premium Photo Digitization Service

Premium Photo Digitization Service

Digitize Your Old Family Photos! Our photo transfer service can...

Regular price

$29.99

Premium Video Conversion Service

Premium Video Conversion Service

Convert Your Old Video Tapes to Digital Copies, USB, DVD...

Regular price

$29.99

Enjoy 40% for a Limited Time!

Preserve your precious moments with our
top-rated digitization services.

Digitize your memories today.