Tonight, Let’s Watch Those Old Home Movies

First we need popcorn. Put a pot on the stove, coat the bottom with oil and put the burner on high. Drop in a kernel of popcorn and put a lid on the pot. When the kernel pops, open the lid and add enough kernels to cover the bottom, then - quick! - close the lid and shake the pan back and forth until it the popping stops. Now, get another pan to melt the butter...

What? That’s so 1950s, you say? Ah, right. So get your aluminum pan of Jiffy Pop from the pantry, turn on the burner, take off the paper cover and watch it balloon into a big, shiny bubble, then…Too 1960s? How about a hot air popper? Oh, so your mom got rid of that in 1978, along with the fondue pot.

How about some microwave popcorn? Yes? Okay! Now, we are getting somewhere. Time to dig out the 8mm film projector, find the spare bulbs and the screen; we’ll also need a table set at the right height so no one’s head blocks the view…

No, wait! Don’t give up on home movie night! Watching those old 8mm films can be as easy as microwave popcorn. No matter what film type you have, we can easily convert it to DVD. Whether it is Regular 8mm, Super 8mm, silent or with sound, we can digitize it. No more flickering and shuttering picture on the screen thanks to our amazing Frame-By-Frame film transfer process. No more set-up hassles. You’ll have all the fun of watching without all the old inconveniences.

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What is 8mm Film?

It was invented by Eastman Kodak Company in 1932 to be a more affordable option to 16mm film.  The use of Regular 8mm film became wildly popular and spawned many advances in the technology.  There were several variations of 8mm film: Regular 8mm, Super 8mm, silent and sound.  Film was and continues to be a wonderfully nostalgic format that has been enjoyed for almost 80 years.

Is My Film Deteriorating?

Yes, it is! (Excellent question, by the way.) You may or may not have film that is 80 years old, but with everyday that goes by your film is deteriorating. The time for waiting to digitize your film is over. Maybe the film is sitting in protective metal cases or a cardboard box in the deep, dark recesses of your basement.  Even if you are home alone , you can’t let that spooky basement furnace spitting fire from it’s big, black iron-grate teeth intimidate you – rescue that film!

Film was a great technology that allowed us to record motion pictures and view them decades later. Although like most things, film doesn’t last forever.  Even if your film is stored in an airtight, temperature & humidity controlled environment it is still susceptible to a number of different degradation processes.

More commonly known as “Vinegar Syndrome,” Cellulose triacetate degradation is happening faster than you can say it! Film starts aging the moment it get’s put “in the can.” The film can start to get snowflakes on the frames, which once this occurs, there is no going back. These snowflakes start off small but spread until the whole film is covered with them and there is nothing recoverable.

If your film smells like vinegar, you are going to have more trouble than a spaceship full of tribbles. Sure, tribbles are fluffy and comforting and toothless, but make no mistake: “Captain to Bridge! Go to red alert!” The vinegar scent means that you may only have a month, plus or minus a few days, before your irreplaceable memories turn into a reel of blank film. The sooner you get those reels to us the better chance we have of preserving your precious footage in high definition, which effectively stops the destructive effects of film aging.

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How Can We Stop Film From Aging?

It requires something with a little kick, like plutonium. Great Scott, we’re just kidding! Our technology won’t explode you back to the future in a Delorean, but it will allow future generations to easily connect with you and your family history.

We use frame-by-frame capture technology to give you the best quality results on digital media. Industry leading equipment is paramount to get the best results; and that’s what you want and deserve for your priceless film collection. Our frame-by-frame film scanning system allows us to capture each frame in True HD resolution, ensuring that no footage is lost or damaged.  No sprockets or claws are used to feed the film which is very important as this can shred brittle aging film.  Gentle capstans (rotating rubber rollers) are used to slowly feed your film across the scanning gate, allowing us to achieve amazing quality even on warped or damaged film.

Who is Processing My Priceless Film!?

People often worry that in our back room we have a HAL 9000, or a Dalek, or a an extremely adept gorilla named Caesar. Sure it would be fascinating to have a space odyssey adventure, or help a time traveling doctor save the planet, or hang out on a planet of talking apes, while your film is processed. But why would you let someone (or something) else do the stuff we love? Our passion is using the most innovative technology to save something that would otherwise be lost forever!

When you choose Legacy Media Digital, you are dealing with real, live humans. We not only appreciate the art of preservation, but also have years of professional experience in handling delicate film and audio.  You can trust us to transfer your priceless memories with care and attention, as if they were our very own.

All of our film technicians are extensively trained in the art of film preservation, ensuring that your film collection gets the care and attention it deserves. When we receive your film it is carefully labeled, and combined to new 400’ reels.  As the film is being combined we repair any broken splices and prepare the film for capture.  Some large “Transfer Mills” use automated or robotic processes to transfer your film.  As you can imagine, having a real human eye constantly watching your film transfer is extremely important so adjustments can be made in real time to ensure the highest possible results.

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Quality, Quality, Quality!

Some smaller transfer operations use old film projectors, which not only diminishes the quality of the film, but is also very dangerous for your film.  While these old film projectors were very handy in the 50’s; the use of hot bulbs, sprockets, or claws can shred and burn your aging film. As we’ve mentioned before, there is no way to preserve or restore damaged footage. Another problem with old projectors is their uncanny ability to scratch your film worse than a swashbuckling kitty cat.  The more times a film reel is run, the more lines will appear vertically on the footage.

We don’t want to sound like a big, green, grouchy ogre, but we can’t emphasize enough how important it is to use the right process to preserve your film. Here are the things we do to ensure that you will get the best result:

  • Custom select a conversion process specifically for your video material and it’s current condition

  • Use only cold, film-safe, LED light sources

  • Carefully and gently advance your footage (because we would never want to ruin Grandma Jones’ pretty, plaid dress or erase her sweet, smiling face from your film!)

For your convenience, your film is all scanned into our servers chronologically. However, if you decide you want to have your film preserved in a different order, just take a sharpie or sticky pads, and number the reels/boxes and we’ll do the rest!

Every order is processed in house at our digitization facility in beautiful St George, Utah. Orders are processed in a timely manner and put onto a high-quality DVD or optional Flash Drive. To get the full quality of your HD film transfer, we recommend upgrading to optional Thumb Drive (at checkout), which will give you a digital HD version of your film. Giving you the most enjoyable viewing experience and preserving the quality for generations to come.

You will receive a disc with full menus and chapters that is produced in the same manner as a commercial movie you would buy at Walmart. The chapters are a great feature. You may not want to sit through the first twelve minutes of footage watching your older sister spit out spoonful after spoonful of pureed peas. With the menu and chapter features, you can skip ahead to the next reel and watch the world’s cutest, smartest baby play with blocks. (That’s you isn’t it? Thought we recognized that winning smile.)

The great thing about digitizing your old films is you never know what you will find on them. Many times we have had customers tell us stories about how loved ones who had passed were on the film and what a beautiful surprise it was for the family to see them again. People who haven’t seen their grandparents in thirty years, can reconnect their memories with the true essence of the person they see on screen. Imagine being able to show and tell your kids about relatives that they never had the pleasure of knowing! The way someone smiled, or waved or even walked. You never really know what kind of hidden treasures are on those reels. We’ve often seen that over the years, labeling  on the reels has been mixed up. The reel that says ‘Hiking Trip’ could actually be ‘Grandmas 90th Birthday!’ So don’t hesitate to send us any mysterious reel that you find.

Unlike some of our competitors, we’ll also send you back your original film. Many of the big box stores will send your film overseas or to another firm for transferring. All  you receive back is the disc or hard drive. At Legacy Media Digital, we understand full well that your film is your personal property, and we give you back every frame that you sent to us. Many times we have had customers who want to digitize film for an older relative, but the older relative is very protective of the film. This allows you to send it to us with the confidence that you will get it back and be able to return those reels to your relative or just keep your personal memories safe for yourself. Although, once people see the completed high definition scan on the 60’’ HDTV you bought for them (or for yourself?) for Christmas, no one will ever give the physical film a second thought! 

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