The questionable benefit of transferring 8mm films to High Definition video on Blu ray disc.Posted by Bill on Feb 24, 2009 in Resource Articles | 5 comments
At first assessment, one could infer that the transfer of small gauge 8mm film to HD video resolutions would work out quite well. After all, utilizing a 2MP high resolving imaging sensor coupled with an HD quality optical lens will yield better than the film grain MTF specifications of the film stock itself, assuming the film body in general is up to the task of being digitized.
HomeDVD’s HD telecine system definitely excels in over sampling the smallest details in the 8mm film frames, but 8mm film for the most part has some nagging problems. The big one being quality of presentation. If the original images are poor to start with, what is really being accomplished, other than emphasizing the ‘warts’ of the film frame along with the recovery of the original image amid the emphasized ‘warts’?
High resolution sampling of the 8mm film frames certainly enables the faithful duplication the image contents, but in so doing also includes digitizing the many possible visually degrading elements embedded within the film frame itself just due to the nature of the poor film stock, its age and possible abuse factors. These elements include varying degrees of film grain, scratches, poor exposure, possible poor lab processing, incorrect lighting conditions at the time of exposure and improper storage conditions. Of the three consumer grade film gauges, 8mm, Super8 and homespun 16mm films, the 8mm gauge carries with it the chances of the greatest degree of visual impairment. That being said of course doesn’t mean that all 8mm films being digitized for DVD or Blu ray media is of poor quality, the percentages of ‘good quality’ film are just low. Of course, good quality 8mm film would indeed benefit from our high resolving HD conversion process.
The slightly larger film gauge like Super 8mm will definitely take advantage of our HD telecine system. The film frames are larger, they are not as old as 8mm film and thus the chances of avoiding the aging issues of 8mm film, they offer a more stable emulsion from a color temperature point of view, and are made of better and robust film stock (smaller grain size and a wider distributed grain density).
In the 16mm case, the film stock is similar to the 8mm in its early days and has been improved over time. The fact the 16mm film gauge is twice as large as 8mm (4x area), the film anomalies will show up but be correspondingly smaller and less dense just due to larger area of redistribution.
The conclusion here is that 8mm film transfer to true HD video would only be worth doing if the physical film is in great shape or one has deep pockets if the film is very important. Certainly using the latest in digital filtering tools, film can be ‘repaired’ to a very nice output result, removing dust, scratches, visual gunge and rebuilding missing parts of film frames, but potentially at a great expense; – add a few dollars per foot as the work is quite intensive.
Otherwise save some money and go with the pure SD service. If one still insists on having a true HD result even for questionable 8mm film, we certainly would be pleased to do so using our HD telecine system.
Alternatively, right now, we can offer the best of both worlds. Capture in HD and author in SD. Very clean solution. As an option to consider see how this can be done .