HD Film Transfer Process Description

Convert 8mm Home Movies to HD video.

The Process, Step by Step

The unique method of our 8mm, Super 8 and 16mm film to HD video telecine process, offers up a wide range of service levels in which to choose.  Every step in our production work flow can be offered as a separate service or taken as a whole.  We also offer a series of High Definition film to video production bundles that not only group essential and turnkey conversion services to make choices easy, but save money as well as the bundles are specially discounted.

We have an excellent industrial grade 8mm and Super 8 HD telecine process and offer selected film restoration services to produce the highest quality video result possible within the software and hardware tools available.  High contrast, rich colors and flicker free operation.

Film Frame Capture and Digitization

The first step in our film to HD video conversion process is the capture and digitization of the individual film frames.  Each film frame is captured edge to edge in its original 4:3 aspect size using a 2MPixel CCD image sensor set to a 1440 x 1080 pixel resolution.  There are no black pillars on opposing sides of the image that would appear if the full 16:9 range were captured.  This approach represents a very efficient way of capturing the film frame without the overhead of useless black pixels on either side of the captured film frame.  The image sensor, in conjunction with special optics provides exceptional resolution better than the smallest grain size of the film emulsion, for very high resolving results.

The captured images are saved as uncompressed 24bit, 8 bits per pixel RGB bitmaps or in high color 8 bit per pixel TIF graphics format – about 4.9MB per film frame.  Optional 12 bit per pixel TIF imaging is planned to be available soon which will yield deeper dynamic range ideal for archival purposes.  High dynamic range allows a greater degree of detail to be visible in the image highlights and shadows, just due to an expanded greyscale and proper film to video gamma adjustments.  A 1TB hard drive is highly recommended as part of the deliverables when choosing this service on its own.

Free YUV HD codec(s) from Drastic Technologies are available if you need it.  See Free YUV 4:2:2 codec on our resources page.

a 200ft roll of 8mm film contains about 16000 film frames requiring 82GB of storage space.

Film Masters
Film master production is an integral part of our telecine method.  The series of still images captured in the first stage of the telecine process has no timing information in the image sequences, they are not color and density corrected, are not luminance balanced nor are they resized to recognized 16:9 HD dimensions.  They are however white balanced at point of capture to provide a white reference level.

Other than the necessary creation of the Film Masters in our film transfer to HD video chain, it also allows the resulting video material to be used by professional editors or those more technically inclined for more advanced projects.  Proper timing insertion and image content correction are the prime activities to be done to qualify the resulting video as a true HD video Film Master.

HomeDVD can offer basic or extended film correction services depending on the end use of the image sequence.  We are always available for technical discussions to answer those High Definition telecine related questions that you may have.

Our basic 8mm, Super 8 and 16mm Film Master process can include the creation of 10bit YUV 4:2:2 color space AVI video file(s) sourced from one or more contiguous image sequences.  This is followed by “scene by scene” primary color correction (gamma/density, gain, pedestal, cast removal, color balance to HD color space requirements).  Finally the video is properly retimed to meet the original film speed requirements in a 30ps context and sized to fit a 16:9 aspect.  The final video will have been matted with black pillars on either side of the converted image sequence of about 150 pixels on each side (assuming a 1920 x 1080 final resolution).  See our article <link> on the issues related to fitting a 4:3 film image in a 16:9 space in the Resources section of our web site.

Options: progressive scan, Quicktime YUV 4:2:2 video, 24fps pull down.

There are no special filters applied in the final output stream.  Limited restorative services are available and are separate from the basic mastering cycle.

Fact: a 200ft 8mm silent film reel converted to a Film Master in 8 bit YUV 4:2:2 AVI video format is about 55GB in size.
– in one foot of 8mm film there are 80 film frames

HD Video Encoding
The Film Masters are needed as source material to create the necessary compressed video format in order to play in a Blu-ray player environment.  The Film Master in either AVI YUV or Quicktime YUV, must be transcoded and compressed to one of the three supported video formats in the Blu-ray specification, before the disk author and burn process can take place.  The specification calls for:

A H.264 MPEG4 Blu-ray disc BD-R
B MPEG2 Blu-ray disc BD-R
C SMPTE VC-1 Blu-ray disc BD-R
D* AVC/MPEG4 DVD-R not part of spec


HomeDVD supports H.264, MPEG-2 and AVCHD video formats for encoding and disk publishing.

The H.264 video algorithm is very efficient.  It results in high quality video, but at the expense of long encode times just due to the nature of the complex encoding methods employed.  The end result is smaller file sizes than MPEG-2 when compared using similar encoding rates.  Hardware transcoders are available to ease the pain of long encode times.

Alternatively, the reliable MPEG-2 encode method, transcodes in a much shorter time (2.5x faster) but produces a larger file footprint (about 1.5x than that of the H.264).  From early tests the visual quality differences between H.264 and MPEG-2 at similar encoding rates are quite revealing.  The H.264 format includes smaller well blended encoding blocks and post de-blocking functions which help in improving video quality dramatically.

Definition: transcoding is a term that is used to describe the conversion of one digital video format to another, usually keeping fundamental properties like frame resolution and frame rates intact;   ie: DV AVI to MPEG-2 or MJPEG to Quicktime.  What really happens is the source video is decoded and then re-encoded to the destination CODEC.

HD Video Disk Publishing
Once the HD Film Master video has been transcoded and compressed to either H.264, MPEG-2 or AVCHD format, the converted video is ready for authoring to Blu-ray or DVD media.  Authoring simply means the compressed video can be encapsulated to support menu, navigation and, chapter insertion, before committing to burning to either Blu-ray or DVD media.

HomeDVD supports MPEG-2, H.264 and AVCHD** video formats, with or without menus.  By default all disks will have no menus and will have fixed chapter points in BDAV format, unless otherwise requested.

HomeDVD can produce either BDAV or BDMV authored disks depending on choice made.

BDAV an authored disk with no menus;
MPEG-2 only video format, output to Blu-ray only media

BDMV an authored disk with menus;
MPEG2, H.264, VC-1 or AVCHD video on Blu-ray media or
AVCHD video on DVD media as AVC/H.264 only