Old 8mm home movies and iMovie

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by roadapple, Dec 10, 2004.

  1. roadapple macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2004
    #1
    I have about 2500' of old 8mm movies my grandfather made in the 1960's. I would like to get them converted so I could play around with them using iMovie. I am looking for suggestions on how to go about this (what file types to use/ask for) with the idea of first being able to view the film, then producing simple DVD's (or video CD) if it's any good.

    I stopped by a local store that advertised home movie to DVD conversion, but he wanted to first transfer them to VHS, then on to a DVD with "standard" DVD file types. I would them rip them back to a quicktime compatible file type to import into iMovie. This did'nt seem like the best way to go about this . I will be using a powerbook g4, 667 with a gig of ram and iMovie 4, any comments would be helpful - thanks
     
  2. kgarner macrumors 68000

    kgarner

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2004
    Location:
    Utah
    #2
    Find a place that can convert them to DV (not DVD) if you have a digital camcorder. Then you can import them into iMovie and iDVD and play with them to your hearts content. Also, since they will be in DV format, they will have enough quality to be compressed into MPEG2 or any other format you desire (except HiDef of course).

    On a side note, I can't believe that guy wanted to convert to VHS and then DVD. :eek: You lose so much quality that way, adn since these tapes are probably not in the best shape you need to maintain whatever quality you can from them.
     
  3. strider42 macrumors 65816

    strider42

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2002
    #3

    A good conversion house will be able to go to a number of different formats, not just VHS. they should be able to go to 3/4", DV, and betacam SP (probably the best quality you'll get and most expensive tape). Anyone who just has a VHS deck, stay away from them. They are using real cheap equipment and it will look awful.

    Just as important is the method used for capture. Many places simply use a backlit screen, which isn't ideal. They also may not use speed correction, and if they don't the image will flicker (8mm runs at 24 fps, TV runs at 30). Will they clean the film. This is also important. What about splicing: a lot of the time there are blank or overexposed or damaged spots. You will want these taken out because otherwise the transfer looks bad and they'll charge you for this dead footage. A good places will splice all this out and put your small 50 foot reels together onto one large 400 ft reel.

    The place I used to work at did all of these things, and sued a sony three chip camera to capture the image, along with an aerial multiplexor (captures the image between two pieces of glass instead of a screen) for the best quality. We would get people coming in to redo their stuff because the last place they tried looked so bad.

    If you happen to live in the San francisco bay area, the name of the company was access video, who also operate as the vendor for a nuber of bay area camera stores under the name PS video. I assume they are still doing these transfers, its been a while since I last checked.

    But whoever you choose, you want to make sure they can transfer to a good medium before going to DVD, make sure they aren't charging you for blank or damaged footage (and hopeuflly splice it out), ask what kind of setup they use (back lit screen vs. aerial multiplexor, what type of camera are they using), are they correcting for image flicker, are they cleaning the film, etc. Get informed and ask around. Keep in mind a lot of camera shops probably don't do the work in house.
     
  4. varmit macrumors 68000

    varmit

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2003
    #4
    If he can get it recorded onto a VCR, then the person should be able to use something like an EyeTV, or other tuner box/card, to get the signal into a Mac/computer right off the start instead of the VHS tape.
     
  5. kgarner macrumors 68000

    kgarner

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2004
    Location:
    Utah
    #5
    Yeah, but the issue is the quality of the video. These old films are probably pretty degraded as is, why kill even more quality?
     
  6. roadapple thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2004
    #6
    Thanks for the replies, especially after looking thru the apple website, they seem to concentrate on using DV cameras as the source input.

    What I was hoping to do was drop off the movie reels, pick up a couple of CD’s with .mov or .mpeg files, open these in iMovie, edit them into a masterwork that would then convince me to buy a new DVD burner, if not a new G5 imac.

    It sounds like a good sequence would be to have the shop transfer the 8mm originals to DV tape (would not loose any quality assuming its done correctly and the film is clean) then transfer the DV tape to a digital file (.mpeg or .mov?). If I had a DV camera, I could use imovie to do this with a firewire connection (not worrying about the file type), but I don't and it would seem that the shop should be able to do this faster anyways.

    Any comments on this idea would also be helpful before I call over Detroit tomorrow – thanks again
     

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