Super 8 Denver? Digitize Now!

What do people say when they finally bring their projects to me to digitize? “I’ve been meaning to do this forever.” All the time! I always tell them (and you) that there are several choices:

  1. Digitize them now
  2. Throw them away
  3. Or pay next year’s prices (or next decade’s!) and accept any deterioration along the way

Seriously, virtually every item that is worth digitizing, has been deteriorating since the day it was manufactured. All video tape, audio tape and DVDs get older as soon as they are made. Depending on conditions, deterioration happens and significant rates. But… after 10, 20 or more years, everything is affected to some degree. Color fades, mold takes hold, and the film itself becomes brittle. The more it has been watched,  the more likely that sprocket holes can be damaged, and the film itself can become too brittle to use. Also, the film can be scratched by the projector as the projector ages and/or dirt gets on the film.

Oh, and finding a working projector and repair parts is becoming increasingly difficult. Soon, it will be impossible.

Contrary to belief in TV forensic shows, not everything can be restored with a computer and the right geek to run it. Some things can definitely be improved, but some things can be lost permanently.

Super 8, 8mm, Digital 8, Hi8, Video 8 – WHAAAT?

Remember those movies from Jr. High history class when there was a substitute teacher? Those were 16mm film, created in the 20’s, probably by Kodak. Then, a camera was invented to expose half of the film, then it was removed, flipped and the other half was exposed. When finished, the film is cut in half lengthwise and spliced together for twice as much footage from the same film.

Eventually, 8mm film was produced directly and cameras to use it and made available at an affordable price to the consumer market (remember brownies?!) Millions of feet of film were shot by folks like you and me – making video memories available for the first time to everybody, not just the theaters.

Super 8, or Super 8mm film, was invented as an upgrade to 8mm, using smaller sprocket holes for a larger video area, and allowing for sound along one edge. All this while using the same film size as the 8mm. Of course, you had to buy a new camera to use the new features, setting the stage for decades of technology upgrades.

Finally, after overwhelming market success, videotape happened! VHS (and maybe Betamax) were the first recognized types. Then, leveraging the 8mm success, came Video 8, a magnetic tape used in a camcorder, then Hi8 – an upgrade, and finally Digital 8, which stored digital video information on tape. Then came DVCam (which some still use professionally today) and its consumer version, miniDV. Everything is, you guessed it, 8mm.

In simplest terms, Super 8 and 8mm are both film formats. Hi8, Digital 8, and Video 8 are all videotape formats. And you guessed it, every format has a new camera to go with it.

Why is this important? The most important reason to know the difference is that film is priced by the foot and videotape is priced by the cassette. Many, many people call with Super 8 when they mean Hi8. Now you know!

Now is The Time – It Really is Important

Super 8 Denver – How It Works

There are many ways to convert Super 8 Film to Digital (or DVD), but the difference in quality is huge. The first conversion setups were all projector-based, showing the film on a screen and then filming the screen with a VHS camera. I know, I did it for my own personal use – decades ago.

Then, projectors fed into digital cameras, which recorded the projection as it played.

Now, however, the best systems today scan every frame (yes, every single frame), which is saved in digital format, then processed into a modern video file. The digital file can now be edited and formatted into any of today’s formats.  While the quality largely depends on the videography and condition of the original film, good technology makes all the difference for what can be watched today.

So Many Reasons to Digitize Super 8 Film

First of all, Convert Super 8 to stop the deterioration. It is relentless.

The benefits, however, are huge. Now you can back up your files so that they are not lost, broken, worn out, or simply rotted away. More than that, you can watch decades old film on all of your devices – phone, TV, iPad, and computer. And now, these videos can be shared worldwide through email and cloud. Or just take your USB with you to copy on other computers.

Now it is a breeze to edit the videos to make custom films documenting your family history or just a snippet of a long lost friend.

Digitize Super 8 Denver – What’s Next?

  1. Call or text Jamey (About Jamey) at 720 204-5464
  2. Set an appointment (every project receives my individual attention)
  3. Drop off your tapes (and records, cassettes, slides, or negatives, too)
  4. In a week or less, pick up your new digitized VHS (and other).
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James Nordby