Fan Film, Fan Films

4 Places to Transfer Your Old Films to Video

While fan films have become a cultural phenomenon over the last decade thanks to the internet, people have been making them for over 80 years (as covered in my book, Homemade Hollywood). As a result, even though we’re used to seeing fan films all over YouTube and Vimeo that were shot on video, the truth is that there’s far more fan films out there that were made on, you know, film. The problem is, they’re not on the web—they’re on a shelf in the garage

If you’ve got a stash of dusty fan films, home movies or college film projects collecting dust, odds are that it’s time to get them transferred. Regardless of whether they’re on 8mm, Super 8, 16mm or higher, they started slowly degrading the day they were developed, and if they’re not carefully stored, even relatively recent film will warp or distort. Bottom line: Get those movies transferred before you can only wish that you had. An added bonus is that heck, if they’re not on DVD (or at least a hard drive), no one’s going to see them these days anyway.

With all that in mind, here’s four places to get them transferred. Some are cheap, others are expensive (relatively speaking), but as they say, you can’t put a price on a memory.


You know all those Bruce Springsteen music videos that feature Super 8 footage? It gets transferred to video here, and if it’s good enough for The Boss, it’s good enough for you. Based in Fall River, MA (with special drop-off service in New York City), CineLab offers a variety of rates based on the quality of transfer, starting at 28 cents a foot with a $125 minimum. You can get the results saved on a variety of media, from Mini DV tapes to a hard drive, although that option will cost ya.

These folks have been written up in Consumer Reports, The New York Times, Money, Videomaker and elsewhere. They provide the same media options as CineLab, except they’ll also transfer to DVD if you like. Transfers are done with HD Rank Cintel flying spot scanners, and can be touched up via a High Definition DMG Color Corrector. Well, it sounds impressive.

Home Movie Depot claims to be the nation’s largest online provider of home movie digitization services; I don’t know about that, but they have the best name of the batch. Like, they have been written up all over the place, including The New York Times, Parade Magazine, PC Magazine Online and elsewhere. The company also transfers photos and VHS to DVD as if you need such services.

MovieStuff uses its own custom-designed and -built “ScanStream DV8 Sniper-HD with PulseGate Technology” for frame-by-frame HD scanning of super 8 and 8mm film via a CMOS sensor with almost 3 million pixels. It offers the same for 16mm film as well; all transfers are done at full 1080p, regardless of whether they’re standard or High-Def transfers; standard ones are then downconverted. Super 8 and 8mm cost $20 per 50 feet, while 16mm is $20 per 100 feet.

If you’ve tried any of these services—or if you used another one—tell us how it went in the comments section below. Certainly I’d like to know, as I’m in the market to get some old Super 8 transferred myself.

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3 Responses to “4 Places to Transfer Your Old Films to Video”

  1. J Beasley

    I think you guys forgot about Film to DVD! I have used these guys a few times and the quality was awesome.


  2. I’ve found Astound Video in St. Paul, MN does a nice job as well. I think they use the same equipment as MovieStuff, but are about half the price for standard def transfers.

  3. I used iMemories video transfer service to convert some old VHS movies to DVD and they did a great job.

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