Motion Picture Film Digitizing

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Our Motion Picture Scanning Lab 

Here is a sample of our film transfer results.

This film clip is a typical example of slightly distressed film. There are some light scratches and emulsion anomalies, but otherwise it's in pretty good shape.  The colors are vibrant and the emulsion has remained fairly clear and sharp. 



What's Polavision?

Polavision is instant motion film sealed in a proprietary playback cartridge.  The idea was to give the user the ability to shoot film and then play it back instantly using Polaroid's Polavision desktop viewer.  Here is a television ad for the product which ended up being a commercial failure:  

We think scanning home movie film is just as important as the digitizing of film stock  for Hollywood, Film Preservation Societies, Libraries and Universities.

We use only high quality 2K, HD and SD Film Scanners and Telecines in conjunction with the best film processing applications in the business.

Mark II Motion Picture Scanner

Our systems are capable of of processing both silent and sound film stocks including magnetic and optical soundtracks (both monophonic and stereo).

We can chemically treat and transfer distressed, warped and shrunken films.


 We Digitize...

  • Regular 8mm Silent Film
  • Super 8mm Silent Film
  • Super 8 with Sound Film
  • Regular 16mm Silent Film
  • 16mm with Sound Film
  • Super 16mm Silent Film
  • Super 16mm Sound Film
  • Regular 35mm Optical Sound
  • Super 35mm Optical Sound
Film Scanning Options include:
Standard Definition Scan (SD) This is a standard quality scan most commonly associated with DVDs ( 720x480 pixels ).  It can be provided on a DVD or as a file on a USB Flash Drive.  File types available: Mp4, MOV, ProRes 422.
High Definition Scan (HD) This is a high definition scan most commonly associated with Blu-ray ( 1920x1080 pixels ).  It can be provided on a Blu-ray disc or as a file on a USB Flash Drive.  Files types available: Mp4, MOV, ProRes 422, ProRes HQ
High Definition Plus Scan (2K) This is a high definition scan utilizing the 4:3 Aspect ( 2048x1556 pixels ).  It can be provided on a Blu-ray disc or as a file on a USB Flash Drive.  File types available: Mp4, MOV, ProRes 422, ProRes HQ

The Transfer Lab® digitizes your film using high-quality professional motion picture film transfer systems. Our cinema film scanners are considered to be amongst the highest quality HD and SD motion film scanners available and are used world-wide by professional motion picture film archival facilities, film post houses and film restoration labs.  These systems feature cool LEDs backlight exposure to prevent film burn, speed controlled frame/shutter synchronized "flickerless" film transports and scan resolutions of up to 2048x1556.  Our systems direct-scan the film using a custom 1:1 focal chain with absolutely no distorting optics, allowing for true microscopography of the film transparency.  We do not use consumer video cameras, mirrors or clunky prism-like contraptions like some so-called film conversion services.

Need professional spec HD or 2K film Scanning?  We offer frame-by-frame motion film scanning for professionals and consumers.  Ask a representative for details on delivery formats and pricing.  

We also offer un-cropped full-frame with fulll-bleed film scanning?  Speak with a representative for details.

Our Film inspection and Preparation Process

Handling and digitizing motion picture film is serious business.  Here is our workflow:

1. Receive barcode and serialize each reel.
2. The film is placed on our motion picture film inspection system where we assess it for damage, shrinkage, and any necessary splice repairs.
3.  The film is cleaned and lubricated with our proprietary chemical blend.  This makes the film look better and allows it to move smoothly through the scanner.
4. The film is then loaded on to the scanner one reel at a time.
5. Each reel is saved as digital file under its' assigned barcode number to a unique client folder on our video server where it waits for post production treatment.
6. Color grading and correction is then accomplished.
7. A DVD or file is then finalized and delivered to our client.



To estimate your transfer cost, select a reel size and resolution.  Enter the quantity in to the shopping cart.   Then add $50 for DVD master authoring if you want DVDs.   Finally add $100 for film preparation (includes: cleaning, lubrication and splicing.. This is only an estimate.  Actual cost could be higher or lower depending on the condition of your film. There is a $125 minimum order on all 8mm motion picture film transfer.  There is a $175 minimum on 16mm Silent film.  There is a $250 minimum for 16mm sound film.  Also, because sound film requires two passes, add approx. $7.00 per reel.



As an option, we offer our proprietary film scratch minimizing treatment called "Virtual Wet gate".  This is our exclusive film treatment that minimizes minor film scratch, resulting in improved picture quality. It works by temporarily filling in minor scratches just as the film passes between the gate and the scanning camera.  By filling in these scratches, it prevents the backlight from being refracted thereby making minor scratches invisible to the scanning camera.

Here are examples of a poor quality transfer (left) and a high-quality transfer from The Transfer Lab (right).  The poor quality transfer remains badly discolored without the proper color correction and image enhancement.  There is also considerable frame flicker due to frame rate mismatch between the scanning camera and the speed/frame rate of the film.  Notice the right example converted here at The Transfer Lab.  We have synchronized the frame rate of the film with scanning camera to prevent flicker/strobe effects, color corrected the discolored film, and enhanced the image focus and sharpness in our video lab.  As you'll see the difference is obvious and dramatic.


*Note: Our film transfer systems digitize your footage without flicker.  However, it is possible on print film formulations that  your film may have some flicker do to synchronization errors made by the film processing lab.  We will do our best to minimize "print sync flicker", but it cannot be removed.  Kodachrome transparency film will not have this problem.

A WORD ABOUT 3" REELS:  You'll notice that a 3" reel has 50 feet of film.   So, why does your film box read 25 feet?  It's simple... Before the film is processed it is twice as wide (16mm).  When the film is first used in the camera for shooting movies, it runs in one direction for 25 feet and stops. Then it is run on the other side for 25 feet.  The processing lab then slits the film strip in half (down the length) and bonds the two ends together after processing to create a finished 50 foot developed roll.

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