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Please click on the "info" links below to see and understand what the prices include.
How does my film format affect price?
Most Normal 8 mm film was shot at 16 frames per second, whereas Super 8 was shot at 18 frames per second. Therefore, Normal 8 film has a longer running time and amounts to more minutes of transferred footage as compared to Super 8 film. Since we base our invoice price on total minutes of transferred footage, the two formats make the price differ a bit. (Note: If the original film was shot at 24 frames per second, it will have shorter running-time and will cost less.)
How does my film speed affect price?
It doesn't affect the total minutes worth of running-time that you have. However, it does affect the cleaning price, since we base our cleaning price on total meters of film. Film shot at a higher rate of speed translates to more actual film footage used. Thus, it increases the cleaning cost by a small amount.How to determine the speed of your film.
How does film with Sound and Silent film affect price?
Film with Sound is slightly thicker than film without it, so film with sound takes up a little more space when wound on the reel. It's not so noticeable on a small, 3-inch reel but does become quite noticeable on a large, 7-inch reel.
We transfer film with sound -- few transfer houses do! And, we charge the same rate whether or not film has sound.How to recognize if film is silent or has sound
Most film we receive is Super 8, without sound (silent) and was shot at 18 frames per second.
4K vs 2K - 8mm film transfer
Hearing from customers "do you transfer in 4K?" is what inspired me to write this highly academic blog. It is a blog that's worthy of a closer read if you are adamant about getting an 8 mm 4K film transfer. It might also be enjoyable if you like reading very geeky film stuff.
Let's first establish how much detail 8 mm film grain can hold and also cover some of the 2K vs 4K technical aspects (camera limitations and transfer workflow considerations.) Further, let's explore if offering upscaling from 2K to 4K is something FilmFix should consider.
Due to its very small size, 8 mm film is physically not able to hold more detail than 2K holds. So by going with 4K and hoping to get more details, the only thing you get is more detailed grain -- not a better image. Let's keep in mind though, it's a different story for the larger format films of 16 mm and 35 mm film.
In the image below the red rectangle represents a section captured during a transfer. A 2K transfer has a frame ratio of 16 to 9 and has 1920 by 1080 pixels.
Now, let us calculate the DPI (Dots Per Inch) of that section. This way we can check if with 2K we are above the granular detail the film can hold.
Under ideal circumstances, film can hold up to 4,000 DPI of information. (Learn more about film resolution.)
We'll base our DPI calculation on the height of that red frame. The reason for that is because it is where we hit the limit of the frame. Zooming in (or out) will either crop parts of the image, or show parts of the top and bottom frame; both of which we want to avoid.
A Transfer Setup Note: We need to fine-tune the framing to obtain a proper framing prior to transferring a reel. So at the start of every new reel, the height is adjusted to match the height of the frame. The position can vary, because the exact positioning of the camera's pull-down claw can vary, also film shrinkage affects positioning.
Back to the math part: For a 2K transfer the formula is 1080 pixel / 0.130 inches, which results in approximately 8,300 DPI. The results show a 2K transfer holds over 2 times more information than what 8 mm film holds.
Now with Super-8 film we have a bit bigger frame to work from than with 8mm. This will result in bit better image, but let us check if 2K can hold it.
There the math is as follows: 1080 pixel / 0.158 inches results in an approximate 6,800 DPI. We are still well above 4,000 DPI.
The upshot is that 2K is absolutely adequate and 4K will not bring more detail.
In the old days of HD film transfer, we used to say 8 mm can only hold about a 720p resolution. 720p is the smaller of the two HD formats. This is why the very first professional film flash scanners where equipped with a 720p camera. It was only later that manufacturers started offering 2K transfer systems.
So let's check to see if 720p can hold the image.
The math for a 720p transfer is 720 pixels / 0.130 inches results in an approximate 5,500 DPI for 8 mm film, and an approximately 4,500 DPI for Super-8 film.
Super-8 film at 720 is starting to reach its limit but is still within what is considered acceptable. And the reason some transfer houses transfer all their film at 720p is because it allows for more productivity; they transfer it all at high speed. After that they upscale it to 2K and you never know about their trick. We don't do it that way. We capture in 2K from the outset.
(Important side note: a "Wolverine", or "Reflecta", is not a Professional Film Transfer System but a lower-end consumer transfer unit. The file it records is a highly compressed 8-bit MP4 file. Size: 1920 by 1080, but that is just the frame size. It's what is put into the file (an empty vessel) that counts. The quality of that stored image is what counts, not the pixel count of the frame. That's a different topic for another post.)
Over the years, monitors keep growing in size. These days Netflix requires all shows to be shot in 4K. In order for you to see that higher 4K resolution, you need a 4K monitor and need to pay Netflix extra for that better image quality.
Once these monitors found their way into our living rooms, naturally our customers started inquiring about 4K transfers.
A long time back I did some 4K camera research, and just for curiosity sake, I started looking to see what is out there. Things change quickly ... while people's film, in storage, continues to deteriorate.
Researching the topic, I found I would lose the extended color depth of 10-bit if I used a 4K prosumer camera. They usually only offer 8-bit color depth if the sensor is a CCD sensor. This is not good! I know that this would not work for me, because I heavily rely on the 10-bits of color-depth during the color grading process, which I do by hand. 10 bits is critical to improve the color and exposure issues of strongly discolored film.
I continued researching and found myself looking into $28,000 - $35,000 cameras that have some interesting 4K capabilities, but they would not permit me to perform the workflow I need with my transfers.
In short they capture 4K at 10-bit, but with the added steps in workflow, I would need to charge over 4 times what I am currently charging for a transfer and that would be just to capture the initial footage. All the tasks after the capture would also be much more time intensive on the computers, because jumping from 2K to 4K is not a doubling of the data but quadrupling. And with that, all the remaining processing and copying of data would take 4 times longer.
Later, I found myself reading about what some professional newscasters do.
It was in one of their forums where I learned that still today a lot of them are shooting in 2K and end up upscaling the footage they shot in 2K to 4K, for the broadcast stations that require all footage to be delivered to them in 4K. And this is what brought me to a FULL STOP.
Upscaling! I have a lot of experience with upscaling.
I've offered upscaling of video tape transfers to bring SD (Standard Definition) to Full-HD for years now. And, going from 2K to 4K is just as possible and an easier process, because there is no de-interlacing requirement when processing two progressive images.
I found myself reevaluating each and every step of my transfer process as I described here on our website From RAW to FINAL. And sure enough ... I found a instance where I could conceivably justify a 4K up-scaling.
You'll probably notice that this topic is a bit academic but nonetheless worthy of a closer look.
It is during the image stabilization process where the image's grain gets seriously remapped and when an upscaling might be beneficial to retain some of that very fine grain structure.
The reason for that "remapping" is that during the image stabilization process, the image gets enlarged by 4% while zooming in, from 100% to 104%. Later that enlarged image's boarder gets cropped off back to 100%. To finalize the image stabilization process a very light sharpening is required to retain the grain's sharpness.
From that, one can conclude, the best time to upscale is at the same time the image stabilization step happens.
In order to test this idea, I produced two clips and set them side by side.
The difference between the two sides is that for the 4K side the image stabilization was performed within a 4K project — whereas for the 2K side the image stabilization was performed outside the 4K project — so within a separate 2K project. These are the steps in detail:
I created 4K project and imported 2K clip that gets automatically upscaled to fill out the larger 4K frame. Then, I applied the image stabilization to it and did some light sharpening.
In a separate 2K project, I performed the image stabilization and light sharpening. Later, I opened the above 4K project and imported that already pre-processed 2K image stabilized clip. I then upscaled the 2K project and placed the 4K and 2K side by side, as seen below.
Click and zoom in to see the image in full 1:1 pixel display. Note that these large frames show the grain 2× larger, so the grain gets 2× bigger which makes the grain look splotchy. You may notice that the 4K image looks a tad less cloudy.
When viewing the side-by-side clip below you'll see how much of the fine grain structure gets lost during the image stabilization process, when that step is not performed within a 4K project. It turns out it's minimal loss, nonetheless still noticeable when in motion.
It's only possible to discern the difference of this sample by viewing it on a 4K monitor. Since most people don't have access to a 4K monitor at their desktop computer, I decided to provide you with a link to the file (below) so that you can download it onto a USB stick. If you have access to a 4K monitor in your living room, this will be the ideal place to compare the two transfers.
If the only access you have is your computer's monitor, here is a 1920 x 1080 frame outtake of the 4K file. It's the red rectangle seen in the image below. You can play this clip on your desktop to compare the difference in grain. The grain is the same as what you'd see on your 4K monitor.
The sample below is only a zoomed in close-up portion of what you will see on your screen. The final transfer will not look like this. However, this will give you an idea of a 4K transfer as compared to a 2K. The 4K does bring more crisp edges but it adds substantial blotches of grain patches in motion. I looks busier and is distracting.
To download donut-hole (zoomed in section) 4K sample, click here. It's 303 MB, so it will take time to download.
To download the full size 4K sample clip, click here. (611 MB file)
These sample clips have been encoded using the new "High Efficiency Video Codec" aka H.265 codec. Some older players may not be able to play back this type of mp4.
If you have 8 mm film, we don't recommend that you get a 4K transfer.
1 - The benefit of getting a transfer in 4K is not very noticeable. Only a trained eye may see a difference, and it costs 2 times our regular price.
2 - If you will be considering our image enhancement option of grain reduction, or 'debris removal' as we now refer to it, you do not want a 4K transfer. Since with a 4K transfer you are after the grain, we would not apply any grain reduction to the file.
3 - If you're going to want to share this large file, first it needs to be highly compressed. It is in that compression you will lose all the benefit of the grain captured in a 4K transfer.
4 - If you want to be mindful of your carbon footprint, this is not a good choice. It takes a tremendous amount of electricity to process these very large files.
Conclusion: A 4K transfer will not benefit the image captured from 8mm film. The finest grain may look a bit sharper, but for reasons explained in detail above it's not beneficial.
Still, if you insist on having a 4K file we can do it - at a premium price.
We would capture in 2K (RAW Lossless instead of using the HQX SuperFine codec) and import that file into a 4K project. There is where all the color grading and image stabilization work would be performed. This 4K transfer varies from our usual processing explained in our step by step breakdown of our transfer process: From RAW to FINAL.
What is a burn hole?
A burn hole is nothing you want on your film! And, they're rare.
It means that at some point while viewing your treasured old family films, the projectionist stopped the film from rolling and the film stayed stationary in the gate for too long.
The heat from the light source eventually burned a hole right through the film. If your films have these holes, you'll see an odd sight quickly pass by when viewing your transfer. It will be a bright white spot if the film was burned all the way through. Or, it will appear darker and all bubbly, if the film's emulsion nearly got burnt to a crisp.
Back in the day, movie houses would sometimes burn to the ground. Why? Because the projectionist was not being mindful and those intense projector lights, with the heat they put off, sadly sometimes started a fire in the projection room. Also back then, the film's emulsion was much more flammable. It doesn't happen today, because film stock is made of a safer base material.
And, a fire cannot happen with our equipment, because we use a strobe as our light source.
Archival Grade Slide Transfer
We are happy to bring you our "true grain capture": 61 megapixel resolution for slides. This is a good time to consider transferring your most treasured slides to true Archival Grade Quality.
These are very large files. 3.5MB for the JEPG files, and about 314MB for the TIFF files.
Notice the rounded corners? Here is why we like to include parts of the border along with the round corners: Learn More
Use the bottom image to get a feel for what you will be getting in terms of details.
Slides courtesy of Amy Thomas.
Compare our 9K slide resolution to others
Our curiosity had us going once we had our new camera in hand. We wanted to know how a lower quality transfer would compare to our new 9K transfer, so we had a reference.
These are the steps we took to achieve this...
Our 9K transfer
This slide was transferred using our 9K slide transfer setup.
The resulting file is:
This is what we did to calculate our DPI
DPI stands for Dots Per Inch. We divided the dots recorded (the image width 9,504) by the image width in inches 1.399 (35.55 mm, see above) = 6,793 DPI --- or approximately 6,800 DPI.
All images below are JPEG files, because JPEG is what's used on the Internet
Please keep in mind that TIFF files look a great deal sharper than these below! Unfortunately, JPEG compression has a tendency to crush fine details. The advantage of JPEG files is that they are much smaller and easier to share.
In comparison TIFF files are extremely large. TIFF files hold a huge amount of image information and thus serve as a valuable archival record of your slides.
Let's focus on the film grain
We selected the above image because of the fine line detail in the fabric of their pants. Focusing on the lines in the fabric helps us when comparing the different resolutions.
The above close-up is 1000 pixels wide. So, you would need a monitor of at least the same or larger width to see this whole close-up section . A desktop will do, but an iPad may not. If you are on a small screen device, like a phone, make sure to zoom in.
Our 9.5K transfer
Zooming in even further, we will be using this 400 by 400 pixel excerpt as a reference point. This way we don't need to zoom in on each sample to get the 100% representation of the excerpt.
This excerpt is the basis from which we will produce some 'lower K' transfer samples (like those that other companies do) so you can compare how nice ours look.
At 9K we are clearly above what film can hold! Going higher would only bring more details in the grain, and not benefit image detail.
7.1K transfer (our competition)
In order to obtain this representation, I took the un-sharpened 400 by 400 image from above; scaled it down to 294 by 294 (400/9.5*7.1); and scaled it back up to 400 by 400; and included some light sharpening.
The upshot: The grain looks less defined, larger and is blotchy. The finer lines in the blue pants on the left are starting to blend together.
5.6K -- is considered "Film Resolution"
5.6K is considered what "FILM" can hold - approximately 4,000 DPI.
In order to obtain this representation I took the un-sharpened 400 by 400 image from our 9K transfer; scaled it down to 235 by 235 (400/9.5*5.6); and scaled it back up to 400 by 400; and included some light sharpening.
The grain is still recognizable but overall it looks much like the above 7K transfer.
4K Apple iPhone
In order to obtain this representation I took the un-sharpened 400 by 400 image from our 9K transfer; scaled it down to 168 by 168 (400/9.5*4); and scaled it back up to 400 by 400; and included some light sharping.
The over all impression is that it looks muddy.
Now all together
... so that you do not have to scroll to compare. Can you tell them apart?
Horn tooting: We are confident that our new 9K slide digitization surpasses most of what is "out there." This bold statement comes from what customers recently told us.
It starts with the level at which we capture the grain and with the fine camera we use. It continues with the types of files that are included in our service and ends with the clean and tidy results we deliver to you.
KEY NOTES: We changed the way we clean slides before digitizing them. Each and every slide gets special attention and is carefully hand-cleaned. We don't yet know of another company that does it like we do! We're one of the few companies that offer TIFF files at no extra charge and the RAW file, if you request it.
What makes our slide transfers exceptional
We start with the professionally trained and educated operator who graduated from the world-renowned Brooks Institute of Photography, in Santa Barbara, CA (graduated February, 1996.)
Your slides are professionally digitized at the very highest quality, employing specialist equipment and tender care.
Please have a look at the equipment and tools we use. We do not use automation. We take no shortcuts, which is obvious from the results we achieve. To view our slide samples, click here. (- coming soon.)
Important: Read the last paragraph ... if you read nothing else!
This Sony α7R IV 35mm full-frame camera, with 61.0 megapixels, exceeds the resolution of 35 mm film by 170%. That is outstanding performance that creates highly-detailed images.
We capture a true 1:1 image, offering a superior dynamic range of over 14 stops. Film generally has 10 stops of dynamic range, but we can work with a broader range bringing about optimal luminence.
We manually set the exposure on each slide.
For each image, expect approximate file size to be:
• JPEG file - 7.5 MB - we provide
The "APO" (the apochromat) aspect of the lens is important and will produce very impressive details without necessitating post-production chromatic aberration correction. However, if a customer's lens has chromatic aberration issues, we now have an exceptional image at our disposal and can do further "post-capture" work.
This lens is remarkably sophisticated and precise, even though it is a manual focus lens!
Our Light Source
What furnishes the light is a Canon Speedlite 430EX strobe light set to 1/8 of its full power output. We then shape the light quality by adding a glass diffuser between the strobe and the slide. The diffuser in the lineup is what emits a uniform soft light and is what ultimately backlights the slide.
A projector is used to "hold" the slide in place. We are not using the projector to project the slide image rather to simply hold the slide in place.
It took a little modification -- cutting a sizable portion off the front section and removing the lens. We also had to add a strobe light and a diffusing "milk" glass.
Our Focus Adjustment
We use this to manually find the perfect focus.
This tool is a micrometer. It adjusts in millimeters. It is more precise than the camera's original focusing ring.
As Capture One states: "Start your editing with the sharpest possible details and most natural colors."
It handles our very large, RAW files well. It is an essential part of the process.
This professional software, fine-tunes your slide digitization for optimal results all the way through to the final image.
Professional Photographers: If asked, we are happy to provide your with the original RAW capture and the adjustments we set in Capture One to produce your final file export (no extra charge.)
Last but not least!
We start the entire process by hand cleaning each slide -- both sides. This takes time.
We use two different fine art brushes to gently wipe away dust and debris that is lightly stuck to the emulsion. Each slide receives the care it deserves. This results in a much cleaner slide than the one we were sent.
You get all of the above for just 65 cents per slide! We like to say ... "Do it once and do it right."
Cassette Transfer with hiss reduction
Remember the old tapes you made? The ones where your family would sit around and record silly snippets of dialogue among themselves? Or, sometimes the words spoken were of your family's important history.
Would you like to hear all that, again?
We have the professional equipment to help you!
We use a superior quality piece of equipment – the Tascam CD-A580.
During the special post-processing work, we use software to further reduce the annoying system noise and hiss that is common with these old tapes.
The file we'll provide is either an MP3 or WAV file – onto a USB stick or hard drive.
NOTE: Please do not send us any material that is copyright protected ... your old music cassettes or audio mixes, for example.
Video UP-SCALING to HD
Up-scaling your video to HD is a wise option to consider when digitizing your old video tapes. Professionally up-scaled footage results in a much nicer image when viewed on a large TV or computer monitor! We think you'll be surprised.
Our FilmFix up-scaling differs in that we perform steps 3, 4, and 5 (detailed below), and other companies don't.
For "computer geeks": If you're comfortable using command lines in a terminal, here is how to go about doing the up-scaling yourself.
FilmFix's up-scaling - benefits and extras:
NOTE: Some of the more advanced TVs offer an 'internal up-scaling' option, but the quality does not compare to ours. Ours is far superior and it's not only because we add steps 3, 4 and 5! The algorithm our computer uses is far more sophisticated and processor intensive than the quick on-the-spot TV upscale feature. (Sample images to follow, as soon as a particular customer gives us their approval.)
"Magic cords" - do they work?
These video transfer cords hit the market, and people started digitizing their tapes at home. However, it seems people are not getting satisfying results with these things.
It appears that it is probably not capturing true "S-Video quality" analog signal to digital. Perhaps, it is instead using a little trick of utilizing the signal from pin 2 and 3 of the 4 pin mini-Dim plug (wiki info on S-Video) to "capture" a less colorful and softer looking video image. These days specs are hard to read and sometimes difficult to trust.
There is a reason why we do NOT use any of this here at FilmFix -- we stick with what we know for a fact works exceedingly well!
If you already have a so-called Magic cord with converter like this, and are intent on using it, it would be good to jump down to our "Set-up Check List."
Diamond VC500 available here at B&H for less than $36.00, but before you buy, it's good to know its limitations.
The Diamond VC500 specs say ....
"Video Capture Formats: MPEG 4, MPEG" and "(600 MB to 3GB required for 1 hour of recording)".
The upshot is: You will be capturing a highly compressed video, because a standard quality video file uses about 13GB for 1 hour of recording -- not merely their advertised 600MG - 3GB. Sure, using their cord you'll end up having the convenient MP4 file, but later if you want to upscale your video to 1080, it won't work. It will just look muddy and unsatisfying.
This is why we don't use this type of "magic cord."
It's advised to do your research and read other's reviews -- available online.
Sure, it's easy to set up -- but user beware!
Don't use the yellow RCA plug!
Video decks and cameras normally provide a video-out connection. Only a few higher-end units provide you with an additional S-Video connection. Please make sure to NOT use the yellow connection for the video signal, but instead use the S-Video mini-Dim plug.
You will be able to get an image using the yellow plug, but it is a substandard, much lower quality image.
A clean S-Video signal "is king." If your unit only has a yellow RCA plug, consider using a different unit that has an S-Video plug. It really makes a difference! You may want to try your luck on eBay for a unit that is in good shape and which provides you with an S-Video port.
Don't be fooled by this adapter cord
RCA / S-Video adapter - only to be used as a last resort
Our advice: Do not use one of these converter plugs. They will not bump up the image quality, they will only bump it down.
What we use at FilmFix:
We use professional decks that offer S-Video signal in and FireWire out (a.k.a. IEEE 1394.) And, we go from FireWire out straight into our computer to produce the best quality recordings possible.
The magic really starts to happen when we start up-scaling the captured material to 1080 HD. Here is a link to our do-it-yourself blog post on how to go about that.
Set-up Check List
Stay digital if it is already digital
Mini-DV and Digital-8 tapes hold digital data. If you have Mini-DV tapes or Digital-8 tapes, please do not use the above discussed "analog" magic cord. Instead, stay "digital" by using a fire-wire connection to your computer.
35mm Film Resolution
35mm film has a resolution of approximately 5.6K — equivalent to an image of about 5,600 × 3,620 pixels. The finite resolution of film will fluctuate based on the type of film and the film's processing methods.
All these characteristics influence the film's resolution:
In short, image quality is dependent on film grain – the very small silver particles stuck between color layers in the film's emulsion. To be exact, it is the aggregate effect of these particles holding the light back that form a visual effect, which resembles a grain. The job of these small silver particles is to store the image information.
An Overview on MP (Megapixel), DPI (Dot Per Inch), and Print Size
The renowned photographer Ansel Adams' rule of thumb for enlarging images was simple: avoid printing film to paper at more than 4 × its original size.
For 35mm negative film (frame size 24mm × 36mm) Adams would print at a maximum of 96mm × 144mm – which converts to only 3.8 × 5.6 inches.
The reason Adams would not enlarge more, is because any further magnification would too clearly reveal the film grain. However, when archiving slides one wants all the grain to be visible.
Transfers at FilmFix are designed for archiving slides.
We transfer beyond what film can store. At 9.5K we out-perform all commercial slide scanners. We deliver an impressive 9,504 × 6,336 pixel file and have the highest optical film transfer system we know of.
If you print at 300DPI (the printing standard), you can expect a quality print from our high resolution scan. This will be true for images printed up to a size of 21.1" x 31.7" (for 35mm film.) However, this voids Adams' rule of thumb technique mentioned above. You will see the grain in the image with more details represented in the grain.
Keep in mind that the quality of the image depends on the original type of film and lens used. Additionally, the outcome will depend upon the skill of the photographer.
Foot notes and sources
MP4 files at 18fps!
A silent almost unnoticed breakthrough has happened in the play-back arena. It used to be that only computers were able to manage the play-back of files with frame rates that did not conform to the TV standard frame rates. These days, your Smart TV Roku Media Player can do it too! This is HUGE for us here at FilmFix, because it means that we can finally provide you with a more compatible file that plays each frame back just like the film was intended to be seen.
This topic is quite geeky, but for the curious reader here is a truncated synopsis on the subject.
TVs sync to 30 frames per second (25fps in Europe, etc.) That frame rate is linked to the electric AC current's frequency of 60Hz (50Hz in Europe, etc.) Films are shot at all sorts of different frame rates: 12, 16, 18, 24, 25, 29.97... up to 70fps and beyond. In the past, the only way to get these films to play back correctly, while preserving their true playback speed, was to double-up (or drop) frames to a standard TV frame rate of 30fps.
The old 3:2 pull-down technique for real-time "Film to Video" transfer
This technique is standard practice during a film transfer (telecine), and is referred to as the 3:2 pull-down technique for converting 24fps to30fps films. (Note this illustration is simplified -- in reality the 3:2 pull-down is applied to the fields of the frames and not to the frames themselves.)
The image here illustrates the doubling up of frames when converting film exposed at 24fps to a 30fps TV standard. You may notice that the pattern is repeating every 4 film frames. The first 3 frames get copied cleanly, then the next frame gets doubled up; thus its name 3:2 pull-down.
Tid bit: In the olden days, to save the video onto a TV-standard tape was to record the video signal in real-time -- field by field. Today, it all gets captured frame-by-frame, manipulated and kept frame-by-frame until it is time to produce the final output. It's a much different approach.
The outdated approach of outputting files for your TV
Now this is where it gets ugly, because converting 18fps to 30fps is just messy. It is doable, but as you can see, in the image below, the pattern is less regular. That messiness is particularity noticeable when the camera-person shot long left-to-right (or right-to-left) panned scenes. It ended up looking jerky and far from smooth, upon play back.
This shows the traditional (but dated) approach of providing you with a playable MP4 file or any of the other source file (ProRes or AVI.) Note that we, FilmFix, used to provide you not with 30fps but rather 24fps files, because a 24fps file is a Blu-ray frame rate standard that is Internationally understood and compatible.
Now imagine if you have an even lower frame rate, say, 16fps for Double-8 film? This lower frame already looked bad and then ... it got worse.
A new improved way to depict film on your Smart TV
Your old TV operates at 30 frames per seconds, whereas Smart TV's have a higher frame rate of 60fps (the same as your average computer monitor.)
As you see in the illustration below, the higher frame rate has the advantage of evening out the color-differences better during playback. With the above illustration at 30fps it was more obvious when the frame doubling did not line up properly. For instance, orange has just one frame in the MP4 file (and on the TV) whereas in the Smart TV 60fps that one orange frame is better represented and blends in better.
Most importantly -- play-back of MP4 files at a 18fps frame rate is now supported! Actually, any specified frame rate will work.
The Roku Media Player from your Smart TV knows how to interpret the speed of your MP4 file to back it back correctly.
And now this makes it possible for us to produce MP4 files (and other master files) that offer a 1-to-1 representation of each Film Frame; be it 18fps or 16fps, or any other frame rate, without having to double up any frame in your MP4 file.
Your Roku Media Player will know how to stream an MP4 file that has an unconventional frame rate (such as 18 fps.) Exciting!
The upshot is: Your Smart TV is able to play back MP4 files that have varying frame rates, just like your computer can. So, this finally opens up the possibility of truly changing the experience of how films that were originally shot at 16 or 18fps, or any other frame rate, are played back.
So much for the truncated synopsis. (For the even more curious person, there is more to it -- here. For instance there is an explanation about Drop or Non-Drop Frames.) Enjoy!
The True Frame-Rate Advantages
The True Frame-Rate Disadvantage
How to check your MP4 file's frame rate
Go to the file's "Properties", right-click, and under the "Details" tab (or similar), you'll see this info:
FFMpeg Changing Frame Rate, without re-encoding
To output the final 16fps ProRes files, without re-encoding use the code below. (Note: I added the third line of code
FFMpeg Changing Frame Rate going from ProRes to MP4
To re-encode from single frame (any fps) ProRes to a 16fps MP4 (without audio and some light sharpening.) It will process at approximately the speed of 1x. (The same will also work for AVI to MP4; just change the second line of code to read:
DIY upscale SD to HD (free)
Let me share with you a hidden treasure that took me a while to find! For a long time, even though I was using an expensive editing program, I was not getting satisfying results when upscaling SD video (i.e. VHS tapes) to HD. I sure am now!
Note: If you are a competitor of ours, please, stop reading here. ;)
It was thanks to Andrew Swan, a respected professional blogger writing in great detail about this subject, that I now proudly offer affordable, high quality HD up-scaling.
If you're curious about the cost of our upscale service, please follow the link to our online estimator tool: cost for transferring and upscalling 10 tapes of 1 hour each. You may adjust the current numbers according to what you actually have in your video collection.
Or, if you want to try your hand at "bumping it up" yourself, you can follow Andrew's instructions, below.
A few things to keep in mind, before you start. It takes quite the investment in time and electricity! Expect a 1 hour tape to take 3 hours worth of processing time -- and that's on a speedy computer. My office gets warmer, even with my water-cooled computer, as it processes away on these files. Ah, but the results are so well worth it.
Tutorial by Andrew Swan - step by step video
Andrew Swan has been blogging since 2008 about video processing. In his 45 minute YouTube video here, he explains how to instal 32-bit and 64-bit AVISynth+, QTGMC, and FFMPEG side-by-side; use AviSynth+ and all the required filters to properly de-interlace and upscale your SD video files to HD 720, or 1080. He'll walk you through all the steps of downloading, installing, and processing an SD video file.
Some To-Dos along the way
Before starting, it's a good idea to prep your files. Clean up the start and end times of your initial capture (file) by editing out the "snowy" parts. Bring the glaring whites and deep blacks into a more pleasing viewing range. Pay attention to the color intensity in your highlights and bring those down a bit in order to bring about a more natural looking result.
Now that he files are cleaned up a bit, it's time to upscale.
If you have many files to upscale you may be interested in using a Python script to help you automate the process.
I programmed a Python script that helps you batch-process one file after the other, without having to call the script again for each file. You can find the script that I shared on Andrew's Blog, or you can directly downloaded the script from our FilmFix website by clicking here. Just edit the lines of code to reflect your particular file locations, and name the files numerically. (Sorry - that's all the support I can give on this subject, here. For consulting, naturally, I need to charge my hourly rate.)
Other Up-Scaling methods
There is an upscale method called "super-resolution". Super-resolution up-scalling utilizes a different approach and yields a different result. You would end up with a non-TV standard size video that will have to be downsized to fit either HD 720 or 1080. And, this method takes even longer to process - not an appealing option.
Video Upscale samples coming soon...
Our Super-8 transfer as compared to theirs
Recently, we were given a tremendous gift! A customer, Rob C. of Washington, asked us to please re-do a transfer he had done elsewhere, because he was disappointed with their work. He felt some trepidation sending his reels to a second company for fear our results might be similarly dismal. Well, he was so pleased with our transfer that he complied a comparison for us to use on our website's blog. What a gift!
Below are his words:
"I had some free time, and I created a high quality frame capture of your conversion, the same frame from the other company conversion, and a merged version where I show how their scan only covers 40% of the actual image you captured (i.e. they lost 60% of the frame). I selected 2 different frames where it’s impossible to recognize the people, and you are welcome to use these in your website if you like (please do not use the others). I think it highlights the quality you offer pretty well."
At FilmFix we capture the entire frame from edge to edge.
Because of our superior 10-bit capture, when a film's colors are challenged, we are able to improve them to a large degree with the "secondary color correction" image enhancement option. And, when a film was over-exposed or under-exposed, we can improve that to a large degree as well with our added option of "secondary color correction."
You'll note that the grass on the outer edge of the above example is not very crisp. This is because "grain reduction" was applied to the transfer. "Grain reduction" has advantages and disadvantages. It gets rid of many scratches and imperfections, but it does tend to slightly soften the image. That's why when a customer chooses "grain reduction", we like to provide their transfer in two files -- before and after -- grain reduction was applied. (So, check that box on the order form if you want both versions.) The two files will require a bit more data storage, but it's very rewarding to have both versions of the final footage. Customers love it!
We are sorry to see some of the shoddy work that is being done in this industry. It does nothing for the industry's reputation.
While we always enjoy restoring our customer's films, it is such a pity to learn they've wasted their time and money elsewhere before finding us!
Nicole's challenge and sweet-stuff for us!
FilmFix got a nice mention on the Nicole Sandler Show this week, but because of her network's policy, she was not allowed to indicate our company's name. Listen to how cleverly she handled that! It's sweet and made us smile -- broadly. Additionally, it gave us goosebumps, because being acknowledged like this has a way of touching the soul.
"Psst" .... Laura (co-owner of FilmFix) even speaks for a few moments in the middle of this brief clip. Please have a listen!
For her birthday, Nicole Sandler has a donation matching challenge running, for a limited time. If you believe in independent progressive media, please consider donating -- even a small amount is great.
8mm Wolverine MovieMaker-PRO Rental
If you don't know what's on your family's treasured films, you can rent a Wolverine from us for a couple of weeks and have a look-see!
UPDATE: We are sorry. The Wolverine is not available for rental. It's broken and we do not plan to repair it, at this time.
We use this professional system.
Knowing what you have, before sending it off, is a nice way to organize your collection. Then, we can professionally transfer your precious memories in 2K resolution to obtain the best possible full-HD (High Definition) outcome.
We'll put your transfer either onto a Blu-ray, USB stick or hard drive or a combination of your choosing. We can also put it on a DVD, but that only holds a lesser quality "Standard Definition" transfer.
Note: Operating the Wolverine MovieMaker-PRO does require technical know-how.
FilmFix Wolverine Rental - (U.S.A. only)
It's $80 to rent for 2 weeks. You pay shipping, both ways, and fee varies depending upon where you reside, in the U.S.. We are located in Ojai, CA and ship out via USPS "Priority Mail" with a "Signature Confirmation."
Also, a $300 refundable deposit is required and is returned to you once we receive the machine along with its accouterments, in fine working order. Shipping fees range between $16 and $65 (depending upon where you live in the U.S.)
If interested in a rental, please fill out our FilmFix Wolverine Rental Agreement and send it to us as an attachment via email, or 'snail mail' works too.
The reason we bought a Wolverine MovieMaker-PRO