When it comes to home movies, there’s something truly classic about how it was done in the good old days. 8mm and 16mm home video cameras. Whether it’s the Super 8 cameras you used to capture family moments before the advent of VHS or its one of those old Bolex cameras that your own parents and grandparents might have used while you were growing up, film just has a wonderfully romantic and nostalgic look and feel. It’s much different today, with digital cameras built into every smartphone!
Digital does have one thing going for it, though — it lasts a lot longer and better than 8mm or 16mm film. Home movies recorded on digital devices won’t degrade or age like a physical filmstrip. The problem, though, is what to do with all those reels of precious family memories gathering dust and slowly deteriorating to nothing in your garage or attic? Is there nothing to do for these films? Are they destined to disappear like tears in rain, leaving no trace of themselves behind?
Of course not. You can save those valuable 8mm and 16mm film memories so that future generations can enjoy them as much as you did. The trick is through converting these filmstrips into digital formats. Here’s what you can do to keep these incredible memories intact, even as that original celluloid continues to age.
The Only Way to Enjoy 8mm and 16mm Films
Nobody wants to jeopardize their home movies. Putting them through a digitization process sounds dangerous, doesn’t it? The problem is that even though it might make you fearful for the safety of your home movies (it shouldn’t, by the way), sooner or later digitizing these old movies will be the only way you can enjoy them.
This is because, sadly, there are fewer and fewer places every year where you can find film projectors that can handle these type of film formats. 8mm and 16mm filmstrip is obsolete, and that means there’s no market for making brand new projectors. Sure, there may be projectors available on the secondhand market, or parts for when your old projector breaks down, but that well is destined to run dry eventually as well.
Meanwhile, digital formats, even when they’re stored on physical media like DVDs or Blu-Ray discs, are much better supported. Equipment to read and play back those formats are plentiful and are unlikely to go away any time soon, making it practically a necessity if you want to ensure you’ll be able to watch these old home movies years from now.
Nothing Lasts Forever
Another important reason to digitize your 8mm and 16mm home movies is that those filmstrips are not going to be around forever. Much like still photography (remember film cameras?), film needs to go through a chemical process to develop the images on them. The same chemicals needed to make those images appear, even though they’ve been long washed away, are still present in trace amounts that cause filmstrip to degrade over time.
This means that, slowly but surely, those 8mm and 16mm films will self-destruct. The ravages of weather over time also wreak havoc with film, as temperature and humidity extremes do their damage as well. Leaving a box of old film reels unattended in a moldy basement or a hot attic can be a true tragedy waiting to happen if the memories within those reels end up being lost for good. It’s just one more reason why converting those old films to a digital format is the best way to preserve them for the future.
Making Your Memories More Accessible
We’ve already talked about how digitizing 8mm and 16mm film makes it easier to pass down to younger generations by making them more accessible and preventing them from deteriorating, there’s even more to recommend this entire process. You’re not just halting the flow of time when you convert your old home movies – you’re making your memories easier to access than ever.
Digital movies can be popped into any DVD player, it’s sure. But even more modern technologies mean you can access your old home movies from anywhere in the world, and on practically any device. Digital video files can be watched on a smartphone, a tablet, or a laptop with as much ease as you would from your living room couch. The difference is that you no longer have to rely on being in front of your television.
It goes further than that. It’s not just your devices that can access your digital home movies — anyone you choose to can as well. Making copies and sending those copies through email, sharing them over the cloud, even putting them on flash drives and mailing them to long-lost cousins and relatives can all be done with ease. Imagine the look on your loved ones’ faces when you include a DVD of their great-grandparents’ wedding ceremony as part of their gift next Christmas. You certainly can’t do that with film.
Turning to the Experts to Digitize 8mm and 16mm Film
So you’re convinced: it’s time to digitize your 8mm and 16mm home movies in order to protect them for future generations. Just how in the world do you actually accomplish that goal? The truth is that for just about everyone it’s not a weekend do-it-yourself special. You need specialized equipment and access to professional computer equipment to turn physical film into digital video. It’s not something you can learn to do overnight, either!
Lucky for you, there’s no need to shell out thousands of bucks building your own basement video conversion studio, not to mention the hundreds of hours it would take to teach yourself the ropes. Instead, you can turn to experts that specialize in providing film transfer services to anyone looking to preserve their home movie reels for the future.
If you do choose to go with a film preservation service, your best bet is to choose a provider that can capture your original film frame by frame. It’s the most accurate way to turn a seamless film strip into a high-quality digital video without any flickers or stutters. Your home movies deserve the utmost in attention to detail, so always ask for the best!