Digital Photographics & Video Ltd

Frequently Asked Questions

 Why archive my photos & 35mm Slides?

There are many reasons for creating digital archives and albums of your precious images, such as genealogy, natural disaster , biological decay, loose photos getting lost, can not find that particular photo in that box of old photos, loss of colour , are just some of them. Scanning your photos and slides to a digital format and transferring them to a digital storage media like a portable hard drive, (DVD or CD disk) means you can preserve your images effectively for future generations to enjoy.

 How long do video tapes (VHS) last?

Magnetic information stored on video tape , begins to deteriorate from the moment it is created. many environmental factors such as temperature, humidity, dust, wear from playback machines, tangles, strong magnetic fields from TV speakers and other electrical equipment  all contribute to the loss of magnetic data and ultimately failure.

Most VHS tapes created 20 years ago are unable to be played now in fact 10 - 15 years and the quality is so poor that they are unable to be enjoyed.

 How long does Cine Film last?

Film generally lasts longer than VHS tape but it also succumbs to many of the same problems such as dust and mould, temperature and humidity, during storage, wear from playback machines and breakages from brittleness as well as the loss of colour fading of the dyes used in the film.

 How long do DVDs last?

DVD (digital video disc) are today the most appropriate and accepted way to preserve your photos, film and video in a format that retains the crispness, quality and resolution, some with a life expectancy of up to 100 years if looked after and maintained according to the manufacturers instructions.

 Why transfer photos, film and video to DVD?

Transferring photos ,movie film or VHS video to a digital format on a DVD disk is now the accepted practice today which offers the quality, durability and capacity as a long term solution to storing, retrieving and viewing film and images. Once you have your DVD, many more digital copies can be made without loss of quality.

 What DVD format is used?

Most DVD players produced in the last few years are able to play DVD-R and DVD+R formatted disks, please ask us about compatibility issues if you have an earlier machine.

*Note - Many BluRay players will also play DVD media.

 What is a digital master?

Digital masters are high quality archives of video file that have not been compressed for DVD and are mainly used for Do it yourself video editing.

 Can I have menus and titles throughout my DVD slideshows and movies?

Yes you can, we will do this for you and if you want any particular title or transitions, feel free to discuss this with us.

 Can I have Royalty Free Music Tracks added to my DVD movie or slideshow?

Yes you can, we will do this for you if required, please let us know and discuss this with us.

 Do you use good quality CD & DVD Media

Yes we do  - We use Taiyo-Yuden/JVC, and Verbatim CD and DVD media.

               * Taiyo-Uden invented the CD and are now owned by JVC.


 Are you able to transfer film that has a sound track

Yes we can transfer Super 8 & 16mm Film that has a magnetic soundtrack.
We can also transfer from Reel to Reel tape recorder tapes, Audio cassette`s and LP Records to CD-R which will enable you to play them on your CD palyer.

 About Cine Film Transfers - 8mm & 16mm

We use only Professional film scanners, we do not project the images in any way, we do not project the film on to a wall and capture it using a camera of any sort. All of our transfers are real time transfers of every frame using machines built in the USA for the sole purpose of transfering film to DVD or to Files that can be used on computer editing stations.

When watching the DVD, why does the picture sometimes “freeze”?

 This is commonly seen when playing a recorded disc on an older or bargain-priced DVD player. These are optimized for mass-produced stamped-out discs. Individually recorded DVD+R and DVD-R discs don’t reflect as much light and are just barely playing. Ideally upgrade to a newer multi-format DVD player that is specifically claimed to be able to play DVD±R and DVD±RW discs, or else buy a DVD recording deck.

 What is that stuff that looks like giant grey snowflakes in the lighter areas of the film?

 Fungus. This arises if the film has been stored in a warm and damp location. The fungus grows in the gelatin emulsion layer of the film, where the image is. Since the gelatin has been eaten by the fungus, and replaced by fungal waste products, it is not possible to remove this.

 Why does my film smell like vinegar?

 The cellulose acetate film base is starting to decompose, known as “vinegar syndrome,” releasing acetic acid. This can fade the image and get the rest of the roll started going bad also. Store the film in a can that has holes drilled for air circulation and get it transferred to video soon.

 The rolls of 8mm said on the box they were 25 feet, but I was charged for 60. What gives?

 Regular-8, or double-8, spools of film were 25 feet in the double width as used in the camera, plus 4 feet on each end for subdued light loading, mid-roll turnover, and unloading. This is a total of 33 feet of film. The film is run through the camera twice to expose both edges. After developing, the lab slits it down the middle and splices it together to yield actual 8mm film for projection. Commonly the length might be 55 or 60 feet plus some in the beginning, middle and end that is fogged. 8mm metal-magazine cameras, and all super-8 cameras, can only yield an actual 50 feet or so.

 I sent in a 200 / 400 foot roll of film on a 5" / 7" reel but was charged for 300 / 600 feet. Why?

 A given size reel holds a known footage of normal acetate base film such as made by Kodak. If your film is thin-base Fuji or Focal polyester type, it is 1/3 thinner so 50% more will fit on the same size reel. We charge by actual measured length, not by reel diameter or theoretical length.

 The first half of the 8mm roll is black. What happened?

 Someone didn’t read the instructions and ran the regular-8 film through the camera once instead of twice. Since the roll was sent to the lab the wrong way out, this results in the first half of the finished spliced film (instead of the second half) being black. Since the special spool that came with the camera is now lost (that has “Film when on this spool is only half exposed” marked on it) probably everything shot after this will have either black halves or double-exposed halves. (See next section)

 The film is double exposed (triple exposed) (quadruple exposed). What happened?

 Someone didn’t read the instructions (see previous section) and lost the special 8mm camera spool. So they no longer can keep track of whether the film is exposed once, twice, thrice or more. This results in inadvertent comical double-exposure effects.

 Many of the images are sideways, with heads on the left and feet on the right, or vice versa. How come?

 The film was shot by a still photographer who hadn’t used a movie or video camera before. He is used to turning the camera on its side to shoot portraits of people. It doesn’t occur to him that you can’t easily also turn the projector or TV on its side to view it correctly. This could be maybe fixed by someone with access to digital video effects manipulation equipment, rotating it 90°. Film to DVD is not equipped for this.

 The film image is very dark, red-orange with hardly any other colour, and streaky. What happened?

 The camera was threaded incorrectly, with the dark side and not the light side towards the lens.

 The film is all biased orange/red and excessively warm. Why?

 Either daylight balance film was used under movie lights without a filter, or else the correct tungsten balance film was used indoors but with the daylight correction (#85, or type A) filter wrongly in place.*

 The film is all biased blue and excessively cold. Why?

 Either tungsten balance film was used outdoors without the daylight correction (No. 85 or type A) filter, or else the correct daylight balance film was used outdoors but with the tungsten correction (type 80B) filter wrongly in place.*

 The film goes out of focus when the cameraman zooms in. What’s up?

 The distance was set incorrectly when filming. When you zoom in, you have less depth of field so the focus gets much worse. This commonly results when someone is trying to focus by judging eyestrain, on a camera that is not designed for this use.

 Everyone is walking backwards. What causes this?

 The camera was held upside down when filming. When the film orientation is corrected top for bottom, screen action is backwards. This could maybe be fixed by going ahead and running the film upside down to get normal action, and then having it rotated 180° by someone with access to digital video effects manipulation equipment.

 The film is supposed to be 8mm, but it is twice as wide with two sets of images, one set upside down?????????

 This was regular-8 film developed perhaps in someone’s bathtub, by someone without access to a film slitter. Never fear, Film to DVD can slit and splice the film for you at nominal cost. However, since we have no knowledge of how many times the film has been rewound, we can’t tell anymore which side is the first half and which is the second. So it is 50-50 that it will be out of order.

The photo store will transfer the film for a lower price. Why does your service cost slightly more?

 We inspect the film, replace bad splices and remove damaged portions, then clean and lubricate it, before it goes to the transfer machines. Then, we actually monitor the film while it is running instead of going off to do something else. This way we can check and correct for focus, going out of frame, hairs in the gate, lost film loops and the like immediately. The minimum-wage photo store people  may be off having coffee while your film is being ruined and running unattended. Video tapes can be copied this “hands off” way but we feel that film must not be, as there are lots of things that can go wrong requiring immediate operator attention.

 I can save money by splicing the film together myself, right?

 No! Please don’t! Our splices are precisely scraped and aligned using professional grade equipment, with a permanent solvent weld using fresh film cement or Kodak splicing tapes. (Except polyester base Fuji and Focal which must be tape spliced.) Among the public on the other hand, film splicing is a lost art. By the time you locate and buy larger reels, and then pay us anyway to re-make all the probable bad splices that would break or jam in the equipment, it will cost you more than if we do the splicing in the first place.

 How many splice repairs will be needed?

 Likely one per 50' of a large reel, and also at the 25' mid-roll splice of 8mm. (The consumer-film processing labs generally do not make good splices.) If your film has been extensively edited for a film class, or shown on malfunctioning equipment, there are likely additional repairs needed. There may be few or no repairs required if the film was spliced by a skilled person who has already added proper leader and trailer for cleaning and threading.

 What about off-brand and damaged film?

 Folks who tried to save money by purchasing little-known “bargain” film instead of Kodachrome will likely regret it, even if the colour is good. 3M made Dynachrome movie film with excessive contrast and truly horrible colour. Agfa made film under their name and under private labels. Much of it was never properly lubricated in processing, giving a jittery picture and damaged perforations. Some newly processed Ektachrome film was not lubricated owing to environmental concern. A defective or misthreaded projector will also cause perforation damage to good film. Often only the leading edge of each hole is torn, so the film projects okay backwards but not forward. In this case, the reel can be run backwards and upside down and the transfer corrected with digital video effects equipment.


 *Colour movie film used to be made in two flavours: Daylight and Type A. Daylight gave fine colour when exposed with sunlight outdoors. Type A gave fine colour when exposed with short-lived (3 hour) photoflood lights indoors. Type A also gave fine colour when exposed with sunlight outdoors through a Type A (No. 85) daylight conversion filter. Any other combination gave bad colour. Additionally the film would come out greenish under fluorescent lights or mercury streetlights, pure yellow under sodium streetlights, bluish on a cloudy day or in the shade, and yellowish if filming with ordinary household light bulbs.

 Projecting off-colour film directly might not look so bad, compared to a video transfer. This is because: 1. Movies are projected in the dark so your eyes will adapt to it somewhat, while video is viewed with the room lights on so your eyes will not adapt.  2. Movie screens are generally not as bright as a TV set and your eyes are then not as sensitive to colour problems. 3. Video does not have the latitude that your eye and colour film have, so if the colour is too far off it will saturate the colour signal and gradations in colour will disappear. You can best judge a film’s colour over a white light box to give you a reference white, not using a projector.

 Are you able to convert my video or film to BluRay media?

Yes we are able to produce BluRay disc`s, the cost is higher than a DVD but the video and Audio is much better and up to 8 hours can be produced on a Blu-Ray disc.

We are able to produce blu-Ray transfers of Cine film however this is not recommended as cinefilm was not designed for wide screen and images will be stretched to fit the screen resulting in poor viewing.


 About Infra Red Scanning

Infrared cleaning is a technique used to remove the effects of dust and scratches 
on images scanned from film; many modern scanners incorporate this feature.
It works by scanning the film with infrared light; the dyes in typical colour film
emulsions are transparent to infrared light, but dust and scratches are not,
and block infrared; scanner software can use the visible and infrared information
to detect scratches and process the image to
greatly reduce their visibility,
considering their position, size, shape, and surroundings. Scanner manufacturers usually have their own name attached to this technique.
For example, Epson,
Nikon, Konica Minolta, Microtek, and others use
Digital ICE, while Canon uses its own system FARE
(Film Automatic Retouching and Enhancement system)[18]
Plustek uses LaserSoft Imaging iSRD. Some independent software developers
design infrared cleaning tools.

Reel Sizes and Film Formats
Movie film was returned from the photo labs generally on 50 and 100 foot reels. Many were then spliced onto reels of 200, 300, and 400 feet. Some super 8 film was spliced onto 600 and 800 foot reels as well. 16mm film was spliced onto reels up to 14 inches or 2000 feet.

3 Inch Reel = 50 Feet
4 Inch Reel = 100 Feet
5 Inch Reel = 200 Feet
6 Inch Reel = 300 Feet
7 Inch Reel = 400 Feet
8 inch Reel = 600 Feet
10 inch Reel = 800 Feet
12 inch Reel = 1200 Feet
14 inch Reel = 1600 Feet
15 inch Reel = 2000 Feet
This is not exact since some film had a thinner base, and 400 feet would fit on a 6 inch reel.

Regular 8 Film
Super 8 Film
16mm Film (some had sprockets on both sides)