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8mm film from 1950s conversion

3004 Views 8 Replies Latest reply: Nov 12, 2010 7:40 PM by AppleMan1958 RSS
jen57 Calculating status...
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Nov 8, 2010 11:08 AM
I am preparing to have 2000 feet of 8mm film converted to digital, which I then plan to edit in FCE HD (3.5.1). I am looking at a service that will do a frame-by-frame scan in HD, through an enlarged gate, and captured via a Blackmagic card. The resulting files will be in an .avi wrapper with each 50 ft reel (about 4 minutes) resulting in a file about 1.5Gb in size. Since .avi files do not import directly into FCE... what is the best way to convert them so that they will? ... and will I lose a great deal of quality in the conversion?

Since I've not yet committed to a service... is there a "better" option for a format into which the film should be converted? Almost every place I've seen uses either .avi or .mov for the final result. While films of our family Christmases, etc. may not be great art... these films from the 1950s are important to us and I want to do this right the first time (definitely not a DIY project). Any recommendations about specific codecs (or other technical details I don't really understand) that should be used so that I can get a high-quality input into FCE 3.5?
MacBook Pro, 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, Mac OS X (10.5.8), 17" hi res, 4GB DDR2, 320 GB drive
  • Keith Worsley-Brown Level 1 Level 1 (20 points)
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    Nov 8, 2010 11:15 AM (in response to jen57)
    I had excellent service and results converting 8mm and super8 films using Brice Mayfield at Film-to-video. They are in New Mexico. I have used the DVDs and miniDV tapes he produced in iMovie and FCE with very good results, considering the originals date back to the 1970s. Maybe you would like to look at his website and contact him with your specific requirements. Keith
    iMac desktop, Mac OS X (10.6.4), still learning FCE
  • Keith Worsley-Brown Level 1 Level 1 (20 points)
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    Nov 8, 2010 12:11 PM (in response to jen57)
    Sorry, I can't help. It may be worth contacting Bruce Mayfield as he's very knowledgeable. I hope others on the forum will be able to assist you. Good luck. Keith
    iMac desktop, Mac OS X (10.6.4), still learning FCE
  • Michel Boissonneault Level 5 Level 5 (4,765 points)
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    Nov 8, 2010 12:32 PM (in response to jen57)
    Hi(Bonjour)!

    As FCE doesn't support HD in another format but Apple Intermediate Codec,it should be better to ask for this specific format from the conversion service. Ask for converted media on hard drive, they are very inexpensive.

    The other issue could be the image aspect ratio as 8mm movies are 4:3 and HD is 16:9. So think about pillar box on your final edit or enlarged (understand pixelated) clip or squashed image (worst scenario) to fit the screen.

    Michel Boissonneault
    PowerMac G5 dual 2.3, 4.5 Go, Apple Cinema display HD 23", FX1, FCS 2, Mac OS X (10.5.8), Ati Radeon X1900GT G5 edition, and iMac G4, FCE 4.0.1, macuser since 1988
  • MartinR Level 6 Level 6 (14,560 points)
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    Nov 11, 2010 4:25 AM (in response to jen57)
    If you plan to use Blackmagic, you will need Final Cut Pro. The Blackmagic codec cannot be used in FCE; and if you have AVI files you will need to purchase Flip4Mac PlayerPro or higher in order to convert them to QuickTime.

    For Final Cut Express, have the transfer house create +QuickTime .mov+ files using either +Apple DV/DVCPRO NTSC+ or +Apple Intermediate Codec+ compression.
    24" iMac 3.06GHz/4GB/1TB, Mac OS X (10.6.2), 15" MBP 2.66GHz, 20" iMacG5 2GHz, 6TB offline storage
  • AppleMan1958 Level 7 Level 7 (27,335 points)
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    Nov 12, 2010 5:20 PM (in response to jen57)
    Here is a thread on my conversion of 8MM to 1080P using mymovietransfer.com (Debenham Media Group)
    It was captured into the Motion JPEG codec.

    The thread contains links to the finished product on YouTube.

    I edited in iMovie (not FCE)

    [Here is the thread|http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?messageID=11358866&#11358866]
    iMac 24 2.8Ghz, iPhone, TV, Mac OS X (10.6.4), Panasonic HDC-SD5 iMovie 11
  • Tom Wolsky Level 10 Level 10 (104,605 points)
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    Nov 12, 2010 6:50 PM (in response to AppleMan1958)
    Motion JPEG is not supported natively in FCE.
    15" 2.4G MacBook Pro, Mac OS X (10.6.4)
  • AppleMan1958 Level 7 Level 7 (27,335 points)
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    Nov 12, 2010 7:40 PM (in response to Tom Wolsky)
    They can also offer Apple Animation and Uncompressed. I'm guessing these are not supported either.

    They can do DV but it requires a pulldown to get from 18fps to 25 or 30fps.
    iMac 24 2.8Ghz, iPhone, TV, Mac OS X (10.6.4), Panasonic HDC-SD5 iMovie 11

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