Access Video & Photo commercial and home video service, duplication, and repair in Austin, TX Film Transfer Q&A
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Q.  How do I know how many feet of film I have?
Most 8mm home movie cameras used film cartridges that were developed onto 50-foot plastic reels about 3 inches across.  If you have reels about that size, and they are full, there is most-likely 50 feet of film on each.  Sometimes people spliced the shorter films together onto larger reels.  Most of these reels have footage markings along one of the “spokes” of the reel to estimate footage.  A five-inch reel typically holds 200-250 feet and a seven-inch reel typically holds 400-450 feet of 8mm film.

50 foot regular 8 film reel 50 foot super 8 film reel

Q.  How long does a reel of film play?
A 50-foot reel of 8mm film plays for about 3.3 to 4.4 minutes – close to 3.3 minutes if it is “Super 8” film shot at 18 fps, or closer to 4.5 minutes if it is “Regular 8” film shot at 15 fps.  A larger reel plays for about 6.7 to 9.0 minutes for each 100 feet of film on the reel depending on the film type and frame rate used.

8mm film leaderQ.  How can I tell the difference between Regular 8mm and Super8mm film?
Super8 film used very small sprocket holes along one side of the film to allow room on the film for larger images (almost 1/4” wide).  Regular 8 mm film used larger and closer spaced sprocket holes with smaller images (about 3/16” wide).  Another way to tell the difference is that Super8 film has about 6 sprocket holes per inch while Regular8 has almost 7 sprocket holes per inch.  If you have a mixture of films, it will be easy to tell which is which – and the Super 8 is usually the more recent footage.

Q.  How can I tell if my film has any “sound track”?
While the vast majority of home movie film is silent, sound capability was added to a small number of Super 8 film cameras just before they were replaced by video cameras.  As well, some projectors had a feature allowing you to narrate the film or add music to the sound track after the film was developed.  A sound track, if it were present, would be seen as a thin brown magnetic strip along the opposite edge of the film from the sprocket holes.  The presence of a sound track, however, does not necessarily mean any sound is actually present on the film.

Polaroid Movie Film CartridgeQ.  How can I tell 8mm film from 16mm film?
“Super 8” and “Regular 8” film is 8 mm (approximately 1/3 inch) wide.  16-mm film is approximately 2/3 inch wide.  16-mm film was used mostly for sports and commercial productions and rarely for home movies.  We do not currently transfer 16-mm film.

Q. Can you transfer Polaroid Movie Film Cartridges?
Call us about this.  Sometimes we can, but there are significant issues to consider.


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