How to Copy 8mm Film to DVD

By Kevin Hanson
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Okay, so you have a bunch of ancient, obsolete, when-Regan-was-president 8mm film rolls cluttering up your attic, closet, garage or other storage place, gathering dust. You are the type of person who just can't throw things away, especially when they have some kind of sentimental value attached to them.

Quite honestly, the best way to successfully complete the process of making digital copies of your old-school 8mm films and home movies is to bring them in to a professional video-production or video-editing shop or service center near where you live and leave it all up to the experts. Then you will be relatively assured it will be done professionally.

There are also a number of DVD copy software products available for you to purchase. These DVD copy software applications all do an excellent job of walking you through the process of transferring your old 8mm film to a DVD, giving you the sense of accomplishment you get from doing it yourself, but taking much, if not all, of the guesswork out of it.

This is not written here to scare you away from accomplishing this process yourself. If you have the desire to do this yourself, you will no doubt save yourself some hard-earned cash. There are, however, several things to take into account before you just dive right in headfirst.

Here are some items you are going to need to start transferring your 8mm films to DVD:

  1. First of all, you are going to need an 8mm film projector that is in good to excellent condition, preferably one that allows you to control and vary the speed as well as, at the very least, a three-bladed shutter.
  2. If you do not happen to have an 8mm film projector at home, you will probably have to bring your film into the professional video-production or editing shop, or see if you can borrow one from a friend or family member. Of course, you could buy one via eBay or Craigslist, but that might not be the wisest purchase, unless you feel these projectors add to the sentimentality on the film itself.
  3. Secondly, you will need to get your hands on a video camera recorder, sometimes referred to as a camcorder. Additionally, you will get your best results if you use one that allows for shutter speed manipulation and variable exposure control.
  4. Finally, you will need either a film-transfer box or a white card.

When you use the white card technique, you need to make sure that the film projector is flashing the image from the film onto the white card. Think of the white card as a tiny movie screen.

Set the video camera recorder so that the camera's lens is lined up parallel with the lens on the 8mm film projector.

Once you have completed those steps, turn everything on and watch as the camcorder captures the 8mm film images displaying on the white card and sends them to your DVD recorder.

In the film transfer box procedure, the projected image bounces off a mirror and goes into the lens of the camcorder. The image is captured by the camcorder and sent to your DVD recorder.

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