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Taking a New Look At Old Out dated and Expired Film For Production and Archiving

Taking a New Look At Old Film For Production and Archiving 

 

 

-by Rhonda Vigeant , VP , Pro8mm © 2104 www.pro8mm.com

Ektachrome 160 package

 

 

 

 

As a 35 year veteran of the Super 8 world, I am quick to pick up on trends.  This in part comes from the vantage point of having run Pro8mm for so long, answering dozens of inquires on daily basis, and in part by being connected to the pulse of motion picture film products and services worldwide.

 

k40

One trend that is in the forefront of my radar is how little most people know about film stocks.  We get dozens of questions weekly about the shooting and processing of film stocks people buy on eBay, find in or with a used camera they purchased, or in a relatives home.  We also get calls from the person who has a “refrigerator  full” of film that they are waiting for the right project to come along to shoot it. Sometimes people are looking for film for a cool old 8mm camera that was given to them, or they purchased.

 

With the production market for Super 8 negative film having grown at a steady rate since we introduced it in 1994, and Kodak jumping in with negative in more recent years, many reversal stocks have been discontinued.   Consequently, labs no longer support the chemistry for film stocks that are no longer manufactured.  Add to this how many film labs have closed altogether, there are fewer options than ever for lab services.

 

fujichrome

So what does that mean for the consumer? First, it means that the “killer deal” on eBay for film stock is typically not a good deal at all if it can’t be processed.   Unfortunately these are most of the stocks sold on EBay. These stocks include anything that has to be processed VNF chemistry, such as Kodachrome, EM26, Type-G Ektachrome, 7244, 7244, Type A Ektachrome, etc.   There are so many in fact that it’s much easier to remember that the only film processing that is currently supported is color reversal is E-6. E-6 is what that great 100D Super 8 Ektachrome stocks was along with the Ektachrome 64T.  New reversal super 8 stocks like the Super 8-88 200D are E-6 processed.  In the past we have processed some of these old discontinued stocks through our E-6 chemistry, but too often the old films left contaminants in the chemistry that then ruined the processing of subsequent E-6 films.  So as a resource for shooting new projects on Super 8, old film is not a great idea.

There is also a lot of 8mm or regular 8 old film around.  Old regular 8 has all the problems of old super 8 with the added dilemma of often not being able to identify what stock it actually is. Regular 8 is often not labeled so before it is processed it must be identified to know what chemistry should be used.

On the flip side people often find old rolls of undeveloped film in their archives. Some were never shot. Some were shot but never processed. These unprocessed films can hold family treasures that might be worth pursuing.

Many people are curious about what was the last thing our loved one shot, and an undeveloped reel could turn out to be a family treasure.   For most people, they are willing to gamble on the “investment” to see what is on the film.

To be processed the chemistry for these old process must be recreated to a point where the images can be recovered of the film. This is commonly done by processing the film as a black & white negative, which is the root of most film materials.  Processing it this way is the safest way to insure you get an image. It is kind of a crapshoot to be sure. In fact on average about 30% of the old films we process have no usable images.  For this reason we only charge for the developing of the film up front to cover the cost of the processing. If there are no usable images then there is no point in spending money to transfer the film to digital. And, in case you are curious, the black and white negative will not reveal any images if it is run through a traditional film projector. This is because the material was originally manufactured as a reversal film, but now has been processed as a negative. Film projectors only display images that are “reversal” or “positive”.

Because there is so many different processes that have been invented over the 80 some years of 8mm and super8 there is a lot sorting out that need to go into this process. Chemicals that work for one stock do not work for another. Some film has a backing coating called REM that must be removed before the film is processed. To make a batch of chemicals for a specific type of film is expensive. So to make this work film is collected over several months and when there enough of a particular film type then a run and chemicals are created and the film is processed. The average time is 3 months but sometimes a little longer.

Unlike camera equipment that has a long life span, and certain models can be refurbished to work as good as it when new, and can be found for a great price, film as a life span that may end with the chemicals that process them. It is far better and more economical to start with fresh film and processing purchased from a company like Pro8mm who can help you navigate the waters

Welcome to the First Home Movie Legacy Newsletter

default_headerWelcome to the First Home Movie Legacy Newsletter!

Home movies are our national treasure. They are time machines that capture the stories of our lives as individuals, families and as a people with a shared history and culture. The home movie camera has recorded the annals of our lives and those of our ancestors. There are millions of feet of 16mm, 8mm and super 8mm film (and many thousands of hours of video tapes). There are big stories to tell about the people, who they were, what they did and where they traveled. You can peek in and see the preface to the story on almost every reel. These frames are meant to delight audiences large and small! It’s all up to you and your imagination.

Weather you’re a filmmaker looking at new ways to create a compelling story using found footage, a family memory keeper, archivist or historian Home Movie Legacy want to be your GO TO resource for moving old media into your digital life. Our expertise comes from running Pro8mm, a company that has specialized in the scanning of these film and video formats for over 40 years for moguls and the masses. We can help you tell your story! 

The mission of Home Movie Legacy is to offer resources, information and inspiration to families and filmmakers to tell compelling stories with legacy footage. Weather you want to learn about cool things you could and should do with your home movies, organize, digitize or monetize all those formats, or a filmmaker wanting to make a documentary from a story inspired from archival reels, we are here to help!
– Rhonda Vigeant 

Email me Rhonda@homemovielegacy.com I’m here to help!

Les Brown Interviews Rhonda About Home Movies

Les Brown, world famous motivational speaker interviews Rhonda Vigeant about the importance of home movies and best practices to archive, preserve and bring them into your digital life! 

Click the picture to watch the video! 

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Out of the Archives: The History of the Eagles

Our company, Pro8mm is so grateful that we get to have a hand in preserving the legacy of so much material that has shaped American culture! It has been about four years since we first had reels and reels of home movies from The Eagles brought in to be scanned on our Millennium II HD scanner. Now, the finished film is a Sundance 2013 winner, has been on Showtime, and is available to purchase or download!

“NEVER BEFORE SEEN” is the catch phase I love when a new documentary comes on the scene! See home movies shot on the tour bus. A story of the 1970’s. A story of an American band and music in Southern California! A rare glimpse behind the scenes of a very private band! Time to tell their story while the past 40 years were still fresh in their mind the band proclaims!

Purchase  the DVD

Click the picture to watch the video!

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Radio Buzzz … The Home Movie Legacy Project


Listen From Our Show Page

Listen From Our Website and Watch Related Videos

Subscribe in iTunes


Our weekly podcast is on fire! The Home Movie Legacy Project: Exposing “REEL” solutions to create a media legacy that lives! We interview “reel” people telling their stories as well as experts who will give you fantastic tips on how to organize, digitize, share on social media and even monetize your legacy footage!

Live!! Every Wednesday at 4 PST, 7 EST. Log in or call to be part of the conversation 866-404-6519

We already have 13 shows you can download for your listening pleasure! From compelling stories of things discovered in peoples archive, to how to sell your stuff as stock footage, have a successful crowd funding campaign, photo organizing, keeping the analog arts alive, a journey is self discovery and transformation from Viet Nam, stories of Mental Illness, and the popular Kemp Family; community filmmaking and how and why a famous ASC Cinematographer recreates “home movies” for his major TV movies and so much more. Each show wraps with a tech talk featuring Phil Vigeant who expertly helps you to sort out format challenges in moving your old material into your digital life!

Coming Attractions For April You Won’t Want to Miss:

April 10: The Story of Amen Ra: When My Sorrow Died – with Matt Huffman

April 17: Your Film and Photos For Outside The Box Marketing – Craig Duswalt

April 24: As I Knew Him….My Dad, Rod Serling – with Anne Serlin

Subscribe in iTunes. Give us a review. Do you have a story or expertise to share with our audience? Email me Rhonda@homemovielegacy.com

Rhonda’s Book Launch, Get ‘REEL” About Your Home Movie Legacy…Before It’s Too Late!

We had a great book launch in Burbank, along with a drawing for a free home movie transfer. Get some “reel ” inspiration on how to be head of your own studio and DO SOMETHING with your family films. 

Purchase The Book at a Discount from my websiteBuy From Amazon 

 

 

(with editor Heidi Clingen)             (Rhonda autographing books)

Tech Talk: Beyond the DVD

WHY YOU SHOULD NOT TRANSFER YOUR HOME MOVIES TO DVD 

As a person passionate about raising the consciousness about why home movies are so important and wanting to share with people what I have learned, I can’t help but think about how much information there is on the internet from transfer houses about preservation and archiving your home movies that is not entirely correct. First and foremost is that a DVD does NOT preserve your film. A DVD is only a copy of your original film master by which you can easily watch your home movies. The quality of a DVD is far inferior to what is on your original film. You cannot easily edit a DVD transfer. More and more people understand that they can share their films in so many fabulous ways when they are properly encoded as computer files, put on a hard drive that you can then plug into your computer. You can edit them and make compelling little stories by theme, upload clips on FaceBook, have a family YouTube Channel, download them to your iPad, and so much more. Watch this video and learn more about this topic. Email me with your questions or comments! Rhonda@homemovielegacy.com

Why you don’t want to transfer your home movies to DVD

Upcoming Events: APPO Conference

Rhonda will be speaking and have a booth at the APPO Conference (Association of Personal Photo Organizers) in Chicago, Friday, April 12 on 5 Cool Things You Could and Should Do With Your Home Movies.

Picture Perfect Profits