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439th Signal Battalion

From Super 8mm to VHS to Digital/DVD

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List,

 

I have several reels of Super 8mm footage from Vietnam that I recorded with a camcorder years ago and put on VHS tapes. I know want to take the VHS tapes and put them on a DVD or in digital format to be used/viewed on my computer.

 

What is the process for this? Do I need to have one of the DVD/VHS recorder combo's or a digital camera in order to do this? Also, is it DVD-R, DVD-RW or whatever else there is? Also, which method is less complicated and the least expensive?

 

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.


Always looking for 199th Infantry Brigade "Redcatcher" Items.



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List,

 

I have several reels of Super 8mm footage from Vietnam that I recorded with a camcorder years ago and put on VHS tapes. I know want to take the VHS tapes and put them on a DVD or in digital format to be used/viewed on my computer.

 

What is the process for this? Do I need to have one of the DVD/VHS recorder combo's or a digital camera in order to do this? Also, is it DVD-R, DVD-RW or whatever else there is? Also, which method is less complicated and the least expensive?

 

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

 

I wrote an article about this in 2004 - http://www.signvideo.com/conv-v-to-d.htm

 

But things have changed since then and now I recommend simply using on the commercial services to do the conversion. I think any place that has film processing offers this service.

 

Ideally you should get the DVD's made from the original film: the quality will be much better - sometimes much, much better.

 

 

This company shows the various methods for doing the film to DVD transfer and ideally you'd want to use at least what they call the Silver method where the film is copied one frame at a time. That costs 16 cents per foot - figure each of those little reels of film (with about 3 minutes of footage) holds 50 feet of film.

 

If you can at all afford to go film to DVD, do it!

 

If you feel comfortable working with DVD software on the computer, another option is to get your film transferred to a high quality video format, such as Mini DV tape, and then you can import that into your computer, edit it, add narration, titles, music, etc. and then you can create a DVD, which you be on DVD-R or DVD-RW. Using this method you would end up with a DVD and a high quality digital master of your original film (the mini DV tape - DVD is actually a very low resolution format compared to DV video tape).



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I wanted to second the motion that you have it professionally transferred. But do it through a c ompany that uses the newer scanning technolog. Some cheap folks just shoot it off a screen and it looks like you would think.

 

The newer ways scan each frame one ata time and get you a much better picture. And as its a digital image if you keep it backed you will never have to have it transferred again. Just look on web as there are some big companies that do it at a reasonable price. Handy Hint- use a permanent marker to write your last name on each plastic reel (just in case).

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