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How Can I Save My 8MM Film?

 
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Jack from Portugal writes 

As you see the pictures showing my tapes (8mm tapes), that i have since a long, long time ago… I like to transfer them to a CD ou DVD…  You have or know who has a hardware, that make a transfer from this format to a new format?  Appreciate your help and any more questions, don’t hesitate…

Hi, Jack.   Thanks for the great question!

First off, a couple of notes about format.  I’m glad that you sent along a picture of what you have, because that’s going to influence my answer.  Here is the picture that you sent:

1

Here’s why I’m glad for the picture.  What you have there are actually 8mm FILMS rather than tapes.  There were 8mm video tapes manufactured a decade or so ago (they may still be, but I haven’t seen them in a while), but they would transfer over to DVD differently than film will.  This is an 8mm tape:

2

So here’s the deal with these.  If you had 8mm tape, you could actually buy an adapter to transfer that to your computer, and then to DVD.  With 8mm film, it’s a little trickier and frankly I’d recommend taking it to a professional.  The reason is that they have machines which can run the film through a lighted chamber and record the images directly onto DVD for you. 

Another option would be to simply set up an 8mm projector and a screen in a dark room, aim your video camera at the screen and record the movie that way.  The downside to this method is that the video transfer is simply not as clean.  The upside is, and I have seen people do this, is that you can gather your family around to discuss the action on the movie.  That way you have a (sometimes hilarious) running commentary on the home movie saved forever on your computer and on DVD.

And I cannot stress this enough, especially with priceless, irreplaceable memories like this… BACKUP, BACKUP, BACKUP!  Back any computer, especially any computer that has photos or home movies on it up at least once per month.  I would even recommend doing a second backup so that you can keep one at your home and one off-site (like in a storage unit or a friend’s house) so that if something catastrophic happens to your home that takes out both your computer and the backup, you still have the additional backup available.

Hope that this helped!

~ Randal Schaffer

 

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2 Responses to “How Can I Save My 8MM Film?”

  1. John Carrington says:

    Your advice about backing up, in this case it was 8 super 8 mm film. 10 years ago we had a ‘professional’ DVD made of our wedding, which ran for over an hour. The shop provided a couple of copies with the original DVD.

    We now find that the DVD and the copies, each stored under different conditions, in two separate countries , will not play anything. They discs are not visibly scratched or damaged.

    It has been suggested that the DVD ‘s were of poor quality with cheap ‘dye’.

    May I suggest you consider warning readers that DVD should be backed up, maybe regularly.

    All the Best
    John

  2. John Carrington says:

    Your advice about backing up, in this case it was 8 super 8 mm film. 10 years ago we had a ‘professional’ DVD made of our wedding, which ran for over an hour. The shop provided a couple of copies with the original DVD.

    We now find that the DVD and the copies, each stored under different conditions, in two separate countries , will not play anything. They discs are not visibly scratched or damaged.

    It has been suggested that the DVD ‘s were of poor quality with cheap ‘dye’.

    May I suggest you consider warn readers that DVD should be backed up, maybe regularly.

    All the Best
    John

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