Film Storage Tips for 8mm and 16mm Film

If you have 8mm film, Super8 film or 16mm film, it may take a little time to find a place where you can preserve your film in your own home without it degrading.  Follow these suggestions on how to store your film to keep your memories safe and intact.  Better yet, transfer your film to DVD or digital files at the same time with our film transfer service.

Safe methods to store your 8mm Film or 16mm Film

Keep your film stored at steady temperatures
Store film in a location with steady humidity and temperatures.  At MemoryHub, we recommend that you store your film in a location no hotter than 70 degrees with 20 to 30 percent humidity.  Film properly stored may last up to 50 years before decomposition occurs.

Store film in a separate location from your DVDs/Digital files
You may wish to consider storing your film in a different location from your transferred DVDs or digital files.  This way, in the event your home is subject to a natural disaster such as flood or fire, you will have your originals (or digital copies) backed up and safe in a different location.

Label your film reels
Take the time now to label your film if you have a way to watch and/or transcribe the events on the film.  This way, when you send your film to MemoryHub for digital film transfer, it will be an easy process for you and your family to select the proper order for transfer.  When transferring film to DVD, MemoryHub will follow the order that you have specified (by numbering) on your reels.

Store your film horizontally
Store your film canisters horizontally — no more than 8 cans high.

Other good film storage ideas

When storing film, use “safety” film stock.  Polyester-base “safety” film stock is preferred. At MemoryHub, we recommend that you store your film on moisture-proof cores and in corrosion-resistant cans. When you gather your film to send to MemoryHub to be converted to DVD, considering converting your Super 8 Film to DVD to store digital versions of your film as well

How Not to Store Your Film

Do not use plastic bags to store your film reels
MemoryHub strongly recommends that you do not store your film in plastic (e.g., Ziplock) bags.  Film needs to breathe, which means it needs exposure to oxygen.  Lack of ventilation will cause films’ rate of decomposition to increase.

Do not store your film in attics or in direct sunlight
Do not store your film in an attic or in direct sunlight.  In our years of experience, we have found that high-temperatures lead to an increased rate of decomposition in film.

Avoid storing your film nears toxins
Do not store your film near chemicals, pain or exhaust.  For this reason, we strongly recommend that you do not store your film in the garage or in a storage space above a garage.

Don’t forget to keep your original film reels

Once MemoryHub returns your original film materials to you, be sure to keep them.  These original materials make nice keepsakes, and are yet another form of physical backup of your family memories.

Kodak Brownie Junior

The Kodak Brownie was a name Kodak used for a large variety of cameras over an 80-year period.  The first Brownie was introduced in 1900, and sold for $1.00.   The Brownie line of cameras was intended for use as a “Point and Shoot” camera for the amateur photographer, and was marketed with the slogan “You press the button – We do the rest”.

Millions of Brownie cameras were sold over its 80 year history.  Generations of photographers created and preserved their family history using Brownie cameras.  And Kodak marketed the brand so well that most box cameras, regardless of the manufacturer, were simply known as “Brownies”.  Here’s an example of a 1958 Brownie TV Commercial for one of the later model Brownies.

The first Brownie was used with a new 117 film format with 6 exposures.  This film format cost $0.15/roll.  Over the years the Brownie camera line used a wide variety of film sizes, including 110, 116, 117, 120, 122, 124, 125, 127, 130 and 620.  The second Brownie model, aptly named the No. 2 Brownie, debuted in 1901 and used the new 120 film format, which was the longest-surviving of all roll film sizes.

The Brownie Junior pictured above was introduced by Kodak in 1934 and was manufactured through 1942.  It cost $2.25, and introduced a largely metal body to replace the paperboard of the original Brownie model.   It used 620 film.

Many families now have a treasure of memories thanks to the Brownie cameras.  MemoryHub is able to scan most formats of film negatives used in these cameras, including 110, 120, 126 and 127 roll film.

For more information regarding the Brownie Camera, visit http://www.brownie-camera.com, a site created and maintained by Chuck Baker.  Another great source of information can be found at the National Media Museum Blog – “B is for…Brownie, the camera that democratized photography

 

New Audio Transfer Services launch at MemoryHub

MemoryHub is now pleased to announce that we are now offering audio transfer services.  While family stories and legacies are very often captured on video and film, your family’s history may also be captured in audio recordings.  There is something very intimate and touching about hearing the voice of a loved one – especially a loved one who passed away a long time ago.  Of equal poignancy is the audio recordings of children practicing or playing musical instruments!

Audio Transfer Formats

While home movies often contain audio of friends and family talking, the voices (and musical notes) of those loved ones may also be stored on audio cassettes, reel-to-reel audio (reel-to-reel tapes), and – believe it or not — LPs (long playing records) or record albums.

Audio cassettes, reel-to-reel tapes and LPs/Record Albums may contain all sorts of audio treasures.  The most common gems uncovered include:

  • Genealogical interviews (grandma and grandpa talking about growing up, and their own early family history)
  • Voice recitals
  • School band/marching band performances (featuring a family member)
  • Children learning to play instruments (especially piano, guitar, violin, trumpet, tuba, and many other instruments)
  • School projects
  • Favorite radio programs (including early soap operas, like the Lone Ranger)
  • Recordings of historic events as they unfolded on the radio (like FDR’s “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” speech”)
  • Early television programs (when audio recording technology, but not video recording technology, was available)
  • Interviews with your grandmother or grandfather

CD Capacity for Audio Transfers

MemoryHub can place up to 80 minutes of audio (from a single cassette, reel or LP) on a single CD.  If a single audio recording is longer than 80 minutes, the recording will be placed on a separate CD (and a separate charge will be required for each CD).

Audio Transfer Pricing

MemoryHub is pleased to offer very low prices for transferring audio recordings from audio cassettes, reel-to-reel, and LPs.

  • For audio cassettes, MemoryHub’s pricing is as low as $19.99 per audio cassette for up to 80 minutes transferred per tape.  Tapes longer than 80 minutes in total length are considered to be two tapes, and each side of the tape will be transferred to its own CD
  • For reel-to-reel, MemoryHub’s pricing is as low as $29.99 per 3″ reel, and $49.99 per 5″ reel (up to 80 minutes per reel)
  • And finally for LPs (long playing records), MemoryHub’s pricing is as low as $19.99 per LP.

Optional Add-ons to our Audio Transfer Services

After uncovering long-lost audio recordings, many families realize that, in addition to preserving the audio recordings, they want to format the records to maximize enjoyment.  MemoryHub offers a number of additional features which enhance enjoyment, including:

  • Track Separation – $9.99/CD
    Suitable mostly for audio recordings of music, our track separation service will separate songs into individual tracks on your CD.   You will be able to skip forward/back to the beginning of each track on the completed CD, and if you “rip” your CD to mp3 files, each track will have its own mp3 file created for it.
  • Noise reduction and audio enhancement (for soft sounds):  $9.99/CD

16mm film history

In 1923, 16mm film was debuted by Kodak as a cheaper alternative to standard 35mm film.  While 35mm was used mostly by professionals, 16mm film was the go-to choice for many amateurs because of its lower price point.  Overtime, a number of professional directors used a later version of 16mm (called “Super 16”) to make movies.

Three Different 16mm Film Formats

There are three standard formats of 16mm film:  standard 16mm, Super 16mm, and a “do it yourself” ultra format that is rarely used.  The two more common formats of 16mm film were:

Standard 16mm film
The standard 16mm film was a picture area of 10.26 mm by 7.49 mm.  Standard 16mm film is available in double-perforation (that is perforations on both sides of the film) and single-perforation (which perforations on only one side of the film).  Single perforation 16mm allows for optical or magnetic soundtrack on the non-perforated side.

Super 16mm film
Super 16mm film (also called “Super 16”) has a single perforation which creates greater picture area.  Super 16mm film has a picture area of 7.41 mm by 12.52 mm.

Films shot in Super 16

A number of well-known films have been shot in Super 16mm format.  One of the best known directors, Christopher Guest (who stared in This is Spinal Tap, before becoming a director in his own right), has filmed a number of his movies in Super 16, including “Best in Show”, “A Mighty Wind” and “For Your Consideration”).  Below are some other well-known films shot in Super 16:

  • Black Swan
  • Capturing the Friedmans
  • Chasing Amy
  • Clerks
  • Come back to the five and dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean
  • Constant Gardener
  • Dave Chappelle’s “Block Party”
  • Halloween II
  • Hamlet (2000)
  • The Hills Have Eyes
  • The History Boys
  • Hurt Locker
  • An Inconvenient Truth
  • Jackass:  the movie
  • Leaving Las Vegas
  • March of the Penguins
  • Moonrise Kingdom
  • The Motorcycle Diaries
  • The Queen

Color fading & Restoration

Color fading is an inescapable characteristic of 16mm films.  How fast the color fades is a function of the specific film type and, of course, film storage conditions.  Fortunately, during the process of digitizing older films, color can be restored through a number of digital enhancement techniques.  MemoryHub’s Enhanced and High Definition 16mm Film Transfer service includes digital color correction, while our standard 16mm film transfer service only includes primary color correction.

History of Regular 8mm film

Regular 8mm film was created by the Eastman Kodak company in 1932 as a less expensive alternative to standard or regular 16mm film. 8mm film is referred to by many different names, including “standard 8,” “regular 8,” “normal 8” and “double 8.”

What is 8mm film

Regular 8mm film has its origins as 16mm film.  When loaded into the filming camera, 8mm film is actually 16 mm wide.  On the first pass through the filming camera, only half of the film is exposed.  Then the film is removed and reversed.  The film then takes second pass through the camera and the film is exposed on the other side.  Once filming is complete and both sides have been exposed, the film is cut in half which creates two reels of standard 8 or regular 8 film.  (This cutting-in-half accounts for one of its names – “Double 8”).

While Regular 8 was very popular, it remained problematic.  Regular 8 was difficult for many amateurs to use because half way through filming, amateurs must remove and reverse the film.  If not done correctly, the user could accidentally expose the film to light. An additional problem – unless solved through editing and splicing– was that the middle section of film (about 6 feet in length) would contain a burst of light attributed to the reversal.

How can you watch 8mm film?

Manufacturers have stopped mass-producing film projectors suitable for Regular 8 or Super 8 film, although some specialty firms manufacture projection systems suitable to transfer film to DVD or other digital formats.  With the advent of VHS tapes in the 80s, many film collectors transferred their film to VHS tapes.  However, the superior resolution available with today’s digital technologies are leading many consumers to transfer 8mm film to DVD or even HD digital video formats.

Use of 8mm film by amateurs and professionals

Regular 8mm film was primarily used by amateurs.  However a number of commercial films (including those by Disney) were transferred onto the format for home viewing.  Today, most amateurs have migrated to digital video camcorders or high-end Digital SLRs for recording “events”, or use their smartphone for capturing video of more spontaneous moments.

8mm film Manufacturers

Many companies manufactured 8mm film.  The first was Eastman Kodak.  Additional companies entered the marketplace, including Paillard-Bolex, Bell and Howell, Carl Zeiss, Fuji and Canon.  Once Super 8 film became popular in the middle of the 1960’s, Regular 8 fell out of favor.  Super 8 had a number of advantages included ease of use and cost.  By 1992 Eastman Kodak ceased to make Regular 8mm film.  Today some small companies continued to make Regular 8.

 

History of Super 8 Film

Super 8 film, also known as Super 8mm film, was created in 1965 by the Eastman Kodak company.  The “super” designation indicated that it was an improvement over Kodak’s older “regular 8mm film” (also called “double”).  The improvement stemmed from the fact that while the two films – Regular 8mm film and Super 8 – were approximately the same width (8mm) and had perforations on only one side of the film, the perforations on Super 8 film were smaller which enabled the exposed area to be wider and larger.

While many companies offered Super 8mm film and systems – including Kodak, FujiFilm and Polaroid – the most popular Super 8 film and system was the Kodak system.

The Kodak Super 8 system

Kodak’s Super 8 film was encased in plastic light-proof cartridges which contained, in the beginning, 50 feet of film.  The length of viewing time, depended on the speed with which the film was shot.  If the film was shot at 24 frames per second – the standard professional motion picture speed — this resulted in viewing time of approximately two and a half minutes.   If the film was shot at the slower amateur speed of 16 frames per second, this resulted in a viewing time of approximately three minutes and 20 seconds.  After the film was processed, the film was generally spliced by the user into 5″ or 7″ reels, which could hold up to 200 or 400 feet of film respectively.

Over time, Kodak introduced a cartridge with 200 feet of film which quadrupled the length of viewing time for professionals and amateurs.

How to watch Super 8 film

Manufacturers have stopped mass-producing film projectors suitable for Regular 8 or Super 8 film, although some specialty firms manufacture projection systems suitable to transfer Super 8 film to DVD or other digital formats.  Rather than hassling with setting up a 8mm film projector, most people today transfer their film to DVD or digital video so they can more easily watch their memories on film.

Fast loading time for Super 8 film

One of the more popular features of Super 8 film was its fast loading time.  Because the film itself did not need to be touched or threaded into the camera, amateurs and professionals alike could load the Super 8mm film cartridge into the camera in about two seconds.  A second beneficial feature was the camera could automatically recognize the speed of the Super 8mm film rather than the operator needing to spend the time to adjust camera settings accordingly.

Super 8 film with sound

The soundtrack of Super 8 film was found on the edge of the film opposite the side with the perforations.  Sound was recorded 18 frames in advance of the corresponding picture.

Super 8mm film today

Most amateurs first migrated from Super8  film cameras to VHS Camcorders, 8mm/Hi8/Digital8 Camcorders or MiniDV camcorders, or now even hi-end digital SLRs shooting HD video.  However, some professionals continue to use the Super 8mm film format in order to achieve certain visual affects, including imitating the look of old home movies or giving the movie a deliberately grainy look.

Pass down your legacy by converting your memories to digital

Summer is the perfect time to finally take care of one of the important family projects — preserving your family’s legacy.

Storage Conditions
Your family’s story and legacy – captured in videotapes, film, photographs, slides and negatives – is one of your most precious memories.  Unfortunately, these memories are slowly deteriorating over time.  Even if stored in ideal conditions (no direct sunlight, a little cool, free from dust), these memories are slowly deteriorating.

Unfortunately, many of us store our videotapes, film reels and photos in less than ideal places, like:

  • Attics
  • Bedroom closets
  • Bedroom dresser drawers
  • Garages
  • Utility closets

As a result, our memories are fading fast, are never enjoyed and will soon be lost forever.

Collecting Memories
Summer is a great time to scour your house for these memories.  But don’t forget about the memories stored at your parents’ house or your siblings’ houses.  One of the best ways to get this “family legacy” project rolling is to let the entire family know that you are going to preserve the entire family’s history and legacy.  Encourage them to send in their memories as well.

Or, if you are “the organizer” in the family, have everyone send their memories to you, and you can box them all up together, place an order with MemoryHub and ship the boxes to us.  In just a few short weeks, your memories will be transferred to DVDs.  You’ll get your original materials back, as well as a stack of tidy DVDs that you can share with friends and family.

Choose a theme
Many of our customers tell us that they’ve had great fun by encouraging family members to collect memories organized around one central theme.  Some sample ideas include:

  • Mom and Dad’s 40th wedding anniversary
  • Annual shore trips
  • first bicycle rides of each grandkid
  • Brides walking down the aisle

You get the idea.  By sending in memories organized around one central theme, you’ll have great fun sorting through your memories and, after MemoryHub transfers your video or scans your photo (or other media), you’ll have a group of DVDs that are perfect for sharing with loved ones throughout the year!

History of 35mm negatives film

There were many film formats used in still photography.  Among amateur consumers, the most popular format over the years was 35mm film.

The 35mm film used in still photography was introduced by Kodak in 1934.  Among users of analog film formats (as opposed to digital photography, which is now the dominant picture-taking format), the 35mm film format was the most popular consumer film size.

35mm Negative Cassettes

Individual rolls of 35mm film were encased in single-spool, metal canisters (or “cassettes”), which did not admit light, and allowed cameras to be loaded in daylight.  The 35mm film was clipped or taped to a spool and exited via a slot lined with “flocking (sort of a velvety material).  The end of the film was tapered on one side to form a “leader,” which aided photographers in inserting and loading the 35mm film into the camera.

Removing used 35mm film from the camera was typically done by using a manual lever or automated button which rewound the 35mm film back into the canister before opening the camera. Photographers never opened their 35mm camera while performing this function, as any light would damage the exposed film and it would not be able to be processed.

How many 35mm negatives could a canister of 35mm film hold?

35mm film was available in a wide variety of lengths.  The standard full length 35mm film was 36 exposures, which would then create 36 individual 35mm negatives.  While 20 exposure rolls were at one time the most popular shorter exposure length, 12 and 24 exposure length rolls became more dominant over time.

Professional photographers — who bought their film in very long lengths — could, of course, load custom lengths into the film cassettes to meet their professional needs.

Convert 35mm negatives to digital files

A number of digital transfer companies now provide services to consumers which allow you to transfer 35mm negatives into digital formats.  MemoryHub uses the highest quality negative scanner – the Kodak HR500 – to scan your negatives at a high standard resolution of 3000 PPI (Pixels per inch), and delivers high-quality JPG images on Archive-quality Data DVDs.  These digital images can then be copied onto your computer and used as you use any images generated by your digital camera.

Videotape Repair Service Features

One of the more common issues we encounter with our video transfer orders are broken videotapes.  Many of our customers have sent in videotapes that have been driven over by a car, used as a chew-toy by the family dog, and been stuck in the video camera.  As a result, we get asked all the time – Can you repair broken videotapes?  The answer is a resounding YES – MemoryHub can help with our videotape repair services.

Features of our Videotape Repair Service

  • Risk-free videotape repair
    If we can’t fix your videotape, you won’t be charged!
  • Flat-rate videotape repair pricing
    All videotape repairs are $24.99 ($19.99 if you have a Gold Account), and include everything that might be required to properly fix your tape
  • Comprehensive repair service for your videotape
    We can repair just about any issue with your tape, including:
    - Broken or damaged videotape cartridge
    - Replacement of the “door” or “flap” on the videotape
    - Videotapes that have been “eaten” by your VCR or camcorder
    - Mechanical issues with either cartridge reel
    - Improper tape tension
    - Splicing together broken segments of tape
    - Tape that has broken off or detached from the end of the reel

What types of videotape can our videotape repair service handle?

We have repaired and transferred content from thousands of videotapes for our satisfied customers.  We can:

  • Fix a broken VHS videotape
  • Fix a broken VHS-C videotape
  • Fix a broken 8mm videotape
  • Fix a broken Hi8 videotape
  • Fix a broken Digital8 videotape
  • Fix a broken BetaMax videotape
  • Fix a broken MiniDV videotape
  • Fix a broken MicroMV videotape

My tape is just a little wrinkled because my VCR ate it – does it need a repair?

A tape that has been “eaten” by a VCR or camcorder likely has some mechanical issue with it that will make it susceptible to further damage if it is not repaired. If you have sent in a videotape that has previously been caught in a video playback device, we do require that it be repaired prior to our continuing with the transfer to DVD or digital file.

What types of damage can you NOT repair with your videotape repair service?

Unfortunately, there is some damage that we are not able to fix with our videotape repair service.  These types of damage are typically due to improper storage of your tapes (typically in very hot and humid or marine environments), and include:

  • Moldy video
  • Persistent breaking due to tape “thinning” caused by heat, humidity and/or age
  • Flood damage

Our Videotape Repair Guarantee

As with all of our services, we only feel it is fair to charge for services that we are able to properly deliver.  So if for any reason we are unable to properly repair your videotape, we will refund the cost of the video repair service.

How do I order a videotape repair?

If any of your videotapes require repair prior to their transfer to DVD or digital file, we will contact you via email to notify you and give you the option of moving forward with the repair.  We place all of our videotape repair orders over the phone, so if you know you have a broken videotape, call us at (510) 342-9140 and we can get an order placed for your broken tape

 

History of MiniDV tape

One of the more popular video transfer services that we offer is our MiniDV to DVD transfer service.  MiniDV camcorders hit the market in the mid-90s, and provided an alternative to the Digital8 video format that had been introduced by Sony.

MiniDV is one of several formats for storing digital video (or “DV”).  DV first entered the market place in 1995 and was collaboratively embraced by several commercial producers of video camera recorders.

MiniDV Digital Interface Format (“DIF”)

On MiniDV cassettes, audio, video and metadata are all integrated.  The term used to describe this integration is “digital interface format” or “DIF”.  According to Wikipedia:

The audio, video, and metadata are packaged into 80-byte Digital Interface Format (DIF) blocks which are multiplexed into a 150-block sequence.  DIF blocks are the basic units of DV streams and can be stored as computer files in raw form or wrapped in such file formats as Audio Video Interleave (AVI), QuickTime (QT) and Material Exchange Format (MXF). One video frame is formed from either 10 or 12 such sequences, depending on scanning rate, which results in a data rate of about 25 Mbit/s for video, and an additional 1.5 Mbit/s for audio. When written to tape, each sequence corresponds to one complete track.

MiniDV Compression

On MiniDV cassettes, video images are compression while audio information is uncompressed.  As a result of the separate and uncompressed nature of the audio portion of MiniDV, audio is said to be “unlocked” – that is to say, not locked to the video data.  As a consequence, MiniDV audio can be out of synch with MiniDV video by as much (or as little) as one-third of a frame.  However, the human ear does not detect the sounds as out of synch with the video.

MiniDV Magnetic Tapes

MiniDV was designed to be used in connection with magnetic tapes.  The Digital video magnetic tapes were encased in cassettes of four different sizes – small medium, large and extra large.  Regardless of the size of the cassettes, however, all DV tapes (including MiniDV tapes) were one-quarter of an inch wide.

As the name suggests, MiniDV was the smallest digital video magnetic tape size.  Small DV cassettes were also called S-size.  Whether called S-size or MiniDV, these cassettes were used for recording baseline DV, DVCAM as well as HDV.