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.

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!

Top 10 reasons to transfer your film, video and images

There are so many reasons to transfer your family’s videos, film and images from their current deteriorating format into the long-lasting digital format of a DVD.  Below are our top 10 reasons for saving your memories today.

1.  Unique and meaningful gifts
One of the most unique and heartfelt gifts we know is a DVD with special family memories.  Rather than take a chance on giving a friend or family member another tie or toaster, try giving them something they could not buy for themselves – access to a special memory that they had forgotten about.

2.  Preserve your family’s story for your children and their children
Your family’s story is unique.  And this story has been captured in videos, film and images (like photographs and slides).  Preserve your family’s story for your children, and their children.

3.  Stop your memories from further deteriorating
No matter where you store your videos, film or images – they are slowly deteriorating.  If they happen to be stored someplace hot, like an attic, they may be deteriorating more quickly.   Take a few moments to gather up your family memories and ship them off to MemoryHub to be preserved.

4.  Enjoy your memories everyday
When your memories are squirrelled away in boxes in the attic or garage or some closet, you are missing out on enjoying those memories.  As we say at MemoryHub, when you convert your memories to DVD, it’s like “uncorking a bottle of champagne.”

5.  Help with genealogical research
We are so pleased when we hear that our customers use our services to advance their genealogical projects.  As families document the histories of their families – making use, for example, of wonderful sites like Ancestry.com – they love being able to incorporate images and memories of the past!

6.  Solve the problem of no longer having working devices to play the memories
So often we hear from families who are frustrated to discover that, in order to play their memories originally stored in analog format, like VHS, they need a working VHS player to enjoy them.  By converting your memories to a digital format on a DVD, you can enjoy your memories without worrying about whether your old devices still work.

7.  Present to yourself – choose a meaningful memory to preserve
While quite a few of our customers convert family memories in order to give gifts to others, we also have thousands of customers who preserve their memories for … themselves.  We love hearing from moms and dads who’ve chosen to celebrate a birthday or anniversary or a promotion by giving themselves the gift of a DVD that preserves a special moment.

8.  Get organized – everything in boxes all over the place
If you are like most people, you have your memories stored in a variety of locations around the house – in a bedroom closet, in a cardboard box in the attic, or in a plastic container in the back of the garage.  Or, if you are like most people, you aren’t exactly sure where everything is!  We have hundreds of customers who find great personal satisfaction in digging up all of their memories and shipping them off to us, so that their unwieldy collection of memories can be stored in a series of nicely labeled and organized DVDs.

9.  Take full advantage of new technology
As computers (including tablets) and televisions have become more advanced, they have become wonderful showcases for memories.  If you have a new large screen computer or tablet or advanced television set up (like an Apple TV), you have the perfect showcase for your memories.

10.  Great family project
Finally, every year we get a few cards and notes from families who tell us how grateful they are to MemoryHub for facilitating a very meaningful family project.   These families let us know that the entire family pitched in to collect all of their videos, film and images – and sent them off to MemoryHub for preservation on DVDs.  But the real fun began when they instituted a regular “family movie night” in which they gathered together to relive the wonderful memories of their family.

Share the gift of memories on St. Patrick’s Day

As St. Patrick’s Day approaches – a day and evening filled with parties full of friends and family – this is the perfect time of year to share the memories of past St. Patrick’s Days.    Converting your old videotapes, transferring your film, or scanning your photographs, slides and negatives is easy!

Because MemoryHub has been helping families preserve their memories for years, we have many stories to tell of families – especially families of Irish descent – who use this special day to collect, preserve and share the memories of “St. Patrick’s Days past.”

Last Year the McCormack family from New York told us a wonderful story.  The McCormacks had been celebrating St. Patrick’s Day for 35 years, at “Mother McCormacks’ house.   Each party was well documented with both cameras and video cameras.  As a result, the family had boxes and boxes of videotapes, film and photographs (and even a few slides) memorializing this wonderful annual celebration of their Irish heritage.  Last year McCormacks decided to gather up all of these memories and have them preserved!

The oldest living brother in the family had everyone send their memories to him (really his wife, to hear her tell it).  After just two weeks of gentle reminders, they had a box full of videotapes and film and photographs.  The McCormacks shipped these memories to MemoryHub, and in a few short weeks had 20 DVDs full of family memories from their annual St. Patrick’s Day party at Mother McCormacks’ house.

These tidy DVDs were such a hit that family members soon found themselves ordering extra copies to give as birthday and Christmas presents.

At MemoryHub, we wish you and your family a wonderful upcoming St. Patrick’s Day.  Please let us help your family preserve the memories of St. Patrick’s Day past, present and future.