Converting old reel to reel video

Discussion in 'Off Topic Chat' started by flyin-lowe, Sep 8, 2010.

  1. flyin-lowe

    flyin-lowe TPF Noob!

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    Growing up my grandfather was the guy who had the old reel to reel camera everywhere we went. He has trunks and trunks of old family videos. I have been thinking about getting them onto DVDs and the local shop wants 15 cents per foot of tape. I don't have thousands to spend on this project so was wandering if there are and places that are cheaper or that rent the equipment to do this. I saw a DIY machine that you play the movie into and then record it with a new camera. I have been told that since they haven't different frame rates these don't work very well. Any ideas on an economical way to get this done.
    I have been thinking about contacting a local college to see if there video department could help, or maybe if they would allow students to do it as a project or something like that.
    Thanks.
     
  2. skieur

    skieur TPF Noob!

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    I am not sure that I understand you. Reel to reel video was in 1/2 inch format which was pretty primitive in quality and 2" professional format which was broadcast quality. Any colour cameras at the amateur level cost 4,000 dollars or more and had deficiencies in signal quality and stability.
    The black and white cameras were cheaper but also did not produce great quality either. Depending on the details, it may not be worth it to even try, if the quality is extremely poor.

    skieur
     
  3. flyin-lowe

    flyin-lowe TPF Noob!

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    I am not sure as I haven't look but I think it is 8MM tape and they are in color. Not sure on how much the equipment cost but I am sure it was not that expensive knowing my grandfathers budget at the time. I probably used the wrong terminology as I don't know anything about it other then he had the camera and when he projected the videos onto the screen it was reel to reel.
     
  4. Helen B

    Helen B TPF Noob!

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    That sounds like 8 mm film, not video tape. You could buy a projector and film the projected image with a video camera. I, or someone else, can give you plenty of details if you want to go this route but beware that it takes some effort to get it right.

    Best,
    Helen
     
  5. Merlin_AZ

    Merlin_AZ TPF Noob!

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    Did you check with Costco's service.
    $17.99 for the first 150 feet, $.11 per foot per additional foot
     
  6. flyin-lowe

    flyin-lowe TPF Noob!

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    Helen, I have been told that this should be a last choice because the video camera records at a different frame rate then what the camera records at. Again I know nothing about this.
    I will shop around at costco and some others.
     
  7. Helen B

    Helen B TPF Noob!

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  8. skieur

    skieur TPF Noob!

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    If it is Super 8 film, then you go through a telecine chain to get to video with no frame rate problems. At one point companies manufactured telecine chain units and labs, colleges and some high schools had them. The cost was not unreasonable.

    skieur
     
  9. Helen B

    Helen B TPF Noob!

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    The method I described in the thread I gave the link to is fundamentally a 'film chain' (we usually called them film chains - a telecine or TK is/was a more refined film-video transfer method). Film chains were how you got the images for your news back when we shot 16 mm film for the news (often using film designed to go through a film chain, such as Eastman VNF - video news film). Our cameras had crystal lock speeds to match video formats - 25 fps and sometimes 16.667 fps for those of us in PAL countries.

    The film does not have to have been shot at one of those speeds, however*. The key thing is to vary the frame rate of the projector to one of the frame rates that matches the video format. For interlaced video this is the field rate (twice the frame rate) divided by an integer. The projector in a film chain usually had only one blade on it shutter in order to reduce its flicker rate (flicker rate is frame rate divided by the number of shutter blades - it needs to be at least about 50 Hz for a human to see it as continuous - video cameras do not need to be 'fooled' in this way, in fact it is better to have a low flicker rate, so flicker rate = frame rate).

    *Many movies are shorter in their video format than they are in a theatre because they were shot at 24 fps, viewed in a theatre at 24 fps and transferred on the TK machine at 25 fps.

    Standard/Regular 8 was usually shot at 16 fps, sometimes 18 fps; Super 8 was usually shot at 18 fps for silent and sometimes at 24 fps for sound.

    I'll reiterate: if you want to do it yourself be prepared to put some effort into it, but the reward can be higher quality than Costco are likely to achieve. Costco, or similar, is the easy route.

    Best,
    Helen
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2010
  10. flyin-lowe

    flyin-lowe TPF Noob!

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    Well I went and met with a local guy who has an inhome studio, he does some low budget commercials and other video productions. He also does exactly what I am needing done. He showed me several examples of his work and they looked good. I asked him what equipment he uses and he said all he does is project it to a screen and then he videos it. I asked him about the frame rate issues and he said it is so minimal you don't notice. He said he has never messed with it and he has not had any complaints. The DVD's that I watched looked pretty good. So I got to thinking that I could either give this guy 1500.00 to convert all the old tapes or I can buy a new laptop and a new HD camera and do it myself. I went shopping last night and got a new laptop and camera. Hopefully next week I can start trying to get things set up so I can get going.
    Any other tips are appreciated. I am sure there will be some trial and error but once I get my setting figured out it should go pretty quick.
     

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