Transferring 8 mm film to DVD

The time had come to make an attempt to copy the old 8 mm films onto DVD. With some doubt as to the likelihood of success I have actually managed to make something passable – quickly and without any significant cost. Here’s how:

  1. My parents Eumig 807D projector was used to project the films onto the inside of a cereal box covered with a white piece of paper.
  2. I used a Samsung F40N video camera (a few years old now) aligned slightly below the projector lens to capture the imagery. I had to play around with the settings to get the best pictures from a variety of scenes, but the following worked:
    • Turn off the automatic shake correction etc.
    • Use manual focus
    • On the iScene menu select “Spotlight”, this seems to cope best with the high dynamic range.
    • Under type of lighting use “Daylight”
    • I left both shutter and aperture on automatic.
  3. After copying the resulting mp4 files to my computer (running Windows 8.1) I processed them using “Handbrake“. Starting with “High Profile” I cleared the audio to removed the sound of the projector (leave on if your film has sound), turned Deinterlace to Slower and played around with manually cropping on a film by film basis to neaten things up. I then clicked starter to create a new file.
  4. Windows 8.1 doesn’t seem to have anything built-in to design DVDs so I downloaded and installed “DVDstyler“. Make sure when you are installing that you take care when clicking “next”, otherwise you will end up with a whole load of extra software that you don’t want. It’s pretty straightforward to design your DVD, then click File -> Burn DVD to get the writing menu up. I chose to create an ISO file as this allows me to quickly burn multiple copies.
  5. Once you have your ISO file, simply navigate to it in file explorer (in Windows 8.1), then right-click and choose “burn disc image”. Hey presto, assuming there is a disc in your drive then you will shortly have a shiny new DVD (as an aside the amount of coasterising does seem to have diminished nowadays).

Hope that is of some help to you – fine tuning of the technique and patience may still be required!

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