TRANSFERS & ARCHIVING
you accept international orders for film transfer services?"
At this time I do not accept international orders for film
transfers. This is because of two reasons. First, I currently
only offer NTSC video of transferred film. NTSC is the North American
standard for video protocol, and is different than the PAL format
that is used in other parts of the world. The second reason has
to do with complications in shipping protocols- which are minor
but would still need to be addressed.
"What should I know about off- brand and/or damaged film?"
People who tried to save money by purchasing film by lesser- known
manufacturers are likely to regret doing so, even if the color
turned out well. Kodak Kodachrome was simply the best film available.
3M made Dynachrome film, which had excessive contrast and very
poor color. Agfa made film branded with their own name and others,
and much of it was never properly lubricated during processing
giving it a jittery picture and damaged perforations.
newly- processed Ektachrome film was also not lubricated due to
environmental impact concerns. Damaged perforations can make film
difficult to transfer, creating a need to run the reels backwards
or upside down. This method requires computer- based post production
processing that Far Q Productions does not currently offer.
do DVDs sometimes "freeze" when I'm watching them?"
is a common problem when playing a DVD+/-R disc in an older or
bargain- priced DVD player. These machines are optimized for mass-
production manufactured discs. DVD+/-R discs are not as reflective
as "pressed" discs, creating a situation where lower-
quality players are just barely able to read them. The ideal remedy
is to upgrade to a newer, multiformat machine that is designed
to play DVD-Recordable discs. All DVD Recorders will also recognize
these types of discs.
many splice repairs will be needed on my films?" This
depends very much upon any previous repairs or reel consolidations
that the filmmaker in your family decided to undertake, but in
general there will likely be one splice per 50 feet on a large
reel. For regular 8mm film, there will be a splice at 25 feet-
the midway point of a 50 foot reel. Consumer- film processing
labs generally did not make good splices. If a film has been extensively
edited or has required repairs due to a faulty projector, there
are likely to be many repairs needed. In some cases, there may
be no repairs needed thanks to a skilled editor who used proper
are those things in the lighter areas of the film that look like
giant gray snowflakes?" Fungus.
Infestations of fungus can occur if the film has been stored in
a warm and damp location. Fungus grows in the "gelatin"
emulsion layer of the film. Fungus is impossible to remove from
film, since it has "eaten" the emulsion and replaced
it with waste material.
I save money by splicing and repairing films myself?" The
short answer is "no." In most cases, homemade splices
tend to be poor quality which can lead to projector jams and damaged
film. I use professional grade equipment to facilitate splicing,
and have the experience required to make repairs more quickly
and effectively than the average film owner. When you consider
the low setup fees involved in the process, it is barely worth
your time to do it.
does the film smell like vinegar?" As
mentioned on the "Film Transfer Info" page of this website,
this odor is a symptom of the onset of "vinegar syndrome".
The smell is caused by decomposition of the cellulose acetate
film base which releases acetic acid. Eventually all of the film
base will be affected, and the outcome will be the loss of the
film. Store the reels in ventilated film cans- or no cans at all-
and have them transferred as soon as possible.
local drugstore offers film- to video transfers- sometimes at
a lower price. Why should I use Far Q Productions services?"
are a number of reasons to choose Far Q Productions for your transfer
projects. "Drugstore" services often do not include
the inspection, repair, and cleaning elements that are included
my service packages. This can lead to damaged film or- at very
least- lowered picture quality. Another very good reason is the
"non- automated" nature of my process, which requires
me to be on- hand at all stages of the transfer. This gives me
the opportunity to check for correct focus, dropped frames, dust
or hairs in the film gate, lost film loops, and other "hiccups"
immediately. Other processes are automated, and lack of attentiveness
on the part of the operator can lead to anything from poor- quality
picture to severely damaged film. Let the pharmacist handle your
prescriptions- let Far Q Productions handle your film.
rolls of 8mm film said on the box that they were 25 feet, but
I was charged for 60 feet. Why is that?" Regular
8mm film, sometimes called "Double- 8", was sold in
25 foot lengths with a 16mm width- and with an extra four feet
of film at each end for subdued light loading conditions. This
protocol leads to a final total of 33 feet of film. These spools
were actually run through the camera twice- once as "forward",
and then flipped over and run "backwards", thus exposing
both sides of the 16mm width. After it is developed, the lab splices
the film down the middle to create two 8mm film strips, which
are then spliced together into one 8mm film. Common final lengths
are from 55 to 60 feet. 8mm metal- magazine cameras, and all Super8
cameras, can only yield 50 or so actual feet of film.
films appear to be running backwards, even though they are not.
is very likely that the camera was held upside down when the film
was originally shot. When film orientation is corrected top for
bottom, the action on the screen is shown backwards. This can
be corrected by transferring the film in its current state, then
using your MiniDV cassette to have the video rotated 180°
for proper playback. There is really no chance that the telecine
process can cause this problem, as films are transferred in real
time just as they would be projected onto a screen.
sent in a 200 foot reel of film to be transferred, but was charged
for 300 feet. I don't understand why."
Film reels of given sizes are known to hold certain footages of
acetate- based film. If your film is thin- based Fuji or Focal
Polyester type, the base is 1/3rd and 50% more film will fit onto
the same sized reel. I charge by the actual measured length of
the film- not by "theoretical" length or reel diameter,
and so this condition was born out in the billing.
does the film go out of focus when the cameraman zooms in?"
cameraman probably had the distance set incorrectly while filming.
When zooming in, there is less depth of field and focus of the
lens requires correction. This commonly occurs when attempting
to focus by judging eyestrain on a camera that is not designed
for that use.
first half of my 8mm reel is black. What happened?"
Someone didn't understand how to use the camera, and ran the film
through the camera only once instead of twice. The film was then
sent to the lab with the wrong end out, and this results in the
first- not second- half of the finished film being black.
8mm film reels are double, triple, or quadruple exposed."
the original take- up reel for the camera (which would have been
marked "Film when on this spool is only half exposed")
was lost and an unmarked spool was substituted. This made it more
difficult to keep track of how many passes had been made on each
spool, leading to multiple exposures of the film.
of the images on my films are sideways. What caused this?"
The film was probably shot by someone with experience in still
photography, who was used to turning the camera sideways to take
portraits of people. While a still photograph can be easily turned
to reorient the image, a film projector or TV can't. This can
be corrected by transferring the film in its current state, then
using your MiniDV cassette to have the video rotated 90° for
proper playback. There is really no chance that the telecine process
can cause this problem, as films are transferred in real time
just as they would be projected onto a screen.
images on my film are very dark, reddish- orange with almost no
other color, and appear streaky. Why?" The
camera was threaded improperly, with the dark side of the film
toward the lens.
film on my reels is all biased orange or red, and appears excessively
warm. Why is this?" One
of two things has occurred. Either daylight balanced film was
used under movie lights and without a filter, or the correct tungsten
balance film was used indoors with a daylight correction filter
accidentally in place.
film on my reels is all biased blue and appears excessively cold.
Either tungsten balance film was used outdoors without a daylight
correction filter, or the correct daylight balance film was used
outdoors with a tungsten correction filter mistakenly in place.
heard of different film "speeds" and types for still
photography cameras. Were there different types of movie films
Yes. Color movie film was made in two types- Daylight and Type
A. Daylight film gave fine color when when exposed outdoors under
sunlight. Type A gave fine color when exposed indoors under photoflood
lights. Type A also gave fine color when exposed outdoors through
a Type A daylight conversion filter. Any other combination of
film, setting, and filter gave lower- quality color reproduction.
Common results of film/lighting mismatches include a greenish
tint when filming under fluorescent or mercury vapor lights, "true
yellow" when exposed under High Pressure Sodium light, bluish
when filming on a cloudy day or in shade, and yellowish under
incandescent light bulbs.
"off- color" film directly onto a screen may not look
so bad, as compared to transferred video. There are several reasons
for this. First, projected movies are viewed in the dark so the
human eye is able to somewhat adapt to the effect. Video is often
viewed in lighted rooms, where the image- and it's color- are
not so isolated from comparison. Second, movie screens do not
portray imagery as brightly as video monitors. With a brighter
overall response your eyes are given a greater opportunity to
sense color problems. Third, video does not have the latitude
that film and the human eye have. If color values are too far
off, they will saturate the color signal and gradations in color
will disappear. The quality of film color can best be judged over
a white light box, because the eye is given a reference to where
"white" occurs. Projection onto a screen is not a good
reference for color quality in film.
does the term 'telecine' mean?" In
general, the term telecine refers to an apparatus that translates
film imagery so that it can be viewed via television technology.
It's present form may be a shortened version of the word "telecinema"
which is credited as a French term. "Telecine" can also
be used to refer to the process of translating film to television
heard of '3CCD camera technology'. What is it?" The
acronym "CCD" stands for "Charge- Coupled Device".
A CCD is a silicon chip whose surface is divided into light- sensitive
pixels. When photons hit the pixels, they register a tiny electrical
charge that can be counted and measured. CCDs in video cameras
are usually measured by their physical size. Professional digital
video cameras often have three sensors, referred to as "3CCD,"
which use separate CCDs for capturing red, green, and blue colors.
The CCD was invented in 1969 at Bell Labs by George Smith and
Willard Boyle. CCDs are also used in telescopes, scanners, and
bar code readers. A CCD in a digital camera improves resolution
as compared with older technologies. A good CCD can produce an
image in very dim light, and its resolution does not degrade when
the intensity of illumination is low, as is the case with conventional