- The following is the expanded version of the FAQ above with full explanations for each point.
MiniDV & Canon issue | Transferring to DVD | Transferring Film | Video Duplication | Conversion to CD-ROM
MiniDV and Canon playback devices.
- If you are transferring film or other material to MiniDV will you be using the MiniDV tape on any Canon equipment?
If so we need to know so we can alter our transfer method. There are known playback issues with footage recorded on non-Canon equipment when played back on some Canon devices. This is because Canon, presumably in order to be competitively priced, opted to use a non-standard proprietary MiniDV decoder and therefore can have issues when playing back footage recorded on other brand equipment.
We have mainly seen this issue with the Canon GL1 and XL1 cameras, but the issue has been known to occur with other canon equipment as well. If you will be using canon equipment at all please let us know.
We do have canon-compatible equipment, but it is not the equipment we use by default. So if we are warned in advance we can record to canon-compatible equipment.
Transferring to DVD
- Do you need your videos and/or films transferred to DVD in any particular order?
Please label each tape and/or film reel in numerical or alphabetical order.
Please keep in mind the storage capacity of DVD discs when planning the content of your DVD's. We have two methods of transferring video to DVD. Level 1 can store up to 2 hours per disc. Level 2 can store up to 3 hours per disc (Level2 can handle even more than 3 hours, but quality might suffer).
Film must first be transferred to tape before conversion to DVD. We recommend MiniDV or BetacamSP for a high quality master and for best results when transferring to DVD.
Do you want chapter points?
One of the many advantages of DVD is its ability to have "chapter points" within the program content. This allows you to jump to these points within the programs with the touch of a button as opposed to having to fast forward or rewind hrough the entire program.
If you would like to have chapter points in your program(s) we need to know how many and where within the program(s) you would like them?
If you want many chapter points or your DVD project is complex, we recommend having a DVD made of your program(s) without chapter points. Once we've made an initial DVD master you can take it home and look at it. Then you can make a list of what chapter points you want and their corresponding time codes (the time listed on the display of your DVD player). We can then add the chapter points and other navigational features corresponding to your specifications to the project still residing on our system. We also recommend this be done as soon as possible as we do not usually keep projects on our systems for longer than a week and it is easier and less costly to make modifications while the project is still on our system. Once the project has been deleted from our system we will have to re-do the capturing and mastering either from the DVD we already did or from your source material.
Do you want Links to the chapter points from menu screens? (see next item)
DVD's also give you the opportunity to have one or several Menu Screens to facilitate the navigation of the content. You can have either image or text "links" on the menu screens which when clicked will bring you to specific chapter points or programs on the disc.
If you want menus do you want Text Links or Thumbnail Links?
For text links please provide the correct spelling and order of the on screen text. We recommend providing us either by e-mail or on disc with a text file with your titles and text links. This way we can directly cut and paste your titles and text links, ensuring there will be no errors.
For Thumbnails (small pictures) we can take images from your video source, use images you provide or design customized thumbnails.
If you want menus do you want Background Images?
We can take backgrounds from your video source, use images you provide or design customized backgrounds for your menu(s).
We can create your menu(s) from the above information and send you a “proof” by e-mail so you can approve the look and accuracy of the menu(s) before we burn the DVD. There is a graphic design charge for this service of $60.00/hr. A standard label usually takes about one hour.
If you don't want a Background Image for your DVD menus we can use a plain colour background at no additional charge. The default background colour is black, if you would like a different colour please let us know.
Do you want your DVD on a branded (non-printable) DVD or a Printable DVD?
DVD's are available in a branded, non-printable format which you can write on with a felt marker or on a Printable format which allows us to print professional looking labels directly onto the DVD.
Do you want something printed on the DVD face?
Printable DVD's can have anything printed on them, from simple text to vibrant colour pictures.
What text do you want on the face label?
Please provide the complete correct spelling of any text you would like on the DVD face Label. Due to limited physical space on the disc face, we recommend keeping the text on the label short and to the point. A title and possibly the program length is usually the best format. By default we include a small instructional label on the disc informing users of the optimal configuration of their DVD player.
What images (if any) do you want on the face label?
We can design a professional looking label taking stills from your video, or you can provide us with stills to use, as well as text. We can send you a “proof” by e-mail so you can approve the design before it is printed on the DVD. There is a graphic design charge for this service of $60.00/hr. A standard label usually takes about an hour.
How Many copies do you require?
We recommend getting at least one additional copy for storage purposes. While DVD is a durable, long-lasting format (rated for 50 to 100 years), repeated usage could lead to scratches and other types of accidental damage to your disc. This could result in the loss of data or the inability to play the disc. If you have a back-up copy you can always make additional copies from it.
Are you editing your footage?
We do not recommend using the DVD format to put video on your computer for editing. DVD is a compressed distribution format, intended for viewing only. It is always best to first capture and edit the source footage first. Going to DVD should be the final step.
How will you be playing back your DVD's?
We can burn DVD's in either the DVD-R or DVD+R formats. We recommend using the DVD-R format as it provides a higher degree of comaptibility. DVD's are a relatively new technology and in its initial release there were some discrepancies in the way in which the technology was implemented by different manufacturers. Due to this some older DVD players have been known to not be able to play back DVD-R or DVD+R discs properly. Almost all DVD players manufactured during or after 2001 should have no playback problems. Please confirm that your DVD player is DVD-R compatible to ensure optimal playback.
For playback on DVD players built into a computer system we recommend setting your screen resolution to a maximum of 1024 x 768 and a colour depth of 24-bit.
We cannot guarantee optimal playback in Countries outside of North America who use a playback standard other than the North American standard; however, we have produced several DVD's for customers who used their DVD's in countries all over the world, including Australia, Germany, England, Switzerland and Italy, with no playback problems.
What types of film do you have?
Use this diagram to determine what type of film you have. Click the image for a larger version.
What kind of tape do you want it transferred to?
We HIGHLY recommend making a MiniDV or BetacamSP high quality master. Then you can make VHS or DVD copies from that master. This process ensures that if something should happen to your copies you could always make additional copies from your original high-quality master and avoid having to re-transfer the film again. Having a high-quality master also produces much better quality VHS and DVD copies than going from a format such as VHS or Hi8.
If you decide to go directly to VHS for your master we highly recommend going to the highest quality VHS tape (BQ).
If you want to transfer your film to DVD you must transfer the film to a tape format first. The tape transfer is then converted to DVD. See the DVD information above for more details.
Do you need your film transferred in any particular order?
Label each film reel in numerical or alphabetical order.
Do you have several different formats of film?
If you have a mixture of different film formats (a combination of 8mm, Super8 and/or 16mm) we request that you do not mix and match them in determining the order of your transfer. Our system requires a complete changeover for each format, and therefore having to switch between formats for every reel adds significantly to our operation time and could result in an additional service charge. To avoid this simply ensure that the order of your transfer places all reels of a certain format together (8mm, Super8 and 16mm respectively).
Are you concerned about the condition of your film or the quality of your splices?
We will evaluate your film before subjecting it to the transfer process. If we feel it is too britle or warped to transfer we will let you know. For the most part we can transfer film even if it is very warped or damaged due to aging or poor storage. There is the possibility that the poor condition of the film could lead to unpredictable results during the transfer process such as a "flickering" or "stuttering" image as our projector system attempts to deal with the damaged film. This is usually intermittent and very rarely affects an entire reel of film.
Poor quality splices, and even perfect splices, can also lead to a "flickering" or "stuttering" image when the splice passes through the system. Sometimes bad or old splices will come apart when passing through the system. When this happens we stop the transfer process, re-splice the film and resume the transfer from a point just before the transfer was stopped. There is a $2.50 charge per splice. This is the same procedure we follow if a film breaks when passing through our system, this usually occurs only when a film is in an extremely brittle state due to aging or poor storage.
Do you want to transfer only a portion of a film reel?
We can only transfer entire reels of film. The only way we can get the film reel to a particular point in the reel is to run it through the system anyway; we therefore have to charge for the entire reel. To transfer only a particular portion of a reel you can splice the film yourself to only include what you want on one reel, but it would probably be cheaper and easier to transfer the whole reel and edit the transferred footage afterwards.
Do you think there is sound on your film?
If you think you have sound on your film please advise us. We do not transfer sound from 8mm and Super8 film. We do transfer optical sound from 16mm film.
Super8 and 8mm film. We are unable to transfer sound for 8mm and Super8 film. It is rare to have sound on 8mm or Super8 film. Check the film, if it has a very thin strip of brown magnetic tape (similar to the tape in a standard audio cassette) on the very edge on the side that does not have sprockets, then you might have sound on your film (the magnetic strip could be blank). If you do not see this magnetic stripe there is no audio on your 8mm or Super8 film.
16mm film. We can transfer “optical” sound on 16mm film, which can be identified on the side of the film on the side that does not have sprockets as a very small waveform that runs the length of the film. This waveform is usually not visible until several feet into the film as there is usually silence for the first minute or so. If your film has sprockets on both sides the film does not have sound. We cannot transfer other forms of 16mm sound, such as “dual system” and “analogue”.
Are there any special speed issues with your film?
We calibrate your film transfer by sight. Meaning we calibrate the speed of your film transfer by setting it so that all motion (based on the first few shots on the reel) looks natural. If your film was shot with the intention of it looking sped up or in slow-motion please advise us so that we can set our transfer to the speed you intended, usually 16, 18 or 24 frames per second (fps).
The 16mm film speed issue you should be aware of.
The process for transferring 16mm film to video requires that the film be transferred at the standard of 24 frames per second (fps). Film shot at 24 fps will be transferred at regular motion. Some 16mm film cameras, especially those from the 1930's thru 1960's, had the option to shoot at 18 fps. If your 16mm film was originally shot at 18 fps the transfer process will result in slightly sped up footage, giving it a “Charlie Chaplin” comedic look.
Unfortunately we can only determine if your footage was shot at 18fps by actually projecting it. If, once we have looked at the footage, we determine that some or all of your footage was filmed at a rate other than 24fps we will contact you to see if you want to go ahead with the transfer.
We offer the additional service of slowing down this footage by several different means:
- Slow Down Footage through Digital Post Production For $150.00 per hour of computer time we can transfer your footage to computer and then output it back to tape at a slowed down rate, resulting in regular motion. This process requires about 2.5 times the computer time as the length of your transfer. So, for example, 1 hour of film would require 2.5 hours of computer time (1 hour to capture, 0.25 hours for manipulation, 1.25 hours to output back to tape). Therefore 2.5 hours x $150 = $375. This pricing does not include the cost of the initial film transfer or additional tapes. The transfer must be done to MiniDV initially to facilitate the capture to computer. For this option please let us know if you want to retain the original sped up capture and have the slowed down footage put to a new set of tapes or if you would like the slowed down footage taped over the original transfer to save tapes. Please note that the length of the slowed down output will be about 1.25 times the length of the original transfer and the number and length of tapes should be planned for accordingly.
Slow Down Footage through BetacamSP (Not frame accurate) We can transfer your film to BetacamSP and then for $90.00 per hour of BetacamSP machine time, we can output your footage from the BetacamSP machine at a reduced speed to another format (MiniDV, BetacamSP, VHS, etc..). This method is not an exact conversion of 18 fps to 24 fps, but it does slow down the footage so that it is more natural and less comedic-looking. It is also less expensive than option 1. as it only requires 1.25 times the original film time. For example 1 hour of original film transfer would require 1.25 hours of BetacamSP machine time. Therefore 1 hour of original film transfer would cost $112.50 to slow down. This pricing does not include the cost of the initial film transfer or additional tapes. The transfer must be done to BetacamSP initially.
Transfer footage to DVD and view it at a slow rate on your DVD player (Not frame accurate). After we've transferred the film we can transfer it to DVD and when viewing it on a DVD player you can manipulate the playback speed of your DVD player to a setting that enables you to watch the footage at a slower rate. This method will also not be a true conversion of 18fps to 24 fps and is dependant on the particular capabilities of your DVD player and requires you to adjust those settings every time you view the DVD.
The 16mm film colour issue you should be aware of.
It is relatively common for 16mm film (especially from the 1950's and 60's) to have a reddish tint. This is believed to be due to the deterioration of the blue dye over time due to either the type of dye, the type of film or the development process used at the time. This loss of blue can usually be corrected after the transfer either with our High-Quality DVD process ( Level2 ) or using post-production software to alter the original footage. Pricing varies for these procedures. These colour correction techniques can also be used on all types of film and even video footage to provide better quality colour, brightness and contrast (after the initial film transfer process). We recommend viewing the initial transfer first, and then you can decide if you require further manipulation.
Do you want to transfer negative film?
When we transfer film, what you see is what you get. So if you bring us negative film we can transfer it but it will be a negative image. We have had customers transfer their negative to tape and then use their post-production software to invert the negative to get a positive colour image; however, we can not guarantee the results of this method and recommend doing a test roll first to determine if this method will meet your needs. We have done some very limited testing of this method and managed to get acceptable results, but be aware that a significant amount of time may be required to adjust colour, brightness and contrast settings once you have applied an inverted filter. Also, please note that transferring your negative may result in slight scratches and dust appearing on your film, this is unavoidable and an inherent part of the film transfer process and once a scratch or dust appears on a negative there's no going back. If you transfer a work print instead, if dust and/or scratches appear, a new work print could be struck from your stored negative.
How do we transfer film to video and what equipment do we use?
For Super8 and 8mm film we use Sony Telecinecorder projectors. These projectors are designed and built specifically for the purpose of transferring film to video. The projector is synced to the video equipment resulting in the projection of the film at the exact frame rate required to yield true flicker-free video images without altering the actual visual speed of the recorded film – meaning all motion will look perfectly natural or can be manipulated by the operator at will without altering the visual quality. The image is projected through a customized diopter system, to allow for brightness and contrast control, directly into a 3CCD DXC-325 Sony camera system, which is connected to whichever format deck you require your master recorded to (MiniDV, BetacamSP, VHS, etc…).
For 16mm we use a similar process; however the projector is an Eike projector, which has a specialized shutter designed to compensate for the difference in frame rates between video and film, providing a true flicker-free image (this is why 16mm film can only be transferred at 24fps). The projector also has a regulated power supply that allows for a constant power stream and therefore no variations in the film projection speed. The projected image is recorded through a 3CCD GY-DV500 JVC camera system, which is connected to whichever format deck you require your master recorded to (MiniDV, BetacamSP, VHS, etc…).
Video Duplication and Conversion
- How long are your source videos?
Please ensure that all your source material is clearly labelled with the length of the content in hours and minutes.
What kind of tape do you want your video duplicated to?
We have a wide variety of tape formats and qualities to choose from. Let us know what tape you want your material duplicated or converted to.
Do you need/want plastic album boxes or cardboard sleeves?
Some types of tape ship without any packaging, for presentation or storage purposes please let us know if you want your tapes in cardboard sleeves or plastic album boxes. Cardboard sleeves are available in black and white and with or without a window cutout for easy viewing of the tape's label. Plastic boxes are available in black or white.
We can create professional looking labels for your VHS tapes.
What text do you want on your labels?
If you want labels on your tapes please provide us with the correct full spelling of the text you want on the label.
Does Your Video (or other source) start with color bars, a countdown or title slates?
Many professional videos or videos produced in digital editing programs begin with colour bars, a countdown or an identifying title slate. Please let us know if your tapes have any of these and whether you want it omitted in the duplication.
Do you need your videos transferred in any particular order?
Please label each video in numerical or alphabetical order.
Editing charges (not duplication charges) apply when assembling several tapes onto one tape
For multiple copies of assembled tapes, first a master must be made (preferably on a high-quality format such as miniDV, BetacamSP or DVD) and then direct duplications can be made from the assembled master
Is your material copyrighted?
It is against the law to copy a video program that is copyrighted without the express written permission of the program's owner, usually the producer. If you want to copy or convert a video that was not produced or created by yourself you must provide us with written and signed authorization from the program's copyright owner.
Conversion of Video to CD-ROM/Computer format
Many factors are involved in the transfer of video to a computer compatible video format and many questions need to be answered based on your preferences.
- What is the intended audience for this program?
This information helps us to determine the best compression ratio and data rate to apply to your video so that your target audience will be able to view it on their systems. A program intended to be viewed by computer professionals will require a different treatment than a video intended to be viewed by average home consumers.
What is the intended distribution method?
How do you intend to distribute your video(s):
- mass-produced CD-ROM
- mass-produced DVD
What format(s) do you want your material converted to?
There are many video ditribution formats for use in the digital world. The most common include Quicktime Movie (.mov), Windows Media Format (.wmf), AVI (.avi) and Real Media (.rm). Please consult our resolution and format guide for help with this.
What resolution do you want?
Resolution refers to the dimensions (width and height) in pixels of the video. The most common resolutions for distribution on CD-ROM or over the internet are 360x240 and 240x160. Please consult our resolution and format guide for help with this.
What file size do you want the videos to be?
The file size of the final video in Megabytes (MB). A standard CD-ROM holds 650 MB, a standard DVD holds 4.7 Gigabytes (GB). A good size for distribution over the Internet is between 10 and 60 MB. Please consult our resolution and format guide for help with this.
How many copies do you want?
We recommend getting at least one additional copy for storage purposes. While CDs are a durable, long-lasting format (rated for 50 to 100 years), repeated usage could lead to scratches and other types of accidental damage to your disc. This could result in the loss of data or the inability to play the disc. If you have a back-up copy you can always make additional copies.