16mm Movie Film

Invented by Eastman Kodak way back in the early 1920's, 16mm was the first film format to be used for making home movies by the masses. The cameras were smaller and simpler to operate and, although quite expensive for their day, 16mm did allow people with the money to do so, to shoot real motion pictures of their family and friends. Something that was not truly possible up until that point. While there was 35mm film for use in movie theaters this film was Nitrate-based and not safe for home use. It was also only available as a camera negative so not suitable for direct projection unless a positive print was made from it. When Kodak came out with 16mm film... first only as black and white camera stock, it was in a form called reversal safety film. Not only was it the film you loaded into the camera it was also the same film, after processing, you could use in your projector. Because it used a completely new film base made from acetate there was no possibility of it catching fire, unlike 35mm Nitrate which was combustible if not handled carefully. It was at this point the home movie industry was born in the US. An interesting article about one of the most popular 16mm home movie cameras of all time can be found at this web site.
rca tk-28B telecine
The process to convert 16mm film to a digital format:


Our process to transfer 16mm silent film, black and white and color, uses the same film chain or "telecine system" we use for 8mm and S8mm, the RCA TK-28B seen in this picture to the right. The TK-28B is a three-tube vidicon film chain. It separates the film's picture into its red, green and blue elements before processing. The TK-28B is equipped with a 5 "F" stop inconel neutral density light wheel to compensate for density and exposure in real time. Exposure correction is accomplished automatically every 1/30th of a second by measuring the peak white level in the output of the video signal. Automatic black level is also used to provide for proper gamma range. Color correction is applied to maintain accurate whites in the clearest parts of the film frame. Detail correction is adjusted and injected into the luminance channel based on the overall sharpness level of the original film. The TK-28B delivers the most realistic and most lifelike image from your home movies. It truly is, as one of our local customers put it "like looking through a window when I'm watching it on my TV screen". Below, is a chart that shows the rates for converting 16mm silent movie film to DVD. We also have an info packet you can download as a PDF file. All the pricing and order information is then available in printed form for you to go over at your leisure. The forms you will need to send in your film are also there.

Computing the charges to convert 16mm film to a digital format:

16mm rates Computing your costs is a simple process. Your original 16mm film will more than likely be on any of three reel sizes. The most common is the 4" 100 foot reel, followed by the 3" 50 foot reel. If your family was in to editing their movies they may have wound them up onto 7" 400 foot reels for a more uninterrupted viewing experience. You simply need to add up the footage to come up with an overall total between the various reel sizes then divide that figure by 1350 feet. The amount of film that can be converted in one hour of transfer time. That will be your running time, added up to the next quarter of an hour. Look on the chart and you will see the cost to transfer that amount of film.

The transfer process:

Our normal procedure, for customers wanting DVD's as the final product, is to transfer to raw mpeg2 direct from the telecine system into one of our servers. From there the various reel segments are edited and combined into a final, fully authored DVD. This DVD becomes your master. It is advisable to order at least one duplicate set made from the master(s) and keep the master set with your films.

Remember, these rates are inclusive of all services and supplies to get your film in shape for the transfer. We do not charge you extra for inspection, film reels, leader, splices or cleaning solution. The charge you see is the charge you can expect to pay based, of course, on the total amount of film you actually have, in 1/4 hour increments. This factor, alone, sets us apart from most other film transfer services out there. Many will impose additional charges for the 400' plastic reels used to assemble your smaller reels before the transfer as well as charge for splicing and cleaning your film. The special anti-static and anti-fungal film cleaner we use costs us over $100 per gallon!

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We can transfer your priceless 16mm movie films to a digital file or DVD and preserve these memories on a format you can enjoy today in Waterbury, Windsor, Essex, New London, Farmington, Simsbury Connecticut, film transfers from 16mm film are best done on a telecine system that can correct for exposure, density and color on a frame by frame basis, digitize your 16mm movie film and have it converted to DVD for viewing any time you choose, we have the process to convert 16mm film to DVD or digital and do it the correct way, 16mm film transfers or 16mm film conversions, digitizing 16mm film at TFG Transfer in Wethersfield Connecticut