Cine Film FAQ

Below are the most common asked questions relating to our cine film transfer service

What cine film format can you convert ?

We offer full scanning support for Standard8, Super8, Single8, 9.5mm Pathe, 16mm, Super16mm and Polavision.

Do you have a calculator on your website for estimating the cost

Yes. Each service has an information page, at the bottom of this page you will find a calculator for estimating the cost. Of you can contact our office and we will be happy to provide a quotation - Just Call 0800 043 0668

Do you also transfer the soundtrack from the film?

Yes. Our scanner supports both magnetic and optical soundtracks. For magnetic we support both main and balance stripes for stereo effect. All is perfectly synchronised with the picture.

Do you return the original film?

Yes. All original films are returned when the project is completed.

How safe is your scanning system on my films?

Your films are completely safe on our scanner. Our scanner uses a cool LED matrix light source so there is no danger of burnt films. Our scanner is sprocket-less so does not require the use of the film perforations to drive the film through the scanner, also the scanner is computer-controlled so the film tension is monitored at 100gram and any deviation with stop the scanner instantly.

Do you scan frame by frame?

Yes. In fact, our scanner is a new breed of digital data scanner that does NOT output a video signal but instead outputs a series of high-resolution images known as a DPX sequence. Scanners that output video signals are prone to the introduction of noise on the image so the scanning quality is reduced. Digital Data scanners offer the purest image available.

Do you charge by reel or by footage

For  film reels larger than 50 foot we only charge for the film footage present on the reel. So for example, if you have a 400 foot reel with 200 foot of film we only charge 200 foot of scanning.

What scanning resolution can you provide?

We can scan natively at Standard Definition SD ( 720x576 ), Standard Definition SD ( 720x480 ), High Definition 720p ( 1280x720p ), High Definition 1080p ( 1920x1080p ), Academy 2K ( 2048x1556p ) and finally Academy 2.3K ( 2336x1752p ). All scans are pure progressive and NOT interlaced.

Do you charge extra for HD scanning?

Absolutely NOT - This is just a money-making scheme by several other companies. Our commercial scanner is designed to scan at various levels of resolution, for us to switch from SD to HD scanning is a simple click of a button so we can see no valid reason why any company would charge more money for HD scanning. We live in a digital HD world and that should now be the standard. Normally companies charging more money for HD scanning or sound transfer are doing so because they operate a projector-based system that requires either multi-pass scanning  1 for picture, 1 for sound ) or that the HD files take a long time to process ?? Whatever the reason there is no justification for the extra cost.

Is your HD scanning true native or up-scaled?

All of our published scan resolutions are pure native resolutions. Unlike some companies who take a standard definition file and then upscale the content we ONLY offer true resolution scanning.  Also as we operate a digital data scanner the output is pure progressive and NOT interlaced so each frame is complete and true to the original.

Does your scanner use a pull-down claw or sprocket system to drive the film?

No this is a really bad method. Our system utilises a high-precision laser system that tracks the film motion. The film is transported gently using a soft rubber roller and NOT a pull-down claw or Sprockets.  The system is completely silent, unlike cheap projector systems that sound.. well like a projector.

Can your scanner accept a film with damaged perforations?

Our scanner does not use the perforations to drive the film, instead, it uses high-precision lasers to track film motion. Typically we need at least 1 film perforation hole every 25 in order to registrate the image to the top of the screen, so even if the film is severely damaged with missing perforations then it will still feed perfectly and provide a stable image.

Is the film cleaned as part of the transfer process?

Yes. As standard our scanner incorporates PTR ( particle transfer rollers ), these rollers act as intermediate rollers and are manufactured from a special material that attracts dust and dirt from the film surface prior to scanning. Because the rollers move in conjunction with your film there is no possible chance that damage can occur. Air-dusting is offered as a second level of cleaning and involves high-pressure air jets used to remove stubborn dirt and grime from the film surface.

Can I be provided with both DVD/Blu-Ray disks and also digital copies for editing on my computer?

Yes. As a standard workflow, we always convert your films to a digital image sequence and then from that format we are able to create any combination of digital masters including DVD, Blu-Ray, Video File, DV Tape etc..When ordering just specify what combination you require and we will do the rest.

How many cine films can I get on a single DVD Disk?

The DVD limit is not down to the number of films but down to the overall run time. At Images4life we will put a maximum of 90 minutes of film on each DVD. Once you go above the 90-minute barrier the video needs to be compressed to a level that affects image quality so as a company we will NOT compromise on quality and will span the video onto a second and third DVD as required. This does NOT affect your final cost.

How many cine films can I get on a single Blu-Ray Disk?

The Blu-Ray limit is not down to the number of films but down to the overall run time. At Images4life we will put a maximum of 120 minutes of HD video on each Blu-Ray. Once you go above the 120-minute barrier the video needs to be compressed to a level that affects image quality so as a company we will NOT compromise on quality and will span the video onto a second and third Blu-Ray as required. This does NOT affect your final cost.

What format of digital video files can you provide?

Our standard file formats are MP4 (h.264) and ProRes422HQ. We can offer other formats on special request.

How do you handle the different frame rates from film to DVD/Blu-Ray ?

This is a really complex topic and one we are happy to discuss over the phone in order to understand your exact expectation of film archiving. At a basic level the digital video files that we produce are coded in such a way that they tell your computer's video player or editing software to interpret the video at the exact frame rate of the original film, this can be 16, 18 or 24fps. So when you play back the digital files we produce on your computer the video file will look like a projected image with very smooth motion. The complication comes when you want to transfer that footage to DVD or Blu-Ray. As a standard, the European DVD format will only allow 25fps so in order to get a 16fps video to play at the right speed we have to inject the additional frames. For European Blu-Ray disks this will allow 24fps or 25fps so again we have to inject the additional frames. The added frames are difficult to spot on a DVD or Blu-Ray playback, and in fact, because they are typically PAL (Phase Alternate Line) encoded the added frames are even less visible and the motion very fluid. Right now this is a technical limitation of DVD and Blu-Ray standards.

Are you able to repair broken film?

Yes, all your film is inspected, repaired and cleaned prior to scanning. We only use the highest quality CIR film splicers which offer superior accuracy and durability of the splice. This is offered as a complimentary service and does NOT attract any additional cost.

What audio formats do you support?

As standard, we support a Mono/Stereo magnetic soundtrack on 8mm film and both Magnetic and Optical sound for 16mm film. Audio capture is done in real-time by the scanner to ensure perfect synchronisation between picture and sound.

Do you adjust the colour and contrast levels during the transfer process?

Yes - During the digital scanning process of the film we use products called vector scopes to analyse the colour composition of the film. Our scanning system allows for 3 levels of colour correction starting with a base optical adjustment that provides immediate and breathtaking colour correction control. Afterwards, we have a further 2 levels of correction if required,