Monday, December 5, 2011

I Need to Burn a Blu-ray from 16mm Film

Bring that 16mm film into the digital realm.

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Maybe you've just wrapped post-production on your latest independent short and can't wait to submit it to film festivals. Maybe you've stumbled upon a box of 16mm home movies you hope will shed new light on your family history. Whatever your reason for doing it, transferring from analog 16mm film to digital Blu-ray requires both equipment and skill. The method you use will depend on the equipment at hand, your budget for the project and your intended audience.

Related Searches: Cleaning Film

Clean the print thoroughly with alcohol and cotton. If you have a work print on your hands, tug on all splice points to ensure their stability. If any cut seems damaged or weak, remove the tape and redo the splice. If your print has great value and you've never cleaned film, send it out to an experienced editor or film archivist familiar with the process.

Film Chain Transfers

If you have a working 16mm projector and a digital video camera, you can make a basic film-chain transfer. Aim the projector at the clean white wall and record the projection with the digital video camera. Though film-chain transfers can look a bit rough around the edges, the results may suffice for your needs. Even if you have a budget for a professional transfer, consider using a film chain for aesthetic reasons if you want the digital version of your transfer to look vintage, grainy, ethereal or intentionally amateur.

Telecine Transfers

A telecine involves digital capture of analog film on a frame-by-frame basis and results in the highest-quality transfer of your original 16mm print. Hire a telecine house to handle your transfer if you are working with sensitive archival footage, film restoration projects or independent films intended for a festival audience.

Transferring Sound

If the 16mm film in question is original and not archival, talk to the person who engineered your mix and ask for a digital master you can combine with your transfer during Blu-ray authoring. If you have an archival print with an optical stripe, you will need to consult a professional telecine house with the ability to play back, capture and touch up optical sound. If you have mag sound, any post-production house, mastering house or recording studio with the equipment to play back and transfer mag reels can handle the job. If you have a limited budget, shop around. You may find it cheaper to have different facilities handle the telecine and the sound transfer.

Blu-ray Authoring

Most contemporary operating systems come standard with Blu-ray authoring software. If your computer has a Blu-ray drive, you may want take your digitized film and burn a disc at home to save money. On the other hand, some telecine houses can burn a transfer to Blu-ray at no extra charge. If you've never authored a Blu-ray and did not use a telecine house, consider uploading your assets to a free file host and then using Web-based classifieds like Craigslist, Elance or Get-A-Freelancer to find someone who can do the authoring for you at a discounted rate.

ReferencesFilm Forever: Chapter 4: Inspection, Handling, Cleaning, RepairPhoto Credit Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty ImagesRead Next:

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