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Transferring Cine Film with Sound

Finding an old cine film reel can be so exciting; you can relive old family memories and maybe even answer some questions about family history. Of course, before you can watch the old cine films, they will need to be transferred to a DVD or digital format. Some old film is silent and some has sound; but, how do you determine if it does have sound and is the transferring process different if your old film has sound?

How do you know if your film has sound?

Determining whether your film has sound can be a little bit tricky, but it is possible; you just have to know what you are looking for.
16 mm

Many 16 mm home movies are silent, but to determine if this is the case the film can be unwound past the solid color leader film. You will be looking at the sprocket holes to find out if the cine film has sound. If there are sprocket holes on both sides of the unwound film, it is silent film. If there are sprocket holes on only one side of the film, it most likely has sound.
8 mm

8 mm film was originally designed not to record sound and the cameras did not have the capability to record synchronized sound while filming, but a sound track could be added to the film during processing at a film developing lab. You can imagine that this could become a costly process, so more than likely, most home movies shot on 8 mm do not have sound. Although it would be rare, if the 8 mm cine film does have sound, you would see a magnetic strip along the sprockets of the film.

Super 8 mm

Super 8 mm film was designed with a magnetic strip on the opposite side of the sprockets to record sound simultaneously while filming. Some home movies that are shot on Super 8 mm can still be silent because some of the cameras used when filming may not have had the capability to record sound.


How does the film transfer process differ when it comes to transferring sound?

Of course all film with sound can be transferred to DVD or a digital format; however, the quality of the video and audio of the film will vary depending on the process used. Some film is transferred by projecting the film on a screen and recording it from there, while others are transferred using sophisticated state of the art equipment. The latter of the two is going to give you much better sound quality and picture.

Some of the process of transferring cine film with sound is the same as silent film, such as cleaning the film of dust and particles before it is transferred and repairing the film, if needed; but, it can differ as well. When Super 8 cine film with sound is transferred, a direct imaging and sound capture process is used. Super 8 sound transfer technology is outputted directly to a computer or DVD recorder and provides a sharp image that is flicker-free and the audio is crisp. The film is converted by speeding up the process to 18 to 24 fps (frames per second) and the sound is sped up as well so that the pacing is right and there is no error in the pitch.

Before transferring your cine film with sound to DVD or a digitized format, you will want to investigate and understand the process that is being used so that you know you will get the best picture and pitch perfect sound.

Please feel free to contact us on 0191 286 9800 to learn more about our film transfer services.