Spot the Cine to DVD Amateurs
Unfortunately a lot of film transfer amateurs are earning out of your technical ignorance.
There are also a number of cine transfer companies who do this as a side line, using inferior equipment but charging Professional Rates. The main ones slap your film in an old projector and use a camcorder to video it off a wall. The results are poor.
This video footage is then recorded on to a DVD using domestic quality home computers (loaded with Video Encoding Cards) or at worse an all in one Domestic Quality Video to DVD Converter. With fancy words and jargon you would never know. Anyone can set up this business for less than £1,000 and many have, we find this most frustrating which is why we have gone into such detail.
The question is do you want cheap or do you want to clearly see the detail and faces in your old Films? Most transfer amateurs or businesses that have this as a sideline are not out to rip you off. It is just their enthusiasm for this profitable hobby or side line can outweigh their experience, resources and expertise required.
Here's a quick question, ask if they charge VAT If they don't then they clearly are doing so little business they don't make the compulsary threshold
10 Vital Questions to ask a Potential Transfer Studio
You should ask these questions to anyone else your are considering as an alternative to us
1. What is the compatibility of my DVD?
If they say it will work on 95% of DVD players then it is not professional quality. Our DVDs are guaranteed to work on all DVD players, 100%. If it does not we will send you a new DVD free.
2. Do you video my footage?
If they respond with we use a top of the range 3 chip CCD broadcast camera, then your cine film will just be projected onto a wall or screen and recorded. It may be a nice video camera, but a video camera nonetheless. We digitally (AVI / MPEG) capture your image!
3. How long will my DVD play for?
Most companies will offer you 2 hours. This means they will be over compressing your cine film footage to squeeze it on, this is like putting your old video recorder on Long Play. This will largley reduce the quality. We only ever put a maximum of 90 minutes on each disc and use a variable bit rate. This means you get the best quality footage. Look at our review in the links section.
4. How will the quality compare to the original footage?
If they promise you better quality, Hollywood cinema quality or broadcast quality, "just like the movies" then they are exaggerating. How can you improve the quality of something that was recorded years ago? These popular phrases mean nothing. This also applies to sound quality if you have Super-8 movies.
5. Will there be a flicker?
Do they boast that they use editing equipment to reduce or remove the flicker? You can not remove or even reduce the flicker AFTER the footage has been captured. The only way to eradicate the flicker effect is to do it BEFORE you capture the images from your cine films. All they are going to do is use fancy AVI / MPEG software to try and tart it up, at the expense of quality.
6. Can you put titles and menus on my DVDs?
If they offer this for free then they are guaranteed to be using amateur equipment. They push a button and a up pops a gimmick. We only use professional software to put in your titles and menus.
7. Do you convert directly to MPEG 2 ?
If they do then the quality will be even lower. Your footage needs to be converted to AVI clips or a DV file and then that is encoded to MPEG 2, the DVD movie format. The lack of quality will be aparent on your High Definition TV and will become even more aparent in future years as equipment advances. The difference can be similarly described as listening to music on an 8 track tape and then listening to the same music on CD.
8. How knowledgeable are you?
Pick some abbreviations from our website and ask them what they mean. They all should know what AVI, VBR or VCD stands for. Every film transfer company should know what DVD, Digital Versatile Disc, means!
9. Do you put printed labels on my DVD?
We only employ printing directly onto the disc. Labels will damage your DVD player. The heat from the electronics gradually melts the adhesive, which then ends up inside your DVD player. The label will also curl and fall off, rendering your movies useless!
10. Do you use an edit suite?
Do they boast about software such as Firewire. Do they continue to boast that this will correct or improve picture clarity and colour. If they do then it is already too late. All corrections need to be implemented BEFORE your cines footage are captured and digitised to AVI. After it has been captured all the definition is lost. All you will get is fancy technology trying to tart up the footage.
To summarise; you want full compatibility, no lost films, the best picture quality, your deadline met and no flicker effect.
Review: Top 7 client grudges
1. Copy Protected DVDs: This prevents you making more copies yourself so you have to go back to the company and pay high rates to get more copies. You can make copies from any of our CD's DVD's or videos yourself
2. Compression: Do they use ANY kind of MPEG or AVI compression as this results in Reduced Quality
3. Post in your films for a Quote: Do they state 'quoting is complicated', send in your films for a quote? When you decline the quote they then charge your over the odds to return your films and some even charge for playing them in order to do your quote? There is no need for this unethical service - our prices are up-front and fair
4. Colour Correction Charges: Many clients have claimed they got a call saying their films needs adjusting costing them more? Direct to MPEG-2 (DVD) can't be adjusted
5. Cleaning & Repair charges: Is this performed as part of their package? People have received calls saying your film is too brittle and thus it's going to cost more. We clean and lubricate your films free!
6. Charges for Reel Change: Many firms that charge by the foot of film only cover certain types of films and then charge you extra if your films are not within the parameters advertised
7. Film set-up Fees: Extra charges once they find all your cine films are mixed or at different speeds this is hard for you to tell before sending in your films in particular with Super 8 films which have sound. Some firms charge when they find this sound on your cines
Tip: If you are convinced of their high quality then ask if they emply projectors. Cine projectors ceased production over 25 years ago. We do not use old film projectors like the Elmo or Goko! Why not? Conventional film projectors have film gates which crop your film frame image as much as 26% Our process gets every fine detail, nobody and nothing is cut out of your movie.
Consider the following fact a film projector system can only attain 240 lines of horizontal resolution similar to video whilst DVD supports over 500 lines of horizontal resolution on your TV