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F. A. Q.
(Frequently Asked Questions)

What if I don’t know which order my films should be transferred in?

It is usually best to have your films transferred in chronological order. If you do not know which films are oldest, look for ‘hints’ on the film boxes. Sometimes there is a date stamped on the box from the post office or a film expiration date. Other times, someone has written on the film reel ‘Tommy’s 1st Birthday” or “Christmas - 1957”.

If your projector is working, you may watch the films so you will know what order to put them in. However, if the film starts to be ‘eaten’ by your projector, you may be causing irreparable damage to your films. Family film projectors may not have been used that much, but they are still 'old' and may have internal corrosion or dry rotted parts. Be very careful! If your film breaks, we can splice it, but if the sprocket holes on the film are stretched and torn, that type of damage to your films cannot be repaired. If your projector isn’t working properly, use the hints mentioned above to get your films in the best order that you can.  

My movies are so old! What if there is nothing on them?

For family movies, 8mm and 16mm film is an obsolete format. All films are slowly deteriorating, but, if your films have been stored indoors, away from high heat and humidity, they are probably still in pretty good condition. What we normally see on family movies is that the films are changing color tones and fading. For example, the sky may now start to look purple instead of blue or what was originally a red dress, now appears orange. The good news is that the precious images of family, friends and of ‘days gone by’ are normally still there and generally in pretty good condition!

Any films or portions of film that are all black or all white are not transferred. However, you may see brief periods (1-2 seconds) of a black or white screen on your video.

You should 'smell' your films --- if their smell is mild and can be described as smelling 'old' or 'musty', this is common and your films are likely to be in fair condition. If they smell strongly like vinegar or have a strong chemical smell, this indicates that your films are chemically decomposing. This IS NOT a good sign! Anything that can be salvaged should be transferred right away.

How many reels or feet of film can I get on a videotape?

Usually 30 to 35 of the small (three inch diameter, 50 foot) film reels (about 1600-1800 feet of film) will fit onto a standard DVD disk or VHS videotape. 

How do I know whether I have Regular or Super 8mm film?

The sprocket hole sizes on each film type are different. Also, the center hole in the middle of the reel that fits on the projector arm is of a different size. For video transfer, you do not need to know this information. If you do not already have a particular order that your films should be transferred in then we will sort out the reels for you and do the regular 8mm films first (since they are probably the oldest).

Do you transfer film in cartridges or cases made by Polavision, Technicolor or Lanier Tel-Edisette Videotronic

Yes. In order to perform the transfer, we must remove the Super 8mm film from those casings and splice the film onto a traditional 8mm film reel. The cartridges are destroyed it the process, but the original film is not harmed and will be returned to you along with your transfer on DVD, digital tape, etc. Pricing for this service is different than the standard film transfer pricing - please call us for a quote. 


Why should I order copies?

By having your films transferred to video, multiple copies can be made and shared with all the family members involved (with films, there is only one set so only one person has them). DVDs are 'digital' so all copies are equal in quality. For additional VHS copies we run the electronic digital signal simultaneously to up to 20 VCR’s. This means that every family member will get an equally high quality copy of the family movies on videotape. One person does not get the ‘original’ and everyone else a copy made from the original. 

We include a FREE music background on all your films. The exception to this is ‘sound movies’. We do not add music to these because that would cover up your original soundtrack. 

What does the background music sound like?

The music that we use as a background was written especially for video transfer. It is orchestral music (no vocal or lyrics). The mood is sentimental and nostalgic. It is very fitting for video transfer and accentuates the home movies.

Click "play" for a sample of the music played in the background of the old home movies:

May I insert titles mid-way between films or between film reels?

Yes.  Most customers only get the opening and closing titles that come standard with a film transfer, but you may certainly insert titles between reels if you wish.  There is an additional charge for this service.   The most common opening title is "Precious Memories of the _________________ Family" and the most common closing title is "Thanks for the Memories". 

I think that I have a especially big order. How many films do most families have?

Most families have a ‘shoe box’ full. Depending on the size of the ‘shoe box’, usually that means the equivalent of 20-80 of the small reels (1000 to 4000 feet of film).

What about the quality of the video transfer?

Because we know that these videos will be treasured and viewed for many years, we use only high-quality video tapestock. Also, we use professional equipment that is manufactured specifically for video transfer using an "aerial image" technology. This technique ensures the highest quality of film transfer and virtually eliminates the flicker resulting from the difference in frame rate between film and video. Also, studio quality multi-chip cameras (not consumer-grade camcorders) are used to record your film images.

We also offer film transfer to digital tape (miniDV, digital 8 or DVCAM). This option captures a higher quality image as compared to DVD or VHS transfer. Transfer to digital tape is the usual choice for our clients that plan to edit their transfer on a computer.

How is film transfer done? Are my films just projected on a screen and then videotaped with a camcorder?

Absolutely not! We use industrial quality equipment specifically designed to ensure high quality video transfer. 

  • Our equipment compensates for the frame rate difference between film (usually 18 frames per second) and video (30 frames per second) - this eliminates 'flicker'. 
  • Our equipment also produces an 'aerial image' transfer. An aerial image maintains exceptionally high transfer quality - as compared to other methods where the image is focused onto a screen (and some loss of light and image distortion occur). 
  • The transfer camera is modern and broadcast quality - some of our competitors use consumer level camcorders or even camera elements that are 15-20 years old. 
  • Our transfer technicians monitor your transfer as it is taking place and adjust settings as needed to maintain proper brightness and color levels. We also repair broken or weak splices.

Do not assume that all businesses that offer film transfer will produce the same result. We have been providing high quality video transfer services for over 25 years and we treat your priceless films with the care that you expect.

Are the smaller films spliced together onto larger reels as part of the transfer process?

No. The films are returned to you in the same way (and on the same reels) in which we receive them. They are not edited together onto other or larger reels.

How long will it take to transfer my films to video?

Usually 2-4 weeks depending upon backlog. Feel free to e-mail to check on the current backlog status.

Do you have any references - any comments from your clients?

The following e-mail was received from a client in West Virginia:

"You will never know just how much I appreciate the excellent quality of your work in transferring my old home movies onto DVD. The results were better than I ever expected. The skill that you exhibited in putting all of the movies onto DVD with such smooth transition is amazing. The music in the background was such a nice touch, and the melodies were quiet appropriate. I also liked the beginning and ending titles that you added.

Since my mother passed away in 1994 and my father passed away six months ago, I naturally was looking forward to seeing them in moving pictures. What I didn't anticipate and loved so much was seeing other relatives of mine, especially those who have passed away, in moving pictures. For example, my paternal grandmother passed away when I was only three years old. I can barely remember her, so seeing her on the DVD was so meaningful! My paternal grandfather passed away when I was eight years old. I can remember him a little, but again, seeing him in moving pictures was so meaningful. I must tell you what I have told everyone here at home - had I known the results would be as good as they were, I'd have gladly walked to Texas from West Virginia to get the DVDs made if I hadn't been able to fly there as I did. My comment is not exaggeration - that is how much those wonderful DVDs mean to me! 

I am sure that I could write pages and pages and my words would still inadequately express my full appreciation to you and the skill used to give me family memories that will be enjoyed the rest of my lifetime and with the generations that will follow me. 

If I can ever serve as a reference to any of your potential patrons, I would welcome the opportunity to tell them about he quality of your work. If I told them that I flew all the way from West Virginia to Texas to have the work done because of the reputation of your work, I know that it would erase any doubts that they would have about your company. 

Thank you, and God Bless You!" 

Can we send you a few reels and have you produce a sample of your work?

Certainly - however, the best pricing is by sending in all your films as one order. Our pricing matrix includes a discounting factor so the best economy is achieved by a larger volume. One large batch will be transferred at a lower overall cost than two smaller batches.

I plan to edit the video of my films. Which medium offers the best quality or highest resolution - miniDV or DVD?

Your best option is miniDV. By having your films transferred to digital tape, you will have great latitude as to any future editing. DVD may also be used as a source medium but it is a more 'finished' option and is already compiled (compressed) so it is a slightly lower 'quality' than digital tape.

Can my film be transferred to .avi files on a DVD that I can use to edit with, instead of a normal DVD? 

Yes, we can provide you with raw .avi files on data DVDs. These DVDs differ from standard video DVDs in that they many NOT be played on a DVD player or viewed on a television. Usually clients prefer this format if they intend to edit their film transfer using their personal computer. 

Approximately 20 minutes of film transfer will fit onto one data DVD disk. The data files from these disks may be loaded directly into your PC for further editing (provided, of course, that you have the proper hardware and software). The transfer fee for this service is different than the standard film transfer pricing - please call us for a quote. 

Do you recommend a simple, but high quality piece of software or hardware for editing the video of my films?

We do not recommend what software or hardware to buy - new products are introduced constantly. Many of our clients choose to have their transfer made to digital tape so that they may custom edit. In general the digital video signal from the miniDV tape is often fed out of a camcorder by 'firewire' to a computer, edited via software and then burned to DVD. Depending upon your hardware and software capabilities, you should be able to rearrange or delete scenes, add titles or captions, narration, special music, etc.


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Keepsake Video
361 East Parkwood Ave
Friendswood, TX 77546