Film Transfer Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

The questions below reflect inquiries we have received about our services. If you do not find an answer to your question here, please get in touch with us either via e-mail or telephone. Our contact information can be found in the "contact" section.

About our process:

How do you transfer 8mm films?
We use high quality transfer equipment. Your film is transferred to the video computer using single-frame capturing equipment. This means that a picture is taken of each frame of your film and digitally copied to the video computer. It is then compiled to run at exactly 16 frames per second for 8mm, 18 frames for super 8 silent or 24 frames for super 8 sound. Your film is ran at a slow rate through the film scanner to protect the film and obtain the best quality. We do not use the Goko Film system or any variable speed projection system, nor do we use the Elmo telecine system. Our direct-to-digital transfer process ensures the best quality transfer at the exact frame rate that your film was originally shot at.

How do you transfer my 16mm film?
We use high quality transfer equipment. Your film is transferred to the video computer using single-frame capturing equipment. This means that a picture is taken of each frame of your film and digitally copied to the video computer. If your film is a silent or sound 16mm, we use a frame-by-frame capture method that ensures that the film is played back at the speed it was originally shot at (18 frames per second for silent, 24 frames per second for sound).

How do you transfer 9.5mm films?
We use high quality transfer equipment. Your film is transferred to the video computer using single-frame capturing equipment. This means that a picture is taken of each frame of your film and digitally copied to the video computer. It is then compiled to run at exactly 15 frames per second. Your film is ran at a slow rate through the film scanner to protect the film and obtain the best quality. Our direct-to-digital transfer process ensures the best quality transfer at the exact frame rate that your film was originally shot at.

Is my film ran at a faster rate to sync with TV?
No. Your film will run at the exact speed the camera shot it. Our scanning system is shutterless and uses the computer to capture each frame from the film. This eliminates the need to speed up the rate in order to synchronize with TV.

Do You have a demonstration of your transfer service?
Yes, we have a DVD that demonstrates the quality of our transfers. There is a deposit of $20 per DVD. If you return the DVD with your film order the $20 will be credited towards your order.

Do you add music to the silent films?
Yes, we use music from production houses that produce music for films. We will match the type of music to the contents of each scene.

What do you charge for the transfer?
Our basic rate is $0.12 per foot, with a minimum charge of $20. You can obtain an estimate of your job by using our estimate calculator.

About your film:

Do you edit my films?
We do not edit your film media (cut, splice, etc.). Instead, we will make any necessary edits (chapter breaks, scene transitions, etc.) on the video computer and return your films in their original condition.

What happens if my film is broken?
We will repair the film so that it can be run through the system.

Do you clean my film?
Yes. We use a high-quality cleaner and lubricant on the films.

Do you brighten up dark film?
We will attempt to lighten up any overly dark scenes, but sometimes this creates undesired effects. It will depend on the scene and the effect that applying the filters has on the overall image. Sometimes it is best to leave these scenes the way they are on the film.

Is there a possibility that my film can not be transferred?
This is always a possibility, depending on the condition of the film. We will do our best to do the transfer. If we can not transfer it due to prior damage we will let you know.

How can I tell what type of film I have?
Please take a look at our film format diagram to help you determine what type of film you have.

I had my films previously transferred to VHS or Beta and would like them put on DVD.
We can do that. However, we would recommend you let us re-transfer the film for the best quality. The only exception would be if your film transfer was transferred to a Digital 8 or Mini DV tape.

Do you censor subject material?
No, but if you have a question about what you want to have transferred please send us an e-mail or give us a call. We will try to work with you on all transfers. Alamo Film and Video Transfer will not transfer material that is of an illegal nature.

About your order:

Do you send my films to someone else for transfer?
No, your films are transferred at our location. We do not ship to another service.

How do I get my films to you?
We highly recommend that you use courier service with a way to track your films sent to us (for example: Fed Ex, UPS or Post Office). Using a trackable courier service enables the confirmation of receipt of your order. Please ensure you properly pack your films to ensure safe transit. Allow room in you package to place the additional media it.  Your order will be returned via Fed Ex if you provide a street address.

How should I package my films?
We suggest you pack them in a large enough box to add bubble wrap to protect them so they are not damaged during shipping. Also, please allow enough room to enclose your DVD or media selected when we return your order.

Do I need to give you a description of what is on the films?
Yes, if at all possible. It will help us provide you with titles and on-screen descriptions. You can do this when filling out the order form. Please see the demonstration DVD for examples of titles and on-screen descriptions/sub-titles.

Should I number my films?
Yes, it is nice for your family history if the films are provided in a numerical order of some kind. If you do not know the order we will try to determine a logical order for the transfer.

I can't provide you a description of my films as I don't remember them that well, and I do not have the equipment to view them. What can I do?
If you do not know the contents of your films well enough to provide the descriptions requested in the order form we can transfer all your films to an optional proof DVD or VHS tape in which we indicate each reel by a number. You can then view this optional proof DVD or VHS tape and then provide us with the chaptering information for your final DVD.  There is a $7.00 charge for the proof DVD which you will keep.

Will you notify me when you receive the films?
Yes, if you provide an e-mail address or telephone number. We will advise you when your films are received, when we begin the transfer process, when the transfer process is completed, and when the order is shipped. We will provide the tracking number.

What if I want extra copies?
On the order form you may indicate that you want to order additional copies, either on DVD, Blu-Ray Disk or video tape. Extra DVDs and Blu-ray Disks are $10 per disk, extra video tapes are $15 per tape.

Can my films be put on tape?
Yes, we can put your film on ¾ inch Beta video tape, VHS, Super VHS, Digital 8, and Mini DV tape. We recommend that you obtain an initial transfer on DVD and then, if desired, add an additional format.

How long will it take for me to get my movies back?
Transfers will usually take about 2 to 3 weeks, unless it is a really large order. Please contact us for a more accurate estimate, especially if you have a very large order.  If this is a rush order for a special occasion then there is an additional charge.

Is a deposit required?
Yes, we require a deposit of $20.00 to begin any order. This is also our minimum charge