your Movies on the Web by Mark Shapiro
I say movies, I mean film. Many of us, or
our parents or grand parents have boxes and
boxes of old Super8 or 8mm movie film hidden
away in garages and closets and attics.
Wouldn’t it be great to be able to put
these old movies and images up on the web
for sharing among families, friends and
first need to convert the film to a digital
file that your computer that can recognize
and edit. Once you have the film edited,
you’ll need to convert it to a
streaming format and upload it to the web.
first step, converting film to digital, is
probably the most difficult. You could set
up a projector and screen, and simply use a
camcorder to shoot and capture the images.
That will work – sort of. There are many
problems you may experience.
up the projector and camcorder is not easy.
You don’t want the image key-stoning –
shooting at an angle to that one side is
smaller than the other. That is ugly. Also,
you camcorder may not be able to handle
large shift sin contrast that film can.
Your dark scenes may end up looking
to muddy; your bight scenes may end up
if the film is very old and is falling
apart? You may find the sprocket holes are
ripped and broken and the projector won’t
run it. Even worse, fragile old filmstrips
often break inside the projector and end up
creating the classic film melting effect.
could buy a film-chain or telecine – a
special device that is built optimized for
converting film to video. However, these are
expensive and take up a lot of space.
easiest way is to pay someone else to do it
for you. There are a bunch of companies that
can digitize film. Some output it to digital
tape; some output it to DVD, and some offer
a wide selection of various services. I did
a short online survey and found YesVideo.
Based in San Jose, they offer reliable
services at an affordable price with a good
finished DVD product.
first step is getting the film to them. They
made it easy as they have entered into
partnerships with a several national
retailers like Walgreens and CVS. You might
also find a local smaller photo store that
can offer this YesVideo service as well. Go
to theYesVideo web site and use their store
locator to find a spot near you.
you lug your film reels down there, you
should take a few moments and number them in
the order you want to see them on the DVDs.
The YesVideo technicians will then follow
the numbers when they transfer them to the
DVDs. You could organize them by chronology,
subject matter, whatever. When you bring
them into the retail outlet, the photo clerk
will pack them all up and then ship them to
the YesVideo plant in San Jose.
price is reasonable – the first 250 feet
will run you about $49.95. Each additional
foot will cost a dime. Small reels of 8mm
and Super8 film are about 50 feet each.
the filling out the form process, you also
can pick out various music selections that
YesVideo will dub onto the DVDs as an audio
track for your DVD.
the film gets to YesVideo, the technicians
carefully bar code each and every reel to
make sure that your precious memories
won’t get lost. The film is then removed
from the small reels and threaded onto
larger reels. During this process, YesVideo
will repair breaks and clean the film a bit.
The next step is the actual digital transfer
where they use a battery of projectors aimed
into video cameras. The film images are
digitized and then sent to the DVD burning
room where the footage runs through some
quality control and image processing
hardware and then is burnt onto the DVD,
complete with menu icons.
part of this transfer process, your selected
soundtracks also get burned onto the DVD,
underneath your silent film footage.
addition to seeing your films on the DVD,
YesVideo also creates three short “music
videos” onto each DVD. Their proprietary
software picks out what it considers the
best shots and then creates a short montage
collection, cut to your selected music. When
the DVD is all done, it is packed up and
then shipped back to the retailer where you
placed your order.
next step in the putting your film on the
web process is to get the video off the DVD
and into your video editing program.
You’ll need to convert the DVD’s VOB
file st something your computer and editing
software canworkwith, like AVI or MPEG
you do a web search on converting DVD VOB
files to MPEG or AVI, you’ll find lots of
choices. Recommend shareware products
include AVS Video Converter, Hero Video
Convert, and FlexImage DVD to AVI.
I downloaded and used DVD
to VCD SVCD AVI Converter
to convert the DVD’s VOB files to AVI.
you have the files in an AVI format, it is
time to open up your favorite video editing
and get to work. By the way – some video
editing programs are finicky about what
kinds of AVI files they will accept. For
example, Pinnacle Studio 9 only likes Type 2
AVI files, not Type 1.
the background music that YesVideo supplied
might not be the most appropriate for your
finished project, you may prefer to strip it
out and replace it with your own. Another
good idea is to add your own narration that
explains the who, what and where of these
classic film sequences.
you have edited the digital version of your
film, added effects, voice-over, credits,
etc., the final step is to use your video
editing software’s export or save
functions to output your finished video as a
streaming format and then to post it to the
appropriate site on the web. Of course, you
can also use pro compression programs like
Canopus ProCoder or Discreet’s cleaner for
Mac or Windows.