How we carry out your cine film transfer
There are a number of ways to transfer Cine film to digital media. The most common that is employed is by projection and camcorder. The next stage up is to use a projector and light box, followed by a mirror system and camcorder, then a frame scanner and mirror system and finally a digital telecine. Below we look at the different methods and compare them side by side
It’s clear to see that a real-time telecine machine such as the TVT machines used at Timeless moments offers very real advantages over the more common camera and projector and the other types listed, not least perfect picture quality captured in real-time allowing customers the chance to experience their treasured memories once again without the extraordinary costs involved when using a Rank telecine (around $250,000) which can be up to £600 per hour. In fact, our systems are so good that we are regularly commissioned by the major television studios to transfer archive footage for documentary programs including the BBC television series “Preserving the Past” that we worked on with BBC East Midlands Today
The film is first cleaned using a microfibre cleaning material impregnated with a special film cleaning solution which cleans, lubricates and protects the film for the next 20 years at least.. Capturing then takes place via one of our dedicated telecine digital transfer machines for superb reproduction with no flicker guaranteed. Cine footage is then digitally remastered for the best possible film quality. This is attended capture, which means it is constantly monitored for hair or dirt, broken splices, exposure, colour saturation, brightness and contrast. The broadcast-quality telecine machines work by capturing each frame as it is illuminated via a highly diffuse LED light source, this has the effect of minimising scratches. CCD video pickup, a special macro lens system and TCS exclusive technology assure a sharp, steady, flicker-free image.
The gate (the little window that the film is projected through) is enlarged to give the full width of the frame revealing up to 20% more footage area than normal telecine or projectors. This is adjusted for each customer so that the maximum frame width is seen without seeing the sprocket holes, very few systems are capable of this level of frame capture adjustment.
The video feed is then sent to the onboard digital data store for frame rate synchronisation (to match the frame rate at 25 fps from the original 18 fps). This is then output to the computer through a Canopus TBC (time base corrector) DV chip (for exceptionally clean and smooth digital video signals) and into the high-end PCs via Firewire or USB 3.1 (high speed) for editing and authoring
4 pass cleaning system
The first pass is through a Kinetronic Static Vac (The antistatic film cleaner works with an electronic bipolar ionisation system. This same DC system produces positive and negative ions. Those ions neutralise all charge carriers on the surface of the soiled film strip.
The soft antistatic brushes remove almost all dust and lumps of particles. The rest is removed by the fan, which sucks the dirt particles into the built-in filter and ensures that all dirt particles remain in the device).
The second pass is across a mop loaded with FilmGuard ® which has several uses. Firstly it's great at removing stubborn dirt off the film surface. Second, it fills in tiny scratches and effectively makes them disappear from the transfer, thirdly it lubricates the film to give a smoother transfer, and lastly, it adds a wet gate effect which helps to improve the contrast of the films.
The film then passes through two more lint-free sterile cloths which rotate to always keep a clean face to the film (yes we get through a lot of this).
Sound capture (if present) is charged extra at 20p per foot for standard 8 and super 8, 16mm optical sound is charged at 4p per foot, 16mm magnetic soundtracks are highly specialised and are charged at 30p per foot.
Removing what we call dead film, perhaps footage of feet when the camera has been left on, breaks in the footage or footage that is simply not viewable. Timeless Moments is the only company in the UK that offer this level of editing as standard on all transfers.
Packing and return postage are charged at cost, or free of charge if you originally posted or brought the films to our studio, yes we are one of the few studios that are open to the public, which means you can see how we work and can be assured we don't just farm off your films to somebody else.