Okay, we have to admit we are sorry to report we will not be showing up at your door letting you know someone wants to make a movie based on your life. However, we think it is still important to get into the “nitty gritty” of digitizing home movie film.
Even more so than prints, home movies hold the key to one-of-a-kind memories. The difference is these memories move, speak, and act out what a photograph represents. Nothing can replace your movie memories. Your grandfather’s laugh and your grandmother’s singing voice are some things I’m positive you want to be able to play back for years to come. It would be heart breaking to realize you waited too long to digitize your home movies.
What warning signs should you look for?
Like a photograph, film has a life span as well. If you want to determine whether you should act fast for the sake of your movie reels these are a few sure fire ways to know something is not right:
Big red flags should go up if your movie reels smell like your salad! Your movies are experiencing something called “vinegar syndrome.” This is when the emulsion and film is breaking down from most likely being stored in heat and humidity.
Mold will show up as white or green flakes. This grows on the film from it having somehow been wet - try and keep your film in a dry place (your pool then would be a terrible choice).
Film cans can be rusted shut - you can gently use a screwdriver to open.
Curled film is the product of film that has been completely saturated in water and then dried out and shrunk. Be very careful when handling as this is already very delicate in this stage!
What do I do next?
The process for digitizing home movie film is similar to that of negatives, slides and prints.
First of all, we recommend deciding what you want out of this project - where are you primarily going to be sharing this footage and on what kind of medium? Make sure whatever service you choose meets all your needs and has a reputation of high quality. You get what you pay for - so be warned of services that boast bargain basement prices because very low quality might also come along (this isn't true for every service of course - just a word to the wise). You might also want to think about finding a professional organizer - like one of our photo organizing friends from APPO.
Although you might be excited about finally doing something with this film and unlocking all its potential, try and hold off until receiving the final digitized product to enjoy it. Your film is potentially very fragile. There is always a risk of scratching or damaging the film when playing it before sending it off. Projectors that are in good working condition are hard to come by these days.
This is the easy part - ENJOY your memories! Plan a night and invite all your family over. There is nothing like watching a comedy when the star actors are you and all your closest relatives.
Looking for a top notch digital image processing service? Services, like FotoBridge, can help you. Check out the link below to receive all the best deals for when you're ready to digitize!
Photo Credit: freedigitalphotos.net