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Home /DIY / Can 16mm Film Be Transferred to DVD?

Can 16mm Film Be Transferred to DVD?

By Katy Sommerfeld

If you still have 16mm film reels from way back in the day, you probably have a strong sense of nostalgia and sentimentality that keeps you from wanting to get rid of them. If you’ve held onto them for all these years, they obviously hold some significance to you. Now that we’re living in the digital age, however, it’s likely that you’re not watching these films as much as you might like to. Unless you have an old school film projector, there aren’t many options for viewing these relics from the past. The truth is that your film reels are outdated, and it’s time to give them a digital upgrade so they can be watched again - but can your 16mm film reels be transferred to DVD?

16mm film can absolutely be transferred to both DVD and digital formats, and there are a few transfer methods that you can choose from. There are film-to-DVD transfer devices you can purchase online and use at home, and digitization companies that handle the entire transfer process for you as well. However, not all of these methods are equal. We’ll explore the at-home methods first, and then dive into the ins and outs of digitization services to help you see which option is the best for you, your time, and your wallet. 



DIY Film-to-DVD Conversion

If you own a film reel projector, a digital video camera, and a clean, white wall or projector screen, you can rig up a film-to-video converter in your own home. In order for the conversion to work, you have to set up your projector in a dark room with a clean, white surface, and project your film reel on the wall evenly. Then, you’ll need to set up your digital recorder and record the projected film digitally. This DIY conversion is doable and free if you have all the supplies; however, the quality of the digital video you create will be very low, and any discolorations or marks on the white surface you recorded on will come up in the video. Also, it’s a good idea to be present during the entire process to make sure your recording doesn’t shift or stop. If you’re looking for a good-quality digital copy of your film reels, this is not the option for you. 

Film-to-DVD Home Converters

Film-to-digital converters are devices that play your film reels through their entirety, scanning the slides as they pass through and transferring them into digital video. These converters are sold from $100 to $400+, and the reliability of these devices differs between brands. Both Kodak and Wolverine converters have good reviews; however, these converters cannot match the quality of the digital videos that professional digitization services offer. The quality of the digital videos that are produced from these at-home converters has been rated as “adequate” by many experienced consumers.

Film-to-DVD Transfer Services

Digitization services like Southtree are experienced in converting film reels to DVDs and have experienced technicians who work directly with your films to ensure the highest quality end product possible. Most digitization services have special digitization techniques that they have perfected to create a high-quality digital video. Southtree can digitize two film reels for just $40, and they offer packages allowing you to get up to 40 reels digitized at a time. For professional quality digitization, Southtree has excellent prices. They also pay for shipping and handling, so you can pack up all your reels at home and get the digitized copies on your doorstep! Their customer service is top-rated, and their digitization progress tracker lets you know exactly where your films are in the conversion process. 


What’s the Verdict?

Overall, we think that going with a professional film-to-DVD conversion company is the best option. The price of digitization with a company like Southtree is hard to beat, especially for the high-quality product you will receive. While at-home digitization may seem convenient or easy, the resulting digital videos you make may not be up to the quality level you may want to see. Check out Southtree’s digitization packages today and get your film-to-DVD conversion started!

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