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How to Copy 8mm Film to DVD

written by: Kumara Velu•edited by: Amy Carson•updated: 1/28/2011

If you’ve a 8mm projector and a decent video camera, you can turn your 8mm film to DVD without much difficulty. Follow this step-by-step method to copy 8mm film to DVD without a hitch and do a good job out of it.

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    The easiest way on how to copy 8mm film to DVD is to get a professional service to do the job for you. Even if you can afford the fee, you have a risk to contend with. The service may require you to ship your 8mm film for conversion especially if it’s located out of town. You would not want to risk the only copy of precious family memories, would you?

    The safer, but time-consuming option would be to do the conversion yourself. The process is not all that complicated if you follow the step by step procedure below on how to copy 8mm film to DVD.

    Let’s first look at the equipment you would need for the copying process.

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    Firstly, you would need a projector to play back the 8mm film. If you don’t have a projector or can’t borrow or rent one, you would have to forget the idea of copying 8mm film to DVD on your own. You will also have to ensure that the film is in fine condition. Repair any broken parts in the 8mm film. first before proceeding.

    Assuming you have the film projector and it is working fine, the other equipment you would need is a DV camera and a tripod. You’ll also need a quiet, dark room with a white smooth wall on which you can project the 8mm film.

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    In order to copy your 8mm film to DVD, you would have to capture it on to tape. You start with projecting the 8mm film on to the wall or a good white screen and then record the 8mm film with your DV camera.

    Set up your projector first. Make sure the lens is clean so that you get a clean picture from the 8mm film. Next, do a test projection of the 8mm film on the wall. Adjust the lens to get picture that is sharply focused. You want to get the smallest size picture to ensure high quality capture when you start rolling your DV camera.

    It’s now time to set up your video camera. Get the best quality video camera you can get hold of. Yes, you would need a tripod, a heavy stable tripod, one that doesn’t easily topple over in case it takes a knock when recording is in progress. You mount the video camera on the tripod and place it as close as possible to the projector without obstructing its line of vision.

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    Framing the 8mm Film

    With the camera in standby mode for recording, turn on the projector and let the film run. It’s time to set up the video camera for recording..

    Zoom the camera into the picture playing on the screen in such a way that it covers the whole frame with no blank spaces around the picture.

    Once you’ve got the framing right, you stop the projector and rewind the film to the start point. At this point be careful not to move your camera or your projector. Otherwise you would have to go through the hassle of starting all over again.

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    Before you begin recording you would want to channel the output of the projector to the audio in of the DV camera. This would prevent the camera from picking up ambient sounds in the recording room.

    Start rolling the camera first before turning on the projector.

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    Transferring to DVD

    Once you’ve captured the film to tape and are happy with the quality, you’re now ready to transfer the footage to DVD. If you’ve been capturing video from your video camera via Firewire IEEE 1394, this process is going to be a breeze for you.

    If you don’t have video editing software, you can capture the video footage using Windows Movie Maker or iMovie (Mac) to capture the video footage from your tape. Once the video footage is captured into your hard disk, then you can use a free program like DVD Flick or Video DVD Maker Free to burn your DVD.

    As you can see from the above, you can easily learn how to copy 8mm film to DVD if you’ve the right equipment and follow the procedure outlined above with patience and determination.