This article appeared in MacWorld June, 2004.

TRANSFERRING FILM AND OTHER RELICS    by Jim Heid

If your family memories are preserved on film rather than on videotape, you'll need a little extra help getting them into iMovie and onto a DVD.  One low-budget option is to project the movies onto a wall or screen and use a tripod-mounted video camera to record the images as the movie plays.  However, I don't recommend this.  In most cases, the resulting footage suffers from severe flickering and poor color balance.  The best way to transfer film is to send it to a professional transfer service that uses telecine or film chain equipment, which more accurately preserves the color and picture quality of your footage.  Most services will clean and condition your old film before transferring it, to restore as much of its original beauty as possible.  Some companies even offer transfer services for obsolete video formats such as Betamax.  I sent some old 8mm movies to Novato Video Transfer (novatovideotransfer.com) in Novato, California, and I got great results.  The company charges 20 cents per foot, with a $40 minimum setup charge—a fairly typical fee for this type of job.  Some companies offer to transfer movies directly to DVD discs.  Avoid this option if you want to edit your old footage.  Instead, have your movies transferred to MiniDV tape and then use a camcorder to bring that footage into the Mac.

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