Best service to use for digitizing old, fragile Super 8 film?
June 24, 2021 7:19 PM   Subscribe

I have 12 developed reels of my dad's Super 8s spanning from 1965-1978. My mom would like them preserved, I want them in a digital format. I'm a bit overwhelmed by the number of places out there that can do both. Who should we pick?

Other details:

The plastic spools are starting to disintegrate, some of the film looks pretty brittle so we really need someone who knows their way around this kind of thing. We also have 5 undeveloped reels, I'm not sure about the best way to get those processed.

Cost is not issue. We're okay using one service for preservation and another for the digital transfer if that's what it takes. I live in Portland, a local company would be great but I care more about finding someone who will take really care good of the film.

Thank You.
posted by space_cookie to Grab Bag (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I've only used them for video cassettes and audio tape, but ScanDigital answered questions in a way that convinced me they really knew what they were doing. It might be worth calling them and asking detailed questions. (I imagine the undeveloped stuff will require someone else.)
posted by eotvos at 7:48 PM on June 24, 2021

When we converted my dad's Super 8 we just used a local shop. Dad's reels weren't in great shape but they also weren't brittle. This might be a case where using a local fb group or nextdoor to ask for recs might be to your advantage.

(We got the super 8 transferred to dvd and then we uploaded the files to google drive and sent out links to other family members, super easy.)
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 8:52 PM on June 24, 2021

You might ask a local indie theater or film society. These groups sometimes happen on an old 16mm copy of a rare film and they probably have some go-to services that they trust 100% even if they have to mail them off and pay extra. Specialty knowledge will definitely matter in this case since it sounds these reels haven't been kept in archival conditions. My guess is they will consider this a friendly challenge and get you someone really good!
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 8:56 PM on June 24, 2021

Best answer: A similar question from a couple years ago that I answered

Although they're on the other side of the continent from you, DiJiFi is who I'd recommend without hesitation. I've used their services for documentary films that I worked on and I'd trust them implicitly with any personal media as well.
posted by theory at 10:02 PM on June 24, 2021

Best answer: Gary is local.
posted by Nosmot at 11:44 PM on June 24, 2021

Have you talked with Blue Moon in North Portland? If they can't help you, they can probably direct you to someone who can.
posted by hydra77 at 9:10 AM on June 25, 2021

I've used Mpix for this several years ago and it was a good quality transfer with brittle film.
posted by j810c at 1:14 PM on June 25, 2021

I had a bunch of 8mm digitized by Movette. They did a great job and are just the sort of hipster experts you want handling fragile film. They are quite familiar with dealing with deteriorating film stock. A big problem is the film warps so it's not flat. Their equipment deals with it.

Not local but I imagine they can help you figure out how to package and ship the film.
posted by Nelson at 2:14 PM on June 25, 2021

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