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Moving Image Review  Preserving and Making Accessible Northern New England’s Moving Image Heritage
             SUMMER 2011  
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Tech Services

By Joe Gardner, Technical Services Manager
The two most common questions that we receive at NHF when people call about their home movies:

image of Kodachrome film box from 1940s.
An example of a 1940s 8mm Kodachrome film box, a film type used to shoot home movies.

Can you convert my old films and videos into something I can use?
Yes. Although 16mm and 8mm film, VHS video and other types of moving image formats were once commonly used by people to make home movies, finding functional equipment to view them today can be difficult. Additionally, the films and videos themselves may be damaged and require repair.
    At NHF, we have the resources to transfer old films and videos to formats that are useable by people today, the most frequently requested format being DVD. We are also able to create digital video files, which tech-savvy people can use on their home computers to create new, edited productions with titles, music or narration.
    Finally, be sure to never throw away your original film or video; they will always be your best quality back-ups.

If I still have a projector, should I watch my films to see what’s on them first?
No. We generally do not advise people to project their films. Projectors were designed to handle fresh film and when film is decades old, it is at least slightly shrunken.
    This means that the sprockets in the projector will not correctly align with the perforation holes on the film, and the film may become severely damaged if projected. Some projectors may also have a build-up of dirt and grease that could further damage or scratch film.
    The best way to identify film, when no other options exist, is to carefully inspect the first few feet of film by hand in a clean area (being sure not to touch the image area).      
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Moving Image Review is a publication of Northeast Historic Film,
P.O. Box 900, Bucksport, Maine 04416 • Tel: 207 469-0924 • www.oldfilm.org • Email nhf@oldfilm.org

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