The good news when it comes to preserving 8mm and super 8 films is that they only deteriorate a little over time. It’s crazy that the technology that has replaced them is not better.
In fact, if you have recorded your memories of the 80s and 90s on tape, which in those days were VHS and video8, today you will see them much worse than you saw them at the time. In this case, the best thing you can do is find a good digitization service that can block the decay of the image and sound by creating a file that, on the contrary, does not deteriorate.
When movies were digitized on VHS and DVD
In the 1990s and 2000s, many owners of 8mm and super 8 films transferred them to tape to make them easier to watch. In doing so, in fact, it was no longer necessary to use an old, noisy projector, but you could watch your footage on TV, connecting the VCR to it.
If you were one of these owners, today you have two big problems:
- VHS tapes decay quickly.
- The quality of the VHS format is very poor.
In a (slightly) better scenario, you may have transferred your films onto DVD discs. If so, you are a little luckier. In fact, DVDs are digital media, so they do not lose quality over time. Beware, however, that just a simple scratch can make the discs unreadable.
Another problem is that desktop DVD players are disappearing and in 10 years, when your footage will still be important, they will probably be gone, a bit like it happened to VHS video recorders.
Where will you read your DVD then?
I'm afraid that my answer is: nowhere, because even computers don’t use them anymore!
The third reason is quality. In 1997, when I watched my first film on DVD, it seemed to have the best possible quality, at least compared to VHS tapes I was used to. Actually, DVD discs do not support high definition (HD), and in an 8mm and super 8 film digitized by a professional laboratory this difference is visible.
Below, you can watch a video of Cattolica (Italy) in 1968. I digitized it and restored it in Full HD resolution (1920x1080).
Whoever you are, a film director or simply someone who got here because of Google while trying to find a telecine service for your home movie collection, the difference with standard definition videos is easy to see: