Video Services FAQ

Video Services FAQ

Can you repair damaged or broken tapes?

Yes! PhotoSource can fix and repair most broken or damaged tapes and cassettes! Most tapes can be fixed to work like nearly new. However, some types of damage such as severe crinkling or heat damage will result in either having to remove those sections of tape or will show up as severe static and garbled imagery on screen. We will attempt to save as much footage as is safely possible so that the tape can be run and digitized. We can repair VHS, VHS-C, Mini-DV, and Hi-8/Digital8 tapes.

How do I tell the difference between 8mm and Super8mm Film?

The easiest way to tell whether you have 8mm or Super8 film is by looking at the sprocket holes on the film strips. 8mm sprocket holes are large than Super8 sprockets. 8mm sprocket holes are positioned at the bottom AND top of each frame on the film, whereas Super8's sprocket holes are positioned in the center.

How do I know how many feet of film are on a reel?

Your film may have been edited and spliced, so actual results may vary, but the chart below specifies the typical length of film on the most common reel sizes.

Reel Size Length 8mm Time Super 8mm Time
3" 50 ft 4-5 min 3-4 min
4" 100 ft 8-10 min 6-8 min
5" 200 ft 17-19 min 10-14 min
6" 300 ft 25-27 min 18-20 min
7" 400 ft 32-35 min 25-28 min
10" 1000 ft 90 min 70 min

Can you transfer 8mm film reels with sound?

Yes! We can convert your Super 8mm movies with sound! Most 8mm film reels do not have sound, but those that do will have a thin metal stripe on one side of the film.

Can you develop my undeveloped 8mm film reels?

No, we do not offer this service. You need to search for a facility that specializes in this service. One company that processes old formats is Rocky Mountain Film.

How much video can fit onto a DVD?

We put a maximum of 2 hours of video onto one DVD. Longer lengths would require us to degrade the video quality. Since we believe in preserving memories, we do not want to do this. Longer transfers can be put onto multiple DVDs and you will be able to enjoy the higher quality video for generations to come.

What are PAL, SECAM, and NTSC?

PAL, SECAM, and NTSC are various video standards used around the world. They are all incompatible with each other. That means that video recorded on equipment in the United States will not be playable on equipment in Europe and vice versa.

Can I view a VHS tape sent to me from Europe? Can my family in France watch a video that I recorded here in the US?

No, if both of you are using equipment that is sold and available in your respective countries, the video will be incompatible. For example, if your family in France recorded video (SECAM is the standard in France) and sent it to you in the US, your equipment (NTSC is the standard in the US) would not be able to play the video. It will appear garbled or like an extremely bad case of tracking problems. It is impossible to view a video recorded in a foreign country without first converting it. You could also consider buying specialized equipment or have that country's equipment shipped overseas, but that is pretty much impractical for most people.

What makes NTSC, PAL, and SECAM incompatible?

There are many reasons which start to get pretty technical, but the main thing that you need to know is that the frame-rate is different. This is why some people mistake a standards incompatibility for a tracking problem. Sometimes the image is partially viewable with large scrolling bars or severe flickering.

How do I know which country uses which video standard? NTSC, PAL, or SECAM?

There are not strict rules, but you can use our World Standards Guide to find out which standard is officially used in each country.

I have a lot of tapes and reels that I want to transfer, but it gets expensive. How do other people afford to digitize their film?

We understand that digitizing all of your video memories can be a costly investment. The good news is that its only a one-time need. Once your videos are digitized, you have avoided the risk of your film deteriorating over its lifetime. As long as digital media is stored properly (i.e. not sitting loose in a desk drawer), they can last a very, very long time.

Many of our customers who have many tapes and reels choose to bring in their order in batches. This helps to spread out the total cost over time.

Another option that some of our customers pursue is asking other family members to contribute money towards the service. In return, you can make DVD duplicates of the transfers and give everyone copies. Most of the time, relatives are more than happy to