- Flat pricing for all film formats
- Project delivered via private website
- Handwritten transcription available
- Mac/PC compatible .mp4 files
- Free downloads for 180 days
- Includes USB or DVD
- Includes custom labeling and transcriptions
- Includes .mp4 files, private website and 180 days of free downloads
- Ask about upgrade to 2KHD film transfer
A $40 service fee applies to all orders. This service fee provides for safe handling procedures including: intake, item barcoding, physical & digital storage, quality checks by senior technicians and packaging. All orders come with 180 days of free access to downloadable, Mac/PC compatible video files via your own private, password-protected website. Our standard package also includes custom labeling and your choice of DVD or USB flash drive. Your originals are always returned to you at the end of the project.
Archival Upgrade Fee
*Flat. Starting at per order
- Up to 2000 feet: $45 2000-5000 feet: $65 | 5000+ feet: $85
- Triple backup via included USB, DVD and private cloud
- DVD upgrade to 80 yr, scratch-resistant, silver/gold alloy
- Ask about archival digital file formats
Our clients love what we can do – and we digitize all formats
Extras & Details
- Film reels with sound: add $0.10/foot
- Combine or uncombined small reels
- Film with optical sound: ask your consultant
- Have a rare format? We can even convert 35mm film to digital: Ask us!
- Extra DVD or CD: $20 Archival
- Extra USB: ask your consultant
- Add label transcription to Digital Only: $2/reel
- Private website free for 6 months
One stop shopping for all your digitizing needs: other popular services
Top 10 Reasons Why Families Choose Us
- Convenience: Home pickups, over 40 local stores, and easy shipping kits
- Trust: 30+ years experience, 60+ expert technicians
- Organization: Single clipped file for each reel with written labels transcribed for you
- Respect: No upfront payments required and no rushed decisions
- Time Efficient: Over 90% of production orders completed in under one month
- Affordable: We charge by the foot so you only pay for what you have. Flat rate prices elsewhere, even heavily discounted, are more expensive than us for the most common reels.
- Quality: We use the best equipment and don’t cut corners. For all the technical, nitty gritty details, click here:
- Security: Alarmed, sprinklered, camera-monitored lab during transfer. 180-days of free backup cloud storage afterward (in addition to your USB or DVD). Advanced barcode tracking and email technology to keep you updated along the way.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Why do certain tape formats cost more than others?
Difference is price is largely determined by scarcity of equipment. 95% of the tapes we see cost the same – specifically – VHS, VHS-C, 8mm/Hi8 and MiniDV. These formats were, by far, the most popular in the US, and as such there is more equipment available to restore. Every other format was dramatically less common. To give context, a really good VCR might cost $800 and need to be restored every 500 tapes. A really good Umatic ¾ inch VTR might cost $4,000 and need restoration every 200 tapes. This dynamic plays out for Betamax, Betacam, all foreign formats like PAL and SECAM, etc. When you see a tape costing more than the standard price for VHS and similar, it’s simply us accounting for unavoidable additional equipment costs associated with more rare formats.
Do you offer bulk discounts and handle very large projects?
We do. EverPresent’s video conversion service is uniquely suited to handle large projects
. We have over 60 professionals on staff and hundreds of pieces of unique digitizing equipment. We recently completed a single project that involved over 140,000 hours of video tape footage. When you contact us, please alert us to the size of your project and your specifications, and we’re happy to provide a custom proposal with an appropriate discount. Please be advised that there is only so far a bulk discount can go. A two-hour tape needs to be played for a full two hours to be digitized in all circumstances. So while a large order creates some efficiencies that we are happy to pass on in a bulk discount, those efficiencies only go so far.
Can you repair video tapes?
We certainly can. The types of repair we can do that tend to work well are:
- Replacing broken plastic casings
- Respooling magnetic film that has loosened
- Splicing back together film that has snapped
- Cleaning modest levels of mold
There are times when we cannot repair tapes sufficiently to be viable for our video converting service. It is also worth noting that there are common flaws in tapes that aren’t a repair situation, but will affect the quality of the video transfer to DVD or digital. Below are the three common ones that can be frustrating and near-impossible to address, but generally do not compromise the ability to enjoy the memories. Every order comes with a Quality Letter that reviews what we found on these fronts on all of your tapes so that you are never surprised.
- Tape Crease: A faint horizontal smear of distortion at the top of the screen during playback of the file. This issue is caused by a physical crease on the magnetic tape itself.
- Frame Hold: The image on the tape periodically becomes shaky and unstable, with occasional thin lines emerging. This is due to deterioration of the magnetic tape itself.
- Digital Corruption: Heavy pixelation and nearly a complete loss of audio. Digital corruption can be caused by camera issues when the tape is originally recorded, as well as various forms of degradation or magnetism.
Why do you charge by the foot?
When we transfer film to dvd’s we believe in charging for the work we do, no more and no less. A huge percentage of film reels are not full, and flat rate pricing greatly advantages the transfer company. Further, a secret in our industry is that over 80% of the film reels are the hockey puck sized ones that have 50 feet or less of footage. The flat rate reel pricing at other film transferring companies was invented to take advantage of this dynamic. For example, a standard 50 foot 8mm reel at all of our major competitors, even discounted 50%, costs more than our superior film transfer service. We honestly don’t like how other companies price their film transfers and we’re proud of our transparent and high value pricing, even if it means we lose out on the business benefits that others glean from flashy, ultimately empty discounts.
Why does it cost extra to digitize the sound on my reels?
Sound transfer requires additional equipment, a secondary transfer, quality check of the sound sync and some light optimization work. When we transfer films to DVD that have sound, this additional process is priced to break even, not make money. Sound is found on ~6% of the film reels we see, and clients often are unaware that sound was on their reels. As such, we’ve priced this service at the minimum level so that we can avoid unpleasant surprises all around while ultimately preserving the memories.
What sort of files do I get?
When we transfer film to DVDs or USB sticks the footage is exported in .mp4 files in the h264 codec. This format is the gold standard in the industry due to Mac and PC compatibility, ease of editing in common software, and high quality video quality in a space efficient file (~1.6GB per hour of footage). All that said, if you are a film editor and would like alternative file types when transferring film, such as larger .avi files, you can let us know and we can accommodate most requests.
Do you offer film to digital services for educational institutions?
At any given moment we are doing multiple film transfer projects for institutions. Sometimes it’s larger catalogs of work where we are digitizing the whole collection for a department, library or even a whole campus. Other times we will be preserving film for a graduate student or individual faculty member for use in a research project or presentation. We often hear from alumni departments looking to digitize collections to re-engage with former students, including a recent project digitizing a full season of high school football films. We have worked with countless students over the years, usually film majors or students doing research for a history course. In general, we can handle large projects with ease, including projects with hundreds of thousands of feet of film. And we have deep experience helping institutions of all types, academic or otherwise, including businesses and offices of various kinds, and various governmental agencies. Our team can help with any info required to get a project going, including grant proposals, RFPs, etc. and we follow all of the relevant archival film preservation guidelines.
Do you offer bulk discounts and handle very large projects?
We do. EverPresent is uniquely suited to handle large projects. We have extensive resources, including over 60 professionals on staff and hundreds of pieces of unique digitizing equipment. We recently digitized over 200,000 feet of film for a football team! When you contact us, please alert us to the size of your project and your specifications, and we’re happy to provide a custom proposal with an appropriate discount. Please be advised that there is only so far a bulk discount can go. Large projects don’t allow us to speed up the digitizing process. So while a large order creates some efficiencies that we are happy to pass on in a bulk discount, those efficiencies only go so far.
Do you improve the film?
Yes. Our process of transferring film to DVD can optimize contrast, perform degraining and stabilize wobbly footage. That said, deeper film restoration, such as frame-by-frame edits to color saturation or to remove scratches in the film, is a different beast. If you have needs in this area, let us know and we can provide a quote or recommend a specialist with this ability. Be advised that advanced film restoration will cost many multiples of the cost of the initial film digitizing fees.
Are there any film formats you do not digitize?
When transfer just about everything, whether it’s silent film or films with optical sound or magnetic sound, and whether the reels are in good or poor condition. The one format we don’t specialize in is the large format 35mm movie film. This is because these films are best handled by Hollywood oriented film houses that have a history of working with this format. However, we’re happy to make a referral.
The Technical Fine Print
There are certain folks who like to read the fine print before they make an important decision. This section is for you. It’s not a light read, but will give you a look under the hood at how the film reel transfer process works. Our philosophy has always been simple: only offer a service if we can do it better and/or cheaper than the alternatives. If you can’t look in the mirror and meet that standard with a straight face, then don’t offer it at all.
Quality Factor #1 – Film Preparation
Our film digitizing machines are really good – so good that they can reproduce high definition footage of all of the dust, mold and blemishes that have accumulated on your reels over the last 50 years. For numerous reasons, the preparation of the film is just as important as the equipment chosen. Specifically, EverPresent’s film to digital transfer team does the following:
- The film itself is cleaned by microfiber cloth and/or a special cleaning solution to remove as much dust, scuff and other surface matter as possible.
The film is inspected for any bends or breakage. Where possible, we repair splices. This is critical, because damaged film can lead to jumpiness in the final digitized version, or even damage, if we don’t address it up front.
- We also inspect the reels themselves. If the reel housing the film is in bad shape, or the footage is wound poorly, it can lead to issues in the capture. We very often will replace the original reel with a new one, or respool the footage to get optimal tension of the film transfer.
- Lastly, we evaluate the reels for other forms of compromise, such as mold or vinegar syndrome. Where we can, we remediate the issue before the conversion process.
Quality Factor #2 – Digitizing Equipment
8mm and 16mm film transfer may yield the biggest difference in result between poor vs. solid equipment of everything we see at EverPresent. Many companies still do versions of projecting film on old devices onto a wall or into a dark box and then re-record the film using handheld cameras. We don’t do this. Our transfer equipment is custom built, offers frame-by-frame scanning of the film, and the optical element can capture up to 2KHD resolution. Every film project at EverPresent experiences the benefit of tens of thousands of dollars worth of technology.
Critically, our equipment performs a sprocketless transfer. This really, really matters. The little sprockets on the outside of film reels are how old projectors and cameras grabbed the film and moved it along. This was perfectly adequate technology for handling brand new film. But over the decades, the sprockets have deteriorated. Most cheaper equipment still relies on the sprockets, and the result is jumpy transfers at best, or damaged film at worst. Our machines use advanced soft tension rollers to move the 8mm and 16mm film along without relying on the sprockets, which yield a safer and superior film transfer.
All that said, the way you maintain equipment is just as important as the quality of the equipment. When you are running old home movies through the machines, there’s wear and tear. That’s why we maintain the equipment diligently. That includes cleaning the rollers so that they don’t dirty your film, cleaning the imaging lenses, and replacing the lighting elements on a frequent basis. If you don’t do this, good equipment becomes bad equipment very quickly.
Lastly, to our knowledge we are the only large consumer film transfer company offering digitizing of film with sound or offering 2KHD conversions. Believe it or not, most other companies simply ignore the sound strips on your film, whether it’s the common magnetic audio on Super8 film or the optical sound found on 16mm films. We find ourselves constantly redoing the work of other companies in this area.
Quality Factor #3 – File Organization
The majority of film reels come to us in cardboard boxes where space was scarce to write a label – or – in a metal tin where a small piece of tape was used to write a label – again, with scarce space. Further, over 80% of film reels are the three inch variety, and most people have a lot of them.
Our competitors tend to take the path of least resistance, which is to combine the reels together, skip the written labels, and create one master video file for all of the reels. This is not good! It means the films that may have been in order are certainly out of order, and there’s no way to navigate to footage you want in a DVD menu or USB drive folder structure.
At EverPresent, when we transfer film to DVDs, we transcribe the written labels into the DVD or USB menus. And after the transfer, we clip every unique reel into a unique file. So if you send us 32 reels, you get 32 files on your drive or 32 items in your DVD menu. This seems obvious, but we’re an exception in providing this level of organization.
Quality Factor #4 – Human Beings
A lot of what we’ve written on this page is about the technology and process of transferring film to digital (sometimes spelled film-to-digital), not the people. But people are the most important part of EverPresent’s service. We make an expert consultant available to you at the start of the project so that you can ask all of the questions that need asking before making big decisions. Your technicians are skilled and go through extensive background checks and apprentice training before we let them digitize your cherished memories. Senior technicians quality check every order to ensure the integrity of the footage, and even write you a letter reviewing how the process turned out. For those clients in the Northeast, all transport of your materials to and from our digitizing studio is handled by our full-time in-house drivers so you don’t have to worry about the overwhelmed postal services losing your materials.
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