Video, Movie & Audio Transfer Conversion Options

Our team will gladly assist you with the choices that you have when transferring your movies. We've provided descriptions of why you would choose either High Definition or Standard Definition and if you would like your movie transferred as a file on a Hard Drive or USB instead/as well as a DVD you have a number of file format options to choose from.


Standard or High Definition

Standard Definition (SD) and High Definition (HD) both have advantages. High Definition offers increased contrast range and higher resolution, which leads to better detail and a more natural appearance.

Which which do I choose for my home movies?

If you have your movies transferred to Standard Definition  it will be lower resolution and interlaced and will only look correct on an interlaced display, such as an older, television.

If your footage is scanned to High Definition, then you have a choice of progressive High Definition or interlaced Standard Definition because High Definition  footage can always be down-coverted to Standard Definition in your computer far better than Standard Definition can be up-converted to High Definition during playback on an High Definition monitor.

Whether you transfer to either High Definition or Standard Definition, there are some other things to consider. The aspect ratio, that is the "shape", of High Definition and Standard Definition is totally different.

Standard Definition is 4:3 in proportion (the shape of an older television) , while High Definition is 16:9 in proportion (the shape of most plasma/LCD TV's).

However home movies have a totally different proportion (shape) and they perfectly fits either High Definition or  Standard Definition.

If you do transfer to High Definition, then you end up with black bars on the left and right sides of the image but the advantage is that you see 100% of the film frame with no picture loss. When you consider the added bonus of greater detail and a smoother, more natural image, the advantages of an High Definition transfer becomes obvious.

If the black bars on the left and right bother you, then you can have the 16:9 frame filled by zooming in during transfer as seen in example "D". If so, then remember it is better to cut off people's feet rather than their heads! But the black bars are really the better option due to zero information loss.

File Options

You can choose from 4 different file types which we can transfer your movies into:


Video File Options

All high definition and standard definition movie files are returned as .AVI video files. Unlike HDV, h.264, m4V, mp4 or any other type of MPEG based file, the time proven .AVI file has less compression and allows each frame to exist on its own without having to share content from surrounding frames. This makes for cleaner editing and later conversion to disc.

Some NLE platforms have a proprietary codec and may need to transcode these files before they will play properly on your timeline.

Our system will be color balanced before transfer and auto exposure will maintain average uniform exposure. Most transfers have color and brightness that can be enjoyed "as is". But final brightness and color correction may need to be performed on your edit system to suit your personal taste.

All HD and SD video files can be speed adjusted by us so they are ready to play on your NLE or we can transfer them 1:1 with no speed adjustment. If in doubt, we would suggest the 1:1 file because it will require less space on the hard drive you send us and leaves you options to change the speed and format cleanly on your edit system.

If we add a speed change to the file, there is no way for you to undo it properly later because you would be applying a speed change to a file that already has a speed change. While technically possible, it does not look very nice.

Following are the two types of .AVI video files we can deliver to you on a hard drive:

High Definition Files in the Motion JPEG codec:

These will have an aspect ratio of 16:9 (like an HD TV). You will have access to the entire super 8 or regular 8mm frame. Unless otherwise requested, there will be black masking (pillar bars) on the left and right hand side of the frame. If you request us to leave off the black masking, you will see the sprocket hole area to the left and the edge of the gate on the right. In either case, the film frame will be precisely centered left to right in the frame.

Any audio on the soundtrack will be part of the video file.

Disc space estimates for High Definition :

Standard Definition Files in the DV codec:

These will have an aspect ratio of 4:3 (like an old fashioned TV). Regular 8 will show the entire frame. Super 8 will lose a tiny bit of information on the left and right because super 8 is slightly wider than regular television.

Any audio on the soundtrack will be part of the video file.

Disc space estimates for Standard Definition:

Realistically, SD files are so small that any 500 gig drive should be more than big enough to handle your transfer.

Numbered Image Sequence

Numbered image sequences can be in High Definition or Standard Definition. Aspect ratio specifics and masking options are the same for numbered image sequences as for HD and SD video files described above.

Every frame of film is output to an individual JPEG which is numbered sequentially in a folder.

Most all computer edit systems can import such a sequence and automatically string the stills together to create a desired movie file.

The advantage of a numbered image sequence is that it offers the highest resolution and is codec-free. This means it is cross-platform friendly and no transcoding is required from one video format to another. The stills exist independently until your edit system stitches them together in whatever codec is required by your editing program. So it is like having us do the transfer directly to your PC or MAC with no video file in between.

Any audio on the film will be on a separate WAV file that is synchronous to the video file.

JPEGs are half a meg per frame and the transfer is 1:1 with no repeating frames. So all speeds will need to be applied in your edit program. But the advantage is that you can import these same files into any edit program now or 20 years from now because there is no video codec to go obsolete. Also, any frame can be imported into Photoshop or similar photo manipulation program if desired. Numbered image sequences are the only true archival way to store movie files for future-proofed accessibility.

Disc space estimates:


Get started right away. Send or bring your media to Level 1, michaels camera video & digital, or call our Service Department on (03) 9672 2222. E-mail: