Telecines and film transfer

Telecine facilities and rates for transfer of motion picture film to digital video in the Philadelphia region
by Kate Pourshariati, film archivist, katepour[at]upenn[dot]edu

Telefilm: Rank Cintel Telecine $75.00 for 400 feet (11:00) of 16mm film, this would be with the hard drive provided by the customer. They will provide you with a DVD as well for an extra 10.00. This company will work with invoices as well. They are by far the least expensive transfer facility in the region. They work with amateur and professional footage, and video formats. Contact:

Well known but much more expensive facilities to work with that specialize in archival film lab work, are Colorlab in Maryland (offices also in NYC) and Film Tech in Los Angeles.

Notes on telecines and how they differ from film chains

High end telecine machines do not put wear and tear on your motion picture film as a projector can; please note that projectors are used in (lower end) film-chains. The home movie transfer services at many photography stores refer to film chain set-ups in which a video camera is pointed toward a film projection via an intermediary screen.

As of 2013, only three facilities in our region have truly high end telecine machines, as listed above. One way to get a sense of whether the facility is using high end equipment is to ask if the film can be wet-gate transferred. Wet gating will remove the
appearance a certain amount of scratches from the film in the transfer. A less formal film chain arrangement is not capable of doing that work.

We do not endorse any particular facility, it is our intention here to share factual information on technology and film handling expertise.

Lastly, we urgently recommend that while making digital access copies, everyone will embrace the AMIA and NFPF guidelines regarding good storage and maintenance of the original film footage. Aside from film’s intrinsic value and higher quality no matter what new medium arises, it has been determined in studies by the Image Permanence Institute and elsewhere that motion picture film , if properly stored, has the longest life of any motion picture medium yet developed. Shorthand: SAVE THE FILMS! Keep them cool and dry.

Please keep me updated on other facilities that you find, and what your experiences are with them!