Preserving Home Movie Memories for the Modern Age

Whether it’s your wedding day, or your child’s first steps, preserving these memories on video provides a way for you and your family to relive the most precious moments of your lives for generations to come. In years past, many of these moments were preserved on film, but this medium is being phased out, and finding devices to play these films and the means of restoring them is getting tougher. Transitioning these home movies to a digital format, whether it’s from 8mm to DVD, or VHS to DVD, will help keep them safe and accessible for many years to come.

A History of Home Movies

Since the dawn of film, families have desired to record special moments for future reminiscing and review. Home movies have recorded vacations, weddings, graduations, and a variety of other family and personal milestones.


The earliest home movies were shot on 17.5mm Birtac film. This film format was developed in 1898 by Birt Acres and consisted of standard 35mm film being split into two strips. This format was less costly and more efficient than 35mm, thus making it more easily available to home movie enthusiasts in the early 20th century.

By the 1920s, new innovations helped make film more practical and affordable. Safety film marked a key development in the field. Older, nitrate film required very careful storage and handling, and was highly flammable. Safety film made its debut in the 20s and became a standard for amateur film buffs in the 30s after Eastman Kodak introduced its 16mm safety film in 1932.

Kodak wasn’t through innovating yet, however. The same year the company introduced 16 mm film, it also introduced the 8mm film format. The film later became known as “Standard 8” or “Regular 8” and placed four frames in the area taken up by a single 16mm frame. This innovation led to further growth in the popularity of home movies.

8mm film typically came in 16mm-wide format and made its way through the camera in two passes – one in each direction. The film was sliced in two after being processed. Another form of 8mm film called Straight 8 came already divided into 8mm width. This format reduced the amount of film stock greatly – by about 75 percent – making it more affordable, and also making home movie cameras and projectors smaller and more portable. The introduction of 8mm film helped fuel mass popularity of home movies, as it finally made them convenient and accessible to most families. During the 30s, color film also became more accessible and affordable for the general public.

Further technological developments yielded Super 8 film in 1965. This innovative film product, developed by Kodak, greatly improved convenience and image quality. The Super 8 format had smaller perforations than standard 8mm, allowing for clearer images. Also, the film came in convenient cartridges that made loading film into a camera easy. Fujifilm answered Super 8 with Single-8, a similar product with a few technical differences. Super 8 was wildly popular, and many home movies on film were shot in that format for decades.

Video cassette recorders and players heralded the next major development in home movies. Videocassettes hit the market in the mid-70s and became popular because they were cheaper than film and were reusable. As the technology developed, it became less expensive, and eventually nearly every home in the U.S. had a VCR capable of playing VHS tapes. The widespread presence of devices capable of playing video in homes made VCR home movies extremely popular.

Just when most people thought that home video recording couldn’t get any easier, the advent of digital recording and reproduction shattered all expectations. Digital formats, such as DVDs, made physical storage and transportation of home movies much easier and more convenient. Reproduction of video content also became much easier, thanks to DVD technology.

Converting Home Movies to DVD

As the industry phases out film and transitions to digital formats for recording and preserving home movies and other video content, many people want to convert their old film to this format. Time is imperative for some of these home movies as the older they get, the more they will degrade, and the harder it will be to convert them and preserve their quality.

Some home movie enthusiasts will try to convert their films to DVD by various processes, including projecting the film onto a white screen and using a DVD camera to record the projection. This will result in a substantial loss of picture quality, thus making the process best left to professionals.

Professional 8mm or Super 8 to DVD transfer technicians will use a highly technical process to convert film to DVD format. The very best services will illuminate the 8mm film with a low-power diffused light source, and then image the surface of each frame of 8mm film. Because there are no barriers between the transfer equipment and the film, the home movies will be captured without any distortions or loss of picture quality. Some edits can be made to brighten dark scenes in the film or darken overexposed film. In some cases, the picture quality even improves after going through this process.

By transferring old Super 8 to DVD, home movie enthusiasts can ensure that their memories are preserved in a tough, easily reproducible format. This means that their children and grandchildren will be able to cherish and reflect on important milestones for many generations to come.

8mm to DVD is the nation’s largest provider of 8mm to DVD and related services. In business since 2002, 8mm to DVD has helped countless families preserve their memories for generations to come by converting them to a robust digital format. The company can convert 8mm film to DVD, videotapes to DVD, and 35mm slides to DVD and CD format. Accredited by the Better Business Bureau, 8mm to DVD offers a quick turnaround time and reliable, quality transfers that preserve the pictures and sound captured in your film.

Start preserving your home movie memories today!

Back to Top