Why scan your Super 8, 8mm and 16mm films in HD?

We are often asked why you would bother scanning old super 8, 8mm or 16mm films at high definition.

Firstly, film isn’t digital so there are no pixels to limit the resolution by. The amount of resolution and detail that film can hold is determined by the lens of the camera used to shoot the film, the frame size and the quality of the particles of the film stock used.

We are regularly surprised at the amount of detail contained in even very old films. Whilst a standard definition PAL picture can only display at 720x 576, our tests have shown that most 8mm / Super 8 and all 16mm films are in almost all cases effectively a much higher resolution than this.

This means that compression factors aside, standard definition DVD not only limits the resolution of the output, but further limits the quality of the footage due to the compression inherent in the format.

Depth and Contrast

Probably the most significant benefit of a good high definition scan is in the improved contrast and depth it produces. We scan all 8mm and super 8 film on your reversal footage, delivering incredible vibrancy and colour only available from HD.


As mentioned, DVD is only capable of delivering standard definition playback. It just doesn’t have the capability to deliver the huge amount of bandwidth required to maintain a high definition picture.

For this reason, the only way to view your high definition scan is on Blu-Ray (an affordable disc format that has all but replaced DVD), or on a high resolution file such as .avi or .mov which can be viewed or edited on a computer. Either way, we can deliver the format you need.

Plan for the Future

With standard definition and DVD representing obsolete technology, it makes complete sense to take advantage of the capabilities that HD has to offer. Before you commit to a transfer, it’s worth at least asking us for a HD test scan to compare the benefits.