How to Request a Digital Transfer Quote

  • Steve Puffenberger
  • Movie Film, Home Video, Audio, Transfer Misc.
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How to Request a Digital Transfer Quote

Here's what we need to know to give you an accurate estimate.

Unlike our "box" competitors who are trying to commoditize digital transfers, we at Advent Media, Inc. provide a wide variety of specialized personal services, and our prices are near to or in some cases less than our competitors. We treat each job as special, because your films, tapes or images are special. We don't think it's fair to charge the same for a 5 minute roll of film as for a 6-hour VHS tape recorded at super-slow speed, so our pricing is dependent on quantity or time.

Process Overview

  1. Send us a detailed inventory of what you have to transfer (see below).
  2. Well send you a quote with an agreement to sign based on the inventory. Discounts apply, so the more you order the bigger the discount – up to 25%!
  3. We arrange an appointment to drop off (or ship) the materials. For orders over $200 we ask for a deposit of 50% of the quote. Orders under $200 require a deposit of the full quote. For all transfers, minimum order is $75 (plus tax).
  4. We transfer all the materials right in our studio. They never leave the building. We'll keep you posted on progress.
  5. After completing the transfer, we’ll tally the quantity of the materials actually transferred (time, footage, number of pictures or data) and adjust the balance. It may be more or less than the quote depending on the exact quantity we find, and extra services requested or required (such as splice repair). We send you the tally via email when the transfers are ready. (If shipping is required, FedEx will be used, at extra cost.)
  6. We make another appointment for you to pick up the materials, or we arrange for shipping. The adjusted balance is due upon delivery. Credit cards are welcome, and may be paid online before dropping off or picking up.

Scroll down or click for details on your source media type:
Prints/Slides Movie Film Videotape Audio Recordings Devices

Prints or Slides:

Specify Type and Quantity:
We simply need to know how many prints or slides you have. If there are too many to count, you can estimate.

  • Prints
    • We can transfer loose or framed photos of any size, from snapshots to portraits. Prints should be removed from albums for best results. Framed photos with dirty or damaged glass should be removed from frames. Photos from old newspapers or magazines may exhibit artifacts. Please specify type of photos.
    • Digitizing prints made from digital files (as you would get by taking a camera card to Walgreens or printing at home) rarely works well. If you want to include digital files in your collection, bring them on Flash drive or camera card, which is much less expensive than scanning. We can also extract photos from a phone or a cloud account. When requesting a quote, let us know how many digital pictures you intend to supply, and how we can access them.
    • Prints with cracks, wrinkles or other damage will appear as you see them unless you specify print restoration (at extra cost). We can sometimes do miracles with Photoshop.
  • Slides
    • We can transfer 2x2-inch 35mm, Instamatic or 620 (Superslides), as well as large format slides up to 4x5 inches.
    • For 2x2 slides there is a 50% discount if slides are loaded in Carousel trays. We can use either 80 or 140 slide trays. Slides in other types of trays will be removed from the trays and returned in stacks.
    • If transparencies are larger or smaller than 2x2, we need to know the dimensions.

Specify Capture Options:

  • Sequence: If you want the images in a particular sequence on your release media, arrange them before delivery and mark them with a sequence number. On prints, lightly write the number in pencil on the back. Never use ink on photo prints. If you submit without numbering, we will sort by print size and transfer randomly. For slides, load the tray in the sequence you want them to appear, or if not in trays, create stacks and mark the sequence of stacks and which slide would be first in each stack.
  • Re-Sequencing (Renaming): By default files are named in the order they are captured with cryptic names (image01, image02, etc.) If we are delivering images on Flash drive you can re-order the files by renaming them on your computer, and also sort files into folders for easier identification of groupings. If delivering on optical media, images can be renamed only after copying to your hard disk and removing the read only attribute, but names on the optical disk cannot be changed. At extra charge we can custom-name and sort files on your release media. We will need detailed specifics on your preferences.
  • Video Photo Album Re-sequencing: If we are delivering a PowerPoint Photo Album (see below), you can reorder the images within PowerPoint's Slide Sorter view. If a released as a Video Photo Album on a set-top compatible video DVD or as a video file, the images cannot be resequenced without extra-cost video editing.
  • File Type: We need to know if you want your digital images delivered as high-quality JPG images or (optionally) RAW images that are best for editing or printing, though they require special software to read (Photoshop or another high-end image editor). There is an extra fee for the RAW format, and they require additional storage on the release drive.
  • Aspect Ratio: We can capture in the natural 3:5 aspect ratio (35mm camera aspect) or in the 16:9 aspect ratio. 16:9 will crop top and bottom of the picture, but it will fit in your HDTV screen. 3:5 will give you black bars on the sides of your TV screen.
  • Non-standard Image Options: Vertical, square or panoramic images can be captured full frame with black on the sides ("pillarboxed" or "letterboxed"), or cropped in-camera to fill the frame.
  • Verticals: Vertical slides in trays must be flipped sideways to capture full frame. Without the flip the central (square) area will be captured. Vertical prints are captured sideways. We try to rotate verticals before delivery, but some may be missed and can be rotated in your computer's file viewer.

Delivery Options:
Normally we deliver images on Flash drive or portable hard drive. CD or DVD disk delivery is an extra cost option. These are read-only disks for use in computers, not for use in a set-top DVD or CD player.

Playback Loop Option:
For weddings, birthdays, graduations, funerals and other events, many customers want their images in a "loop" that can play on a TV or projector. We can build the loop using images we transfer and/or digital photos from your camera or phone. Video clips can also be included, though some editing may be required. We offer three options (in order of cost):

  • TV Set Playback. We provide your images on a USB Flash drive which you can insert into many modern TV sets. By choosing the internal media player and setting the options correctly, you can have a looping slide show that plays in the alphanumeric sequence of the filenames. At extra cost we can rename the files to go in the sequence you prefer, or you can DIY the renaming at no cost. Images from Flash drive usually exceed the resolution of the TV set, providing the highest quality the TV can deliver.
  • PowerPoint Photo Album. We create a PowerPoint photo album from your still images and set it to loop continuously. Video clips can be included as well. You can use PowerPoint on your laptop to display the images or connect it to a TV or projector. You can sort the images within PowerPoint to get them in the order you prefer at no extra cost. As above, PowerPoint is resolution independent, so images will display at full resolution of your display.
  • Video Photo Album (VPA). We bring your images into our video editor and create a program that plays in a video player. The images can be synced to a music soundtrack or be a fixed number of seconds. Transitions and zoom/move effects can be added. VPA video can be in high definition (1920x1080) or 4K (3840x2160) resolutions which will play on standard HD and 4K displays from a computer or an internal media player. HD/4K VPAs can only be delivered on flash drive. You can loop the program with a setting on the computer or TV menu.
  • Video Photo Album DVD or Blu-ray. We "author" a set-top compatible disk that displays your images and video clips in a loop. Once burned to DVD the sequence of images CANNOT be changed. DVD is a "Standard Definition" format, so it cannot retain the full resolution of your photos, and may look fuzzy on a high definition or 4K TV or video projector. It will look great on a legacy CRT TV. We can author a high definition Blu-ray disk, but of course a Blu-ray player is required for playback.

Request Quote for your Print/Slide transfer

Home Movie Film:

Specify Type and Quantity:
8mm, Super 8mm or 16mm movie films are on reels, and they can be identified by the type of sprocket hole and reel:

  • Regular 8mm is slightly wider than ¼”, has larger rectangular sprocket holes that are aligned with the frame lines (between frames) and a small hole in the middle of the reel
  • Super 8mm is the same width, has tiny sprocket holes that are centered on the frame, and the frame lines are almost nil. Reels have a large (3/8") hole in the middle. Super 8 with a brown stripe down one edge has sound. Super 8 sound was introduced in 1973, so films before that won’t have sound.
  • 16mm home movie film is about 1/2" wide with sprocket holes on both sides and the reel has a square hole. If the film has sprocket holes on only one side and squiggly lines down the other, it is a commercial optical sound film..

Some Super 8mm films are in cassettes or have "auto-rewind" clips locking the film to the reel.  If you open the cassette you will find a reel. We can accept films in cassettes, but the film must be taken out for transfer.  Any auto-rewind clips will be removed (the auto-rewind function will not work after transfer unless you restore the clips.)

We can transfer films with sound. Super-8 Sound films have a brown stripe along one edge. There is a soundtrack recorded on that brown stripe that we can read and sync with the film on the video (an elaborate multi-step process.) There was also a Super 8 sound process that recorded sound on a separate cassette tape. If the tape exists we can sync that as well. 16mm sound films have sprocket perforations on one edge of the film, and the soundtrack along the other. Most 16mm sound films are commercial films, so personal use copyright restrictions apply (see below).

Damaged or Aged Film:
For home movies, all but the smallest are reels have been spliced together by someone in your family, and they may not be full. For a more accurate quote, measure the diameter of the film pack itself. Splices in spliced reels vary widely in quality and may not hold up. We allow for repair of one broken splice per reel. Additional splices are extra. Often colors have faded. You can request color correction at extra cost. We have encountered some films that are too degraded or brittle to transfer. We will examine the films upon receipt and let you know if they can be salvaged. NOTE: Replacing splices, or splicing out damaged footage always results in loss of some footage.

Transfer Options:
We can transfer home movie film to Standard Definition (SD) video (required for DVD), or High Definition (HD) video. Because 8mm film is so small, there's really little difference in picture quality, but for 16mm HD is recommended. Please specify your choice of SD or HD. Read more about film transfer quality.

Source Option:
Home movies are captured as very robust "source files," which are very large. They are then rendered to the common .MP4 format for release, which is compatible with all modern media players. You may request the source files for only the cost of additional storage. Please let us know if you prefer to receive the source files.

DVD Option:
Normally we deliver digital files on Flash drive, which is not only less expensive, but there is no time limit on how much program you can put on a drive (larger drives may be required). DVD is limited to 2 hours. If you desire DVD (Standard Definition) or BluRay (High Definition) disks, there is a mastering fee, plus a fee per copy.

Please don't confuse movie FILMS with sprocket holes on reels, with home movie VIDEOTAPES, which have no holes and are in cassette shells.

Request quote for your Film Transfer

Video Cassettes (Home Movie Tapes)

Specify Type and Quantity:
Pricing for video transfers are based on tape length, and most tapes are labeled with the length of recording time in minutes (e.g. 120 = 2hours). Just report the number you find on the tape, along with the format type. We need to know the tape type, whether it’s VHS (most common), SVHS, VHS-C (small camcorder tapes,) 8mm/hi-8mm/Digital-8, DV, DVCAM or HDV. If you have another format (e.g. Betamax) and can provide a player, please let us know.

Videotape Restoration Options:
If a tape has come off is spool, we can disassemble the cassette and reconnect the leader. If tape has become mangled or broken, we can splice the videotape (some program time will be lost). If the tape exhibits "Sticky Shed Syndrome" and doesn't play smoothly in your VCR, we can bake the tape at extra cost. Click for details.

Output Options:
Normally we deliver digital files on Flash drive, which is not only less expensive, but there is no time limit on how much program you can put on a drive (larger drives may be required). DVD can hold only 2 hours of Standard Definition (SD) program material. All analog tapes and the "DV" variety of digital tapes are captured natively in SD in the 4:3 aspect ratio. HDV tapes are high definition and will be delivered in 720p. If released on set-top-compatible DVD, HDV tapes are converted to widescreen SD. Blu-ray disks are an option. The 2 hour per disk limit applies.

Delivery Options:
Analog videotapes are initially captured as very robust DV "source files," which are very large. They are then rendered to the common .MP4 format for release, which is compatible with all modern media players. You may request the source files for only the cost of additional storage. Please let us know if you prefer to receive the source files.

Please don't confuse movie FILMS with sprocket holes on reels, with home movie VIDEOTAPES, which have no holes and are in cassette shells.

Request quote for your video transfer

Audio Tapes and Records:

Specify Type and Quantity:
We need to know how many of what size you have because transfers are priced on recording length. For audio, this can get complicated:

  • Open Reel tapes are on reels that can be 3”, 5”, 7” or 10.5” in diameter. They can be recorded on one or two sides, the tape can be three different thicknesses and they can be recorded at 4 different speeds, providing a wide variety of possible program lengths. We have a separate article to help determine what your tape length may be. If you think they may not be full, let us know how much time might be on the tape, and whether you think it’s recorded on one or both sides. If it's too confusing, make a guess for the quote and we'll find out exact length when we play it for transfer.
  • Cassettes are much easier. On the label or stamped somewhere on the body is a number for how long they are. Typically you'll see C60, C90 or C120, which refers to playing time on both sides. If you know there are only recordings on one side, you can specify half the listed length (30, 45 or 60). Since cassettes all run at the same speed, just specify how many of each cassette length. If you think the cassettes may not be full, let us know how much time might be on the tape.
  • Phonograph Records can be mono or stereo 78s, 45s, and LPs up to 12” in diameter. Specify quantity, speed and disk size. Let us know if you want one or both sides or the record transferred. Also, we need to know if you want songs on an LP altogether as one file, or split into separate files (required for export to CD). You can request extensive audio cleanup of records (at extra charge), or we can deliver them with ticks/pops and surface noise as received.

Tape Restoration Options
Aging magnetic tape may have issues. High-output tape from the 80s and 90s may exhibit the "Sticky Shed Syndrom," where the tape layers adhere to each other. "Tape Baking" is required to make those tapes playable at extra charge. Splices in edited tapes may have dried out and will break when played. We allow one splice repair per reel. Additional splice repairs are extra cost. Cassettes with broken tape may be repaired. If the shell has no screws, a new shell can be provided. If a tape is physically stretched, the section will be spliced out. If a tape is mangled, we will attempt to play, but audio will be garbled. You may not know these conditions exist until we examine the tapes or begin transfer. Additional charges for repair will be added to the final invoice.

Delivery Option:
Normally we release audio files as MP3 or WAV files on flash drive. You can request your recordings be released in the standard Audio-CD format, playable in a CD player. Recording time per disk is limited to 74 minutes, and there are fees to create the master, and the release disk.

Request Quote for your Audio Transfer

Transfers from Devices

Specify Type of Device and Quantity:
Transferring from a device and (where necessary) transcoding to a common format are priced based on Gigabytes of data transferred. We can read SD, CF and USB media, 3.5" floppy drives and even bare hard drives from old computers (working PATA or SATA only). We can also transfer from non-copyright-protected DVD or CD. If you have media stuck on an old device without removable media, we can extract the data if it has a common USB or Apple connection, and the device still functions when plugged in (assuming the battery is expired). If the connection is not common, we will need a USB connecting cord with the device.

Let us know what the device is, and we may have to continue the discussion to arrive at a firm quote. For all transfers, minimum order is $75.

Request Quote for your Device Transfer

Other (Unusual) Formats

If you have tapes or films in other formats (broadcast video, wire recorder, 9mm film, etc.), and you have a working tape machine or projector, we may be able to digitize those formats using your machine. If you do not have a machine, we may also be able to rent or find one. Please ask, and we'll try to find a way to get it done!

Ask about transferring unusual formats

NOTICE FOR MATERIAL(S) PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT: It is illegal to share copies of any materials protected by copyright. This includes ALL music recordings ever made. Details about copyright and usage.

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