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Film Digitization

CFA’s experienced film technicians can digitize your 35mm, 16mm, 8mm, Super 8mm and 9.5mm films using our state-of-the-art film scanners. Your payment for these services helps support Chicago Film Archives’ archival preservation efforts.
Our digitization clients include
Art Institute of Chicago
Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian History and Culture
Chicago Academy of Sciences / Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
Chicago Bears
Chicago History Museum
Dance Theatre of Harlem
Encyclopedia Britannica
Flora Richardson Foundation
Hallie Q. Brown Community Archives
Institute for the Study of Ancient Cultures
Japanese American Service Committee
Joliet Area Historical Society
Lemont Public Library
Michigan City Historical Society
New York University - Asian/Pacific/American Institute
Northwestern Memorial Hospital
Roosevelt University
Studs Terkel Estate
Swedish American Museum
Theosophical Society in America
University of Chicago
University of Kentucky
Valparaiso University
Wheaton College
Winnetka Historical Society

Determining Estimated Pricing

Pricing estimates for our digitization services depend on multiple factors.

1. The format that your footage is in.

We can digitize 35mm, 16mm, 8mm, Super 8mm, and 9.5mm films. If you need help figuring out what film format you have, call or email us.

2. The total length of your footage.

You can estimate the total footage length of your film based on these standard reel sizes:
3″ diameter
50 feet
4″ diameter
100 feet
5″ diameter
200 feet
6″ diameter
300 feet
7″ diameter
400 feet
12″ diameter
1200 feet
2" 9.5mm (Pathe/Pathex) cartridge
28 feet
2.5" 9.5mm (Pathe/Pathex) cartridge
56 feet

3. Additional labor.

Base prices for each of our scan options include film inspection and prep for transfer. If a film requires extensive repairs or handling, CFA will charge for additional labor by the hour. We will notify the customer if this time is likely to exceed 30 minutes of work. Free estimates are available in person, over the phone or by email.

4. Your choice of scanner.

CFA offers multiple digitization options, allowing for flexibility in terms of budget, resolution, and intended use. Read on for more about this, or contact us for an estimate by calling (312) 243-1808 or emailing

5. Shipping & handling.

The following charges apply to all orders:
• Administrative processing: $15 per order
• Shipping: all charges handled by customer

Filmfabriek HDS+ Scanner

The Filmfabriek HDS+ scanner is a high-quality option for home movies or professional projects. This sprocketless system scans 16mm, 8mm, Super 8mm and 9.5mm film to HD resolution and can capture both magnetic and optical sound. There are standard and premium options for this machine, as outlined below.

Standard Scan

The Standard Scan option is the simplest way to receive HD transfers of your films. This option uses one-light exposure and does not include any post-production. Clients can receive their scans either cropped or as overscans.
16mm film
$0.45 /ft
8mm, Super 8mm & 9.5mm film
$0.60 /ft
Mag/optical sound (16mm)
+ $0.15 /ft
+ $0.25 /ft

Premium Scan

The Premium Scan option offers manual best-light exposure and post-production adjustments, including contrast correction and fixing frame jumps. From the 2048x1536 edge-to-edge scan, CFA can deliver a finished file in HD (1080p).
16mm film
$0.70 per foot
8mm, Super 8mm & 9.5mm film
$0.85 per foot
Mag/optical sound (16mm)
+$0.15 per foot
+$0.25 per foot
There is a $50 minimum on all FilmFabriek jobs.

Kinetta Archival Film Scanner

Our gentlest option, the Kinetta Archival Film Scanner is a sprocketless flatbed scanner capable of producing 4K edge-to-edge scans of 35mm and 16mm film, with optical sound on both of these formats. This scanner was specifically designed for damaged, shrunken, and warped film that won’t run through other systems. CFA can deliver a 2K (2048x1536) finished file for theatrical or home presentation. Scene-to-scene exposure adjustment and color correction for faded films are also available.
16mm film
$1.00 per foot
35mm film
Starting at $0.50 per foot
Optical sound
+$0.15 per foot
Color correction
+$0.15 per foot
Color negative
+$0.15 per foot
Estimates for 35mm scanning available upon request.

There is a $150 minimum on all Kinetta jobs.


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