Transfering film to dvd

Christmas is coming and I wanted to take all of my girlfriends old home movies that are on film and have them transfered to dvd. Is there a way to do this myself?

If not and I have a business do it is there anything I need to keep an eye out for with that business? Are all transfers created equal?
That depends on what type of film, if it's really old 8mm stuff, yes you would need to have that professionally done, if it's any type of video tape, it can be done fairly easily with most modern computers with a DVD'll need plenty of hard drive space though! I spent yesterday editing 4 hours of video, that amount filled a 50 GB partitiion of my drive!

Look in the local Yellow Pages under "Video/Production Services".

Assuming that this is on old 8mm stock and also that the movies were shot/edited by a parent consider leaving them intact, instead of re-editing them.

A few things to think about:

1. Do you want to have the movies re-shot to 8mm film as chances are that the original film stock is not in great shape? It, the original film, may also become further damaged during intitial playback. Our family film required some work (beefing up) just to make the t/f to VHS tape, but it was 25+ years old @ the time.

2. If having a film copy made is of no interest, then consider paying a bit extra to have a few copies made on VHS tape. From what we understand @ this point about DVD/CD disc copies, they are not of archival quality (it would be a shame to lose such family history 10-12 years down the line due to data loss). The add charge for this should not be much.

Though the standard line/joke is "oh no, not home movies" I have found that most get a kick out of watching ours (they were shot in the early to mid 60's). Think that they will make great gifts.

Not certain about varying quality between service centers. I used a pro/commercial service that did some minor touchup work gratis (the manager is an old friend), but don't expect your copies to be better than the originals, based on the film's condition, unless you are willing to pay for such services (which are not inexpensive).

I did not really want ours cleaned up anyway as I recall seeing imperfections (fireflies, dust lines, tons of editing splices, etc.) on the originals as a child.
Assuming we are tralking about 8mm films, here is the cheapest way. Project your movies onto a screen or a white sheet. Get a DV camera and a tripod and set it up right underneath the projector as close as possible. If you project and shoot from different angles everything will look funky (it's called keystoning) Turn off all the room lights and do tests. Try setting different gain levels on your camera...try whitebalancing while the film is projecting something with white in the frame. Don't touch the tripod. Then download your tapes to a computer with a dvd burner.
I have used a fan blowing the sheet (copying espn)'s a pain but it worked and the reporter won an award for it.
Just be sure to play with the gain on your camera to get it right.
Thanks for all the great advice. The point about dvd's not lasting forever is well taken and I never would have thought about that. I also agree with the idea of not editing them.

How do they transfrer the film? Is it a special machine or is it just played back on a projector and video taped?

Any idea on how much something like this costs?

Not certain about the process, but have seen odd projectors (with blinders) that project to a small area (think this may be what was used on ours). I also had this done 17 years ago, so transfer methods may have changed/improved since then.

We did not have a duplicate film made, just VHS tapes as I was ateempting to keep the cost down.

My father had one reel done in Des Moines (just remembered this) and the rest were done in my area as it was less expensive due to the courtesy discount being offered. The lab also processed our B&W wedding photos as a favor, otherwise I would not have been able to afford the work @ the time.

Don't know if this would apply to DVD copies, but @ a later date I made VHS copies on an NEC deck and the copies looked better than the originals. I can only guess that the NEC had some sort of enhancement/filter features in it as the tape stock was from the same master case.
The piece of equipment is called a telecine. When I started in broadcasting in the mid 80's they were still around..but just is still they way that films are transfered to video. Basically a video camera is pointed towards a mirror...the film projector is pointed towards another mirror and then makes its way towards the camera lense. You can buy a home version, but like I said's a lot easier to point it ast a sheet.