DOES MY FILM HAVE SOUND?





As a company that handles professional films as well as home movies, we have the ability to transfer all formats of sound film. This is not the case for other companies. Most companies transferring home movies do not have the capacity to transfer any format of sound film.



Most home movie film is silent, though that doesn't necessarily mean that your film doesn't include a soundtrack. If you're wondering whether or not there's audio on your film, here's how to tell.





super 8 sound film has a copper strip on the reverse side of the film.



Super 8:


Super 8 is the most common format for sound home movies. If your film is still in the yellow, 3"x3" Kodak boxes, the film will be specifically labeled as "Super 8 Sound Movie Film."


If the film has been placed on a different type of reel, or if those original boxes are long gone, that's no problem at all. The best way to check for sound is to take out a small portion of the film and check the reverse side of the film. If the film has a soundtrack, there will be a distinct copper strip running along the non-sprocket side of the film. There may also be an additional, thinner copper strip above the sprocket holes.



Regular 8mm:


Sound film for Regular 8mm is exceptionally rare. Kodak (who dominated the market for 8mm film in the US) never developed a commercially-available sound film for their regular 8mm stock. Essentially the only 8mm sound film that was produced for commercial use was from a company called Fairchild.


If you think you may have Fairchild Sound film, the same way to check will be just like you would with Super 8. Undwind a portion of film and look at the reverse side of the film. If there is a distinct copper strip on the non-sprocket side of the film, then you have sound film.




16mm Film:


Sound film for 16mm home movies is exceptionally rare. For reels of films like commercial prints, student films, news pieces, however, audio tracks are much more common.


The soundtrack on 16mm films will always be included along the non-sprocket side of the film. So sound film will only be written on 16mm film with a single set of sprocket holes. The first step to check for sound on 16mm film then is to check the sprocket holes. If the film has sprocket holes on both side of the film, then the film does not have sound.


If you have 16mm film with a single set of sprocket holes, then you may have sound. 16mm sound comes in two formats: magnetic sound and optical sound. Here's how to check for each:









MAGNETIC 16mm audio will be recorded on the reverse side of the film. the track will appear as a thick copper line along one side, and a thin copper strip above the sprocket holes.



Magnetic Sound: Just like with 8mm and Super 8 film, the magnetic track will be glued onto the back of the film, with a large copper strip running along non-sprocket side of the film and a thin copper strip running above the sprockets. To check, unwind a portion of the film and look at the reverse side. The copper strips will be distinctive.





the optical track on 16mm film will appear like an audio waveform along the bottom (non-sprocket side) of the film.



Optical Sound: To check for optical sound, unwind a moderate portion of your film and hold it up to the light. Look at the non-sprocket side of the film - if you have a magnifying glass, it'll come in handy. The optical track will be a straight line going across the non-sprocket side, with waves going up and down just like an audio waveform.