BEWARE OF COWBOYS!
Setting up a nice looking website is not difficult. Buying a variable speed projector is also pretty easy, you can find them on Ebay all the time. Recording cine footage via a mirror box or directly off a white wall with a camcorder is also not difficult, almost anyone can do it.
As it’s so easy to set up in this business and offer a professional looking service via a web site you naturally would expect many people to have a go, and you’d be right. The Google searches are full of them, every day new ‘companies’ set up shop to earn a little part time pocket money. You won’t know what the results are like until you get the films back having paid out a fair amount of your hard earned money for the privilege.
The problem is achieving good results is impossible with this kind of setup and a full time professional company must invest a minimum of £40,000 in telecine technology to make it work right. This is way beyond a back bedroom cowboy’s budget. If you get your films back and they are a flickering washed out mess then you can be absolutely sure you’ve been scammed.
A few check points to help you make your decision.
1. Do check through the web site thoroughly to see what kind of equipment they are using, if it doesn’t say then they don’t want you to know.
2. If you see the words “we are not open to the public” it’s a sure fired bet they are working from their house and not a separate studio either that or their business is sharing premises with another more legitimate business and they don’t want the two to overlap.
3. If you are unsure request a sample free of charge. Any reputable company will offer a sample service, the footage may have a watermark to protect the company against theft but it will be obvious when you watch it that it’s a professional transfer.
4. Don’t believe anything on the web site, least of all testimonials and paid for reviews. Yes we have a testimonial section but we don’t expect you to believe what’s said without supporting evidence, testimonials should be looked at as a small part of the whole service offered. Also read through the testimonials carefully, if they have been made up you will often see repeating patterns in the word structure.
5. DO CALL THEM. A far more accurate assessment of a business and an individual can be ascertained over the phone, don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations, ask technical questions, ask whatever you want.
6. DO VISIT THE COMPANY if you can. Even if they are too far away to visit the fact that they are open to the public and therefore do actually receive visits is often assurance enough.
7. Recommendations such as Which? approved, or a BBC supplier code such as ours are very easily verifiable and any company suggesting they have these credentials without proof could find themselves in hot water fairly quickly. So do a little background checking. Also check the company’s name on Google with the words “poor service” or “terrible” after their name to see what comes up
Of course there are some small companies that are not open to the public that do a terrific job, we know one of them not far from us and they offer a similar level of professionalism as us, however they are the exception.
So be careful, do your research because you don’t want to be fobbed off with a poor transfer when most cine films look far better than their owners ever imagined they could be. To see some examples look at our example transfer page.