Ok yes I already figured total cost of shooting super 8 film…but I didn’t figure total total cost, as there are some additional costs: shipping, and the time it takes! But it’s so subjective depending on how far you’re shipping, how many rolls at once, what courier, how fast you want it to get there. I sent off some super 8 to Pro8mm, USPS Ground cost $11.05 shipping from my local post office in Colorado to Burbank, CA, and shipping from there to Nicholas Coyle in Denver (plus insurance) came out to $9.74. So that’s a total of $20.79, and then the film has to be shipped from Coyle back to me at some point which will cost $4 more (he’s holding the footage until he gets his 6.5K scanner so I can compare/contrast with his current 2K setup). So the grand total there is just under $25. But let’s talk about X-rays:
USPS Ground took exactly one week; I use Ground usually because if it goes on an airplane the chances increase that it will pass through an X-ray and/or CT scanner no matter what is written on the package. I talked to a nice young lady at FedEx about that a few years ago and she said that the handlers at the processing centers will usually honor stickers with official branding like Kodak’s, but there are no guarantees there. I sent that package FedEx express because I needed film processed for a class and needed it there and back ASAP but talked to other shipping professionals for their opinion. From what I’ve been told, USPS Ground is the only service guaranteed not to pass through an X-ray or other scanner, because it never travels on an airplane. I still tape several of these on the box, just in case. If I were in a hurry, I would use FedEx but only as a last resort: I’d rather it take a few days longer to get there and be completely safe.
I’ve written about avoiding x-ray scanners before, and I’ve even sent a roll of Tri-X through the scanner twice to see what would happen. But I’m not about to take the chance with movie film. If you need the “Do Not X-ray” stickers look no further:
DO NOT X-RAY label
I rarely send undeveloped film through the mail, thankfully have never had a problem, and I hope you don’t either!
There’s an additional additional cost: hard drives. And I just bought another for my Mac (this one in fact) that cost $300 but that was to hold sound libraries, etc. Thankfully I have a couple so if I have to send one with the film so it can be scanned this won’t be a big problem, because the last thing in the world I want right now is to drop more money on another hard drive. But you should know that if you don’t send in a hard drive your scanning house will probably charge you for one, depending on where you go. Now I’ve touted Nicholas Coyle Film & Video before (and will continue to do so!) because it’s the best-priced 2K scan that I’ve found, and I’ve done a lot of research on that front. Another great thing about Coyle is that he’ll let you download the footage online for free which means no messing with hard drives! For the larger projects you’d want to send one though, as it might be many Gigabytes. This is the first time in 3 years that I’ve shot/processed/scanned super 8 film so it’s good I’m writing this as it’s fresh in my mind.
Now for the time aspect: I dropped the film at the post office on Monday 04/20, it arrived at Pro8mm a week later 04/27, was shipped out Thursday 04/30, arrived in Denver on Monday 05/04, and I was downloading scans 2 days later, so turnaround time was just a little under 2.5 weeks.