Lots of families transfer 8mm film to USB flash drives instead of DVD. Two things influence how many hours of film fit on a USB drive: file size and storage space.

Digital Video File Size

Video file sizes depend on film transfer quality and how much footage you have. When we capture film in standard definition, each minute of digital video is about 25 MB -- that's roughly 1.5 GB for every hour of digital video.

File sizes for your own film to digital project will vary based on the following:

Frame Rate in Frames per Second (fps)
We capture film at 18 fps, the speed at which home movies were most often recorded. You can adjust the frame rate to boost or reduce file size, but a significant change will make your video seem unnaturally fast or slow.
Video Resolution
Our Standard Definition (SD) captures yield digital video with a resolution of 720 x 480 pixels. Higher resolutions, like our 2K film transfers, produce higher quality videos with larger files.
A 3-inch reel holds roughly 50 feet of film, or 3.5 minutes of home movie. For SD film transfers, that's about 75 MB of digital video for every full 3-inch film reel.
We normally convert film to compressed MP4 files, the global standard for digital video. Some folks prefer uncompressed files for high-end video editing. These can be three to four times bigger than the compressed versions.

USB Storage Capacity

USB flash drives come in several different sizes. Naturally, USB drive storage capacity determines how many hours of footage it can hold. But your thumb drive might offer less storage space than you think.

Flash drives actually use some of their own space to store hidden files that help them function. The differences vary between brands, but here's a rough idea of how much usable space your USB drive actually has:

USB Drive SizeAvailable Space
1 GB960 MB
2 GB1.87 GB
4 GB3.74 GB
8 GB7.49 GB
16 GB14.6 GB
32 GB29.5 GB
250 GB (Hard Drive)232 GB
1 TB (Hard Drive)931 GB
2 TB (Hard Drive)1.81 TB

Oddly enough, a 2 GB flash drive can't fit 1.95 GB of digital video. The good news is that these drives are highly affordable. If you're near the limit for a specific size memory stick, we recommend getting the next size up so you can add more files later on.

Calculating Video File Size and Storage Space

Most 8mm film transfers are small enough to be measured in megabytes (MB). Yet you'll be hard-pressed to find a USB flash drive smaller than one gigabyte (GB). So how do you convert video file size in MB to required storage space in GB?

It helps to know that 1000 MB equals 1 GB. But maybe math isn't your thing, and you only have a file size total in MB. Just do a Google search for X MB to GB (ex: "1650 MB to GB") and Google will run the numbers for you. Try it out!