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Any news or interesting developments with the film scanning industry for 2024?


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41 minutes ago, David Sekanina said:

@Daniel D. Teoli Jr. have a look at Friedemann's post, where he builds a Raspberry pi board for a 12 bit 4K frame scanner:

https://www.filmvorfuehrer.de/topic/31851-challenge-framescanner-für-350€-bauen/page/15/#comment-398126

For now he used a S8 projector, but plans to also document to use his board with a 16mm Bauer P8 projector. His personal website:

https://www.filmkorn.org/ein-12-bit-4k-filmscanner-fuer-ca-350e/

 

 

Pretty interesting David. Especially since it was done so cheap.

 

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4 hours ago, Daniel D. Teoli Jr. said:

That is interesting about the Archives and the scan types they want.

Do you do much timed scans Tyler? Do you solicit the Archives much for work Tyler? Or is it word of mouth?

Most of the time we do a one pass, but if something doesn't look right, we will time it. I'd say in a given 30 - 40 minute already timed print, we may do two dozen color fixes on top of the over-all base setting for color. With home movies, it's far more tricky. 

We have a middleman who helps get us work. We do not advertise, it's nearly entirely through them or word of mouth. 

It all comes in waves. December we worked through the holidays and into January to meet a huge deadline for 4 jobs. But the 3 weeks after, we've been dead. We now have some huge projects in route, so it comes and goes. 

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3 hours ago, Daniel D. Teoli Jr. said:

What is involved in cleaning the PTR rollers? Is it a big job?

We use alcohol to get rid of the initial junk. Then soak in soap and water. Rinse. Let dry and they're good as new. 

We have 4 sets and we'll just trade them out for each roll of print film we run through. For negative, they never get dirty. 

Certain types of tapes do work well. We found this generic gaf tape to do a killer job getting rid of issues and leaving no residue behind. We don't use that trick for negative, but for print film which leaves a lot of debris behind and where the tackiness of the PTR's matters most, that's what we normally do between rolls. We will fully clean at the end of a scanning day. 

3 hours ago, Daniel D. Teoli Jr. said:

I wonder how they hold up over time when it comes to deterioration. Maybe not that big a deal unless replacements become unobtainable and scanner won't run without them.

PTR's are generic, they are available in many different configurations and most scanners use similar types. In fact, I think the ones on the Film Fabriek are the same as they are on the Spirit. 

They do wear out fast tho. If you don't wash them regularly, they start to chip and fall apart due to getting dry. 

3 hours ago, Daniel D. Teoli Jr. said:

Do any other scanners use the PTR rollers to clean film before it is scanned?

Any real scanner will need them yes. 

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3 hours ago, Daniel D. Teoli Jr. said:

A while back they had a ScanStation Personal on sale at eBay for pretty cheap. Can't remember, maybe $20k - $25? Dunno. Anyway, too bad you couldn't get it Tyler. 

We were offered one for $20k, but it had the old camera on it and Lasergraphics wouldn't upgrade it to the newest one. Kinda sucks, but tis what it is. I think we made the right decision for the money. 

It looks fine: 

 

3 hours ago, Daniel D. Teoli Jr. said:

I thought the big boy ScanStation was $125K. They must have gone up a lot to hit $197K. You would think this market is hitting its peak somewhat. Or do the scanning companies have lots more headroom for price hikes?

Oh no, if you want all the options, it's nearly $200k now. 

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21 hours ago, Daniel D. Teoli Jr. said:

 

Thanks for the rundown on the sound options Tyler. 

 

If I had a decent scanner, I'd scan all those archive films for free for the special collection libraries and museums...as long as I had an interest in acquiring the scan for my film Archive. But as soon as the libraries / archives hear they have to share the scans with me for noncommercial use, they won't go for it. Archives are generally and almost always shit to deal with. Very greedy bastards. And it is not just this example. They won't share decent res copies of what they already have in their collection. These institutions are for preserving and sharing history. But greed always has its say. This is why humans can't be good communists like ants or bees can...greed! To be a good communist you have to be selfless. Humans can't do it!

Really, my ultimate goal instead of getting free scans from someone else's film would be to acquire hi-res scans of films...and not having to deal with and scan the actual film itself. Sure, you are not going to get them for free, but say for a nominal fee. I'd be very happy just dealing with hi-grade scans and not having to handle physical film anymore. To be a good film archivist you need to handle film. By now I've handled enough film to satisfy me educational needs. Although handling film is not the same as scanning film. That is an entirely different part of the educational process. So, the scanning education would be lacking if one only dealt in scans and never handled the physical film.

I model my Archive after the old Getty Museum Open Content Archive. Getty used to be fantastic to deal with, but Getty went downhill after a few years and tightened up with offering free hi-res material.

eBay%20cine'%20related%20material%20D.D.

'Pig in a Poke' 16mm eBay film lot.

Fair Use

 

 

Edited by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.
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16 hours ago, Tyler Purcell said:

We were offered one for $20k, but it had the old camera on it and Lasergraphics wouldn't upgrade it to the newest one. Kinda sucks, but tis what it is. I think we made the right decision for the money. 

It looks fine: 

 

Oh no, if you want all the options, it's nearly $200k now. 

Too bad they would not upgrade the scanner. 

Looks good. I love the old trains. Do you have any more plans for train films Tyler.

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19 hours ago, Daniel D. Teoli Jr. said:

I thought the big boy ScanStation was $125K. They must have gone up a lot to hit $197K. You would think this market is hitting its peak somewhat. Or do the scanning companies have lots more headroom for price hikes?

$125K WAS the price, in 2021 (not 2024) and with no extra frills like hardware sound readers:

scanstation-quote-2021.jpg.22ac788139db8807ea33fb63921508d0.jpg

For TWO gates, not three. So whether you pick 35/16 or 16/8 that was the price, again I stress: three years ago. The post-pandemic price has gone up, but not to $197K - that's most likely a quote for a 3-gate fully-loaded ScanStation which would have all the hardware sound readers as well.

Everything is an optional expense though, so you can buy your third gate later for example and the base price is lower.

20 hours ago, Daniel D. Teoli Jr. said:

Thanks Dan, great points. 

What is involved in cleaning the PTR rollers? Is it a big job? I wonder how they hold up over time when it comes to deterioration. Maybe not that big a deal unless replacements become unobtainable and scanner won't run without them.

Do any other scanners use the PTR rollers to clean film before it is scanned?

Soap and water. But the PTR rollers are designed for film that's already been cleaned, that was my point. On the ScanStation they can be bypassed entirely, so you can do your evaluation scans at 60fps on film that hasn't been cleaned and you're not risking causing cinch damage on the PTR rollers which can happen with abrasive dirt.

17 hours ago, Tyler Purcell said:

Oh no, if you want all the options, it's nearly $200k now. 

Yeah, IF. You don't need to buy it fully-loaded. Although it does have a support contract/extended warranty which you have to pay if it's financed so that needs to be factored in to any budget.

31 minutes ago, Daniel D. Teoli Jr. said:

Too bad they would not upgrade the scanner. 

I think the SSP was designed to compete against the Blackmagic Cintels? Blackmagic have never changed the camera and it has worse dynamic range.

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On 2/9/2024 at 6:00 PM, Tyler Purcell said:

We use alcohol to get rid of the initial junk. Then soak in soap and water. Rinse. Let dry and they're good as new. 

This is a terrible idea. Alcohol will destroy the roller. And don't soak them, just wash them. Use lukewarm water and a gentle dish soap like Dawn. 

On 2/9/2024 at 6:00 PM, Tyler Purcell said:

They do wear out fast tho. If you don't wash them regularly, they start to chip and fall apart due to getting dry. 

well if you clean them with alcohol they won't last. We still have the original pair that came on our ScanStation and they're in perfectly good condition. When the rollers on the scanner get dirty we rotate in clean ones and then wash the dirty ones. Once dry, they're good to go again. In the mean time you can use a little packing tape to remove dust. We rotate through a half dozen or so of these and millions of feet of film have passed through our scanner. 

PTRs that aren't kept in the right climate will eventually break down. We found some of the small 1.5" rollers in a box when we moved. They came in an auction lot and we had no use for them. When we were packing things we discovered that they had turned to liquid goop. Probably they were stored near too much heat before we got them, or were really, really old.  

On 2/9/2024 at 6:03 PM, Tyler Purcell said:

Oh no, if you want all the options, it's nearly $200k now. 

Fully loaded, it has been around that price point since the 5k model came out, that's nothing new. 

 

Edited by Perry Paolantonio
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On 2/10/2024 at 8:45 AM, Daniel D. Teoli Jr. said:

Do you have any more plans for train films Tyler.

We have 5 more films shot on 16mm in the works. We are actually in Colorado right now wrapping up our winter film. That should be released by spring. We have 2 more releasing this year, though that's contingent on how our summer and fall shoots go. Then we have 2 more releasing for 2025, which is the anniversary of one of the greatest remaining single class of working steam engine in the United States. So we'll have one film about those engines and one film about an abandoned railroad, which will take a long time to produce, but we started production last year and will continue through this year. We're scanning an archive of that railroad when it was originally made and we're going to be able to use the archive in our film. I'm very excited. It'll be a multi-year project but it's going to be made like a 1960's documentary 4x3 aspect ratio, mono soundtrack done by local Colorado musicians, it'll be a very nice piece. 

We will be fundraising soon, we need to really stop spending our money! lol ?

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10 hours ago, Geffen Avraham said:

Does anyone know anything about the Filmlight Northlight? They're made by the guys who make Baselight (i'm sensing a theme in their product naming). There is one on ebay now for half the cost of a Cintel

That machine has been on ebay for years. FWIW, we sold our complete and fully functional Northlight 1 about a year and a half ago for $5000. Sadly the freight company dropped and destroyed it at the destination.

It's a good scanner, not worth more than about $5k these days. Scan speed is measured in Seconds per Frame, not frames per second. Even a Northlight II, which is faster, is painfully slow. Like 12-18 hours to scan a single reel. They also require a 240V circuit, and they generate a ton of heat so you have to plan on ventilation to the outside to suck that all away from the machine, or it'll run even slower until it stops running entirely. The sensors are also prone to collecting dust, which shows up as streaks on the film so you have to be vigilant about cleaning all that with every reel change. And they don't like splices at all. We had many overnight scans fail partway because it was being fussy about a tape splice. 

My understanding is that Filmlight no longer sells these. The old Northlight product pages are on the site but they're no longer listed under Products. You have to google to find those pages. 

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On 2/13/2024 at 8:21 AM, Perry Paolantonio said:

That machine has been on ebay for years. FWIW, we sold our complete and fully functional Northlight 1 about a year and a half ago for $5000. Sadly the freight company dropped and destroyed it at the destination.

It's a good scanner, not worth more than about $5k these days. Scan speed is measured in Seconds per Frame, not frames per second. Even a Northlight II, which is faster, is painfully slow. Like 12-18 hours to scan a single reel. They also require a 240V circuit, and they generate a ton of heat so you have to plan on ventilation to the outside to suck that all away from the machine, or it'll run even slower until it stops running entirely. The sensors are also prone to collecting dust, which shows up as streaks on the film so you have to be vigilant about cleaning all that with every reel change. And they don't like splices at all. We had many overnight scans fail partway because it was being fussy about a tape splice. 

My understanding is that Filmlight no longer sells these. The old Northlight product pages are on the site but they're no longer listed under Products. You have to google to find those pages. 

That's an awful story to hear, it's a shame to hear a beautiful machine like that being destroyed. Thanks for telling us about this scanner.

That said, $5000 still seems like a good price, given that one can build a pretty good "second per frame" scanner from a mirrorless camera and an Arriflex body for about the same cost. It would not have the heat and 240v issues though.

I wonder if the guy's design below could be improved by using a Leica Q2 Monochrom and a switching RGB light source instead of a Bayer sensor. That could give you an 8K RGB scan. I might build it if I ever find a broken Arriflex for sale - I'd hate to cannibalize a working one.

 

 

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The Scan Station "personal" can be upgraded to the latest software with 2-Flash HDR and that makes it a decent 12-bit scanner and the noise from the older CMOSIS camera is mostly gone. So for $20-25K used plus about $15K you can have a updated 35/16 Scan Station that works really well. Nobody complained about the noise from that camera more than Moi.

GPU "pin registration" using machine vision is really excellent almost all of the time I think the LG or Xena edges out my Arriscan a bit on 16mm but is about the same on 35mm. The Arriscan definitely has superior color fidelity and color channel separation and overall detail compared to any of the bayer mask based scanners HDR or not. I am sure that is why LG makes the Director 13K ( which is a Monochrome Sony 6.5K and a pizeo stage I assume ) RGB scans for the Pic quality win and speed loss.

There are a few ways to clean film I have a Lipsner XL1100 alcohol cleaner which is Ok for basic dirt / dust A Lipsner 8200 Ultrasonic which really works and for really tough stuff the option of rewashing the film in a film processor can kill all the mold and help heal emulsion problems while releasing allot of the really hard to get out dirt from the emulsion. There are new cheaper fluids for cleaning and full immersion liquid gate scanning that are environmentally ok and easily available now.

I think the cameras keep getting better, as far as I can tell the 5.4K Sony in the Archivist is one gen newer than the 6.5K Sony and it looks excellent has great dynamic range and extremely low noise. The 6.5 Sony is also great but has some odd color stuff and allot of color channel cross talk when I went through allot of setup on the Xena, this is all done by LG as a turnkey scanner product.

Most TV and Movies you see get scanned true RGB at Co3 or Postworks or FotoKem on the DFT Scannity or Arriscan. DFT has introduced the new Polar scanner using the G-Pixel 9.4K x 7K sensor so that can make true 8K RGB HDR scans. FotoKem and Cinelab London have the DFT Oxscan 14K 65mm / 70mm RGB HDR scanner for things which are big.

I could see 4K or 8K continuous motion true RGB sequential HDR scans using X-Y GPU Machine vision registration shortly and the LG Director and DFT Polar might already be doing this, massive bandwidth from the camera and allot of GPU making it possible.

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On 2/18/2024 at 7:07 AM, John Rizzo said:

INTERESTING AND NEW?

HOW ABOUT THIS:

 

https://scan2screen.com/#about

Vague at best.

"Multi Spectral" i.e. sequential RGB? that is "multi spectral" as in red green and blue.

The example on their web site I actually prefer the look of the "other" system and think it will grade to finish better than their example.

 

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On 2/19/2024 at 11:05 PM, Robert Houllahan said:

"Multi Spectral" i.e. sequential RGB? that is "multi spectral" as in red green and blue.

It's multi-spectral in the sense that they're using many narrow-band light sources to compose the image. think 16-18 exposures per frame, each with light with a different spectral range. I'll be honest, the credibility of the person behind this is shot as far as I'm concerned, since she was the one who was responsible for that ridiculous scanner comparison paper from a few years ago that was riddled with basic factual and methodological errors. 

This whole Multispectral scanning thing sound like a solution to a problem that doesn't exist, if you ask me. 

Quote

The example on their web site I actually prefer the look of the "other" system and think it will grade to finish better than their example.

it's aimed at archivists, not at people who need to work with the film in a day-to-day way. The theory is that it's a better representation of the color on the film. But when you think a scanner can't scan a specific hand-tinted print color because you set up the scanner incorrectly, and you "prove" this by taking a picture of the film with your cell phone and you see the color, but you assume that's because the $500 phone has a better imager than the $500,000 scanner, then you start a company to solve this "problem," you're clearly not operating on the same wavelength as the rest of us. pun intended. 

Edited by Perry Paolantonio
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