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Filmfabriek Pictor Pro


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Just wondering if anyone has used this scanner/ owns this scanner and can share some experiences. I'm currently building my own scanner but it is no way capable of being as useful in terms of speed compared to the Pictor pro. The 2k res and the real time scanning seems great, but I've often been disappointed by sharpness and noise levels in 2k super 8 scans before. I saw some sample stuff on ff's website but I would love to hear some "real word" experiences! Thanks!

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I have the first gen launch Pictor, 1080p but with a sound head and the Ricoh lens.
I DIY changed it for the schneider kreuznach current lens. (it’s not a quick swap). The build quality of the machine is excellent, I got to see it all when I pulled it apart to see the lens.

The Pictor is an awesome little scanner, and would buy another if I needed. The Pictor pro with the slight resolution bump is temping, but 1080p works very well for 8mm I’ve found when comparing against 4K scans I’ve done on the HDS. 

Software is easy to use, all the options you need are there and straightforward.
it will stabilise the image in real time tracking the sprocket hole, similar to Lasergraphics (so I believe, haven’t used one). it works very well to avoid those bumps at splices too. 
 

the sound option is very nice, on mine I can capture real time 18 or 24fps as an uncompressed AVI. Occasionally I’ll get a dropped frame, but I’m using a little HP omen laptop which probably can’t keep up. 
you use the companion software FFtranscode to transcode to ProRes or other codecs while it also applies the audio sync and offset. 
 

id normally scan at around 8fps as a DPX sequence so I can use the wetgate and allow it to dry. I’ve been temped to just extend out the film path with some more rollers to allow faster scan speeds with a longer drying path. 
 

the light source is more than bright enough, something that irritated me about a different brand I had. And being RGB you can tune it to the film. 

The colours straight from the scanner are ok, but they do need a tweak to get it right. I worked out a preset for the gamma levels that I always run, and I have a lut that I now drop on the files to correct them. If you ever get one, I’m happy to share that with you. 
 

Support from FilmFabriek is good, they reply to my emails same day and will log on remotely if need be. But I’ve never needed support on the Pictor, it’s worked perfectly. 
I only needed support on the HDS after I changed the camera to get it setup. 
 

feel free to ask any questions if I didn’t cover anything. I’ve only got one video uploaded that I scanned on the Pictor 

 

Pictor scan example

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21 minutes ago, Andrew Wise said:

feel free to ask any questions if I didn’t cover anything. I’ve only got one video uploaded that I scanned on the Pictor

Thanks so much, this is invaluable insight, I appreciate it! I’ll definitely get in contact if there’s anything else i need to know, but this really helped me out! 

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 3/12/2024 at 5:09 PM, Andrew Wise said:

I have the first gen launch Pictor, 1080p but with a sound head and the Ricoh lens.
I DIY changed it for the schneider kreuznach current lens. (it’s not a quick swap). The build quality of the machine is excellent, I got to see it all when I pulled it apart to see the lens.

The Pictor is an awesome little scanner, and would buy another if I needed. The Pictor pro with the slight resolution bump is temping, but 1080p works very well for 8mm I’ve found when comparing against 4K scans I’ve done on the HDS. 

Software is easy to use, all the options you need are there and straightforward.
it will stabilise the image in real time tracking the sprocket hole, similar to Lasergraphics (so I believe, haven’t used one). it works very well to avoid those bumps at splices too. 
 

the sound option is very nice, on mine I can capture real time 18 or 24fps as an uncompressed AVI. Occasionally I’ll get a dropped frame, but I’m using a little HP omen laptop which probably can’t keep up. 
you use the companion software FFtranscode to transcode to ProRes or other codecs while it also applies the audio sync and offset. 
 

id normally scan at around 8fps as a DPX sequence so I can use the wetgate and allow it to dry. I’ve been temped to just extend out the film path with some more rollers to allow faster scan speeds with a longer drying path. 
 

the light source is more than bright enough, something that irritated me about a different brand I had. And being RGB you can tune it to the film. 

The colours straight from the scanner are ok, but they do need a tweak to get it right. I worked out a preset for the gamma levels that I always run, and I have a lut that I now drop on the files to correct them. If you ever get one, I’m happy to share that with you. 
 

Support from FilmFabriek is good, they reply to my emails same day and will log on remotely if need be. But I’ve never needed support on the Pictor, it’s worked perfectly. 
I only needed support on the HDS after I changed the camera to get it setup. 
 

feel free to ask any questions if I didn’t cover anything. I’ve only got one video uploaded that I scanned on the Pictor 

 

Pictor scan example

 

Thanks! 

What was wrong with the HDS camera? 

Is your sample stabilized in post or is it as captured in scanner?

It looks pretty good. I'm no expert, but I think Lasergraphics might be a tad better with the stabilization. But there can be no comparison in price between the 2 scanners, so the Pictor looks very good for what it is. 

Edited by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.
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Here is some stuff...

(59) filmfabriek pictor pro - YouTube

I was thinking of getting a Pictor Pro. I don't have a lot of 8mm film in the Archive. I sold most of it off early on. It is just too low Q for me. But I kept maybe 500- 600 8 and S8 reels. I can buy 8mm for next to nothing...(.50 to $1.50 a reel) A 'pig in a poke' film collector's dream. But I prefer 16mm film.

In any case, It would be nice to have a small scanner that produces decent results that is easy to use. I'm short on space, so the scanner could be pulled out as needed. 

Edited by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.
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Very little of my 8mm is warped, so a warped film gate is not a big deal with the Pictor Pro. But FF should work on making a warped film gate for their HDS+ It is a must! I've got many, many hundred warped 16mm reels. 

I just can't understand why there are not more scan examples for all these scanners we talk about. GD, if I was a scanner manufacturer or user, I'd flood the internet with scans. Not that I wanted to for the reason of flooding the internet with them...it would just be a natural offshoot of my work. 

Edited by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.
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Here is something I found, click on the '...more' section. Maybe they were talking about Dan Baxter's company?

It was done with a Pictor, not the Pro. Looks pretty good, steady, colors, etc. 

You can spend a fortune on a little 8mm reel. Before I knew anything about scanning, I had my final exam 8mm reel from Beginning Filmmaking at L.A.C.C. scanned. By the time I got out the door it was $300+. The I paid a ton more to buy the single image TIFF files. 

Edited by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.
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Just don't understand these companies. It is like pulling teeth to get info online. You can find very little online about the FF 8mm scanners. Perry said they are all engineers and spend their brain power making things and not promoting. OK, great do the engineering, but what about keeping a company afloat with sales? They should hire me and I will flood the internet with it. You know I will! It is almost effortless for me as I produce so much it comes with the territory. But it has to be something that interests me, or I don't care. I'm not looking for a job, I got enuf of my own work to do.

I mentioned in another thread how it is nice to be able to settle on your gear, do your work...and just produce! Well, that is how it will be with scanners. Once acquired, it is production time and not talking time. So, if I was not interested any longer, I would not want a job flooding the internet with info unless it came as a 'natural offshoot' of my own work. 

Speaking of offshoots...

I did get a Lasergraphics Archivist instruction catalog. I don't understand how it was mentioned in other threads that Lasergraphics made poor literature. It is outstanding! But maybe they improved?

Edited by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.
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2 hours ago, Daniel D. Teoli Jr. said:

Perry said they are all engineers and spend their brain power making things and not promoting.

that wasn't me. 

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

I did get a Lasergraphics Archivist instruction catalog. I don't understand how it was mentioned in other threads that Lasergraphics made poor literature. It is outstanding! But maybe they improved?

There is no manual for the ScanStation unless that's a new thing. Maybe they made one for the Archivist. There are a few outdated HTML pages you can get to from the application, but they haven't changed much if at all since we bought our scanner 10 years ago.

Their step-by-step installation instructions have always been very good, and very specific. But in terms of usage, they're like most other modern tech companies and don't bother making a good manual. 

 

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17 hours ago, Perry Paolantonio said:

that wasn't me. 

There is no manual for the ScanStation unless that's a new thing. Maybe they made one for the Archivist. There are a few outdated HTML pages you can get to from the application, but they haven't changed much if at all since we bought our scanner 10 years ago.

Their step-by-step installation instructions have always been very good, and very specific. But in terms of usage, they're like most other modern tech companies and don't bother making a good manual. 

 

It is not a direct quote. We were discussing why Lasergraphics didn't answer emails. You were saying you would rather have engineers spend time on development than emails. Very sure it was you. I don't think it was Robert. Does it ring a bell, Perry?

Yes, Lasergraphics must have stupendously improved on their paperwork. Their manual is 104 pages, profusely illustrated and very profession.

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I can see why the Pictor Pro is not more popular now. The price in the USA is pretty astronomical. Maybe it is more affordable in Europe. In the USA it is over $22K. Too bad, as it would have made a nice little dedicated tabletop scanner if it was $10K or there abouts.

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

 

Thanks! 

What was wrong with the HDS camera? 

Is your sample stabilized in post or is it as captured in scanner?

It looks pretty good. I'm no expert, but I think Lasergraphics might be a tad better with the stabilization. But there can be no comparison in price between the 2 scanners, so the Pictor looks very good for what it is. 

Nothing wrong with the HDS camera, what I mean is when looking at the quality of a lot of 8mm that I scan, I can’t always see much of a different scanning in 4K vs 1080p on the Pictor. 
There are some films that I can see the difference, quite often actually standard 8 film, I guess the better gate design and prime lenses - I don’t know.
And of course there is nothing wrong with scanning at 4K, and in a sense it is nicer to have it play on a 4K monitor. 
 

That film was not stabilised in post, but it was stabilised in real time from the scanner software, you can either choose to stabilise vertical, horizontal, or both. 
I choose vertical only because as we know now the sprocket hole on s8 likes to dance around horizontally. 
 

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

Here is something I found, click on the '...more' section. Maybe they were talking about Dan Baxter's company?

It was done with a Pictor, not the Pro. Looks pretty good, steady, colors, etc. 

You can spend a fortune on a little 8mm reel. Before I knew anything about scanning, I had my final exam 8mm reel from Beginning Filmmaking at L.A.C.C. scanned. By the time I got out the door it was $300+. The I paid a ton more to buy the single image TIFF files. 

That’s another one of my uploads, same YouTube channel. From memory I may have applied translation stabilisation in resolve to that clip to take out the handheld shake.

I’m not sure Dan has a scanning company, But no, the place I was talking about that did a transfer on that same film before I did, is quite an old business here in Australia that has been doing it for a while. But they are still using the same old equipment, giving people SD only transfers. They were the best once upon a time, but just haven’t upgraded the machines and workflow as scanners improved. 

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1 hour ago, Daniel D. Teoli Jr. said:

It is not a direct quote. We were discussing why Lasergraphics didn't answer emails. You were saying you would rather have engineers spend time on development than emails. Very sure it was you. I don't think it was Robert. Does it ring a bell, Perry?

It was Rob and it was in reference to the Xena scanner, not the Lasergraphics scanners. 

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26 minutes ago, Andrew Wise said:

I choose vertical only because as we know now the sprocket hole on s8 likes to dance around horizontally. 

Super 8 needs to be horizontally stabilized using the film edge, to simulate the spring loaded edge guide in the camera. The perf isn't really good for much with S8 for either Vertical or Horizontal. For Vertical, the pulldown claw is on the frame or two *below* the taking frame in the camera. That means if you're using the perf next to the frame you're going to see some light vertical jitter. Nothing you can really do about this unless the gate in the scanner is long enough to see two perfs away and use that as a reference for the gate in the frame. No scanner I'm aware of does this, as there would be major compromises on image resolution in order to pull this off. We recommend people get a slight overscan of Super 8 because you can use stabilization software to lock onto the frame lines that way, which will get it pretty solid if you do it right. 

For Horizontal you *can* get it very stable, simply by using the edge of the film to compensate for weave caused by the weird sawtooth perf positioning in Super 8. 

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9 hours ago, Perry Paolantonio said:

Super 8 needs to be horizontally stabilized using the film edge, to simulate the spring loaded edge guide in the camera. The perf isn't really good for much with S8 for either Vertical or Horizontal. For Vertical, the pulldown claw is on the frame or two *below* the taking frame in the camera. That means if you're using the perf next to the frame you're going to see some light vertical jitter. Nothing you can really do about this unless the gate in the scanner is long enough to see two perfs away and use that as a reference for the gate in the frame. No scanner I'm aware of does this, as there would be major compromises on image resolution in order to pull this off. We recommend people get a slight overscan of Super 8 because you can use stabilization software to lock onto the frame lines that way, which will get it pretty solid if you do it right. 

For Horizontal you *can* get it very stable, simply by using the edge of the film to compensate for weave caused by the weird sawtooth perf positioning in Super 8. 

Yeah thats why I keep the horizontal stabilisation off, luckily the gate on the first gen Pictor has two sprung fingers to keep it against the edge which work quite well.

 

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On 4/8/2024 at 8:34 AM, Daniel D. Teoli Jr. said:

Very little of my 8mm is warped, so a warped film gate is not a big deal with the Pictor Pro. But FF should work on making a warped film gate for their HDS+ It is a must! I've got many, many hundred warped 16mm reels. 

Our warped gate for the FF kinda works. Not in love with it, but we're getting somewhere. I think our next iteration should be flawless. Just need another super 8 job with warped film to come in so we can test. 

It's much easier to fix warped 16mm I've found. 

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On 4/9/2024 at 1:45 AM, Daniel D. Teoli Jr. said:

Here is something I found, click on the '...more' section. Maybe they were talking about Dan Baxter's company?

It was done with a Pictor, not the Pro. Looks pretty good, steady, colors, etc. 

Sorry, I thought I replied to this. That's Andrew Wise's company Bowline Media. According to the description this was a re-scan done for a client that was unhappy with a scan done elsewhere (as Andrew has said above). I don't have a company.

On 4/9/2024 at 9:27 PM, Daniel D. Teoli Jr. said:

I can see why the Pictor Pro is not more popular now. The price in the USA is pretty astronomical. Maybe it is more affordable in Europe. In the USA it is over $22K. Too bad, as it would have made a nice little dedicated tabletop scanner if it was $10K or there abouts.

Well it has gone up in price post-pandemic, but I would hardly call that "astronomical". That sounds to me like a very fair and reasonable price.

 

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  • 1 month later...
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13 hours ago, Daniel D. Teoli Jr. said:

So, has anyone picked up the 8mm scanner?

How has it worked out?

I know the Pictor well, it does work very well honestly. 

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Posted (edited)
On 4/10/2024 at 8:33 AM, Dan Baxter said:

Sorry, I thought I replied to this. That's Andrew Wise's company Bowline Media. According to the description this was a re-scan done for a client that was unhappy with a scan done elsewhere (as Andrew has said above). I don't have a company.

Well it has gone up in price post-pandemic, but I would hardly call that "astronomical". That sounds to me like a very fair and reasonable price.

 

 

$22K is not reasonable for a small tabletop 8mm scanner. It is very high as far as I'm concerned. No question it is not built well. But no matter high well built, for the limited use it provides, the price is just too much. There is a tradeoff when something just gets too high for the average Jane, Joe or zir. This is not just my opinion. If it was reasonable, as you said, it would be more popular in the USA. 

Well, if you don't have a company, what do you do that is cine' film related Dan?

Do you frequent forums talking and arguing about scanning as a hobby? (As they say I do.) Are you a film collector? Did you work in the film industry?

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

$22K is not reasonable for a small tabletop 8mm scanner.

You are not going to find something with reasonable quality for less money. It cannot happen unless you build your own from scratch, which can take years and will probably end up costing you as much in the end and may not end up being as good as the properly made commercial options. 

Nobody is going to build a scanner that's in the price range you're looking for that has any quality because it can't be done without losing your shirt. Can you buy a < $400 4k camera? sure you can. Will it look as good as a $5k 4k camera? it will not. because ...physics. 

a 4k camera with good quality and good optics is going to start at about $6000. That's just the camera and lens. You need to design, manufacture and assemble a platform to put it all on. You need motors, motor controllers, software to be written for those controllers. You need custom designed LEDs, drivers to run those LEDs. You need a way to make the light as flat and even as possible, and even then you need software to compensate for the inevitable hot spots and dead pixels. You need power supplies for all of this. You also need rollers, which you can't just buy off the shelf, so those have to be designed and manufactured.

And then the worst part - the part that takes the longest - you need software to run it all. Sure, there's software that comes with some cameras. But it's hardly user friendly and it's not designed for film scanning, so it doesn't do things like light up the LEDs at the right time and automate the movement of the film to the next frame, or detect that a new frame is in position and trigger the camera. At least not without significant effort and cobbling together of parts to make it go. 

This is not simple stuff. The market is maybe hundreds of customers, tops. And that market seems to want everything to be as cheap as possible, while simultaneously expecting it to look great and work properly all the time. 

Best of luck with that. 

 

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