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Anyone try Lasergraphics warped film gates for 16mm?


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

I see they have separate gates for sound and silent. They are pretty pricey.

Did someone finally show you how the LG scanners are priced?

One of my friends that has a full ScanStation has a second DIY scanner that he built that produces very similar quality, in his case he'd do badly warped film on his second scanner as he has full warped film gates he made for it. Most people don't buy the warped film kits for the ScanStation or the Director, remember they can't do wetgate scanning anyway so it's only half the solution. ūüėõ

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That's impressive. What did he spend to build the scanner? Got any photos of it?

I wasn't looking for wet gate scans, just wondering if the warped gates LG sells are worth the money. I think they are like $4,000 each for the Archivist. Don't know how much they are for their top end scanners. Even $4,000 seems like a lot for a little piece of metal. 

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It's more than a "piece of metal," it's a precision machined part consisting of several pieces. 

You get the gate, which is a metal frame with mirrors inside to reflect the light, its polished skid plate, and a pressure-plate that closes down on top of the film. There's also a set of flat rollers that help to flatten the film a bit before it gets to the gate. It's expensive yes, but people with them have reported good results. I've been looking at modding ours to take a pressure plate like the one I built for our 70mm scanner but haven't really had time yet. These are some photos I took of it at NAB last year.

Gate1.jpeg

Gate2.jpeg

roller.jpeg

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I now own a Lasergraphics Archivist with the 16mm warped film gate, and it's a lifesaver.  I have a lot of 16mm prints in various states of decay, and it keeps those films flat as a pancake going through the gate.  The polished chrome film path across the film gate really gives me peace of mind that my films will experience as little friction as possible.

This Archivist is built like a tank and so are the accessories.  I now see why so many people recommend Lasergraphics products so highly.  (It took me a while to get there.)

I don't always understand the finer technical points that many of you speak about in this forum, but I've finally seen the (diffused) light, and I understand the enthusiasm for Lasergraphics.

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On 3/12/2024 at 11:24 AM, Perry Paolantonio said:

It's more than a "piece of metal," it's a precision machined part consisting of several pieces. 

You get the gate, which is a metal frame with mirrors inside to reflect the light, its polished skid plate, and a pressure-plate that closes down on top of the film. There's also a set of flat rollers that help to flatten the film a bit before it gets to the gate. It's expensive yes, but people with them have reported good results. I've been looking at modding ours to take a pressure plate like the one I built for our 70mm scanner but haven't really had time yet. These are some photos I took of it at NAB last year.

Gate1.jpeg

Gate2.jpeg

roller.jpeg

 

Thanks, Perry!

That is something. Yes, lots of work in making it. Does ScanStation / Director use something similar?

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Just now, Daniel D. Teoli Jr. said:

That is something. Yes, lots of work in making it. Does ScanStation / Director use something similar?

The standard ScanStation gate looks like the bottom part of what's in the pictures, and I think the gates re the same on the ScanStation and Archivist, but not 100% sure on that. The hinged pressure plate is added onto the standard gate. It's also worth noting that the gates have some electronics in them, if only to identify themselves to a machine -- so you can't just go build your own gate and expect the machine to recognize it, it wouldn't know it's there without that identifier. 

The Director gates are shorter but similar in design. 

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On 3/12/2024 at 11:00 PM, Todd Ruel said:

I now own a Lasergraphics Archivist with the 16mm warped film gate, and it's a lifesaver.  I have a lot of 16mm prints in various states of decay, and it keeps those films flat as a pancake going through the gate.  The polished chrome film path across the film gate really gives me peace of mind that my films will experience as little friction as possible.

This Archivist is built like a tank and so are the accessories.  I now see why so many people recommend Lasergraphics products so highly.  (It took me a while to get there.)

I don't always understand the finer technical points that many of you speak about in this forum, but I've finally seen the (diffused) light, and I understand the enthusiasm for Lasergraphics.

 

Thanks, Todd.

Do you keep the warped gate on all the time or switch gates for bad film? 

How much work is it to change gates?

Some of the films are warped so bad, they unwind themselves on the rewind bench. You take off the tape and the pressure from all the warping will unwind a whole reel on the floor...if you let it. I've done it before with films I don't want to bother with and I will trash. Films that I may have a copy of two of and didn't care. Too bad I didn't shoot a video of it. Pretty interesting seeing the film unwind itself from a non-spinning reel.

 

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This is just a moderately warped film. 

 

 

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13 minutes ago, Perry Paolantonio said:

The standard ScanStation gate looks like the bottom part of what's in the pictures, and I think the gates re the same on the ScanStation and Archivist, but not 100% sure on that. The hinged pressure plate is added onto the standard gate. It's also worth noting that the gates have some electronics in them, if only to identify themselves to a machine -- so you can't just go build your own gate and expect the machine to recognize it, it wouldn't know it's there without that identifier. 

The Director gates are shorter but similar in design. 

 

Thanks Perry!

Sorry, no more likes or upvotes today. I went over my limit. 

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

Do you keep the warped gate on all the time or switch gates for bad film? 

How much work is it to change gates?

I haven’t done a lot of scanning yet.  I’ve kept the warped film gate on and simply kept the pressure plate up for film in good condition.

An interesting side note is that many of the accessories have electronics in them (as Perry mentioned).  When I first started using the scanner, I noticed that the scanner was not recognizing my mag readers.  I was really alarmed since I had paid all that cash for those readers.  However, I soon learned that the license they gave me had not validated the mag readers, because the mag readers were not physically connected to the Archivist when I entered the license information.

Moral of the story:  there is a license for virtually all of the features on the Archivist.  When you enter that license, you need to have many of the accessories connected in order for the scanner to recognize and validate them.  When you do that once, you’re good to go from then on.

Big Picture moral to the story:  sometimes you just never know about this stuff until you start using the gear and screwing things up.  I only learn through pain and failure (and sometimes the instruction manual).

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On 3/13/2024 at 2:00 PM, Todd Ruel said:

I now own a Lasergraphics Archivist with the 16mm warped film gate, and it's a lifesaver.  I have a lot of 16mm prints in various states of decay, and it keeps those films flat as a pancake going through the gate.  The polished chrome film path across the film gate really gives me peace of mind that my films will experience as little friction as possible.

Did you replace a Retroscan with an Archivist? If so, you're definately not the only one!

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8 minutes ago, Dan Baxter said:

Did you replace a Retroscan with an Archivist? If so, you're definately not the only one!

I replaced the Retroscan MK1 with a Filmfabriek HDS+ and then added a Lasergraphics Archivist.

The MK1 sits under a tarp unused.  It was my starter scanner, but I had to move on, because there was simply too much time-consuming post-production work required to get good-looking images.

The HDS+ also requires a fair amount of post-production work, but the images coming off of the scanner are so much better to start with.  

Also, it's not harsh on film prints.  I used to snap prints in half on the MK1 when one side of the scanner or the other would lock up during capture or rewind.

And finally:  Roger just didn't offer a 4K option for capturing 16mm images on any of his Retroscan machines at the time.  That seemed wrong or backwards to me, so I had to move on.  No regrets.

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26 minutes ago, Todd Ruel said:

Also, it's not harsh on film prints.  I used to snap prints in half on the MK1 when one side of the scanner or the other would lock up during capture or rewind.

Yeah, that's what others have said about them too. The MkII didn't have that issue, but it has so many other issues.

28 minutes ago, Todd Ruel said:

And finally:  Roger just didn't offer a 4K option for capturing 16mm images on any of his Retroscan machines at the time.  That seemed wrong or backwards to me, so I had to move on.  No regrets.

None of them had 4K. The "4K" models have a 2K camera (or 2.5K??) The awful quality light is the bigger issue in terms of quality. A high CRI light makes a huge difference even with the original camera.

The lights in your FF and LG scanners are similar - RGB (or RGB+white) fully-spectrum LED, probably the LG one is brighter, and then FF has a diffusion blob and LG has a diffusion cube. MS could have just used a high CRI white light with proper diffusion, that's all it needed, but Roger never bothered with using a decent light, unfortunately.

32 minutes ago, Todd Ruel said:

I replaced the Retroscan MK1 with a Filmfabriek HDS+ and then added a Lasergraphics Archivist.

The MK1 sits under a tarp unused.  It was my starter scanner, but I had to move on, because there was simply too much time-consuming post-production work required to get good-looking images.

Oh right! Well good for you!! That's the other part of the story re- the MovieStuff collapse, which is that people who are capable will replace them after a year, or after a few years, with a real scanner. As you say they're a "starter scanner" for many.

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We deal with a lot of warped film. Where I'm a bit embarrassed to show our prototype gates, I will happily make a thread and discuss our final variants when we're done. The good news is that our design works. It doesn't scratch and it's very easy to manufacture. The bad news is that it's very labor intensive to keep running due to running it as a wet gate rather than just old dirty dry film being pulled through a chrome gate, which doesn't sound pleasant. None of the stuff we run through our warped gate, could survive a cleaner, most of it falls apart during the initial inspection, let alone during the scan. We're damn lucky to get anything on most of it. However, we know how to deal with the issues that come up. The biggest issue of course, is what to do with finished results. Every second of most films, varies in issues. So full restoration isn't just about scanning it flat, it's also about stabilizing it since the perfs will be a mess and any automated tools won't work well. So you're doing frame stabilization in Phoenix which is time consuming and takes a lot of effort. The scan is the key tho, the best images get the best results. 

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