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Going It Alone With S8 And A Flashscan


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I hope it is ok to ask these questions on this forum, if not please excuse!

 

I´m a colourist in london with 15 years experience grading film/tape.

 

I hope soon to set up my own small company transfering R8/S8 film using the quality Flashscan telecine.

 

I expect to transfer mostly homemovie cine movie to dvd, but would like to also offer graded transfers.

 

The transfers would be standard def and what I call primary grading (no windowing of areas).I would be transfering to digi beta, and dv cam.

 

I see from the forum that many film makers like to transfer direct to drives at the highest quality. My big question is in what format do require the data?

 

Any information and suggestions are most welcome.

 

Many thanks

 

Grant Benett

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I hope it is ok to ask these questions on this forum, if not please excuse!

 

I´m a colourist in london with 15 years experience grading film/tape.

 

I hope soon to set up my own small company transfering R8/S8 film using the quality Flashscan telecine.

 

I expect to transfer mostly homemovie cine movie to dvd, but would like to also offer graded transfers.

 

The transfers would be standard def and what I call primary grading (no windowing of areas).I would be transfering to digi beta, and dv cam.

 

I see from the forum that many film makers like to transfer direct to drives at the highest quality. My big question is in what format do require the data?

 

Any information and suggestions are most welcome.

 

Many thanks

 

Grant Benett

 

 

Most of the time when I get Super 8 on hard drive, I get it as uncompressed 10 bit SD 4:2:2. Can the flashscan provide that sort of output? I think that it would be a better alternative to digibeta, because of cost. The main advantage of going with a tape transfer is that you can get the keycode. But you don't need that with super 8. Keep us posted with your results/ findings.

 

chris

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Most of the time when I get Super 8 on hard drive, I get it as uncompressed 10 bit SD 4:2:2. Can the flashscan provide that sort of output? I think that it would be a better alternative to digibeta, because of cost. The main advantage of going with a tape transfer is that you can get the keycode. But you don't need that with super 8. Keep us posted with your results/ findings.

 

chris

 

 

Yes Flashscan can output SDI 10 bit, Thanks for reminding me about the keycode issue.

 

many thanks

 

Grant

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Yes Flashscan can output SDI 10 bit

 

Although it is true to say that the Flashscan 8 can output SDI 10 bit, the true story is a little bit more complex than it would seem at face-value.

 

The camera that they use is a Hitachi HV-D30 1/3rd " 3CCD. Google it - it only has analogue output.

 

hitachi.gif

 

So how do they get SDI output? With the original units they bought one of these....

 

ComomediaconverterMC2E.gif

 

...took it out of its casing, and mounted it on the back panel of the Flashscan.

 

flashscanbovenaanzicht.gif

MC2E2.gif

 

You could plug a number of very ordinary cameras into the MC-2E and magically get SDI video out.

 

AFAIK they may be using a different unit now, but the principle must be the same.

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  • 10 months later...

To correct some possible misconceptions that may be caused by Bart's post...

 

Although it is true to say that the Flashscan 8 can output SDI 10 bit, the true story is a little bit more complex than it would seem at face-value.

 

The camera that they use is a Hitachi HV-D30 1/3rd " 3CCD. Google it - it only has analogue output.

 

hitachi.gif

 

So how do they get SDI output? With the original units they bought one of these....

 

ComomediaconverterMC2E.gif

 

...took it out of its casing, and mounted it on the back panel of the Flashscan.

 

flashscanbovenaanzicht.gif

MC2E2.gif

 

You could plug a number of very ordinary cameras into the MC-2E and magically get SDI video out.

 

AFAIK they may be using a different unit now, but the principle must be the same.

 

Not exactly. There's more to a flashscan or flashscanHD than what Bart describes.

 

I'd point out that ANY telecine I'm aware of--your Spirit at work included--is analog at the front end.

 

The Line Array CCDs in the Spirit, the three CCD chips in the flashscan's camera or the sensors in a flying spot scanner are all analog. So are the very expensive HD and 4K cameras being used in live production. RED, too.

 

At some point, the analog signals (varying voltages) are sampled and converted into something digital. The fact that flashscan can output uncompressed 10-bit SD-SDI is quite helpful in making sure the high resolution images flashscan produces don't get compromised along the way.

 

The fact that off the shelf items are used helps keep the cost down, compared to the cost of making something custom in small quantities, with attendant high cost of R&D and production. Off the shelf items are also more available. Just ask any early RED camera buyer.

 

What Bart didn't mention is that the camera used in the flashscan has CCD's that image an area 795 pixels wide and 596 pixels top to bottom (PAL). Similar kind of oversampling for NTSC cameras.

 

That means that the camera has more information to start with than the imager used in an ordinary PAL standard definition camera with the same size chips. The Hitachi camera in a flashscan is a machine vision camera, used to take sharp, clear pictures of fast moving objects in manufacturing.

 

In this application, the camera-in conjunction with a trigger provided by an optical tachometer that tracks film position-snaps a sharp picture of a single film frame and passes it on to a frame store where its clocked out at PAL rates through the various digital and analog ports on the back panel. (Or clocked out at NTSC rates on NTSC units.)

 

The LED array is also flashed in time with the camera trigger. Like shooting stills with a strobe, there's no motion blur going on. LED flash duration is increased to add more light (or decreased for less light.) The color of the LED array is also variable (in both SD and HD systems) so one can make a primary color balance adjustment without adding noise to the picture.

 

Camera settings are adjusted to control black level and balance, midrange (gamma) level and balance, and when needed, white level and balance.

 

With 15 years of looking at film though a variety of high-end telecines, Grant... you know good pictures when you see them.

 

You're not alone. In Europe, small transfer operations and large labs have been adopting flashscan as the "standard" for small-gauge telecine since it was introduced in 2004.

 

As of April, 2008 more than 114 SD flashscans were in use. More have shipped since then. Some early adopters like a lab in Belguim have six machines in use 24/7.

 

Since then, the flashscanHD has been introduced and began shipping in March, 2009. It offers faster than real-time preview at up to 100fps, and faster than real-time transfer at up to 50fps... WITH triggerable color correction settings like you'd find on "big iron" color correctors tied to "big iron" telecines.

 

Archives in the UK and elsewhere in the EU have found that the (SD) flashscan enables them to easily get broadcast quality pictures out to tape or file without having highly skilled personnel operating.

 

You should be able to easily get some fantastic results quite quickly, between the variable color from the LED array and the camera black, lift and gain controls available through the flashremote's knob and trackball on the SD unit, or the software-base CC and motion controls on the HD model.

 

A JL Cooper panel is supported on the flashscanHD.

 

As you might note from the interior pictures Bart posted, the flashscan is designed like "Big Iron." Inventive use of technology, heavy duty mechanicals, solid front plate, precision machining and high quality hand assembly and testing.

 

And use of easily available off the shelf components to help keep R&D and production costs down... so neither flashscan or flashscanHD cost what a SPIRIT costs.

 

The engineering concepts and execution come from the company principals' experience with Big Iron telecines of various makes and technologies.

 

That's why you have things included in flashscan's feature-set and hardware that aren't available with lesser priced equipment.

 

The new flashscanHD takes this to a whole new level.

 

Hope this is helpful.

 

You can visit the factory website at http://www.mwa-nova.com, or the US/Canada distributorship I operate at http://www.flashscan8.us.

 

Or visit us at NAB in Las Vegas, Apr. 20-24, 2009 where we'll be demoing the 16mm flashtransfer in booth SU6117. E-mail me for additional information

 

Cheers,

 

Ted Langdell

flashscan8.us

Marysville, CA, USA

 

http://www.flashscan8.us

ted@flashscan8.us

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The fact that flashscan can output uncompressed 10-bit SD-SDI is quite helpful in making sure

 

If you are gong to act as the salesperson are, please update youself. The Flashscan8 cannot output 10-bit color. Or rather... it outputs a 10-bit signal, but it only has 8-bit color information from the filmoriginal to pour into the signal, since the internal electronics (like the framestorage) all are 8-bit compatible.

 

So the Flashscan8 can output 8 bit colorinformation in a 10-bit signal. No more colors than a 8-bit signal can deliver. At least not according to Kai Gerhardt at MWA, the expert I always ended up talking to regarding detailed questions that the "regular people" at MWA couldn´t answer.

Edited by Kent Kumpula
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http://www.flashscan8.us/flashTRANSFER1.htm

 

Why on Earth would anyone want to transfer 35mm at SD standard? :huh: Am I reading that page wrong?

 

Grant, I think there's scope for transferring S8 material shot by indie filmakers in London like Justin Lovell is doing in Toronto. Ask on Shooting People who might be interested. Problem is getting hold of a sync S8 camera now that HD is taking over.

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Hi, Kent,

 

Thanks for the opportunity to clarify this:

 

If you are gong to act as the salesperson are, please update youself. The Flashscan8 cannot output 10-bit color. Or rather... it outputs a 10-bit signal, but it only has 8-bit color information from the filmoriginal to pour into the signal, since the internal electronics (like the framestorage) all are 8-bit compatible.

 

 

There are two series of flashscans.

 

Series I is as you describe. Series II (currently shipping) has full 10-bit architecture from analog input to SD-SDI output. Series II accounts for more than 2/3rds of the production of 150 or so units so far.

 

Here's the relevant part of an e-mail from Kai, which has more detail:

 

The SDI signal always carries 10 bits, this is part of the SDI standard. If you use the Firewire output with DV compression this picture always has 8 bits according to the DV standard.

 

The flashscan camera puts out an analog component signal. The framestore module digitizes this signal, puts it into a memory and reads it out from there to the SDI output. The first 50 machines are equipped with an older model of the framestore module which makes the digitization with 9 bits and the frame memory is 8 bits wide. That means only 8 of the 10 SDI bits are used.

 

The latest model (all the newer 100 machines) has an entirely 10 bit wide signal path. Here you get "real" 10 bits. It also features embedded audio in the SDI out, which the older model does not have.

 

In general I would say this is more an academic discussion, there is no visible difference in the picture quality.

 

The flashscanHD of course has 10 bits, the camera also directly delivers HDSDI, there is no analog step in between.

 

Kind Regards,

Kai Gerhardt

 

MWA Nova GmbH

Development Department

 

Hope this is helpful.

 

Ted

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Hope this is helpful.

 

Thanks, it was indeed. So there is a 66% possibility that a Flashscan8 has a true 10-bit output, and a 33% chance that it has 8-bit output.

 

 

If the discussion is academic... I do not agree. It depends on how the signal is captured and what/how it will be used. If it is captured in any of the 8-bit codecs (like DV) then it surely doesen´t matter if the original signal is 10-bit or 8-bit. But if the 10-bit signal is captured in 10-bit, and the 10-bit colorspace is used for colorcorrection the final output will benefit from this even it the final output is 8-bit. At least if extensive tweaking of the colors in needed.

 

The final output will by the way be 8-bit, there is no way of delivering/viewing the final product in 10-bit yet.

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http://www.flashscan8.us/flashTRANSFER1.htm

 

Why on Earth would anyone want to transfer 35mm at SD standard?

 

Valid question with valid reasons for continuing to use SD.

 

Cost of HD transfer equipment, cost of transfer per foot or hour and cost of needed storage are among them.

 

Consider dailies (or "rushes"): There's often no need to have HD transfers for editing especially when the budget won't support it. HD requires significant additional storage, and for editors, a different workflow and data capacity than SD.

 

When picture is locked, (and funding available) one can do an HD transfer of just the necessary film to HD and conform to the locked picture.

 

Today, many older SD flying spot scanners and line array telecines are being used for transfer of dailies... and likely will be, until they're not cost-effective to keep in service. That's happening now.

 

People without a need for HD are replacing such machines with new flashtransfer systems, since no one else is making a real-time system with the capabilities, features and benefits the flashtransfer offers.

 

At another level, archives are continuing to use SD PAL and NTSC as a transfer format —particularly for access copies—because of the formats' ubiquity.

 

Unless you're the Library of Congress or another terrifically well-funded archive, purchase and operation of a Spirit or Cintel is not affordable, so the in-house HD transfer of 35mm isn't possible.

 

Some titles held may be deemed to need HD transfer or preservation, and over time, funding might be found for that.

 

But for most reels of film in archives around the world, it's not realistic to do so, nor to pay for storing the resulting data.

 

However, SD equipment such as the flashtransfer can be afforded and operated by many archives.

 

This concept works operationally since the flashtransfer system is designed to have negligible operating costs or ongoing maintenance... and most staffers involved in transfers can be trained to get good to results in a short period of time.

 

And if someone finds a gem that deserves HD treatment in the course of transferring or looking at SD-transferred material, the film can be re-transferred at HD on another system as funding permits.

 

With regard to SD and HD—and particularly film transfers—I'd liken the period we're in to the time when color television had been introduced, but most people still viewed on black and white sets. Eventually, color sets became downright cheap over time, and black and white sets (for consumers, anyway) were discontinued.

 

That may well be what happens with film transfers, but I suspect we'll be looking at another 15-20 years before that occurs.

 

If anyone is attending NAB in two weeks, I'd invite you to take a look at all the telecine/scanners there, including flashtransfer.

 

We'll have a 16mm unit with magnetic and optical sound in Front Porch Digital's booth (SU6117) working with FPD's SAMMA Solo digital archiving system.

 

Ted

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Thanks, it was indeed. So there is a 66% possibility that a Flashscan8 has a true 10-bit output, and a 33% chance that it has 8-bit output.

 

The ratio is changing as more units are shipped.

 

If the discussion is academic... I do not agree. It depends on how the signal is captured and what/how it will be used. If it is captured in any of the 8-bit codecs (like DV) then it surely doesen´t matter if the original signal is 10-bit or 8-bit. But if the 10-bit signal is captured in 10-bit, and the 10-bit colorspace is used for colorcorrection the final output will benefit from this even it the final output is 8-bit. At least if extensive tweaking of the colors in needed.

 

The final output will by the way be 8-bit, there is no way of delivering/viewing the final product in 10-bit yet.

 

Perhaps I should have retained a portion of Kai's comments in the earlier reply. He said:

 

You also have to take into account what the end user gets. In case of a DVD or miniDV tape or a DV compressed file on hard disk these formats are all 8 bit formats. Even if you give him a 10 bit uncompressed file, does his monitor process 10 bits? Only the very latest HDMI standard supports more than 8 bits, the ordinary (=affordable) DVI or HDMI connected flatscreen works with 8 bits.

 

10 bit video processing is only relevant in a professional studio environment where excessive color correction is applied to the image. We recommend to do the color corrections with the flashscan's camera and the lightsource and not afterwards.

 

I would add that there are monitors that support 10-bit SD-SDI and HD-SDI. The consideration is what happens internally... which is a whole 'nuther thread.

 

Ted

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Thanks Ted. Kind of obvious once you know, and makes me feel foolish for asking! :D

 

Has anyone in London got a Series II available for hire? I might go take a looksee...

 

 

From the information on their website, "The Widescreen Centre" operate a flashscan. They offer 10-bit uncompressed transfer to hard-disk, and also HD transfers - so it doesn't sound like a series 1

 

I haven't used their services myself, but there have been a couple of comments posted on this forum that were less than complementary about the quality of their telecine of negative filmstocks. I don't remember reading comment about their results from reversal film. From the posts made further up this thread it's possible these 'issues' are all down to the individual operator rather than the equipment itself. Either way, it might be worth calling in to have a look at it.

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...and also HD transfers - so it doesn't sound like a series 1

 

Their HD transfers are not done with a Flashscan. If they are doing the HD transfers with a flashscan it is just a upscaling of the SD signal.

 

I think I know what equipment they use (shooting a wild guess from the hip), if I´m right it is just a rebuilt old projector with a consumer grade camera. If I´m wrong then I have no idea what equipment they use for HD transfers, it certainly isn´t something they are very open about on their webpage.

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Cheers. I've found another http://www.cineondvd.co.uk/flashscan.htm £170/hr is cheap! However I'm more interested in 16mm with a particular application in mind (which would be another thread :ph34r: )

 

So, do I understand this right? You can operate this like a normal telecine? Go through a roll, set the light levels, which the unit remembers, rewind, then scan in one go with the unit recalling light settings at the appropriate points? Sorry if the answer to that's obvious again. :D

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Thanks Ted. Kind of obvious once you know, and makes me feel foolish for asking! :D

 

Has anyone in London got a Series II available for hire? I might go take a looksee...

 

I'll ask the factory and get back to you.

 

A new rep for the UK is being appointed. He may have a demo unit or can get one easily.

 

Ted

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Cheers. I've found another http://www.cineondvd.co.uk/flashscan.htm £170/hr is cheap! However I'm more interested in 16mm with a particular application in mind (which would be another thread :ph34r: )

 

from the website, I believe the cineonvideo folks use the services of VIDEOSTATION in Basildon, Essex, which has both a flashscan and a Bosch FDL.

http://www.videostation.co.uk/freedvd.asp

 

VIDEOSTATION doesn't say whether it's an FDL 60 or 90, but they've had respected "big iron" telecine engineer Mike Waldie build a special gate for their Bosch to handle 8, Super8 and 9.5.

 

So, do I understand this right? You can operate this like a normal telecine? Go through a roll, set the light levels, which the unit remembers, rewind, then scan in one go with the unit recalling light settings at the appropriate points? Sorry if the answer to that's obvious again. :D

 

Not exactly. On the flashscan (SD) you can make quite sophisticated adjustments for color correction and light levels, and store them in up to 25 different memory registers using the flashremote.. There is no facility to trigger the memory changes in relation to, say time code or footage, so you can push buttons to recall the settings manually, or stop and start to capture clips and assemble in an NLE.

 

The new flashscanHD DOES have the ability to go through the reel, stop, make adjustments, store, move on, adjust, store, etc., and then have the software make the changes automatically during transfer. At up to 50fps.

 

So it has elements of big iron telecine and big iron color corrector built in. And can work with a third-party panel to control the color correction software.

 

The other significant difference between the two models is that there are NO sprockets used on the flashscanHD.

 

It's capstan driven. Lasers are used to read the sprocket hole position and control triggering the flash, camera and framestore. There's been a lot of R&D engineering involved, from mechanical, electronic and software perspectives.

 

Hope this provides some clarity.

 

Ted

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Thanks Ted. You guys have made a major leap forwards!

 

Out of curiosity, what do you use to get consistent flashes up to 50fps? Most photographers' flashes have an error pop-to-pop of over 10%! Cheap ones as much as 50%. You're using proprietary LEDs..? No probs with spectral distribution?

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  • 1 month later...
  • Sustaining Member

I just saw the prospect of the FlashScan HD.

There's no mention about 1080i in there.

Can the new FlashScan do it, or only 720p?

 

 

I wonder how the FlashScan manages motion blur.

This must be a pretty quick exposure.

 

 

Out of curiosity, how much do these scanners run for?

 

 

Yes, I'd like to know that too.

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Thanks Ted. You guys have made a major leap forwards!

 

Out of curiosity, what do you use to get consistent flashes up to 50fps? Most photographers' flashes have an error pop-to-pop of over 10%! Cheap ones as much as 50%. You're using proprietary LEDs..? No probs with spectral distribution?

 

 

Hi Karel,

 

I understand the question you're posing, as it relates to consistent light level output from flash to flash.

 

Xenon strobes used by still photographers may be have that inconsistent problem. I've not seen it in the SD flashscan or SD flashtransfer when stepping through files made from stable images on film.

 

The flashscanHD uses a new, brighter LED array.

 

I can ask the factory and get back to you about what enables consistency.

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I just saw the prospect of the FlashScan HD.

 

There's no mention about 1080i in there.

Can the new FlashScan do it, or only 720p?

 

576i, 720p and 1080i.

 

I should have a downloadable product info sheet with more details and photos up on the website late this week. Working on it now.

 

I wonder how the FlashScan manages motion blur.

This must be a pretty quick exposure.

 

It's a combination of the flash of the LED's and the electronic shutter of the camera. Exactly what the fraction of a second numbers are, I don't know. Suffice to say, it works! (Gotta leave some magic here to wonder about :) )

 

QUOTE (Adrian Sierkowski @ Apr 8 2009, 09:49 PM)

Out of curiosity, how much do these scanners run for?

 

Yes, I'd like to know that too.

 

Looking at the Cinematography.com TOS, I think it would be best to not do that here, but if you contact me off-list, I'd be able to tell you more.

 

Not being coy here... trying to be informational, and not violate the forum's policies... which I hope I haven't done with previous replies to people's questions or posts.

 

Question for—off-list—repeat, off-list reply: I'm thinking about advertising to the right... Do you read the ads and click?

 

Ted

 

ted at flashscan8.us

Edited by Ted Langdell
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