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Advice on Processing/Scanning Super8 for a BIG project I am prepping

Matt Stevens

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As I mentioned in the Super8 thread, I have a long dreamed of project in the works: A feature that will be partially shot on Super8 film. We are shooting all of the 8mm scenes first and will edit and then see where we are at.


Never mind the fact that prices for stock have gone up by 50% or more in the last 18 months :angry: there is also the issue of not receiving responses from the labs or scanning facilities I have contacted. I don't want to be rude and mention which ones, but it seems like maybe some just don't care about 8mm at this point because I am receiving replies to my emails inquiries. That would not have happened 2 or 3 years ago. Some of these places are big names and well known here. Maybe I'm just too small-time for them to bother?


We intend to shoot on Tri-X, Vision3 200T and a little bit of 50D. Anywhere from 15 to 24 rolls, depending upon how well (or poorly) we do. 24fps of course. Most MOS. There are two sequences with sync sound.


The most likely camera used is a Nikon R10, though I am trying to find someone with a Leicina Special or the new Logmar in the NYC area. I am in the process of acquiring an R10 right now and would have to shoot one or two test rolls.


1080p would be the minimum for scanning for the project and frankly 2K might be smarter since I really want to retain that all important film grain. That is so important. I don't want it to turn to mush.


We are shooting in the NYC area late September and hope to finish no later than October 5. I would need some immediate turnaround since I have to leave for China on October 18. Getting everything in place ahead of time is important, not just for me but I am sure for whatever lab and scanning house we use.


That's the situation. We have an insanely limited budget and certain people involved are trying to get me to switch to shooting this stuff digitally, but it's imperative to me that these portions of the film be shot on film. I do not want to shoot this stuff with a digital camera. The rest of the feature will be digitally captured so dammit, this material which is designed for 8mm needs to be shot on 8mm.


But if I can't get answers to my questions or find a place willing to work with me... I will be forced to go digital. :(


I'm all ears. Thanks.



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I would call, on the phone, Cinelab. Maybe you've not had great results with them, but I find actually phone conversations to be excellent. And, since they don't have an email published, it's faster to call. The owner? posts on this forum regularly. I know they develop Super8, and can do 2K scene to scene scans if you wish. I've had nothing but great response from them.

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My workflow these days is 100% gamma ray digital 5K scan with 2K output. Rates are better than anyone else's HD and results are not even a question. Far superior to anyone else (except the others that also have a scan station).


I go back and forth between Cinelab and spectra for super 8 processing. I have been 100% happy with both.


I have to used their system, but Cinelab does have an in house Xena system that is similar to the ScanStation of you want to process and scan at one place.

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Thanks for the kind words!


We are working on an update to the website which is pretty outdated now.


The website update will have allot more info on the two Xena scanners, both the 4K pinless and the Pin Registered (which we plan on updating to a 6.6K Kodak CCD) and also on out two Arrilaser film recorders and the Imagica scanner and the Photomec ECN Processor we got from DuArt.


We are also trying to streamline email and voice communication as well, often when people call we are in the middle of running something and sometimes it goes to voicemail. So if you call or email you are usually going to be talking directly to a Lab technician. I would like to hire an office manager to answer the phone and do scheduling we just haven't found the right person yet.


We are doing 2K scans of Super-8mm now on the pinless Xena with a 3.4K Kodak 12-bit CCD and while the CCD is not as much resolution as the Scan Station it have very good dynamic range and noise performance.


Here is a dropbox link to a ProRes444 file sample.


This is raw footage of an Art Opening my friend Dave Cole had at Brown University in Providence.


Shot on 500t with a Bauer 107XL process normal and scanned on the Xena.





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The Leicina doesn't do 24 fps. Only 25. How important is 24 fps?


Always had good experiences with Cinelab.

Right, 25fps for the Leicina. We would use the Nikon R10 for sync sound shots. But there are a great deal of shots that are MOS and a bit, shall we say, psychedelic. Shooting at 25fps and transferring at 24fps would add a bit of strangeness to the visuals.

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