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Questions re 9.5mm film scanning, scan-rate, shadow detail, ProRes 4444 vs 422 HQ

Guy Burns

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I have 2000 feet of 9.5mm film on five reels, taken in the 1940s and 1950s. Movies taken by a deceased friend, of family and wild places in Tasmania, parts of which will end up on Blu-ray. I want it scanned at 2K on a high-end machine such as a Lasergraphics ScanStation, MWA FlashTransfer Choice, or similar.


As far as I am aware:

  • no company in Australia has such machines.
  • Images4life.uk has a FlashTransfer, but the cost increases by 50% to convert from DPX to ProRes 4444, and another 50% if I ask for transfer at a slower scan-rate (10 fps instead of 15 fps, recommended for improved quality)
  • videopro.dk have the ScanStation and a lower resolution model of the FlashTransfer, but from my experience there are language – and other – difficulties.

I have been unable to track down anyone else who can do this work. This leads to several questions. Below, when I mention scan-rate, I mean the number of frames scanned per second.



Scan Companies

Ques 1

Does anyone know of a company, anywhere in the world, that can scan 9.5mm films using a high-end machine? i.e. something better than a Retroscan. The company must be happy to deal with a home enthusiast. Some aren't.



Exposure vs Scan-Rate

Ques 2

Is exposure time when scanning, linearly dependent on scan-rate? i.e. double the scan-rate and the exposure time halves?


Ques 3

Or does the exposure time vary non-linearly with scan-rate? If so, why?


Ques 4

How does varying the scan-rate effect the quality of the scan? For instance, does scan quality inherently go up as scan-rate goes down? What factors are involved?


Ques 5

For a 2K scan of an 8mm film, what would be typical exposure times for a certain scan-rate?



Output Format

The films are mostly amateur B&W. During editing in Premiere, all the scans will need a goodly amount of contrast correction, and a small number will require significant boosting in the shadows.


Ques 6

Assuming that shadow detail is actually on the film and can be captured by the scanner, does 4444 holds extra information in a form that would give obviously better results than 422 HQ when grayscale shadows are boosted significantly in Premiere?


Personally, I doubt that 4444 is worth the extra file size for these films. But I thought I'd ask, just in case.


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Reel One Oy in Finland can transfer 9.5mm on their Cintel Millenium2 telecine. they are normally setup for fullhd prores422hq and prores444 and should be able to do 2k dci as well on 444. they could also transfer on 4k if having a (separately rented) external recorder.

they use their machine on both home 8mm films and archive and pro material on 16mm and 35mm.


( ask Anssi Kallio, reelone@reelone.fi )


they normally transfer at 25frames/second and rates are per working hour of the scanner

Edited by aapo lettinen
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Thanks for the responses.


I contacted Carlo in Switzerland. He said his machine wasn't suitable for scanning 2000 feet:


Too slow for the amount of footage you have to transfer.

Hope I can have a real production machine ready in the future, but this would not be a very fast one either as I stick to real frame-by-frame approach, not the continuous type of machines which now flourish on the market. In terms of quality, the faster can't be the better.
His comment "the faster can't be the better" is what my Q4, above, was asking.
Reel One, Finland, might be a possibility, but isn't the Cintel Millennium 2 quite an old machine?
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His comment "the faster can't be the better" is what my Q4, above, was asking.


Sorry, but this is clearly not based in any kind of real-world testing. We have both intermittent and continuous motion scanners and both are extremely high quality. Both do frame by frame scans. they do them in different ways, but speed doesn't mean lower quality.


For example: The Northlight scanner takes 4.7fps to scan a 4k frame. The Lasergraphics Director does the same thing at about 15fps. You will not see a loss in quality by going faster. In fact, an argument can be made that the Director is a better scanner. The reason it's faster? It's 15 years newer and computers/sensor/graphics processing is faster.


Our ScanStation, in HDR mode, produces images that are nearly as good as our Northlight scanner, at 15fps.


To say that speed is a primary determinant in picture quality is totally baseless and utterly ridiculous.

Edited by Perry Paolantonio
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Reel One, Finland, might be a possibility, but isn't the Cintel Millennium 2 quite an old machine?



I think they bought it new in 2011 or 2012.

Machine age does not affect the scan quality much and they do very good transfers with the Millenium. It is a tube scanner so the look is slightly different compared to cmos/ccd scanner but quality about equal when the machine is well adjusted and maintained.


I don't know how much the shipping would be though, can't be cheap from Tasmania to here and back...

Edited by aapo lettinen
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  • 4 weeks later...

Good day Guy, i have a frame by frame scanner for 9,5mm too.It is 2560x2048 pixel uncompressed TIFF output in a folder image sequence. From this image sequence you can convert in whatever video format of your choice. I charge 1 Euro/meter.Are your 2000 feet( 609 meters) loaded in a single big reel ? My scanner can load 120 meters max, but i have not problem to customize for bigger reel.



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  • 1 year later...

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