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Best workflow for scanning a 16mm film


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We are shooting our feature film on 16mm Kodak film (50D, 500T) and the edit is in progress. We did a 2K scan of the negative and we are using this MOV file  for the edit.
 
Once the edit is over, we would would want to rescan the portions which actually went into the edit in 4K.
 
During the scan we would love to individually set the amount of data we need to pull from the negative for each scene. We may need some more information from the night scenes (enhance the dark portions), or we may need to decrease the hi lights to see the pattern of clouds .. get the maximum out of the scan like an HDR scan so we can adjust these settings in post.

I looked about a lot about scanners, but we are receiving a lot of mixed opinions.
1. Cinetl (Blackmagic):
       + Has good control over the scanner light intensity and color.
       -  Doesn't scan 16,, in 4K (It interpolates a 2K scan to make it 4K)
2. Scanty (DFT)
       + Decent
        - Though no HDR in Color
3. Arriscan : 
       + Looks good for 16mm  4K scan .
        -  But some test results show shades of lines in dark portions when brightened,  may be because of change in intensity of flash light of scanner 
4. Laser graphics Director 10K:
    + Looks Good, and best as per may people
    - In the above test looks like the bit depth is less than arri.
5. filmfabriek HDS+ :
    + Looks good.
 
Now are confused which scanner is the better one out of these to scan 16mm in 4K. And when we look around most of these scanners are not available in India, so we are a little confused on where we should be doing these scans.
 
Thanks a lot
George.
 
 
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There is also a huge price difference between those scanners. 

I use the Spirit 4k for quite a bit of my stuff because it has a trilinear array (like the scanity) and it delivers a true 444 RGB image with low imager noise, thanks to a super bright light source and high quality imager/optics. Where the Spirit isn't as CRISP as lets say the Arri Scan, it's pretty damn close. Price vs performance in 4k, you can't beat the Spirit 4k. Prices range from $.32 - $.60ft 

I have never seen FPN (fixed pattern noise) on an Arriscan, so I don't know where you saw that, but it's super rare. They always look great, but are grossly expensive to use in 4k due to them being so slow. I personally prefer the crispness and registration of the Arriscan over most scanners, but the price makes it difficult to use it all the time. Price range from $.45  - $.80ft 

The Scanity is considered by many as the best machine on the market. I have very little experience using it with my own content, but I've seen many scans and it's always been impressive. Outside of registration, it has a trilinear array like the Spirit and can deliver true 444 scans, which is super nice. It's just super expensive to use because it's one heck of an expensive machine to purchase. I've seen prices in the $1.00 per foot range for 4k 16mm scans. 

The happy medium for all of this is the Lasergraphics scan station. It looks great, has a crisp image, is pretty fast which means you can get a lower cost scan. The only issues with the lasergraphics machines is that they're a single flash CMOS design, so they have a bayer pattern just like the digital cinema cameras, so no 444 capture unless you crop it down. They're also expensive to use for some reason, but very good scanners that deliver an excellent image. 

I scan a lot of film and my choices are the Spirit for fast work that you need done and Arriscan for your final work. I've never been disappointed with either one of them. 

 

 

 

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You should get some bids from different companies. Fotokem, Cinelab, Kodak etc usually will get back to you within 48 hours with a cost estimate and suggestions for your workflow. Kodak's website should have a list of labs by region you can check. Last time I checked with Fotokem for a 16mm 4k finish, it was cheaper to scan everything once at 4k than it was to scan everything at 2k and then selectively rescan at 4k (using the Scanity). Was the same situation with Kodak Atlanta IIRC (using the spirit 4k). 

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37 minutes ago, Robin Phillips said:

Last time I checked with Fotokem for a 16mm 4k finish, it was cheaper to scan everything once at 4k than it was to scan everything at 2k and then selectively rescan at 4k (using the Scanity). Was the same situation with Kodak Atlanta IIRC (using the spirit 4k). 

Fotokem has Imagica machines and they're very expensive to operate due to their slow speed. Where they do look good, they aren't an affordable option for most filmmakers. 

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11 minutes ago, Tyler Purcell said:

Fotokem has Imagica machines and they're very expensive to operate due to their slow speed. Where they do look good, they aren't an affordable option for most filmmakers. 

I don't know about Fotokem having Imagicas but they scanned a project for me last year in 4K on Scanity . They saved me quite a bit of money by splicing / prepping together a couple rolls. They charged by the hour not footage count and my job was under 1 hour and didn't have to pay for the full hour. Only the time needed for scan and data transfer. The scans were really really nice.

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4 hours ago, Tyler Purcell said:

Fotokem has Imagica machines and they're very expensive to operate due to their slow speed. Where they do look good, they aren't an affordable option for most filmmakers. 

They run 16mm on the scanity 4k. I've had all my stuff in the last year that went through fotokem run on that machine, has outstanding results. 

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7 hours ago, Robert Houllahan said:

I think FotoKem only has an Imagica "Big Foot" scanner for 12K IMAX / 65mm scans otherwise they use the Spirit 4K or Scannity.

 

 

They for sure have a few standard Imagica's as well as a scanity. The scanity is super pricy. 

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  • 1 year later...
On 1/15/2020 at 5:34 AM, Stephen Perera said:

for what its worth regarding 16mm, Cinelab London techs told me, when debating on which to use....Scanity or Arriscan at 2K...."if it was my work, Arriscan any day of the week"

I'm trying to do a few projects this year at different labs to get results and a feel for each.  Next up is Fotokem (this week I'm sending a short b/w film to them for 16mm neg 4K scan).  But something has me completely confused.  All this talk of Arriscan machines, and for the life of me I feel like every lab speaks up about their Spirits and Directors and Scanitys etc., but what labs actually operate Arriscan machines?  I really want to give it a crack, but you'd be surprised how hard it is to google "Arriscan scanner film lab" and get reliable results of anyone showing one off.

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On 1/13/2020 at 9:16 PM, Robert Houllahan said:

I had an Imagica Imager XE+ and I gave it away for free which was about what it was worth.

All these things should be documented with sample scans put up at the Internet Archive or other online venue.

How did you aquire it only to give it away?  Was it good for its time and it got outdated?

Is this the unit?

https://www.broadcaststore.com/store/prod_detail.cfm?eq_id=702940

Edited by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.
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9 hours ago, Matthew B Clark said:

I'm trying to do a few projects this year at different labs to get results and a feel for each.  Next up is Fotokem (this week I'm sending a short b/w film to them for 16mm neg 4K scan).  But something has me completely confused.  All this talk of Arriscan machines, and for the life of me I feel like every lab speaks up about their Spirits and Directors and Scanitys etc., but what labs actually operate Arriscan machines?  I really want to give it a crack, but you'd be surprised how hard it is to google "Arriscan scanner film lab" and get reliable results of anyone showing one off.

Looks like a Cintel, kinda.

https://www.arri.com/en/camera-systems/archive-solutions/arriscan-xt

Did you try contacting Arri for a list of scan labs that use their product or if they can do a sample scan for you?

How does the Arri compare to a cheap Lasergraphics for archival work of warped 16mm?

Like most other scan makers they list no price.

Edited by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.
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The arriscan is a very good machine, but it's getting old now and a lot of people have moved away from it because it's pretty slow. With the 6.5k Scan Station, you can easily achieve a full 444 RGB 16 bit HDR image for much faster scanning speeds. Where I agree, the Arriscan's pin registered gate is amazing, it's not a requirement for a good image. Real time stabilization based on perf is possible these days by analyzing the image as its being put to disc. So there really isn't any benefit for the arriscan anymore. 

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Thanks!

Isn't that sad. Never heard much about the Arriscan. Maybe I heard the name mentioned before, but nothing in detail. 
 
Some of these scan makers market their products like they are top secret nuclear codes. Maybe it would be good for me if it is outdated. While I would like HDR, I can do without it due to a low budget.
 
What do Arriscan's sell for? 
 
In place of HDR I sometimes have to scan film sections at different exposures and marry the best scans in post. It is not HDR, but it is better than a one exposure scan.
 
I do not like doing it as it does not represent how things were projected back in the day. When films were projected they were generally done with one exposure, they didn't have the luxury of changing exposure like we do. So I am torn between showing films as they were projected or showing films in a better light, with the limited hardware and software I have.
 
But HDR is something I'd really like to have. HDR is very important for exposure timing (or is it exposure continuity?) of archival material that was not exposed properly in various sections.
Edited by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.
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2 hours ago, Daniel D. Teoli Jr. said:

What do Arriscan's sell for? 

I've seen them go for as little as $20k, but that doesn't mean they're complete. They're kind of complex and it's very expensive to maintain/operate if something goes wrong. They also use a lower resolution imager which takes multiple pictures of each frame, then recompile's them in hardware before exporting the DPX files to disc. So it's kind of a very odd machine. However, it does deliver outstanding images. 

I have experimented a bit with the HDR mode on the Scan Station, ArriScan and Blackmagic Cintel II. They all do different things. the HDR mode on the Arriscan does help quite a bit with flattening the image and retaining highlights. The Scan Station is kind of a hybrid, it does help a bit with highlights, but not anywhere near the HDR mode on the arriscan. The Cintel II HDR mode is so-so as well, it does help retain the highlights and have good blacks as well, but it's nowhere as good as the Scan Station and Arriscan. HDR mode is absolutely the way to go if you have scenes which have a great deal of dynamic range. For instance, I have a few shots looking out a window of a building, but I want both inside the window and outside the window to have good dynamic range. Film can do it, if you were to make a 1 light print, it would be retained for sure, just maybe not in the blacks. Where with digital, you can bring all that back. A good scanner should allow you to fix things in post, but you gotta NAIL the exposure on the scan, that can be very tricky. 

Sadly only the 6.5k Scan Station is worth buying and that imager is 10k alone! So it's a very expensive solution. 

 

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Well for my type of work a 4k machine is fine. Most of my films are multi gen dupes. My main want is the sound scanning ability. But I'd like a good image as well. 

The thing to do if you have time / money is to pp the individual TIFF files of a film scan. The problem is trying to match each frame if the pp is extensive. 

 

sunlit-slipper-silver-print-vs-inkjet-pr

This took me 2.5 hours in Lightroom and HDR software. It is an example of the highest level revovery that is possible from a 6x6 or 70mm film image.

If you had some type of AI software that could duplicate all the adjustments to the frames needing work it may fly. But the work was too extensive for me to duplicate into multi frames.  

The problem with duplication is with localized contrast grading aka dodging and burning.  The problem is not with general controls that affect the entire image..

To get this level of recovery you need both HDR and extensive contrast grading. Either alone won't cut it. 

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

The thing to do if you have time / money is to pp the individual TIFF files of a film scan. The problem is trying to match each frame if the pp is extensive. 

My scanner can do tiff capture, so you could batch process them? But remember, motion picture scanners have very different operating ranges. Still film scanners don't have this problem at all, which is why you can easily extract more information from a still image. Can't do that with motion picture images. 

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I wrote ARRI to inquire how much a scanner cost. They were confused about my inquiry. They didn't give me a price, but they did give a couple of sources to check on getting scans done even though I didn't ask about that.

Here is their reply to my inquiry as to buying a ARRIscanner.

 

ARRI doesn’t offer film scanning/recording services.

I would recommend checking out the following places:

West Coast: Fotokem and NBC Universal

East Coast: Kodak and Technicolor/Postworks

 

ARRI does not seem very promising for me. I guess it would be nightmare getting one repaired with such poor communication. I will stick with working to buy a Lasergraphics. One thing in ARRI's favor, they are prompt with email replies. 

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

Just to update previous post...

I just got a second email from ARII about unit pricing. No prices discussed. They said they would get back to me.

Probably one of those "if cost matters, you can't afford it" situations?

Duncan

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I think the Arriscan II is $850K

I "gave away" the Imagica Imager XE+ because the Toshiba tri-linear CCDs in those scanners go bad and it had too much noise to run as the scanner would only finish a calibration once out of maybe ten tries. Plus it was extremely slow by today's or even ten years ago standards.

 

 

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