Jump to content

Purchase a BMD Cintel 2, or burn the money in scanning services? What films are actually scanned with the Cintel 2?


Recommended Posts

As I reach out for scanning quotes, scour the internet for deals on old scan stations, read and weep about Kinograph, and calculate the bust/"break even" threshold of owning vs. renting a scanner,  I am interested in knowing what productions have been scanned with the Blackmagic Cintel Scanner. 

There have been many posts on Cinematography.com that suggests the quality is far inferior to the LaserGraphics ScanStation, Arriscan III, etc. 
"Until BMD loses the Sprockets and the bad 4K sensor with fixed pattern noise I would not call the BMD Cintel really a "professional" scanner. Also it is very much less than 2K for 16mm."

This is from the owner of Cinelab in MA.
"Ohh and the Blackmagic Cintel is professional in every way BUT the imager. It's 90% there... a very simple imager update will solve all the problems, now that they have a sprocketless version. “

The site says that for 35mm, the resolution is limited to UHD (3840x2160). Given that BMD create 12K cameras, I would hope that the sensor is upgradeable.

I am shooting film on my feature and I fear that purchasing the Cintel 2 for scanning will be a $30K boat anchor, if the quality is garbage like the above people say.

For what it’s worth, I own a Moviecam SL MKI, Arri IIC, Arritechno 35-90, Arri Alexa XT, a PL mount modified Pocket Cinema Camera 6K, Davinci Micro Panel, plus had an URSA, URSA 4.6K EF, and a few of the original Micro and Pocket Cameras. I have been pretty loyal to BMD, despite being stuck with some dead end cameras [hello, OG Ursa!] I edit absolutely everything in Davinci Resolve.

Thank you,


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Don't know. I was interested in a Cintel, but was told they do poorly with warped film, so lost interest. Some scanner makers will give you a sample scan. See if Cintel will do that.

I suggest you check out Lasergraphics Archivist. A lot cheaper if it will work for you. 

Archivist 8mm and 16mm Film Scanner (lasergraphics.com)

They have financing.

What is wrong with Kinograph? They are a group of nerdy brainiacs that like to build their own scanners. Some people do. I talked with a guy on eBay that built a 4K scanner. He does commercial scans. (I'm no brainiac, so I have to buy and not build.)

The scanning is the sickening part of dealing with lots of cine' film. (unless you are rich.)

How much film do you need scanned? I got upwards of a million feet that needs scanning. At .30 a foot that is $300K. Some of the films I have in my Archive, the commercial scanning companies wont scan, so I still need to scan my own, even if I had the $300K.

Good luck figuring it all out.

Edited by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Sustaining Member

I'm actually doing a pretty in-depth video about the Blackmagic Cintel II, releasing soon. 

The machine and software are very professional, but the imager is pretty poor. They know it, but the person who developed the hardware/software interface died. I'm not sure if they've replaced them and are working on something new OR they've given up. I'd hate for them to give up because I really like the machine, all they'd need to do is update the imager to the 6k or something like that and it would be fine. 

It's not for 16mm, so forget that. If you want a 16mm scanner, there are lots of other options. But it does work ok for 35mm, but I'd wait until the next version comes out. 

I have done A LOT of scanning with the Cintel II, it was my main 35mm scanner for 2 years or so. If you want some samples, here ya go: 

HDR gate: 

My last short: https://vimeo.com/492761431/de288c8683

Edited by Tyler Purcell
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Sustaining Member
9 minutes ago, Daniel D. Teoli Jr. said:

Nice video review!

Thanks, we'll have a more in-depth review coming out soon on my new YouTube channel


Check the "Workbench" series for more on that. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the responses @Daniel D. Teoli Jr.@Tyler Purcell. Just subscribed to your channel with 5+ accounts 😉

I posted the same question to BMD's forum here, and so far, you're the only one who's chimed in with a link to footage actually scanned on the Cintel II, aside from the samples posted on their site. 

I spoke to a tech at the Burbank BMD office yesterday, and while not clueless, he couldn't give me much information about it. He said that I should just try to find a lab or another user that's purchased it and ask about their experiences. He couldn't give me a list of productions using the Cintel, aside from saying that people like ESPN, NFL, and the Library of Congress have the Cintel, but listed no studios, etc. with it

I ask for real-world examples, because I found a Cintel II for around $24K, and I've got at a minimum of 4-6 features to shoot, ideally all on 35mm — 3 + 4 perf, no audio. I am not scanning archival footage, not dealing with warped, old film or trying to extract audio — but having a keykode scanner would be great. I relegate my digital cameras for tests or commercial work, but I'm use the Moviecam and Arri IIC + Arritechno cameras for features and special projects.

When I do the math on scans of vs. buying a scanner, the later makes more sense, but I don't want to also waste time nor money on something inferior. The Cintel is within my budget; the ScanStation, even at the Archivist level, it's tipping the scale [unless Steve from Galileo Digital comes back with an offer I can't refuse].

The Kinograph, while cheaper, seems way too fiddly at this stage for it to be a viable option. I mean — most of my stuff isn't even written yet, but I still think I'd be tweaking out on building the Kinograph by the time my 6th film is shot. The Retroscan Universal Mark-II seems to be limited by resolution, and also is geared towards the home movie / archival transfer cottage industry. Not quite what I'm after.

@Tyler Purcell— would love to talk to you offline about your experiences with it if you prefer. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Site Sponsor

Like others have said if BMD puts a decent sensor in a Cintel3 it could be competitive with other scanners like the Scan Station for 35mm. As it is a fixed lens and camera 16mm will always be lower res. As they are now fixed pattern noise will show badly in dense negative like skies for example. Also the Cintel is sprocket drive (both 1 and 2) so poor for archives and it does not have machine vision perf "pin registration" like Scan Station, Kinetta, Xena etc.

The new Archivist is 16mm/8mm only they dropped the possibility of a 35mm capable version. I have a Scan Station "personal" (dumb name) with the 5K sensor which also has fixed pattern noise issues so I mostly use it for 16mm and 35mm prints. I have asked LG about an update to the machine to get rid of the JAI 5K and replace it with a Sony 5K which is much better but LG seems not to care about supporting it.

Scanning is rapidly becoming a commodity with more and more people owning scanners and I expect scan prices to be driven down due to all the Scan Station machines out there.

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Sustaining Member
5 hours ago, sines said:

would love to talk to you offline about your experiences with it if you prefer. 

Hit me up anytime tye1138 at mac.com

I'll produce the Cintel review video soon. 

Also, Robert's information above is 100% spot on. If you wanna know about scanners, he's one of the best guys to talk to and a blessing to have on this group. 

Edited by Tyler Purcell
Link to comment
Share on other sites

$24K is a good price Sines. I think the Cintel 1 was $30K at B&H a while back.

Isn't it sad the low level customer service you get from some of these companies? Some of them seem to work hard to not make the sale.

I was talking with a RV dealer. He said he dropped a line of travel trailers he carried for 24 years. The kids took over the company and quality went to hell. He said they never contacted him when he left. They didn't even care they lost the account. 

When I first contacted Lasergraphics years ago to get some info, they never replied even after multiple contacts. They did get better at replies more recently. Maybe it is as you said Robert, more scanners around and they have to work a little harder to place them.

In any case, there is not nearly enough competition with film scanners. When they were not so hungry Lasergraphics wanted $7,500 for set up and a short training.  Don't know if it is the corrosive virus or just trying to lower the costs, but now they offer cheaper zoom training and setup. 

I contacted another scan company for a ultra large format Versascan flatbed scanner.

SMA's Versascan - Google Search

And also for some info from Kaiser Fototechnik. Nothing. No replies from either of them after numerous times.

No one seems to give a S anymore. I'm pretty well set for things other than a hi-quality film scanner. So I am happy I don't have to deal with many companies other than buy basic staples for my work. It is sickening how incompetent some of these companies are. Now with inflation skyrocketing, even the stapes can be a problem. Printable 100GB M-discs went from $241 per 25 discs to $298. 

Edited by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.
  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Sustaining Member
43 minutes ago, Daniel D. Teoli Jr. said:

When I first contacted Lasergraphics years ago to get some info, they never replied even after multiple contacts. They did get better at replies more recently. Maybe it is as you said Robert, more scanners around and they have to work a little harder to place them.

Yea Lasergraphics never responded to our calls either in the past. Today they're doing a lot better, they've realized to sell models the need to answer the phone. 

Blackmagic is a consumer company with a broadcast arm. They do make some amazing mid/high tier products for Broadcasting, but reality is, the Cintel is not really one of them. It can't compete at the higher level of their other products, it just can't. 

When it goes down for instance, who do you call? There are so few people at the company who know anything about it. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


Forum Sponsors

Film Gears

Serious Gear

Metropolis Post

Abel Cine

Tai Audio

New Pro Video - New and Used Equipment


Visual Products

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Broadcast Solutions Inc

FJS International


Wooden Camera

Cinematography Books and Gear

  • Create New...