Jump to content

Anyone try the Lasergraphics Archivist scanner?


 Share

Recommended Posts


A friend of mine has one. What do you want to know? It's just a crippled ScanStation sold at a fraction of the price of the full ScanStation. They removed the editing table and the camera rail, but it had all the other features available including the warped film kit and two-flash HDR. I'm guessing that new features developed for the ScanStation won't be offered on it though. I don't remember if it's missing the P/T rollers as it would appear on the Lasergraphics website, but it wouldn't take much to add your own as the rest of the film path is exactly the same as the ScanStation, it's a "Module" it's called the "Scanstation film transport module" the only thing different will be the sticker on it says "Archivist" instead of "ScanStation" like you see with this one:

nokPmJl.jpg

You can actually see on the website quite clearly that the Film Transport Module is just the same 35mm one as the ScanStation, because if it was different then the rollers would be smaller to be designed only for small gauge film. Given their history with the infamous ScanStation Personal I would not expect them to be making any development for the Archivist or to offer new features etc on it, I would think that how it comes now is how it will always come. Case in point - the camera is fixed so you get lower resolution for 8mm, but it doesn't have to be they could put in the camera rail (i.e. the ScanStation 6.5K Camera Module) and support 35mm as it is but they won't because the scanner is intentionally designed to be limited.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks! 

Good seeing the photos. Looks like a pretty clean design inside. Was wondering if the users thought it to be a good value. And if there were any issues with it as far as reliability.  When scanners go on the blink what usually goes out?

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

Do you mean the Archivist? I have the full confidential draft price chart from April for it, but I think they are probably adjusting their prices on it you'll have to talk to LG to get a proper quote. The Archivist is a simplified ScanStation and all the prices are generally around 1/3-1/4 of the corresponding cost on the ScanStation. What that shows is that the ScanStation could be priced a lot lower if the company wanted to do that. Lasergraphics have put the price on it up a lot since it was launched. They're also a pain to deal with in terms of buying these things in the first place and getting support etc, case in point the brand new ones have an issue which requires that a tech adjusts the machine to correct - the average user probably wouldn't know that and they're not known to be a proactive company when it comes to properly informing their users about issues they may develop and stuff like that. I only know this because I know some people in professional restoration so they know what needs to be done.

The other thing about them is they come with very basic and limited documentation, there is no proper user manual. Have a look at the Cintel User Manual on page 18. I'm aware of a user who acquired a ScanStation second-hand and was focusing the scans to the perforations. You get better focus and a sharper scan by focusing to the grain, but that's not necessarily intuitive to an average user who didn't get the training and has never operated a scanner before. Blackmagic explains how to focus the scanner clearly in their user manual, so the fact that a $100,000+ scanner doesn't come with proper documentation is quite outrageous really.

To show you how the default settings are not intuitive, have a look at this screenshot (these are not the default settings FYI but the sharpening is on default):

2hJ6URv.png

Do you see the setting for artificially sharpening the scan? The setting is called "Filtering/Aperture Correction". Many companies have no idea what that does, you have to set it it to 0 to prevent the software from artificially sharpening the scan, but the default setting is 0.4. You get a "punchy" looking image, but it's not what you want for professional restoration. One of the people I know was sent a scan for restoration from their client which was done with a well-known scanning/restoration company off their ScanStation and it is artificially sharpened. They asked the client if they could get the film re-scanned without the sharpening and the client said they don't think that their scan is sharpened. Then the client talked to the company that did the scan and the company told them that their scan isn't sharpened as well. This is for a commercial job, the result of this goes onto bluray for customers to buy, so the fact that a very well known large company has no idea that their scanner is artificially sharpening their scans I think demonstrates the fact that these machines really should come with proper operating documentation, not just a two-day zoom training course.

With those caveats, yes the Archivist as it is is amazing value, although 8mm won't have the greatest resolution so it's mainly designed for 16mm really.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I hesitate to dive into this, but as usual the info Dan is providing is partial and not completely accurate. 

We have been a customer since the ScanStation was released in 2013. In fact, we have the first commercially shipped ScanStation, so we know the thing inside and out. 

1) Lasergraphics support has been superlative. Yes, you have to pay for a support contract. Yes, it's expensive. But you also get fixes to bugs you find, sometimes the same or next day. A major component of any scanning system is the software, and anyone who has worked in the software industry knows there will be bugs. It's unavoidable. With most software companies, you have to wait until the next version for a fix to become available, but Lasergraphics will give you an interim version to get you around the issue you're having. This is practically unheard of in the software world. 

2) The cost of the scanner has risen.  But I mean, what hasn't in the past 8 years? Also, the "original" scanner was a very different beast than the current model so you can't compare them. Our original ScanStation was 2k, no HDR, and a bunch of other features weren't added yet. The newest versions have a 6.5k camera, HDR, and a host of other features (some of which came from our interactions with their support team, and those of other users).

3) The documentation is abysmal, yes. There is a lot of room for improvement here.

Quote

 

Do you see the setting for artificially sharpening the scan? The setting is called "Filtering/Aperture Correction". Many companies have no idea what that does

 

This language is common. Our Northlight 1 uses the same terminology. So did our old DigitalVision DVNR. Is it the most intuitive? No, but it's fairly standard. And you know what? if you don't know what a setting does, just ask. If I saw a setting that said "filter/aperture correction" and didn't know what that meant, I'd surely ask what it does and how it works. 

Learning is a two-way street. 

12 hours ago, Dan Baxter said:

You get better focus and a sharper scan by focusing to the grain, but that's not necessarily intuitive to an average user who didn't get the training and has never operated a scanner before.

If this is not intuitive to someone working in film scanning, then that person should be looking for another line of work. This is how you focus film in projection, or in optical printing, and not knowing something that basic shows a lack of understanding of the medium that is well beyond the scope of the documentation. This is not a machine you buy at Walmart, it's specialty hardware that requires some understanding of the formats you're dealing with.

I appreciate a good manual, believe me. I helped to write the original manual for the Media 100, which did what you're suggesting (down to explaining how to read the internal WFM/Vectorscope). But that was designed from the beginning to be a tool for the masses, this is not. There needs to be some expectation that you know what you're doing before you start doing it. If you don't, you're doing a disservice to your customers. If you're an archive then an archivist who has an understanding of film should be the one trained on it, not just someone who happened to be walking down the hall the day it was being installed. 

The training, by the way, is only on Zoom because of the pandemic. They typically travel to the location, set up the machine for you and teach you in person how to use it. And you have basically unlimited contact with Lasergraphics tech support and the sales agent, if you have questions. They have gone to bat for us countless times when we had feature requests and we're extremely satisfied with most aspects of their customer service. If there are issues with the machine, they can log into it remotely and recalibrate and tweak all kinds of stuff. 

Are there things about their support that could use improvement? Sure. But that's the case with any company.

Try getting support out of blackmagic, once they hit a wall and can't figure out your problem. The bottom line here is that you get what you pay for. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, Perry Paolantonio said:

1) Lasergraphics support has been superlative. Yes, you have to pay for a support contract. Yes, it's expensive. But you also get fixes to bugs you find, sometimes the same or next day.

The new ones have a colour issue that requires a tech come out and fix it. They do not tell their customers this or how to check if they've got this problem, they are not at all proactive in that way. How an average small company that is using one, for example, as their workhorse for internal scanning for bluray releases is supposed to work that out is well beyond me.

They have never allowed the ScanStation Personal customers to have another camera. Tell me how it was intuitive to them in 2015 that they would not be supported and allowed to buy improvements to their scanners? They were not told when they purchased them that "this is a crippled scanner that we won't support" had they been told that upfront they may have chosen another product. All I'm saying about the Archivist is buyer beware because they have a history here with what they did with the ScanStation Personal.

9 hours ago, Perry Paolantonio said:

2) The cost of the scanner has risen.  But I mean, what hasn't in the past 8 years? Also, the "original" scanner was a very different beast than the current model so you can't compare them.

The ScanStation Personal and the Archivist are both ScanStations that have been crippled by design with the table removed and the camera rail removed and then whatever features locked out in software. They're exactly the same machine just crippled with features removed and cost way less.

9 hours ago, Perry Paolantonio said:

If this is not intuitive to someone working in film scanning, then that person should be looking for another line of work.

The Archivist is marketed towards Archives. Archives have a high turnover and their operators may be trained in general archive duties and not film specifically. It should have a user manual. The Arriscan has a manual, the Cintel has a manual, my washing machine has a user manual, my car has one. If I want to make a water crossing I can open up my manual and find out what depth my car is rated for - that isn't intuitive to me as the owner I don't know what it is I would look it up in my owners manual before driving though water. If I don't know what a particular light on the dash means I can look that up.

9 hours ago, Perry Paolantonio said:

Try getting support out of blackmagic, once they hit a wall and can't figure out your problem. The bottom line here is that you get what you pay for.

This is true. Blackmagic's development for their scanner is very limited, and a lot of their users tend to expect way more than is realistic.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 hours ago, Dan Baxter said:

The new ones have a colour issue that requires a tech come out and fix it. 

First I've heard of this. Please elaborate on what the problem is, and why it requires an on-site visit.

 

13 hours ago, Dan Baxter said:

They have never allowed the ScanStation Personal customers to have another camera. Tell me how it was intuitive to them in 2015 that they would not be supported and allowed to buy improvements to their scanners?

It was never marketed as an upgradeable machine, beyond trade-in for a full scanstation, which was designed to be modular from the beginning. This is from the original press release when they announced the machine:

"As their scanning needs increase, customers can trade-in their Personal for a Lasergraphics ScanStation or Director film scanner."

13 hours ago, Dan Baxter said:

The ScanStation Personal and the Archivist are both ScanStations that have been crippled by design with the table removed and the camera rail removed and then whatever features locked out in software. They're exactly the same machine just crippled with features removed and cost way less.

So let me get this straight: Would you buy a car without electric windows, or power steering, or nice leather seats, and then when you decide you want those things you complain you can't bring it to the dealer had have it upgraded? Best of luck with that.  They're going to offer you a few bucks on a trade-in for a new car.

This was never marketed as an upgradeable system. It was relatively inexpensive because they removed a bunch of features (metal platters, the huge steel stand, the Corian table with integrated lightboxes, the complex rail-based camera/lens system, etc), with an option to trade it in for a full ScanStation. I think it was pretty clear from the get go that this was the way they were selling these, and all your pearl clutching about it not being upgradeable makes no sense to me. 

 

13 hours ago, Dan Baxter said:
23 hours ago, Perry Paolantonio said:

If this is not intuitive to someone working in film scanning, then that person should be looking for another line of work.

The Archivist is marketed towards Archives. Archives have a high turnover and their operators may be trained in general archive duties and not film specifically. It should have a user manual.

There needs to be some base level understanding of what film is and how you focus an image on it, before you start scanning. No self-respecting archive should allow someone who is that unfamiliar with film to be handling their collection.

It's not Lasergraphics' job to teach you how to do that. It's something you should know, or be taught by someone who does. Could it be in a manual? Yes. But I'd rather Lasergraphics (which has a fairly small engineering team) spend their time on improvements and bug fixes. 

What would I like in a manual? A comprehensive explanation of what each feature does and to some degree, what's happening under the hood. I want the nuts and bolts explanations so I can use my knowledge of how this stuff works to maximize the quality of our scans. Right now it's more of the "To open a File go to File/Open" style manual, which is basically useless. 

Edited by Perry Paolantonio
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 12/19/2021 at 8:16 PM, Dan Baxter said:

Do you mean the Archivist? I have the full confidential draft price chart from April for it, but I think they are probably adjusting their prices on it you'll have to talk to LG to get a proper quote. The Archivist is a simplified ScanStation and all the prices are generally around 1/3-1/4 of the corresponding cost on the ScanStation. What that shows is that the ScanStation could be priced a lot lower if the company wanted to do that. Lasergraphics have put the price on it up a lot since it was launched. They're also a pain to deal with in terms of buying these things in the first place and getting support etc, case in point the brand new ones have an issue which requires that a tech adjusts the machine to correct - the average user probably wouldn't know that and they're not known to be a proactive company when it comes to properly informing their users about issues they may develop and stuff like that. I only know this because I know some people in professional restoration so they know what needs to be done.

The other thing about them is they come with very basic and limited documentation, there is no proper user manual. Have a look at the Cintel User Manual on page 18. I'm aware of a user who acquired a ScanStation second-hand and was focusing the scans to the perforations. You get better focus and a sharper scan by focusing to the grain, but that's not necessarily intuitive to an average user who didn't get the training and has never operated a scanner before. Blackmagic explains how to focus the scanner clearly in their user manual, so the fact that a $100,000+ scanner doesn't come with proper documentation is quite outrageous really.

To show you how the default settings are not intuitive, have a look at this screenshot (these are not the default settings FYI but the sharpening is on default):

2hJ6URv.png

Do you see the setting for artificially sharpening the scan? The setting is called "Filtering/Aperture Correction". Many companies have no idea what that does, you have to set it it to 0 to prevent the software from artificially sharpening the scan, but the default setting is 0.4. You get a "punchy" looking image, but it's not what you want for professional restoration. One of the people I know was sent a scan for restoration from their client which was done with a well-known scanning/restoration company off their ScanStation and it is artificially sharpened. They asked the client if they could get the film re-scanned without the sharpening and the client said they don't think that their scan is sharpened. Then the client talked to the company that did the scan and the company told them that their scan isn't sharpened as well. This is for a commercial job, the result of this goes onto bluray for customers to buy, so the fact that a very well known large company has no idea that their scanner is artificially sharpening their scans I think demonstrates the fact that these machines really should come with proper operating documentation, not just a two-day zoom training course.

With those caveats, yes the Archivist as it is is amazing value, although 8mm won't have the greatest resolution so it's mainly designed for 16mm really.

 

Yes, I am referring to their cheapest model...the Archivist. And thanks Dan for the scoop.

Finding prices / getting Lasergrahics to reply to email on this stuff is almost as bad as trying to find out who is the curator of photography at an art museum. I had no idea they still sucked with support if you threw some money their way. They are a terrible company to deal with. I've written them numerous times and nothing. I think one time I got a reply from years of writing.

I still write them to be a sponsor of my film Archive. Or lend me a used Archivist for a few years. Or whatever they can do for me. Nothing. Never the courtesy of a reply to say go F off even. I tell them I will put their name on all my stuff as a sponsor. I get millions of eyeball views per year. But no replies.

Here is the deal. They can't keep selling an endless supply of these scanners. There is a limited market. Years ago they charged $7,500 to set it up and a short training on site. Now they do it cheaper by zoom. Maybe covid? Maybe being realistic after they ran out of deep pocket customers?

I don't know.

As far as focus?

We used to have grain magnifiers in the darkroom to focus out enlargers. For cine' film, I focus on the fly over the sprocket area and film image. Color film has dye and no visible grain usually. Same with lots of duped multi-gen film. Hard to see the grain. Maybe the $$ scanners have a magnifier option for focus?

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

On 12/20/2021 at 9:20 AM, Perry Paolantonio said:

I hesitate to dive into this, but as usual the info Dan is providing is partial and not completely accurate. 

We have been a customer since the ScanStation was released in 2013. In fact, we have the first commercially shipped ScanStation, so we know the thing inside and out. 

1) Lasergraphics support has been superlative. Yes, you have to pay for a support contract. Yes, it's expensive. But you also get fixes to bugs you find, sometimes the same or next day. A major component of any scanning system is the software, and anyone who has worked in the software industry knows there will be bugs. It's unavoidable. With most software companies, you have to wait until the next version for a fix to become available, but Lasergraphics will give you an interim version to get you around the issue you're having. This is practically unheard of in the software world. 

2) The cost of the scanner has risen.  But I mean, what hasn't in the past 8 years? Also, the "original" scanner was a very different beast than the current model so you can't compare them. Our original ScanStation was 2k, no HDR, and a bunch of other features weren't added yet. The newest versions have a 6.5k camera, HDR, and a host of other features (some of which came from our interactions with their support team, and those of other users).

3) The documentation is abysmal, yes. There is a lot of room for improvement here.

This language is common. Our Northlight 1 uses the same terminology. So did our old DigitalVision DVNR. Is it the most intuitive? No, but it's fairly standard. And you know what? if you don't know what a setting does, just ask. If I saw a setting that said "filter/aperture correction" and didn't know what that meant, I'd surely ask what it does and how it works. 

Learning is a two-way street. 

If this is not intuitive to someone working in film scanning, then that person should be looking for another line of work. This is how you focus film in projection, or in optical printing, and not knowing something that basic shows a lack of understanding of the medium that is well beyond the scope of the documentation. This is not a machine you buy at Walmart, it's specialty hardware that requires some understanding of the formats you're dealing with.

I appreciate a good manual, believe me. I helped to write the original manual for the Media 100, which did what you're suggesting (down to explaining how to read the internal WFM/Vectorscope). But that was designed from the beginning to be a tool for the masses, this is not. There needs to be some expectation that you know what you're doing before you start doing it. If you don't, you're doing a disservice to your customers. If you're an archive then an archivist who has an understanding of film should be the one trained on it, not just someone who happened to be walking down the hall the day it was being installed. 

The training, by the way, is only on Zoom because of the pandemic. They typically travel to the location, set up the machine for you and teach you in person how to use it. And you have basically unlimited contact with Lasergraphics tech support and the sales agent, if you have questions. They have gone to bat for us countless times when we had feature requests and we're extremely satisfied with most aspects of their customer service. If there are issues with the machine, they can log into it remotely and recalibrate and tweak all kinds of stuff. 

Are there things about their support that could use improvement? Sure. But that's the case with any company.

Try getting support out of blackmagic, once they hit a wall and can't figure out your problem. The bottom line here is that you get what you pay for. 

 

That is good to know Perry. I will write Lasergraphics and ask how much to PayPal them with each email so they will reply. You would think they would support new buyers of their equipment instead of just dumping it on them with no support.

Now, there is a opportunity for you Perry, when you got some time or have some intern work for you. Make various Lasergraphics instructionals for YT.  You can advertise your company and help others out as well.

Bradley%20Fertilizer%20Co.%20D.D.Teoli%2

Selection from Agricultural Archive

DDTJRAC

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

25 minutes ago, Daniel D. Teoli Jr. said:

Maybe the $$ scanners have a magnifier option for focus?

The scanner uses a statistical analysis method for focusing. It samples the image at a variety of camera positions (we're talking tiny variations in distance to the film). The position with the sharpest edges wins. It works like a charm. There's no need to do anything other than auto-focus with the Lasergraphics scanners. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

17 hours ago, Dan Baxter said:

The new ones have a colour issue that requires a tech come out and fix it. They do not tell their customers this or how to check if they've got this problem, they are not at all proactive in that way. How an average small company that is using one, for example, as their workhorse for internal scanning for bluray releases is supposed to work that out is well beyond me.

They have never allowed the ScanStation Personal customers to have another camera. Tell me how it was intuitive to them in 2015 that they would not be supported and allowed to buy improvements to their scanners? They were not told when they purchased them that "this is a crippled scanner that we won't support" had they been told that upfront they may have chosen another product. All I'm saying about the Archivist is buyer beware because they have a history here with what they did with the ScanStation Personal.

The ScanStation Personal and the Archivist are both ScanStations that have been crippled by design with the table removed and the camera rail removed and then whatever features locked out in software. They're exactly the same machine just crippled with features removed and cost way less.

The Archivist is marketed towards Archives. Archives have a high turnover and their operators may be trained in general archive duties and not film specifically. It should have a user manual. The Arriscan has a manual, the Cintel has a manual, my washing machine has a user manual, my car has one. If I want to make a water crossing I can open up my manual and find out what depth my car is rated for - that isn't intuitive to me as the owner I don't know what it is I would look it up in my owners manual before driving though water. If I don't know what a particular light on the dash means I can look that up.

This is true. Blackmagic's development for their scanner is very limited, and a lot of their users tend to expect way more than is realistic.

 

From what you say, it sounds like they are a money hungry company that knows they have a lock on the market and does not give a shit about their customers unless they are very $$ clients.

I only deal with archival material. Any new production I do personally is digital. But I have a ton of film, running into the million+ feet to scan. 

I wonder if the relatively low-price tag of the Archivist and greed precludes Lasergraphics from offering basic support or even giving the buyers an instruction manual?  do they give better support and instruction manuals with the higher priced models? Or does Lasergraphics not give new buyers support for the high-priced models as well unless you pay extra for it?

If I ever had the $$ to buy an Archivist, I guess it would be worth driving across country to their factory to see it run, learn how to run it and pick it up. Would cost more than shipping it, but at least you would know something how to use it. 

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

8 minutes ago, Perry Paolantonio said:

The scanner uses a statistical analysis method for focusing. It samples the image at a variety of camera positions (we're talking tiny variations in distance to the film). The position with the sharpest edges wins. It works like a charm. There's no need to do anything other than auto-focus with the Lasergraphics scanners. 

Thanks Perry.

So, is autofocus done while running or still frame? 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 minutes ago, Daniel D. Teoli Jr. said:

I wonder if the relatively low-price tag of the Archivist and greed precludes Lasergraphics from offering basic support or even giving the buyers an instruction manual?  do they give better support and instruction manuals with the higher priced models? Or does Lasergraphics not give new buyers support for the high-priced models as well unless you pay extra for it?

 

Any professional software or hardware involves ongoing annual support contracts. We pay for support for our Restoration software, for our Scanner, for our SAN software, for the programming environment I use for in-house apps. There are annual support contracts (or software subscriptions, these days) for most professional applications. This is the way. 

Yes, Resolve support is free. But again, you get what you pay for. We've had so many issues with Blackmagic hardware and software over the years that they simply gave up on I can't even count. I certainly can't say the same for any of the other very expensive software we've purchased for which we keep up annual support contracts. If we need help we get it, and typically very quickly. 

Lasergraphics, DigitalVision, Arri, none of them are there to provide free product to anyone who asks for it. They wouldn't be here if they did that. There are a bazillion ongoing costs in running a business. We're a relatively small company and we don't do free scanning for people, even though we're asked all the time. A company that has to maintain a development and support team, offices, manufacturing, shipping and receiving departments, and much more, has to charge for ongoing service. We're not talking about a product with hundreds of thousands of users, we're talking about a product with hundreds of users. There's a big difference. With scale you get things like online communities that self-support, taking some of that load off. One cannot compare a company making expensive, niche hardware with one making commodity software and expect the same thing from them. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Perry Paolantonio said:

First I've heard of this. Please elaborate on what the problem is, and why it requires an on-site visit.

 

It was never marketed as an upgradeable machine, beyond trade-in for a full scanstation, which was designed to be modular from the beginning. This is from the original press release when they announced the machine:

"As their scanning needs increase, customers can trade-in their Personal for a Lasergraphics ScanStation or Director film scanner."

So let me get this straight: Would you buy a car without electric windows, or power steering, or nice leather seats, and then when you decide you want those things you complain you can't bring it to the dealer had have it upgraded? Best of luck with that.  They're going to offer you a few bucks on a trade-in for a new car.

This was never marketed as an upgradeable system. It was relatively inexpensive because they removed a bunch of features (metal platters, the huge steel stand, the Corian table with integrated lightboxes, the complex rail-based camera/lens system, etc), with an option to trade it in for a full ScanStation. I think it was pretty clear from the get go that this was the way they were selling these, and all your pearl clutching about it not being upgradeable makes no sense to me. 

 

There needs to be some base level understanding of what film is and how you focus an image on it, before you start scanning. No self-respecting archive should allow someone who is that unfamiliar with film to be handling their collection.

It's not Lasergraphics' job to teach you how to do that. It's something you should know, or be taught by someone who does. Could it be in a manual? Yes. But I'd rather Lasergraphics (which has a fairly small engineering team) spend their time on improvements and bug fixes. 

What would I like in a manual? A comprehensive explanation of what each feature does and to some degree, what's happening under the hood. I want the nuts and bolts explanations so I can use my knowledge of how this stuff works to maximize the quality of our scans. Right now it's more of the "To open a File go to File/Open" style manual, which is basically useless. 

 

This was never marketed as an upgradeable system. It was relatively inexpensive because they removed a bunch of features (metal platters, the huge steel stand, the Corian table with integrated lightboxes, the complex rail-based camera/lens system, etc)

OK, I get the stand, lightbox and tabletop. But what are the benefits of the rest?

You see Perry, what you know, other people don't know. That is why a manual that covers beginning to advanced info is important. They don't need to go into everything related to film work, but a good manual covers most everything related to the everyday use of the item. Or if Lasergraphics wants more $$, they can at least offer a service manual / DVD as an option to buy for a couple hundred $ extra. But if they won't give you basic service info, that tells me it either can't be serviced by the user or they only want to offer high priced support.

Service manuals used to be pretty common Perry.

Internet Archive Search: service manual

 

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

12 minutes ago, Daniel D. Teoli Jr. said:

OK, I get the stand, lightbox and tabletop. But what are the benefits of the rest?

The stand and tabletop/integrated lightbox are niceties. The Personal and the Archivist fit on a stable, sturdy table. You bring your own stand, in order to save on costs - both shipping and manufacturing.

The tabletop/lightbox is another thing you don't really need. None of the other high end scanners have them. I like it because it gives you a place to splice film that breaks while scanning (bad splices or whatever), but it's not strictly necessary.

The rail-based camera and lens system are there to facilitate scanning multiple gauges while maximizing the sensor in the camera. Without them, smaller gauges are a crop of the largest gauge. This is how most scanners worked up until the ScanStation. This is also a complex and expensive bit of kit so removing it and simplifying the machine brings its cost down quite a bit.

17 minutes ago, Daniel D. Teoli Jr. said:

You see Perry, what you know, other people don't know. That is why a manual that covers beginning to advanced info is important.

I never said a good manual isn't necessary. In fact I said quite the opposite. 

18 minutes ago, Daniel D. Teoli Jr. said:

But if they won't give you basic service info, that tells me it either can't be serviced by the user or they only want to offer high priced support.

The system is proprietary, and it's modular. If something in the camera system breaks, they send you a new one, and you replace it in the field. They give you detailed step-by-step instructions. I have personally performed half a dozen upgrades on our system and have the documentation from Lasergraphics to show how to do each one. Similarly, we have had one hardware failure in the 8 years of owning the machine, and when that happened, we were given step by step instructions for how to remove the module and re-install the new one when it arrived. There are not user serviceable parts inside. The circuit boards are proprietary, as is the firmware that runs on them. Even if you knew what to do, you couldn't go buy a part from some supplier and just replace it yourself (including the camera, as there is Lasergraphics-specific firmware on them to tune the camera to their specifications). Maybe the stepper/servos, and some mechanical bits you could get. Everything else you're going to have to get from Lasergraphics, and you're going to get instructions on how to install those things when you do. 

This is no different than what you'd experience with Arri (who, by the way, charges $50k/ year for ongoing support on their scanners), or DigitalVision, or DFT or any of the other scanner manufacturers.  

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

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

Finding prices / getting Lasergrahics to reply to email on this stuff is almost as bad as trying to find out who is the curator of photography at an art museum. I had no idea they still sucked with support if you threw some money their way. They are a terrible company to deal with. I've written them numerous times and nothing.

They do not make it easy that's for damn sure.

8 hours ago, Perry Paolantonio said:

First I've heard of this. Please elaborate on what the problem is, and why it requires an on-site visit.

I don't own one I suggest you talk to the actual users about that not me. I'm just stating the facts, I know of two brand new 2021 machines with the same issue and LG did not inform the users at all that this issue may occur or how to identify it. The only way a small user would know this is by talking to a more experienced company or if they really understand what the technology is capable of.

4 hours ago, Perry Paolantonio said:

This is no different than what you'd experience with Arri (who, by the way, charges $50k/ year for ongoing support on their scanners),

Why would you tell people that Arri charge $50K per year for support?

lDcpE3q.png

That's from the 2020 Arri price list page 433. If you're going to trash-talk other companies please at least reference what you're talking about because everything I have heard about Arri is completely at odds with what you say about the company. Prime support runs to about $30K per year but parts are included and you have choice of a less expensive service option. €7,700/yr is less than what Lasergraphics charge for support on a Scanstation, and LG charge 25% more to start a service contract if you have an existing machine without one. From Galileo Digital the service contract is about $9.5K per year and that's fairly standard and in-line with Arri and with Kinetta, but from Gencom the price is more than double that. So where in the world you buy a Lasergraphics makes a big difference to what support costs, I have not heard of other companies doing that. On the less expensive scanners like the Blackmagic Cintel or the Filmfabriek HDS+ there is no support contract you are asked to pay.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

14 hours ago, Dan Baxter said:

I don't own one I suggest you talk to the actual users about that not me. I'm just stating the facts, I know of two brand new 2021 machines with the same issue and LG did not inform the users at all that this issue may occur or how to identify it.

You're not stating facts. You're implying there's a fundamental issue with the machine without backing that up. I'm in touch with quite a few Lasergraphics owners on a regular basis and have not heard of something that fits your vague description. Please don't say there is a definitive problem, then when asked to elaborate tell me to ask around.

What is the precise issue that's being seen? You haven't explained it. 

 

14 hours ago, Dan Baxter said:

Why would you tell people that Arri charge $50K per year for support?

Not "People" -- Arri. The last time I talked to them the support contract was a bit under $50k. Regardless, it's still more expensive than Lasergraphics even at today's cost. I believe that was at NAB in 2019 though it may have been 2018. I asked them, they told me directly.  But for what it's worth, the pricing you're showing is on par or more expensive than what Lasergraphics charges, though they structure what you get differently. 

14 hours ago, Dan Baxter said:

€7,700/yr is less than what Lasergraphics charge for support on a Scanstation, and LG charge 25% more to start a service contract if you have an existing machine without one. From Galileo Digital the service contract is about $9.5K per year and that's fairly standard and in-line with Arri and with Kinetta, but from Gencom the price is more than double that.

€7700 is more than we pay Lasergraphics for a similar level of support as the lowest price Arri contract, I can tell you that. 

I don't know who Gencom is - a VAR?

Galileo Digital is the worldwide sales agent for Lasergraphics, but the support contracts are sold direct through Lasergraphics, even though it's Galileo who gives you the pricing. When we buy upgrades or new product, we pay Galileo. When we renew our support contract, we pay Lasergraphics directly. Maybe Galileo subcontracts to some regions, in which case the markup is coming from that subcontractor? I have no idea. 

Edited by Perry Paolantonio
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Perry Paolantonio said:

Not "People" -- Arri.

Sorry - I misread your comment as "why would people tell you". In any case, my point stands. The information came from Arri and is clearly now out of date. But they'r still more expensive than Lasergraphics on support. 

Edited by Perry Paolantonio
Link to comment
Share on other sites

19 hours ago, Perry Paolantonio said:

I don't know who Gencom is - a VAR?

Galileo Digital is the worldwide sales agent for Lasergraphics, but the support contracts are sold direct through Lasergraphics, even though it's Galileo who gives you the pricing.

Gencom is the regional distributor. The the technician is supplied from NZ for all LG customers in the region, whether the tech works for Gencom or LG directly I couldn't tell you.

GD is the "worldwide agent" for when there isn't a regional one, honestly half the time you sound as if you're parroting their marketing without bothering to explain about the "fluff".

19 hours ago, Perry Paolantonio said:

The last time I talked to them the support contract was a bit under $50k. Regardless, it's still more expensive than Lasergraphics even at today's cost. I believe that was at NAB in 2019 though it may have been 2018. I asked them, they told me directly.

The support contract for a ScanStation here is more than double what it costs in the us which is $9.5K/year on a new one and +25% to start a new contract on an existing machine:

4VRiahn.png

That's straight off their 2021 price sheet, if you're paying less then I can tell you that is not what new customers are quoted. Contact me privately and I'll tell you how much exactly they quote here, but I can tell you right now it's more than twice $9.5K. I can give you the full 2021 US price sheet for the ScanStation.

Edited by Dan Baxter
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Site Sponsor

A couple of points / observations.

1. Service contracts are usually based on a percentage of the machine's sale price and the level of service.

The Arriscan XT is about 300,000 Euro and a fully kitted our Scan Station is around $190,000 and a DFT Scannity is $1M

So the relative cost of an annual service contract seems to be in line for each machine and the expected level of hand-holding and "bespoke" service.

2. As a owner of a Scan Station "personal" which has the stupidest moniker for a scanner to date, it is unfortunate and a IMO mistake on LGs part to not make a new fixed camera module to replace the poor quality 5K CMOSIS camera. This is LG's business decision and the SSP has run very well for us and is good for scanning prints not so great for negatives.

I think LG has concentrated more on selling scanners and scanning speed and machine reliability than on pix quality overall and they have left many machines in the filed not upgraded and I am not sure if they care. I know of a Scan Station at PFA which has a CCD that shows obvious tap balance lines in almost all of the scans. I have also had customers send in film which was scanned on the 5K Scan Station that showed obvious FPN and the scanner operator told those customers that it was in their film. Allot of people sold the SS 5K as being perfect when it was not and then quickly jumped on the 6.5K Sony camera s soon as it was available as it fixed the poor quality from the 5K one.

So that is part scanner owner not caring but also part LG not engaging on upgrades for older machines.

Now that the Scan Station and Archivist have better Sony Pregius cameras the FPN (Also a big issue with the Cintel) is basically gone. Also a lack of understanding by scanner op's (as Perry said) on the very basics seems to be a problem as LG has sold so many of these scanners (I would not be surprised to see one pop up at my local 7-11) and they are pretty simple to use but not always to get the best scans from. I know with my SSP I always setup focus and do a custom base cal to try to minimize or eliminate the FPN from the 5K CMOSIS chip. Some noob or part time scanner ops might not even know enough to see there is an issue.

I think Stefan always hated the SSP and decided not to put any interest into it, I feel they could have called it the Scan Station Dailies and put a bit more into the machine and then all the Kodak owned labs might have those instead of the Cintel machines they run. I wonder how they will do with the Archivist and it is interesting that they announced a 35/16 machine and then quickly withdrew it for a 8/16 only model. I also think if Blackmagic puts a bit of interest into a revamp of the Cintel with a 5K or better sensor and perf stabilization they could really hold LGs feet to the fire.

Scanning is only going to get cheaper and faster with CFA based scanning, then there will be some room in the high end for machines which are true RGB and have the better color reproduction and offer stuff like liquid gates.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  

2 hours ago, Robert Houllahan said:

1. Service contracts are usually based on a percentage of the machine's sale price and the level of service.

That's right, and also it sounds like Perry (who bought a 2K ScanStation originally and upgraded it later) is probably paying the same price he always has for support, even though the price for service on a new similar machine is higher.

2 hours ago, Robert Houllahan said:

2. As a owner of a Scan Station "personal" which has the stupidest moniker for a scanner to date, it is unfortunate and a IMO mistake on LGs part to not make a new fixed camera module to replace the poor quality 5K CMOSIS camera. This is LG's business decision and the SSP has run very well for us and is good for scanning prints not so great for negatives.

Yes indeed it's a business decision, the same as not offering the "35/16 Archivist". It's completely stupid not to upgrade the camera to a Sony and artificially limits those machines. It's interesting you like yours for prints.

3 hours ago, Robert Houllahan said:

I think LG has concentrated more on selling scanners and scanning speed and machine reliability than on pix quality overall and they have left many machines in the filed not upgraded and I am not sure if they care.

Yeah that's right, I don't think the CFA scanners were designed for restoration and that more professional use. They clearly have features that are dumb for restoration and intended for archives or home movies or streaming or for users that don't need restoration quality scans like noise reduction.

2 hours ago, Robert Houllahan said:

I have also had customers send in film which was scanned on the 5K Scan Station that showed obvious FPN and the scanner operator told those customers that it was in their film. ...

So that is part scanner owner not caring but also part LG not engaging on upgrades for older machines.

I completely agree with you on that Robert.

2 hours ago, Robert Houllahan said:

Also a lack of understanding by scanner op's (as Perry said) on the very basics seems to be a problem as LG has sold so many of these scanners (I would not be surprised to see one pop up at my local 7-11) and they are pretty simple to use but not always to get the best scans from. I know with my SSP I always setup focus and do a custom base cal to try to minimize or eliminate the FPN from the 5K CMOSIS chip.

Since I don't own one I can only relay the experience of other users. The dumb default settings in the software doesn't help, and you can't just make your own defaults either. I can name a pretty major company who does not know that "filtering" is sharpening their scans, I won't do that publicly but send me a PM if you want to know about that. Proper documentation would help a lot, allowing the user to set their own defaults would help, but what helps the most of course is when you have an owner/operator that knows instinctively how film should look and will do extensive tests on their machine to determine what works best and what doesn't.

3 hours ago, Robert Houllahan said:

I think Stefan always hated the SSP and decided not to put any interest into it, I feel they could have called it the Scan Station Dailies and put a bit more into the machine and then all the Kodak owned labs might have those instead of the Cintel machines they run. I wonder how they will do with the Archivist and it is interesting that they announced a 35/16 machine and then quickly withdrew it for a 8/16 only model.

I reckon the SSP was just designed to compete against the Cintel. The Archivist must be designed to take on Filmfabriek. The 35/16 Archivist would have been a problem product really IMO.

3 hours ago, Robert Houllahan said:

Scanning is only going to get cheaper and faster with CFA based scanning, then there will be some room in the high end for machines which are true RGB and have the better color reproduction and offer stuff like liquid gates.

Yes you're right, it needs to be cheap and fast for archives with large volumes of materials, and dailies of course. True RGB is sharper, better for badly faded film, and some of them will do a damage matte which is an important feature for restoration work. Different markets and clientele.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 12/23/2021 at 7:14 PM, Dan Baxter said:

  

That's right, and also it sounds like Perry (who bought a 2K ScanStation originally and upgraded it later) is probably paying the same price he always has for support, even though the price for service on a new similar machine is higher.

Yes indeed it's a business decision, the same as not offering the "35/16 Archivist". It's completely stupid not to upgrade the camera to a Sony and artificially limits those machines. It's interesting you like yours for prints.

Yeah that's right, I don't think the CFA scanners were designed for restoration and that more professional use. They clearly have features that are dumb for restoration and intended for archives or home movies or streaming or for users that don't need restoration quality scans like noise reduction.

I completely agree with you on that Robert.

Since I don't own one I can only relay the experience of other users. The dumb default settings in the software doesn't help, and you can't just make your own defaults either. I can name a pretty major company who does not know that "filtering" is sharpening their scans, I won't do that publicly but send me a PM if you want to know about that. Proper documentation would help a lot, allowing the user to set their own defaults would help, but what helps the most of course is when you have an owner/operator that knows instinctively how film should look and will do extensive tests on their machine to determine what works best and what doesn't.

I reckon the SSP was just designed to compete against the Cintel. The Archivist must be designed to take on Filmfabriek. The 35/16 Archivist would have been a problem product really IMO.

Yes you're right, it needs to be cheap and fast for archives with large volumes of materials, and dailies of course. True RGB is sharper, better for badly faded film, and some of them will do a damage matte which is an important feature for restoration work. Different markets and clientele.

 

Thanks for all the replies! 

I'm on the road, so will digest more when I get some time.  I'm not looking for the best scans. Im just looking for decent scans. Almost all the film I get is poor to just fair quality. And some is downright terrible as terrible can be. I'm looking to improve on my 2K Retroscan's output, with an easy to use 16mm scanner that has sound capabilities and is reliable. 

 

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

Here is some JPEG output from the Retroscan 2K. I'm looking to do somewhat better in sharpness and better in dynamic range. Beside no sound, the thing I don't like about the Retroscan sensor is the dynamic range. The highlights seem to be blown easily.

The%20segregated%20swimming%20hole%20D.D

Retroscan JPEG from The Segregated Swimming Hole.

Screenshots of the Segregated Swimming Hole D. D. Teoli Jr. A. C. : D. D. Teoli Jr. A. C. : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive

Lots of the films I get are multi gen dupes or poorly exposed home movies. Good dynamic range is very important to me. But even the most $$ scanner 'can't polish a turd' as they say. 

Below is an example of some of the best quality film I would have to scan. (The color was off, so I color corrected some in Lightroom.) But it was decent exposure and focus and not a warped mess.

16mm medical film on breast reduction surgery...graphic photos.

Breast Reduction Surgery Wayne State D. D. Teoli Jr. A. C. : D. D. Teoli Jr. A. C. : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive

Breast%20reduction%20surgery%20Wayne%20S

Retroscan JPEG from medical film

Sometimes when I scan films, I put up a short sampling of images from the film in case people need screenshots. So, any scanner I get has to have individual images output as well as video.

Now, there is nothing in the price range of the Retroscan, so for what it is, I think it is an excellent value...I just need more for my work. Hearing feedback, the Cintel is poor for archival 16mm, the Lasergraphics Archivist seemed like a possibility.

 

Edited by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.
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.

Guest
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.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...