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None of these film scans seem to be the right speed...do you have an issue with your scan fps??


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As I looked at an 8mm Wolverine scan, it was very fast. The same film done with a Retroscan was exported at 17fps and looked slow. I read 16fps is supposed to be the standard 8mm silent speed. Yet it was very slow at 17fps and had to be sped up 25% in post. And it is not an isolated case.

Do you have problems with your scans when the output does not match your idea of what the fps should be? 

What do you do...eyeball it for speed?

Any tricks to settling on the right speed other than eyeballs?

 

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Weegee

 

Press%20Photographers%20D.D.%20Teoli%20J

Weegee wannabe

Selections from Press Photographers Archive

DDTJRAC

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I don't recall where I read this but the common idea of a standard 16 is quite wrong, there was much more variation. In fact for big pictures notes to projectionists went out instructing particular scenes to be played faster- Ben Hur (1925) comes to mind. Something much closer to 20 seems to have been widespread- and of course exhibitors would sometimes speed up shows in order to squeeze in an extra house. Speaking of a bonus, Kodak increased the Super-8 running speed to 18 just to sell more film. Allegedly.

If you're talking about more recent 8 or 16mm, from battery or even clockwork cameras, I'd expect it to be much closer to 16.

BTW did you know that the Star Wars light-sabre was a redressed Graflex flashgun like Weegee's?

Edited by Mark Dunn
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On 9/30/2022 at 1:19 PM, Mark Dunn said:

I don't recall where I read this but the common idea of a standard 16 is quite wrong, there was much more variation. In fact for big pictures notes to projectionists went out instructing particular scenes to be played faster- Ben Hur (1925) comes to mind. Something much closer to 20 seems to have been widespread- and of course exhibitors would sometimes speed up shows in order to squeeze in an extra house. Speaking of a bonus, Kodak increased the Super-8 running speed to 18 just to sell more film. Allegedly.

If you're talking about more recent 8 or 16mm, from battery or even clockwork cameras, I'd expect it to be much closer to 16.

BTW did you know that the Star Wars light-sabre was a redressed Graflex flashgun like Weegee's?

 

You know what, now that you mention it, I think I heard something about those flashguns and Star Wars, but had forgot about it.

I recently scanned some silent films and 17fps was right. I guess it just depends, no telling. Do you think some silent films were shot at sound speed of 24fps? 

Getting back to the press photog. He is blocking his lens with the slide. I wonder what that is about? 

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

I recently scanned some silent films and 17fps was right. I guess it just depends, no telling. Do you think some silent films were shot at sound speed of 24fps? 

Not that fast but quite possibly 20 or 22. I wish I could remember the reference.

That's a studio setup so the light sources are all phoney- the light from the flashgun isn't the bulb going off, it's a studio light reflecting in it- but it wasn't unusual for the flash not to be synchronised to the shutter at all. You set the shutter to B or T, opened, fired the flash, then closed. The dark slide was to prevent any stray light getting in. You'd lift it just for the flash. Typically you'd hold it much closer to the lens, obviously without touching it to avoid vibration.

The technique is called "open flash". I was using it until recently in the studio- for some reason my DSLR wouldn't trigger my 1980s-era studio flashes using the usual lead. Something to do with resistance, according to the manufacturer of the flash. Getting a wireless release solved the problem, so now I don't have to draw the curtains.

Edit: just noticed- see the two plugs hanging free between the camera body and the cable-release gizmo (which may be a clockwork timer)? I think they're the flash leads- the flat cable looks the same. It's not plugged in to the lens at all.

I've even used the dark slide as a shutter to time a long exposure. 1-2-3-4-5 etc.

Edited by Mark Dunn
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Thanks Mark! Didn't know that. It is interesting to know.

I never did any studio work with view cameras. I would have to lug it around in the field. Just too time consuming to use and heavy for me. Plus, dangerous. Going in the alleys in L.A. under the dark cloth and all.

 

4-img001-tiff-v2-print-mr.jpg?w=566&h=69

'The Fashion Statement' Los Angeles 1972

Photo: D.D.Teoli Jr. - Toyo View 4x5 with 65mm Super Angulon (Or was it a 75mm??)

 

I always loved wide angles! He used to work in fashion in NYC before becoming homeless. Said he had made his pants from old drape material. I bought a pop-up hood for the 4x5 to get around the dark cloth, but not any good...too glary.

 

toyo-field-camera-focusing-hood.jpg

 

Internet Photo: Fair Use

 

You should go over to the Large Format Forum if you are not already on it Mark. Besides cine' work, you'd fit in well there. I gave up on large format photography back in the 70's. I sold it all off and bought a beat-up Hasselblad SWC from a student at Art Center that was quitting school. I eventually got an old Pentax 6x7. Medium format fit me much better than a view camera.

We had to buy all out gear from the L.A. Recycler or stalking bulletin boards at the art school. They didn't have Sammy's Camera back then. Pan Pacific Camera on La Brea and Melrose was the big dog. It was run by Libby, an old, fat Jewish gal. I think her son took it over and it eventually went bust. But if you were on a budget you tried to avoid the camera shops and deal second hand direct to save money.  Premixed Nacco D-76 or Microdol-X was maybe $2 a gallon...those were the days!

 

crazy-copyright-1975-daniel-d-teoli-jr-m

'Crazy' Los Angeles 1975 

Photo: D.D.Teoli Jr. - Hasselblad SWC

 

Now, I still work with lots of large format film and glass plates in the Archive. But the Large Format Forum had banned me numerous times, so can't do anything there. Well, I still read it once in a while to keep up a little. Man, I'd be sunk if I was still into large format and had to buy 8 x 10 sheet film! It is $14 to $26 a shot!

Mark, put up some of your photos in the Off Topic session. Photos are no good unless they are seen...same with films. Or add a photo at the end of your posts. I learned that from Les Krims. He would send out photos at the end of his emails.

Edited by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.
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48 minutes ago, Daniel D. Teoli Jr. said:

Mark, I tried your website: www.londonsteenbeck.eu5.org

For some reason it won't show up. Facebook had banned me twice, so can't do it.

Ah, my fault. www used to be optional, but now it doesn't work at all, tells you it's a security threat.

Just

https://londonsteenbeck.eu5.org/

without the www. I've changed my sig.

Don't know about FB, can't you see the site if you're logged out?

https://www.facebook.com/londonsteenbeck

Edited by Mark Dunn
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With DPX scans, you can set the playback frame rate in Resolve very easily. I generally set my frame rate to the original rate of the scan, which is generally a guess. Obviously modern stuff is 24, but like 16mm could be 16fps and super 8 could be 18fps. You can usually tell pretty easily and make the adjustment if it's wrong. Then I'll export at the whatever res seems like the original. 

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Just now, Tyler Purcell said:

With DPX scans, you can set the playback frame rate in Resolve very easily. 

It doesn't need to be DPX to change the frame rate. You can do it with ProRes files or most others as well. GOP-based files might not work properly (MPEG variants, for example). 

As you said, 8mm and 16mm (non-pro, old home movies) are typically 16fps. Sound speed is 24, so 16mm shot on better/newer gear is usually 24fps. Super 8 could be 18 or 24, depending on the camera. Some older commercial films were done at 20, but not home movies. And hand cranked film could be all over the place. 

The biggest variable is the camera. Most old home movie cameras (8mm, 16mm) were spring-wound. Those motors could easily fluctuate by a couple frames per second in either direction. Nobody is really going to notice that unless you're trying to sync it with sound. You'd set it to 16fps but it could be 15 or 17. or 16. or all three in the span of a few seconds.  

If people think they can tell some old home movies are off by 1 frame per second, I have a bridge I'd like to sell them. Or maybe some Monster Cable. 

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47 minutes ago, Perry Paolantonio said:

It doesn't need to be DPX to change the frame rate. You can do it with ProRes files or most others as well. GOP-based files might not work properly (MPEG variants, for example). 

Don't you have to lock-in a frame rate on a Pro Res file creation as the scanner scans, on let's say a scan station?

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2 hours ago, Tyler Purcell said:

Don't you have to lock-in a frame rate on a Pro Res file creation as the scanner scans, on let's say a scan station?

You can use Digital Rebellion's Quicktime edit to change the metadata on a Quicktime / ProRes file to whatever frame rate you want. This is just a metadata edit that tells whatever plays the Quicktime file what the playabck FPS is and it is an instant change no render. This same 'Clip Conform" setting was in FCP Studio7's Film Tools.

There are probably other Quicktime editors which can edit the metadata, Quicktime edit is just the one I have been using.

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21 hours ago, Perry Paolantonio said:

You can override the frame rate for prores in the same way as for dpx

But unlike DPX where the playback frame rate is controlled by the editorial system, with Pro Res the frame rate is baked into the file. I guess you can just adjust the metadata of the file with Resolve, it's pretty easy. 

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Just now, Tyler Purcell said:

But unlike DPX where the playback frame rate is controlled by the editorial system, with Pro Res the frame rate is baked into the file.

No it’s not. What’s in the file is metadata. You edit that if you want or you can bring it into resolve (or premier or after effects) and just tell the application to treat it as if it was whatever frame rate you want. It maps them 1:1 so if you bring a 24fps scan into resolve, tell it it’s 16fps and then drop it in a 16fps timeline it’s as if you scanned at 16. 

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Silent film speeds varied from 14ish fps up to 27/28 fps for major films at the end of the era.

Of course, initially Edison shot at 40 fps for kinetoscopes and frame rates were all over the place until Lumiere "standardized" it at around 16fps.

The speed increase was typically not for the reasons you would think.

Theater owners were notorious for "speeding" features through the projector to squeeze in another screening during the day's run.  Trade journals of the late teens have many letters from annoyed patrons complaining about this practice.  Major films fought back by increasing the speed of production to the point it would place severe strain on most projectors to run all day at speeds above 24 fps, thereby discouraging the exhibitor.

The "right" playback speed for silent films is a non-question.  If you can find a cue sheet for the music score that accompanied the film, it gives suggested frame rates throughout the film;  slowing down and speed it up.

Just set the rate at what looks right for "normal movement" for the most part.  Battle scenes were sped-up and love scenes were typically slowed-down.

Of course, it all depends on the producer/studio/director and era.

So, in effect, there is no "correct speed".

 

 

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1 hour ago, Frank Wylie said:

Silent film speeds varied from 14ish fps up to 27/28 fps for major films at the end of the era.

Of course, initially Edison shot at 40 fps for kinetoscopes and frame rates were all over the place until Lumiere "standardized" it at around 16fps.

Nobody is discussing pre-standardization films. 

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On 10/10/2022 at 12:32 PM, Frank Wylie said:

Silent film speeds varied from 14ish fps up to 27/28 fps for major films at the end of the era.

Of course, initially Edison shot at 40 fps for kinetoscopes and frame rates were all over the place until Lumiere "standardized" it at around 16fps.

The speed increase was typically not for the reasons you would think.

Theater owners were notorious for "speeding" features through the projector to squeeze in another screening during the day's run.  Trade journals of the late teens have many letters from annoyed patrons complaining about this practice.  Major films fought back by increasing the speed of production to the point it would place severe strain on most projectors to run all day at speeds above 24 fps, thereby discouraging the exhibitor.

The "right" playback speed for silent films is a non-question.  If you can find a cue sheet for the music score that accompanied the film, it gives suggested frame rates throughout the film;  slowing down and speed it up.

Just set the rate at what looks right for "normal movement" for the most part.  Battle scenes were sped-up and love scenes were typically slowed-down.

Of course, it all depends on the producer/studio/director and era.

So, in effect, there is no "correct speed".

 

 

 

That is some interesting history!

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The Retroscan Universal Mark 1 spits out AVI, jpeg and tiffs for scans. It does not do DPX or Prores. It has an Quicktime MOV option, but I don't have QuickTime,  so never tried it. It also has some other oddball still options that I never use. 

As far as adjusting speed?

You set the fps rate when you export the scan. If it looks bad I increase or decresse the speed in post.  But I guess as a scanning company, you gotta get the speed half ass right with your raw scan and very right if it is sound.

The reason I don't usually fool with the export fps is; it takes a long time to export a film in my slow computer. So it makes fps experimentation time prohibitive with most scans unless they are very short films.

 

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1 hour ago, Mark Dunn said:

May not be relevant to you, but VLC plays MOVs.

Not well though. It’s buggy software and we try to steer clients away from it. 
 

Daniel: you need to be working with real software. Resolve will let you change the frame rate as I described. It is free software. Try it.
 

Should work with tif. I don’t know about jpeg because scanning to JPEG sequences is not really a thing because it’s not a good format. 
 

 

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He can answer for himself but I found Resolve very resource-intensive on an older machine, which is what Daniel seems to have. Translation: it didn't work. But I don''t think either of us is in the facilities house league.

Lightworks, however, is much easier to run. But this may not be at the data rate needed for scans. My DSLR's HD is only 25MBps.

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28 minutes ago, Mark Dunn said:

He can answer for himself but I found Resolve very resource-intensive on an older machine, which is what Daniel seems to have. Translation: it didn't work. But I don''t think either of us is in the facilities house league.

I run resolve on a mid-2020 iMac, a 2019 Macbook pro, and we have it running on windows and linux as well. If you're doing lots of mattes, noise reduction, etc, then yes it's a resource hog. but for basic playback you pretty much just need to meet the minimum GPU requirements. His machine may not. 

An alternative (paid) is Scratch Play Pro. 

I assume since he doesn't have Quicktime, he's on Windows. So the obvious solution is to install Quicktime and use Quicktime player. It's free and will run on very old hardware. 

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