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Arri Scan XT vs Lasergraphic scanstation 6.5K

Abel van Dijk

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Dear fellow cinematographers,

As a cinematographer living in Amsterdam we have two labs close by.
One of them is scanning with Arri Scan XT DPX files in 2 or 4K, the other one is Scanning with the Lasergraphic Scanstation 6.5K in 4K in pro res 444 or DPX. 
I am scanning 16mm 250D, so also not sure if 4K is needed. I would value color accuracy above resolution. Also, is DPX worth it above pro res 444?
The lab with the Arriscan is like 1.3x more expensive.
What to chose? 

This comparison is probably already made somewhere on this website, but was not sure if info wat up to date etc. 
What do you think or recommend?

Thank you!




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DPX is almost never necessary and it's a huge pain to work with - both in terms of the storage capacity required and the speed of that storage just to play the files. Most VFX work, if using image sequences, is done with EXR, which you could easily make from the ProRes files. ProRes 4444 is a good format that is essentially uncompressed in terms of visual quality. The benefits far outweigh the theoretical downsides. See: https://gammaraydigital.com/blog/prores-or-how-we-learned-stop-worrying-and-love-compression

As for the scanners, they're different beasts, and they work differently so it's hard to make an apples to apples comparison. The ScanStation uses a bayer sensor and runs faster as a result. The Arriscan is a sequential RGB scan, so no bayer loss, but it works at a much slower speed. That being said, in HDR mode, the ScanStation 6.5k's imager comes very close to giving you the same kind of color as you get from a sequential RGB scan. We've had some clients who did side by side tests with a Lasergraphics Director (very similar to the Arriscan in terms of how it makes images), and a ScanStation 6.5 in HDR mode, with an oversampled image (scanning the frame at 5k but outputting to 4k). The results were *really* similar. Close enough that they opted for the less expensive ScanStation scans and were very happy with them. 

Edited by Perry Paolantonio
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Abel...you should test both labs out as they may produce different / better results irrespective of the equipment they use.  Ask if they offer a test scan of a hundred feet or so you provide. Ask if they offer test scans they have done in different outputs.

Good luck!



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I've found 4k is almost always worth it, especially if theres any chance of VFX work.

An arriscan for 1.3x the scanstaion sounds like a pretty good deal, though obviously if you're sending a ton of film that will add up. IMO if you can do a true RGB scan thats usually optimal. That being said, if you do not have a machine that can handle the mass of DPX files and that lab wont transcode for you, the scanstation may be the best option. 

The best scanstation 6.5k footage I've seen for 16 has always been when it runs in HDR mode. 

If you go with the scan station, ask for prores 4444XQ over traditional 4444. Its a subtle difference, but noticeable. 

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I would go for the Arriscan if you value color accuracy and DPX is really not that hard to deal with on a modern machine, just transcode it to ProRes4444XQ if the scan house won't offer that.

The Arriscan is a true RGB and true 16bit machine when run in 2-flash it is in another class of machine compared to the still excellent Scan Station.

The Arriscan is definitely superior in terms of color reproduction.

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15 hours ago, Abel van Dijk said:

One of them is scanning with Arri Scan XT DPX files in 2 or 4K, the other one is Scanning with the Lasergraphic Scanstation 6.5K in 4K in pro res 444 or DPX. 

Ask the lab with the Arri to do 3K for you (that's the true resolution of 2K scanning without any down-scaling to 2K), as it's 16mm you might find this is the best option in terms of quality and value. 3K on the Arri should be higher true resolution and significantly sharper than 6.5K on the ScanStation, if the labs can show you SMPTE resolution film look for how many lines per millimetre is actually resolved.

You can also get bayer DNG off the ScanStation instead of DPX and then do your own debayering, much smaller file size than DPX although the LG debayering is quite good so you may prefer to have their debayering baked in with DPX or Prores 4444 XQ. If you're using a ScanStation they can also make a proxy at the same time as the scan and that would allow you to check everything is fine quickly (2K or 1080p Prores HQ would be fine for the proxy as an example).

I hope that helps!

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  • 1 month later...

Thanks a lot for all the detailed feedback! I ended up going for the 4K arri scan, in DPX. Also just out of curiosity. For editing I have pro res 422 proxies. In the grading suite I am going to use the dpx. I am not in post yet, and haven't seen it in the grading suite, but it looks really promising as far as I can tell. 

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