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Perry Paolantonio

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    Boston, MA
  • My Gear
    Lasergraphics ScanStation 6.5k, 70mm 14k Sasquatch Archival scanner, Eclair ACL II, Pro8mm modded Max8 Beaulieu 4008
  • Specialties
    14k/70mm, 6.5k, 4k, UHD, 2k 8mm-35mm Film Scanning, Film Restoration

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  1. Yeah - that's what I was saying. they're wrong. It's something you can turn on and off. The ScanStation makes very sharp scans, regardless of the age of the machine (we have had every model since the very first 2k version), but there are settings you can use that will soften it - such as INR or filtering.
  2. This is a terrible feature that should not exist. Yes you can. It's an optional add-on that you have to pay extra to get. It was devised s a crude way to mask the FPN on the ScanStation 5k camera, and it results in a very soft image. Scan it on a 6.5k scanner, or ask them to turn the feature off. They may not want to turn it off because it may expose the noise. If they don't have 2-flash HDR (a much better way of getting rid of that noise), then INR may be the only option they have at their disposal. They may also have the terribly named "Filter" setting set such that it's softening the image. this is basically a sharpening filter. Zero is off, but if you set it to a positive number it sharpens and a negative number it softens. We keep it at zero on our machine.
  3. We have had our ScanStation for almost 10 years now. Only one thing has ever required mechanical/electronic repair: the camera in our optical track reader failed about 5 years ago and needed to be replaced. I can't speak to other equipment though. As Robert pointed out though, upgrades probably head off some eventual failures. In the 10 years we've had the machine, we're on our third sensor, due to upgrades (from 2k to 5k to 6.5k). In the scanstation, there are a lot of moving parts in the camera assembly, and the upgrade entails replacement of the entire unit, not just the camera.
  4. Pfft! Pull it apart and make a new scanner from it! It's a nice chassis, if a bit overpriced.
  5. This is a patently ridiculous statement, on several levels: 1) HDR makes a very big difference on multiple levels: 2-flash HDR effectively overcomes the lower color sampling of the native bayer sensor on the scanner. 2-flash HDR on the full ScanStation results in an internal 14-15bit image (this is inside the scanner, within its image processing pipeline. This information is direct from lasergraphics), vs the native 12 bit image on the sensor. This is important even if you're outputting to a 10 bit file. (This bit depth is less on the 5k version, which uses a 10 bit sensor) 2-flash HDR extends the dynamic range of the scanner measurably. Try scanning Kodachrome that's underexposed by half a stop, with both single flash and double flash. You will see a significant difference in the amount of visible shadow detail. 2-flash HDR on scanners using the older CMOSIS 5k 10bit sensor effectively eliminates most of the inherent noise of that sensor. This is what Rob is talking about, as he had his ScanStation Personal with that 5k sensor upgraded to include HDR functionality, and that improved the quality immensely. We pushed Lasergraphics to add HDR when we got the 5k upgrade and discovered the noise issues and that eliminated the noise in most cases. More flashes = better signal to noise ratio Even on non-bayer scanners like the Director, Arriscan, Xena, and DFT Polar, multi-flash HDR is a useful tool for extracting picture from very dense film. Digital sensors don't work like our eyes and have inherently limited dynamic range. So HDR is how you get around that. 2) There is very little negative feedback on the Archivist. I'm not sure where you're seeing that. People love them. It has many of the positive attributes of the full ScanStation, but with limitations. 3) You say the FilmFabriek is "is touted as the best quality scanner on the market." -- Again, not sure where you're seeing this. I've never heard anyone say that about that machine. This thread and several others here have pointed out the many issues with that machine. That it runs the film through alcohol before scanning is kind of meaningless. That's not a wet gate. The archivist is a fine machine, and is arguably better than the original ScanStation Personal. But it is not the same as a full ScanStation 6.5k, which offers much better optical sound reproduction, HDR scanning, support for more gauges, higher resolution, etc.
  6. The soundtrack needs to be scanned on the same machine, at the same time as the picture - OR - the device used to capture the sound needs to be exactly 24fps. A projector is not. It's the same as shooting film and recording double system sound: the camera and recorder both need a common, accurate, and consistent speed. This is achieved in cameras with a crystal controlled motor. In digital recorders, the clock inside the recorder ensures it's in sync. Projectors have no such mechanism (at least none I've ever used), so it's no wonder the sound is drifting from picture.
  7. I have avoided this thread because, quite frankly, I think you're looking for a problem that doesn't exist and you have yet to post a single image demonstrating the supposed problem. But I need to correct this: The ScanStation's resolution modes have nothing to do with color. They're unrelated. The "modes" in a 6.5k scanstation refer only to the pixel dimensions (and subsequently the speed at which the scanner runs, because lower resolutions mean less data). Inside the scanner, the camera and lens move closer to or farther away from the film, depending on the mode. In a lower res mode, the only difference from a high res mode is that instead of using the entire sensor it's using a crop, and can run at a faster speed. That is, in 2.5k mode, it's using a 2.5k crop of the 6.5k sensor and is capable of running at up to 60fps. In 6.5k mode, the entire sensor is used because the camera and lens are in a different position, filling the sensor with the image of the film, and this runs at a lower speed because - more data. The internal processing of the data, the output file formats, all of that is identical regardless of the resolution. The only difference between the various resolution modes is the pixel count and the speed at which the machine can run. Now, if you're comparing DIFFERENT SCANNERS - say an original 2.5k ScanStation (which used a CCD camera), or a 5k ScanStation (which used a 5k CMOSIS CMOS camera), or a variant with a 4k camera (which I think is still Sony IMX like the 6.5k but a different model), or an Archivist (which technically isn't a ScanStation and uses a different model Sony IMX camera), then potentially you might see some color differences. But those are different machines, not different modes on the same machine.
  8. This is truly a massive waste of my time but I'm just sitting here right now waiting for someone to show up. so... Actually, I'd argue that many shops like our friend Robert's, Color Lab, Kodak Atlanta, The Negative Space, Gotham, etc... if you called them and had a bunch of negative to scan, that .20 - .30/foot rate would not be far off the mark. I mean I literally said that and you repeated it as if it was your argument. Most of the calls we get are from people who have seen my posts here and on other sites, heard about us from another customer, got a recommendation when calling one of our film archive customers, or sent an inquiry through our web site and we discussed their needs and made recommendations based on their budget. I would say that if someone contacts us out of the blue, somewhere around 60-75% of the time we end up scanning their film. They almost all say it was because of the help they got and that other places they called didn't seem to want to be bothered with them. In most cases I also prefer when pricing is out front and transparent. But you know what? pricing a scanning job is complex. We offer bulk discounts for large orders. We charge different prices based on gauge and resolution and file format. If the film needs color correction, you simply cannot accurately estimate that with a calculator, because it entirely depends on the nature of the film (Is it an art film with cuts every 3 frames for 30 minutes? or is it a film with long slow takes? those make a huge difference in grading time). Is the film A/B roll cut neg? are these uncored, bipacked outtakes with synced mag track? I mean, all of these things are very specific and some people just don't know the terminology so you need to walk them through it to even figure out what they're going to bring you. Most jobs we do would wind up with higher pricing if you tried to figure it out with a generic footage calculator. Plus, programming something that complex is a significant task if you're going to do it right. Could it be done? sure, probably. But we ask that people describe what they have and what their end goal is, and we make recommendations and send them pricing. Usually via email, and usually within minutes of getting their initial inquiry. You can't call a carpenter and get an estimate on putting an addition on your house over the phone or on their web site. You will not find a mechanic who will tell you up front exactly how much it will cost to fix your car. For precisely the same reasons. I'm flabbergasted by this statement. I mean, you're basically saying you're knowingly offering services on a scanner you call "shitty" but it doesn't matter because they won't know the difference. I mean, wow. Ok.
  9. First, I need to point out that our rates are pretty middle of the road even though you keep insisting they're high. I don't believe you for a second that the "going rate" for 4k scans in CA is $.25/ft (I'm assuming 16mm here). Maybe with a deep student discount, or a negotiated price for a large production. But certainly not for anyone walking in off the street. That said, it's not insanity that people pay what we are charging, which again, isn't high. And it's not that our clients "don't know," it's precisely the opposite. It's that our clients know exactly what they're going to get from us -- they're going to get high quality work, fast, and that we stand behind it. They feel they're paying a fair price for the experience and expertise we bring to the table. A business model that relies on undercutting the competition is unsustainable. It may work for a while, but those prices will eventually have to go up as overhead costs go up, for example. And as Rob said, a lot of customers will be turned off by low prices, and simply not take their work there.
  10. This is not unique to film scanning. I have been through this with nonlinear editing (Remember when Media 100 and Avid systems were close to $100k? FCP and Premiere killed the high end editor market). Yet we still have professional editors. And optical discs (Our Spruce Maestro DVD Authoring system was $20k, used. DVD Studio Pro and Encore killed the DVD Authoring market - for a while: flooded it with people who had no idea how to make a legal disc, because the cheap software allowed you to do things that would break on some players. They eventually came back to us to have the work done right and the work only dropped off when people stopped wanting optical discs). And like you said with color grading - it wasn't that long ago that a Resolve system was about $100k and required a rack full of hardware to run. I'm rendering out a bunch of stuff behind this browser window on a cheap iMac right now, in a $250 version of Resolve. And I know many talented colorists making a healthy living off of what is basically free software. Not because of the tools they have but because of the body of work they've produced and their experience. It has happened on the production side too - who'd have thought you could buy a decent 4k digital cinema camera for a couple grand, just 15 years ago? Now everyone has a 4k camera in their pocket at all times. In all cases, the people who know what they're doing are the ones who survive. We still have professional cinematographers, who are able to work with whatever cameras they're given. We still have editors and colorists. Hell, we probably still have DVD and Blu-ray authors ...somewhere. The ones who have survived and are thriving are doing so because they adapted and dealt with the changes to the market. Services that focus primarily on lowering prices are often the first to vanish once the bottom feeders below them start undercutting their low prices. Eventually, there's nothing left to undercut so something has to give. Racing to the bottom on pricing is a losing game for everyone (Service providers and customers alike) because the market gets flooded with newcomers who lack the experience and knowledge necessary to do a good job. That leads to customers having to re-do bad work, and service providers having to deal with all manner of BS. You have no idea how many phone calls and emails I get from customers who got bad information from the internet from supposed experts who have only been at it for a little while. Seriously, sometimes it feels like half my day is spent explaining how what they heard somewhere is wrong.
  11. So you're talking about outtakes. Yes - what you describe is fairly common. But most film we get from archives has already been re-attached with normal tape splices and the paper tape removed. We have seen what you described, and we simply fix it (though more often than not, the paper tape holds just fine and it scans without issue). There are rarely more than a few of these in a typical 1000' reel. Again, it's not really a big deal and not all that time consuming. While one reel is scanning, you can easily prep 5000 feet of film at the table next to the scanner including multiple papertape splice repairs. I literally cannot remember the last time we saw this happen. I just asked Benn, who does 99% of our scanning, and he can't remember having seen a failed cement splice in the 8 years he's been working here. I don't think you understand how that feature works on the ScanStation. it doesn't detect splices. if the film breaks, you fix it, press a button and it figures out where you were and continues. You do nothing but press a button. That being said, resuming a scan of DPX files that failed is even easier than a scan to a containerized format like a quicktime file. If your workflow doesn't allow you to resume a scan easily simply by starting where it failed, I don't know what to say. Resolve should have nothing to do with it. looking at the file should have nothing to do with it. You just tell it to start from the frame you want it to start from and let it run.
  12. No. We charge $5 to prep a single reel. We charge $15 to consolidate 8 reels onto a 400 footer. Both prices include splice repair if necessary (usually not necessary), leader, and basic inspection. It takes all of 10 minutes to string together 8 reels. I don't see why you think this is so difficult. No. I never said that. Restoration is our primary business and we've scanned millions of feet of film. And bad splices are rarely a problem. So far every archive we've done, wants the film back in the original containers. We have a system for it, but the process can be very time consuming. Please read what I wrote, and then what you responded to. the first three words in my post, in particular. For home movies, nobody wants their films separated, except in cases where the film is of some specific significance and they want to keep it apart from the other reels. This almost never happens with home movies, which was the context of my post. Please stop cherry-picking what I'm saying because you're taking everything out of context First, they are not garbage formats. That attitude, and several posts in this thread, make it pretty clear that you don't consider small gauge film worthy of the effort. Well I guess that's your prerogative, but I think it's a pretty bad attitude. Super 8 is a format that was built for convenience, not quality. 8mm film actually looks very nice (usually better than S8) because the cameras and the transports are better. They are not "MUCH more fragile" they are simply smaller. They are the same film, cut to a different size. And as for the S8 Perfs, you are again spreading bad information. The perfs are cut to the specifications of the format, likely using the same equipment they were using in 1965. We have scanned some of the first Super 8 films made, from the mid-60s, and they exhibit the sawtooth-pattern behavior we've talked about here in other threads. That is not "incorrect" it's by design. In projection, you don't really see that weaving so much. When scanned (something Kodak's engineers in the 60s probably never imagined), using a different mechanism than projectors and cameras use, the problem will manifest as lateral weave. But this is easily fixed simply by emulating the edge guide in the camera, in software. This is what the ScanStation does, and we get nice, steady images out of the machine for S8. If your scanner isn't doing something similar, it's doing it wrong. It's that simple. the Archivist does not use the CMOSIS 5k imager that the SSP and the ScanStation used for a while. I believe it's the same family of Sony sensors as the full ScanStation uses, just at a lower res. Don't confuse the two. I don't think Lasergraphics has used the CMOSIS sensor for a while now. they won't. it took them years to release a minor iteration to the scanner that basically improved the light source to try to overcome the noise. It's a poor design. There's so much about this that makes absolutely no sense I don't even know where to start. So i won't. Enjoy complaining about your HDS that is simultaneously garbage and the only machine that can possibly fit your business model.
  13. Failed splices in camera negative, including 50 year old A/B roll cut neg like the one we have on the scanner as I type, are so rare I can probably count on one hand the number of times we've had to deal with that. If you're having this problem with newly processed film, you need to talk to the lab. Either that, or the scanner is putting too much tension on the film. We deal with failed tape splices on workprint and on home movies occasionally, but most of them go through the ScanStation without issues. Those that do fail, only require that you fix the splice and press a button, and the Scanner will figure out where it is and resume the scan (a feature exclusive to Lasergraphics scanners, I believe). We mostly see this with old presstape splices on 8mm because either the adhesive failed or the person who applied the splice only did one side, or didn't burnish the tape enough to really get good adhesion. Even so, this doesn't happen that often. maybe once every few months we'll get a reel that's just riddled with bad splices and like I said earlier, we confer with the client and if they approve we fix it and bill them for the time it took. Honestly this is not the major profit-killing problem you're making it out to be. If your scanner is having this problem this frequently, I'd question how much tension the scanner is putting on the film.
  14. As I have already said in this thread, We charge a nominal prep fee, which includes adding the necessary leader, and inspecting for and repairing any bad splices. Cleaning is extra, though it's not always necessary. We charge for scanning by the foot. If your reel arrives prepped from a lab, you pay the per-foot rate. If your reel requires prep, you pay an extra $5 to prep the roll plus THE SAME per foot rate, yes. If your reel requires cleaning, you pay extra for cleaning. We recommend that newly shot film is prepped and cleaned at the lab, since that's just best practice. All the time. The ScanStation doesn't really care about broken or even missing perfs in most cases, unless the film is so damaged and brittle that it can't be scanned without further treatment. That is not a service we currently offer in house, we refer the client to a third party with proper ventilation, who can treat the film (a slow process of soaking in something like FilmRenew, to bring some pliability back to the acetate base). We evaluate each reel and let the client make the call about what they're going to do with their very damaged films. If the film has an unusually large number of bad splices, then we confer with the client and will fix them all, for a small additional fee. But we do splice repair as a matter of course when prepping old film. It doesn't take that long, it's simply not worth it to get all nickle-and-dimey over something so trivial unless the film is literally falling apart and it will take someone more than 30 minutes to fix it. That happens sometimes (we just did this with an old 16mm workprint with maybe 100 splices or so that had to be replaced), but it's rare. You make it out like all home moves are like this - most, the vast majority - are not. You'd be wrong. No, I never said this. I said we have scanned approximately that much film on our scanner. I never said one job. That's over several years. And the number is actually higher. The scanner reports frames of 8/S8 combined, since they share a gate. there are different frame counts per foot, so it's probably closer to a million, since we have done a lot more Super 8. You have a very limited view of how this world operates. Hollywood is not the center of the universe and is not representative of the hundreds, if not thousands, of film archives around the world. UCLA is a unique archive in its scale and the type of collection it has (and FWIW, we have scanned film that lives there, though for a filmmaker, not for the archive - they don't scan everything in house). Some of our archive clients own perfectly capable scanners, ScanStations even, but continue to bring work to us because of the quality and turnaround times we offer. Sometimes it can take months to get something done internally because of bureaucracy and budget machinations. Only the archives, and collectors of specific kinds of movies (prints, or in some cases things like Super 8 concert footage), want to keep them separate. We are almost never asked to return the film in the original boxes, but we always return the boxes with cross-referenced numbers for the film on the reels. You absolutely do, and are, shunning home movies. You just did it in this very sentence. My point here is that you're treating small gauge film as if it's a second class citizen in the film world. That's wrong. It's not, and the people who own that film, even if they're "just" home moveis, are as interested in seeing high quality transfers of it as anyone. They deserve, and get, the same treatment we give any of our commercial clients. Just a thought, but maybe you're having a hard time trying to sell scanning services because you're using a completely inappropriate machine for that task, while simultaneously telling the world how bad it is and that it scratches your film! FWIW, I have yet to meet an archivist who has a completely scanned collection of film, or even a hope of getting there. It's a years-long task that requires multiple people to pull off, even for medium-sized film archives. It simply isn't done. It's such a rare feat, in fact, that the University of Indiana's Media Digitization an Preservation Initiative just did it and felt it was a monumental and rare enough task that they built a web site to show how they did it. https://mdpi.iu.edu/ I have no idea where you get these ideas.
  15. I'm assuming you're referring to me, since you quoted me? The scanstation doesn't have (or need) a wetgate. And someone should always be with the scanner when it's running in case of a problem. Not sure what you mean by babysitting, but there's an operator in the room with the machine when it's scanning
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