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Guy Burns

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  1. Thanks for the responses. I contacted Carlo in Switzerland. He said his machine wasn't suitable for scanning 2000 feet: Too slow for the amount of footage you have to transfer. Hope I can have a real production machine ready in the future, but this would not be a very fast one either as I stick to real frame-by-frame approach, not the continuous type of machines which now flourish on the market. In terms of quality, the faster can't be the better. His comment "the faster can't be the better" is what my Q4, above, was asking. Reel One, Finland, might be a possibility, but isn't the Cintel Millennium 2 quite an old machine?
  2. I have 2000 feet of 9.5mm film on five reels, taken in the 1940s and 1950s. Movies taken by a deceased friend, of family and wild places in Tasmania, parts of which will end up on Blu-ray. I want it scanned at 2K on a high-end machine such as a Lasergraphics ScanStation, MWA FlashTransfer Choice, or similar. As far as I am aware: no company in Australia has such machines. Images4life.uk has a FlashTransfer, but the cost increases by 50% to convert from DPX to ProRes 4444, and another 50% if I ask for transfer at a slower scan-rate (10 fps instead of 15 fps, recommended for improved quality) videopro.dk have the ScanStation and a lower resolution model of the FlashTransfer, but from my experience there are language – and other – difficulties. I have been unable to track down anyone else who can do this work. This leads to several questions. Below, when I mention scan-rate, I mean the number of frames scanned per second. Scan Companies Ques 1 Does anyone know of a company, anywhere in the world, that can scan 9.5mm films using a high-end machine? i.e. something better than a Retroscan. The company must be happy to deal with a home enthusiast. Some aren't. Exposure vs Scan-Rate Ques 2 Is exposure time when scanning, linearly dependent on scan-rate? i.e. double the scan-rate and the exposure time halves? Ques 3 Or does the exposure time vary non-linearly with scan-rate? If so, why? Ques 4 How does varying the scan-rate effect the quality of the scan? For instance, does scan quality inherently go up as scan-rate goes down? What factors are involved? Ques 5 For a 2K scan of an 8mm film, what would be typical exposure times for a certain scan-rate? Output Format The films are mostly amateur B&W. During editing in Premiere, all the scans will need a goodly amount of contrast correction, and a small number will require significant boosting in the shadows. Ques 6 Assuming that shadow detail is actually on the film and can be captured by the scanner, does 4444 holds extra information in a form that would give obviously better results than 422 HQ when grayscale shadows are boosted significantly in Premiere? Personally, I doubt that 4444 is worth the extra file size for these films. But I thought I'd ask, just in case.
  3. Thanks, Satsuki, for the suggestions. Since I've had limited response here, I've taken my questions to the Film-Tech forum (http://www.film-tech.com/ubb/f16/t003048.html), and they've provided some detailed suggestions.
  4. Background I'm converting my three-screen audio-visuals to Blu-ray format, with the aim of presenting them at the local cinema. Basically they're slide shows from the 80s and 90s, with a few added clips from my GH3, and new soundtracks. I'll let a few friends know, and they can pass the word around. It's just a hobby, but I want to do the absolute best job I can. Editing is in Premiere at 23.976 fps, and all slides enter Premiere in sRGB. Video output if rendered to m4v format at 20-35 Mbps, and passes through Adobe Encore (without transcoding) onto a Blu-ray disk. What I see on my iMac screen is pretty much what I see on our 3-metre home theatre screen – my test bed. At the Cinema What I am concerned about is how the presentations will look and sound in the cinema. I've had a short tour of the projection room. They run four Barco projectors… https://www.barco.com/en/Products/Projectors/Cinema-projectors/Lamp-based-cinema-projectors/C-series/Compact-DLP-Barco-Alchemy-Cinema-projector-for-screens-up-to-20m-65ft.aspx#!specs … and the operator assured me the setup can accept HDMI input. So my idea is to take along my Oppo Blu-ray player, a HDMI cord, and have a test run. I will only be allowed 5-10 minutes of testing. Questions ​Before I go to the cinema for a test run, I want to have a pretty good idea of what to expect, and where problems might occur. Thus these questions. Ques 1: HDMI The Barco processor has one HDMI input, but the specs make no mention of a 23.976 frame rate. Does having a HDMI input imply the Barco will work with all signals from a Blu-ray player, including 23.976 fps? Ques 2: Gamma My entire workflow is in sRGB (with a gamma of ~2.2), from scanner (or GH3), to my iMac, through to my BenQ W7000 projector. However, Cinema projectors, I read somewhere, have a gamma of 2.6. What effect will that have on my images? Will the effect be noticeable? Should I correct for it? How would I correct for it? Ques 3: Test Material The best test material would of course be the actual presentation, but I'll be limited to only a few minutes of projector time. My idea is to take along on Blu-ray disk: 1. A projector Calibration Pattern for Blacks (levels 0 - 16). 2. A similar pattern for Whites (levels 239-255) 3. 30 seconds of a typical dark scene 4. 30 seconds of a typical bright scene Items 1 and 2 are not for calibrating the Barco, of course. If levels 0-16 all appear black, say, I'll have an indication that something's not right. Are the four items listed above, the most suitable? Ques 4: Sound Is there a loudness standard for films? All my audio is matched to ITU-R BS 1770-2. My guess is that the cinema runs a constant volume setting on their amps, a setting which suits most films. And I'd rather not ask them to change that setting just for me. Thanks in advance for any comments.
  5. ICE came out of Applied Science Fiction – and that's just what it is. To be able to remove, almost perfectly, thousands of dust spots in a few seconds is akin to magic for me. You can download an example here: http://www.mediafire.com/download/kec2iw6jstsydoa/GM126.tif It's a large file (100 MB) scanned at maximum resolution on my Coolscan. Taken in November 1964, probably on Agfa. Two layers, one with ICE, one without. Jump between the two in Photoshop and you'll see magic in action. I generally use two layers so that I can mask areas of the image where ICE is not required and in which it may cause problems; or areas where I want to manually clean. If movie-film scanners had ICE, it'd just about put restorers out of business.
  6. Owner of Film 2 has his say A comment (by email) from the owner of Film 2. He's a retired electrical/instrument engineer, with an very good understanding of technicalities, but fairly new to video. I'm using his film as a reference because it has a history of being scanned, allowing comparison of scan quality: Nikon scanner of some sort, in 2010, in Sydney Epson V700 (flatbed) RetroScan Universal ScanStation Here's what he said: I have had a look at the video frame by frame and I am quite impressed. Dirt and scratch removal along with filtering and sharpening is pretty good. However it’s a pity about the first few frames after a scene change. Strikes me their software needs a few frames to establish the difference between image & dirt. It seems a simple solution, run the algorithm again on the film running in reverse. Ask them they may plan it in their next software version. They also seem to be using image stabilisation to good effect. This invariably lead to some "zooming in" & cropping to give them an edge to trim. Have a look at the cross on the top of the church in the film of the girl running. I see image stabilisation as important for our film which is shot hand held with a lesser quality camera. I thought the frame blending was good on the girl running, when you consider the original frames were pretty blurred due to the high subject movement & low shutter speed. Did you check it out on slower moving subjects? Overall I think it's pretty good. We would be happy to pay to have our film restored by them if their charges are around the prices you originally indicated. I have my say Frame-by-frame lets you see where the problems lie – and there are several – but the real aim of this exercise is to find out whether auto-dirt removal can work effectively, and whether the projected image is improved. What is more distracting when viewed as a home movie: serious amounts of dirt, or slight degradation of the image? The next step is to project the images one at a time, then side-by-side, on a 3-metre screen, telling the small audience exactly what to look for, and then ask which image they prefer. Luckily, I have regular access at home to a small audience who come along for our Blu-ray movie nights, so it will be interesting to hear what they think.
  7. Re Vimeo: I suppose I could, but your computer still has to download it for you to see it.
  8. A Secret Program As part of having a test scan done on a Laser Graphics ScanStation, I was offered a couple of minutes of restored footage. For $7 a minute, this company will restore any movie file. When I asked what software they used, I was told: Sorry, but it's a secret; a program of our own. It took 8 years to develop. I was dubious about a program that was 'secret', but since the restoration offer was free, I said to go ahead, and they uploaded several gigabytes of sample files from my films. Problematic Test Of course, they buggered up the test. During the scanning, the exposure was set to auto, and colour and contrast corrections were applied. Then during restoration, more colour and contrast corrections were applied, the image was stabilised, and frame-blended from 18 to 25 fps. All of which, several times, I specifically requested not to be done – that I wanted the scan and restoration as raw as possible to enable a proper comparison. I was amazed, actually, that a company would outlay on a ScanStation, then treat it like a RetroScan. Restoration Results Anyway, I really was amazed when I saw the results. Now, let me qualify that statement: this is about 8mm amateur films, in poor condition, 40-80 years old – inherently shaky, poorly focused, faded colour, and filthy. I'm not talking feature film. Dust and grime were, to me, in most cases impressively removed, at the expense of a slight softening. However, I have no experience with restoration, so I may be missing something, and would appreciate comments from others. Download A side-by-side sample can be downloaded here: http://www.mediafire.com/download/so9g97btews9jvo/Restoration_Comparison.mp4 It is not meant to be played as a movie. It is a series of short segments, with typed comments here and there. It should be stepped through frame-by-frame. If anyone wants to see a longer version to enable a motion-comparison, let me know and I'll upload it.
  9. Good suggestion, Freddy, but I'm on a Mac. Anyway, those things without a GUI frighten me. I should add to the list of problems I found with Resolve, after I revisited it. Problem 4 Cloning with the rectangle usually results in a fine outline of the rectangle remaining behind when the clone is finished. There does not appear to be any feathering to disguise the edge of the area that was cloned. Zoom to 300%, do a few clones, and you'll see the outlines.
  10. I assume by "Nikon Film Scanner" that you mean one of the Coolscans. I was not aware they had a multiscan feature. The Coolscan 5000 has a Multipass feature, but that's intended for reducing noise. See the tests done by Martin Ranger (website now gone) which I've archived here: http://www.mediafire.com/download/oc7vfa4sxb0nz4b/Documents.zip He concludes: While Multipass Scanning does not seem to degrade the sharpness of the scans, it offers little benefit in the form of reduced analog noise. Given the significant increase in scanning time, one might think twice about using it.
  11. RetroScan Test As a test, I've had scanned on a RetroScan, ~650' of 8mm films ranging from 1930s -1970s. Just to dip my toes in the water to see what kind of results I got. The scans are okay, but I know they could be better. Before I selected the business to do the scanning (a young bloke working from his art studio in Melbourne), I downloaded the RetroScan user manual, went through it in detail, then rang several businesses and asked questions. It soon became obvious that most of them hadn't read the manual as well as I had. Weren't aware of what certain settings did; had never bothered to change settings from the default; didn't know what the native resolution was. Only the young bloke in Melbourne seemed to be on top of everything. Each and every business could churn through the reels, though. One fellow told me how lucrative it was. None of them, except the youngster in Melbourne, had any real concern about quality. The Reel Thing Well, the entire 1740 ft that I want scanned will soon be heading to a high-end scanner – but this time it's not a test. It's the reel thing (how's that for a pun) – and I want to be sure that the scanner operator actually knows what he's doing. I want the best that the machine has to offer. So I want to go through the User Manuals to become familiar with how these machines work. I'm the sort of weirdo who actually reads manuals, word for word. Took me weeks to get through the Premiere manual. Problem Of the scanner manufacturers mentioned in the title of this thread, none provide User Manual downloads. If any readers have a User Manual for the ScanStation, FlashTransfer Choice, or Xena, and assuming that it's okay to do so, please gmail me a copy at gdburns. The manual won't be forwarded to anyone else.
  12. Thanks for the responses. Not the most sensible idea I've thought of. Came to me when I was thinking of how Premiere improves the quality of its exports by using a 2-pass render. But a 2-pass scan: a bit sus. However, the mention of each frame being flashed more than once reminded me of something I'd read, and I eventually found it again: the triple-flash of Lasergraphic's Director. Ques Does triple-flash mean that you end up with three files from each scan? Much like when you set a digital camera to take three exposures: normal, +1, -1?
  13. 8mm home movies, if the amateur cameraman wasn't careful with his settings, can have the problem of exposure varying widely from scene to scene. And even though varying the frame-to-frame exposure during scanning is undesirable, I can see that there might be benefits in altering the exposure scene-to-scene. Ques 1 Are any high-end scanners capable of doing a 2-pass scan? i.e. the first 'preview' pass works out where the scene changes are and calculates exposure; then during the second pass, the exposure is altered to boost dark scenes, or reduce bright scenes. Some providers offer a manual version of the above – a "best light" service whereby they go through the footage scene-by-scene and balance out any inconsistencies in the lighting, whether under or over-exposed. Ques 2 Could such a 2-pass scheme have unintended consequences?
  14. Thanks for the comments, Perry. I have very few expectations at this stage. I'm testing scanners to find out their limitations and then to work within that. It looks to me like overscanning at 15% of frame height is essential on the RetroScan – if you want to be sure of seeing all the image. I'm assuming the ScanStation has small frame jumps from various causes. Any idea of the amount of overscan needed so as to be reasonably sure not to lose part of the image? 2%, 5%? I sent an email last week re scanning my films. Did you receive it?
  15. I have recently had films scanned on the RetroScan Universal as part of a wider comparison of 8mm film scanners. I asked for the perforations to be included so that I could check the quality of registration and determine the causes of frame movement. Here’s what I found for Standard 8mm and Super 8mm. Video files mentioned below can be downloaded from: http://www.mediafire.com/download/k1lhhiseltgicdc/Frame_Movement_%28RetroScan%29.zip The easiest way to see the frame movements is to open the files in Quicktime and step through, frame-by-frame. Frame Jumps caused by camera One of the films (R01a, Standard 8, 1947) has a cyclic, horizontal movement of the frame. Every six frames the image moves sideways relative to the perforation, then gradually moves back over the next five frames. There is only a minor impact on frame registration. Frame Jumps caused by scanner At Splices At splices, the RetroScan typically causes a vertical jump of between 5% and 15% of frame height, mostly at the lower end of that range. The jump seems to be caused by the splice tape covering part of the perforation, thus confusing the perforation detector. Examples are R01b, R01c, R02a, R02b, R04a, R04h. For Standard 8, the jumps occur 7 frames before the splice; for Super 8mm, 10 frames before the splice. The jumps last until the splice itself is scanned, then the frame reverts to the normal position. I suppose this means that, for the RetroScan, there is a single perforation sensor at a fixed distance behind the capture point. At Scene Changes A small number of jumps are caused by scene changes, where the incoming scene is brighter than the previous scene. The perforation detector seems to be confusing part of the bright scene with the perforation. The jump is typically 5% to 10% of frame height and lasts 1-10 frames. Examples are: R04b, R04c, R04e, R04j At Zooms A zoom, in or out, can cause a jump, probably because of a brightness change associated with the zoom. i.e. if the zoom causes a white area to become larger (R04g), the extra brightness upsets the perforation detection. But a zoom into a dark area (R04L) can also upset the perforation detection. Typical jumps were 5% and lasted 10 frames. Examples: R04d, R04i, R04j, R04k, R04L Bright areas If a bright area is near the perforations, it can cause erratic frame jumps. Examples are R04g, R04k Unexplained Jumps Occasionally there are erratic jumps that I can’t explain (R04f). Dirt in Perforation Dirt partly blocking the perforation can cause a jump (R04m). Summary 1. All frame jumps were vertical, not horizontal. 2. Jumps can be caused in several ways: zooms into bright or dark areas, scene changes into a bright scene, dirt in a perforation, or bright or dark areas around the perforations. 3. For scans which are cropped inside the image area, frame jumps will cause problems because they will cause loss of part of the image. 4. Frame jumps will be less of a problem if the scan area is expanded by 10-15% of frame height because no part of the image will be lost during the jump. The jumped frames may be out of registration with the others, but at least they are intact. Ques 1 Do high-end machines – Scan Stations, Kinettas, Xenas and the like – have any of the above problems? Ques 2 Given that most home movies tend to have camera wobble and would benefit from a small amount of stabilization in a video editor – stabilization that would also bring the jumped frames into alignment – how important, really, is accurate frame registration for home movies?
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