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Dan Baxter

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  1. The Retroscan Universal MkII needs a number of changes to make it usable (build a light, put in a proper camera, etc) by which time it's now a DIY scanner suitable only for the technically capable hands-on operator - which most of their users are not. The Retroscans are not designed as a dailies scanner nor for professional-grade work. They're designed for archives where the quality isn't essential, and for the home-movies-to-dvd people who don't know any better in terms of quality (they're often comparing their work to companies that "scan" by literally projecting the image onto a wall like this company does). It's also not going to save you money overall. If you want to buy anything look at buying the Lasergraphics Archivist as an all-around 16mm scanner. Cintels can't scan Ultra16, there's a physical strip behind the perfs. Thank you for pointing this out. This is the same for most scanners honestly, the operator needs to be properly trained, know how film should look, and instantly recognise when there's an issue with the settings. Just because something is easy to operate doesn't mean you'll get consistent quality out of it if it's not in the hands of a pro.
  2. Eric Grayson has a Kickstarter to raise $20K to restore the King of the Kongo serial: He's about $3K off the goal at the time of this post with 15 days to go. I'm not involved, just helping to get the word out.
  3. Have a chat with them. For Arriscan XT the costs according to this pricing list is (page 433): I'd assume the older ones have very similar service options as above.
  4. I came across this press release from last month. In it Blackmagic announces they've designed a new light that is 6x brighter than the old one, but it doesn't seem to be designed to fit existing BMD scanners: "We are excited to discuss this new technology with film customers at the NAB 2022 show," said Grant Petty, Blackmagic Design CEO. "We plan on using this technology on a new model of Cintel film scanner and we are excited get customer feedback before committing to the new model’s release!" So there we have it, the new model - the "Cintel 4"or whatever they're going to call it is on its way, with an entirely different light to the previous Cintels. It's not clear whether the new light will be compatible with existing BMD scanners, but it sounds unlikely that it would be. I heard a rumour that the new model will use a Sony chip, but treat that as an unsubstantiated rumour unless someone here speaks to BMD and finds out what's going on. Surely though it must have a new camera though, the current BMDs all have exactly the same camera - six years, that's a long time to still be using the same camera!
  5. I now have a solid answer on the audio, from an audio expert. He said scan any normal geometry film and you'll notice there's always a slight slant or rotation - it's never perfectly flat. For visual restoration this isn't a problem as the film itself wasn't designed with where the pixel grid would land. For audio though it's another matter. For an optical audio track to be read perfectly the film captured must be 100% flat or it degrades the quality. Think about a variable area track - your pixels left-to-right must match exactly or your capture is imperfect. Even a slight slant or rotation leads to degradation in quality. The light source must either be constant or supersonic otherwise it is picked up as noise.
  6. I've remembered the company that charged £2.5K for the 16mm mag audio last year, and happy to name them if people want. But there's not much point IMO because clients like that are hardly going to read this forum first. I know an archive in London that can do mag audio transfers for a fraction of that cost and would appreciate the business.
  7. Interesting, since in my PM all I said was I don't want to argue, and just want to discuss.
  8. I'm taking Robert Houllahan's advice and making a separate topic for this. It's unfortunate, but still in 2022 the market for this service is dominated by companies doing a poor quality service and outrageously misleading their customers about it at the same time. Would love to hear about people's experiences. The difficultly with this as I see it and articulated in the other topic is that the technology to do this properly at an affordable rate is still quite young, and therefore most of the companies doing it are using systems designed 15-20 years ago that were filling a gap in the market that's since been filled by more modern equipment that can do a proper job. I also tend to think that many of the companies are run by people with opinions and assumptions about film that they took into their business and won't change (e.g. you shouldn't clean film). But whatever the case, it's really inexcusable that they make claims that are just plain false, and I have always held the opinion that you should never mislead your customers about your products or services just to make a sale. It's incredible to think about how expensive professional equipment can be for other industries, yet in film so many of these companies refuse to spend $30-200K on a decent quality machine for the work! There are companies that have been in the home media transfer business for 30+ years that to this day continue using Tobins, Retroscans, or other similarly low-end scanners.
  9. Good lord, I'm not responding to this any further. I was simply talking to him collector-to-collector he brought up a negative experience he had and I told him to take his complaint to you. I'm not discussing this client any further, he's now a client with a friend of mine and the matter between you has nothing to do with me. I'm happy to discuss service delivery at length. I don't want to argue with you, I would rather we shift to a positive discussion not an argument. I think you've perhaps lost sight of where my POV on this comes from, your company would look great if I compared it against many others who deliver similar post-production/restoration services. That's where the discussion should be heading, not arguing over tiny/individual matters. I've heard of complaints with companies that are absolutely outrageous if you want talk about bad service delivery. I heard from a guy last year that sent his magnetic audio film to a company (7x 6" 16mm reels) and asked them to do one reel as a sample, they did the entire lot and sent him a bill for £2.5K (about $3,000). We told him not to pay it, but I think he was too afraid that they wouldn't return his film so he went ahead and I paid it I believe. To be honest I can't remember the exact company off-hand right now, but it doesn't really matter because the point is you've got a LOT of companies out there like that which are doing the wrong thing and giving people bad experiences. People should not be afraid that a company isn't going to return their film!! You've got companies with their Tobins and Retroscans that have flooded the home-movies transfer market and make it almost impossible for the average punter to find a proper company with a real scanner that's delivering a proper quality service to transfer their memories. Let me state that again, you need to start with a good company that has the proper equipment and delivers that particular service. Plenty of post-production companies for example just don't have the equipment for archival film/home movies, or if they do they choose not to deliver that service and focus only on the clients they want. And even if you get all three right, it then needs to be within what they can afford as well because the price for the same quality service varies wildly depending on where you go. As for the "bad" companies you just look at their websites and social media - they make false and misleading claims about the quality of their services and they're not even shy about it (in America you call it truth in advertising I believe). I've got dozens of examples - Legacy Box, Reel Box, etc etc. That's what I care about. Don't get me wrong those low-end systems have a place in the market, it's just that THAT place is about 10-15 years in the past. I talked to someone last year who's rescanned his film now I think 4 times and is still not happy - and with good reason. He has unfortunately never found a good company (until now). The reason why it's difficult is because people come in with the wrong assumptions, companies tell them their home movies can't be transferred in better quality, and once someone is given the wrong information it's hard to give them right right information because it's not intuitive to them. That's why I care that they get the right information in the first place. For example - I hear it all the time from people that have been told by the (wrong) home movie companies "I don't think it's worth the extra effort with a better scanner because it's only 8mm and low-quality". That's intuitive, it's what they're told by those companies, but it's not right.
  10. No they don't, their service guy is from NZ so yes here you'd be paying for travel expenses etc. Mind you Perry will probably tell me otherwise!
  11. No, that is EXACTLY what they're claiming on the website. "Built-in color grading tools for easy dye fade correction, applied during scan, eliminates secondary post-processing step." As I said everyone, literally everyone I know including you says that isn't true. Just that it explains a lot about how the inbuilt software can destroy the quality of the scan. I am truly grateful you made that comparison. Oh like when you reference the LG website and I "prove" (which is a strong statement) time and time again to you that LGs claims are deceptive? I literally know two people that were told completely contradictory facts when buying their ScanStations. When I say contradictory I literally mean one was told "you pay $20K extra for that" and the other was told it's included in the base price. Both of these people purchased ScanStations. We're not talking about randos sending enquiries. And that is not the only example I know about with such duplicity so spare me please. I didn't say "irresponsible" or make accusations. This was a guy that sent you one reel of a 2-reel 16mm print. Yes I think you have a moral obligation as the service provider to properly advise your clients. That's all. A friend of mine has just done a complete scan for him of another film and he was very happy with that experience. Not sure why you choose to bring this up on a public forum because I didn't nor did anyone else. For the record I have never sought to defame GRD (why would I)! Secondly - this matter doesn't even involve me, he's your customer. So to put this on a public forum: some of his assumptions about his scan are wrong and I tried to explain that to him. He thinks his 4K scan is 3K for example which I think we can both agree is mistaken. Ultimately he's your client not mine and I tried not to involve myself with his complaint just bring it to your attention. Not at all accurate, as soon as I heard about his complaint I brought it to your attention. I don't even know where file size comes into it, that's not my recollection of the conversation with him. I didn't "accuse" you. I had nothing to compare it against off a similar machine (well actually I did and it's in better focus) but we determined focus wasn't an issue. Something you failed to mention there, and yes I told your customer that the focus from what we can tell seems fine. "Amicably" is not how he feels about it (right or wrong). My mate did a 16mm scan for him off the same scanning system you use and he was very satisfied and he's welcome to go there anytime and do an in-person supervised scan. Honestly Perry when you're in a hole don't dig. I've done nothing wrong, and I would much rather not half to respond to all these allegations you're putting up. You told me "when a customer isn't satisfied we make it right". You didn't make it right or cause him to close his complaint and blaming me for that is ridiculous.
  12. Oh lord Perry could you be any more contrived? I said the claim is false and likely to be misleading because it does not work as advertised. Simple as that. I didn't say that the people buying the products already know this (they do) but the point is that it does not at all eliminate the need for post-processing in separate non-LG software. Wow that's awful. Thanks for posting that it explains a LOT. Especially if that came off 6.5K HDR.
  13. Again Perry you didn't read what I said. The hardware Optical/Keykode reader is an option for the ScanStation not the Archivist, I never claimed otherwise. Also no what I'm referring to comes from Galileo Digital not Gencom. Okay we are WORLDS apart here. Let me put it this way, if I was the sales agent I would be very unhappy with the claims on the website. And yet you literally have no evidence for this nonsensical claim! None whatsoever. You know why you don't have it? My guess - you've got a 2013 model that was never licensed for the software sound extraction. It's included for new customers (at least up until 2021) and if you want to complain that you don't have it don't take it up with me take it up with Steve or Stefan or whoever you're talking to at LG. It would hardly be unusual for a new software feature not to be given to old machines for free though - as you've seen in the Arri price sheet you need to pay for the software in-scan stabilisation if you have an old one and it's free/included with a brand-new Arri XT. FWIW unless there's been some alteration in the past couple of months, on the current ones all the software features are included for free except 2-flash HDR which you need to license. That is good value. Message me in private if you prefer and I'll tell you exactly what their contradictory claims were - made mere days-apart to my mates. I also confirmed this "discrepancy" with a 3rd-party buying one at around the same time. So while I'm not claiming malice or anything like that, I can say that it was of significant importance. So far as I'm concerned that company tells different people different things and I've seen sufficient evidence to form that opinion.
  14. As an example, this claim: Which I've referenced to before, isn't just likely to mislead customers - it's anti-competitive because they're effectively stating "you don't need to buy a professional colouring suite, you can do everything you need with our in-built software". So any company that makes the professional post-production software products could make a complaint if they wanted against that claim IMO. In a previous job I used to have a boss who would literally label things in the shop with false and misleading labels and whenever she was finished doing that and would leave I would have to go through and re-label everything correctly so that we weren't misleading our customers. One day she even told me not to do it "the customer will work that out for themselves" is quite literally what I was told. Yes I am serious, and no of course I didn't oblige. So when it comes to referencing claims directly from LG in my humble opinion it would help a LOT if the claims made on their own website were honest and truthful. You CAN do a complete dye-fade correction as shown on the website, but it WON'T be to the same quality as if you did it in post-production with the correct tools. Fine for some uses perhaps, not what you'd want for professional work. I noticed that you never said I was wrong about this point, but neither did you acknowledge it as a valid observation Perry.
  15. No I haven't, I just took that one off this website. The photo you're referring to there has been photoshopped. But obviously they may now be manufacturing the face-plate differently. That's right, optical is software-only which I already said - you didn't seem to read what I wrote. What I said was that it would be technically possible to attach the mounting plate for the optical reader, nothing else. The film path itself is different through (only slightly different, but there's one less roller on the left side and I think the magnetic readers are mounted in a different position as well). Again nothing I said is inaccurate - with the Archivist they do not attach the magnetic sound mounting plate if you don't buy it, whereas if you buy the ScanStation it comes with both mounting plates already there even if you don't buy the audio readers. Less than a year actually, and we're not at war Perry I just have a different opinion on some things than you do. You keep quoting the LG website when I've pointed out to you that much of what they claim on the website is false or misleading. Or you quote what they tell you as absolute truth. I'm fully aware that they tell different people different things - this happened last year. They said conflicting things to different people I know at exactly the same time (both of them were going through the process of purchasing scanners from them). When I say "conflicting" I do mean a direct contradiction on something quite important. So again on software audio extraction for the SS, no I do not believe they would disable that feature on new machines. The person/company operating it is more important than which one they have IMO. Just send something less valuable like a couple of trailers or something. Why don't you ask sometime on the Facebook group how people clean their P/T rollers - be polite about it and non-judgemental and I think you may be in for a bit of a shock with how different people/companies operate. If film slips a little bit against abrasive dirt it causes those cinch damage marks that are commonly heaviest at the end of projection reels (see here). So old slippery P/T rollers with dirt on them have the potential to damage film. With some scanners you don't have a choice not to thread through the P/T rollers - the Cintel included - hence one reason why how the machine is operated is important.
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