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Dan Baxter

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Everything posted by Dan Baxter

  1. They're using LED lights specifically designed for scanning film, not off-the-shelf products. You're describing the old lights used 20 years ago. Like this : Full-spectrum light with dichroic filters. If doing it this way was the best way to do it today that's how it would be done in the best modern scanners - but they don't because this is an old solution engineered prior to the LED technology available today. The solution was already engineered, the earliest Arriscan (launched in 2004) probably had a very similar light. It's also not all that complicated really, I cannot see this system significantly adding to the cost of production. I can think of one reason not to do it, and that's flicker. How do you eliminate the flicker inherent in Xenon lights? Another problem is brightness - Xenon lights lose their brightness and become dimmer over their lifespan, for projection that's not so important but for scanning you want a consistent brightness.
  2. Robert, interesting though your vid is, it has noting to do with the question. Bayer scanner question not RGB.
  3. It's a better price, but it's the same thing really. That's because as it says on the website they were designed for archives (the Academy of Motion Picture Film Archives) where the quality isn't essential so they can catalogue their holdings. The home movie transfer companies are just a bonus market. They definitely are not the best scanner for any type of commercial film transfer business.
  4. It's 2-flash per emulsion layer. So monochrome film it's 2 physical flashes, for colour film it's 6 physical flashes scanning at 2K/3K. If you're scanning at 4K/6K that uses microscanning where the sensor in the camera is shifted a tiny amount to use 4 captures to make a native 6K capture. So with microscanning and colour film and 2-flash HDR it's 24 separate captures and the Arri does it at some absurdly fast speed like 3 frames per second or something, which is bonkers when you think about how many captures that involves.
  5. T The (original) light on both models is sub-par, but it'll matter less on black-and-white film. No the software is locked to the supported cameras. You can use the camera manufacturer's capture software (Spinview, it's free) and get raw captures that are superior to what the software does anyway. Yes the camera was about $3K, it's gone up a bit in price. But really you'd get a different camera now as the Pregius S chips are better and cheaper. If the film is good, as in it has good or at least decent colour it was shot well etc then it can get very close in quality. But it's not anywhere near as useful for commercial scanning work (including home movie scanning and dailies) because there's more work involved in using it. That's the major catch. You have to re-render the scans multiple times to get to the same deliverable format, whereas the scan that comes directly off the LG is good to go to the customer most of the time.
  6. Thanks for pointing that out Todd. If you have an existing Retroscan Mk II you are much better off doing it yourself. They're just using a 90 CRI COB LED and you can use a higher CRI light, the diffusion won't be designed to conceal scratches because it takes precision to get that right and a lot of tinkering. It doesn't have a 4K camera at all, just a 2.4K GigE camera (resolution is 2448x2048), the old camera which was this one (a model from 2016) had a resolution of 2048x1536. It is good to see they've made a cheaper model though.
  7. Here's my friend's one: The light and the custom gate (which you can't really see there as it's a 3D-printed prototype) make far more difference than changing the optics or the camera. So you have: camera ~$3K, optics about $400. The light on the other hand is about $200-250, to fit it into the original housing it's attached to a custom machined heatsink, and you could improve the diffusion method if you were motivated enough. It takes some fiddling to get right as it is, it's not like you can just pop the diffusing glass ontop of the LED and call it a day! The warped-film gate isn't for sale but assume a range of $500-1,000 if it was available at retail (per gauge). You can't see it in the picture, but there's also a speed controller so that he has complete control over the speed. The stock machines run at 15fps, but he can slow it down as required to improve the scan. The point being that it's kind of pointless to start with replacing the optics or the camera and leaving in the original light. The low-brightness, low-CRI light is the main limiting factor followed by the lack of film gates to hold the film in focus. A brighter high CRI light gets you much better colour and reduces smearing/motion-blur. Changing the camera and lens is more expensive, it will improve the quality of course but it's futile if you're pointing it at the same light! That one is a couple of years old and his ScanStation now handles most film so it doesn't do much work now even though it is quite capable compared with a stock Retroscan. In my opinion these things are only good value for someone with a strong DIY mentality who is technically capable and able to make improvements, for someone like that they can be a good learning tool. Other than that they're capable of making "access scans" which is what they were originally designed for, and that's about it.
  8. The one in my friend's one is an APO-Rodagon D 75mm. But the light is more important to change than the optics or the camera and building/fitting in a decent light for the Universal Mk1 won't be easy.
  9. Daniel the Xena is not for you. My friend's one was/is up for sale (I don't even know if he sold it or not yet), but it's a very technical machine. It requires a DIY owner/operator, and that's not you. You need something simple to use/operate, that is reliable, handles warped film, and has easy do-it-yourself maintenance. The XENA is also very large and you have small format, you're better off with a smaller scanner designed for small formats like a Filmfabriek, or a Lasergraphics Archivist if you can buy one. Generally speaking that's true, but even for legitimate guys it can take persistence to get them to take you seriously. It took one of my friends many repeated attempts at contacting Lasergraphics before they started taking him seriously, and he's now spent over $100K on his scanner from LG. He didn't have an LLC at the time for example (he has one now though). Now his scanner is running non-stop and doing great business.
  10. Yeah I meant "let you buy it" since it was a feature that to my knowledge was never offered for sale to any SSP customer, so I'm glad to hear they finally changed their mind on it.
  11. Lasergraphics finally let you have HDR on the SS Personal? They can have bugs, however even with bugs they are dead-reliable. You rarely need to put film through them more than once, and that would be important to many customers that don't want their film "over handled". They'll cope with warped film that other scanners won't do as well.
  12. Having moved quite a bit of furniture in the past I would say I never recommend ratchet straps. It's too easy to over-tighten and damage your goods, and tying down a load with regular straps or rope does not require tensioning tighter than a good hand-tighten (just make a loop to tension, hand tighten the loop and tie off the load). The tension straps are really designed for pallets on semi-trailers, not small loads, anyway well done for moving it safely!!
  13. As I mentioned back here, the issues are its very old camera, poor quality light, non-flashing light, uneven illumination across the film, lack of proper diffusion to conceal base damage, lack of film gates, lack of speed control, and the crippled capture software. To get proper quality out of a RUMkII takes a lot of work and requires someone who is technical and has a strong DIY mentality which most of their users do not have. Low cost scanners don't equal low-cost scanning anyway. A ScanStation can do commercial scanning work, even if run at 7fps, for lower cost compared to a Retroscan. One of my friends has modified his RUMkII in order to get very close to the ScanStation quality, but the only thing he actually uses it for is for warped film since he made warped gates for it and he hasn't created them for his ScanStation yet (you can buy the warped film kit from Lasergraphics but it's expensive and he's capable of designing his own). That's because even if he gets the quality to match or exceed the ScanStation, it's still a slower scanner that scans to DNG that needs to be debayered and re-encoded to a deliverable format. It doesn't equal the quality anyway because he isn't flashing the light, and even if he was the SS has a significantly higher-end light compared to how he built his DIY Retroscan light. The Lasergraphics scans straight to the deliverable format and rarely needs in-reel adjustments or re-scans to fix problems, and two-flash HDR basically takes care of the Bayer mask.
  14. I'm not 100% sure what's going on, but I would like to know as a friend of mine is investigating his one. Every output appears to limit the gamut in a slightly different way (Prores, DPX, DNG, etc) and you would need to write a custom debayering algorithm/app to properly test DNG. You can test yourself, but it sounds like you already have (have a few frames scanned to Proes XQ and then to DPX and DNG and compare). Also scan some calibration film. Make sure your operator is using the latest software version for capture. Lasegraphics have fixed some colour issues (or claimed that they did anyway) in software. Also make sure filtering is set to 0 (that's the setting that artificially sharpens the scan the default is 0.3 I think and it makes grading a scan more difficult). Unfortunately the scanners can have bugs and one of the ways some operators work around bugs is using old software versions, I know it sounds weird but sometimes a feature breaks with the latest version of the software and it's specific to the machine (i.e. doesn't affect all other scanstations).
  15. There's no point in asking for DPX - the raw format off the camera is DNG (raw Bayer DNG) that's what you want as it'll be a fraction of the size compared with DPX, and it shouldn't be modified by the capture software. No it isn't similar at all, it has a true RGB light (the Cine2Digits one I think) whereas the Moviestuff scanners have a low-CRI white light which significantly limits the colour clarity/quality that you can get from the film.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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!
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. Interesting, since in my PM all I said was I don't want to argue, and just want to discuss.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
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