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Dan Baxter

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Everything posted by Dan Baxter

  1. Okay Perry I'm going to try and keep this brief. I wish you wouldn't start with "you clearly have no concept ..." that's rude and I try to extend you better courtesy than that. Cintel was dissolved a decade ago and the rights sold to Blackmagic so explain exactly what you're talking about please. I wish you would stop parroting claims made by LG to you. I do not doubt they told you this - what I am sceptical of is the truthfulness or accuracy of what they are saying there. In my humble opinion you shouldn't take what LG says (Steve? Stefan?) so literally and then be stubborn about it. What they may have meant is that you can only use one at a time which would make sense. Do you think a company buying their second, third, or fourth ScanStation would accept them crippling an important software feature on the newest one? Of course not. The software extraction works fine, it's free, and the hardware optical/keykode reader is not included in the base price of the scanner it's an extra: From last year's base config. It would not make any sense for them to remove an important software feature - it gives their scanners a key competitive advantage over their competitors including Arri, FF, Blackmagic, DCS, and Kinetta. As far as the Archivist goes - I suggest you get LG to send you the current configuration sheet so you know what you're talking about there. Here is a photo of one: That one clearly has the plastic rollers, but notice that the plate that attaches to the scanner so you can then attach one of the magnetic sound readers is not included in the base configuration, it's an additional product. So to get for example 16mm SepMag you need to buy the mounting plate product AR113 and the sound reader. As you can see from the photo, where the optical/keykode reader goes is just like on a ScanStation (they've even had to cover-up the hole for it) so it would be able to mount the optical/keykode reader's mounting plate if they wanted to offer that - but they don't. The film path is slightly different so that may be a factor I'm not sure, but it's more likely that most of the customers for those won't have much need for 16mm-only optical sound ability. Great! I'm corrected on my assumptions, and you should send him some sound film and then do a comparison against your ScanStation.
  2. Interesting I stand corrected on a couple of points there thanks. I should have realised KeyKode is just a barcode reader! Well THAT's a stretch. This isn't a Rank-Cintel part that was re-appropriated for the Blackmagic scanner like the Sondor sound reader -> DFT Scanity, that part was not even ready for sale when Blackmagic launched their Cintel scanner it came a few months later. Obviously they planned to have it from the start as it has to integrate into the film path and plug-in so the audio comes out, but it quite clearly wasn't ready when they launched the scanner as it wasn't for sale (the 16mm kit though was). You can check that yourself easily using the Internet Archive's Wayback machine. It's like how many of the Lasergraphics features which you've mentioned were added later on. On the price - before you said it should be even cheaper if it's doing the audio the way you allege: "if I'm right, you could just as easily say Cintel is overcharging by thousands for $10 in parts." Really they're overcharging? The list price on the Lasergraphics 16mm mag sound readers is $6K each (there's one for the mag-strip and other one for full-coat). Arri's KeyKode reader does KeyKode and nothing else. FF charge €1.3K for each sound reader, so that's €2.6K for 16mm optical + mag (no keykode no 35mm ability) which is almost as much as Blackmagic's product. Also FF's is more basic and looks like it does audio the way a projector does it. So if Blackmagic was charging $6K for 16mm mag only they'd be on-par with the biggest competitor's pricing and they charge half that for a part that does mag + optical + keykode which is why I was pointing out that IMO the product is very good value. The LG software does free optical audio extraction BTW so that's very good value too! I presume it didn't originally do that in 2013 right? While there may be some cleanup applied - what you're alleging they're doing just isn't possible. You cannot remove hiss on-the-fly with a $3,000 part and a laptop operating it if the noise is 100% a property of the film and therefore different film-to-film. Try removing the hiss sometime in free software instead of iZotope Rx and see how far you get. That difference though doesn't matter - you can still do a comparison as you're just looking for deformity. To re-state what you've said in another way, the light might have tiny bit of uneveness from top to bottom, and maybe the lens is introducing a tiny bit of geometric deformity that is almost imperceptible - bit it doesn't matter if the film is 40 pixels in a different direction when photographed as those difference are so tiny that if you overlap the first scan and the second one the pixels will be *almost* identical. Then if there's scanner noise etc you can easily detect exactly how much of it there is. By the way the same thing would happen with a pin-registered scanner as well - the film won't be in *exactly* the same position, it'll just be closer to being in the same spot (instead of 40 pixels maybe it's 4 pixels or something of gate-weave) and require less effort to stabilise. People have run this kind of test before - including with HDR on and off and checking different settings and how it affects the scan quality. For example on the website LaserGraphics claims of the RGB tool: "Built-in color grading tools for easy dye fade correction, applied during scan, eliminates secondary post-processing step." Everyone I know says that isn't true - the RGB tool is not suitable for dye-fade correction at all, it's very basic and only useful for a little bit of tweaking such as for dailies but using in the way described on the LG website degrades the scan quality and that you do need to do dye-fade correction after the scan using the proper software. It may be fine for a quick preview or a proxy, but it's not what you want for restoration. I know I'm not telling you anything you don't know, but I'm just pointing this out for the benefit of others because there are companies that will use the RGB tool exactly as described on the LG website as a shortcut.
  3. No that can't be right - it reads KeyKode, you wouldn't be able to read KeyKode the way you're describing. It has an LED light according to the specs, and I would think it's a line-sensor imager. It's essentially a mini-scanner but one that only needs to be able to see black-and-white, that's why there's a difference in quality between different machines and designs - if the film is not perfectly flat you'll get distortion just like you'd get with the image on a Spirit Telecine or a Scanity if the machine has developed a wobble. That's why I do not think that the LG audio reader is perfect - the image-stack has to be precise and perfect for the audio reader to be perfect (for KeyKode it can be less precise as it just needs to be able to read numbers and letters), and we're talking about a much smaller area of film where the margin for area increases exponentially compared to scanning the image that way on a Spirit. The best way to test whether the hiss is 100% from the film or not is to scan the same film multiple times and check the hiss - because if the audio is perfect then just like the video there would be no introduced noise and it would be exactly the same on each capture save for the minute differences accrued by the film's position relative to capture (but that won't affect noise or hiss).
  4. On last year's pricing it's $45,400 all up for 16/8 with the proper Chrome Rollers and HDR and without any other options like the soundheads etc. That includes the host computer, and I believe covers the first three years of warranty/support - so the extended warranty/support contract only starts after that. With that said I don't think it would make sense to get one if you have a HDS+, if you're using it for any commercial purpose (commercial scanning jobs, post-production, restoration, etc) then you'd be better off pushing for a full ScanStation even though it's much more expensive. The Archivist would make sense if it's replacing something less capable compared to the Filmfabriek, for example a Retroscan. You'd probably do better to invest $10K into paying a software developer to make improved capture software. I don't think the removed features have much to do with what they cost to build (i.e. the integrated editing table and the camera rail). The editing table is granite I believe so they could reduce the cost of that by using less expensive material if they wanted, and the camera rail is what provides most of the versatility out of the scanner IMO. Without it you're locked to scanning at the full resolution all the time for 16mm, and you're locked to 2.5K resolution for 8mm and with all the over-scan the resolution will be sub-par for professional use. Yeah that's the catch. Plus their gate design looks simpler, and it looks like it would be difficult to design a warped film pressure plate for it. BTW from the screenshot here it appears they've added support for the 5.3K camera? I don't know.
  5. Yeah I was actually going to say that iZotope RX is only $400, and that's what the professionals use to fix up the audio if they need to. I'm sure they could find a way to perfect the optical audio reader but that would take away from development on some other more important part that needs improvement (for example the new "wetgate pump), and then it would probably need to cost a LOT more than what they sell it for.
  6. I think it's pretty much already as affordable as they can afford to make it. The thing is huge. I don't see what the point of selling it as cheap as possible would be - they would have less budget for R&D, to provide support, and to manufacture it. It's still in active development with improvements being made to it, it's not an abandoned product like many other scanning systems. Sound isn't what they're focused on - remember it's a scanner - it doesn't have to do sound at all, that's just an optional feature. Without getting into an argument over audio quality, an interesting thing of note is that Blackmagic's audio reader is Optical + Keykode + 16mm Mag all for $3.5K. That makes it incredible value really.
  7. Oh thanks for the correction I've misunderstood that particular product, however the Archive Gates are included as standard in the base price of the ArriscanXT. Yes they're an additional purchase for older Arris but that's because they're not original to the first 2006 model. Why would you need to replace the rollers? The video shows it in action: https://lasergraphics.com/media/severely-warped-film-handling-sd.mp4 The point though is the current Arris come with the Archive Gates as standard you don't need to spend any additional money to get them, the ScanStation comes without the gates that have the pressure plates unless you spend extra.
  8. I think it may be a software license to do the IR scanning (without the license RGB only)? The Arris are sprocketed-transport scanners with optional sproketless transports that you can buy (on page 6 of your PDF). $18K for both 35mm and 16mm very reasonable actually. 16mm warped film plate is only $370 - you should see what Lasergraphics charge for their one!!
  9. There's interlacing artefacts from being de-interlaced, so I'd guess it was shot on video not film?
  10. And it's reasonable you should do some proper tests. As did I. The audio reader does Keykode as well so it's not completely worthless don't get me wrong there. I only just found out that Blackmagic's one is optical + keykode + mag (16mm) and that actually makes it incredible value for what it costs.
  11. Oh okay so that's a red-herring. Yet on Audio I think we both agree we're not audio engineers, and yet you're the one throwing out a bunch of assumptions about how the better audio capture works and why you wouldn't want it. "It must be doing this, it must be doing that", "digital manipulation in post would do better", "the Lasergraphics is capturing exactly what's on the film".
  12. And what about the backlight then reducing the visible base-damage in-camera would you prefer it didn't do that?
  13. Fine. Me: "What do you do to clean up the hiss of the scanstation audio (aside from use the cintel)?" Professional: "I use Izotope Rx if I have to clean up, but really we just use the Sondor or the Cintel to get better audio in the first place." That is quoted straight out of my email inbox word-for-word. You can message me in private if you really need me to tell you who said that. But what I would point out to you is that you are literally the only person claiming that the ScanStation audio reader is perfect - no one else is claiming that. No one. I would really like to know what you're comparing against when you claim the Lasergraphics audio reader is "very good"? If you want to actually identify where the hiss is coming from you need to scan the same reel of film twice on the same settings and then check if the audio is bit-perfect and whether there's deviation between each capture (and then whether the hiss/noise sounds different on each capture or not).
  14. I do not think so. The audio is not an audio file on the print, it's a printed picture it's all about how you capture the picture and convert it to audio. The hiss is noise, and whether the noise is due to silver particles in the soundtrack or something else I'm not arguing about as I don't know exactly. One thing I can say though from my limited knowledge of electronics is that the power supply itself can introduce noise into an analogue signal, so one of the improvements you can do to projectors is change their power supply to something better. Some of my friends at the moment are working on getting perfect audio out of their projectors. Whatever the source of the hiss is though there's a science behind capturing the audio perfectly and it certainly not as simple as capturing hissy audio and then removing the hiss afterwards. If it was doing noise reduction in the scan it would sound deformed. Try this - take some audio of a ScanStation and run it through free software like Audacity and see how well it cleans up. It'll sound deformed. Two of my mates bought their ScanStations last year, one has experience with every version going back to 2013, and so for my other mate I confirmed with him whether it's worth buying the Optical/Keykode reader right away or not. He said you don't need it, and he's right the current ScanStations come with perfectly good software sound extraction that works better than the expensive Optical reader which you would only really want for Keykode (which you can always buy later if you land a job that requires one). I may sound like I'm bashing the scanner, but I'm really not - it's a great design overall you can bypass the useless P/T rollers, they've put the capstan on the take-up side on the new ones which probably makes threading easier compared with having it next to the sound modules, and it's got a ton of good software features that are all free like in-scan stabilisation, optical audio extraction, and failed splice recovery.
  15. Fine Perry if you want to argue I'm going to call out your BS on this. You're a service provider and you're in a position to know better, and telling people that LG audio is "among the best optical soundtrack reproducers currently available" is false, deceptive, and misleading advertising and no different IMO to a company with a Retroscan or a Tobin or a Ventura Images scanner that claims their scans are top-shelf off the most professional scanning systems etc. Do you want to know how many times I've heard that claim in the past 12 months - half of it from the mom-and-pop companies and half of it from their customers that don't know any better that say things like "I don't think there's a problem with the scan I think the problem is with the film"? Too many times, that's how many. And I mean no disrespect to anyone, and especially the end-clients that just don't realise how their film should look or what the scan is missing. I might add here that MOST of the time someone makes a claim like that they're literally comparing downstream not upstream - i.e. comparing against a Wolverine rather than against a ScanStation. The professionals that I know transfer optical audio separately off the best machine they have available. In the past the go-to machine used to be the Sondor and in fact when I first heard about it I just thought/assumed the Sondor was literally an audio machine like a dubber (to be fair, they look like a dubber!) DFT even advertises in the Scanity brochure that they use the Sondor audio components (DFT bought-out Sondor). You will also hear from time-to-time people talking about "Sondor audio units" and what I think they usually mean is old machines that no longer capture video at all that are just set up for professional audio transfer. That is the point I was making regarding why Filmfabriek doesn't perfect theirs - the R&D to do it and the fact that it's 16mm-only would make it a fool's endeavour when you can literally buy the best 35/16 optical audio machine for ~$35K and half that on the used market (the Cintel that is - a used Sondor would be even less but either option will handle both formats). Really - is that how it works? So what about the base damage - would you prefer that the backlight is not designed to minimise the visibility of the damage in-camera so that you can then try to remove all the scratches after the scan artificially because the scan is preserving the film exactly as it is? You don't get to have it both ways there. I don't pretend to understand exactly how the audio capture is different - but whether the hiss is on the film or not doesn't change the fact that you don't need to pick it up with a well designed audio capture device. My understanding on it (and I may be mistaken) is that just like with the actual scan in the gate you need the film to be perfectly flat to get a perfect audio capture - it's doing the same basic thing that the image-scan does which is run the film under a sensor (imager) with a backlight. If you can get the film perfectly flat you get a perfect capture, and if not you get hiss - again I'm sure that's not the whole story but part of it that contributes towards getting perfect audio. You've absolutely no evidence backing up your claim that the LG optical audio reader has been engineered perfectly - please do a proper comparison sometime then report back. That's the same thing that people with Retroscans etc say about the picture - whether that's about noise or dynamic range or anything else "you can just fix it up in post - our scanner gets you exactly what's on the film". Again do you want me to tell you how many times I've heard people say in one variety or another "oh it's not worth doing 8mm on something better because you're not going to get any more detail out of the scan anyway"? Honestly it's the same claim except made about audio instead of video - you should not need to do any digital de-noising either way with a good capture.
  16. No it's not - what are you comparing it against? When I get a chance I'll put a piece of sound film through a ScanStation followed by a better audio machine. The Lasergraphics is very hissy. I personally think the software audio extraction (which is a free inbuilt software feature) does a better job than the Optical/Keykode reader, but I'll admit I haven't done a side-by-side test on that. It just seems obvious because of how hissy the optical audio reader is. Why not do your own side-by-side test sometime instead of accusing me of spreading misinformation? Most of the FT_Depot Youtube videos have the audio straight off their ScanStation with no cleanup, people can judge for themselves if the audio sounds right to them or not.
  17. To be fair optical audio off a Lasergraphics is unmitigated shit. Professional companies just transfer optical audio separately.
  18. I forgot, there's also the Ventura Imagers scanners, you can buy them brand new they cost about $8K dual format 8/16. They have audio heads which Moviestuff doesn't have (they will add to the cost of course), but a low-res 1.3MP camera, and I'm not sure what light is in it.
  19. You could pay him to do the upgrade mods if you don't want to do it yourself, it'll take a bit of argy-bargy trial-and-error to get the light right and things like that. We're also not sure if fitting the gates will be completely straightforward, in an ideal world they would be, but it depends on if there's variation machine-to-machine or not. 35mm is still an issue, we know how to fix the speed issue but I think the motors are too weak to reliably be used for full 2,000ft reels so that would mean 35mm is still short subjects only really. It's really still a 16/8 scanner that has some limited 35mm ability. A DIY write-up should be available soon as well, but it's really not complicated. If you want a 16/8 dailies scanner then it's not too much work, if you want an archival scanner then there will be extra work really (this is where you're going to want proper 3rd-party capture software so you can stop, rewind, re-calibrate etc). Optical pin-registration is also possible, theoretically if someone programs it.
  20. Right and I haven't argued with that point. I even asked @Daniel D. Teoli Jr. to name a "better" tri-format scanner and he didn't. The options in that space are very limited. Even the Kinograph v2 (if it's ever completed) won't be tri-format. The cheapest tri-format scanner with any legitimate potential is the Retroscan Universal Mark II. If Moviestuff were smart they would just make a "premium version" and charge an extra $5K, but they don't and there's no point in expecting they ever will. But they can be modified quite easily. The main issue remains 35mm support, it doesn't really have proper 35mm support but it could. Right so you proved what I've been saying this entire time about a gate. We have them for the Universal Mark II now but I don't think that anyone would bother designing them for the MkI. It's obsolete even by Moviestuff's standards. A proper warped gate will get the film 99%+ flat no matter how warped, you see greater distortion in the sans of the 00's from the Spirits scanning film in perfect condition. All it needs for that is a (removable) sprocket-wheel to register the frames. But that would take someone the time to do the R&D to actually get it working.
  21. The Retroscan isn't the "only" choice. There's the 8mm Filmfabrieks (the Pictors), and you can still get refurbished Tobins. If you don't want to scan for others/payment then you're self-limiting your budget. A mate of mine would not have been able to buy his Lasergraphics had he not started with something a lot more modest. There are plenty of companies out there charging people to transfer their home movies using Tobins and Retroscans, you could easily find a market there if you wanted it. A few paid jobs a month and you'd be on your way to buying something better. I don't know what you're expecting, but you can't expect to get a higher calibre of client with the Retroscan Universal Mark 1, it's a rough machine known to damage film. That's not to be judgemental of you or anyone else that owns one just pointing out you will not get commercial clients or archive work with a machine like that even if all they want is to "just see what's on the film" and they're not concerned with quality.
  22. Daniel, you're taking your LG criticism/bashing far too far. All I wanted to get across there was the complaints that some of the owners currently have, that doesn't paint the entire company in a bad light. They make good products and they're still current. How many other tri-format (35/16/8) professional quality scanners are there that are actually current tech? Not many - DCS Xena and Kinetta and that's about it. Why not instead post about your own experiences with the Moviestuff? That is the space where there is genuine room for advancement for the small users like yourself - you can ask me about this one. It's got a 4K camera, a high CRI light, warped-film gates (the prototype 16mm one is fitted in that pic) and it's going to be used for software development to create 3rd-party capture software capable of controlling these things properly. Some people think it's a fool's endeavour to improve Moviestuff's product, but we think it can be made into a very capable scanner. Remember what companies were doing a decade ago (and even before that) was gutting out Rank-Cintel Telecines and making 2K digital scanners out of them, and as Robert has pointed a few times DCS has commercialised that option by providing a kit to do it.
  23. The 3rd-party warped-film gates are designed and work flawlessly take a look at this photo. The gate is there fitted in-between the guides (but as it's a 3d-printed prototype it doesn't look like much). They will hopefully be available soonish as a 3rd-party product. Don't forget the light. The crappy low-CRI white light it has will do a poor job no matter what colour camera is used. And without proper gates you can't scan archival film (including home movies) properly at all. It took my mate months to design them, but they're working very well and just need to be machined and patented. I don't know how many Retroscan users would actually buy them, but it is something those machines desperately need if you want them to be half-decent.
  24. My friends aren't "anonymous" and one of them at least would be well known to Perry and they have almost certainly done business together in the past. He has the most experience of my mates with LG going back to before the SS was even a thing (prior model Directors etc). Another one is on this forum he can speak up if he wants, but my guess is he'd rather not given the stubbornness and combativeness of some of the responses. Something I'd rather avoid. I'm drawing from the perspective of three owners in the main. Mr Teoli's posts are a bit on the eccentric side, but I think he's frustrated with not being able to afford a proper scanner. That is something a mate is working on changing - in fact I can report he has now begun discussions to get his Retroscan gates fabricated/machined. He's going to patent them before they go on sale otherwise we could show you the design - those of us who have seen the design think it's brilliant. They work perfectly and hold the film perfectly flat. They only fit the latest model. With gates a change of camera, optics, and light you have at the very least a capable tri-format dailies scanner, and also quite capable with small formats and severely warped film, you're most of the way towards a capable home-moves scanner although it does really need new capture software written which is one of the things that will be worked on next. Awesome let us know how you go with it!
  25. And yet not on what LG themselves say. Your stubborn answer is that these people have no business scanning film if they want documentation for their scanner. Yes they're a simple machine if you compare them to anything older - but you shouldn't have to compare it to something else to make a valid observation or point about it. This isn't 2013. Sure but neither are the negative experiences. Sure that's true that they've made a lot of improvements since launch, and that's due to users requesting new features, changes, and bug fixes. On the bugs I've heard a few different complaints about issues but I won't repeat them here because I don't know how widely it affects the machines etc. One of my mates that owns one is a software developer, so believe me when I say he will find and notice bugs that the average user won't necessarily recognise as a bug or may dismiss (that's a part of his regular job), so I'm happy to revisit this later on. They did fix one issue he had with a software update. No this is not a single experience. Just checking though - a correction from my previous reply - it took them just over a month to schedule it (not two months), my other friend told him (to paraphrase) "don't be afraid to be pushy, you're going to have to harass that guy or they'll never get around to organising your training". Given that the scanner itself was 6 weeks or so late though on the original estimated delivery time, I do not think that such a delay is acceptable. Sure there's nothing they can do about the global chip shortage but the training is a part of the product, $3,000 on the invoice, so taking that long to arrange it is flat-out ridiculous and from what I've heard other buyers have just given up and gone without their training entirely. By the time he actually got it it was extremely limited use/value since he'd already worked most things out (which included getting a competitor on the phone to help him). BTW from what I understand LG agreed that the delay was unacceptable and they offered a discount on one of the options to make it right, but it's certainly not the first time or an isolated incident.
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