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Dan Baxter

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Everything posted by Dan Baxter

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!
  4. 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.
  5. This is true, but why start with a projector at all? It's better to start with something actually designed to scan film, here's the photo I posted of a modded Retroscan, the mods would take 1 day on a brand new one if you paid someone to do it for you. And I promise you I'm not lying when I say the film is running through a prototype archive gate in that photo. They took months of work to design, so when they're ready for sale you can see them properly and you'll be able to purchase them as a 3rd-party product. That one will be used for software development so that soon there should be proper capture software capable of running those things with a better choice of camera, and then you could continue that development to include the features of the "big boy scanners" like optical stabilisation, direct Prores encoding, perhaps even controlling proper RGB lights as well. Proper 35mm support will still take some work though, it's likely that you're going to need to put better motors into the Moviestuff to support full 2,000ft 35mm reels, it also doesn't capture 35mm properly it captures on every perforation and then decimates the unneeded frames, that will hopefully be fixed soon using a simple 3rd-party hardware mod to properly support 2/3/4-perf film. A projector will never support 2-perf or 3-perf scanning, you would have to run the film through multiple times and then matrix the frames to do it. A projector can't rewind film either, so you can't stop the scan adjust the settings for something spliced in and then rewind back to where you need to be and continue. The issue with the Moviestuff is that it's incomplete, but starting with a projector is starting with something even more incomplete! Sure you could get one up-and-running as a dailies scanner with a similar amount of work and probably save yourself $8K in the process since you don't have to buy a brand-new machine, but then you're on your own in terms of running it as a DIY machine or designing warped-film gates for it etc.
  6. Perry you sound like a broken record. Please stop saying that. It is not what Lasergraphics themselves have advised my friends who own these. A couple of months ago one of them (Steve Klenk I think) said that they know they are behind in documentation and that it's a "work in progress". Sure you don't feel you need a user manual, but that doesn't mean the lack of documentation is normal or acceptable. On the other thing you keep saying: That's your experience, but some other users have had a different experience. Want me to list out their complaints? 1. Lasergraphics do not want to support the ScanStation Personal. They have even explicitly said that. 2. They do not provide bugfixes promptly (or - at all). The software as it is today is still buggy. 3. They charge an outrageous amount for support. 4. They do not have proper documentation. 5. The support is near useless - a friend of mine had to get another ScanStation user on the phone to help him with a couple of things because Lasergraphics wouldn't answer his questions and at that time (about 2 months after delivering his scanner) had still not given him his training. 6. If you don't harass them you won't get your training. I could note a couple more things as well. For example they continued selling them with the JAI camera until last year, on a brand new scanner you had to pay USD $20K for the proper camera or they would give you the junk one. To quote a friend "it’s awful and is designed as a red-light camera for traffic use". That's just what I can think of off the top of my head. There are plenty of pros though so let me be clear about that before you think I'm just LG-bashing as that's not the intention. Here are the pros: 1. Gentle on film, 2. Reliable, 3. Most software features are free but on other scanners everything is an expensive software license, 4. Direct to Prores plus proxy, 5. They come with good training, 6. you can bypass the useless P/T rollers (I'm listing that as a pro since if you look at the design of the Cintel or the Kinetta you can't bypass them and are forced to use them). So it has pros and cons.
  7. The Cintel is good for the money. If it had no problems it wouldn't cost $30K.
  8. He's not talking about scanning 35mm at all, and most of what he has is probably prints. Any old CCD scanner cannot scan prints to the same quality as negs without multiple exposures per frame ("HDR scanning") which most of them do not do. The reason why the NL1 is not an archive scanner is because it wasn't designed for achieves. Archives need fast, cheap, reliable, and easy. If you're determined enough you could get the Retroscan Universal Mark II to beat the quality of the ScanStation for special cases. It would take a lot of work though, and would still be more limited, but it should be possible soon it's one of the things a friend of mine is working on. You have to build a circuit to fix the issue with 35mm, but if you don't care about 35mm and just want 16/8 and you're happy with quality that is GOOD but not as good as the 6.5K Scanstation you'd be looking to spend in my estimation around $15K-16K all-up. It's a WIP but here's a photo. Although it's very hard to see because it's a 3d-printed prototype, there is an archive gate that the film is running through that holds it perfectly flat unlike the stock machine that only has the "guides and is useless for keeping film flat or in focus. It'll be some time yet before proper software is developed, so hopefully by the end of the year. The one in the photo is going to be used partly for software development for proper 3rd-party capture software that can run these things without the limitations of the Moviestuff software and that will make them a bit more usable, so that may be available later this year.
  9. From what I understand it's a piece of junk.
  10. No it isn't an archive scanner, you will never be able to afford the parts for that and even if you could it still isn't an archive scanner. It was made for professional use (digital restoration and post-production) and that's really the only use a company would have for it today. Also it's so slow that it's designed to be operated in a dust-free cleanroom. It had limited use when it was made and its use today would be even more limited. There's much less film that's under 40 years old today compared with when it was made that's just a fact of time, and Filmlight hasn't kept up with development. The NL1 is a 2002 scanner I think, so way way way before CMOS imagers were capable of anything even approaching equal quality for film scanning, and well before LED lighting technology was capable for proper illumination. To use it for commercial scanning today you'd have to charge the commercial rates of the 00's and that's just not going to happen, and archives won't touch it due to the light. You can't buy the 6K CCD imager any more and the software almost certainly doesn't support a choice of replacement. So it probably would be a good scanner for a post-production house that needs an extra RGB scanner for a light load of use over the year.
  11. Yeah, the point I was making is that a Moviestuff, Tobin, or even a Cintel can only really be classed as "entry-level" scanners especially in 2022 (the going price on a used Cintel is $15K I think). They're not suitable or even intended to do serious archival work. If someone is using one of those machines for longer than a couple of years as their only scanner, then it probably means they don't have the skills/motivation/business plan required to get something better - or they're just very happy with what they have and don't see the point in getting something better. By the way on this question: Take a look at the photo. That's with a 4K camera, not all the mods are clearly visible though in the picture. The film is running through a 3d-printed prototype gate that is nearly invisible in the photo. Without gates it's useless for anything that isn't brand-new lab developed film.
  12. Yeah but you've got a $6,000 scanner and no way to buy a $40,000 or $100,000 scanner. With no business plan you won't get a lease or a loan to get one either. Don't take that the wrong way!! That's because the market is saturated by Retorscans being used for home movie transfers, and the companies that use them and other cheaper scanners for that are happy with the quality. I've seen the websites of way too many of these companies in the past few months, it's unfortunate. E.g. Reel Box has two old model Retroscans halfway down on their website, yet they say "We use only the latest in cinefilm scanning technologies to professionally scan your 8mm & 16mm film frame by frame into high definition 1080p MP4 files." Got Memories "At Got Memories, we use the latest, advanced equipment for processing film and completing the digital transfer process. This results in a perfect reproduction." They use Tobins, I'm not sure I'd call those things the "latest" technology given you can't buy them new any more (you get support for those from Urbanski Film now). The major issue I think is that people have no clue what their old home movie films should look like. Your average customer doesn't understand the scanning tech, so if a company is telling them "we have the latest tech" they may get the impression that there won't be much difference for their films between a company like the ones linked to above, or a company with more capable equipment and their staff trained to give their customers a consistent service.
  13. That's right, but it's not a 6K sensor. You can't always use 6K. For example if you use the warped film pressure plate it limits the scanner to 3K with no microscanning.
  14. It uses a 3K sensor. You are correct, I stand corrected there. Director 10K was the first model to offer an 8mm option.
  15. The Director has an 8mm option that was added, so you should be able to purchase the 8mm gate for it. Neither the Arriscan XT nor Imagica scanners can do 8mm.
  16. That will put your company at the greatest risk for ROI as you could easily expect to have it for a couple of years before you can find a buyer. You could auction it off with the likelihood of making a loss. Another option may be to lease it to a company that wants to put it into use, then you could draw up a 12-month or 24-month lease that will easily cover the costs to set it back up, and at the end of the lease period transfer ownership to the new company for an agreed (nominal) price. That would seem a lower-risk option than out laying nearly $30K to set it up in the hopes of finding a buyer. You may be able to find a small company perhaps an archive or something for which this would be an attractive option.
  17. Thanks Robert, some great points. Only one I disagree with is the options it has (point 2) I think Monte has clarified that pretty well actually. That's the 4K speed, 2K is listed as 6.8fps which is more than acceptable in speed even today. You can read the specs here, but don't forget there's a good dose of LG marketing as well as features listed which cost extra.
  18. Hey Monte, most of the guys here I think are well-meaning, and no one can accuse you of doing anything misleading as you've listed machine quite accurately from what I can tell (2010 model with the specific options that it comes with). There's probably someone here with experience with Directors from this time who could be a lot more help than me, I think that unlike a lot of other equipment like projectors, film cleaners, and some of the medical equipment you're more used to the technology with scanning has advanced at a very rapid pace. Most of the companies with the budget for a 6-figure scanning system would probably want something a lot more modern, but upgrading it should be possible so someone may be interested in it for a 5-figure sum. I'm no expert, but I would think that it's of limited use how it is - at 1 frame per second it would take 8 hours to scan a 20 minute reel (the listed 4K scanning speed) so more likely you could only really use it for 2K scanning in 2022 until you got an upgrade package for it, but with the global chip shortage expect that to take months. I think the warranty @ $17K/year includes parts, service, and support. As Robert says that kind of fee is fairly standard for any type of professional/workshop equipment, but the difference being that a CNC machine or medical equipment will probably have a much longer useful life before becoming obsolete.
  19. Filmfabriek is a good reputable company. I'm aware of that. I also don't think there's too much point in chasing the full quality of a more expensive scanner as most of the users won't really be able to tell the difference anyway and it'll just increase the price until you may as well just buy a Filmfabriek HDS+ which comes with support etc (once you make mods to the Retroscan I don't think Moviestuff will give you any support).
  20. They aren't, as Brad says rewashing is really a lab service. What the serious restoration companies can offer if the client doesn't want to put their film through the rewash process and they have enough of a budget is spend an arcane amount of time scraping off the embedded dirt under a microscope, most likely with a scan of the dirt to help them find it. That's how I imagine it works, and I imagine it costs an absolute fortune. I have no idea how common that would be these days as no one really makes new prints for cinema now so fixing the negative may not be necessary if the goal is to make a restoration to DCP and 4K Bluray, the next option would be to scan a damage matte to find all the dirt but that's not available on a CFA/Bayer scanner, and the final option is to clean it up in post. As Robert said earlier it's the old adage: "cheap, fast, quality - pick two."
  21. Hey Brad yes re-washing is certainly lab only. If you get it wrong the film can be ruined. To back-up what Brad is talking about, there are a couple of examples of private people doing DIY services that are likely harming film like this. It appears there that they're painting the film with something which is really no greater benefit compared to just putting a filter in front of the projector: Notice the red splodges which is dirt that's now been painted onto the film. If in any doubt with a service like that someone should speak to a film lab and ask why they don't offer the same service, because if something appears to be "too good to be true" it usually is.
  22. I'd be surprised if you can do it in-line with a single-pass so let us know how you go on that. We just cleaned one of our prints here and it took multiple passes in an ultrasonic machine, and it would take even more passes in a Film-O-Clean or a Kelmar. One of my friends cleaned a print before projecting it using a Kelmar and because they wanted to get it as clean as possible they ran it through like 9 times or something crazy like that!! If you're making modifications to your film path don't forget to test it first with junk film for scratching etc. That's because you don't have a choice of solvent - they were designed for Trike and then most that were still in use have been converted to use Perc. Some companies (and even individuals) convert them to use HFE solvents or whatever else, but it doesn't seem to be a straightforward process to convert them and I'll bet that it's expensive as well. One of my friends in restoration uses Spectra if they need to clean film in LA. Yes it doesn't get out the embedded dirt you need rewashing for that.
  23. If they're offered as a kit they'd be a markup or a charge for the service to upgrade the base machine. It won't necessarily be comparable to the HDS+, as for one thing you would need to use SpinView to capture, and for another this isn't even with getting the light flashing for each exposure which is another thing you should do. It would simply make the Moviestuff a bit more usable. Just changing the light though and adding gates will make a big improvement, and you could select a less expensive camera to save cost if you don't need full 4K (like this one). I would say that choice would depend on your intended use - the 2.5K camera would be perfect for doing home movie transfers with a workflow that doesn't need to involve full 4K as an example. That may also be a perfectly suitable choice for the OP (Mr Teoli) as well for his archival film, the files are smaller lower bitrate etc. Hobbyists shooting film may want a higher resolution camera, and for professional use or restoration you'd definitely want higher resolution as well. So I'd say you'd be looking at around $14K all up to make it decent for dual-format and a bit more than that with 4K or 5K. If you're going to add P/T rollers as well your budget needs to increase. I don't want anyone here thinking it will make it on-par with the HDS+ though, with enough DIY work that may be achievable but not for $16K and you'd better be someone who wants to tinker with their machine voiding your warranty if necessary.
  24. Yeah from what we've heard people's experiences with these has been mixed. With that said they're cheap (they're being sold for about $2K each from that company) and they appear to be in working condition. I'll let you know how it goes, there are at least three of them currently being set up at separate locations by different people, and I think there's a couple of other people interested in them too.
  25. There's a bit more to it than just the camera. As Robert noted the 4K Flir Blackfly S camera in your HDS+ retails at $3K. Add to that your choice of lens, the Retroscan I uploaded the sample from has this one fitted with the 4K Blackfly S. But just changing the camera module is kind of a meaningless expensive waste of time because you definitely need to change the light for something better. Changing the light will improve the quality more than changing the camera. So budget about $200 to build a simple white light, the best white lights for the money are the YUJILED High CRIs, but of course all the proper machines have true RGB lights. They badly need gates as well, I don't know what they'll be priced at as those haven't even been produced yet beyond the prototypes - I think they have to be priced under $1K to attract the target customers, so maybe $1K each at the most. That means the total costs involved for 16/8 would be about $5-6K if going to full 4K.
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