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Todd Ruel

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  1. 100% And after buying their optional 16mm sound head, I'm even more convinced that it's primarily a visual scanner. Thank God for AEO Light and iZotope RX (if necessary, often not).
  2. Are we comparing the price points of an Arriscan and an Archivist or the regular ScanStation? If the former, then that's how they can price that machine at $40K. But my understanding is there's still mandatory training that you have to pay for, so the price is still north of $40K. Filmfabriek required no such add-ons to their final price of our HDS+. However, there are trade offs. I believe that the Lasergraphics line of scanners has superior sound capture features which, in the end, saves you more time. We have to use AEO Light to do reliable sound extractions. Bottom line: we spent less on our scanner, but we spend more time on the back end matching the quality of the Archivist with post-production work. Had the Archivist been available when we bought our HDS+, I might have bought it. But I have no regrets about the HDS+. They, too, offer a service contract like Lasergraphics, but I see no need for it. I haven't needed repairs or major support from them so far. Do the Lasergraphics products require constant communication and dialogue with Lasergraphics to keep them in good working order? What's your experience, gentlemen?
  3. Dan, this is good news for people who want an affordable scanner that is capable of 4K/10 bit. Will you/your business release the warped film gate and 4K/10-bit camera and better light source and modified software as separate parts or as a kit? (Or both?) Also, will you include, ahem, an instruction manual on how to install the mods? I have very little interest in DIY, but for an upgrade that adds much value to the Mark II, I would do the work if clear instructions are included.
  4. 100%!! There's nothing wrong with trying to monetize a film archive (as long as it's your own content or it's in the public domain). There's nothing wrong with a profit motive. Without that desire to make some money from one's films or efforts, there won't be any money to buy a better machine to achieve higher volume and better results. It's why I left RetroScan behind and moved up to Film Fabriek. I wanted better results, and I knew that would cost money. And here's one more fact to incentivize you: I have averaged $680/month from Getty since January 2009. I know that's not a lot to all of you who make a living with your film scanning businesses (and I applaud you!), but that's a solid $8,160/year of passive income that I simply collect. My Getty customers still license SD clips that I put up more than 10 years ago. This is a business where you can create once and sell forever. So instead of asking if there's any business in archival scanning, what about going vertical by getting yourself a better scanner and monetizing your own archive? If you don't like the Getty model, how about the Periscope model? Now back to that 1957 Chevrolet commercial that I'm restoring for eventual upload to Getty...
  5. Stock footage can be profitable. Like I said earlier, Getty Images represents me. They take 70% of the profits, and I get 30%. But there’s a few side benefits. They do all the marketing so that I don’t have to. They also deal with people who steal footage or overextend their licensing. They send out cease and desist notices if necessary. If I had to do all of that, I’d be exhausted and would have quit a long time ago. If clients see that you sell your footage on Getty Images, they know that you’re a serious vendor, and they don’t bother you with all of those pestering emails. When I get messages like that, I direct them to my collection of clips on Getty Images. I usually never hear from them again. If they are true professionals, they will license through Getty, or we will make a private deal. But me mentioning Getty filters out a lot of people trying to get something for nothing.
  6. I love it. Our Film Fabriek HDS+ works as advertised. It's built like some piece of over engineered American industrial equipment from the 1950s. Sturdy and dependable. The wet gate feature is nice, but it's not a magic bullet. It can decrease the effect of vertical lines, but it often does not eliminate them. (Yes, I know it's not a submersion bath filled with perc and yada yada, but there's a real world trade off between practicality and affordability.) It transfers 16mm and everything smaller, and it does it to 4K. The software works well, and tech support from Filmfabriek comes within 24 hours if not sooner. Honestly, I don't need spare parts, because the thing is so well built and engineered. My only regret is buying the 16mm optical soundtrack reader. When we used it (once!), our transfer had a lot of wow and flutter. We gave up on it immediately and went back to AEO Light, which produces superior results to any hardware I've used. (Note: you really have to know and understand AEO Light to get the best results from it, but it's free, and it's outstanding software.) Having said that, I would consider buying the 16mm mag stripe reader, because there's no software I can use to capture a magnetically recorded soundtrack. And my partner and I are those people who have a film scanner set up in their spare room. My partner has it, and he simply walks from his bedroom to the spare room to do transfers and restoration via Diamant on a PC workstation. But this stuff isn't cheap. The HDS+ cost me $40K in total and the Diamant license was $10K + a $10K PC workstation to handle it. I work at an Apple Store in Dayton, Ohio. I saved up for a long time to make the purchase, and I did it by selling my Apple stock. So while this film scanning equipment is now much cheaper, I would hardly call it "easily achievable," especially if you don't want to take out a loan to buy it all. Nevertheless, I'm happy with the purchase, and I would do it again.
  7. This is a good question. How are all of these arcane, difficult-to-achieve processes available to an average film transfer guy like me? Or do you recommend a specific vendor whom I should simply send my films to? (I don't necessarily feel compelled to DIY all this stuff. Rewashes. Baths. It sounds like more work than I want to commit to doing.)
  8. Andrew, I think Perry successfully convinced me not to use FilmGuard. I don't really need a lot of oily gunk on my machinery. If it requires too much cleanup afterward, then I'm not a fan. I'll stick with 99.9% isopropyl. However, I will proceed with trying to make this Film-O-Clean box work inline with the scanning process. As I've said before, I have nothing to lose. Very low risk even if I fail. I will investigate Gambol.
  9. Okay. So if someone offered those modifications as kits, would that bring the price of a RetroScan MKII up to, say, $16K? If yes, that's still cheaper than an HDS+ by about 24K. (Believe me, I know there are other variables here, but are we in the ballpark for an accurate price?)
  10. Thanks, Perry. I'll compromise. I'll try to bolt on this Film-O-Clean device, but I'll stay away from FilmGuard. If you have a special case, like, say, the film is coated with nicotine, would you still use isopropyl, or is there something better? (I have run into a few nicotine-stained prints in my time, especially if a home movie came from a smoker's house.)
  11. Perry, what’s been your best solution for cleaning film (Lipsner-Smith/perc excluded)?
  12. I’ve set up an auto responder to post to this forum if the Acme anvil flattens me: “Didn’t work.”
  13. Still gonna try it. It will probably look weird/bizarre, but if it reduces lines better than the existing isopropyl method, then that’s a win. Worst case scenario: it does’t work, and I mount the Film-O-Clean to my rewind bench and now have a better film cleaning mechanism than my vintage Ecco cleaner. Because the HDS+ is so modular, I have nothing to lose by removing unneeded parts. If the experiment doesn’t work, I simply plug the parts back in.
  14. Tonight, I had a really nice conversation with Roy Neil, the inventor of the Film-O-Clean. He told me has heard from at least 10 ScanStation owners who have modified their machines to include the Film-O-Clean inline during the scan. He also said that many RetroScan owners have modded their machines to include the Film-O-Clean. I told him that I have a Filmfabriek HDS+ and asked if anyone had ever modded one to include the Film-O-Clean. He said no. He also suggested that if I did add it to the machine as part of the scanning process, I should remove the PTR rollers and not use the wet gate feature. (Reason: he suggests using FilmGuard as a cleaner, because it fills in scratches really well if it's used right before capture. He also said it doesn't work with PTR rollers and doesn't play nice with the isopropyl alcohol that Filmfabriek recommends for its wet gate system.) To all of you who use film scanners regularly, how do you clean your film? (No Lipsner-Smith owners, please. I get that it's top of the line and the best way to clean films, but I can't afford one of those machines yet.) Do any of you have any pix of your scanners modded with a Film-O-Clean or some other cleaning mechanism? I'm curious about what others are doing successfully. Also curious about what you learned along the way.
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