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Todd Ruel

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Everything posted by Todd Ruel

  1. Just a quick follow up here: I got the license for $10,000. Here's how: I helped them make their product better. I provided a lot of feedback to them. I bought two Dustbuster+ licenses. Dustbuster+ is their starter product. Kinda like Diamant Jr. I rewrote the English copy for their Dustbuster+ web page. They immediately published it. I helped them make a better product, and they returned the favor by reducing the price of a Diamant license by 50%. Maybe you could do the same thing for them. On the topic of HS-Art software, I just bought a Mac Studio Ultra, and rendering Dustbuster+ timelines on it is blistering fast! It takes 1/3 the time it used to take on our PC workstation and about 50% less time than on my old iMac Pro. If time equal money to you, then using these film restoration tools on a Mac Studio will save you even more time/make you even more money. I can't wait to move our film restoration efforts off of the PC and onto a Mac. Speed: so much better. Maintenance: almost nonexistent.
  2. Tyler, do you mean the actual film transfer machine doing post stabilization during the scanning process? Because I have an HDS+, and I will admit that the scans can be a little wobbly, but they are not crazy. I bought a license for the Diamant Film Restoration Suite, and I'm here to testify under oath that their film stabilization software tools are superior. Fast and simple. And the stabilize tools just work. They work the way you would expect them to. And just in case someone wants to argue that you have to spend $10K-$20K for stabilization, I'd like to add that the full suite includes all the tools you need to clean up and restore damaged films, too. There are also valuable tools for restoring videotape media as well. I have a 600+ vintage film collection. Purchasing Diamant was one of the best decisions I've made to unlock the money-making potential of that collection. What? We overscan 16mm all the time with the 4.7K imager in our HDS+. We don't need 5K at all to scan, see the perfs, and use Diamant to stabilize the scans. Maybe I'm misunderstanding how you use your scanner. We also use the overscanned image to extract an audio soundtrack using AEO Light. I will be happy to implement the 5K+ upgrade, but so far the images we've produced with the existing equipment in our HDS+ have been great! I concede that you have to do a fair amount of post-production work in DaVinci Resolve to do good color correction, but you have to do that work anyway even with high-end scanners. I would love to have a ScanStation Archivist, but even if I had one, I would still have to use post-production software to get a great-looking image. Am I missing your point?
  3. 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).
  4. 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?
  5. 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.
  6. 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...
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.)
  10. 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.
  11. 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?)
  12. 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.)
  13. Perry, what’s been your best solution for cleaning film (Lipsner-Smith/perc excluded)?
  14. I’ve set up an auto responder to post to this forum if the Acme anvil flattens me: “Didn’t work.”
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. All good. It would be interesting to price out a Retroscan MKII with a good 4K camera mod. If the MKII costs $10K, how much would the 4K camera mod add to that price? It should easily be under the $40K that Roger Don Evans asks for the MKII. Would that modded MKII be worth it? Exactly. I get a little discouraged by all of the talk about ScanStations and Scannitys, etc. It creates the impression (intentional or unintentional) that these are the only machines one should use to properly transfer film. I couldn't disagree more. I started out on a Retroscan MK I. When I got enough money together, I bought the Filmfabriek HDS+. And if I get some more cash, I might get a Baby Kinetta or a ScanStation Archivist. I've discovered that I can do amazing things with the scans from all these machines. The better the machine, the more of your time you buy back. But, as I mentioned earlier, if you can't buy your time upfront, you spend it later in post.
  18. I'm using it for film restoration. Since I couldn't afford a Scannity with a bespoke $250,000 liquidgate immersion tank, I had to settle for a $40K HDS+, a $10,000 Diamant Film Restoration Suite software license, and a $10,000 Windows workstation to run Diamant. The HDS+ greatly reduces vertical lines, but it does not eliminate them entirely. So I use restoration software to paint it or filter it out. When you can't afford the equipment that saves you time, you buy other equipment that gets the job done but costs you time. In the fast/cheap/good model, I had to choose "cheap" and "good". Bottom line: there are collections of cheaper tools out there that can achieve the same results as the top-of-the-line tools. You just have to weigh and accept the tradeoffs. The Filmfabriek HDS+, far from being a toy or a home movie transfer machine (pejorative terms IMO) is a professional tool that helps me get the job done. I hope it helps me earn my way toward a ScanStation or something better. Until then, the HDS+ is a great film scanner for me.
  19. The mod that the Retroscan really needs is a 4K camera. Do you know of anyone who has modified a MKII with a better camera/sensor?
  20. All good. Just looking for another solution. I have a vintage Ecco, but it takes forever to clean a film with that machine. The Film-O-Clean MK 3 on the Wittner-Cinetec site is $1,264, so I'm looking for something less costly (if possible). Can't possibly afford a Lipsner-Smith. Your machine looks very nice!
  21. I have an HDS+, too, and it's a very capable toy. Built like a tank. Quite like a really useful machine. My case use is slightly different from others. I buy public domain car films (automotive industrials, commercials, etc.) off of eBay, scan them with the HDS+, do color correction with Resolve, restoration with Diamant, and upload clips from those films to Getty Images. I make decent monthly passive income that is slowly increasing as I add more clips over time. I'm doing archival work but for a commercial purpose (financial self interest). Kinda like an automotive-based Rick Prelinger, who has a huge number of clips for sale on Getty. My point is: there are several different uses for these steadily cheaper/decent quality scanners. I'm not shooting features. I'm not a film studio leveraging its archive. I'm a guy who sees a financial opportunity in monetizing material in the public domain. To me, it's fascinating to read about other case uses for these scanners as they become more affordable. (PS: Dan Baxter, thanks for your link to the Kelmar equipment. I'm not experienced enough yet to be aware of it. If I call them, are they more accessible and forthcoming about their prices?)
  22. Two questions: 1) Does it work? 2) How much would you charge to build and sell me one? (Unlike the folks on the Kinograph forum web site, I have no desire to DIY. Not my area of expertise.)
  23. How easy are these machines to get? When I go to Roy Neil's web site, there is a bunch of gibberish code. (Safari or Firefox, makes no difference. I get the same result.) I like the look of this little machine, but I figure that if the web site is that buggy and not up-to-date, how reliable is the vendor or his product?
  24. FilmFabriek has one coming out. This is a relatively recent addition to their web site: https://filmfabriek.nl/uncategorized/wetgate/
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