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Brian Mekdeci

Lasergraphics Scanstation vs DCS Xena Dynamic Perf 4K for Super 8mm Home Movies

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I've been lurking here for some time, reading and doing some research. I have thousands of hours of Super 8mm home movie footage taken from 1967 to 1990 that I am looking to get transferred. I'm dealing with amateur footage that is naturally shaky from the handheld camera, has occasional focus problems, lots of panning around etc. LOTS of poorly lit indoor shots. The film itself is *ok* but it has some dirt, scratches, etc., that you would expect from 30-40 year old films that have been handled / stored by Average Joes. It also has lots of splices.

 

After doing some research here, I came to the conclusion that my choices for the best scan of these old Super 8mm home movies was between the LaserGraphics ScanStation and the DCS Xena Dynamic Perf 4K. I took some sample 50ft reels to Frame Discreet in Toronto and got them to do a flat scan at 5K and 2K resolution, in 16-bit DPX and ProResHQ 4444. I was very impressed with the quality. I did a number of frame-by-frame tests, and I could not justify the additional scanning cost, or the storage/data handling requirements of going with a 5K scan instead of a 2K scan - at least on the Scanstation.

 

I have a couple of questions:

  • How does the DCS Xena Dynamic Perf 4K compare with the ScanStation for Super 8mm home movies with lots of poorly lit indoor shots, splices, shaky footage, and the rest of the problems listed above? Are there any other scanners I should be considering?
  • I really liked the fact that I could scan the entire film area, including the sprocket holes with the ScanStation. I hate cropping and actually kind of enjoy the "raw" look that the entire film with sprocket holes provide. Does the DCS Xena Dynamic Perf 4K scanner allow this?
  • I did not like the sound quality of the samples I got, but I have no idea if it was due to a) the camera's sound recording ability at that time, B) the film and any possible degradation of the magnetic soundtrack, c) the scan from the ScanStation or some combination thereof. For the record, I did a few different configurations of sound formats, all lossless (i.e. WAV). I tried various combinations of bit depth and sampling rate, ranging from 24 to 32-bits, and 48 to 192 kHz. Does the DCS Xena Dynamic Perf 4K have better sound capture from old magnetic Super 8mm film? I don't hear too much discussion about Super 8mm home movie sound capture quality. Is this as good as it gets?

Below are two sample screenshots from the footage I got back from the ScanStation @ 2K. I took screenshots from an indoor frame and an outdoor frame for compairison. To show off the scan in its best, I tried to pick out frames that were the most steady, for the clearest image.

 

 

CINSAMP1.jpg

 

CINSAMP2.jpg

 

 

 

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My mistake - I think this should probably have been posted in the Grading, DI and Telecine forum instead of the Super 8mm forum. I have just made the identical post over there, so if I moderator wishes to delete/close this post, please do. I tried deleting this post, but I can't seem to find a way.

 

My apologies.

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