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I've recently started shooting on 35mm and I have been extremely frustrated by the exorbitant quotes and turnaround times I am getting from post houses around the L.A area for scanning my films.

 

Coming off RED Dragon..once I saw my first scanned 35mm test roll (also had a print made which I viewed on one of my moviolas) I knew I was never going back to digital. Film was everything I always wanted.

 

I am toying with the idea of finding 5-10 independent filmmakers, in the L.A area who are shooting on 16mm and 35mm to come together and invest in a high quality, fast, high resolution scanner (Lasergraphics comes to mind) for us to use 24/7 at no additional costs (except for initial investment).

 

The lasergraphics is a fast scanner (up to 30fps @5k) so we could crunch a lot of footage - fast!

 

When the scanner is not being used by the investors, we could scan for other independent filmmakers, effectively paying ourselves back.

 

There are obviously things to iron out like:

-Where is the scanner stored?

-Do we operate with a queue system(when investor 1 is done, investor 2 scans..etc)

-Who operates the scanner?

-Is there a quota limit per week? (If investor 1 has 20,000' of film but investors 2,3,4,5 have 1000' we make logical arrangements so everyone can have their footage scanned.

 

After the one time investment, investors get unlimited access to the scanner for life. Investors sign a fair agreement so investors are protected against overuse, etc.

 

That's it - I had this idea because of the frustration I've been going through lately. If anybody is interested or wants to pitch in other ideas, post here or PM me directly. I have a scanner option but need to discuss with potential investors.

Edited by Robino Jones

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Hey Robino, there is going to be an awesome scanning solution coming to LA very soon. They're currently looking for a building and when it's found, you'll have killer low-rates on scanning.

 

The lasergraphics scanner is HUGE and the software can get a bit complicated. You would also need a place to put it, which costs even more money then buying the box to begin with.

 

It's not a bad idea to bring a bunch of people together, especially since scanning is so much of the cost today. You'd just need to find people looking for a long-term investment.

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I've recently started shooting on 35mm and I have been extremely frustrated by the exorbitant quotes and turnaround times I am getting from post houses around the L.A area for scanning my films.

 

You should have had your filmed scanned 10 years ago. It's at least half the cost these days. Remember, what you're often paying for is a good colorist which makes all the difference in the world.

 

I think part of the idea of that Blackmagic scanner was to make new film acquisition more affordable and easier. There are lots of issues with it, but many of those issues revolve around scanning older stock. Brand new footage would be just fine on on that scanner and it would be affordable. The lasergraphics would be much more flexible and would be a better scan in general, but maybe that Blackmagic scanner would be worth a look at less than half the cost.

 

12 years ago a Spirit telecine could cost you close to $1,000,000 with the extras.

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Yea, I've used the Blackmagic scanner many times, it's really nice. It's not quite 4k though, which is unfortunate. However, it works like a telecine and can capture in real time with audio, keycode and does all the variations 2, 3, 4 perf no problem. It's not a great machine, but it's a GOOD machine for the price point and features.

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What do you guys think about Imagica XE? I have a potential opportunity to buy one modded with LED for a good price. Only issue is that it's slow - very slow.

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The lasergraphics scanner is HUGE and the software can get a bit complicated.

 

Er, not at all. Where on earth do you get the idea it's complicated? Have you actually used it? It's rare to find software on a device like this that's so simple to use and yet gives you as many features as their software does. Seriously, it's pretty great. The ScanStation is smaller than most 35mm scanners. Our Northlight weighs 1200lbs, for crying out loud!

 

 

 

I have been extremely frustrated by the exorbitant quotes and turnaround times

 

 

Robino, we're not in LA, but I can pretty much guarantee our rates are lower than anyone else you've gotten quotes from out there. We do a ton of work for people on the west coast. R8, S8, 16, S16 and 35mm on a Lasergraphics 5k scanner and up to 6k 35mm on a Northlight. 2, 3 or 4 perf. Most jobs are turned around within 1-2 days, depending on our schedule when elements arrive. With advance notice we can often accommodate same day turnaround. No crazy fees for things like file copies or reel changes, and any setup fees are minimal. Look outside LA - there are lots of competitively priced scanning services these days that are just a fedex shipment away...

Edited by Perry Paolantonio

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What do you guys think about Imagica XE? I have a potential opportunity to buy one modded with LED for a good price. Only issue is that it's slow - very slow.

 

The Northlight is a bit better in terms of image quality. The XE has the same basic sensor as the northlight, but both are painfully slow to use. Takes about a week to scan a feature at 4k on our Northlight. I think the Imagica is a bit faster than that.

 

If something goes wrong on the Imagica you have to deal with RTI, and good luck with that. I assume you're talking about the one on ebay that's been listed for the past 3 years? Down to about $16k now. It's because when it comes down to it, they're so slow and funky to operate that it's often not worth it.

Edited by Perry Paolantonio

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Robino and other Indy film makers, give Perry and the scanstation at Gamma Ray Digital a chance. For both price and quality you cannot find a better solution.

 

That said, for ultimate quality at stillcheaper than LA rates you can use the LaserGraphics Director at MetroPost in NYC or the Xenia at Cinelab in New Bedford, MA. You will not get a higher resolution, almost no digital noise and high dynamic range solution any better.

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Are you trying to get a scanner for dailies or for final output or both? I've worked for a DI company and have scanned several features along with titles, etc. We would get the cut show and scan only what was needed for the show. It would take about 2 weeks to scan a show from negative reels. I scanned some of my film at Cinelab and it looked fine although it did take awhile to get back. Also you have to deal with negative dirt. No matter how well it is cleaned there are still some spots. I no longer work at the DI company. Big company buys little company then lays off the workers they don't need. We had a Northlight One. I did use the Imagica for a short time. John Vasquez was very helpful to me at least. We also had a Imagica recorder. Maybe the one on Ebay now. And we used the Lasergraphics scanner on one show when we had it on loan. Very fast scanner.

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