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George Thengummoottil

Best workflow for scanning a 16mm film

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We are shooting our feature film on 16mm Kodak film (50D, 500T) and the edit is in progress. We did a 2K scan of the negative and we are using this MOV file  for the edit.
 
Once the edit is over, we would would want to rescan the portions which actually went into the edit in 4K.
 
During the scan we would love to individually set the amount of data we need to pull from the negative for each scene. We may need some more information from the night scenes (enhance the dark portions), or we may need to decrease the hi lights to see the pattern of clouds .. get the maximum out of the scan like an HDR scan so we can adjust these settings in post.

I looked about a lot about scanners, but we are receiving a lot of mixed opinions.
1. Cinetl (Blackmagic):
       + Has good control over the scanner light intensity and color.
       -  Doesn't scan 16,, in 4K (It interpolates a 2K scan to make it 4K)
2. Scanty (DFT)
       + Decent
        - Though no HDR in Color
3. Arriscan : 
       + Looks good for 16mm  4K scan .
        -  But some test results show shades of lines in dark portions when brightened,  may be because of change in intensity of flash light of scanner 
4. Laser graphics Director 10K:
    + Looks Good, and best as per may people
    - In the above test looks like the bit depth is less than arri.
5. filmfabriek HDS+ :
    + Looks good.
 
Now are confused which scanner is the better one out of these to scan 16mm in 4K. And when we look around most of these scanners are not available in India, so we are a little confused on where we should be doing these scans.
 
Thanks a lot
George.
 
 
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Why not pay for a short test reel scan by the scanning companies you are interested in. Then see how it looks after post. 

Or are you buying a scanner?

Edited by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

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There is also a huge price difference between those scanners. 

I use the Spirit 4k for quite a bit of my stuff because it has a trilinear array (like the scanity) and it delivers a true 444 RGB image with low imager noise, thanks to a super bright light source and high quality imager/optics. Where the Spirit isn't as CRISP as lets say the Arri Scan, it's pretty damn close. Price vs performance in 4k, you can't beat the Spirit 4k. Prices range from $.32 - $.60ft 

I have never seen FPN (fixed pattern noise) on an Arriscan, so I don't know where you saw that, but it's super rare. They always look great, but are grossly expensive to use in 4k due to them being so slow. I personally prefer the crispness and registration of the Arriscan over most scanners, but the price makes it difficult to use it all the time. Price range from $.45  - $.80ft 

The Scanity is considered by many as the best machine on the market. I have very little experience using it with my own content, but I've seen many scans and it's always been impressive. Outside of registration, it has a trilinear array like the Spirit and can deliver true 444 scans, which is super nice. It's just super expensive to use because it's one heck of an expensive machine to purchase. I've seen prices in the $1.00 per foot range for 4k 16mm scans. 

The happy medium for all of this is the Lasergraphics scan station. It looks great, has a crisp image, is pretty fast which means you can get a lower cost scan. The only issues with the lasergraphics machines is that they're a single flash CMOS design, so they have a bayer pattern just like the digital cinema cameras, so no 444 capture unless you crop it down. They're also expensive to use for some reason, but very good scanners that deliver an excellent image. 

I scan a lot of film and my choices are the Spirit for fast work that you need done and Arriscan for your final work. I've never been disappointed with either one of them. 

 

 

 

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You should get some bids from different companies. Fotokem, Cinelab, Kodak etc usually will get back to you within 48 hours with a cost estimate and suggestions for your workflow. Kodak's website should have a list of labs by region you can check. Last time I checked with Fotokem for a 16mm 4k finish, it was cheaper to scan everything once at 4k than it was to scan everything at 2k and then selectively rescan at 4k (using the Scanity). Was the same situation with Kodak Atlanta IIRC (using the spirit 4k). 

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37 minutes ago, Robin Phillips said:

Last time I checked with Fotokem for a 16mm 4k finish, it was cheaper to scan everything once at 4k than it was to scan everything at 2k and then selectively rescan at 4k (using the Scanity). Was the same situation with Kodak Atlanta IIRC (using the spirit 4k). 

Fotokem has Imagica machines and they're very expensive to operate due to their slow speed. Where they do look good, they aren't an affordable option for most filmmakers. 

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11 minutes ago, Tyler Purcell said:

Fotokem has Imagica machines and they're very expensive to operate due to their slow speed. Where they do look good, they aren't an affordable option for most filmmakers. 

I don't know about Fotokem having Imagicas but they scanned a project for me last year in 4K on Scanity . They saved me quite a bit of money by splicing / prepping together a couple rolls. They charged by the hour not footage count and my job was under 1 hour and didn't have to pay for the full hour. Only the time needed for scan and data transfer. The scans were really really nice.

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I think FotoKem only has an Imagica "Big Foot" scanner for 12K IMAX / 65mm scans otherwise they use the Spirit 4K or Scannity.

 

 

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4 hours ago, Tyler Purcell said:

Fotokem has Imagica machines and they're very expensive to operate due to their slow speed. Where they do look good, they aren't an affordable option for most filmmakers. 

They run 16mm on the scanity 4k. I've had all my stuff in the last year that went through fotokem run on that machine, has outstanding results. 

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7 hours ago, Robert Houllahan said:

I think FotoKem only has an Imagica "Big Foot" scanner for 12K IMAX / 65mm scans otherwise they use the Spirit 4K or Scannity.

 

 

They for sure have a few standard Imagica's as well as a scanity. The scanity is super pricy. 

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4 hours ago, Robin Phillips said:

They run 16mm on the scanity 4k. I've had all my stuff in the last year that went through fotokem run on that machine, has outstanding results. 

It's one of the best machines made. 

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for what its worth regarding 16mm, Cinelab London techs told me, when debating on which to use....Scanity or Arriscan at 2K...."if it was my work, Arriscan any day of the week"

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