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Home built Telecine


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#1 Michael Collier

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Posted 19 October 2007 - 12:25 AM

I had this idea the other day, and since it will be so cheap to build I think I am going to try it, I just wanted to see if anyone had any ideas, cautions against it.

The plan is this, basically point a projector at a standard scanner, with diffusion over the glass. I figure if I focus on the diffusion, then the scanner will get a clear image of the film, at a resolution that I can work with, but keep in HD uncompressed tiff sequence. Further I plan to attach something to the movement of the scanning head to flag off light from the areas of frame not being scanned. The idea is if theres something like blackwrap over anything not being scanned, then bounce off the diffusion will be reduced and I will get more contrast in the image.

Control will be simple enough. I want to buy a scanner that has a 'scan' button on the front. Then wire that to a relay, and a control unit. The control unit will direct a motor to turn the inching nob until a sensor tells the unit that one frame has been advanced, then the relay will close, causing the scanner to scan the frame, then a delay will allow for the scan to complete before it advances one more frame and repeats the proccess. I know it will take a while, perhaps hours or days to scan even 400'. The thing is I shoot so little film that I can spare the time, and honestly where I live, I would bet it would beat the shipping, telecine, return shipping time to get small quantities scanned. Also it will cost me about 100 bucks to build, since I have everything on hand except the scanner.

I was looking at directly scanning the film through direct contact, but I can't find a cheap scanner that will give me the resolution I want at 16mm gauge. Is this a good idea? Is there something I am missing or should know before I build the first prototype? I have a bunch of film I need telecined, but would like to try this before I spend 20 cents a foot for SD transfer.

I assume to get a projector to focus that closely I will need a diopter to make it work. Also I have been looking for cheap test film, but every SMPTE film test seems to run upwards of 400 bucks. is there any cheaper 16mm test clip I can get?

Thanks for your help.
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#2 Fred Graffigne

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Posted 25 November 2007 - 05:45 AM

I assume to get a projector to focus that closely I will need a diopter to make it work. Also I have been looking for cheap test film, but every SMPTE film test seems to run upwards of 400 bucks. is there any cheaper 16mm test clip I can get?

Thanks for your help.


Hi, you can get cheaper SMPTE test clip from Wittner in Germany (It's original one, not a copy). Have a look at :
http://www.wittner-k...erbr/d_s8mm.php

I guess you don't speak german, but go at the bottom of the page and you'll find "Testf ilm SMPTE 2m" for 35?, which means a mere 50 bucks plus shipping. Wittner is a really serious telecine and film provider in Europe.

hope this helps,

Fred.
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#3 Paul Bruening

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Posted 03 December 2007 - 11:06 PM

I've gotten some passable results shooting a film projected image with an XL2 in 24P. The XL2 seems to compensate for flicker in-body.
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#4 Hal Smith

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Posted 04 December 2007 - 12:32 AM

I think you're onto something. You will need to disable the scanner's lamp. I'd worry that a given model of scanner may shut down if the lamp isn't working.

You may not need the diffusion if you have optics that form an aerial image at the scanner's image plane. I think you're starting to tread down a path that the older SFX gang knows how to accomplish. http://en.wikipedia....ki/Aerial_image
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#5 Paul Bruening

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Posted 08 December 2007 - 01:35 PM

There was much talk here about converting various scanner combinations into MP digitizers some years back. In the mean time, I think most folks working on the matter have given up on scanning tech in favor of DSLRs. You can get a 3.5K wide Canon DSLR for under $300.00 and put a 50mm macro lens on it and just shoot the back-lit film plane. The rest is a matter of film transport. A projector can do it but I use an old Mitchell NC with a motor, controller and software supplied by Bruce "No Poofta's" McNaughton at Aranda Group in Australia.
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#6 Henri Titchen

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Posted 08 December 2007 - 05:20 PM

Paul,
Your DSLR systems sounds great. Would you be able to post a photo of the setup? Are the results good?
Thanks from,
Henry.

There was much talk here about converting various scanner combinations into MP digitizers some years back. In the mean time, I think most folks working on the matter have given up on scanning tech in favor of DSLRs. You can get a 3.5K wide Canon DSLR for under $300.00 and put a 50mm macro lens on it and just shoot the back-lit film plane. The rest is a matter of film transport. A projector can do it but I use an old Mitchell NC with a motor, controller and software supplied by Bruce "No Poofta's" McNaughton at Aranda Group in Australia.


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#7 Nick Mulder

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Posted 08 December 2007 - 05:40 PM

There was much talk here about converting various scanner combinations into MP digitizers some years back. In the mean time, I think most folks working on the matter have given up on scanning tech in favor of DSLRs. You can get a 3.5K wide Canon DSLR for under $300.00 and put a 50mm macro lens on it and just shoot the back-lit film plane. The rest is a matter of film transport. A projector can do it but I use an old Mitchell NC with a motor, controller and software supplied by Bruce "No Poofta's" McNaughton at Aranda Group in Australia.


I've made a rig like this for interests sake and it worked (Bolex J, stepper motor, LED's behind some diff etc...) but what stopped me from making a 'production' version was the question:

How many snaps do you get out of your DSLR before it goes kaput ?
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#8 Paul Bruening

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Posted 08 December 2007 - 06:05 PM

Bruce still has my rig. He's switching the LEDs for a tungsten-halogen since the LEDs have color spikes and tungstens give a broader spectrum. When it comes back from down-under, I'll snap some pics of it for you.

The cycle life of the DSLR depends on the manufacturer. The major wear components seem to be the shutter and mirror. Generally, the major manufacturers will stand behind 100,000 to 200,000 cycles before the unit goes South on you. Assuming you spend only around $300.00 for the unit, then you just chuck it and put a new one in it's place after every feature's worth of exposures.

That same NC provides images at 24 fps into my XL2 at 24P with an EF adapter and 50mm Macro lens. I shoot DV workprints at 960 wide including the Kodak keycode and numbers (Bruce notched the aperture plate). Then I can take those numbers and DSLR shoot only the frames I actually need to conform the high-res sequences to the workprint.
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#9 Michael Collier

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Posted 09 December 2007 - 12:58 AM

Glad to see this has generated so much interest so long after the idea. In short I have been persuing this idea and should have a working prototype together in a few months, though its hard to say how long, I have a day job and a (12 shoot day) short film on my plate, so prototyping will have to wait for my (limited) free time. But when its done, look for 10bit uncompressed 2K scans. If the quality is high enough, I might charge a pittance for students to use it, something like 10c a foot or so.

Thanks for the test clip lead Fred!
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#10 Fred Graffigne

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Posted 09 December 2007 - 07:07 AM

My pleasure Michael. Please update this post as soon as possible, I'm curious about what results you obtain this way.
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#11 henry jameson

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Posted 10 December 2007 - 03:37 AM

The cycle life of the DSLR depends on the manufacturer. The major wear components seem to be the shutter and mirror. Generally, the major manufacturers will stand behind 100,000 to 200,000 cycles before the unit goes South on you. Assuming you spend only around $300.00 for the unit, then you just chuck it and put a new one in it's place after every feature's worth of exposures.


Hi, i'm trying a similar setup for super8 and if it works i'll try it on 16mm too. But instead of DSLR i want to use a compact digital. I know Canon and Olympus cameras have software that can command the camera from pc so you can automate everything and have the pics saved directly on hard drive. I want to use a compact because from what i know, they don't have mechanical shutters / mirrors so they should last longer compared to a SLR, even if quality isn't as good. At the moment i'm hijacking a 8mm moviola for transport and illumination, and i am trying the 'inverted lens' method as a macro lens.
The follwing pic was taken with a Canon mv850 camcorder in photo mode with a 20mm lens 'taped' inverted in front of the camera lens and the pc monitor as a light source....
Click to see pic
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#12 Paul Bruening

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Posted 10 December 2007 - 03:32 PM

Hello Henry,

Your approach makes sense for S8mm and 8mm, even SD8mm. You're likely to edit and output in standard def video, so, a non-mechanical digital camera could do just the trick. Lensing for that small of a target could be a problem that I haven't done any research on. Naturally, you'd want to expose the backlit frame directly instead of going through a ground glass or projection screen. Some of these little cameras might output directly to hard drive and do so in 24P (25P for that Leicina) if you want to record on the fly from a projector. I don't really know enough about the approach. It does sound interesting, though. Please, keep us updated on the project.

Paul
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#13 Paul Bruening

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Posted 10 December 2007 - 06:17 PM

Hello again Henry,

I've done a little searching around. Canon has recently come out with a new Powershot. The G9. It shoots 4K wide images. The tech at Canon said it will macro down to 1 cm. Since an SD8mm has an image area of 6.35mm wide, I guess you could shoot at whatever res suits you and crop down to meet your editable needs. The G9 seems to sell for around $400 to $500. It has a 12.1 MegaPixel sensor. It doesn't have a mirror but does have a mechanical shutter that can wear out. Frankly, at $400 I would be fine with just chucking a couple of them out on each feature.

Anyway, I'll drive up to Memphis and check one out. I want to verify its actual macro capabilities. I'd hate to find out that some of that macro is covered only by digital zoom or some compromise like that. Maybe that can be of use to you.
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#14 henry jameson

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Posted 11 December 2007 - 03:47 AM

Hello again Henry,

I've done a little searching around. Canon has recently come out with a new Powershot. The G9. It shoots 4K wide images. The tech at Canon said it will macro down to 1 cm. Since an SD8mm has an image area of 6.35mm wide, I guess you could shoot at whatever res suits you and crop down to meet your editable needs.


I was thinking of spending less as this is really only a test and at this time of year money is needed for other things as well.... I'm currently looking out for Canon S2/S3 series. They have less MPixels, but much more zoom , which comes in handy when you have to capture such a small area. I really don't need macro with the camera because using an inverted lens in front of the camera lens gives all the magnification you need. This pic is not a crop, it's the actual pic taken with a crappy Mv850 in photo mode with a 80mm c mount lens inverted and 'taped' in front of the camera lens. Light came from a mini maglite, so it was done in very poor conditions...basically just a proof of concept. I guess with proper lighting/diffusion and a proper photo cam i can get up to 50% more quality ... and i still have a bunch of SLR primes to try out as an inverter lens.. but first i have to get the correct lighting and keep the s8 film perfectly aligned and still, because you have very very shallow depth of field .
I'll keep you informed as the project advances.
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#15 Paul Bruening

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Posted 11 December 2007 - 10:16 PM

I got up to Memphis this afternoon to test the G9. It can macro down to only about 28mm. Since my techniscope frame goes out to only 22mm, the G9 is unsuitable for my needs. I hope I didn't give you a bum recommendation on that.

I'm glad you already have worked out an economical solution with cameras and lenses. Your project is definitely a fascinating one.
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