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Color Negative DIY Retro 8 Sample

Vision 3 50D 200T 500T

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#1 Anthony Schilling

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Posted 14 August 2013 - 05:34 PM

Here's a sample of my first crack at transferring color negative with the Retro 8 Home Scanner from Movie Stuff. I covered all 3 negs available from Kodak in Super 8. I wanted to include some more samples of the 200T and 500T but forgot about the new filter notch and they didn't come out as i hoped. The scanner gives a very low con and accurate color invert to work with. Thiis is probably the first method of working with color negative on a DIY scan so easily. You have a lot of information to work with, unlike reversal, so others may have done it differently. I added a little contrast and did some noise reduction with Neat Video, some mild color correction.

 


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#2 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 14 August 2013 - 07:57 PM

Looks really good. About the only thing I wondered about was the movement of the train seemed uneven, but that could be related to shooting at 18 fps?  

 

Again I do feel compelled to mention that without the super-8 labs, this device could actually spell the downfall of super-8 if labs lose to much transfer work as a result.

 

The cost to process the film is absolutely subsidized by the film transfer portion of film lab's business. For a lab to survive by solely processing film they would probably have to charge 75 to 150 dollars per cartridge, depending on the volume of film a filmmaker brought in.

 

And even if a filmmaker was willing to wait until the lab had enough orders to get the best possible price, the lab could still go under due to insufficient number of processing days per month. Hopefully someone intercedes and if this film transfer system can save money for the filmmaker the film labs could offer it on their premise, a "do it yourself" type of situation.

The problem that I see is I don't see a film lab begging Movie Stuff for product, and I don't see Movie Stuff working with the film labs. Hopefully there is a third party who could step in and broker a deal, maybe Kodak?


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#3 Anthony Schilling

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Posted 14 August 2013 - 09:04 PM

Well I don't think most people buying this unit are active shooters like myself. As for labs, the one I use in Seattle doesn't do super 8 transfers. Anyway, i see it doing more good for the format than harm. With reversal being gone, there has to be some way around the high costs of transfers for the format to survive. Professional shoots using super 8 will still use pro post houses.


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#4 David Cunningham

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Posted 14 August 2013 - 09:46 PM

Looks very good... definitely the best home transfer I've seen yet.  But, it still doesn't come close to a Spirit, ScanStation or really any other high-end system.  For the home movie maker who wants to shoot film and then quickly and cheaply transfer, this works great.  I'd almost like to have one to transfer films and then decide what I want to have professionally scanned.


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#5 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 14 August 2013 - 10:14 PM

Looks pretty good to me. How can you tell it isn't as sharp? Although it might make sense to view it at full screen size. However keep in mind that this is still the internet and susceptible to compression schemes.

 

The registration seems phenomenal, both vertical and horizontal.

 

Good idea of using it to determine which footage to transfer. However, how can one actually handle the film without making it dustier and scratchier? I guess one would review a dvd copy and make meticulous running time notes. However, the telecine place would probably not want to speed up and slow down the film transfer speed, so would there actually be a time savings?

 

Would be interesting, if the Spirit is actually better, maybe the contrast settings could be used so that the transfer is done in real time, that could be intriguing.

 

Maybe that would be an incentive for a transfer house to buy one, let their clients use it a nominal price of 30 bucks an hour, produce actual transfer data, which is then imported to the spirit or high end transfer system, and the person is just paying for a real time transfer plus a nominal set up charge, or not.


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#6 Anthony Schilling

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Posted 14 August 2013 - 10:34 PM

Looks very good... definitely the best home transfer I've seen yet.  But, it still doesn't come close to a Spirit, ScanStation or really any other high-end system.  For the home movie maker who wants to shoot film and then quickly and cheaply transfer, this works great.  I'd almost like to have one to transfer films and then decide what I want to have professionally scanned.

Thanks- I would agree that it's not in the same ball park as a high end scan, but far exceeded my expectations based on previous methods of trying to capture, invert and color correct negatives. There is so much room to play if you have a decent NLE, totally different than reversal. It will be fun to keep shooting and seeing what I can do at home (This was just my first attempt and corrected this clip with a toddler climbing all over me most of the time) Don't see anything else in the DIY realm can come close at this price. I don't see a reason to go for a high end scan with S8 at this point... But on the other hand, I'll be shooting a short this winter on S16, and plan to do some experimenting with lighting techniques with the same stocks on S8.


Edited by Anthony Schilling, 14 August 2013 - 10:35 PM.

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#7 David Cunningham

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Posted 15 August 2013 - 06:39 AM

Looks pretty good to me. How can you tell it isn't as sharp? Although it might make sense to view it at full screen size. However keep in mind that this is still the internet and susceptible to compression schemes.

 

The registration seems phenomenal, both vertical and horizontal.

 

Good idea of using it to determine which footage to transfer. However, how can one actually handle the film without making it dustier and scratchier? I guess one would review a dvd copy and make meticulous running time notes. However, the telecine place would probably not want to speed up and slow down the film transfer speed, so would there actually be a time savings?

 

Would be interesting, if the Spirit is actually better, maybe the contrast settings could be used so that the transfer is done in real time, that could be intriguing.

 

Maybe that would be an incentive for a transfer house to buy one, let their clients use it a nominal price of 30 bucks an hour, produce actual transfer data, which is then imported to the spirit or high end transfer system, and the person is just paying for a real time transfer plus a nominal set up charge, or not.

 

I didn't say it wasn't sharp.  In fact, I have a hard time putting into words what's "off" about it.  It could also be the grade.  It just looks a bit flat and "videoized".  Yes, I made that word up.  :)

 

The "what footage to transfer" would be more along the lines of whole rolls...  do I want to bother transferring this roll or not.

 

I like the cheaper idea for cheap transfers and planning to do high end ones.  Very interesting thought.


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#8 David Cunningham

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Posted 15 August 2013 - 06:41 AM

Thanks- I would agree that it's not in the same ball park as a high end scan, but far exceeded my expectations based on previous methods of trying to capture, invert and color correct negatives. There is so much room to play if you have a decent NLE, totally different than reversal. It will be fun to keep shooting and seeing what I can do at home (This was just my first attempt and corrected this clip with a toddler climbing all over me most of the time) Don't see anything else in the DIY realm can come close at this price. I don't see a reason to go for a high end scan with S8 at this point... But on the other hand, I'll be shooting a short this winter on S16, and plan to do some experimenting with lighting techniques with the same stocks on S8.

 

Definitely the best home scan I've seen, for sure.  But, there are lots of reasons, not the least of which is grain aliasing, to scan Super 8 at 2K or even 4K and then down-sample to HD or SD.  With proper optics and registration, Super 8 can look a whole lot better than most people think.


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#9 Jeremy Cavanagh

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Posted 16 August 2013 - 03:59 PM

Looks really good. About the only thing I wondered about was the movement of the train seemed uneven, but that could be related to shooting at 18 fps?  

 

Again I do feel compelled to mention that without the super-8 labs, this device could actually spell the downfall of super-8 if labs lose to much transfer work as a result.

 

The cost to process the film is absolutely subsidized by the film transfer portion of film lab's business. For a lab to survive by solely processing film they would probably have to charge 75 to 150 dollars per cartridge, depending on the volume of film a filmmaker brought in.

 

Yes, possibly. However, as the technology becomes cheaper the labs may be able to go upmarket providing quality and expertise that the average film small film maker maker may not want to get involved with, it might only be us excitable nerds who invest in or build our own scanners, but still a sizeable market in itself. But for this to come about the labs will have to want to invest in such expertise. There are still a number of people out there offering substandard transfer services so if they go to the wall first that may provide good labs with a continuing market.


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#10 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 16 August 2013 - 05:37 PM

 

I didn't say it wasn't sharp.  In fact, I have a hard time putting into words what's "off" about it.  It could also be the grade.  It just looks a bit flat and "videoized".  Yes, I made that word up.   :)

 

The "what footage to transfer" would be more along the lines of whole rolls...  do I want to bother transferring this roll or not.

 

I like the cheaper idea for cheap transfers and planning to do high end ones.  Very interesting thought.

 

it should look flat. One of the mistakes that I think filmmakers make is deciding how to grade a shot before it is actually in an edited sequence. I did both camera and editing for over 10 years using betacam sp decks, waveform and vectorscope, three professional monitors of the same brand (two 12" monitors and smaller 8 inch for preview. All of it was actually right in front of me. (along with an MX-50 switcher and a sound mixing board along with equalization and the speaker amplifier.

 

If I created a layback tape with everything color corrected ahead of time, I quickly discovered that it matterd more what the shots were before and after that shot.  So ideally, make everything flat in transfer or acquistion (for lower budgeted projects), then either as the project is edited together shot by shot, correct then. I'm not even sure it is ok to edit flat and then correct later on because the editor is not "feeling" the actual intensity of the shots if they are not color corrected while editing.


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#11 Anthony Schilling

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Posted 16 August 2013 - 10:54 PM

The raw scan IS very flat. I added contrast and did some very slight color correction. I wanted to display a more finished product. For my own purposes in the future, i'll probably go for something more punchy. The great thing is, you have the ability to add as much contrast, brightness and saturation as you want. The raw transfer gives you a very sharp and excellent invert with very accurate colors... no blue cast or neg noise. You have the abilitly to tweak the colors, gain, and density during the scan too. The ability you have in post with these negs is a whole new world from reversal. Also, I replaced the clip above with the same thing, but removed the frame blending for a sharper image.


Edited by Anthony Schilling, 16 August 2013 - 10:55 PM.

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#12 Anthony Schilling

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Posted 18 August 2013 - 11:28 AM

I was able to remove the frame blending default setting in Sony Vegas on the clip above. Now it play a lot sharper and smoother. I also burned a bunch of rendered Vision3 footage to a Bluray disc last night, watched it on my flat screen, and it looks simply amazing. PC is not the best way to view your S8 footage no matter what kind of scan you get. Vision3, HD scan, true 24P, and Bluray disc is the pinnacle of S8 right now.


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#13 Matt Stevens

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Posted 18 August 2013 - 07:28 PM

I think it looks good, but to judge properly I'd need to see far less compressed footage on a large screen. 


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#14 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 04:31 PM

Most definitely the color can be saturated more and I don't think it would affect anything adversely.  Since you seemed to do the entire transfer flat, you could probably go back and simply crank up the saturation and post it, no?  Might be fun to put both images in the same response and run them in sync if possible.


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#15 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 04:33 PM

What would be cool is if this system could be "snapshotting" a waveform and vector of each frame, then that info would somehow interact with the Spirit for real time transfers. However, it really looks good, just not sure how much better a Spirit would be.


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#16 Greg Miller

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 10:49 AM

We've been using our Retro 8 film scanner now for about 6 weeks. There is very little negative I can say about this machine. The two things I'm particularly impressed with is the flatness of light and lack of color aberration from corner to corner across the frame and the other is the latitude. In terms of latitude, we truly can leave this machine unattended, set to give good light on a well exposed frame, and the most under exposed and over exposed only show the smallest amount of blooming and blocking. As to the flatness of light from corner to corner, we had thought we had a very decent telecine unit using an aerial field lens and a very good 3 sensor C-mos camera but when compared side to side, the vignetting and color fringing become quite apparent on the field lens unit.  The Retro 8 machine is if not dead flat consistent, it is definitely for all practical purposes, dead flat consistent corner to corner.  As to quibbles about the machine...I find the way the reels are held on the take up and supply spindles is a bit clunky for reel changes, albeit they are extremely solid.  Would also be nice if the machine could hold a reel larger than 400 feet.

 

Anyway...overall...We're really pleased with this unit and have ordered several more.

 

Greg Miller

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#17 Andries Molenaar

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 01:31 AM

We've been using our Retro 8 film scanner now for about 6 weeks. There is very little negative I can say about this machine. The two things I'm particularly impressed with is the flatness of light and lack of color aberration from corner to corner across the frame and the other is the latitude. In terms of latitude, we truly can leave this machine unattended, set to give good light on a well exposed frame, and the most under exposed and over exposed only show the smallest amount of blooming and blocking. As to the flatness of light from corner to corner, we had thought we had a very decent telecine unit using an aerial field lens and a very good 3 sensor C-mos camera but when compared side to side, the vignetting and color fringing become quite apparent on the field lens unit.  The Retro 8 machine is if not dead flat consistent, it is definitely for all practical purposes, dead flat consistent corner to corner.  As to quibbles about the machine...I find the way the reels are held on the take up and supply spindles is a bit clunky for reel changes, albeit they are extremely solid.  Would also be nice if the machine could hold a reel larger than 400 feet.

 

Anyway...overall...We're really pleased with this unit and have ordered several more.

 

Greg Miller

www.filmrescue.com 

Have you developed a procedure to convert these BW negative processed Kodachrome films conveniently?


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#18 grantbennett2

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 04:14 PM

This is a very good result for neg, its so clean!  did you have to de-spot ?

 

I use a Movie Stuff Sniper HD and the quality of the results are truly amazing.  As a colourist of 20 years experience with flying spot and CCD telecine machines I was blown away with the results from a sub £10,000

bit of kit.

 

I have transferred Super 8 on Cintel MK3, Ursa, Ursa Gold and Philips Spirit (HD) and ok the optiics will be far superior than a camcorder lens and if you make side by side comparisons you will pick up differences.

 

its all down to how your footage is to be used and your budget.


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#19 Anthony Schilling

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 09:45 PM

I just recieved some more S8 neg back from Spectra that I scanned yesterday. I don't know if it's their processing that is suppurior or what, but the negs look amazing on the scans without doing any correcting yet. Since this first batch, i have gotten more fluent with my NLE tools and the negs. I'll post some more samples soon. I agree with Greg Miller, I scanned 6 reels on one good exposure and it should all be really easy to work with.


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