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Image quality in Super 8 film


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#1 Juan Carlos Montero Tudose

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Posted 02 October 2014 - 10:58 AM

Hi everybody,
 
I just got back from the lab some rolls I shot this summer.
 
I am quite happy with the results of the scanning: acceptable colours and image overall.
 
What puzzles me is the grain, and image definition.
 
My goal is to reach the best image quality possible knowing that today’s Super 8 technology is the same for all filmmakers (as it was in the 70s). 
 
The average cameras are 30-40 years old and film stock is the same for everybody though the choice is quite limited.
 
My rig is not different from other filmmakers: A 1967 Canon Auto Zoom 814 and a 1977 Canon 814XL Electronic.
 
These are two examples of the image quality I’d like to achieve:
 
 
Death Valley Super 8 Wedding
 
 
Dave + Jacy | Malibu Elopement | Super 8 Destination Wedding Film
 
 
These are 3 short clips that the lab developed and scanned; Canon AZ814 footage was shot on the same day and same location, only difference the film stock.
 
I don't like Wittner 200D film and I think Kodak is better, but also discontinued.
 

 

My question for you is this: Do you have any recommendations on how to improve image quality as far as sharpness and detail/resolution are concerned? 
 
 
 
Juan Carlos Montero Tudose

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Edited by Juan Carlos Montero Tudose, 02 October 2014 - 11:00 AM.

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#2 Josh Gladstone

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Posted 02 October 2014 - 11:02 AM

Which lab did your processing/scanning?


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#3 Juan Carlos Montero Tudose

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Posted 02 October 2014 - 11:19 AM

Hi Josh,

 

Gauge Films in the UK.

 

 

JC


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#4 Geoff Howell

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Posted 02 October 2014 - 11:54 AM

give this restoration software a try http://letransfertpe...-un-film-9.html

it's french but there should be a link to an english version on the website

 

also, Is there any reason youre shooting colour reversal instead of colour negative?


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#5 Perry Paolantonio

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Posted 02 October 2014 - 01:22 PM

Do you know which scanner they did this transfer on? The Muller is not bad, but not top of the line either. The Workprinter is a pretty low-end transfer setup and I wouldn't expect great results with that, since it's basically shooting into a consumer/prosumer camcorder, and the quality will largely be determined by the quality of that camera.


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#6 David Cunningham

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Posted 02 October 2014 - 01:42 PM

Yeah, that looks primarily like a poor transfer to me.

 

Here is some Fuji Provia 100F that came out good.  I'll try to post a good scan of E100D later tonight:

 

 

Be sure to watch in full (1080p) HD... not the default 720p.


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#7 David Cunningham

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Posted 02 October 2014 - 01:45 PM

Oh... and... 200D is terrible... for Super 8 anyhow.


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#8 Juan Carlos Montero Tudose

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Posted 02 October 2014 - 06:06 PM

First of all, thanks to everyone for your replies! :)

 

@Geoff

 

I'll check that software out, thanks.

 

I shoot reversal mainly because the stores where I buy film also process and scan it and I have to deal with only one lab.

 

I know, it seems silly, but I am searching for the right workflow, and I am open to different routes.

 

In fact right now I am planning to try Kodak Vision3 50D: Bought from Frame24 (UK) - Process @ Super8 Reversal Lab (Netherlands) - Scan @ Ochoypico (Spain).

 

And I live in Italy... :o

 

Lots of money for shipping and a long wait, I imagine...

 

@Perry

 

I chose the Workprinter HD from Gauge Film for £12.99: http://www.gaugefilm...ence_(BMP).html

 

@David

 

That scan is amazing. What lab is it?

 

And yes, you're right about 200D... :(

 

 

 

JC


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#9 Juan Carlos Montero Tudose

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Posted 02 October 2014 - 06:10 PM

Do you guys think that I can get the film scanned by another lab and have better results?

 

I am amazed by this scan:

 

http://vimeo.com/62389177

 

 

 

JC


Edited by Juan Carlos Montero Tudose, 02 October 2014 - 06:10 PM.

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#10 David Cunningham

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Posted 02 October 2014 - 09:00 PM

There are a few things to keep in mind about your that video:

 

1.) it was filmed by a highly trained and experienced cinematographer. Jose is about as good as it gets. 

 

2.) it was denoised/regrained using Neat Video

 

3.) it was very lightly sharppened. 

 

4.) vision3 50d may very well be the best super 8 film stock ever

 

5.) that's a high quality Beaulieu camera with some high quality lenses. 

 

6.) it's a great scanner at Ochopico but it has its issues.  It looks great, yes, but does not deal well with super 8 jitter because it uses a line ccd sensor. You will get occasional odd effects or warping and jumping in frames as the scanner gets confused by the frame instability. You see this in spirit scans in super 8 at well. 


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#11 Juan Carlos Montero Tudose

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Posted 03 October 2014 - 07:25 AM

David,

 

Thanks for the input.

 

Seems like only #4 does good to me... hahaha!

 

Cheers,

 

 

JC


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#12 Roberto Pirodda

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Posted 06 October 2014 - 05:02 AM

Since you live in Italy why do not try (FOR FREE) my datacine setup ? If you are interested PM me


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#13 Roberto Pirodda

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Posted 06 October 2014 - 05:08 AM

By the way, if you want to pull out the best from S8 try Bolex DS8 camera with switar lenses or the new Logmar camera.

here a sample


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#14 Will Montgomery

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Posted 13 October 2014 - 12:02 PM

The good news is that unless your exposure was way off, you can always re-scan the film on different machines for better results.

 

Keep in mind that when you are putting these up on the web, few compression schemes can handle film grain very well, especially those employed by YouTube and Vimeo. By reducing the grain with Neat Video you will get a better, less blocky compression from online services but it can kill the feel of your film so use it sparingly. It's a tradeoff. Too bad ProRes HQ isn't a practical streaming format.


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#15 Mark Dunn

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Posted 13 October 2014 - 12:19 PM

I think it's the scan too, but you could check image sharpness on a projector.


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#16 Keith Marley

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Posted 21 October 2014 - 04:25 PM

Do you guys think that I can get the film scanned by another lab and have better results?

 

I am amazed by this scan:

 

http://vimeo.com/62389177

 

 

 

JC

I really don't like that footage. The cinematography is great, yes, but the denoising ruins it for my taste, why should in S8 and then digitally remove some of its inherent qualities, beats me why you would do that


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#17 Carl Looper

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Posted 22 October 2014 - 02:15 PM

I really don't like that footage. The cinematography is great, yes, but the denoising ruins it for my taste, why should in S8 and then digitally remove some of its inherent qualities, beats me why you would do that

 

One of the better reasons for denoising is to ensure digital delivery is more efficient. For all it's usefulness in image mediation, (particularly in film projection) noise/grain interferes with the efficiency of digital compression. A typical compressor can end up transforming a beautifully grainy original into something quite ugly. In other words the purpose of the denoiser is not to remove noise per se, but to help the compressor come up with a better end result than if one hadn't applied denoising. A compressor could in principle have a built in denoiser but the art of denoising involves a lot of fine tuning, deserving a system in it's own right for dealing with such.

 

In this context, where one has greater bandwidth to play with, the less denoising you would then require. In the case of projecting film, no denoising would be required at all, since the bandwidth of film is incredibly massive.

 

That all said, many often do over-apply denoising, as if noise/grain itself were the problem being addressed. As if the grain in an otherwise beautifully grainy image were some sort of faulty component of the image.

 

But many, equally do not. They are forced (so to speak) into removing some of the grain. It is a sacrifice they make rather than something they want. The least they can get away with removing, the happier they would be.

 

Carl


Edited by Carl Looper, 22 October 2014 - 02:16 PM.

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