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16mm DIY Film Scanner

StepCapture16 DIY Film Scanner

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#1 Josh Gladstone

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Posted 26 December 2014 - 06:14 AM

This is sort of a continuation of this thread, but it's 16mm so I wanted to post it here.

 

I'd previously built myself a super 8 scanner using a firewire machine vision camera, an arduino, a stepper motor, and an old projector. I'd been meaning to scale it up to 16mm for a while and finally got around to doing it. It took a few hours of tinkering, but here's my first test footage! The source material is obviously not mine, it's from an old Castle Films "Chimp the Sailor" that I had lying around.

 

 

This is literally the first thing I've scanned so far, I JUST got it working, so it's not perfect. But not bad for a first try on a very very sub $500 setup, right? Comments/questions are of course are welcomed!


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#2 steve waschka

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Posted 28 December 2014 - 09:09 PM

Looks good dude. I forgot to keep looking for issues and was wondering where the chimp was going with the big stick after they kept flicking him in the ear while he was trying to sleep. So i'd say your method does a good job. Ive tried to do this myself using what I had laying around. Never could get it close enough to warrant spending anymore effort. Happy to see you got something that works.


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#3 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 28 December 2014 - 09:13 PM

This is sort of a continuation of this thread, but it's 16mm so I wanted to post it here.

 

I'd previously built myself a super 8 scanner using a firewire machine vision camera, an arduino, a stepper motor, and an old projector. I'd been meaning to scale it up to 16mm for a while and finally got around to doing it. It took a few hours of tinkering, but here's my first test footage! The source material is obviously not mine, it's from an old Castle Films "Chimp the Sailor" that I had lying around.

 

 

This is literally the first thing I've scanned so far, I JUST got it working, so it's not perfect. But not bad for a first try on a very very sub $500 setup, right? Comments/questions are of course are welcomed!

 

That looks great, Josh!  Nice job!


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#4 Ruben Arce

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Posted 30 December 2014 - 06:43 PM

That looks great Josh, 
 
I hope you don't mind me shearing a method that I'm using to scan film. Is not as good as yours, but it may even help in your process.
 
I'm using a flatbed scanner to scan up to 6 frames at a time that I latter bring into Photoshop and place in a given frame. Can be SD, HD720, 1080 or 2k. This is a painful process. I have to move and position every frame in the right position of the HD frame. Is not that bad neither. Suing the first frame that I scan I create guides in Ps using the sprocket holes.Since the scanned image is a strip I position the one on top in the HD frame first and after that one I just have to use the arrows in the keyboard to move the next image to the right position. After doing this a few time I was able to create a clip with 119 images in about 90 minutes. 
 
Why am I doing this or why someone would want to do something like this?
 
I bought a Krasnogorsk k3 from ebay last year. I paid $70 for the camera in great condition, But I didn't know the actual working condition of the camera. What can you do to test the camera? You shoot a roll of dil that cost $50 and ask as a favor to a lab to develop and scan just one roll. You know they have a minimum amount $125 or 400ft. But they are friendly and they do it for you.
 
I never took this step. I did remove the loop formers from the camera first myself. I'm use to doing stuff like that and I didn't wanted to pay $400 to someone to do it for me. That means I did open the camera. So after that I didn't know if the camera was going to scratch the film or let light leak and fog or ruin the film. After almost a year I shot one roll, send it to process and asked as a favor to the lab to do just one roll for me. They agreed and the result was just great. No leaks at all and motion just great as well.
 
Now I want to change the plate of the camera to convert it to Super 16mm. You know what that means? Yes. Opening the camera changing the plate and not knowing if the camera is going to work properly again :( Hey lab can you do another camera test for me?
 
So I decided to buy some B&W film that I'm planning to develop at home and the scan using this method before I shoot something important. I don't wanna waste a $50 roll of film and pay $80 for develop and scan to learn that the camera is not working properly. Then try to fix the problem and repeat right. This is my reason to find and alternative way. And here it is. Sorry for the long explanation. 
 


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#5 Josh Gladstone

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Posted 01 January 2015 - 05:42 PM

Thanks for the compliments BIll and Steve! And boy, Ruben, that looks labor intensive!

 

Here's my second scan, for those who may be interested. It's a Tri-X test film I shot over a year ago when I first got my Beaulieu R16. Processing by Spectra if I recall correctly.

 

 

Now that I'm able to get HD transfers of my footage for $0, I'm looking forward to shooting lots of super 8 and 16mm this year! (All I have to do now is rebuild my super8 scanner!)

 

Finally, if you like this kind of stuff, please subscribe to YouTube Channel and/or like my page on Facebook. Thanks everyone!!


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#6 Ruben Arce

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Posted 01 January 2015 - 11:37 PM

It is labor intensive Josh, but considering that I paid $5 for the scanner and that anyone can do with not expensive software I think it could be useful in camera, lenses, or emulsion tests. And it can be done almost for free.

 

I was thinking that maybe your preocess could benefit from the After Effects stabilization but now that I watched that new video that you posted I can see how stable it is. And looks great by the way. 


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#7 Josh Gladstone

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Posted 02 January 2015 - 03:12 AM

Thanks Ruben! I just filed out part of the gate today, so hopefully I should be able to do super16 pretty soon too!

 

I was actually thinking the other way around. I bet you could automate your process with a stepper motor and an arduino. Attach the motor to your takeup side, and have it automatically advance a certain number of steps until it's moved the film into position. I'm not sure how you could interface with the scanner, but there's probably some open source way to either trigger the scan or capture it straight. Then once the image is captured, advance to the next position. If you wanted to get fancy, you could even incorporate a laser and light sensor to count perfs / register the film somewhat close to where it needs to be (you could also program it to stop automatically when it reached the end of the film). Anyway, something to think about at least!


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#8 Ruben Arce

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Posted 02 January 2015 - 04:40 AM

Haha that would be great. But I have no clue about programming or engineering. That's the why I was looking for a way to use everyday software to do the job. And I would never tried to scan more than 10 seconds with this method any was. But yep let's keep thinking and sharing ideas. Who knows? Maybe we can develop a really good method and shoot as much film as we may want.

 

Good luck with the new project widening the gate. Keep it up.


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#9 Carl Looper

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Posted 14 January 2015 - 10:42 PM

Hi Josh, great work.

 

I have to file the gate on a Super8 projector - to support the wider frame of the new Logmar Super8 camera (and other S8 cameras that have been customised for wider frames). The anxiety I have is that filing the gate will cut through the surface finish of the metal - which, if I'm not mistaken, otherwise provides for a less abrasive (smoother) interface between gate and film.

 

What are your thoughts on this?

 

I wonder if anyone knows of some DIY method for resurfacing the filed part of a gate. Some sort of home brew anodisation?

 

Carl


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#10 Carl Looper

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Posted 14 January 2015 - 10:44 PM

Answering my own question:

 


Edited by Carl Looper, 14 January 2015 - 10:44 PM.

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#11 Carl Looper

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Posted 14 January 2015 - 11:00 PM

Interesting video - watching it now I've just realised that i've made a completely dangerous assumption - that my existing gate is pure aluminium.

 

I was originally going to machine a new gate - in aluminium. And then I figured just filing the gate was a cheaper option, but in that figuring I forgot that the existing gate might not be pure aluminium.

 

hmmm.

 

C


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#12 Josh Gladstone

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Posted 15 January 2015 - 01:15 AM

Well, for what it's worth, here's my experience with it: I just filed out the gate on my 16mm scanner to scan the full super16 area. It's not very difficult, just take a few hours (less time in super 8). All you need is a decent set of files. However, I can't really speak to how safe it is on your film quite yet. After first filing it out, I noticed that my film was getting long scratch lines up in the same spots, so that was clearly from something. I've since tried to smooth out the gate more, and I went through and cleaned all the other rollers and other surfaces, which quite honestly could also have been the culprit. I haven't run film through it enough yet to say whether it worked or not, so I can't really speak to how safe it is to do just yet. But I will let you know when I do. In the meantime here's some footage. You can see in the overscanned version that my filing job isn't the cleanest, but it gets the job done. And the added benefit of having a larger gate is that if hairs get caught, they're less likely to get in the picture area.

 

16x9 cropped: 

 

Overscanned: 


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#13 Perry Paolantonio

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Posted 15 January 2015 - 08:47 AM

I would imagine the best way to do this would be to hand file the bulk of it, always filing away from the film path (toward the camera), so that any burrs are directed away from the film. Then take a Dremel tool to it, with a good set of abrasive brushes and wheels, and polishing tools. That should be able to make it nice and clean and burr-free, though it will require testing on scrap film. Using one of the inexpensive drill-press style mounts they make for these will probably make the job easier.


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#14 Zac Fettig

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Posted 15 January 2015 - 09:26 AM

The anodizing treatment that they show in the video is purely decorative (although it does help with contolling corrosion). It won't make the surface any harder or smoother than the base aluminum it starts out as. There are a few colors available in a hardcoat, but most of the time, if it's got color (other than clear or black). It's just for decoration.

 

They wouldn't have had access to any really special, low friction surface treatments for Aluminum in the 70s (unless it was military). I don't believe PTFE Hardcoat anodization was available until the 80s.

Your best bet (quality wise) is to machine (I'm asssuming you have experince with precision machining. Tolerances are +/- 0.001" at most, with +/-0.0005" more common, in a film gate) a new gate from brass, not aluminum. You'll be able to hold a much finer tolerance, and control of the surface finish. Then see if an auto body shop or a job shop near you has a connection for chrome plating. It'll be harder and smoother than almost anything you could do at home. Although the plating shop might get picky about materials.

 

Chrome-plated brass was the material of choice for quality gates back in the old days. There are better solutions today, but not by much. Aluminum would have been used in cheaper projectors. Today, it would probably be 7000-series aluminum with a teflon-impregnated hard coat.

 

Keep in mind, most super 8 projectors were meant for home use. They were fairly cheaply constructed. I doubt they'd go to too much trouble for fancy treatments on the parts, unless it's a Zeiss Ikon or something equally expensive.

 

The easier approach is to just get another projector and file down the gate. The worst that can happen (other than film sctaches) is that you open up a little too much of the gate. If you take your time, and wet sand the surface with fine grit sandpaper, you should be able to get it pretty smooth. If you run a test roll through it you should be able to tell if it's scratching. They do make spray on teflon coatings, if that helps.

 

The easiest approach is to just buy a wolverine scanner, and scan 6 frames at a time.


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#15 Josh Gladstone

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Posted 15 January 2015 - 10:25 AM

A couple more things I've learned. I have filed out super 8 gates, and went all the way to the perf because some super 8 cameras capture a bit of image there and I thought it looked cool, as you can see here:

 

 

If you choose to do that, some light can get through the perf and flare out in the capture camera, so make sure that your light source is sufficiently diffuse and even. Also, I didn't see this in super8 but when doing the 16mm gate I realized that some surfaces that may have been painted black or coated in some way become shiny exposed aluminum. This spilled light into one side the frame and gave me a permanent uneven exposure. So I just went over everything shiny with a black sharpie and that worked decently well, but paint would probably be better (Not on the surface of the film transport. Nothing that touches film. Just anything on the back side of the film transport that got exposed by filing). So just be aware of that.


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#16 Carl Looper

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Posted 15 January 2015 - 10:06 PM

Thanks for the advice.

 

Here's some more I recieved over at filmshooting.com:

 

http://www.filmshoot...t=26589#p214854

 

C


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#17 Josh Gladstone

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Posted 15 January 2015 - 10:38 PM

Thank you. That is helpful.


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#18 Daniel Siddall

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Posted 14 July 2015 - 11:13 AM

Why do all of these tutorials have you scan across the scanner instead of up-and-down?   I don't understand it.  I scan up-and-down, capturing 20 frames per scan.  I have three different films side-by-side so I am capturing 60 frames per scan.  I get crisp, clear, stable results in 1080p.
 
So.....why are we told to scan sideways?


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#19 Ruben Arce

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Posted 14 July 2015 - 11:49 AM

For some reason scanners have more resolution on the horizontal axis. That's not a problem with 35mm film, but with smaller formats like Super 8, 16 and super 16 it certainly is. I have tried and the picture is just a mess of lines and colors. It may be different with newer scanners like Epson v800 I don't have one. But I tried different older models and it was imposible tome to get a usable picture scanning in the vertical axis.


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