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Question about different types of scans.


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#1 Steve Williams

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Posted 17 February 2017 - 07:32 PM

Hey guys, 

 

I'm curious which type of scans you prefer vs the others...  I've been using the filmkit's with Pro8mm, mainly because it's fast and convenient.  I know that there are better options as far as price, but I don't trust my skills yet to shoot 4 or 5 rolls and wait to see what comes out.  Pro8mm scans and delivers in 720p for a their basic setup.  I think it looks great, but always wonder what their upgraded option would look like instead.  

 

They offer 4 different types with this package, but the two that interest me the most are the 2k log scan (overscan framing) and the 1080p with scene to scene color correction.  

 

whats your collective thoughts?

 

Steve


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#2 Nick Collingwood

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Posted 18 February 2017 - 12:25 AM

So I talked about it some in my post today in this thread... 

 

But basically, I personally think 2k is the best bet. I think there is a marked improvement in sharpness over 1080p plus the actual image is much larger (1440x1080 vs 2048x1556). So much so that despite my frugality, I find it worth it to pay for the 2k scans. Plus it's a flat scan so less color correction baked into it. I've had some stuff rescanned in 2k that I had previously telecined at 1080p scene-to-scene and definitely could see more grain and sharpness in the image. I feel as though it's the scanning method vs telecine but I'm not an expert on that. I just got some 4k overscans back from Pro8mm that I got in a sale and while the overscan is nice, the 4k is overall in my opinion. But other people might feel differently. The overscan does give you the sprocket hole which some people love and also gives you a bit more play with framing if you're going to crop it. I'm waiting on a few rolls from Gamma Ray Digital scanned at 2k overscan so I think that may be my personal sweet spot. Although keep in mind that most 2k scans are ungraded unless you pay extra.

 

Also, Pro8mm is very overpriced although they are admittedly the most streamlined and amateur focused. Other labs like CineLab and Spectra are cheaper but a little harder to get in touch with via email although generally good picking up phones. So while a bit more hassle, I think CineLab + GRD is the best combo. Also, trust yourself! Super 8 is incredibly forgiving. I've overexposed rolls 2-3 stops and still gotten a great image.

 

I'm hoping to write a little unscientific comparison of scans at some point and will link to it here whenever I get around to it.


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#3 Steve Williams

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Posted 18 February 2017 - 09:15 AM

Hey Nick,

 

Thank you for your reply... the post in the other thread you mentioned is what prompted me to ask the question.  I think my next scans I will pay the upgrade cost to see what the 2k (overscan) looks like from pro8mm.  Their first scan was in 720p and I thought that it looked amazing....   I also reached out to Cinelab and Spectra based on your recommendations (from the other thread).  All in all I feel that Pro8mm is the right path for me, despite the higher prices.  I've been into Super8 for years, but always fall out of love with it due to the long waits and the logistics involved.  The simplicity of the pro8mm film kits on Amazon (or their site) is what prompted me to get back into it.  I'm just giving a rough estimate here - but it's about 130$ for a roll, process, and upgrade to 2k scan.  Then it's delivered via dropbox and the reel comes in the mail.  Some might say that's a horrible deal, but I'm trying to shoot as many rolls as i can individually so I can learn from whatever mistakes I make.  Thanks for the advice, I think you swayed me in the 2k logscan. 

 

Steve


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#4 Chris Burke

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Posted 18 February 2017 - 09:33 AM

What kind of computer are you using and what are it's specs? I ask because if you are cutting on a mac and have a rather beefy setup, I would ask for a flat scan at Super 2k to ProRes 4444. Most bang for the buck. Especially if you are shooting color negative. Super 2k or if you can, ProRes 4k. A UHD world is coming and why not future proof now...? You can buy film on the Kodak sight again. They have made it very easy. They will change it again later this year to a Pro8mm like offering, all in 4k packages. Purchasing direct from Kodak, you are assured you are getting fresh stock.


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#5 Steve Williams

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Posted 19 February 2017 - 04:02 PM

Hey Chris, 

 

Thanks for your input...  I'm using a mac thats 6 years old, and I edit on FCP 7.  I'm thinking I'm probably bit outdated for 4k  My main goal is just to upload to vimeo and facebook.  So I don't have very high aspirations as far as delivery for my films :-)  

 

That being said, i think my computer should be able to handle the 2k PRes4444...  I'll have to look into the specs.  

 

Did I understand you correctly that Kodak will be offering all inclusive packages?  If so, that would be awesome!

 

As always, very grateful for the insight and knowledge from members of this forum

 

Steve 


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#6 J. Winfield Heckert

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Posted 19 February 2017 - 04:28 PM

You'll be able to import 2k prorez444 and work with it in FCP 7 but wont be able to output prorez444 only 422. 


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#7 Perry Paolantonio

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Posted 20 February 2017 - 09:42 AM

Scanning to 720p as your master format doesn't make a ton of sense, except as a low-res access copy for quick viewing. The actual image area for 720p is 960x720 if you pillarbox (which should be the case, because HD is always 16:9 and that's not an aspect ratio that matches any film format, unless you're cropping to 16:9 in the camera's viewfinder when shooting). 

 

We recommend 2k as a minimum, because it can match the aspect ratio of the original film. This gives you much more flexibility to crop and reposition the image, if your output format is HD. For more flexibility, 3k or 4k are even better. The primary argument, to my mind, for scanning small gauge film at 4k is not that you're going to extract more picture out of the film, but that you're going to avoid scaling an image up later. If you scan at HD or 2k, but want to view it on a 4k television (which are now under $500, and will be completely replacing 1080p displays in the coming years), something needs to scale that image up at least 4 times. Could be you, in software, or it could be the television or a media player of some kind. But something needs to scale that up, and that device or software has to make up picture that was never there, interpolating new pixels. The side effect of this is always that your image gets softer.

 

I'm just giving a rough estimate here - but it's about 130$ for a roll, process, and upgrade to 2k scan. 

 

An alternative workflow:

 

Buy film from Kodak: $26

Process film at Cinelab: $18

Scan film at Gamma Ray Digital (2k): $27.50

 

$71.50 total cost not including shipping. If you ship via Priority Mail from Cinelab to us, and then from us to you, you're looking at another $7 each way, so $85 with shipping. 

 

 


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#8 Steve Williams

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Posted 20 February 2017 - 08:10 PM

Thanks Perry for that rock solid advice... is the 2k scan a log or flat scan?  (sorry still learning the lingo)...  I take it that Cinelab is used to shipping out processed rolls to another business for scanning.  So if I was to include a pre-addressed email, I'm guessing there wouldn't be any complications.   Is it possible to pay a bit extra to have to final digital file dropboxed to me?  

 

Steve


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#9 David Cunningham

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Posted 20 February 2017 - 10:36 PM

The direct from Kodak, process cinelab, scan Gamma Ray digital is my go to workflow for my wedding films. It's the perfect balance of cost and quality.


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#10 Will Montgomery

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Posted 21 February 2017 - 09:54 AM

In Super 8 (or regular 8) a full 2k scan (2048x1556) is probably the best quality/vs. cost point now. Perry offers a great price and the Lasergraphics machine is pretty much the best scan you can get these days.

 

Another advantage to full 2k scans is that if you are finishing to HD (1920x1080) you have flexibility of re-framing up & down and some room to work with if you are going to stabilize which Super 8 can often benefit from.

 

4k will be coming down in price and I'd recommend 4k for 16mm & 35mm, but Super 8 is probably overkill...you can take a 2k from Perry and up-res it if you want to 4k & it will be fine. Lenses and the nature of the stock really don't resolve past 2k. There might be some sort of perceived sharpness increase if you res down to HD from 4k vs. from 2k, but it would be hard to tell the difference in Super 8.


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#11 Andries Molenaar

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Posted 21 February 2017 - 10:12 AM

Scanning to 720p as your master format doesn't make a ton of sense, except as a low-res access copy for quick viewing. The actual image area for 720p is 960x720 if you pillarbox (which should be the case, because HD is always 16:9 and that's not an aspect ratio that matches any film format, unless you're cropping to 16:9 in the camera's viewfinder when shooting). 

 

We recommend 2k as a minimum, because it can match the aspect ratio of the original film. This gives you much more flexibility to crop and reposition the image, if your output format is HD. For more flexibility, 3k or 4k are even better. The primary argument, to my mind, for scanning small gauge film at 4k is not that you're going to extract more picture out of the film, but that you're going to avoid scaling an image up later. If you scan at HD or 2k, but want to view it on a 4k television (which are now under $500, and will be completely replacing 1080p displays in the coming years), something needs to scale that image up at least 4 times. Could be you, in software, or it could be the television or a media player of some kind. But something needs to scale that up, and that device or software has to make up picture that was never there, interpolating new pixels. The side effect of this is always that your image gets softer.

 

 

An alternative workflow:

 

Buy film from Kodak: $26

Process film at Cinelab: $18

Scan film at Gamma Ray Digital (2k): $27.50

 

$71.50 total cost not including shipping. If you ship via Priority Mail from Cinelab to us, and then from us to you, you're looking at another $7 each way, so $85 with shipping. 

 

 

 

Including tax only $30 per minute... Where have the times gone of a cartridge Kodachrome incl processing at $3 (bargain) and return shipping :)

 

http://www.retroroadtrips.com/

RetroRoadTrips - the Super 8 film diary of Elliott Bristow

 

rrt-banner-630px.jpg


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#12 Perry Paolantonio

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Posted 21 February 2017 - 01:01 PM

Thanks Perry for that rock solid advice... is the 2k scan a log or flat scan? 

 

Yes. Sort of. If you're scanning from neg, it's log. If you're scanning from positive, it's linear, but (at least we) typically scan it flat to ensure that nothing is crushed or clipped in the scan. That is, the contrast is lowered, and we ensure that none of the highlights blow out or the blacks get crushed. this gives you maximum flexibility later in grading. 


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#13 Perry Paolantonio

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Posted 21 February 2017 - 01:03 PM

 

Including tax only $30 per minute... Where have the times gone of a cartridge Kodachrome incl processing at $3 (bargain) and return shipping :)

 

 

Sure - though back then you could buy a roll of Super 8 in just about any store that sold film (and that included grocery stores).

 

Try finding a physical store that stocks film these days...


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#14 Perry Paolantonio

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Posted 21 February 2017 - 01:08 PM

4k will be coming down in price and I'd recommend 4k for 16mm & 35mm, but Super 8 is probably overkill...you can take a 2k from Perry and up-res it if you want to 4k & it will be fine. Lenses and the nature of the stock really don't resolve past 2k. There might be some sort of perceived sharpness increase if you res down to HD from 4k vs. from 2k, but it would be hard to tell the difference in Super 8.

 

The problem is that that misses the point: Yes, at a certain scan size you hit a point of diminishing returns. If you're shooting on a Logmar, that point is much higher resolution than something shot on a cheap camera with low quality lenses. Good transport, good glass, pressure plate = more ability to pull resolution out of the picture. But it's largely academic once you're past 2k - you're not going to see more detail at higher resolutions in most cases, in the way you would if you scanned a film at, say, SD and compared to a 2k scan. 

 

What you are gaining with a 4k scan is future proofing. You're ensuring you won't need to (or the television/media player won't need to) scale the image up to fit a 4k screen. While upscaling algorithms have gotten better, a file that's been scaled up from 2k to 4k will not look as good on a 4k display as a native 4k scan would. No matter how good the algorithm, it still has to create picture where there wasn't picture, and that's always going to result in a softer image. 


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#15 David Cunningham

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Posted 21 February 2017 - 05:45 PM

What perry said.
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#16 Will Montgomery

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Posted 22 February 2017 - 04:51 PM

The Walking Dead producers have tested S16 scanned to 4k and have said they prefer the 2k scans res-ed up to 4k vs. the direct 4k scans from an artistic perspective. 4k bringing the grain up too much. "Future Proof" might be a little strong. Soon they'll be a direct to brain scan anyway...

 

I am, however, going back and re-scanning film from 15 years ago and finding a pretty big difference between SD and 4k. :)


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#17 Steve Williams

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Posted 22 February 2017 - 06:31 PM

Hey Perry and David, thanks for the workflow suggestion on who to process and scan with - i plan on doing this for my next roll.

 

David - i remember you giving me great advice about 4 years ago when I was just starting to shoot with my Canon 814.  It's good to see that you're still "in the game" and your video that you posted looks amazing.

 

How do you guys get the 16x9 look?  Personally i'm not a fan of the 4x3...  Do you import into a 1080 timeline, crop, and then adjust the distort tab to give it the wide look?  Or do you have a 16x9 scan done at the lab?


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#18 David Cunningham

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Posted 23 February 2017 - 09:02 AM

The Walking Dead producers have tested S16 scanned to 4k and have said they prefer the 2k scans res-ed up to 4k vs. the direct 4k scans from an artistic perspective. 4k bringing the grain up too much. "Future Proof" might be a little strong. Soon they'll be a direct to brain scan anyway...

 

I am, however, going back and re-scanning film from 15 years ago and finding a pretty big difference between SD and 4k. :)

 

 

Yes.... but remember that the Walking Dead is purposely trying to get a soft "comic book like" image.  They don't want it to be as sharp and fine grained as possible.  They even shoot 500T outdoors because they want that chunky grain.  :)

 

I love The Walking Dead (except how much it's slowed down these last 2 seasons), but it looks God awful on streaming media due to compression chunking up the already chunky grain.  I try to watch online for the story line and ignore the cinematic aspect, then watch the Blu-Rays a few months after the end of the season.


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#19 David Cunningham

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Posted 23 February 2017 - 09:13 AM

Hey Perry and David, thanks for the workflow suggestion on who to process and scan with - i plan on doing this for my next roll.

 

David - i remember you giving me great advice about 4 years ago when I was just starting to shoot with my Canon 814.  It's good to see that you're still "in the game" and your video that you posted looks amazing.

 

How do you guys get the 16x9 look?  Personally i'm not a fan of the 4x3...  Do you import into a 1080 timeline, crop, and then adjust the distort tab to give it the wide look?  Or do you have a 16x9 scan done at the lab?

 

Thanks Steve!  Great to hear you are still in the game too!

 

I personally never do 16x9 with Super 8... just personal preference.  To do it properly you really DO need a 4K scan OR a pre-cropped 16x9 scan at a lower resolution (but that really ties your hands on how the framing is done and makes it harder to post stabilize).  If I were to do it I would scan at 4x3 4K.  Then, during my grading process, I would crop scene-to-scene and export to my final resolution, likely 1920x1080.  (You will loose a lot of top and bottom image, so it's good to be able to choose how much of the top vs how much of the bottom on a scene-by-scene basis.)  The problem is Super 8 is already so small that it really looks terrible, in my opinion.  There are Max8 wide-gate cameras out there, or you can modify yours... but I just don't feel like it's worth it for the medium.

 

In 16mm on the other hand, Super16 and Ultra16 wide formats are fantastic!...  Super 8 is meant to be amateur and look like home movies.  I definitely get off base and try to push the medium from time-to-time... but it usually just leads to frustration.  I've learned to embrace the 4x3 and the grain.  I CANNOT deal with the jitter, however.  I just cannot bring myself to embrace that.  So, I DO post stabilize everything.  I know it's sometimes obvious.  But, the occasional weird motion or warping is 100 times more acceptable and less distracting to me than that constant jumping, bobbing and weaving of the Super 8 frame.  It makes me angry.  LOL

 

So, my advice, if you want 16x9 on film... shoot Super 16 or Ultra 16.  And... even still.... overscan the frame at 4k+ so you can post stabilize and/or crop to your desire framing.  Don't bake in your frame decision at scan time.

 

If you really want it on Super 8, be sure to scan at a very high res so you can avoid up-resing to frame things correctly.  That REALLY make the image soft quickly.


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#20 Will Montgomery

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Posted 23 February 2017 - 10:18 AM

The best part about a true 2k scan (and 4k for that matter) is you're not zooming in to get to 16:9. An HD scan at 1920x1080 will have bars on each side and force you to "zoom" in to get to 16:9 whereas 2k scans are 2048 pixels across so yes you are cropping top and bottom off but there is no loss of resolution.

 

That's what makes the biggest difference. If you had 1920 x 1556 or so for an "HD" scan that wouldn't a problem...so the jump from HD to 2K is actually YUGE if you finish in 16:9.

 

In Super 16 however, the difference between HD and 2k should be less noticeable since it's already a widescreen format (except if you are stabilizing...the extra few pixels may help if finishing in HD).

 

I have an Ultra 16 camera and to be honest, I really don't use that extra space between the sprockets very often. I enjoy being able to re-frame vertically a little in post.


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