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Recommendations for Restoring and Scanning Aging Super 8

super 8

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#1 Kris Nelson

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Posted 15 June 2017 - 03:16 PM

Looking for recommendations (equipment and/or businesses) that can bring my old super 8 films back to life. I have 20 3" reels of home footage circa 1980 that I'm concerned will disintegrate if I don't so something soon. They've been stored in a plastic container and I'm unsure of the current quality. I'm near LA and price is not a priority (also willing to ship) - just want to find the best shop and colorist for this type of job. 

 

Who is the best outfit to tackle this - and with what equipment? 

 

ScanStation

Director

Golden Eye

HD Spirit

Something else?

 

2k or 4k?

 

Cinelicious

Spectra Film

Cinelab

Gamma Ray

Periscope Films

Roundabout Entertainment

Someone else?

 

Any other tips or advice is welcomed and appreciated! I've learned a lot reading these forums - thank you!

 


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#2 Mark Dunn

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Posted 16 June 2017 - 04:52 AM

I can't help with the scanning, but unless they've been particularly badly stored you probably don't have a problem yet. In addition Kodachrome is very colour-stable. My films of that period are fine apart from some fungus on the Agfa, no hint of vinegar.

Of course, I don't live in LA, but you probably won't have had a problem with humidity.


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#3 Perry Paolantonio

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Posted 16 June 2017 - 07:33 AM

As a general rule, if you can unspool the film, you can scan it on the ScanStation. You start to have problems when the film is severely cupped (the edges of the film curling towards one another, causing the film to not sit flat in the gate) *and* if the film is dry and brittle. Some cupping is actually ok, because of the natural tension placed on the film in the scanner's gate, which flattens it out, as long as the film isn't rigid. If the film is pliable, it should be scannable, even with moderate cupping. 

 

If your budget allows, I would highly recommend scanning at 4k, even if you don't need 4k right now. With UHD televisions under $300, this is clearly the direction things are headed, and if you scan at a lower resolution, you're going to need to scale it up to fit those screens. Upconverting always results in some softening of the image, so you're at a disadvantage right off the bat, if you scan at 2k or lower. 


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#4 David Cunningham

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Posted 16 June 2017 - 10:59 AM

I have plenty of Super 8 film stored in their normal plastic cases in relatively cool and dry places since the 1980s.  They are in nearly new condition (especially since most is Kodachrome).  Even my E160 (Ektachrome 160 G) films appear to have no color shift yet that I can see.  Unless your film was poorly stored (damn, hot, extreme changes in temp, etc) they should be in fine shape.  Like Perry suggested, started to unreal one just a bit.  If it's flat and pliable with no signs of fungus it's likely to be as good as it was in the 80s.

 

 

ScanStation

Director

Golden Eye

HD Spirit

Something else?

 

I would go with any of those except the HD Spirit which will have very poor results with Super 8.  They don't deal well with jitter or any warpage, etc.  The Director would be a great option if you can find one that does Super 8.  But, only the newest 10K version does Super 8.  So, you might have a hard time finding that.  Your best solution here in the US is the ScanStation (unless you can find an Super 8 Director which is HDR and full RGB). 

 

 

 

 

2k or 4k?

Definitely 4K... or, as I do, the fully 5K overscan that includes the frame lines and perfs.  This allows you to do your own re-framing and image stabilization as you see fit.  It also allows you to export to your desired final media be it HD, 2K, 4K, etc.  It's true there is not 4/5K of "image data" on Super 8, but there is 4k/5k worth of film grain to correctly resolve.  You might not gain "resolution" but you will gain "sharpness".  Plus, as Perry pointed out, if you ever plan to have a 4K media output you don't want to be upscaling... always bad.

 

 

Cinelicious

Spectra Film

Cinelab

Gamma Ray

Periscope Films

Roundabout Entertainment

Someone else?

 

I have worked with nearly all these companies (except Roundabout) and can say the overall experience with Perry at Gamma Ray Digital cannot be beat.  Between cost, quality, turn-around, dedication and willingness to answer questions or concerns, they are the best.

 

Again, if you can find someone with a Director 10K and a Super 8 gate, HDR is totally worth it for film prints/reversal.  The subtle detail and reduced noise in the shadow areas is very noticeable.  Otherwise, the ScanStation does a fantastic job.  I send all my Super 8 to Perry at Gamma Ray... and trust me, I've been around the block.  

 

This is the most recent Super 8 reversal scan I had done with Perry:

 

 

Dave


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