Regular 8 and Super 8 in Vegas
Ok, I'm probably an intermediate Vegas Pro user. Currently on 13. I use some different techniques to adjust speed, but for the sake of seeking out different opinions, I will refrain from stating my process.
I'm looking at transferring 8mm films (Super 8 and Regular 8) to digital formats. How would you go about project settings and most importantly, compensating for the speed differences (fps). I have used the project and record method with decent results, but I'm about to get a Wolverine brand machine that will take an individual picture of each frame, BUT it renders all of those pictures to a 30fps movie. https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1272222-REG/wolverine_data_f2dmm100_...
I will need to slow the video down without making it look like I'm running an epilepsy simulator. I know that the 18fps from the film is not exactly smooth, but I don't want to exaggerate anything, either.
I would try to set the project properties to match the media that is produced by the Wolverine. You may be able to render to 720p ?? Not sure. Experiment.
Regards the speed compensation, I'd slow it down to about 60%. That should get you in the ballpark.
Let us know how good this Wolverine is .. sounds like very little money for frame by frame scans.
I would worry about a 300.00 machine chewing up the negative. Have it professionally scanned if its worth anything to you.
If not, it is really to bad they did not make that machine just scan to an image sequence. That way you could import the media at whatever FPS you understood the camera to be running at. With the MP4 format, you could try exporting to a still sequence, then importing to at the proper FPS 18 or 24.
That device is really strange. Its like it was built by someone that did not understand that film was shot at 24 FPS to conserve film. The only time I ever rolled 29.97 was for film going to TV. that device would be utterly amazing at 300.00, if it did 1920x1080/1440x1080 and produced a still image sequence.
"I would worry about a 300.00 machine chewing up the negative. Have it professionally scanned if its worth anything to you."
I couldn't agree more. A professionally scanned film by someone using a proper Telecine machine will or should automatically interpolate frames to deal with the fps difference. Then it's a matter of editing in the normal way.
I've done several miles of transfers in this way and, although it's expensive, it works well. If the original films are worth keeping then the expense is fully justified. I know I, for one, wouldn't want to compromise over this, especially as the old cine film is probably deteriorating all the time and may eventually become unrecoverable.
Thank you all for the comments. Other input is also still welcome.
I do not have any grand ideas on how well the wolverine will work. I'm taking a rather conservative approach knowing that it will provide better quality than projecting onto a wall and recording with camera, but not near as good as a a legitimate telecine machine. I'm also not working with super high quality film, either. I'm in the business of capturing old memories of people that were lower than a novice with a camera. These people are unwilling to pay the cost of a true telecine transfer.
Any other thoughts regarding project properties, speed, frame rate, resampling, etc...?
I've spent a fair amount of time with both the Wolverine ($300) and the Reflecta Super 8 Scanner ($1300.) Here are my findings using Vegas 14....
For the money, the Wolverine is a clever machine, being that it can scan both 8 and Super8. It's autonomous approach requires no drivers, and doesn't even connect to the PC. The drawbacks are that it cannot use reels larger than 5 inches, and more important, produces an encoded MP4 file that has too much compression (artifacting.) I've talked with their support and there "might" be a firmware update which uses less compression, but it will NEVER, I repeat NEVER have an option to produce frame-by-frame JPG images that you can assemble on your own. For what it's worth, if you can live with the artifacting, you will have to re-encode the MP4's in Vegas, and simply set the clip Properties/Playback Rate to .6 to get the framerate correct. Leave the framerate at 29.970, which is the rate of the original Wolverine MP4. (yes, stupid of them)
The Reflecta looks and operates just like a projector. For the price you pay, it is unbelievably flimsy (the arms in particular) and you always feel like you're going to break the thing, but with a little caution and care, it should hold up. It requires your PC and a driver installation to operate. Once you update to the most recent firmware, the film rarely jams unless it's just plain messed up to begin with. If it does jam or start skipping, you have to fiddle with it by advancing back and forth, usually foward, to get to good film again. The scanner will pick up where it left off. Fundamentally, it produces frame-by-frame JPGs and stores them in a project directory. At the end of the reel, it will offer to assemble the movie for you, but simply skip that part and use Vegas to take advantage of image tuning, etc.
This is where Vegas has been SPECTACULAR. You can File/Import the images into a project set up with the desired frame rate (18 fps) and resolution. You end up with a Project Media clip that behaves exactly like a regular video file. You can perform all the normal enhancements, clipping, transitions, etc. I have done this with over 30,000 individual JPG images at-a-time and it has worked flawlessly.
The drawbacks to the Reflecta are that it is slow, 2 frames every 5 seconds, so a 7 inch reel takes about 20 hours. If you decide to stop in the middle of a reel because of a jam or whatnot, there is no way to remove it from the projector without simply holding down the FF button and letting it advance to the end. I have opted to just cut the reel, re-thread, and move on. This will likely be the last time you ever need the original anyway!
In a nutshell, the Wolverine is a little faster scanning, but does not produce acceptable results (but they are better than nothing!) The Reflecta results are as good as the source film, and the ability to freely edit the video makes it the clear winner. And finally, neither of these machines is meant for "commercial" use. Meaning that they are slow, not particularly durable, and the effort (yours) is high. Also, the Reflecta has a 2 year warranty or 400,000 images, whichever comes first. And yes, the firmware does have an image counter that you cannot reset!
I hope my late night ramblings are helpful!