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5D Mk II as a Telecine for 8mm and Super 8 film

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Danny Grizzle
5D Mk II as a Telecine for 8mm and Super 8 film
on Mar 23, 2012 at 7:07:42 pm

I've got a cousin who is about to asphyxiate over a thousand dollar quote to do a Rank Cintel transfer of some inherited 1950's and 1960's family movies.

He is back to aiming his DV camera at fllms projected on a bedsheet.

Just wondering if anyone has ever tried using a HDSLR in this process, and how the rolling shutter and camera settings might be setup to minimize flicker, considering the projector shutter, etc.

Any pointers on how to setup the camera, or if it is a waste of time to try?

BTW - I own an Elmo GS 1200, which I still consider to be the finest Super 8 projector ever made. Also an Elmo 8mm projector with continuously variable frame rate. Both were manufactured in the 1970s, and have been well stored. Wonder what shape the drive belts and other rubber parts might be in...


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Casey Petersen
Re: 5D Mk II as a Telecine for 8mm and Super 8 film
on Mar 23, 2012 at 8:39:10 pm

I tried it with a 7D, and could not get the flicker out of it, even with a variable speed projector. I have been using a Sony Z1U for my film transfers for years, and my test confirmed that I am better off continuing to use it.

I tried every setting...30p, 24p, 60p, and played with the shutter speed on the camera, and could not get it even close to "good enough".

If someone has gotten it to work, I would love to hear how.

Casey



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Danny Grizzle
Re: 5D Mk II as a Telecine for 8mm and Super 8 film
on Mar 23, 2012 at 8:54:03 pm

I might consider removing the rotating shutter out of my lower end projector.

All these guys you see with low end telecines adapted from consumer projectors, that's pretty much the main modification, I believe. With 16mm, I think each frame is flashed on screen twice to make 24 fps into 48 flashes of light, the flicker threshold for human persistence of vision.

8mm was originally 16 fps, so the shutter wheel in 8mm projectors has three blades to achieve 48 flashes of light. Super 8 bumped to 18 fps for sake of magnetic audio fidelity, with the three bladed shutter yielding 54 pulses of light.

I'm not going to mess with any modifications to the Elmo GS 1200 after seeing eBay pricing is a multiple of what I paid for the machine. Particularly since mine is in like new condition in the original box and probably the original Elmo logo plastic shipping wrapper. Of course, the big bucks are probably the super bright Xenon version, which was extremely limited production.


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Jonathan Ziegler
Re: 5D Mk II as a Telecine for 8mm and Super 8 film
on Mar 24, 2012 at 8:22:34 pm

Hey there, a rank telecine transfer will be spendy. Why do you need that type of transfer? You could just have a consumer-type service do it. I find it's much cheaper and if you have a lot of film the price per minute is decent. Shop around a bit and look for a place that also does pro-level transfers - see if they will convert to prores or another editing friendly format in HD (1080).

How much film do you have and is it super 8, regular 8, 16mm? How many feet?

Jonathan Ziegler
http://www.electrictiger.com/
520-360-8293


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Jonathan Ziegler
Re: 5D Mk II as a Telecine for 8mm and Super 8 film
on Mar 24, 2012 at 8:33:30 pm

Dunno if this price is better but they have decent rates (400' reel of super 8 is about $65 - I send my own hard drive partially because I have a lot of them).

http://www.videoconversionexperts.com/

Hopefully this is better.

Jonathan Ziegler
http://www.electrictiger.com/
520-360-8293


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Danny Grizzle
Re: 5D Mk II as a Telecine for 8mm and Super 8 film
on Mar 25, 2012 at 8:06:18 pm

Jonathan - what did you think of the results? Have you compared this company to other methods?

I am very interested in this company.


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Jonathan Ziegler
Re: 5D Mk II as a Telecine for 8mm and Super 8 film
on Mar 26, 2012 at 3:56:03 pm

Hi there, sorry, no, it was recommended to me by a friend who had used them and loved them. I brought a couple 16mm films I had shot years ago and a pile of Super-8 reels with family footage and some film school stuff. The 16mm and Super-8 transfers were top-notch. I would call and speak with them about it (I did). Tell them what you need transferred, how much you need transferred, what your budget is and they'll work with you. For mine, I didn't need the premium package, I just wanted it transferred for a small project - I used my family super-8 footage as a sort of dream sequence of my sister and I running around and I got the rest transferred for the heck of it.

Jonathan Ziegler
http://www.electrictiger.com/
520-360-8293


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Danny Grizzle
Re: 5D Mk II as a Telecine for 8mm and Super 8 film
on Mar 24, 2012 at 9:21:50 pm

I realize an Rank transfer is costly, but reality is 8mm and even Super 8mm films are end of life. The film base is deteriorating and suffering dimensional stability problems. I figure it is now or never on old home movie transfers.

I've had Super 8 transferred on a Rank in the past for professional application to 1" Type C video.

The cousin who made the inquiry with me is a serious genealogist and family historian. Our great grandmother was featured in a Ripley's Believe It or Not nationwide in newspapers over a half century ago for having more living descendants than anyone alive, that they could determine. Her 16 children were likewise prolific. I have 57 first cousins, my grandmother being one of the 16 children of the great grandmother. The cousin asking transfer questions is the grandson of one of my grandmother's sisters. The family has for decades published books on genealogy research. So this is a serious effort at family history and archiving, not just an attempt to get some old movies on DVD (which itself is an all-but dead format).

I don't think $1,000 is too much for a quality Rank transfer, provided it is not garbage in, in which case nothing can prevent garbage coming out. I have not inspected the original footage.


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Danny Grizzle
Re: 5D Mk II as a Telecine for 8mm and Super 8 film
on Mar 24, 2012 at 9:21:49 pm

Anybody else considering these issues would be well advised to handle old films with extreme caution. I think it is best to avoid projecting them or trying to clean them if you don't have special training. Unfortunately, there is a lot of bogus information on the Internet, and the disintegration of Kodak removes an authoritative source of information and chemical cleaning agents.

In particular, never -- *never* cinch film by pulling film loose on a real to tighten. This will cause permanent damage as all the grit, grime, and dust which may have accumulated over decades rolls and cuts through the image and emulsion. Microscopic dirt is enough to cause huge damage on these minuscule images.

As for local transfer services, there is a huge range of quality out there. Worse, there is a huge range of operators and owners. The vast majority of them don't have a clue what they are doing. After the Rank transfer price shock, my cousin tried the local guy and got a DVD. His assessment of the results was that it was no better than aiming his consumer camera at a projected image at home.

One DIY article online recommended single frame transfer to a DSLR. I would wear out a cheap DSLR with an experiment with something like that -- only it is times like this I wish Spiratone was still around with one of their slide duplicator gadgets, only one with optics optimized for 8mm film.


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