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Transfering Old Film Reel To Computer

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Jackie Luffy
Transfering Old Film Reel To Computer
on Aug 21, 2013 at 9:37:53 am

Hey guys, I have a few questions about how to do this..

I tried to do it with one of my home movie cameras a cheap one and I noticed that the flicker was REALLY bad, so bad you couldnt enjoy watching what you recorded from the projector, so I waited until I got a better camera.

Now I have the Canon XF 150 and I seem to be having some problems with it, first of all, I figured out how to capture the film without flicker!

I did this by setting the shutter speed to 1/24, this basically removes all the flicker, but the interesting thing I noticed is that on my camera while it was recording flawlessly I looked at the actual wall with my own eyes the film and I could see the flicker with my own eyes yet on the camera it was perfect

By the way the projector was playing the reel at a slow speed in order for me to get it perfect, I noticed if I turned the projector to go fast speed, with my own eyes the flicker went away this time, but on the camera you could now see the flicker, very strange, if someone could please explain to me what this means that would be great!

2nd Question.

I hear that film can be easier to stretch out and make into HD, the big thing with getting my new camera was that I expected this transfer process to capture this in HD, clear and crisp, but once I viewed the clips the picture was pretty poor, it was about the equivalent of a VHS tape!

Is this normal? Nothing was crisp, it seemed like everything was blurred, I played around with the focus on the projector and made it so it was its absolute best and manually focused the camera to make sure it was its best too, it was in focus both the projector and camera, So if film can apparently be stretched out and be easier to blow up how come this didnt turn out to be crisp and clear? You know how they can blow up the image at a movie theater so well and the film doesnt seem to lose any quality? Thats kind of what I figured that i would be able to get a great HD picture of these old film reels, Am I doing something wrong? Or is this just the BEST quality you can get after all?

3rd Final Question.

I put my perfect looking flicker free clip into Vegas just to play around and see if it looked good frame by frame, I was filming in 24P on the camera, and the settings in Vegas were set to 24 frames as well, so in reality Vegas should be playing every frame perfectly, but frame by frame I get the ghost image of the previous frame and the current frame molded over each other, it isnt every single frame but every 2nd frame or so the previous frame is blended in, I changed the settings to BLEND, and INTERPOLATE and even NONE and still the ghost trailing is there.

Here is the clip of my example! its only 30 megs, see what you think about it! If you put that exact clip into vegas I can seem to get the ghosting off of it

http://www.mafiastorage.com/3lyha5o3809r

Any help is GREATLY GREATLY APPRECIATED


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Mark Suszko
Re: Transfering Old Film Reel To Computer
on Aug 21, 2013 at 6:31:37 pm

Read up on "telecine". That will cover most of your questions in better detail than a short post here.


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Todd Terry
Re: Transfering Old Film Reel To Computer
on Aug 21, 2013 at 10:31:59 pm

[Jackie Luffy] "I looked at the actual wall with my own eyes the film and I could see the flicker with my own eyes yet on the camera it was perfect"

Don't worry about that... it's immaterial. It doesn't matter what it looks like to your eye, the only thing that matters is what your camera is recording, you only have to make sure that's what looks good.

Ideally you should be projecting your film at the same frames per second that it was shot. We don't know what is, and don't have quite enough info to tell. It could be one of three speeds... old-fashioned standard-8mm film was typically shot at 16fps. MOS Super8 was shot at 18fps. Sound Super8 was shot at 24fps. To get good motion, you need to match that.

You're seeing the flicker directly from the projector because you turned the speed down. A projector has a tri-blade shutter, which triples the number of images you see so that you don't see the flicker. However apparently you slowed it down so much that you do see them. You don't see the flicker in the camera when you get a reasonably close sync with the camera and projector.


[Jackie Luffy] "The picture was pretty poor... Is this normal?"

No, not normal. Well shot film, even ancient standard 8mm, can look suprisingly good.

[Jackie Luffy] "...in reality Vegas should be playing every frame perfectly, but frame by frame I get the ghost image of the previous frame and the current frame molded over each other..."

This is not an anomaly of Vegas, it looks that way because it was shot that way. Your camera and your projector are not sync'd together (nor is there any way to sync them)... ergo, the camera is not perfectly shooting one frame as the projector shows one frame... the camera is catching the projector showing one frame for part of the time, and the next frame for the rest. Starting and stopping the projector my help trick it into better sync (just by luck), but it will never be perfect... and even if it starts perfect, it will quickly drift out. You'll likely always have some degree of these "double frames," but also your camera's slow shutter speed is compounding this problem as well.

Here's how to do it correctly with the equipment you have.... carefully put the camera back in its case, the projector back in its box, and send the film out to a lab to be professionally telecined. Not trying to be a smartass, but that's really the only way to do it right. There are several places you can find that will do this (do some Googling), you'll get your film ultrasonically cleaned, properly telecined (there are even some that will do a "wet gate" transfer to eliminate scratches), and files transferred to harddrive (with a proper 1:1 frame-for-frame transfer). What you don't want is a transfer on an old-fashioned "film chain"... you want a real scanned telecine.... look for telecine brand names such as "Rank" or "Spirit" in the company specs.

If you play around with your speeds and settings you might eventually get decent results... good enough to, say, put home movies on a DVD to send to grandma. But using a camera to shoot a projected image off a wall is probably never going to give you better than "Ehhhh... well that looks fair" results. If you're looking for footage good enough for a "real project" then you need to have a professional transfer.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Jackie Luffy
Re: Transfering Old Film Reel To Computer
on Aug 22, 2013 at 10:18:55 am

Your right, I think I will just send them in, GOT MEMORIES seems to be very good and trustworthy!

Its 16 cents per foot

For 15 reels though, 200 ft. would be around 1000 dollars which is what I have which seems like way too much considering you can get a half decent quality capture by just recording off your camera...

I have a plan to get my entire family to pitch in since these are there reels when they were kids

Tell me what you guys think!


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Todd Terry
Re: Transfering Old Film Reel To Computer
on Aug 22, 2013 at 2:52:26 pm

Looked at "Got Memories" briefly, they do it the older-fashioned film-chain way, rather than a real scanned telecine... which probably partly explains why they are so cheap. They're not using a million-dollar film scanner. At least their machines have LED lamps though. I'd say they are good enough or better for DVDs for family.

[Jackie Luffy] "you can get a half decent quality capture by just recording off your camera..."

Depends on what you need. If "half decent" is good enough, do it yourself. If not, have it professionally done.

[Jackie Luffy] "Tell me what you guys think!"

I think it's not going to get cheaper than it is today to have it done in a month or a year or 10 years. And in the meantime the film is not going to be sitting in the cans undeteriorating.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Jackie Luffy
Re: Transfering Old Film Reel To Computer
on Aug 22, 2013 at 5:17:34 pm

Hmmm, out of everything I have checked out it seems that Got Memories gives off the best quality, the reviews seem good people say its the best quality, and I have also watched clips on youtube, the quality looks great, what other companies can do this better?

Check this video out






Even though its not scanned its still good, how much better can a real telecine be compared to what got memories does? I mean Ive seen the examples on youtube, they seem to be alright, very watchable, but really for old film can it really get any better than what Got Memories does? Even though they do use the old method, how much better is it with it actually scanned?

Thanks for your help!


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Todd Terry
Re: Transfering Old Film Reel To Computer
on Aug 22, 2013 at 5:32:01 pm

They are probably fine for "home movie" quality, as I said, for a DVD you want to watch or give to a relative. They're obviously aimed at general consumers, and not video professionals... but sometimes that's just fine.

For it to be as "good as it can be," that requires real film scanning. One company that comes to mind is Pro8mm. ( http://www.pro8mm.com )

Now that's real high-end film scanning so it may be overkill. That's what you'd use if you, say, had archival 8mm footage that you needed to use in a current modern production, or for the best archival possible. It's on the opposite end of the spectrum from "project it on the wall and shoot it." That previously-mentioned place is probably somewhere in the middle.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Mark Suszko
Re: Transfering Old Film Reel To Computer
on Aug 22, 2013 at 5:43:50 pm

If you're a "handy" person, there are DIY plans for making your own film transfer scanners, basically a mechanical sprocket device to incrementally scan each frame using a DSLR or a flatbed scanner and some home-grown software. Complicated and fussy, but cheap, if you have the time. There's always the three-sided equation: Fast, Cheap, Quality; pick any two, but ONLY two :-)


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Todd Terry
Re: Transfering Old Film Reel To Computer
on Aug 22, 2013 at 5:54:26 pm

[Mark Suszko] "If you're a "handy" person...."

...and have lots of time on your hands.

I know several people in another forum (a non-COW cinematography forum) that do this, have modified scanners to do 4K scans of their 35mm negatives (one of these guys in in a South American country and a looooong way from the nearest proper telecine facility, so he has to DIY). Some of these guys have spent quite a bit of R&D and a fair bit of money (few thousand bucks) and are getting spectacular results. But although they are getting perfect scans, it takes its toll on the clock... I think they can only do a couple of feet an hour, maybe less.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Jackie Luffy
Re: Transfering Old Film Reel To Computer
on Aug 22, 2013 at 8:25:12 pm

Oh wow eh, yeah that does seem like a lot of work..

Im not entirely sure I want to go ahead with Got Memories, im a quality feind, but Im just not exactly sure how much better Pro8mm to Got Memories is visually, Sure I seen the videos and they do look a bit better, but it would be nice to see a side by side comparision of the same film to correctly make a decision...

I guess the only way is to really think about it


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Todd Terry
Re: Transfering Old Film Reel To Computer
on Aug 22, 2013 at 8:31:42 pm

No, ask them each to make available a short (few seconds) sample file (downloaded or FTP'd to you) and throw them in your editor.

The Millennium scanner especially is going to be light years ahead of the shoot-it-off-the-gate system from the "Memories" company (so will the Ursa scan, although it might be only standard-def... I'm not sure of the specs).

One is definitely consumer, one is definitely high-end pro. Just depends on how good the transfer needs to be and what you're going to do with it.

Either will be tons better than setting up a projector and doing it from home.

Good luck!

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Jackie Luffy
Re: Transfering Old Film Reel To Computer
on Aug 22, 2013 at 10:29:59 pm

I think im going to go with PRO8MM!

I got a quote from them and from Got Memories, here is the difference

Got Memories (My 2180 Feet of reels) = $750 APROX. thats 720 P
Pro 8MM (2180 Feet of reel) = $1,500 and thats 1080 P

Seems pretty reasonable for Pro 8MM especially considering you can choose it to be in any format you want and its like you said scanned with a 4K scanner!

it would of been $2,800 to get it done with color correction, exposure, and so forth but in the end I decided I can just get the basic and i can edit it all myself, im expierenced in color correction and making movies look hollywood like through many years of editing, only thing they told me was that if you dont pay extra for them to remaster it the exposure will not be as good... Do you think it wouldnt be too much of a problem?

The woman who works for Pro8 definetly sold me on the idea of getting these old film reels transferred in the best quality you can get them in, I want to relive those times!

Thanks so much for your help!


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