Scanning motion picture film

Discussion in 'Film Discussion and Q & A' started by darter, Aug 18, 2009.

  1. darter

    darter TPF Noob!

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    Hello all. I am building a telecine system to automate scanning of 16 mm home movies (16mm film) using an Epson Photo Scanner. I just got the used scanner off Amazon. I have a few questions. What side of the film must face the scanner glass? Does it matter? Why? My 16mm film, of course, has sprocket holes and I've considered scanning the film area not normally viewed at the extreme right and left side of the film where the sprocket holes also reside at a certain interval. Then I might crop my scanned images to get a wider shot. That means I would lose top and bottom areas of each frame. Any thoughts on that? Bad idea? Lastly, I've been trying differing scan resolutions. Any suggestions? I am now just aiming for the highest but perhaps there is no point in going "too high". I think my DVDs hold 8 gig so I was just aiming to make a 50 foot roll of film fill that up.
     
  2. DSPhotography

    DSPhotography TPF Noob!

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    What model Epson?
     
  3. Dwig

    Dwig TPF Noob!

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    The base side should face the glass. Otherwise the images will appear reversed (mirror image) and would need to be flopped afterwards.

    Something in the range of 3200-4800ppi should be the best. Anything higher and you will only be getting more pixels without getting more detail. You may find that 2400ppi is more than adequate. If you are going to output standard DVD formats, and not HD, you may find that 2400ppi is more than adequate.
     
  4. Actor

    Actor TPF Noob!

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    I've heard of a lot of people trying this but I've never heard of anyone making it work. Does your design address problems of registration and pull down? What software do you plan to use?
    What do you hope to gain by that? As far as I can see it would only make for black bars on each side of your TV screen. If you're hoping to get a wider aspect ratio you'll have to enlarge the gate of your 16mm camera, not an easy task.
    Not a bad idea at all. I've done it. Simply letterboxing your 16mm image still leaves you with more image area than super 8. Ideally you'd want to put reference markings on the viewfinder of your camera but I just wing it.
    Just keep in mind that an HDTV is 1920 pixels wide by 1080 pixels high (maximum) and that an uncropped 16mm image is 0.404 inches wide by 0.295 inches high.
    50 feet is the length of 8mm film. The smallest loads for 16mm are 100 feet. Are you sure you're not talking about 8mm?

    As far as telecine for the amateur (or small pro) goes the best bang for the buck is found at

    moviestuff entry page

    I have one of his 8mm units and it's fantastic.
     
  5. darter

    darter TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for comments. My mistake, my rolls are 16mm 100 feet, not 50. Glad I know that now. As for resolution I keep thinking that more pixels means more resolution so I should still try to go super big, thinking that one day I'll be glad I did - even though I can't see the difference. Perhaps one day I'll project the image? My scanner is a 4490 Epson. As for the the film transport, I've made a bed where a pin drags the film over a few frames then repeats. As for wide cropping, I am assuming (without knowing) that a normal old projector never projects the area between the sprocket holes (?) but I could elect to do so (maybe?). Also, I bought some film cleaner at a photo store. Now I'm wondering if it will damage my old film. Do most people clean really old film like this (from 1949)? Or live with the dust.
     
  6. Actor

    Actor TPF Noob!

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    The width of the frame is 0.404 inch = 10.26mm. Realistically I don't think the film is going to have more resolution than 50 double lines/mm, meaning the frame is about 500 double lines wide. That equates to 1000 pixels or 2500 pixels per inch. Double that and you've got 5000 pixels per inch. Your 16mm image is 0.4 inches wide so at that resolution you have a width of 2000 pixels, in the ball park with the 1920 pixel width of HDTV.
    Congratulations! That alone is a great achievement.
    Yes, you could. But normally that area is unexposed and is simply black. There are exceptions. The camera that Abraham Zapruder used to film the Kennedy assassination did expose this area and most modern prints (tapes/DVDs) of the film include this area. The Zapruder film is 8mm of course.
    They clean it. I use a product called Renovex from urbanskifilm.com. You have to be careful, otherwise you can scratch the film. I avoid using paper products for cleaning. Normally I do not clean my film. I don't project my reversal film but telecine it as soon as I get it back from the lab and then I archhive it. I have the lab telecine my negative film (which I seldom shoot due to costs) and it goes straight into the archive.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2009
  7. darter

    darter TPF Noob!

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    Uh, maybe the cork needs to stay in the champagne a while longer. I have made the transport and manually it transports film and seems to work as expected but I have not hooked it up to the computer yet. I know the pin may not be driven home perfectly every time to I am working on a feedback system so it can self adjust when there is a failure. It's made out of an erector set and an extra scanner. But it's almost there. I'm going to think about what you wrote about the lines - do you mean lines that would be displayed by a video monitor or imaginary "lines" on the film? I've been wondering about the actual resolution of the film itself versus the resolution of a scanned image. On the film I would think there are a bazillion individual little particles of information per square inch so I presume no copy is ever as good as that.
     
  8. Actor

    Actor TPF Noob!

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    Lines per mm (or double lines/mm) is a method of determining the resolution of film. Basically a test is performed to determine how dense a pattern of alternating black and white lines can get before they merge into gray. A rating of 100 lines/mm means that you still distinguish 100 black line from 100 white lines. I think Kodak produced a B&W film some time back called Pan-something-or-other that was rated 200 lines/mm. It's no longer available. 50 lines/mm is probably the best you can expect from present day color film. It would take two pixels to distinguish the black line from the white line so 50 lines/mm sort of equates to 100 pixels per mm.
     

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