Scanning my WW2 16mm color footage

Discussion in 'Film Discussion and Q & A' started by warfootage, Apr 30, 2008.

  1. warfootage

    warfootage TPF Noob!

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    Hello.
    I have a little question that i hope someone here might be able to help.
    I have collected up a large collection of 8mm and 16mm color home movies taken by soldiers in the american and germany army during the second world war.
    The problem is, i have been streaming this film in a 35mm slide scanner to take nice cell shots, but i dont have a clue about getting these films professional scanned digitally as a movie.
    What is the best way of getting my home movies onto the computer?
    Can i buy a machine that scans film onto a digital computer file?
    Any advice is warmly welcomed.
    Many thanks and Greetings from the Republic of Ireland.
    Ian
     
  2. Helen B

    Helen B TPF Noob!

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    It depends a lot on the quality you require and your budget.

    The simplest way is to project the film onto a plain white screen - a piece of A3 paper is ideal - and record it with a video camera alongside the projector. The 'keystoning' should not be a big issue.

    Frame rate is important. If you are shooting PAL you are shooting at 25 frames/sec, which is actually 50 fields/sec. Most silent film was shot at 16 fps. Sound film (yours is most likely to be silent, I suspect) was shot at 24 fps. There are at least two ways round this 16-25 mismatch.

    Adjust the projector to 16-2/3 fps (that is 50/3 fps, ie 3 video fields per frame of film); or

    Shoot with the projector at 25 fps and adjust the speed in post production with good software.

    You can adjust the projector speed by looking at the image the video camera is producing - when it is producing a steady image the projector is at the right speed.

    You can do a projector modification that will help.

    A projector has a multi-bladed shutter to increase the flicker rate so that we don't notice it. A two-bladed shutter doubles the flicker rate. This is what happens with 24 fps film:

    Cycle time for one frame: 1/24 second, divided into four segments of 1/96 second.
    First segment: shutter open, frame displayed;
    Second segment: shutter closes, film does not move;
    Third segment:shutter open, frame displayed;
    Fourth segment: shutter closed, film advanced by one frame
    Repeat.

    (I can explain why and how that is done if you wish)

    You don't need that sequence for videoing. Therefore you can remove all but one shutter blade, so that the image is shown for the maximum time, which helps to reduce flicker in the video image.

    Alternatively you can buy stepping projection systems: these are much slower, effectively taking one frame at a time in an automatic way. I've seen them for around $1000. The frames are then stitched together by software.

    Alternatively you could buy an old TK machine (a telecine machine) like a Rank Cintel with 8 mm and 16 mm film gates. That's going to be the best way if you have a lot, this is going to be a business, and you are willing to learn.

    I've used a few varieties of all of three systems.

    In order they are:
    fast and cheap, reasonable quality;
    medium cost, slow, good quality;
    fast, higher cost, good quality.

    Tell us more about the format and quality you would like to end up with, and your total budget, then we can suggest specific equipment and methods.

    Good luck,
    Helen
     
  3. warfootage

    warfootage TPF Noob!

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    Thanks Helen for all your great help !
    I have many very rare 16mm home movies and i think its worth doing this process to the highest quality possible.
    I actually just spent 1400 dollars on a hugh 16mm home taken privatly of General Dwight D Eisenhower when he was in Tokyo Japan late 1945 and i think its worth safely backing this up for the futue digitally.
    Any directions would be most warmly welcomed.
    Many thanks.
    Ian
     
  4. warfootage

    warfootage TPF Noob!

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    here is just a small screen shot from one of the home movies.
    Thankfully war time american kodachrome film was very robust at keeping its rich colours.
    [​IMG]
     
  5. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Sheesh Helen.. let me guess.. you've done this a few times..

    :hail:
     

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