16mm transfer

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Wayne

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Its time to get the old man's 16mm movies from the 40's-60's digitized, but holy crap. $160 per reel for Pro 2K? No way that's going to happen. On the other end of the spectrum I see places like Southtree.com doing 480 lines SD quality, and I can get everything I have (about 2400 feet) digitized for about $100.

Should I do that and wait for prices to fall on higher res formats someday, or is there a MUCH cheaper option for getting 2K? Intermediate resolutions are also not appealing because of the cost.
 
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I feel your pain. That is exactly what I paid for 2K for a few hundred feet of 16mm...$160 plus shipping both ways. If you want it cleaned they charge more.

The 2K quality is better than the little MP4 online. Very watchable on big screen TV. Here is a 2K scan converted to MP4.



I got hundreds of films in my archive. I've only done about 5 of them. I'm hoping Epson comes out with a 16mm sound scanner for $3999.00 or something like that. You can always project on a screen and video tape. At least you got something.

Good luck!
 

Kino

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Wayne, I understand, but like anything else, the cost of purchasing the equipment to make a 2K transfer is pretty darned steep. You are looking at a minimum of $150 to 200K USD to purchase the machine alone and you then have to staff it and purchase and upkeep all the ancilary computers and storage required to run a transfer facility.

I know its no comfort, but it used to be a standard def transfer in the 1990s would run you $500 USD a hour with prep costs.

Start researching what it would take to do it yourself and you'll soon wonder how it is done for the prevailing rates.
 
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It is a mystery how they even buy the equipment. The scan companies must only want to make sales in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

I contacted Lasergraphics and some other scan companies to see if they were going to make anything at all reasonable. No answer from any of them. I wrote again, no answer. Finally after months of writing an agent from Lasegraphics wrote me. He said it is about $60K for a home unit + $7.5k for a 2 day training on site + some other extras. I wrote him back to ask if they plan to make anything more affordable...no reply. What shitty customer service Lasergraphics offers.

Listen, if anyone ever comes out with an affordable, hi-res scanner or I win the lotto, I will scan your films for free. Only catch is:

1) the film has to interest me.

2) I will add it to my archive and put it on the internet.

3) if I don't like the film I would not scan it even for $. (And that is how I do my photography as well.)

If you got 8mm, you can get a Wolverine from BH for $300. But the output is low quality and mine broke very quick. (22 short reels)

Here is what it produces:

nsfw

 
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Kino

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I built a 3K 16/35mm scanner for about $40K about a decade ago. It scanned at the rate of 1 frame per 1.5 seconds. Nightmare to setup and run; it took years off my life.... Here is what is left of it...
 
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I built a 3K 16/35mm scanner for about $40K about a decade ago. It scanned at the rate of 1 frame per 1.5 seconds. Nightmare to setup and run; it took years off my life....

You got to be a genius / mechanical wizard to build them things. This GD film biz is a nightmare unless you got $ and I mean tons of $$$.

Here is a guy that built one.



I was thinking to write to Bloomberg and ask if he wanted to donate $25K to getting part of my archive scanned. No return on investment other than satisfaction of preserving history before the reels turn into salad dressing. No idea why I picked Bloomberg, other than saw him on TV. We could not be more opposite in our politics. About 75% of my archive is ancient porn from the 1920's to 1940s. Some is extremely rare French. Can you imagine if the news got a hold of that...Bloomberg producing porn films!

Film (movie), while related to photography is something totally different when you get down to it. Look at what it costs to shoot 16mm movies...

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/906068-REG/kodak_1876580_vision3_500t_color_negative.html

Then you still have to develop it (about $80 per 400 foot reel) , PP it and scan it.

In the old days (70's) I would buy expired 35mm 100 foot rolls from Freestyle for $3.50 and bulk load. D-76 was $1 a gallon premixed. Now look at how things are. Photography is such a money sucking activity.

freestyle-ad-1963-daniel-d-teoli-jr-archival-collection-m.jpg
 
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Wayne

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So how awful is SD quality? I dont even own a big screen or even a digital TV for that matter (I have a converter) so I'm not exactly a connoisseur. If my siblings want to bitch about the quality (they own all of that stuff) they can pay for the 2K. But they don't have the film, I do.
 

guangong

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Why not keep the films, which will probably outlast digital copies by decades and decades. Unless it’s just for convenience sake. There must be a reason digitally captured feature presentations are transferred to film for storage. Besides, a projected film just looks better.
 
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Wayne

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Why not keep the films, which will probably outlast digital copies by decades and decades. Unless it’s just for convenience sake. There must be a reason digitally captured feature presentations are transferred to film for storage. Besides, a projected film just looks better.

I dont intend to get rid of the films. Since some are over 70 years old already, I don't think concerns about their remaining longevity are misplaced.

Maybe I should get them transferred to film. :laugh::angel:
 

MattKing

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Do you have a 16mm projector, a good screen and a camera that does digital video?
These folks are local to us - maybe it would be worthwhile obtaining a quote: Dead Link Removed
 

guangong

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Using a video camera to copy a projected film is not the way to go. A movie film is made up of individual images projected at xframes/sec. a video camera also shoots xframes/sec. Absolutely no margin for error. A digital transfer records each fram on film and transfers to digital device which can then play so that every frame is displayed at proper speed and whole frame will be displayed. A very time and labor intensive effort. That’s why it is expensive. It may just be cheaper to transfer to new film copy, but I haven’t done that for a long time and don’t know current costs.
Glad you are keeping the film versions.
 
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Wayne

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Do you have a 16mm projector, a good screen and a camera that does digital video?
These folks are local to us - maybe it would be worthwhile obtaining a quote: Dead Link Removed

I have a projector and a camera, and screens are a dime a dozen on craigslist. But I'm not sure I really want to spend hours repairing splices, editing the files, fixing the projector, etc. Its something to consider but I dont have much time on my hands and I do have 100 dollars that I may not have 6 months from now
 

Kino

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The basic principals behind digital scanning are pretty simple, but the devil is in the details!

We once had a "garage inventor" try to sell us a film scanner built upon a DSLR. The only problem was that the forecast frame cycle life of the DLSR was a little over a feature film in length! Imagine buying a new DSLR each time you scanned a feature film! There are 160,000 frames in an average 10 reel 35mm feature.

If you want to build a scanner, look into cheaper machine vision cameras that capture in 2 to 4K on the "event trigger" principal. I've known others to take an old projector, build a LED lamphouse and point a machine vision camera at the gate. On a 1 to 1 shaft located in the projector (they all have them), you place a micro switch to trigger capture when the film frame is advanced in the gate. That and about 6 months and several thousand dollars and you too can have a nervous breakdown! :wink:

I don't know where you are getting your quotes for scanning, but you might give these guys a call:

https://www.gammaraydigital.com/faq/scanning
 
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Now you guys or gals should not discount copying your films off the screen.

I shot this off a TV...

last-state-of-the-union-obama-daniel-d-teoli-jr-m.jpg


If you are broke like me, try it. Buy a 16mm silent projector off eBay for $85. Buy a small screen off Amazon for $50. If you have a digital camera, it shoots video. Get 100 feet of white leader. Run it through the projector to see if it eats up the sprockets. If it is good, buy a $5 or $10 junk 16mm film of eBay. Run it through the projector to see if it eats it up. If everything is OK, run your films through the projector and video off the screen.

Oh...for you wanneb street photogs that need practice. Shoot your TV. An exercise I've done for ages. Might as well get some practice as you watch TV. Great for timing. You can even shoot on the plane!

tv-practice-mr.jpg
 
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Using a video camera to copy a projected film is not the way to go. A movie film is made up of individual images projected at xframes/sec. a video camera also shoots xframes/sec. Absolutely no margin for error. A digital transfer records each fram on film and transfers to digital device which can then play so that every frame is displayed at proper speed and whole frame will be displayed. A very time and labor intensive effort. That’s why it is expensive. It may just be cheaper to transfer to new film copy, but I haven’t done that for a long time and don’t know current costs.
Glad you are keeping the film versions.

Sure, but it is better than nothing. You know the deal...beggars can't be choosers aka half a loaf of bread is better than no bread.
 
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I have a projector and a camera, and screens are a dime a dozen on craigslist. But I'm not sure I really want to spend hours repairing splices, editing the files, fixing the projector, etc. Its something to consider but I dont have much time on my hands and I do have 100 dollars that I may not have 6 months from now

Well, if you don't have the time, you should just pay to have it done. There are no cheap and easy fixes when it comes to film. To do it right you need money and dedication. Or at least dedication.

The other day I spent hours spicing together a chopped up film. I had one film that had to be cleaned 5 times that was rescued from the trash after it was in a hurricane...just filthy!

As I told you above. Films are related to still photography, but it is very different when it comes to $ and time.
 
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If you do mail your films off to be scanned, you still should be shooting a video off the screen as a back up. What hap if you movie is lost in the mail? Now you got nothing.

That is a big reason for me to be able to scan at home. It is such a hassle having to mail films out, worry while they are going and have them mailed and worried about them getting back to me. Plus some of the content in my archive the scanners wont do.
 
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