Film scanner under €100K

Fateh Shams Jun 2, 2015

  1. I am trying to get overview of scanning market, got past experience with Cintel DataMill.

    What are the options under €100K? Besides BMD Cintel which might come out during this year, but might not so good for the old film due to the reason that it's not sprocketless.

    What are the main concerns to think about? It will not be used for feature film, but mainly for car industry old internal + commercial films, which are 16mm / 35mm positive, negative, optical or magnetic sound etc...

    Following list I have created.
    1. BMD Cintel (very price attractive whenever it will come out, missing lot of technical info, also not sprocketless but it might get changed when it's released or in updated version)
    2. DigitalVision Golden Eye 4 (over €100K but seems be still most flexible and compare to other cheaper solution in tech terms for archive footage. If anyone got experience with v3 or v4 of this scanner, please share)
    3. DFT Scanity (high end state of the art machine but not for us)
    4. FilmFabreik Muller HDs from Holland (only €20k and with wetgate, willl release in sep 2015 but 35mm version will come out next year)
    5. Arriscan (I think same as above, very high end machines, not sure about price tag)
    6. Filmlight NorthLight (very high end machine, not sure about price tag)

    Any other recommendation to check out?
  2. We used to have a Golden eye not sure what version and it but was used for exactly what your talking about with the DVO restoration tools our restoration guy used to swear by it good solid work flow

    i can,t help much more than that thing is to get demo maybe from the Digital vision guys they are very friendly
    Adam Hawkey likes this.
  3. Bummer! I'd understood from Jeff that it was going to be much more "reasonable"
  4. Jason Myres likes this.
  5. N
    Thanks, will look more into that!

    We have also looked at Digital Vision Phoenix for further restoration and in that way Golden Eye fits good in workflow.

    In terms of Restoration what are the alternatives besides Phoenix?

    What I understand PFClean and Diamant Film are more software based solution instead of complete workstation with proper monitoring solution.
  6. We have two of DCS-LA's Xena machines, one Dynamic Perf optical registered with a 12-bit 4K Color camera, and one Pin Registered with a 4K monochrome camera, looking at either a 6.6K or10K monochrome Illunis camera for the Pin-Reg scanner right now.

    They support IR in DPX and TIFF.

    DCS have fully built machines and retrofit systems for legacy telecines.

    I am not sure they have the contact info right on the site:

    These are area panel scanners, I think they are superior to line scan and I have had to redo work that came out of a Golden Eye due to multiple pixel vertical streaks in the scans but that may have been shoddy work by the operator.

    Cinelab is a DCS customer and Alpha tester and I have had input into the systems from the perspective of what we need as a lab.
    Jason Myres likes this.
  7. Jason Myres

    Jason Myres Moderator

    Nice one, Robert. This sounds like a killer option.

    Xena Host Software, Scanner Chassis, Basic Transport and Illumination System, Capstan Drive, and 35mm and 16mm continuous feed gates with perforation stabilization windows.... $89,500
  8. We move allot of film through the two machine and they work well and produce great pictures.
  9. No love for Lasergraphics?

    We have a Lasergraphics ScanStation, 8mm and 16mm model. It can also do 35mm, 17.5mm and 9.5mm but ours isn't configured for those. It's above your price range, though.

    That said, they have a new model that's slightly stripped down with options a la carte, called the ScanStation Personal. (don't look at me, I didn't name it!). I think you might be able to configure a 35mm/16mm model in your price range, but you should check with them. The ScanStation line is designed for archival use: sprocketless, very gentle, very reliable, excellent software and support. And it's fast. I think it's a more polished machine than the MWA machine, which I think is its closest competitor for modern scanners.

    We also have a 6k Northlight for 35mm. It's an amazing scanner - the picture quality is absolutely outstanding. Used Northlights are out there, and you can get one well under $100k if you look around. But they're slow. Very slow. Seconds-per-frame slow.

    As for your other options, in my mind the Scanity and Goldeneye are non-starters because they're continuous motion transports with line sensors. As Rob pointed out, you're going to have issues with warping at splices on these. The sales guy for the GoldenEye tried to sell me on it by saying that they recognize when there's a problem and flag it for their (separately purchased) restoration system. To me, that's not a solution, that's a workaround. Stick with either a pin-registered intermittent motion line scanner (Northlight, Imagica XE, something Oxberry-based), or a scanner that uses an area sensor, where this just isn't a problem. I never understood why people thought the Scanity was so great. I've seen much better quality scans off a Lasergraphics Director, which is less expensive and arguably a much better, more modern design that's less expensive to operate and maintain.

    Robert Houllahan likes this.
  10. I'm also a big fan of the Northlight scanner, but I have to say that DFT makes a good case against pin-registration, particularly when scanning old films with bad splices, warps, and bad perfs:

    I think it's fair to say there are quite a few modestly-priced scanners out there today that do great work. The only scanners I've used that I didn't like were Imagicas, but I believe they're no longer in business.

    I don't know anything about them, but I know Image Trends is yet another affordable film-scanner manufacturer:

    Same with Flashscan8, which has a scanner for 8mm, Super 8, and 16mm:
  11. Loving that Flashscan8. I've got some Ektachrome 400 super8 pushed 2 stops to 1600. The grain is ethereal. I'd love to see it scanned at 4k then watch Neat Video tremble :p
  12. Well, the Northlight does have an optional pinless gate (bigger gate, optical pin registration like the ScanStation). We haven't tested it yet since we've only had ours for a little while, but I'm planning to do some tests of old film with the registration pins removed, just using the pin plate as a pressure plate. For shrunken material this would require a post-processing pass to stabilize the image, but that's easy enough to do these days.

    DFT makes an excellent case for the Lasergraphics ScanStation in that white paper, actually - it meets all the requirements in that document, for a lot less money than the Scanity. Granted, the ScanStation uses a Bayer sensor, but one major drawback with the Scanity is that you will get warping at splices, because it's a line sensor with a continuous motion transport.

    We've had to do restoration work on some feature films that were scanned on a Scanity, from cut neg, and it was a nightmare: warping at every single splice, just like you get on a Spirit or Shadow, or any other line scanner with this kind of transport. That simply doesn't happen with an area scanner.

  13. ^ Area sensor scanners are the way to go these days, the machines can use either Color-Bayer mask or Monochrome sensors and RGB+IR illumination and will not have frame-time distortion like line scan systems do. Also line scan can have issues with dirt buildup that will cause linear streaks through the whole picture instead of an issue with a few pixels if dirt/dust somehow ends up on the sensor of a area scanner.

    The other nice thing about an Area Panel scanner is that it is easy to change out the sensor for a newer, higher resolution more DR etc. sensor as they become available. We just changed our Dynamic-Perf Xena from a 3.4K CCD to a 4K CMOS sensor the CCD had a max framerate of 6fps and the 4K 12-bit CMOS has a max framerate of 30FPS at 4K and 12-bits. There are a few new sensors just coming to market like the 71Mp 10Kx8K one from Illunis.

  14. The Kinetta costs $129,995 loaded -- all formats, capture computer with 24TB storage, everything but monitors. We sometimes have trade ins that are less expensive. 5K costs a little more, but you can upgrade at any time. Been busy -- five new machines this summer -- three to one user who had planned to get Blackmagic Scanners but found that they do not exist!
    Pepijn Klijs and Jason Myres like this.
  15. We have been testing 5K CMOS sensors but while they are faster than CCDs, they lack the dynamic range of CCDs, so for most Kinetta users, who scan a lot of contrasty material (reversal original and print) they can't reach into the shadows as nicely. We're testing a new 5K CCD with huge pixels and ridiculous dynamic range -- arrives next week.
  16. One thing I never understood about the MWA and Flashscan machines is why do they have so many rollers? My theory is that the designers are paid by the roller. Small diameter rollers, stepped rollers, and dancer arms are all the enemy of damaged film.
  17. Euros? Not that much more, depending on the exchange rate. A few percent, but you get everything you need.

    I don't recall you writing me to get a quotation, Juan! Write me --

  18. Sure. I am biased, of course. Check out the Kinetta Archival Film Scanner. Just slightly over your price range depending on the exchange rate, but comes fully loaded (including formats -- 8/S8, 16/S16, 35 -- with 9.5, 17.5, 22mm, and 28mm available inexpensively) including capture computer with 24TB local storage and all software -- everything but monitors. Sensor module can be swapped out by the user in 1 minute -- easily upgraded unlike many other machines -- so as new sensors are available your scanner can keep up with them. Many new improvements coming this summer. See for info (web site is a bit out of date because I've been too busy building scanners -- so far 5 for this summer.

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