Retro-8 Film Scanner Review

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Nate Williams
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Re: Retro-8 Film Scanner Review

Post by Nate Williams » Fri Nov 01, 2013 6:04 pm

After reading your review I'm glad I waited to order, but it's taken twice as long to get it.

I ordered my Retro-8 back on June 14th.. 140 days and counting. I am still anxiously awaiting a tracking number. I've called Roger a few times and have been assured it'll be just a couple more weeks each time.

Hopefully the delay means all the kinks have been ironed out of the first batches and our unit will be flawless.

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Re: Retro-8 Film Scanner Review

Post by Nate Williams » Fri Nov 01, 2013 11:13 pm

Received my tracking number today. Coincidence?! Looking forward to testing out my new Retro-8 next week! :D

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Re: Retro-8 Film Scanner Review

Post by prtprt » Sat Nov 02, 2013 12:19 pm

memoriesrenewed wrote:Looking forward to testing out my new Retro-8 next week! :D
And we are looking forward to read your review! :)

Charlie

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Re: Retro-8 Film Scanner Review

Post by beaunizo » Sat Nov 02, 2013 3:23 pm

Clearly a professional with skills, knowledge and high milage has a different opinion:
http://www.cinematography.com/index.php ... 5&p=397073
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Re: Retro-8 Film Scanner Review

Post by sjpro » Tue Nov 05, 2013 2:14 am

Getting a tracking number for a June order is pretty impressive. I ordered on Feb 27th and still no word. I did get an email in August stating orders should be caught up by the end of September.

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Re: Retro-8 Film Scanner Review

Post by ashleyco » Mon Nov 11, 2013 3:36 am

Getting a tracking number for a June order is pretty impressive.
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Re: Retro-8 Film Scanner Review

Post by ashleyco » Mon Nov 11, 2013 3:38 am

It appears his "review" is disinformation.
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Re: Retro-8 Film Scanner Review

Post by Nate Williams » Sat Nov 16, 2013 6:59 am

I got my Retro-8 this week and after a minor hardware hiccup that Roger quickly rectified, I was up and running in no time.

I don't have any other equipment to compare it to other than a Workprinter XP converted to HD w/a Velocity box, but so far I really, really, really, really, like the Retro-8. It was worth the wait. I'm blown away by the the color depth, focus, and scan quality of each frame. The capture speed is half the speed from what I'm used to compared to the Workprinter. 30 mins per 50 foot reel takes some time to get used to, but I like how I can adjust the exposure, framer, and horizon within just a couple frames during the capture.

Hardware-wise, I don't have any complaints other than what has been already stated about the reel holders. The loading and rewinding of films can be a little awkward at first, but once you get used to it, it's not a problem. Another very minor gripe is that the included USB cable is a tad short. I'll have to invest a few bucks in a longer one but not a big deal.

Software-wise, I had zero issues installing the software and drivers on my Windows 7 64 bit system, and found it very easy to use. There are a few improvements I would like to see made but I'm sure it'll all be addressed in due time. It's flexible enough to allow me to do what I need to in my NLE by exporting the individual frames. I know the software will improve over time and I am looking forward to the future updates. It's rock stable during captures and that's what really matters.

Now if only I could afford a fleet of them to capture many reels at once. :)

Well done Moviestuff. Well done.

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Re: Retro-8 Film Scanner Review

Post by MovieStuff » Sat Nov 16, 2013 1:35 pm

Glad you are having fun results. Regarding the reel holders: we went through a LOT of designs for the reel hubs; some rather complex and some even simpler than what we ended up with. After shipping more than 8000 units over 10 years, I came to the realization that what customers really want is durability. To that end, an effort was made to reduce the unit to as few moving parts as possible and that included the reel hubs. The screw on reel holders, while unconventional, will simply never, ever, ever break or wear out. And, even if they were to somehow break years from now in the middle of a transfer session (highly improbable), a quick trip to the hardware store would provide a viable replacement in the form of a simple threaded nut and washer. I agree it takes some getting used to, compared to the spring loaded spindles found on regular projectors, but there is no question the Retro-8 hubs are virtually indestructible by comparison. Simplicity and durability were the guiding principles behind the design of the entire unit. And, of course, a nice image. :)

Roger

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Re: Retro-8 Film Scanner Review

Post by JeremyC » Sat Nov 16, 2013 2:49 pm

MovieStuff wrote:The screw on reel holders, while unconventional, will simply never, ever, ever break or wear out. And, even if they were to somehow break years from now in the middle of a transfer session (highly improbable), a quick trip to the hardware store would provide a viable replacement in the form of a simple threaded nut and washer.r
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Re: Retro-8 Film Scanner Review

Post by dgs8film » Sat Nov 16, 2013 3:40 pm

I'm looking forward to getting my Retro-8. Can't wait to try it out!!!
Thanks Roger for all the cool "toys" to support small format filmmaking!
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Re: Retro-8 Film Scanner Review

Post by Colin Anderton » Sun Nov 17, 2013 6:46 pm

I ordered my Retro-8 at the beginning of August, and I'm really looking forward to getting it.
I'm sure Roger's a great guy, and he's doing a great job - but please, Roger, do something to gee up your email department a bit. I've sent several emails over the last two months or so, but have received only one reply, saying that there was a delay of two weeks or thereabouts. (That was about six weeks ago.)
I can put up with some delays, but I'd just like to be kept informed.

Colin.

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Re: Retro-8 Film Scanner Review

Post by Colin Anderton » Tue Nov 19, 2013 6:24 pm

Cheers, Roger. (He just sent me a very nice email.)

Sorry if I appeared impatient, but since seeing a photo of the Retro-8 in use, I just can't wait to hook it into my editing system.

Colin.

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Re: Retro-8 Film Scanner Review

Post by gaugefilm » Mon Nov 25, 2013 7:18 pm

For what it's worth we had a lot of similar issues with our Workprinter-HD this year at Gauge Film. Before I go on I just want to say I have a deep respect for Roger and what he is doing. Remember that without his ingenuity cheap scanning services and machines would be few and far between and this account has both positive and negative aspects.

Firstly it did take absolutely ages for our Workprinter-HD to get here, way over the designated time period which I think was 60 days. When it did get here it stopped working after only 10 or so transfers. At first correspondents was completely none existent but with a lot of persistence I started getting some replies. To begin with there was an underlining suggestion of blame aimed towards me for the machines nonfunctioning status which was extremely frustrating considering I treated the machine like it was the goose that laid golden eggs. I remember reading the instructions 3 times before attempting to put film through it just to be sure I didn't break it so at the time it did cause me some upset.

After a lot of emailing Roger did step up to the challenge of helping me fix the Workprinter-HD and credit where credits due he sent me a new chassis free of charge which I installed myself with his detailed instructions. From there on out we've had no problems with it. However getting it to that point was a long and arduous process which cost us a lot of time and money. We purchased the unit at the beginning of November 2012 and it wasn't functional until the beginning of April 2013 which was 5 months later. Considering we budgeted to have it up and running sometime in January it was a difficult time for us. On the other hand Roger did extend our warranty from the day it was actually functional so that was very kind of him.

Like I said lots of positive and negative points! Personally I think 99% of the time his units probably work well but when things do go wrong there is just limited support in place. Roger personally helped me sort out the issue from start to finish which indicates he has very few technical staff. Considering he has sold so many of these units over the years he must have to deal with a lot of technical emails on a daily basis which I can imagine puts a lot of strain on him. I always used to remind myself of that whilst emailing him. All things considered I'm still glad I purchased the unit from Roger and lately he replies to emails quickly. I would purchase units off him in the future, but I would probably budget for a worst case scenario of not having an operational system for the first 6 months.

Roger... hope to deal with you in the not to distant future!
www.gaugefilm.co.uk

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Re: Retro-8 Film Scanner Review

Post by MovieStuff » Mon Nov 25, 2013 8:00 pm

gaugefilm wrote: Firstly it did take absolutely ages for our Workprinter-HD to get here, way over the designated time period which I think was 60 days.
We had a number of issues compounding delivery on many units. One was the horrid economy put many of our vendors either out of business or they simply decided they no longer wanted to produce the handful of components we required or at a price that was workable. The second is the number of viable chassis has dropped exponentially, which is one of the reasons for the new Retro-8, which is built totally from scratch. It has had its own birthing pains but we are finally seeing daylight in our delivery schedule.
gaugefilm wrote:When it did get here it stopped working after only 10 or so transfers. At first correspondents was completely none existent but with a lot of persistence I started getting some replies. To begin with there was an underlining suggestion of blame aimed towards me for the machines nonfunctioning status ....
One of the reasons that I personally do the final QC on every unit is so that I know the state of functionality of every unit that we ship. If I had an in-house tech doing the final QC and I did not personally know that it was working properly when it left here, then I would be in the difficult position of trying to figure out if the problem was with the unit or pilot error. Based on my personal QC and on having shipped over 8000 units in the last 11 years, when someone says they are having a problem that was not evident when I worked with the unit before shipping, 9 out of 10 times, it is pilot error. Obviously, your unit worked fine for the first 10 or so transfers and then it suddenly started giving you problems. The likelihood of the unit suddenly doing something different than it was mechanically designed to do repeatedly is always more remote than the likelihood of a new user potentially doing something wrong due to a lack of familiarity with the unit. It isn't so much about placing "blame" as much as it is trying to get to the source of the problem quickly and not wasting time chasing what experience has shown me is most likely a dead end. But sometimes I'm wrong and there is a problem with the unit. When that happens, I try to respond accordingly. But I have to rule out pilot error first for obviously practical reasons. If I gave every customer a new unit at the first sign of trouble, I'd go broke! :)
gaugefilm wrote:After a lot of emailing Roger did step up to the challenge of helping me fix the Workprinter-HD and credit where credits due he sent me a new chassis free of charge which I installed myself with his detailed instructions.
I figured you were capable enough so the easiest thing was to send another chassis. But, then again, what suddenly went wrong with the original chassis is still a mystery.
gaugefilm wrote:Personally I think 99% of the time his units probably work well but when things do go wrong there is just limited support in place. Roger personally helped me sort out the issue from start to finish which indicates he has very few technical staff.
Yeah, that's a problem with a niche market item. Not too many people you can find that understand film, electronics, software, optics, etc that you can hire to take over a job like this. I mean, I'm sure there are people out there but the more specialized people you hire, the higher the salaries and the more the unit costs due to overhead increases. Many people have remarked over the years that they think the WorkPrinters or CineMate units were overpriced but these same people never had to maintain after-sales customer service or the overhead of a staff that has to be paid whether you have orders coming in or not. So the price of a unit doesn't just reflect the cost of materials and man hours involved to produce it. There are all kinds of additional costs that affect the final sale price.
gaugefilm wrote:Considering he has sold so many of these units over the years he must have to deal with a lot of technical emails on a daily basis which I can imagine puts a lot of strain on him. I always used to remind myself of that whilst emailing him. All things considered I'm still glad I purchased the unit from Roger and lately he replies to emails quickly. I would purchase units off him in the future, but I would probably budget for a worst case scenario of not having an operational system for the first 6 months.
Well, the Retro-8 units are a different scenario. The first several months of this year were brutal but we finally have more control over production quality than we had with used projectors that had to be modified. Our biggest problem now is we are simply a victim of our own success and the number of orders is way beyond what we were prepared for this year. But, as I say, we are getting caught up but the holidays are creating a lot of pressure to delivery right now.
gaugefilm wrote:Roger... hope to deal with you in the not to distant future!
My pleasure!

Roger

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