MovieStuff Universal Scanner Review

Forum covering all aspects of small gauge cinematography! This is the main discussion forum.

Moderator: Andreas Wideroe

Tscan
Posts: 547
Joined: Fri Sep 03, 2010 6:44 pm
Real name: Anthony Schilling
Contact:

Re: MovieStuff Universal Scanner Review

Post by Tscan » Wed Jul 20, 2016 10:26 pm

nd, finally, what most people don't realize is that the "big iron" units usually have quite a bit of image processing downstream in real time. It's often part of the higher cost of the units.
That's a good point. I've sat in on a number of sessions, and the person doing the scan is also a colorist, who is basically doing a real time grade.. power windows, noise reduction, the whole nine yards. The difference between that and what I do in my basement with the Universal, is that I apply all of those techniques after the scan instead of during. The Retro Scanner itself does have a basic set of tools that are essential to dialing in the kind of image that you want to start grading from in terms of color negative, which is meant to be a variable in the first place. When it comes to reversal film, the Universal and other Retro units do a really nice job right out of the gate, with only a few small adjustments needed on the scan itself.
Reborn member since Sept 2003

User avatar
MovieStuff
Posts: 6130
Joined: Wed May 01, 2002 1:07 am
Real name: Roger Evans
Location: Kerrville, Texas
Contact:

Re: MovieStuff Universal Scanner Review

Post by MovieStuff » Fri Jul 22, 2016 3:53 pm

Of course, one of the things I have to deal with is the request for ever increasing resolution without regard to whether it's warranted. The 2k Chameleon we are looking at for next year should pretty much be the limit for what we would be offering as a "stock" item for this unit. While 4k is certainly destined to become the new defacto standard for home video at some point, the thing people have to remember is that, with very rare exception, the home movie image being captured is roughly a 4:3 ratio. If you use the entire 4:3 sensor area of the new 2k Chameleon, you will end up with a 2k, full frame capture. But the problem is that, to my knowledge, there is no 4:3 editing mode for HD in any NLE available; they're all 16:9. If you try to maintain the 2k width in a 16:9 frame, you will inherently have to crop some of the top or bottom or both. Otherwise, you have to reduce the size of the 4:3 image and then you end up with less than a true 2k width on the captured image. The only way to keep all the information in the frame is to float that 2k 4:3 image in a 3k or 4k 16:9 envelope with black bars on the sides. So, in effect, even though the Chameleon is only a 2k camera, it serves the future needs of anyone wanting a 3-4k transfer of their 4:3 home movie material. The only way to maintain a true 3-4k width on the capture is if you are willing to sacrifice information at the top and bottom of the 4:3 frame, otherwise, you would need to float that 4k 4:3 frame in something ridiculously huge, like a 6k 16:9 frame or something, all of which is well outside the range of what most small shops and individuals can handle on their NLE.

But, still, people ask about 4k all the time, even though they probably do not have the PC horsepower to deal with it and we would not be able to sell enough 4k units to justify the change over in hardware and software. So, to that end, we are working on a special gate to allow the use of a Panasonic Micro 4/3 camera like the GH4. These cameras can use C mount lenses and have a simple trigger interface and, most importantly, would let you capture a full 4:3 image in 5k. The gate would be very, very slow. It would advance, stop, fire the camera and then move forward. The camera has no mechanical shutter to wear out so it's really ideal. The images would be captured on the cameras flash card. These could then be brought in as a numbered image sequence into something like Premier easily to reconstitute the movie file. We are taking our time on the gate because, at this time, the latest Panasonic GH4 has a rolling shutter, which is why the film has to stop for the exposure. But my guess is that one of the next models will have a global shutter. That would make production and purchase of the 5k gate much easier because we would not have to make the film stop on each frame.

Anyway, we're always working on something new for the Universal but there are only so many hours in the day and I have to balance my own personal curiosity regarding gadgetry against the realistic needs of the market. As it stands, even though the Universal can output HD, I would guess that more than 80% of the people buying the unit still only output SD files and DVDs. So, even at 1080, it already scans at a higher rate than the current market demands. So I find it funny when people start asking me about 5k. I think it's a buzz word they think will make them look like a more sophisticated buyer, which is okay, but my guess is they would not know what to do with a 5k file if they had it. But, still, they do ask.... :)

Will2
Senior member
Posts: 1965
Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2005 12:18 am
Real name: Will Montgomery
Location: Dallas, TX
Contact:

Re: MovieStuff Universal Scanner Review

Post by Will2 » Fri Jul 22, 2016 5:09 pm

But the problem is that, to my knowledge, there is no 4:3 editing mode for HD in any NLE available; they're all 16:9. If you try to maintain the 2k width in a 16:9 frame, you will inherently have to crop some of the top or bottom or both. Otherwise, you have to reduce the size of the 4:3 image and then you end up with less than a true 2k width on the captured image.
You can manually set NLE's like Final Cut Pro X and I'd bet Premiere as well to any size. I'm editing Super 8 in full aperture 2K (2048x1556) right now actually with Final Cut Pro. In ProRes 4444 as well which is crazy amazing to me that it even works. What I need to learn is how to edit with proxies and sync everything up with the high quality scans later. I know there are ways to do that but I haven't figured it out yet.

That's also important because whereas I used to get fully colored telecine with a colorist during a session, so I was editing fully colored footage, now the workflow seems to be getting flat, high-res scans that I edit and then send to the colorist. That way he's only coloring the footage I use which saves money or at least let's him spend more time on the piece as a whole. But that means I have to be able to get in the ballpark myself on color (it's just more pleasant to edit that way) then remove all the coloring when I send it to the colorist so he has the flat files to work with.

I'd love to see an option for outputting an edit without any color effects and edit points included in a data file for easy import into Resolve or other systems. Like an easy check box "export for color correction" or something to that effect.

You're absolutely right about 4k being over the top. But the real difference is working with full aperture 2k vs. HD with bars on the side. Full 2k is probably the optimal resolution to work with Super 8 in. That is of course if your footage is shoot well, exposed well & a decent camera & lens was used. Your average vacation footage shot with a crappy camera (which I have plenty of) will not look that great at any resolution. I usually do crop down to 16:9 but then I have the ability to frame up and down without any loss in resolution. I always felt a little cheated with 1440x1080 worth of info that would basically zoom in on to get to 1920x1080.

Before 2k or even HD scans, I used to do SD anamorphic widescreen where I would telecine to 720x480 but frame in 16:9 and stretch out the image so when I told the NLE that it was anamorphic, it would stretch it out and give a widescreen image to edit...much like those DV camcorders used to do. This was especially useful for Super 16 footage.

User avatar
MovieStuff
Posts: 6130
Joined: Wed May 01, 2002 1:07 am
Real name: Roger Evans
Location: Kerrville, Texas
Contact:

Re: MovieStuff Universal Scanner Review

Post by MovieStuff » Fri Jul 22, 2016 5:40 pm

Will2 wrote:
You can manually set NLE's like Final Cut Pro X and I'd bet Premiere as well to any size. I'm editing Super 8 in full aperture 2K (2048x1556) right now actually with Final Cut Pro.
That's true but my point is it doesn't gain you anything since there's no release format for HD 4:3 that I'm aware of. At some point, you have to decide what you're going to do with that 2k 4:3 image if you wish to preserve all the information in the frame. Unless I'm wrong (entirely possible), you can't output UHD as a strictly 4:3 format, can you? You're pretty much stuck with 16:9 as a release format on disc, regardless of whether it's 720p, 1080p, 2k, 3k, 4K or 5k. What would you do with a 2k 4:3 image beyond watching it on your computer? Not being argumentative; just wanting see if I'm missing something here.

Roger

Tscan
Posts: 547
Joined: Fri Sep 03, 2010 6:44 pm
Real name: Anthony Schilling
Contact:

Re: MovieStuff Universal Scanner Review

Post by Tscan » Fri Jul 22, 2016 9:52 pm

MovieStuff wrote:
Will2 wrote:
You can manually set NLE's like Final Cut Pro X and I'd bet Premiere as well to any size. I'm editing Super 8 in full aperture 2K (2048x1556) right now actually with Final Cut Pro.
That's true but my point is it doesn't gain you anything since there's no release format for HD 4:3 that I'm aware of. At some point, you have to decide what you're going to do with that 2k 4:3 image if you wish to preserve all the information in the frame. Unless I'm wrong (entirely possible), you can't output UHD as a strictly 4:3 format, can you? You're pretty much stuck with 16:9 as a release format on disc, regardless of whether it's 720p, 1080p, 2k, 3k, 4K or 5k. What would you do with a 2k 4:3 image beyond watching it on your computer? Not being argumentative; just wanting see if I'm missing something here.

Roger
I would agree that 2K is overkill for S8 to some degree. The demand really stems from hype coming from higher end post houses. They would argue that capturing in 2K and down converting to 1080P has slight advantages over a straight 1080P capture. I'm sure there is some truth to that, but to what noticeable degree is up for debate. So you have post houses in competition promoting the latest technology, and costumers wanting the highest option. Sign me up for the 2K upgrade, not because I need it or desire it all that much, but It's another marketing tool. It appears there's a demo version out there of another 2K home scanner. The quality is not as good as the retro from what I saw, but sometimes people will just gravitate to the numbers.
Reborn member since Sept 2003

User avatar
MovieStuff
Posts: 6130
Joined: Wed May 01, 2002 1:07 am
Real name: Roger Evans
Location: Kerrville, Texas
Contact:

Re: MovieStuff Universal Scanner Review

Post by MovieStuff » Fri Jul 22, 2016 10:03 pm

Tscan wrote:It appears there's a demo version out there of another 2K home scanner. The quality is not as good as the retro from what I saw, but sometimes people will just gravitate to the numbers.
Which scanner is that?

Roger

Will2
Senior member
Posts: 1965
Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2005 12:18 am
Real name: Will Montgomery
Location: Dallas, TX
Contact:

Re: MovieStuff Universal Scanner Review

Post by Will2 » Fri Jul 22, 2016 10:41 pm

MovieStuff wrote:What would you do with a 2k 4:3 image beyond watching it on your computer? Not being argumentative; just wanting see if I'm missing something here.
There's something beyond the computer? :)

So of course you're right for final delivery, 2k digital cinema is 2048x1080 I think. And as I said, I usually finish to standard HD 1920x1080. But by STARTING with full aperture 2k, I have the flexibility to frame up and down in the 16:9 edit frame and didn't have to scale up from what amounts to a 1440x1080 picture.

As far as editing this project in full aperture 2k, the final will hopefully be a 16mm film-out test. Direct to negative then an answer print. They can use the full 4:3 2k for that purpose. Possibly optical sound as well. I don't even own a Super 8 projector, just 16mm.

User avatar
MovieStuff
Posts: 6130
Joined: Wed May 01, 2002 1:07 am
Real name: Roger Evans
Location: Kerrville, Texas
Contact:

Re: MovieStuff Universal Scanner Review

Post by MovieStuff » Fri Jul 22, 2016 11:18 pm

Will2 wrote: But by STARTING with full aperture 2k, I have the flexibility to frame up and down in the 16:9 edit frame and didn't have to scale up from what amounts to a 1440x1080 picture.
.
Oh, I agree. My point was that, for people asking about scanning their home movies in higher resolution than 2k, there really is no point since there is no 4:3 display medium for home video that's 2k. Therefore, the only way to display the entire 2k 4:3 frame is by floating it inside a 3k or 4k 16:9 frame. So, even if you DID scan your 4:3 frame at 4k, you would not be able to display it on your home UHD set unless it was cropped top and bottom to fit into a 4k 16:9 frame or down rezzed to 2k 4:3 to fit inside a 16:9 3k or 4k frame.

Roger

Post Reply