Wish list - Retroscan Universal 2K update

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Flash of Insight
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Joined: Mon Jul 03, 2017 12:04 am
Real name: Karen Savage

Wish list - Retroscan Universal 2K update

Post by Flash of Insight » Mon Jul 03, 2017 3:25 am

This post is based on the Roger Evans' announcement of the impending 2K conversion kit for the Moviestuff Retroscan Universal. Here's a link to the post:

http://www.filmshooting.com/scripts/for ... 8f#p219136

I'm still in testing-and-workflow-development with my Retroscan Universal. My first paying gig is 5,600 feet of 8mm Kodachrome40 that was shot by a close friends' parents. Said close friend mostly paid for the job by building me a Windows 10 box with i7 intel chip and a raid-0 (and not much else) in it.

His parents were motorcycle enthusiasts in the 50s, so there is a lot of footage of motorcycle events, such as races, hill-climbs and rallies, which we would like to market on Shutterstock, Pond5, et cetera.

I do my post on a fully-loaded iMac 27" and Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve 14 (public beta), which I'm going with in the hopes of being someday able to answer the knock of opportunity. I also have FCP X and Adobe Premiere CC6 (I resist going to a subscription model...)

I note that the Retroscan's chameleon camera can digitize at 12 bits per pixel, though only outputs deep pixels in RAW mode (YUV and RGB modes limited to 8 bits per color or primary / 24 bits per pixel.) I notice the likely new camera may have the same limitations

Resolve processes images using 32-bit floating-point processing, and can import and process the following RAW formats: ARRI ALEXA, RED, Sony Raw, CinemaDNG, and Phantom Cine (so far...)

I'll be outputting graded files in RGB8 or YUV8 for a while, but I'd like to be able to start with a 'deeper' file to allow more aggressive grading.

EXAMPLE: I set up a trial transfer at 10db gain, with the exposure set to capture the brightest specular highlights just at white clipping. I used an unexposed-but-developed piece of film and a fully lightstruck-and-processed piece of film taped together and placed on the scanner light source, with the camera stage racked over and focused on my home-made density test strip. This allowed me through trial and error to set the [exposure] knob to capture highlights without clipping them too much. There's usually an offset between the R, G and B channels, with the Red channel first to peak, and the Blue channel the lowest As the shots don't need aggressive color correction (the color-wheel pucks stay close to the center,) I'll chalk that up to an effect of a gamma setting upstream of Resolve, until I learn otherwise.

I don't like auto-exposure because of the 2- or 3-frame delay when a scene radically changes. I notice that most amateurs don't (didn't) press the shutter-release until the significant action started, so 3 frames at 16FPS is significant action.

What I'd like to be able to do with the Retroscan Universal is capture deep-pixel scans after having set it up so that areas of minimum density just kiss full brightness and areas of maximum density just kiss full darkness, with enough 'meat' in the files for fairly aggressive grading without contouring/banding when outputting to an 8-bits-per-channel format.

As the Chameleon camera(s) only output deep pixels in RAW format, AND 12-bits-per-pixel may not translate to 10-bit files after debayering (due to the blue filter areas being a stop or two denser than the green areas,) I may not get my wish. Then I must fall back on careful set-up of the scanner to fit the densities encountered on the film to the 8-bit 'hole' they have to pass through.

To that end, I have another wish – for increased monitoring in the scanner software. A scope would be great, of course. Especially a scope that remains 'live' during a transfer for those who will manually ride the exposure knob. But even an indicator that indicates the presence of likely clipped highlights and blocked-up blacks would help me set up a 'best light' transfer of either a whole reel or of a problem section that I'll scan separately.

To go with that, I'd like a more granular gain control – there have been times I wished for 7.5db, as well as times I wished for 12.5db.

On to the good – I look forward to the 2K imager. I've encountered much 8mm film that exposed usable image on the film between the sprocket holes. I'd like to be able to do transfers that included that area, then put it into a 1920x1080 frame with whatever black masking is necessary to matte out undesirable frame lines or sprocket holes. Of course, there's also opportunity to resize by .7 to get a 1440x1080, 4:3 framing, or extract a 1920x1080, 16:9 image from a full-frame scan.

I'll recap my wish list here:

> 10-bit RGB/YUV files, or RAW files in a RAW format my editing/grading program will import.

> Real-time monitoring of transfers both for set-up and for manual exposure-riding during a transfer.

> More granularity to the adjustments so I can more accurately fit the films' dynamic range into the file format.

That'll do for now. I'm still looking forward to the update.

Posts: 503
Joined: Fri Sep 03, 2010 6:44 pm
Real name: Anthony Schilling

Re: Wish list - Retroscan Universal 2K update

Post by Tscan » Fri Jul 14, 2017 4:10 am

I'm looking forward to it n as well. Especially uncompressed avi with the software update. Might build a new system to boot.
Reborn member since Sept 2003

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