Audio module for Universal, Retro, Sniper and WorkPrinter units!

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

Moderator: Andreas Wideroe

Post Reply
User avatar
MovieStuff
Posts: 6113
Joined: Wed May 01, 2002 1:07 am
Real name: Roger Evans
Location: The wilds of Pipe Creek, Texas
Contact:

Audio module for Universal, Retro, Sniper and WorkPrinter units!

Post by MovieStuff » Thu Aug 03, 2017 11:06 pm

This is a sneak preview of a new product we will be releasing within the next week or so. We've been working on this for a while and it's pretty cool. It's called RetroSync and it allows you to use any existing projector to rip audio and the RetroSync unit will automatically create a frame accurate wav file that will match not only the Universal transfer but any true frame by frame film transfer, including any of our older WorkPrinter or Sniper units.

Image

Image

The RetroSync Studio Module will work with any projector in any format with any shutter blade configuration; 2, 3 or 5 blades. The module will attenuate speaker out or you can use line or earphone audio out of the projector. As the RetroSync software records the audio, the module+software keeps track of the shutter blade interruptions and tracks them over the length of the recording. And because it uses an infrared sensor, dark film makes no difference in the accuracy of the sync.

After transfer, you can then assign playback speeds of 18, 24 or 25fps, including fractional speeds for NTSC or PAL or true progressive speeds like 24p. Processing is lighting fast. Transfer all our audio, set it to batch process, and get a cup of coffee. By the time you get back, all your new wav files will be generated that have been time corrected on per frame basis to match the true running speed of your frame by frame film transfer. Also, because it is correcting the running speed to be precise, the software will correct any audible "WOW" that results from the projector having a worn audio transport. All you have to do is find one sync reference on your timeline, line up the clip, and everything will be in sync from one end to the other, regardless of running time. Even if you lose a frame or two due to bad splices, etc, it is easy to reestablish sync after that point because the running speed is constant. Just find another sync reference and you're back on track. This unit will also work with any of the old Bell and Howell sound cassettes from the 60s and 70s or the rare Elmo Stereo projectors that have a once per frame audio tone generator.

We will later be releasing a mobile version that can be used in the field with any Super 8 camera that has a 1/f contact switch to record location audio that is frame accurate on any two track recording device, analog or digital. Shoot and then resolve the audio files using the RetroSync software later in the studio. Or you'll be able to record directly to a laptop running the RetroSync software in the field. The mobile version will also work with the few projectors that have a 1/f contact switch, thereby negating the need to have a working projection lamp.

We're pretty excited about this because it represents a practical solution to a common problem for people transferring film in small shops on a limited budget. If you have a sound projector that satisfies you and your customers' audio requirements, this will sync that audio automatically. And if your projector dies, you don't have a huge investment in specialized audio hardware. Just get another used projector from ebay and keep on marching. And, because it will work with any projector in any format, it is easy to just have one RetroSync Studio Module to use with a variety of projectors.

Anyway, we should have this and the upcoming 2k camera/light upgrade kits on the website within the week. Also new software upgrades coming up with lots of new features and improvements.

Roger
Last edited by MovieStuff on Fri Aug 04, 2017 12:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

Stevelook2
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Oct 13, 2016 12:42 pm
Real name: Steven Morgan
Contact:

Re: Audio module for Universal, Retro, Sniper and WorkPrinter units!

Post by Stevelook2 » Fri Aug 04, 2017 12:48 am

Waw, this looks amazing Roger, will be interested in this for sure.

Love my Retroscan Universal and this would be a perfect addition.

prtprt
Posts: 54
Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2004 9:28 pm
Real name: Charlie Dela

Re: Audio module for Universal, Retro, Sniper and WorkPrinter units!

Post by prtprt » Fri Aug 04, 2017 8:16 am

Very interesting! Looking forward to read more about your new products on your website.

Charlie

User avatar
Scotness
Senior member
Posts: 2630
Joined: Fri Jan 24, 2003 8:58 pm
Location: Sunny Queensland, Australia!
Contact:

Re: Audio module for Universal, Retro, Sniper and WorkPrinter units!

Post by Scotness » Fri Aug 04, 2017 1:49 pm

Great stuff Roger - well done :-)
Read my science fiction novel The Forest of Life at https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01D38AV4K

User avatar
Nigel
Senior member
Posts: 2773
Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2002 10:14 am
Real name: Adam
Location: Lost

Re: Audio module for Universal, Retro, Sniper and WorkPrinter units!

Post by Nigel » Fri Aug 04, 2017 7:10 pm

Roger

Now...This is pretty cool.

Where was this 20 years ago?!

Good Luck

User avatar
Nate Williams
Posts: 33
Joined: Tue May 15, 2012 2:25 am
Real name: Nate Williams
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Contact:

Re: Audio module for Universal, Retro, Sniper and WorkPrinter units!

Post by Nate Williams » Mon Aug 07, 2017 10:46 pm

This is very awesome! Amazing work Roger!

Tscan
Posts: 531
Joined: Fri Sep 03, 2010 6:44 pm
Real name: Anthony Schilling
Contact:

Re: Audio module for Universal, Retro, Sniper and WorkPrinter units!

Post by Tscan » Tue Aug 08, 2017 5:50 pm

Brilliant! This is a major step up from the AEO lite app that came out last year, which is also nice. Using that alone has opened up a whole new world of 16mm sound prints scanning, but only works with 16mm optical prints. Looking forward to it :p
Reborn member since Sept 2003

User avatar
Andreas Wideroe
Site Admin
Posts: 2232
Joined: Tue Apr 30, 2002 4:50 pm
Real name: Andreas Wideroe
Location: Kristiansand, Norway
Contact:

Re: Audio module for Universal, Retro, Sniper and WorkPrinter units!

Post by Andreas Wideroe » Tue Aug 08, 2017 8:46 pm

Love the retro design! Keep up the good work!

/Andreas
Andreas Wideroe
Filmshooting | Com - Administrator

Please help support the Filmshooting forum with donations

Tscan
Posts: 531
Joined: Fri Sep 03, 2010 6:44 pm
Real name: Anthony Schilling
Contact:

Re: Audio module for Universal, Retro, Sniper and WorkPrinter units!

Post by Tscan » Wed Aug 09, 2017 3:08 am

Oh, do you have a price you can mention yet?
Reborn member since Sept 2003

User avatar
MovieStuff
Posts: 6113
Joined: Wed May 01, 2002 1:07 am
Real name: Roger Evans
Location: The wilds of Pipe Creek, Texas
Contact:

Re: Audio module for Universal, Retro, Sniper and WorkPrinter units!

Post by MovieStuff » Wed Aug 09, 2017 1:28 pm

Tscan wrote:
Wed Aug 09, 2017 3:08 am
Oh, do you have a price you can mention yet?
The initial price will be $650, which will go up to $750 after a beta period and software should be about $80. It's interesting in that I've received mixed reactions from perspective customers I've talked to. Those who have never had to manually sync several thousand feet of audio think the price is too high. Those who have had to sync even a few hundred feet see it as a bargain because they know it will pay for itself the first week they use it.

Many people have asked why I don't just add a sound head to the Universal. Electronically, that isn't a big issue, though magnetic heads wear pretty fast and present long term service legacy considerations. But all analog sound mechanisms require a precision capstan and flywheel to smooth out the audio and that's where things get really expensive to machine in the limited quantity required for a niche market.

In the days when we were still producing units from modified projectors, we used to sell a sound telecine. It was our most expensive unit and the one we made the least amount of money on because they were incredibly complicated to produce and there's limit to how much you can charge in a limited market. Also, and this is the biggest issue, when I first started my business in 2001, the majority of people buying equipment from me had some degree of experience with the film format they were transferring. Today, it is rare that a mom and pop shop equipment customer has ever shot a frame of actual film in their life, still or movie, and certainly they have zero direct experience with Super 8 sound. And while Super 8 sound isn't terrible, it isn't the CD quality that they or their customers now take for granted from their cell phones. So, after each sale, there was often a lot of hand holding and unpaid hours trying to explain the shortcomings of a 45 year old analog audio product that we had no responsibility for. With the RetroSync module, it takes us out of the loop, in terms of producing audio hardware. If the user has a sound projector that satisfies the audio needs of themselves or their customer, then the RetroSync unit will automatically sync that audio perfectly, regardless of format. Even better, it will correct audio WOW distortion and improve the sound quality of their chosen sound projector.

Anyway, we've been working on this for a while and it works like magic. Super easy work flow and results are superb. And the mobile version will allow people to sync audio in the studio or shoot sync sound in the field with any S8 camera that has a sync or flash socket.

Roger

Tscan
Posts: 531
Joined: Fri Sep 03, 2010 6:44 pm
Real name: Anthony Schilling
Contact:

Re: Audio module for Universal, Retro, Sniper and WorkPrinter units!

Post by Tscan » Thu Aug 10, 2017 4:11 am

The mobile unit sounds really cool, a good asset to a Canon 814/1014XLS. It's a cheaper option for sound sync than buying the new super 8 camera. A lot of people are happy with their old cameras would love to have this. As for scanning, a wide spectrum of public and private institutions are holding onto old 16mm archival film of their own content which contains sound. I've done a few with AEO lite so far, but there's a wide market to be tapped.
Reborn member since Sept 2003

Flash of Insight
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Jul 03, 2017 12:04 am
Real name: Karen Savage

Re: Audio module for Universal, Retro, Sniper and WorkPrinter units!

Post by Flash of Insight » Fri Aug 11, 2017 1:10 am

MovieStuff wrote:
Wed Aug 09, 2017 1:28 pm
Those who have never had to manually sync several thousand feet of audio think the price is too high. Those who have had to sync even a few hundred feet see it as a bargain because they know it will pay for itself the first week they use it.
I'm sitting on about 4,000-feet of magnetic-striped S8 I personally shot 'back in the day'.

When I (video) shoot events, I gather stereo ambiance with a ZOOM recorder. The dirty-little-secret that makes syncing the audio to video not a chore is that the camera and the audio recorder are essentially each following a solid time-base. It's kind of like having poor-man's crystal sync. I do have to find two sync points – one at the head, and another at the tail – and then retime the stereo ambiance to line up with those two sync points. But as there's no wow in the digital recorder, everything will fall in sync.

Now, try to sync audio recorded off an S8 sound projector where the sound capstan speed is regulated by the loop coming out of the gate and its pulldown. No, thank you.

Roger, I see the unit has a sync in on the back. If it's 1/F sync, then I can take any ebay projector, hack in some sort of a 1/F pulse generator, remove the lamp, leave the gate open, and use the projector as a glorified 'audio follower'.

Another hack for lampless transfer is to put an LED on one side of the shutter, and a photo sensor on the other. If the unit can follow 2 or 3 pulses per frame, then it can produce a resolved audio file.

I like the idea of dropping a resolved audio track onto the timeline and doing minimal futzing to get audio and picture 'married'.

I do have questions about dealing with timelines at 23.976 or 24 or 59.94 or 60 fps. But if the audio is 1/F resolved, then the two-sync-points trick above will work.

Looking forward...

=Karen

JonH
Posts: 11
Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2011 4:25 am
Real name: Jon Holmerud
Location: San Diego

Re: Audio module for Universal, Retro, Sniper and WorkPrinter units!

Post by JonH » Sat Aug 12, 2017 4:03 pm

Roger,

Excellent idea and product! Can't wait!

Having spent hours and hours syncing both 8mm magnetic and 16mm optical sound tracks on even short films, your new equipment will definitely be a time-saver. I think the essential problem with syncing was the variability of the sound projector motor speed. It's not always quite constant, and causes the film to slow down or speed up in a very subtle fashion. That in turn made syncing very laborious, trying to match dialog with lip movement, footsteps, etc. Using blade movement cycles as a frame reference eliminates the motor speed variability problem. Brilliant!

I look forward to buying your product!

Thanks much!

Jon
Regards,

Jon

WorkPrinter RGB, Velocity HD, Blackmagic Intensity Pro, Sony HDR-FX7, Windows XP Pro-32, Grass Valley Edius editing platform.

Post Reply