Any tutorial on how to capture color negative with RetroScan-HD Universal?

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digicube
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Any tutorial on how to capture color negative with RetroScan-HD Universal?

Post by digicube » Fri Jul 27, 2018 6:49 pm

Moviestuff says it requires color correction skill which I have none. The ones I've scanned looks milky.

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Re: Any tutorial on how to capture color negative with RetroScan-HD Universal?

Post by Andreas Wideroe » Sun Jul 29, 2018 12:13 pm

Hi,
I don't use the RetroScan myself, but I would think the process is pretty similar to other scanner systems built on a frame by frame advance of the film and using a machine vision camera capture each frame.

First, you need to set your camera to manual mode, no automatic brightness, colour, contrast or blacklevel changes throughout the scanning.

Second, invert the images through the camera/scanner software. Check RGB balance and balance the three channels as best you can and try to look for a setting that will work for the whole reel, then scan your films.

Third, use software such as Adobe Premiere CC (Lumetri) or DaVinci Resolve (free) to colour correct and export your final film.

Best of luck,
Andreas
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digicube
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Re: Any tutorial on how to capture color negative with RetroScan-HD Universal?

Post by digicube » Sun Jul 29, 2018 3:20 pm

Thanks for giving me a starting point.

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Re: Any tutorial on how to capture color negative with RetroScan-HD Universal?

Post by Will2 » Wed Aug 01, 2018 8:23 pm

Sounds like something Roger could do. There's a YouTube video on how to do everything else, there should be one for the RetroScan. Much easier than reading manuals. :)

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Re: Any tutorial on how to capture color negative with RetroScan-HD Universal?

Post by Tscan » Sun Aug 19, 2018 8:04 pm

Are you using the standard HD or 2K? The new light source on the 2K is much better for bringing in density. With the HD unit, you are a little more dependent on post grade for density. If you have a decent graphics card, the free version of DaVinci Resolve is very effective. Start with gain, gamma, and lift adjustments, then go to your Y channel curve. There are some good Resolve tutorials out there to help get the hang of it.
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Re: Any tutorial on how to capture color negative with RetroScan-HD Universal?

Post by digicube » Fri Aug 24, 2018 12:06 am

I'm using 2K camera and Ultralite source. If moviestuff can do a tutorial, it would be nice, even if it's just a pdf. I'll try out DaVinci Resolve, I have a GTX 1080.

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Re: Any tutorial on how to capture color negative with RetroScan-HD Universal?

Post by MovieStuff » Fri Aug 24, 2018 3:31 pm

Hi, all

I have considered doing a tutorial about how to handle color negative. The problem is that the results of handling color neg have far more to do with the skill of the shooter and their subsequent skills as a colorist than how the scanner or software functions. To put it simply, if the shooter knows how to use a light meter and knows how to shoot color neg for good exposure across the entire roll, and also knows how to handle the grading tools of his/her edit system, then getting decent color and density when using the Universal is pretty straight forward. But what I have seen so far is that a lot of people shooting super 8 color neg often have limited experience with film, in general, and getting good results from color neg is far and away totally different than working with reversal. To be clear, this is not a dig at anyone. I mean that you can take the average super 8 shooter and give them a roll of reversal and they will get acceptable results pretty much from the start by doing nothing more than letting the auto exposure function of the camera do its thing. But a lot of super 8 cameras aren't designed to expose color neg properly so hand metering is required. While it is true that color neg has a wider latitude and, therefore, should be more "shooter friendly" in a wide variety of exposure scenarios, that comes with the assumption that the user knows how to handle under and over exposed neg to get the most out of it when scanning it and grading.

Functionally, the Universal scanner and software provides a dependable, budget friendly way to scan both positive and negative film but typically won't get you all the way there, in terms of a finished look. Just like when scanning reversal, you have to understand how to deal with contrast so that you have all the picture detail there to work with in post after the scan. Scanning color neg on the Universal will get you color and density that is within range of the color correction tools present in adequate NLE systems but, at that point, the user needs to really understand the tools available within their edit platform. The type of edit platform and the tools available can also make a difference. What I call an "adequate" color grading platform like Premier or FCP isn't always what customers are using. Often they are using less sophisticated NLEs and the fact that they don't recognize their choice of NLE isn't good enough only illustrates their lack of experience with the overall process. The irony is that an experienced color neg shooter and colorist could probably make a simple NLE grading system work whereas an inexperienced person would not be able to get the desired results, even if they had the best post suite available to them. So skill is paramount when working with color neg, more so than reversal.

When you combine all these variables, working with color neg isn't a Step-1, Step-2, Step-3 process, which is what a tutorial inherently is all about. What I charge for my product is based on how much of my time is involved with each unit, before and after each sale. If I leave it to the user to experiment and "discover" their own methodology for handling color neg, then that leaves me out of the process. However, if I put out a tutorial that ostensibly provides a step by step process for handling color neg and the user doesn't get the results they are looking for right off the bat, then the phone will ring and the emails will come because the first assumption by the user will be that something is defective with their scanner. After all, they are following the instructions for scanning color neg precisely so there must be something wrong with the product they purchased from me. Users rarely consider their lack of experience or skill to be a contributing factor when they are following instructions from the manufacturer. But, if experimenting on their own, then they are a bit more self aware of their own limitations, I find.

That said, we are constantly making improvements to the scanner and the software. If it ever gets to a point where the system is more "hands off" and predictable, in terms of handling all color neg with a wider variety of density and color variations, then I could see producing a tutorial on how to work with color neg. But, as it stands, handling color neg is not an intuitive nor predictable process like working with positive film. There are so many variables in shooting and scanning and grading color neg, I would not even know where to begin to produce a tutorial that would be functionally useful and would not actually add to the confusion. But it is something I am considering in the future.

Roger

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Re: Any tutorial on how to capture color negative with RetroScan-HD Universal?

Post by Tscan » Tue Aug 28, 2018 7:59 pm

digicube wrote:
Fri Aug 24, 2018 12:06 am
I'm using 2K camera and Ultralite source. If moviestuff can do a tutorial, it would be nice, even if it's just a pdf. I'll try out DaVinci Resolve, I have a GTX 1080.
Roger Made some good points. If you’re using the 2K setup and your images are still milky, the problem would most likely be how the film was exposed in camera. With properly exposed film, you should have a decent image with your light source set at about 1230 and your gain set at +5. Then there is some color balancing with the RGB. Unlike reversal color negative is a handcrafted image from start to finish, involving multiple processes. When you get a professional scan it a post house you’re not just paying for the technology you’re paying for the colonist who runs the scanner. The colorist is using the same tools that you have access to except it’s on the front end and baked into the scan and unable to be removed. Data scanning has an advantage over telecine because you have a whole range of information to work with after the fact. Density is like salt, you can always add it but you can’t take it away. I just Watched some home movies I shot and scanned on S8 meg, The processed files without any post grading look very decent, require very little post grading beyond that. Been shooting S8 neg for 14yrs, DIY scanning it for 5, takes some learning. Keep at it and you’ll love what you can do.
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