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A Few Words About A few words about...™ - Kodak Reels Film Digitizer-- in Kodak Vision (1 Viewer)

Robert Harris

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Possibly 25 years ago, I wanted to experiment with a metal detector, and knowing absolutely nothing about them, ended up at my local Radio Shack.

You recall Radio Shacks.

All the bits and pieces of electronics one could desire, along with some interesting odds and ends. And when you brought your purchase to the register, they'd try to sell you a new telephone - or their phone plan.

Long story short, I ended up with some less than stellar unit, that was virtually ineffective at finding anything. By the time I knew that it really needed to be replaced, the inter web, or whatever it's called, had arrived. And I was able to find a review, which pronounced the unit the finest metal detector in existence for locating exposed manhole covers.

That about sums up the experience.

Keep that in mind because we'll come back to it.

The "Kodak" Film Digitizer is a lightweight, attractive unit via which one can digitize all of their 8mm and S8mm films. It works simply, with few controls, and overall does a very decent job of scanning.

Had whomever designed it (remember, Kodak has nothing to do with it except licensing their name, which was really dumb) didn't seem to understand that scanning is only a part of the problem.

Ever see a new 4k or Blu-ray disc emblazoned with the words "New 4k Scan of the Original Negative?"

And then the final disc looks like garbage?

That's pretty much what occurring here. There's a cute little screen for reference as the scans are being done, and the image appears to be something that will turn out well.

And then you play it back, and there is:

A. No critical focus;

B. Problematic shadow detail;

C. Pixelation and macro-blocking that could win awards.

Problem seems to be - and I spoke with a rep from Kodak, to whom I gave my condolences - that this is all post-processed automatically to a tiny MP4 file. And there is no way to adjust it, or set it up to output a larger file.

Everything (almost) about the unit is well thought out, except the final result.

In a word it's the finest 8/S8 film digitizer made, for locating exposed manhole cover.

It actually does have one use, and that is to create a quick and dirty reference of what's on the reels, but then again, one could use a lightbox.

If anyone is thinking of purchasing said unit, and there are also others like it, think twice, and then run. Unless, of course all you need is a quick and dirty reference. But if it's a "film-like" image that one is desiring... Nope.

RAH
 
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ahollis

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Thank you. I have many reels of super 8mm that have sound. I need to convert them to digital, but not having any luck. I'll stay away from this.
 
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Robert Harris

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Thank you. I have many reels of super 8mm that have sound. I need to convert them to digital, but not having any luck. I'll stay away from this.
There are a few vendors that do a quality job. But not inexpensive. Performed properly, there’s a bit of labor involved, beyond the hardware investment.

Best advice I can give, is to pick up a small hand operated viewer (if you no longer have a working projector, or if you’re dealing with shrinkage) and figure out what footage is essential and worth the investment.

The problem is that it’s a bit of a cottage industry, and rates are extremely high, especially when compared to what I’d normally pay for ten reels of 35mm.

The cost per frame or foot can be surprising.
 
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Scott Merryfield

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The problem is that it’s a bit of a cottage industry, and rates are extremely high, especially when compared to what I’d normally pay for ten reels of 35mm.

The cost per frame or foot can be surprising.
I ran into something similar a few years ago when looking to digitize thousands of 35mm slides and still film negatives of my father's after he passed away. The cost to have a service do this properly was going to be a lot of money, and most of the devices on the market that would automatically scan and convert did a poor job. Even some of the services out there were subpar -- a cousin had a few of our grandfather's 35mm slides converted by one, and I though the results were quite poor. I ended up purchasing a quality Epson V600 flatbed photo scanner and performed the work myself. It was during the pandemic, so we were locked down for months anyway, and I had the photo processing software and skills to do an adequate job (I am an amateur photography hobbyist). I created a thread in the Photography section of HTF at the time regarding the project.

This project gave me an even greater appreciation for the work that you do, Mr. Harris. My work involved only a fraction of the effort, skill, dedication and patience that would be required to properly restore major motion pictures.
 

Capt D McMars

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Thanks RAH, I feil victim to one of those quaint vendors, Legacy Box. I inherited many reels of 16mm Kodak film from my grandfather that was a pilot during WW1 and had some interesting plane mounted footage that I wanted digitized.

Once sent, I had them transfer them to disc...when I recived them back, many had been run unsupervised, because they had been digited backwards (any and all signage were backwards).
But this is the risk you take, at least with these guys. While it's nice to have these memories in a viewable form, buyer beware...
 
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Mike2001

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My brother did that with all of our family 35 mm slides that my dad took through the years. He scanned over 11000 photos in about 5 months, also with a quality Epson slide scanner. The rest of the family was most appreciative.
 

Charles Smith

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Aside from obviously questionable vendors, it seems like places like Costco used to advertise conversion of just about anything. I wonder if it was any good.

As for converting 35mm slides and negatives yourself, I love using my flatbed CanoScan (which probably needs to be upgraded at this point), but I don’t kid myself that it’s as good as having it done professionally.
 
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Jeff F.

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I used Costco a few years ago to convert some 8mm and Super 8mm movies, and they did a good job. I'm not sure if they still provide this service or not.
 

Robert Harris

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I ran into something similar a few years ago when looking to digitize thousands of 35mm slides and still film negatives of my father's after he passed away. The cost to have a service do this properly was going to be a lot of money, and most of the devices on the market that would automatically scan and convert did a poor job. Even some of the services out there were subpar -- a cousin had a few of our grandfather's 35mm slides converted by one, and I though the results were quite poor. I ended up purchasing a quality Epson V600 flatbed photo scanner and performed the work myself. It was during the pandemic, so we were locked down for months anyway, and I had the photo processing software and skills to do an adequate job (I am an amateur photography hobbyist). I created a thread in the Photography section of HTF at the time regarding the project.

This project gave me an even greater appreciation for the work that you do, Mr. Harris. My work involved only a fraction of the effort, skill, dedication and patience that would be required to properly restore major motion pictures.
The Epsons are superb products. They capture down two the grain, if you set it that way. I've been using their 700 for over ten years. They also make a wet gate unit. And the cost of admission in minor considering.
 

Robert Harris

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Thanks RAH, I feil victim to one of those quaint vendors, Legacy Box. I inherited many reels of 16mm Kodak film from my grandfather that was a pilot during WW1 and had some interesting plane mounted footage that I wanted digitized.

Once sent, I had them transfer them to disc...when I recived them back, many had been run unsupervised, because they had been digited backwards (any and all signage were backwards).
But this is the risk you take, at least with these guys. While it's nice to have these memories in a viewable form, buyer beware...
That occurs more often than one might imagine, and not just with 16mm with perfs on each side.

In 1966-67 someone at Technicolor was producing a 35mm reduction IP of Lawrence, and flopped reel 2A. It was that way until 1989.
 

PMF

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Possibly 25 years ago, I wanted to experiment with a metal detector, and knowing absolutely nothing about them, ended up at my local Radio Shack.

You recall Radio Shacks.

All the bits and pieces of electronics one could desire, along with some interesting odds and ends. And when you brought your purchase to the register, they'd try to sell you a new telephone - or their phone plan.

Long story short, I ended up with some less than stellar unit, that was virtually ineffective at finding anything. By the time I knew that it really needed to be replaced, the inter web, or whatever it's called, had arrived. And I was able to find a review, which pronounced the unit the finest metal detector in existence for locating exposed manhole covers.

That about sums up the experience.

Keep that in mind because we'll come back to it.

The "Kodak" Film Digitizer is a lightweight, attractive unit via which one can digitize all of their 8mm and S8mm films. It works simply, with few controls, and overall does a very decent job of scanning.

Had whomever designed it (remember, Kodak has nothing to do with it except licensing their name, which was really dumb) didn't seem to understand that scanning is only a part of the problem.

Ever see a new 4k or Blu-ray disc emblazoned with the words "New 4k Scan of the Original Negative?"

And then the final disc looks like garbage?

That's pretty much what occurring here. There's a cute little screen for reference as the scans are being done, and the image appears to be something that will turn out well.

And then you play it back, and there is:

A. No critical focus;

B. Problematic shadow detail;

C. Pixelation and macro-blocking that could win awards.

Problem seems to be - and I spoke with a rep from Kodak, to whom I gave my condolences - that this is all post-processed automatically to a tiny MP4 file. And there is no way to adjust it, or set it up to output a larger file.

Everything (almost) about the unit is well thought out, except the final result.

In a word it's the finest 8/S8 film digitizer made, for locating exposed manhole cover.

It actually does have one use, and that is to create a quick and dirty reference of what's on the reels, but then again, one could use a lightbox.

If anyone is thinking of purchasing said unit, and there are also others like it, think twice, and then run. Unless, of course all you need is a quick and dirty reference. But if it's a "film-like" image that one is desiring... Nope.

RAH
I always wondered why the still photography, taken with my rolls of Kodak film, came back from the FotoMat with a strip of negatives, but never was this the case with the 50ft reels of 8mm and Super 8mm movies; shot using.a Brownie.
 

Vern Dias

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Simple, because 16mm, 8mm and S8mm Kodachrome and Ektachrome were reversal film stocks. So there was no negative to return.

I still have a (working) home brew 8mm, S8mm and 16mm film transfer system and also have a Nikon scanner that can scan slides and 35mm still film negatives. The 8mm / 16mm is a frame by frame capture system, so it's painfully slow. I have to use VueScan for the Nikon as there is no longer Nikon software that is compatible with newer OS's. The Nikon also has Digital ICE capabilities.

Here's the 8mm setup.
PXL_20231209_182742521.jpg


The 16mm setup is similar using an RCA 16mm projector with a mount for the same camera. The image is projected directly onto the camera's (Lumix GH3) sensor and can capture up to a 4K resolution image.

The projectors are modified to run at a slow speed and have a hall effect sensor that basically emulate a mouse click to capture each frame.
 
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Josh Steinberg

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That’s a shame about the unit. I have 8mm family home movies from when my parents were children, with some lovely moments with my deceased grandparents as well. They had been transferred to VHS in the 80s and I’d love to do it over in higher quality, but lab prices for that kind of work are prohibitive relative to how infrequently the footage would be viewed, and it sounds like this device isn’t really going to improve on the VHS copy I already have.
 

Robert Harris

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As far as I can tell, and I've not taken it apart, as I'm returning it, as tests failed, the main problem is the software. The basic unit seems fine.

If they were to get rid of the compression I'd try it again.
 

Josh Steinberg

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That was my conclusion looking over the specs - if there was an option for this to output something closer to raw DV for SD video, or something much more gently compressed for HD, it would have worked well enough for my needs. But it seems a waste of time to spend money on something that will produce VHS quality results when I already have a VHS copy.
 

Robert Saccone

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I am looking for something or some service that can convert Super 8mm Sound format. Any recommendations are appreciated.
 

Paul Penna

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The Epsons are superb products. They capture down two the grain, if you set it that way. I've been using their 700 for over ten years.
Me too. I've used mine for sizes ranging from 5x7 glass plate negatives (I don't have any 8x10s, but could do those as well) down to 110 negatives and transparencies.
 

J. Casey

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Not making a plug for him, but Roger Evans' company MovieStuff makes frame by frame scanners for 8-35mm film. Not cheap, but not the price of "professional" units. It comes with a 2K or 4K camera but you can put any camera you want to on it. Scans around 10-15fps uncompressed depending on your computer and hard drive setup.

www.moviestuff.tv if you want to have a look at them.
 

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