New Cintel Scanner from BMD

mike burton Apr 7, 2014

  1. Our Xena machines, the Scan Station and Kinetta all have travel systems for the sensor and lens. This allows for maximizing the sensor area to the film gauge.

    The Scan Station, for example, is a motorized system i.e. user friendly with preset positions for 8mm, 16mm and 35mm for the lens and camera that are moved by the control software.

    Other scanners like the Arriscan Scannity, etc. change the gate and optics for each gauge.

    I have found that especially with color sensor scanners oversampling of the target resolution is very important, particularly with grainier film. Under-sampled color mask scans tend to end up looking very "blotchy" and low resolution with grainier film as the grain pattern can't be resolved well and each color record is very low resolution relative to the target scan resolution.
  2. Seems like the scanner design here is really sort of unipurpose. Take S35, for UHD scans. And all the other stuff is just a kind of a gimme on top.
    Robert Houllahan likes this.
  3. Yes I think they made a decision based on the target sale price and cost to build.

    This is the Camera-Lens travel system on our "fast" sprocketless pinless scanner it cost about $3-4K to fabricate.

    Juan Salvo and Adam Hawkey like this.
  4. Jason Myres

    Jason Myres Moderator

    Would it be possible/ worthwhile to take advantage of the cheap transport, and then mod the sensor assembly?
  5. I think most of the $ that BMD put into the machine went into the case and film transport, the rest is relatively simple.

    Also to note the BMD scanner is sprocket based so I am not sure how well it will work with shrunken or damaged film. Other new machines like Our Xena and the Scan Station and Kinetta are capstan drive with optical sensors for perforations (for transport timing and lamp firing) and machine vision recognition of the perforation for "pin like" stability.

    As for modding the BMD scanner with a new sensor and a lens travel system that might be more engineering than would be advisable...or sane ;-)
  6. At that point you might as well buy a used scanner for the transport and replace the imager. Would probably be a lower cash outlay. But you'll have to invest a not trivial amount of time to build it out.
  7. The engineer - post guy in LA who I am working with on our scanners at Cinelab has done that, he has a kit (it was my suggestion ;-)) to retrofit any Cintel telecine. It basically retains the chassis and mechanical film transport plus the platter motors and replaces everything else.

    Overall about the same price as a BMD machine (depending on camera-sensor option) but 8mm too and higher resolution. Also an open SDK for the camera so your not locked into the sensor.
  8. The Cintel scanner shown by BMD in Burbank about 6 weeks ago had a facility for reading the sprocket holes and using that to steady the picture. I agree, the transport would not be great for films with bad splices or shrunken sprocket holes. My memory is that they were quoting $50K a couple of years ago at NAB, but I don't know where the price has gone since then.

    Spirit scans could be done entirely outside daVinci, just with the remote control head of the Spirit / Spirit 2K / Spirit 4K itself. There was also DFT software (Bones) which would allow setting various parameters, change file formats, set levels, sync sound, and so on. Starting about 10 years ago, Spirit scans didn't involve daVinci at all. Technicolor frequently brought people in to work on the overnight shift scanning film rolls on the Spirits while colorists were doing tape-to-tape or data color (with Clipster).

    It's interesting to reflect that for many decades, the color-correction computer was incapable of editing or directly playing video files inside its own system. You had to have an external system providing the image. Only with Colorfront, Luster, Resolve, and so on did this finally change, making the image source and the color correction take place on the same system at the same time.
  9. That is not what Jason talking about.
    DaVinci could directly control Spirit for grading. Actually Baselight is still capable of doing it. It records data directly to it's drives and you then grade from those recorded DPX files, but it appears, that you are grading directly from Spirit. The protocol and tools are still in Baselight right now. So, if you have Spirit in your garage, like this one-, just connect it to Baselight and start grading.
  10. Yeah, I know. I did it for 25 years.

    Scanning is a very specific aspect, and grading and scanning are not the same thing. The Cintel is being marketed as a straight scanner, not a device used for driving a color-correction system. It doesn't work in real-time, either. Real-time color-correction from film was possible for many years, but once a software steadigate solution became practical and higher-res delivery became important, controlling film from the color-corrector fell aside, partly because of the danger of damage to the film during endless shuttling, and partly because you were tying up $2 million dollars worth of scanning. It became more sensible to have one scanner and then just use it for scanning to data, then have the data feed 2 or 3 rooms that just accessed the data.

    I think a lot of this changed with digital component color correction in the early 1990s, and that's when a lot of people opened their eyes about the possibility of getting away from Rank- or Spirit-based correction. The daVinci Classic, Renaissance, 888, and 2K correctors could all control scanners, but it became less important as time went on. To me, it's not a factor at all today in the real world.
    Jeff Kreines likes this.
  11. Yes, we know, you did this for 25 years with A-list directors. How can anyone forget this, if you keep repeating it ad nauseum? But I digress.
    No, daVinci Classic and Renaissance 888 never controlled scanners. They only controlled telecine. DaVinci 2K could control Spirit both in scanner as well as in telecine mode. And so is the Baselight.
    Thank you for the history lesson. I know it is difficult to believe, but there are people on this forum, who worked long enough in the business to know the difference between a scanner and a telecine as well as knowing, that DNG is not a proprietary format.
    Thank you.
  12. Only a handful of A-list directors. Many are forgotten, and I'd say the vast majority of the home video projects were either unsupervised, supervised only by the studio execs, or were done in situations where the director or DP only got a check disc (or check cassette) for approval. This includes tons of C- and B-movies from the 1930s through the 1990s, so it kind of runs the gamut. But there were some great films in there. Fun times.

    It's sobering to reflect that I suspect that the vast majority of working colorists today have never even worked from film at all, never touched film, let alone done any film scanning. I suspect this kind of discipline is quickly disappearing, kind of like the number of working sound engineers who know how to set up and run an analog tape machine.

    Actually, the 888 and the 2K could control tape and data sources as well, provided you got the option kit. My point was that scanning can (and often is) done completely outside color correction software, just using the controls on the scanner itself.

    Have you ever actually done any film scanning? I was usually paranoid enough about the D.I. and home video work I did from film that I'd either do the scanning myself, or at least check the scans with the i/o scanning operator and make sure they had at least balanced the RGB going in. Quite a few of them had never been trained to do such a thing and just assumed if they put up an alignment film and hit the button, that would be enough. Several of them were surprised to hear from me that every film is different, the processing is different, the emulsions are different, the exposure is different, and they really need to adjust the levels individually for every project. I'm not a fan of getting what I call "lopsided" scans from the i/o people. What made it worse was getting substandard elements or running into exposure limitations with certain combinations of film elements and scanners; IPs and Imagica scanners do not work well (as one example).

    As to the Cintel scanner: I was happy to see from Dwaine Maggart when he was demoing the scanner at the BMD event that you could at least adjust the scanner to balance out the scans using the "Light Source" controls, and he agreed with me that there's no easy "one size fits all" setting.

    There's still a lot of unanswered questions about the BMD Cintel scanner, but I'm hoping it'll basically do the job, not cost too much, and provide reasonably good quality for this price range.[/quote][/quote]
    Jeff Kreines likes this.
  13. As usual you go on a tangents, ignore the original point and even change your own answer. "The daVinci Classic, Renaissance, 888, and 2K correctors could all control scanners"
    Somehow now you dropped the daVinci Classic and added a tape;) Are we even talking about the tape? You still missing the original Jason's point "Not my area of expertise, but isn't this kind of following in the footsteps of running a Spirit with a Davinci 2K?". He's talking about using 2K with Spirit in scanner mode. What would be the point of using only an SD resolution 888 Reinessance color corrector with Spirit data scanner? What data option kit are you talking about using with strictly analog Classic DaVinci? Just drop it. We're talking about using DaVinci Resolve with a scanner, period.
    Does my answer somehow would change the equation? Do you think you're the only one who dealt with film scanners?
    Anyway, we hijacked the thread long enough. Let's people get back to discussing the original subject.

  14. Our Lasergraphics ScanStation does this. 8mm, Super 8, 16 can all use the full 41mm sensor in the scanner. The results are far superior to using a subset of the sensor to do a scan at 2k:

    I'd say it's actually very elegantly handled, not messy at all. We can easily switch modes and it only takes a couple seconds. And 4k Super 8 looks fantastic, believe it or not.

    Juan Salvo likes this.

  15. is this a little closer?

  16. I think this is because LaserGraphics put allot of engineering,mechanical, electrical and software, into the Scan Station to make the Lens-Camera re-positioning seamless to the user. This is a combination of a mechanical travel system, servo or stepper motors and probably a linear or rotary encoder for positioning the elements.

    That system is not really possible in a film scanner which is list priced at $29,995 and in fact the Basic Scan Station does not have the travel system at it's $50K price.
  17. So that would be a no? OK.

    I've dealt with a whole lot of scanners over the years -- I think if you include every kind of Rank, it'd be at least 9 or 10 different scanners, going back to 1979 -- and I actually think the Cintel scanner looks OK. I'm kind of bummed that it has to run from Resolve software, and also on being tied to a Thunderbolt connection.

    I also think anybody who gets into the film scanning business needs to understand the need for film inspection (having a rewind bench and an experienced film handler who knows how to deal with old film), and the need for having a film cleaner -- and running a film cleaner these days is much more complicated than it used to be. Spending $30K on just the scanner is only the tip of the iceberg on expenses. And I don't think any film element is good enough that you don't have to clean it first before scanning -- PTR rollers or no. It's not the "push a button and go" experience the BMD ads imply.

    One real problem I see with some facilities is that they promote the idea of film scanning as an entry-level position done by assistants. Few facilities understand the need to have skilled people who really know film handle the rolls as they come in. One bad splice can ruin your whole day.

    Turn the lights out, push the monitor back five feet and drop it down vertically a couple of feet, and the BMD "fashion photo" room could be workable.

    I've had to work in some awful color-correction rooms over the years, but as long as the lighting is serviceable and I'm not (literally) breaking my neck for 10-12 hours a day, I can roll with the punches if I have to. I do what it takes to get the job done.
  18. BTW, Tom Nottingham, Trent Johnson, and I all did HD film transfers at Complete Post with a daVinci 888 and a Spirit in 1999. We had no secondaries, no primary controls per se (and certainly no windows), but we managed to limp by just doing basic corrections inside the Spirit itself (front end) with what could be called the "colorgrade" controls. It was not fun, nor was it easy, but we delivered the jobs on time and the client bought the work. Within about six months, the 2K came out and we just redid those early features from scratch with the full daVinci 2K (at no charge to the clients -- in my case, this was six Miramax features).

    During this same era, I did what I think was one of the very first D.I. trailers, the Arnold Schwarzenegger Universal film The 6th Day. That was all scanned directly from Spirit (no daVinci involved), captured to 2K data, and finished entirely in Inferno. The studio was thrilled that we did the scans on a Thursday, edited on Friday, got it approved on Saturday, then did the film-out and prints Sunday at CFI, and were able to show a finished 3-minute film trailer Monday morning. Very difficult to do at a time when I think we had a grand total of 5TB of storage in the entire building.
  19. This one?

  20. That could be it. I worked about 20 hours straight on it and only remember isolated moments -- a shot of Arnold in a church, some car chases, the underwater stuff. Everything I did was at 2K for film only, so I had nothing to do with any subsequent video transfers. The YouTube spot has a lot of motion blurring, so I'm not sure what's going on there -- our film trailer didn't have those issues, and it was also scanned a shot at a time from OCN. Painfully.

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