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Pro8mm Tip of the Day: How to Pick a Place to Scan Your Super 8 Film

As I was working on updating my own VIMEO and You Tube Channels this weekend, I lost myself in the many great Super 8 films that people have posted. I found that I can spend endless hours just watching everyone’s stuff, and of course, since this is my profession, I am always curious about the cameras, film, processing and scanning workflow. Some of the DIY folks have produced some really good stuff. Great in fact. Filmmakers who enjoy the power of one, and have the time to maticulate over moving their super 8 film to digital can achieve a decent result, providing they understand how to minimize the dirt, and the film was lit correctly to begin with.

What I found somewhat interesting however was how many scans done at facilities are producing results that look so bad. In many cases, worse than the DIY telecine that filmmakers have done.  So here is a tip I hope you will use. Before you choose a place to scan your film, go to YouTube and Vimeo to see what kind of quality a scanning facility can offer.  Most companies now have samples of their stuff up there, or their clients have tagged what facility did the scan. Check out as many as you can find. You will be amazed at the range of what you see.

As I looked at all the competitors stuff, as is human  nature to do, it validated  to me that the differential between the quality of our scans , far exceeds the differential in the price.  One more thing…don’t be fooled by “fake” HD.  HD is a native 1080 scan that comes directly off the scanner,  not a  telecine that  scans  in SD and then is  up rezzed  in a computer.  Check it out for yourself.    © Phil Vigeant, Pro8mm 2009


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