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How Scantastic! Choosing The Best Digital Workflow for Scanning and Framing your Super 8mm or 16mm Film Project - Rhonda Vigeant © 2018

How Scantastic! Choosing The Best Digital Workflow for Scanning and Framing your Super 8mm or 16mm Film Project   - Rhonda Vigeant © 2018



One of the questions we get asked the most here at Pro8mm is how should I scan my film and what framing options do I have? We like to start by asking our client how will the project be shown? Is it going to be seen on a big screen at a film festival or released theatrically? Will it be broadcast on TV or streamed over the Internet? Or will it just be uploaded to YouTube or Instagram? Maybe there will be multiple uses for the material and you will need a multi format master of large files along with small MP4 files.  Here are some definitions and explanations of what we have available. Our fantastic Pro8mm project coordinators are always here to help.


TIP: If you choose your framing option first, then choosing your other specs will fall into place. Why? Because once you know if you want a 4 x 3 or a 16 x 9 image on your frame, the other options available that are outlined on our digital mastering form have certain specs that naturally go together.

Framed: Framed means that you want the Super 8/8mm image which is 4 x 3 to fill the digital format. This works well when you use a digital format like 2K Full Aperture or 4K Full Aperture which are also 4 x 3 formats.  With this combination there is very little cropping of the original image.  But if you choose a digital format that is 16 x 9 like HD or 4K UHD the film image has to be blown up so it can fill the 16 x 9 space, this will crop a lot of your original image on the top and the bottom. Because this combination does so much cropping it is typically better if you want to use a 16 x 9 digital format to scan the film and matte the digital.


Matted: Matted means that the best film image will be placed in the center of the 16 x 9 digital frame and then what is left over in the digital will be blanked out or matted. This preserves the integrity of the original film image while utilizing the popular digital sizes of formats like HD. 


With both a framed or matted images there is still some of the original picture on the film that is being cropped.  Depending on the integrity of the scanning facility, this cropping can range from minor to severe. In order to insure that nothing from your film original is cropped you can have your film over scanned.


Over scan: Over Scanned mean you want to see beyond the borders of the frame to insure that everything on the film is now part of the digital. This insures you have your entire image and can then set up the frame the way you want in postproduction.  Because the frame line is now part of the image it can be used in digital for frame stabilizing. Sometimes the frame line in Super 8/8mm film shifts due to different cameras being used. This technique can be use so that these shifts do not result in lost picture. 


Full Format Over scan: This is taking the over-scanning concept to its limits and scanning the complete film format. This creates a digital image of the complete physical film. Although there is no practical use for this, it does give a very nice film aesthetic which has been used in many commercials, television shows and theatrical features. 


On our website, Pro8mm has a Work Order – Digital Mastering Form.



This form needs to be filled out and sent in with your film for processing and scanning. You need to fill out the column on the form that corresponds to the type of scan you want and the specs. Here are the options:


Basic Scan: Best for Internet or direct viewing. Limited choices framing and film speeds.

  • Our Basic scan is Progressive up to HD
  • 980 x 720p HD
  • 4x3
  • Framed
  • MP4 file


Production Scan: High quality, professional scan, best for using your own post production tools for professional work or home movies.

Our production scan is Progressive up to 2K

Choose From 1920 x 1080 HD

            2048 x 1556 2K 4x3

            2048 x 1080 16 x 9

Color Timing             LOG (flat scan)

            Best Light (one color setting) Color Corrected Plus (additional             fees apply)

Choose Framing   Overscan

            Full Format Over scan




Choose Output             Pro Res 422 (2 gpm)

                                   Pro Res 422 HQ (3 gpm)

                                     Pro Res 4444 ( 4 gpm)


Advanced Scan: The largest scan you can get, best for archival or theatrical film projects and using your own postproduction tools.

Our Advanced scan is Progressive up to 5K

Choose from            2048 x 1556 2K 4x3 DPX files

                                    3840 x 2160 U-HD 4K 16 x 9

                                    4096 x 3112 4K 4 x 3

                                    5120 x 3840 5K 4 x 3

            2048 x 1080 16 x 9        


Color Timing            LOG (flat scan)

            Best Light (one color setting)                                                                                          Color Corrected Plus (additional fees apply)



Choose Framing            Over scan

                        Full Format Over scan




Choose Output             Pro Res 422 (5 gpm)

                                     Pro Res 422 HQ (7 gpm)

                                     Pro Res 4444 ( 12 gpm)

                                   DPX up to 2K (20 gpm) no color plus




Color Correction Plus: Scene-to-Scene Color Correction for Log Scans. Includes framing and film speed.


Best Light: The person transferring the film will set one color setting for the average of the reel. Best used when all film was shot under the same lighting conditions.


Log: A ‘flat’ scan, giving the client the most room in postproduction to do their own color correction.


Frame Rate: The frame rate you want us to use when creating your scan file. If you do not know, most home movies were shot at 18fps, while professional projects are usually shot at 24fps. If you choose a speed that is not what the film was shot at, it could look sped up or slowed down. However, this typically easy to correct in editing software.


Output: The type of digital file you will get back on your hard drive. The larger the file, the more information you will have from the film. When choosing an output, make sure you choose something your system can handle. DPX files are huge, and will not work on all computers. All ProRes files are high quality and used by most professionals and prosumers. Think about where you will be showing the film. If it will only be on the Internet, a smaller file is better. If you will be projecting it onto a large screen, you will want a larger file.

Check out our digital mastering form

Fill out completely and send in with your film for processing and scanning,

For additional questions, please call us at 818-848-5522 and speak to one of our sales representatives, or check out our web- site for video demos and additional product information.