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White Paper: Pro8mm to Offer 2K Data Scanning: 8mm, Super 8mm, 16mm film

Pro8mm, the industry leaders for the professional use of Super 8 film since 1972 announce the 2K upgrade of their M2 HD Scanning Suite which can produce 2K data files for Super 8mm, 8mm and 16mm film. The Millennium II system is highly regarded as a scanner that produces a very classic film look because it uses a CRT tube (high white) as opposed to the CCD technology widely used by a majority of post houses. Additionally, an extensive toolbox offers enhancements of color correction, images stabilization, and dirt and scratch concealment, which optimize the picture in a native process during the transfer session.

Why Scan to 2K?

2K Scanning of Super 8 Film Provides an Improved Digital Space: One of the great improvements in digital over the past decade has been the increase in the amount of digits used to describe an image. In still photography this is often referred to as the number of megapixels. In film we describe this improvement in terms of a grid pattern of lines of resolution. In standard definition we us a grid of 720 x 486 lines (350K) to describe a frame of image. In HD we jump up to using 1920 X 1080 space (2000K). Because most small gauge film formats are framed in an aspect ratio of 4:3, we can’t fully use all this space. So, we typically frame the image 1440 X 1080, blacking out the sides by creating pillar boxing. This creates a picture space of 1,500K.

In 2K we expand again to 2048 X 1556 or (3,100K). Because 2K images are framed 4:3 we can use all this space to describe our formatted film frame. It is a factor of 10 times the digits to describe the detail in every frame of film over standard definition, and double what we use for HD. A lot of detail and color can fit in this space. Like with still photography the Mega Pixels of each frame will determine what application the film can be used in without a loss in resolution due to blowing up a small data size into a large screen. SD was perfectly adequate when we all watch our images on 19’ tube television and is still good for small screen application. When you try to get a good image on today’s larger flat screens or go to a theatre and project an image, you need more data to create an acceptable picture. Most movie theaters today are running in 2K digital space and are moving toward 4K as the next leap.

2K Frame for Frame Mastering: One of the benefits HD and 2K Data files have over standard definition (SD) video mastering is the frame for frame real tionship between film and digital. Video works at 30 frames per second while film works at 24, 18 (and sometimes 16) frames per second. The 2K scan eliminates the need to create additional frames to make up the SD work. These extra frame per second do nothing except to make the SD video transfer work and can often cause problems and create artifacts when the material is repurposed.

HD scanning allows you to create a frame for frame digital masters at 24fps that have no extra frames. If you want a true digital archive of your material you must scan your film at 24 into the industry standard HD digital format like 23:98PSF. In 2K data there is no associated playback speed and everything must be done frame for frame. If your original film was shot at 18fps then it is recommended that you master it at 24fps and then slow it down in post production rather than create a digital master with extra frames and artifacts. This will also save 20% of the cost of doing a scan at 18 FPS.

Image Processing: Some purists only want to see their images on digital in the exact way they are currently on film. While staying true to the artist’s vision of the original image may present a compelling conversation, artifacts such as dirt, scratches and bad image registration were not part of what any film shooter was intending. All professional film work is color corrected in order to create the best contrast, exposure, and consistency of color due to fading of ageing film. This is a fantastic option available at Pro8mm and is a welcome improvement for all who enjoy theses images. Color correction for 2K data files are done at a 4:1 ratio, while a one-light transfer is performed at a 2:1 ratio. Our system includes “Y-Front” optics, which makes a tremendous improvement in concealing the dirt and scratches on the film giving you a cleaner result.

Workflow: Along with the expansion into the 2K digital spaces, Pro8mm will be expanding our workflow options. We will be supporting both PC and Mac based platforms, offering direct encoding and compressions to DPX and ProRes files. These file formats can be created in conjunction with our present formats to create multiple masters to different formats.

2K Data Encoding in a Professional Telecine Suite:

2K Data Scanning is done using our M2 Telecine machine so we can incorporate all the traditional tools into the 2K workflow. This means DaVinci 2K color correction, Y-Front Dirt and Scratch concealment can all be use with a 2K Scan and be programmed in Scene to Scene. This is much more efficient way to do Archival Data Scanning as no post processing is necessary. The work is done off the film for maximum quality and efficiency. All scheduled transfers give clients the option to attend the session at no additional charge. This is a fantastic experience and opportunity to be part of the creative process.

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