// www.chrisgavin.com

Sunday, February 09, 2020

Further Experiments in DIY Cine Film Scanning.

On and off over the last decade I have been messing about with various ideas and methods for digitizing cine film using homebrew technolgies. My efforts have been focussed on Super8 and laterly on 16mm formats. The aim of all this,is mainly to make shooting on these film formats more affordable and time-efficient too.

Around 2008 I was playing around with the adapted cine projector, frame by frame PC grabbing technique. It was difficult to set-up and the video cameras of that era tended to be just SD resolution. I also ended-up 'adapting' my poor old Chinon projector beyond repair.
http://www.chrisgavin.com/2008/09/diy-tk-set-up.html

I leapt back into this a couple of years ago with a new device. I began experimenting with getting some components 3D printed and learning a little bit about electronics and Arduino too. By 2018, this device was looking like this...
http://www.chrisgavin.com/2018/06/the-old-diy-super8-film-scanner-project.html

In recent months, I've been back on the case with renewed vigour and have been documenting my tests/expirements a little as Instagram posts. Here' I'll collect together and share some of this work...

19/09/19 EXPERIMENT
Using a photosensor and Arduino to detect the sprocketholes in some 16mm movie film.



21/09/19 EXPERIMENT
Using the Arduino board to trigger the shutter of a Panasonic Lumix GH4 camera to take still photos.



23/09/19 EXPERIMENT
A 3D printed film gate for 16mm cine film. The photo sensor from the earlier experiment is now built into this.



21/12/19 EXPERIMENT
I've added a continuous rotation servo motor to move the film backwards and forwards through the film gate. I'm using Processing code here to run this from my PC with a simple GUI.



30/12/19 EXPERIMENT
Now we can see these elements from the previous experiments put together. The servo motor moves the film. The photo sensor detects the sprocket holes and the GH4 camera is triggered to take a photo. All of this is controlled by an Arduino, a little bit of circuitry and Processing code running on the host PC.



CONCLUSION:

This is the setup I used to capture the 'CONSTANTINE BAY' black and white 16mm footage seen in this previous post.

I eventually got this working well enough to digitize small amounts of film. The registration of the resulting frames was pretty lousy, so I always had to apply stabilization to the captured images to make them usable. I've been using the After Effects warp stabilzer feature to do this.

I'm amazed to have got this far really. I'm very much learning about electronics, engineering and programming as I go along with this project.

I think the poor registration of this system is the area that needs to be looked-into next. My thinking is to try a machine vision camera instead of the bulky GH4 camera seen here. I'm curious to see if some of the functions of capturing and registration could be developed as software rather than hardware solutions. More about this to follow...








Monday, January 06, 2020

New 16mm film : Constantine Bay Home Movie



Here's some 16mm cine film I shot and DIY processed around five years ago. I then lost the roll of film and have only just found it again!

Meanwhile, I've been playing around with DIY film scanning methods again and have hacked-together a system for digitizing 16mm film frames too.

So this video above may look like a grainy and blotchy home movie ... it is ... but ... I built my own spiral tank to process this, developed it at home in coffee, then digitized the footage using a home made film scanner. DIY film-making doesn't get much more DIY than this,

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

New Music Video: Virna Lindt 'Avant Garde'



You wait ages for a blog post to come along and wehey, another one ... Here's a low-fi motion graphics video I just made for Virna Lindt's new track "Avant Garde".

For this track I was asked to make a simpler kind of music video with a tighter production schedule. I only had the vinyl record and a couple of still photos of the artist Virna Lindt to work with. The track has a certain pulsing shuffle to it, so I used lots of 'dust' and 'noise' in the graphics to keep the imagery buzzing and alive throughout the track.

Sunday, December 01, 2019

New Music Video: Tot Taylor 'Featurette'



Well it's been bloomin' ages since my last blogfession; over a year it seems! I've been pretty busy in the meantime, scrabbling around making a living and not always making things I can write much about.

However...

Here's a music video I just made for musician, gallerist and novelist Tot Taylor. The track 'Featurette' is a somewhat autobiographical number, in which Tot addresses his teenage self circa 1973.

When I first met Tot a few months ago, he told me a story from his teenage years. Like me, (as it happens) he grew-up in Cambridge. As an aspiring pop star, Tot bunked-off school one day with his teenage bandmates and took the train down to London. Armed only with a demo cassette and an AtoZ street map, Tot's band tracked down all of the record companies they could and proceeded to 'knock on doors'. After many rejections Tot's crew ended-up at the offices of Island Records where miraculously they found a sympathetic ear... Amazingly, Tot and his band of schoolmates recorded a session for the legendary Island Records label. But then and there, the dream kind of hit the buffers. Cut to the present day and Tot decided to revive his song 'Featurette' and rework it as a wry 'message to his naive but ambitous teenage self'.

For such a story of retro pop ambition, I decided to make a film in the style of a naive 1970s era teenage film-maker. The animation is rough and wobbly and the live action footage is mostly shot on 8mm and 16mm cine film. Not such a leap as it turned out ;).

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

New Video: Simon's Cat Logic,'Moving House'

Here's a new video I've just made (directing/shooting/editing) for Simon's Cat Ltd. This episode explores the issues around moving house with your cats.

Friday, October 05, 2018

NEW COMPOSITING SHOWREEL 2018



This 2018 showreel showcases some of my more recent compositing and motion graphics work. I have been working professionally in animation production for over twenty years. I've been employed for A LOT of that time as an animation compositor.

In around 2002 I switched from Animo and Toonz, to working in Adobe After Effects. All of the work seen here has been comped in that software. Some of the work is from larger projects at studios such as Nexus, Lupus, Tandem, Not To Scale etc. and other clips are from smaller projects I've undertaken independently as a freelance commercial film-maker.

If you'd like to hire me to work in your animation studio, or work as a director/producer for your next video, please do drop me an email at chris@chrisgavin.com

Monday, September 17, 2018

New Video: 'Secur'IT' promo video for Kaspersky



Here's a promo video Kaspersky Labs are using online to launch and promote their 'Secur'IT' competition for students. This link shows the movie as it is now published over on the Kaspersky YouTube channel.

I delivered this video a couple of weeks back working for agency 90Seconds. I helped the client to helped edit their script, then created this cut using stock images/footage.

There's also a French version here ...


Tuesday, June 26, 2018

The old DIY super8 film scanner project rides again !

Well I've been at home this last month and sorting through a lot of old things. High on a shelf in my studio I found a plastic box with my abandoned cine film digitizing project inside; so I dusted it off a bit and decided to see if I could get it running again.

Amazingly it DOES seem to be working!

I documented this project a bit back in the day. I stopped working on all this cine film stuff around 2014 when I had more pressing work/life commitments to attend to.

So not only have I now got it up and runnig again, but I've even made some small improvements! I've got the device working now with my newer Panasonic GH4 camera rather than the Canon 600D DSLR I was using before. I figure that the smaller micro 4/3 sensor is better for this application requiring less extreme macro magnification than the larger APSC sensor needed. Also the GH4 has an 'electronic shutter' mode which should be a lot more durable than the all-mechanical shutter on the Canon DSLR.

The electronic triggering circuit of my device needed a slight modification to trigger the shutter of the GH4. But I got it working after some web searching and a few hours of further tinkering.

So to show the world the current status of this project I've made this short video...

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

New Video: Simon's Cat Logic,'Missing Cats'

Here's a new video I've just made (directing/shooting/editing) for Simon's Cat Ltd. This episode looks into what do do if your cat goes missing.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

New Video: 'Car Show 2018' shot in WIDESCREEN ANAMORPHIC

I took my camera to the local car show (The Enfield Pageant of Motoring) again over the weekend, and this is what I saw there ...



This time, I decided to add my anamorphic adaptor in to the mix. I've had the Panasonic LA7200 for quite a long time and used it on many of my super8 cine film projects. Super 8 is usually a 4x3 ratio format, so this 1.33X anamorphic adaptor enables 16x9 shooting instead.

When you add the adaptor to a camera already shooting 16x9 ratio then you get an even wider wider aspect ratio. So instead of 1920x1080 (16x9 HD) the adaptor enables shooting at 2560x1080. So with this adaptor I'm getting a super-wide ratio of 2.37:1.

I used my Panasonic GH4 camera to shoot this. As I love the 96fps clow-mo mode so much, most of the footage was shot at 1920x1080 FHD size rather than the 4K mode the camera is better known for. In premiere I interpreted the footage with a 1.333 Pixel aspect ratio to effectively 'stretch' the footage wider in post. I then exported at this 2560x1080 size to upload to YouTube.

Sunday, April 08, 2018

Smartphone Video: Schiphol to Amsterdam in 90 seconds.

Last year (2017), my cousin Steve sent me some phone footage he shot on a visit to the Netherlands. He shot views from his train ride from Schiphol airport in to Amsterdam Central station on his Iphone. Steve shot this using the 8mm app which I think does gives it a somewhat filmic quality.

Steve asked me if if I could put the clips together in some way, so I did. Here's the edit I put together...

From time to time I sometimes dabble in making my own soundtrack music and this is one of those such occasions. The 'music' here was made using Mixcraft software.

Friday, April 06, 2018

Smartphone Video: "The Signs of Midlife Crisis'

I've been playing around with my smartphone a lot recently shooting video and taking photos etc. My phone is a Samsung S7; so not the latest greatest thing, but not too shabby either. I decided to make a little short film aiming to just use the phone entirely to shoot, edit and then upload to YouTube.

I used the Samsung built in camera app to shoot and then bought KineMaster app to edit this together. I spent quite a while trying out several different editing apps, but KineMaster turned out to be the one I was happiest with. I might write more on the subject of smartphone film-making as time goes by as I think I'll be trying out more of this.

Monday, April 02, 2018

Working on Headspace Animations

For anybody reading this and wondering what I've mostly been doing this last year ... Well I've been working full-time as a freelancer at Nexus Studios in Shoreditch, helping to composite a lot of these beautiful animated short films for the Headspace mobile app. These films are mostly created as content to be seen by users within the Headspace app, but also quite a few of these are being published on the official Headspace YouTube channel now; so I feel it's OK to share a link to one of my favorite ones here ...

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Test Video GH4 footage near Cliffe Pools, Kent.



Just some test footage shot this weekend with GH4 camera, Lumix 30-100mm lense and Tiffen VariND filter.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

New Video: IFRS 17



Here is a new corporate video I've just delivered for the IFRS Foundation. This film introduces the new IFRS 17 financial standards being introduced in the insurance sector.

New Video: Simon's Cat Logic,'Territory'

Here's a new video I've just made (directing/shooting/editing) for Simon's Cat Ltd. This episode looks into Territory.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

New Video: Simon's Cat Logic,'Playtime'

Here's a new video I've just made (directing/shooting/editing) for Simon's Cat Ltd. This episode looks into Playtime.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

New Video: Simon's Cat Care 'Looking After Kittens'



This is the second episode in a series of 'Cat Care with Nicky' web videos that I'm directing for the Simon's Cat channel. Over the years I've been shooting and editing a lot of the 'extra' video content for the Simon's Cat YouTube channel.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

New Video: IFRS Developing Financial Standards


Here's a new corporate explainer video I made recently for the IFRS (That's International Financial Reporting Standards.) Keen readers will remember that last year I made this video for the same organization too.