// www.chrisgavin.com: February 2020

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...