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Old July 11th, 2007, 04:05 PM   #1
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Best way to capture 8mm home movie tonight?

Hey all,

So my friend asked me to come over tonight to capture 2 old home movies. Just looking for any quick tips. I have a few hours til I go there.

My plan was to project onto a stretched white sheet (he doesn't have an actual screen). I've seen decent results on smooth white walls, sheets, etc with film and lcd projectors in the past as a viewer.

I have an XL2. Would I be better off shooting 24p, 30p or 60i? And maybe spotlight mode or something? I almost always shoot full manual and of course I'll experiment when I get there, just looking for some tips from past experience?

Thanks in advance!
Eric
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Old July 11th, 2007, 04:26 PM   #2
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I'm doing the same thing, I have 50-60 8mm canisters and need to convert those using an 8mm projector and either an SD or HD camera. I'm still working out the details.

ONE THING i've found is a large poster, turned over to the white side works better than anything else I've tried thus far. The picture comes out great and the back of most posters are not shiny.

I haven't started the actual conversion process yet, but I'm thinking the same shutter speed as what it was actually shot in. THe problem, I don't know the shutter speed of an old 8mm reel camera....

I assume progressive, don't know of any actual film cameras that shoot interlace on film.

I'm thinking 30p.

If you have a good low light camera than you may be able to get away with shooting with very little extra light.
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Old July 11th, 2007, 04:38 PM   #3
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Thanks for the tip on the poster, that sounds like a great idea! :)

Yeah the Canon XL2 is really good in low light, so I think that should be fine. I figured the smaller the projection, the brighter it will be (and the less room depth I'll need to project with).

I guess 30p would be the smoothest looking capture, even though the film should be 24fps, I would assume. I don't know the shutter speed either, but I'm not sure how those would correlate. I would guess if I set the speed too high, I'd capture the bars in between the frames, no? And then too low and I'll get smearing and blurring. The default setting would be double the frame rate, which is probably fine, but I'll try to experiment with that a bit. I have no idea of the quality of the image or anything but since it's old home movies, it's probably not perfect to begin with. :)
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Old July 11th, 2007, 04:41 PM   #4
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Someone else is doing this today and in this thread there is a lot of good info. I'm reviewing it now.

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=98472
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Old July 11th, 2007, 04:42 PM   #5
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Thanks! :)
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Old July 11th, 2007, 05:08 PM   #6
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I do alot of 8mm film capture through my WorkPrinter XP system from Moviestuff. So I don't actually do projection capture (or poor-man's telecine as some call it) and can't really tell you the best method. However I have seen alot of threads about it, so I will offer a few points for you.

A screen is not really necessary, however a sheet will do fine as you mentioned you are intending to try, however you will want to be sure that it is a clean level plane with NO wrinkles. In fact, you might find that a piece of blank paper taped to the wall would be far more effective.

I think the two things you will find to be the most challenging to you will be dealing with flicker and keystone.

The keystone issue arises because you have to offset your camera a little bit in order for it to not be in the way of the projection. This will result in a lop-sided projection that will have to be rectified through the perspective properties in your NLE.

Flicker is a more complex issue. Fortunately, for me it is a non-issue due to the frame-by-frame scanning of the WorkPrinter XP, but for traditional projection capture it can be a hassle. A primary cause of flicker is that the frame rate of the orignal film does not match the frame rate of the dv capture. By your question, I see that you have anticipated this.

Several factors in your ability to eliminate or diminish flicker will depend upon the frame rate of the film. Standard 8mm was generally shot at around 15fps (give or take - there are always a few variables) while Super8 was shot anywhere between 18 - 20 fps - and I have seen some Super 8 films shot at 24 fps. (again with variables)

To help find a match for frame rate, the standard home movie projectors folks used for living room family gatherings introduces limitations. They typically use 3 blade shutters. The preferred projector for telecine purposes use 5 blade shutters. Variable speed proejction is also a big help, and isn't always an option on standard projectors. 5 blade shutter projectors (such as ELMO) can be found easily on ebay, but they can cost a pretty good amount of cash.

Proper use of the variable speed mechanism and a 5 blade shutter can allow for diminished flicker when trying to capture through a 60i or 30p digital camcorder capture.

You also might consider the clear-scan feature of the XL2. I'm not sure if it will work, but I have used it several times during shoots to eliminate the lines and flickers from CRT screens and televisions in the backgrounds of a few shoots I have done, so it might also be effective for flicker removal from your dv capture. Ultimately, you will want to make your projection frame rate match the shutter speed of your camcorder.

----------

One final note I offer is to be cautious about projecting the old film. I have had a number of clients explain to me that some of their film was damaged before they brought it to me because they wanted to double-check what was on it before deciding to ask for a really nice quality digital transfer - therefore they dragged their old projector out of the attic and loaded up the film to watch on their living room wall before sending it to me.

In more than a few instances, their film got eaten and damaged. Why? Because they hadn't used their projector in about 25 years. Parts get dusty - rubber belts and capstan rings get dry and cracked, causing mechanisms to move out of alignment or not move in a proper smooth manner. They load up their old precious memories and watch it get caught up in the inner workings of the projector, burned, and eaten. Not cool.

Just be sure that the film loads carefully and correctly and that the projector is clean and properly lubed. If there is any question about the integrity of the projector or it isn't running the film smoothly , consider the sentimental value of the content, and consider an experienced telecine transfer service - they're often quite easy to find in the yellow pages. I'm not doubting the skill with your XL2, its just that old projectors are often the weak link in the chain. Better safe than sorry.

Good luck and have fun.

-Jon
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Old July 11th, 2007, 05:25 PM   #7
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Thanks for your well thought-out answer Jon. :)

I'm not sure about the clear scan feature helping (it's explained in the other thread that Marco referenced).

I *believe* this is an 8mm or super 8mm film, but I haven't seen it yet. My friend originally said 35mm film, and then said 'home movie'.. It IS in fact a home movie from when he was a child, so I really doubt it's 35mm :) So I don't know the frame rate. I like the idea of variable playback speed. I'll see what I can figure out with the projector.

It's a borrowed projector apparently. I'll check out the inner workings. I remember about 20 years ago I wanted to check out some super 8 home movies from probably 10 years earlier on our home projector and one of the rubber wheels crumbled on the edges and sent the film off into every direction except straight ahead. Thanks for the reminder on that, I'll inspect it carefully before loading it up.

I hadn't really considered how small the projection could be, but I remember in the mid 80's seeing home movies transferred onto VHS at a local tape rental store and they had a machine that just had a small square for the projection, I think think at a 45 degree angle, with a camcorder sticking into the side. The whole unit sat on a workbench, and they had a few side by side. They also did slide projection inside them as well. I suppose I could project this on a business card if I wanted to, eh? :)
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Old July 11th, 2007, 05:39 PM   #8
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Well, a business card might be a little small, but the projection doesn't have to be very large at all. Basically a few feet from the wall, but so long as you can get a nice clear, bright and well saturated image should be fine.

What I think you are referring to is very similar to consumer film transfer units such as those made by Ambico, I think is the name. Tons of those on ebay, and a workable solution in its own right, but it is neglible if it is going to be much different from what you are already going to do against a wall. Basically, those boxes involve projecting into one side of the box onto an angled mirror that projects the image onto a small (usually plastic) screen about the size of an index card. Then you aim your camcorder at that small screen and shoot your digital capture.

I actually bought one on ebay for the specific purpose of running the same piece of footage through 4 different methods of transfer, and then load them on my website to demonstrate the results of each method on the same piece of footage - but I've been so busy that I haven't gotten around to doing it yet.

Those Ambico boxes can be had on ebay for anywhere between $10 to about $240 depending upon the kind of box it is, and the additional options it provides (such as 35mm slide options or even audio throughput) , but as I noted, you're probably better off using the white paper method on the wall.

-Jon
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Old July 11th, 2007, 05:52 PM   #9
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A note regarding distance and image size, not covered in my other answer.

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=98472

Keystone offset is a funtion of distance to image. That means, the farther you can get the camera and projector from the image, the less keystone will be noticeable in the projection.

At the very least, keep the camera and projector lenses in the same line as the projection axis. That is, either LEVEL with one another, or VERTICAL with one another.

Obviously, the trade off is less illumination, darker image. So it will take a bit of experimentation to find the best MAXIMUM distance for best illumination, and minimum keystone.

Good luck.
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Old July 11th, 2007, 05:58 PM   #10
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I think this is the reason I still have 50-60 canisters, LOL, Its an hour ordeal just to get one loaded and properly turning, argh, lol

Thanks for the answers as well guys!
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Old July 11th, 2007, 06:18 PM   #11
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Yeah I thought about the keystoning too. I suppose the 'cleanest' way to do it would be with a projection screen that projects from the back. Then you could be super close with both devices, one on either side of the screen, and have a perfect square with no effort (well except the hour to get the machine working right ;)

I'm heading over there now but my PDA phone will let me know if there are any replies here, so I'll be able to check while I'm there for any last minute insights. :)
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Old July 11th, 2007, 06:28 PM   #12
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Right, keep the camera and projector as close together as possible (allowing you access to the controls) the lenses on the same axis, and a good distance from the 'screen' - and you'll be good to go.

The AMBICO boxes serve the same function as the rear projection - placing the camera/projector lenses at the opposite ends of the same axis, eliminating keystone. Their biggest drawback was 'hotspots' in the middle of the image.
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Old July 11th, 2007, 06:31 PM   #13
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Eric, please post tomorrow to let us know how it went.

-Jon
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Old July 12th, 2007, 06:02 AM   #14
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So I'm back. I haven't reviewed the footage, but in my viewfinder, it was focused, with a soft edge from the projector. I framed it so the soft edge was in the shot and the black background was slightly at the edges. Shot 4:3 like the film. Not sure of framerate, but it looked like it played back slightly fast. I couldn't figure out how to slow it down. There was a 'slow' switch, and then a variable speed knob, but I think it only controlled the slow. Not sure, but it didn't slow down the normal speed enough if it was working at all.

The reels were only 4 mins each. Setup seemed to take a while. Figuring out how to thread the film properly took a bunch of time. I think lining up the sprocket holes by the shutter was my problem at first.

The paper and posters were too small and I had a lot of keystoning that way. So we ironed a bed sheet and hung it over the swinging doors of a large tv cabinet. I white balanced on that with the projector (roughly the same as tungsten i guess).. shot it and it looked good from what I can tell. I'll check it out later..

Flicker didn't seem bad in the viewfinder..

(Forgot to hit submit on this, so it's now 7 hours later when it's being posted)..

-Eric
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Old July 15th, 2007, 08:25 PM   #15
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Flicker wont look bad on the viewfinder. You should have a cable out to a TV as well so you can monitor it on that as you project. Then I suspect you would see that the variable speed knob can be very handy to keep the flicker to a minimum.

Mark
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