Super 8 digitization

Discussion in 'Soundgear' started by SwingSwing, Jan 9, 2024.

  1. SwingSwing

    SwingSwing Member

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    Hello everyone,

    I am planning to digitize old super 8 movies my uncle shot in the 80s and 90s, but I am new to the hardware involved and I have not bought any hardware so far. I think I will get a projector with sound and then film directly from the lens with a shutter that is synced to the movie. Right now I am trying to assess what to buy.

    My question is: How can I transfer the audio from the projector to my RME Babyface? (Concerning Cabling and if there are better/worse projectors for the audio conversion)

    So far I read that there are two common kinds of audio plugs in super 8 projectors: "phono" and/or "5-din" where phono was also common with LP-players. Somewhere someone mentioned that you should solder a resistor in between in order not to burn through the projector, I wonder if that is really necessary. And someone else mentioned that he used an anti distortion device in between his cabling - where I wonder if I can not achieve similar or even better results with software on my daw.

    Thanks a lot

    (hope this thread is in the right spot)
     
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  3. zadiac

    zadiac Ultrasonic

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    You'll need some kind of capture card. I'm sure if you search around you'll get some pcie cards with video inputs. It comes with capture software etc.
    Something like this https://www.newegg.com/p/2CX-00KN-007C4
     
  4. SwingSwing

    SwingSwing Member

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    I think the video part should be okay - I have a digital camera that will be connected to my pc and do the video capturing part on its own. I'm more concerned about the audio transfer with these old formats
     
  5. ItsFine

    ItsFine Platinum Record

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    First thing :

    if you try to film "direct from lens" with a non modified projector, you will burn your camera sensor.
    Remember a projector is meant to project on a wall at several meters.
    So FORGET ABOUT IT if it was your way of doing it.

    You need to modify the projector by using low power LED to do this.

    Here is a good vid about the subject :


    About sound now, this website is a reference dedicated to the subject :
    https://8mmforum.film-tech.com/cgi-bin/ubb/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=1;t=011962

    Basically, projectors talked on this forum are "line level", like any regular device.
    So you can plug it on anything with line level input, anything with line/AUX input : portable audio recorder, computer line input ...

    You will only need a cable.

    BUT if you use "phono output" projector, you will need a simple converter like this :
    https://fr.aliexpress.com/item/1005005636694941.html

    It is not only a matter of audio level, but response curve too.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RIAA_equalization
     
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  6. orbitbooster

    orbitbooster Audiosexual

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    In past I did many conversions from 8mm / super 8mm, but there was no audio to transfer.

    I used my old grandpa Canon projector on a dedicated screen and a professional Canon camera with option of movies (60fps), removed the (faint) shutter in post edit, though I would have preferred a Telecine (basically a frame by frame scanner, no bloody shutter problems).

    You can find on amz some non professional starting from 200 bucks.

    The results were more than acceptable seeing the old tech movies.
    Example:
    https://gofile.io/d/3rL0zL
     
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  7. Garamondo Furbish

    Garamondo Furbish Audiosexual

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    depending on the amount of footage you have to digitize, it might be easier and cheaper to utilize a service to do this for you.
    once you have the digitized footage you can manipulate the audio all you want. Also if only the audio is desired, you can digitize the footage with the lamp removed from the projector.
    https://duckduckgo.com/?t=ffab&q=8mm+video+digitizing+services&ia=web

    most of the footage is probably super8, 8mm fell out of favor in the early 1970's.

    suggest you watch the film Super8 to understand what you are getting into...
    https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1650062/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

    [​IMG]
     
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  8. Garamondo Furbish

    Garamondo Furbish Audiosexual

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    you've picqued my interest. I may have to try this myself. You should verify the footage you own has sound on it. a lot of super8 was silent.
    amazon and ebay have a few devices that do the digitzing some only do the film and not the audio.

    to capture the video you can use a "movieola" which is (usually) a hand cranked movie viewer for editing film. You can get a cheap digital video camera for less than a 100$ (often less than 50$) and you shoot digital from the screen in a darkened room to diminish light bleed and reflection. - you may be able to find a motorized version or of course motorize it yourself with a pulley a motor and a speed controller circuit.

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/176152391658?hash=item2903802fea:g:b5YAAOSwusBlld6z

    [​IMG]

    something like this will output DVI over firewire to your computer allowing capturing the footage to your computer, its in the rectangular format similar to super 8 film (wider than tall)

    [​IMG]

    you'll need a tripod or a film stand to lock everything down to avoid jitter..
    I own this camera and the video quality is stunning. an old laptop can be found with a firewire port for less than 100$
    most of the dells from the mid 2000 had this HP probook 6555b had these as well. its a sata based storage so easy to switch to ssd
    unlike the dell which often require an a adpater and a bit of fiddling about.

    you can also datamine Reddit for some good tips.

    https://www.reddit.com/r/8mm/comments/c814oy/can_anyone_recommend_the_best_way_to_digitize_8mm/

    https://www.reddit.com/r/8mm/
     
  9. genophyte

    genophyte Producer

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    Magnasonic Super 8/8mm Film Scanner is what a friend of mine has and its amazing for the video part , and just records the line out to audacity then compiles it all in blender
     
  10. ItsFine

    ItsFine Platinum Record

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    And you can buy any "already made" scan/projector second hand and resell it after.
    No loss :wink:
     
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  11. SwingSwing

    SwingSwing Member

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    That is super helpful! The Forum seems great and I have never read/heard about this response curve issue and I'm not sure I would have otherwise. Could you tell me if the converter you refer to handles the response curve issue or do I have to fix that in my DAW? Also I wonder if the "line level" projectors have a 6.3mm jack or some old kind of plug, it is really hard to see in the pictures as they all seem very dark and not focussed on that part. Any advice on how to choose a fitting projector that makes the audio transfer as easy as possible would be great!
    -----------------

    With the video transfer at first I was planning to do it as @ItsFine said and get a second hand super 8 scanner and resell it at the same price. That should be no problem as I see them come and go for the same ~220€ on a daily basis. Here the models are "Somikon" and "Reflecta" and they are roughly the same build. But the longer I read and watch videos on the subject the more criticism I see of any of the methods that are not insanely outpriced. And with the pricier or custom-made alternatives I am not sure I can resell them so easily as they tend to hang around much longer on the second hand market.

    My own perception is that the video quality of those scanners is pretty good for my purposes but apparently you can achieve the same results with filming from the projector lens if you have a camera that can sync the shutter frequency to the film speed.

    Thanks @ItsFine for the warning - I was already thinking about making a home project learning a (tiny) bit of electrical engineering (as I know nothing there) and modifying a projector to have a (hopefully dimmable) led instead of the original bulb but so far I thought it was an optional thing in order to find the right lighting for the film and I might have destroyed the camera if the project had gotten too hard for me to do...

    If there is not much of a difference qualitywise the great advantage of filming off the projector is time: using the super 8 scanners works at about 2 pictures/sec whereas filming from the projector at real speed is 9 times as fast. AND I can record the sound at the same time. Since my uncle has lots of material this might make the difference between 20-60 hours and 200-600 hours of digitizing. AND on top of that many of the scanners seem to get stuck lots of times so I would have to sit next to them and get them unstuck whereas I think I only have to start and stop the projector.

    @Garamondo Furbish Maybe I will look into renting a camera but it seems pricey and I already have the Sony DCR-VX2000E of my uncle to film from the projector lens. It only features SD quality but the lens and contrast and whatever should be pretty good. At least I was happy with all the old clips I have already digitized that were shot with that camera so it should be fine to use it for the super-8s. It has up to 12x optical zoom which someone else mentioned to me as necessary for the purpose. And it can adjust the shutter speed as necessary. As you proposed I will connect it to my firewire card and let the video capture software do the rest :)

    Also I looked into services that could do the work for me, but the more reliable ones are quite expensive if it is more than just one or two videos. Maybe I will collect the best scenes, cut them together and have them done professionally, but 30 minutes are at least 100€ I think.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2024
  12. ItsFine

    ItsFine Platinum Record

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    Preamp Phono box in the link provided correct the curve by itself.
    in the description :
    RIAA-equalisation curve accuracy: 20Hz - 20kHz / max. 0,5dB

    It is better than doing it in post production, because there is so much bass content before correction that you will need a massive amount of correction AND so will get a lot of noise too.
    No EQ needed with this box :wink:

    About filming, sync is the problem as you said.
    But by trial and error, you can fine tune the projector speed to your camera (24 fps being the easier).

    If you are scanning 18 fps films (most amateur films), you will need to set your projector at around 20 real fps and set your camera at 60 fps (3x20=60 fps)

    Here is fine tune and more infos :
    https://jonathangazeley.com/2014/02/27/digitising-a-super-8-film/

    Remember to remove the front cache on the projector !
    Because it cuts a lot of the real image.
    At 8:34
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2024
  13. triggerflipper

    triggerflipper Audiosexual

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    Blender??

    Is it because your friend is an absolute ace at 3d animation and can even prepare thanksgiving dinner using Blender, or they somehow managed to live through life without hearing about video editing software?
     
  14. orbitbooster

    orbitbooster Audiosexual

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    Yep this is the way I did, the fps control was countinuous (18 to 24), so it was pretty easy, I could see the shutter wave slowing down until it ALMOST stopped , but I had to clean it a bit in post edit in anyway.
    BTW there is a free sw dedicated to 8mm clips editing, Film9, an easy overlay of VirtualDub.

    Edit: though the sw is french, you can change to EN after installation.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2024
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  15. boomoperator

    boomoperator Rock Star

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    Cool project! I shot and digitised some S8 footage, back in the SD video area. Nowadays I would certainly capture in HD, given current and future monitor resolutions. I remember this 'hotspot issue' was hard to beat, using a telecine adapter with matted screen gave much better results than filming a projected image.
    The forum @ItsFine points to is a trove of information, thanks! This tip of using shutter priority on a modern camera to eliminate flicker is a good read: https://8mmforum.film-tech.com/cgi-bin/ubb/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=1;t=012432#000007

    If you don't want to invest in a Telecine device, and need to counter the issue when filming from the gate, I'm thinking:
    wouldn't it be helpful to put a strong ND filter (or Gel) between videocamera and projector - and much easier then modifying a projector lamp?
     
  16. ItsFine

    ItsFine Platinum Record

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    I thought about strong ND filter too :winker:

    But they tend to introduce color shifting, until you pay big bucks on a more "neutral" one.
    And the heat related to incandescent lamp will grow inside the projector AND on the filter itself, probably propagating to the camera mount.

    May be using a vented tube before the ND filter could limit heat ?
    A test to do before mounting the camera : mount ND with vented tube, let the projector run at least 5 minutes and simply see if the mount camera side AND the ND glass are at an acceptable heat level.

    May be using a Variable ND filter (two parts stacked polarizers) would help mitigate the heat transmission.
    BUT heat should be evacuated from the tube before ND filter anyway.

    PS : may be swapping the lamp with another lower power one could work, too.
    Depends on voltage and lamp pinout.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2024
  17. genophyte

    genophyte Producer

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    you can actually do video sequence editing in blender and the big sell is that blender is free and open source
    [​IMG]
     
  18. SwingSwing

    SwingSwing Member

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    Hey - I now got my setup together. I have bought a modified Bolex SP80 from someone else. Now I'm having trouble getting the sound.

    - The tape I am using contains sound (it's an interview)
    - There is a mic/phono/line out and a phono-non-line out and I switch from time to time when trying, but mostly try it with the the phono-non-line out. For that I have a Behringer PP400 phono preamp (as in the link below) in between the projector and my RME Babyface audio interface. Also I tried it with/without a anti ground-loop device in between which the guy said he had to use.

    https://www.thomann.de/gb/behringer...MI8b66wZL-gwMVjKiDBx0Y9gj6EAQYASABEgK5_PD_BwE

    Results:

    Red-white cables + Y-piece + to 6.3mm: "RWY"

    Projector (line) -> RWY -> Babyface: zero sound
    Projector (phono) -> RW -> Babyface: zero sound
    Projector (phono) -> RW -> Behringer -> RWY -> Babyface: zero sound
    Projector (phono) -> RW or only left side of RW -> Behringer -> 6.3 cable -> Babyface: Soft (like a bit of EQ lowpass) white noise
    -> if i switch sides and put the left side into the right of the Behringer it is a very silent hum and the right side into the left makes a click that it does not make on the correct side...
    just Behringer -> 6.3 cable -> Babyface: zero sound

    The projector also has a speaker but that only puts out white noise. In no case there is a difference between running the projector or not...

    Still I do trust the guy that he got it to put out sound. He showed me a short converted video of his and he is an old retired teacher from the countryside and seems to be quite wealthy enough. It's been a few years since he converted his videos apparently, he didn't have a sound-film at hand and I stupidly forgot to bring one... He insisted that some mixing console was necessary for him to get the sound so if I call him up I think that is what he will dwell on, but I think that only did the job the Behringer is supposed to do and he would want more money for it (says he bought it for 80 and wants like 55 for it).

    But from this point on I am a bit lost and would appreciate any kind of input that might point me in some direction. Is the Behringer I got the wrong device? I also plan to check the cables since I think in the beginning there might also have been white noise from the Projector->RWY->Babyface connection. That was before the Behringer arrived today.

    Thanks a lot for any input!
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2024
  19. SwingSwing

    SwingSwing Member

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    Addition: when I test my red-white cable (with Y-piece to 6.3 mm at each end) against a 6.3mm cable it is much less loud. I tested it as a connection from the piano to the audio interface. Is that expected?
     
  20. boomoperator

    boomoperator Rock Star

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    Not sure about the connections on your modified Bolex. I believe the original has a DIN connector. Sound on a super 8 film will most likely be mono, so you don't need a Red and white cable (but just one: red or white) ..unless someone modified it in that sense.
    But if not, you'd need a mono to mono connection, so single cinch to mono jack, no Y-cable.
    I'm reading the Bolex has a 1,5 V 50 kΩ line out signal, meaning that output doesn't need a phono pre amp.
     
  21. ItsFine

    ItsFine Platinum Record

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