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Save Those Memories – Cine film to digital transfer

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Home » Blog » The Scanbox 4K – 9 months in… part I

16 July 2021
By Chris Squires

When I think about my first cine film to digital transfer which would have been about 2001 I wish I still had the results of that experiment. It was an early DV camera on a tripod, set up behind a projector, filming the old fashioned roller screen in the dark. I was pleased with myself. From there I bought a 45degree mirror set and repeated the process. It is another one of my dearly missed Dad’s favourite sayings, “those that know better do better”. He’s starting to sound more like Fred Thursday in my head with every passing year. Back then I didn’t know better and I was happy. Learning can be a blessing but also a curse. Once you realise there is a path forward and a DV camera pointing at a wall isn’t even at the starting line it can lead you to some painful, dark and expensive places. Beyond the amateurish mirror / screen came a set of Moviestuff 8mm and 16mm projectors (see image on right) and a very large JVC 3CCD shoulder camera. For about £8k in 2004 these were another example of me feeling pleased with myself. Unfortunately my Dad / DCI Fred Thursday was again in my ear. “Everyone gets promoted at least one level beyond their competence”. And so it was with the Moviestuff machines, I was being asked to save film intended for broadcast and archiving. I realised quite quickly that what I was hoping for just could not be achieved with these old standard definition (720 x 576) machines. So in late 2008 I started the process of finding the best possible way of transferring cine film to HD. Continued in part II…..