Looking for advice transferring and editing Super 8mm film

FTech wrote on 9/11/2020, 3:23 PM

Hi there,

I have a question concerning Super 8mm film. My Dad many years ago in the 80s transferred around 1.5 hours worth of footage to Beta tape.  Method used was shooting a broadcast quality tube camera pointing at the screen. Fast forward to the present where, I thought it would be time to remaster the Super 8mm footage in pristine HD/4k.

There is a local business that does transfer Super 8mm to digital files. They offer these formats in 4k or 5k: "AVI, MP4, ProRes, DPX, TIF, FFV1.3.  Colour space of 422, 420, 4444."

Since I have Vegas Pro 11 (but willing to upgrade to VP 18), what's the ideal format to use? The end goal would be to burn onto a Blu-ray disc in 4k or HD.

Another question: what plugin would one recommend to remove dust & scratches from the film?

Thanks,

FTech

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Comments

EricLNZ wrote on 9/11/2020, 6:34 PM

Don't expect pristine HD/4K. Years ago I worked out that the resolution of 8mm film was roughly equal to PAL SD. 16mm film was roughly equal to HD. My calculations were based on information I found indicating that a 35mm transparency was capable of a maximum of 20 megapixels, but usually they were 8 to 15 megapixels.

Musicvid wrote on 9/12/2020, 12:00 AM

There are different methods to capture film. If you use a film scanning service, you can get enough resolution to do ok at 720p HD, if you have your audience seated as far back from the tv screen as possible. Close examination will reveal it is all grain in different concentrations. If your service uses an older aerial 5-blade system, dvd quality and resolution is about the best you can expect.

FTech wrote on 9/12/2020, 3:38 PM

Don't expect pristine HD/4K. Years ago I worked out that the resolution of 8mm film was roughly equal to PAL SD. 16mm film was roughly equal to HD. My calculations were based on information I found indicating that a 35mm transparency was capable of a maximum of 20 megapixels, but usually they were 8 to 15 megapixels.

Since I have a 4k LG OLED TV, I'll stick to 4K capture of the Super 8mm due to staying with the TV's native resolution. If I captured the film in PAL SD, editing then burn to a DVD, it will be upscaled to 4K either on the Blu-ray player or the TV itself. Upscaling a video would look worse versus keeping the capturing, editing and rendering process in 4K.

There are different methods to capture film. If you use a film scanning service, you can get enough resolution to do ok at 720p HD, if you have your audience seated as far back from the tv screen as possible. Close examination will reveal it is all grain in different concentrations. If your service uses an older aerial 5-blade system, dvd quality and resolution is about the best you can expect.

The film scanning service they provide uses a product called "ScanStation" by Lasergraphics. I'm not entirely sure if "ScanStation" uses an older 5 blade system, I would have to call them to find out. It captures frame-by-frame to render a video format to the client. Concerning the grain, that's what gives the film it's look doesn't it? 😉 My TV is 65inches sitting 9 feet away.

Then it brings me to my other question from my original post, "What plugin would one recommend to remove dust & scratches from the film?". If the film grain does bother me, then hopefully said plugin would minimize it.

Lastly, what's the ideal video format for Vegas Pro? The company offers the following: AVI, MP4, ProRes, DPX, TIF, FFV1.3.  Colour space of 422, 420, 4444.

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DougT wrote on 9/12/2020, 4:06 PM

You are going to have far more film grain than you can imagine. You are taking a frame about 4 x 5 mm and blowing it up to 65 inches. You probably won't be able to reduce the grain without impacting the image, even as grainy as it is.

Musicvid wrote on 9/12/2020, 6:03 PM

Upscaling a video would look worse versus keeping the capturing, editing and rendering process in 4K.

There is a large body of evidence that says this is incorrect. Hardware upscaling beats software upscaling.

Now, let's try some fun facts. Super 8 film+lens resolves to a net value of around 600 lpi under clinical conditions. That means that 720p is good, 1080p is close to Nyquist if you are really picky. And it will upscale better on your teevee than native 4k, I'll wager. You can magnify grain all you want, it is still grain. Post processing with NeatVideo will help you there, almost guaranteed. But you just can't make a silk purse out of a pig's ear. You should plan on sitting at least 20 feet back from your big screen to keep from getting lost in all that entropy. Good luck.

EricLNZ wrote on 9/12/2020, 7:06 PM

Agreed @Musicvid and I'm not alone with this. It's amazing how a Blu-ray player in real time can upscale (and deinterlace) better than software taking its time. Possibly if you had highly expensive Hollywood type software you might achieve better.

Musicvid wrote on 9/12/2020, 7:55 PM

Thanks Eric!

There are a couple of AI scalers that I want to test, but they are not magical either.

FTech wrote on 9/18/2020, 6:29 PM

Musicvid, you took my sentence out of context. If you highlighted the entire paragraph, I originally meant if video upscaled from PAL SD to 4k would look worse. If the hardware scalers are that good, hell... I’ll just keep buying DVD’s instead of the Blu-ray/4k discs.😄

Thank you for everyone giving their input. I now understand that a higher resolution scan would just increase more Super 8mm film grain. I’ll look into that NeatVideo plugin as well. Looks like I don’t have to buy a sledge hammer to knock down a wall so I can sit 20 feet away from my 4k TV... hehehe.

This is going to be one satisfying Super 8mm project to edit for my family to see.

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EricLNZ wrote on 9/18/2020, 6:32 PM

. If the hardware scalers are that good, hell... I’ll just keep buying DVD’s instead of the Blu-ray/4k discs.😄

Whilst hardware upscaling may give better results than software it won't match proper HD which has far more detail to start with.

Musicvid wrote on 9/19/2020, 8:39 AM

Musicvid, you took my sentence out of context. 

Actually it's the other way around. Capturing and saving in 4k should look at least no better than hardware (tv or player) upscaling of a "native" 720p capture, strange as it may sound.

But it will still be less than 1/4 of the resolution of 4k source, which you will never have, because Super 8mm film will only resolve 600 lines on a really good day, not 2160. Bigger, sharper grain looks worse than less resolute, softer grain. Alchemy only works on the internet, sorry to say.

OT: I saw an internet statement saying that Super 8 film would resolve 900 lines. That of course is BS, because that was a reference target in the 1950s for 35mm b/w shot at 16 ASA through Zeiss glass.

Dexcon wrote on 9/19/2020, 9:44 AM

@Musicvid  ... just taking the the subject a bit further re digital rez v film stock, where does 35mm and even 70mm sit within digital resolution. For example, I noticed that there was a considerable increase in detail in the bg foliage in some shots within the BD version of Romancing the Stone over the DVD version. This is good.

I suppose what I'm asking is ... is there a resolution limit with, particularly 35mm, that makes up-rezing - possibly to 6 or 8k - rather pointless when the limit for 35mm original footage may well be HD or possibly nudging into 4K? Thus buying 35/70mm movies in future "now in 6/8K" may be more of a marketing exercise than a technological reality.

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Musicvid wrote on 9/19/2020, 12:46 PM

Good question- there are so many variables, but for those of us who are unable to put $1/4M worth of glass in front of our film, the lens is the biggest limitation. Beyond that, I agree with you that the print resolution is the biggest factor when delivering from true high-resolution source. There are charts on the internet listing various films' resolving power.

Before some astute math head calls me on the "correlation" between film lpi and pixels, it is but a loose association, and yet one that was recognized some time ago. IOW, Super 8 film resolution falls apart at about the same projection screen size as 480 pixels does on a big screen tv.

I remember when Popular Photography was a technical magazine, and we used to wait for the latest Air Force tests, which were plentiful and freely shared in the day.

Dexcon wrote on 9/20/2020, 7:39 AM

@Musicvid  ... thinking about it again, what would I prefer? A feature film that is nearing technical perfection but light in script and substance, or a feature film that is not technically perfect in today's terms but is heavy on story-telling, acting excellence and great cinematography? I unreservedly choose the latter. The 1930s to 1980s produced some truly excellent movies, 1939 being a particularly notable year. The last 3 decades has seen feature films become more and more like fun-park experiences. Even the Daniel Craig James Bond movies are more like a fun-park ride than the JB movies that preceded. I much prefer the Sean Connery, Roger Moore, George Lazenby and Pierce Brosnan JB movies (not the Timothy Dalton ones though) than the current offerings -and I've been watching them all bar the last 2 so far over the last 6 months or so.

But then over the last 3 decades, Hollywood has changed its target audience focus from adults to children/teens.

 

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Musicvid wrote on 9/20/2020, 11:11 AM

Your are bringing up the enduring Style vs. Substance debate that has been around since the earliest days, since movies were seen as cheapining live vaudeville,and by the 1930s, legit theater. Today the debate is Mega-Effects vs. Plot. I quite agree with you, having produced live performing arts for much of my 50 year career, now waning. But on the social scoreboard, whatever makes the most money, still wins.