At On8mil our passion is for analogue (analog) movie film! Especially the 8mm and 16mm varieties, although 9.5mm is also quite a hoot too.
So, we started this company, Analogue Image Ltd, (trading as On8mil), built some movie film scanners and got to work. Our first scanners were developed in late 2014 and scan 8mm, 9.5mm and 16mm film at up to 4K resolution. 4K is, of course, amazing but takes extra time (not to mention extra budget).
By far our most popular service is the 8mm film scan (super 8 and standard 8) at 2.6K resolution. What’s nice about this transfer is, that as many editors are working very comfortably in 1080p (1920 x 1080), the 2.6K scan (coming in at 2640 x 2048) sits in the 1080p edit with bags of ‘pan and scan’ space to play with. In fact to view the full 4:3 super 8 image you’ll need to scale it down by around 65%.
So unlike your typical 1080p 8mm film scan, where the film sits pillar box in the middle of the screen with two black blocks either side, our 2.6K scan fills the whole 1080p screen… and then some.
In commissioning the design and build of our films scanners (from MMT telecine), we needed units that could capture each and every frame of the film, uncompressed.
MMT have a very simple but elegant telecine design, that runs the film between 1 – 20 frames per second. Attached to the transport is a machine vision camera, mounted on an XYZ platform. As each frame passes the film gate an electrical trigger is sent to the camera, which then takes a photo of the film frame and either stacks it as massive uncompressed image sequence or builds and uncompressed video file, from which we build our movie timelines.
Simple innit? Well, sort of a bit complex to get right actually.
Our cameras of choice are manufactured by Point Grey. On8mil currently uses two cameras for it’s 8mm, 9.5m and 16mm movie film scans – the ‘Grasshopper 3’ and the ‘Flea 3’. The Grasshopper captures in up to 2.5 K (2448 x 2048) resolution, (as it was essential for us that we could scan at higher resolution than 1080p). The ‘Flea’ captures in full uncompressed 4K! The results continue to amaze us. It’s a tad slow, but entirely worth the extra effort.