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Author Topic: Review Wolverine Reels2Digital MovieMaker 8mm film digitizer
Mike Spice
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 213
From: Chichester, West Sussex, UK
Registered: Jun 2017


 - posted July 19, 2017 06:29 PM      Profile for Mike Spice   Email Mike Spice   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
here is a picture of the wolverine, minus the O ring.
Mine has stopped taking up film.
A new motor assembly is on the way from california.
Lets hope it lasts longer than four weeks.
To date my scanner has done around fifty thousand feet and died...
The customer service is excellent, i have to say. new motor assembly in the post with in six hours.
 -

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Paul Adsett
Film God

Posts: 4755
From: USA
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted July 19, 2017 06:38 PM      Profile for Paul Adsett     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I was about to spring for the Wolverine, but have decided to hold off for a few months in the hope that they will make some significant design improvements.

--------------------
The best of all worlds- 8mm, super 8mm, 9.5mm, and HD Digital Projection,

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Paul Adsett
Film God

Posts: 4755
From: USA
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted July 19, 2017 06:39 PM      Profile for Paul Adsett     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I was about to spring for the Wolverine, but have decided to hold off for a few months in the hope that they will make some significant design improvements.

--------------------
The best of all worlds- 8mm, super 8mm, 9.5mm, and HD Digital Projection,

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Malcolm John Toye
Junior
Posts: 4
From: Belfast, Northern Ireland
Registered: Oct 2014


 - posted July 20, 2017 04:19 AM      Profile for Malcolm John Toye   Email Malcolm John Toye   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I also received my Wolverine in May and also had the wheel assembly stop turning .I believe the gear assembly keeps missing sprockets and has finally stopped turning .Wolverine service seems very good and will be sending a new wheel assembly for me to repair myself . I am very pleased with the results I was getting far better than copying from a projected image and definitely better than the Cine to Video service I had done professionally many years ago.I have found using a Cine Editor as the supply reel and an old Cinrex variable projector at its slowest speed copies my 7 inch reels ok .I do not need to use the Wolverine take up reel at all.

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Mike Spice
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 213
From: Chichester, West Sussex, UK
Registered: Jun 2017


 - posted July 20, 2017 11:50 AM      Profile for Mike Spice   Email Mike Spice   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
very interested to hear it is not only my scanner that has failed on the take up spool.
I did think they were very quick to send me a new assembly so they must be aware of the problem.
I will be interested to see if the new assembly is identical.
I have some 6x200ft and 4 x400ft reels to get through. that will push it to the limit...
I will post an update and photo when the new parts arrive

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Kurt Froberg
Junior
Posts: 17
From: Vasteras, Sweden
Registered: May 2017


 - posted July 20, 2017 04:33 PM      Profile for Kurt Froberg   Email Kurt Froberg   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Mike said: "if I was to be real picky, I would like 18fps as a choice, but 15fps is a significant improvement over 30fps."

You can actually choose ANY frame rate you wish if you do this little change in My MP4Box: Under "View", choose "Edit Command Line". When you start Mux, you can choose Fps=15, you will see a new window with the actual command line which you can edit where you see the fps=15 you just change the numbers from 15 to 18 (or 24 or whatever), the press "Copy and Run".

Hope this helps
Kurt

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Paul Adsett
Film God

Posts: 4755
From: USA
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted July 20, 2017 07:19 PM      Profile for Paul Adsett     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The good news here is that Wolverine seems to be very responsive to customers problems. Hopefully that will be reflected in a robust upgrade of what appears to be an excellent performing product at a great price.

--------------------
The best of all worlds- 8mm, super 8mm, 9.5mm, and HD Digital Projection,

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Mike Spice
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 213
From: Chichester, West Sussex, UK
Registered: Jun 2017


 - posted July 21, 2017 02:32 AM      Profile for Mike Spice   Email Mike Spice   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Thank you SO much Kurt
Next time I use it I will try this out.
Most helpful of you to point that out to me.
Not something I would have otherwise known.

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Doug Stratton
Junior
Posts: 10
From: New York, NY, USA
Registered: May 2017


 - posted July 23, 2017 02:05 PM      Profile for Doug Stratton   Email Doug Stratton   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Overall glad the mp4box trick worked for many of you.

I do disagree with Wolverines claim about not being able to lessen the compression of the chip due to stability. They could easily lower it at least another 10-15% and that would help as well. Right now (assumed) it clearly is at a 30-50% compressed. Sometimes the images almost gives a digital sheen that you would have otherwise seen in 1990's early FMV (full motion video).

They could have also allowed you to use the PC to capture and then not worry about any mp4 nonsense

I also found out that my HS version was updated to include vent holes but I am not sure about the internals yet

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Berend De Meyer
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 140
From: Leek, The Netherlands
Registered: Apr 2017


 - posted July 24, 2017 03:34 AM      Profile for Berend De Meyer   Email Berend De Meyer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hi Doug,

quote:
They could have also allowed you to use the PC to capture and then not worry about any mp4 nonsense
I fully agree on this biggest (flaw) disadvantage for this - otherwise - very nice product for the $!

Cheers

--------------------
Cheers | “I am an advocate of the "if it ain't broken, don't fix it" modus operandi!”

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Mike Spice
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 213
From: Chichester, West Sussex, UK
Registered: Jun 2017


 - posted July 25, 2017 10:21 AM      Profile for Mike Spice   Email Mike Spice   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
 -
new motor arrived today

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Malcolm John Toye
Junior
Posts: 4
From: Belfast, Northern Ireland
Registered: Oct 2014


 - posted July 25, 2017 10:49 AM      Profile for Malcolm John Toye   Email Malcolm John Toye   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Mike ,Is the Motor and Gear assembly the same as your faulty one ? I hope it is not going to malfunction every couple of months and require replacement.?

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Mike Spice
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 213
From: Chichester, West Sussex, UK
Registered: Jun 2017


 - posted July 26, 2017 09:29 AM      Profile for Mike Spice   Email Mike Spice   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I hope to swap them out thursday or friday so I will report back with some photos.
I too, hope this motor will last longer, I have just been given around 3000ft to scan!

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Mike Spice
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 213
From: Chichester, West Sussex, UK
Registered: Jun 2017


 - posted July 27, 2017 01:50 AM      Profile for Mike Spice   Email Mike Spice   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
old motor on the left, new motor on the right.
I was hoping they would send a new take up clutch assembly too, as that feels quite tight.
I shall run a scan today and see what happens altho I am not full of hope
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Peter Scott
Film Handler

Posts: 57
From: Norfolk, UK
Registered: Nov 2014


 - posted August 03, 2017 06:58 AM      Profile for Peter Scott   Email Peter Scott   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hello Mike
Did the new take up motor cure your problem ?

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Berend De Meyer
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 140
From: Leek, The Netherlands
Registered: Apr 2017


 - posted August 03, 2017 07:22 AM      Profile for Berend De Meyer   Email Berend De Meyer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Mike,

I'm in the middle of this awful issue too, so as Peter said could you please share some more detailed feedback on the new motor and if you had any communications about the clutch yet. Thanks.

Cheers

--------------------
Cheers | “I am an advocate of the "if it ain't broken, don't fix it" modus operandi!”

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Mike Spice
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 213
From: Chichester, West Sussex, UK
Registered: Jun 2017


 - posted August 04, 2017 04:44 AM      Profile for Mike Spice   Email Mike Spice   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
with the new motor I have scanned around 1600ft and so far so good.

I have decided not to use the 'rewind' function on the machine, I am doing that using my projector, the rewind function was pathetic in the first place using the wolverine.

When you see the size of the take up motor, it's quite obvious that it is not sufficient to rewind a 200ft reel tightly enough or evenly enough, glaring error on the part of wolverine imo.

Rewound films were really loose on the reel, as the tension is not good enough on the wolverine rewind, so putting more strain on the take up is not something I want to do, let alone put up with loose rewinds.

I have also only been scanning two 200ft per day, rather than non stop back to back scanning, with some crazy idea if I don't push it too hard, it might just last. Of course, that should not be the case, it should be capable of running all day long.

I am tempted to open it up and see if the new motor has begun to leak black goo as the first one did, I may look over the weekend.

I have little faith in the machine right now and am expecting it to break down again, but that's just me and machines.

I have around 900ft to go on my current project so if it breaks down again I will let you know, but for now, it's working.

I was expecting a new clutch with the new motor, but they only sent a motor, and as I say, so far so good... but I'm yet to be convinced until I take a peek inside, which I may do this weekend.

I'll let you know the moment it fouls up, or I open it up for a look at the new motor.

I sent a photo of the old motor back to wolverine in california, they thanked me for that, they do seem helpful enough, but if and when this new motor fouls up and I contact them for a third motor, I hope they will still be as kind!

As I say, it is working as expected, but if a machine of mine breaks down when it is so new, it takes me a long time to regain faith in it again......

If you are interested in my scanning results, you can find me at youtube by searching for 'Mike Spice HMS Ark Royal' at you tube and there you will find my old movie junk, old Royal Navy 8mm from the 70's of mine and some clips of other folks films that I am charging £2 per 50ft reel for.

You can also find a link to my 'Super 8 Rescue' facebook group from the youtube page, where you can see in depth video tutorials and samples of my customers films and general tech stuff about my hobby.

[ August 04, 2017, 06:04 AM: Message edited by: Mike Spice ]

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Berend De Meyer
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 140
From: Leek, The Netherlands
Registered: Apr 2017


 - posted August 04, 2017 10:36 AM      Profile for Berend De Meyer   Email Berend De Meyer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hi Mike,

Thanks for your reply and further feedback, appreciated. I've also never used the rewind option. I do it manual because a) I'm not sure it will work on the Somikon in the first place b) don't want to use a projector. I use my Erno viewer and the Somikon together, change the full reel from the right to the left side, line up the film and gently rotate the reel on the viewer to rewind the film back to the original reel. Only the two (far right and far left side) rollers in the viewer are used because I don't set it to editing modus of course.

 -

I'm not sure when using a projector, it will rewind the film better in a sense of tightness. I now touch the reel on the Somikon gently to make sure it has a bit of pull force. Am I correct in my assumption?

Mike, thanks for your links to Facebook and Youtube. I'll have a visit.

--------------------
Cheers | “I am an advocate of the "if it ain't broken, don't fix it" modus operandi!”

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Mike Spice
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 213
From: Chichester, West Sussex, UK
Registered: Jun 2017


 - posted August 04, 2017 10:41 AM      Profile for Mike Spice   Email Mike Spice   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I am currently looking at some viewers on flea bay so I too can do a manual rewind.

I move the full reel from the take up on the wolverine, to the feed spool, and rewind back to the projector, applying the slightest pressure to keeps things taught.

My old Eumig is not very good these days so it too tends to slow to a crawl on rewind, I would sooner put the pressure on the projector than the wolverine however.

I'll be glad when I find a movie viewer with nice winding arms on it!

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Pere Pasqual
Film Handler

Posts: 43
From: Gandia, València, Spain
Registered: May 2017


 - posted August 05, 2017 01:34 PM      Profile for Pere Pasqual   Author's Homepage   Email Pere Pasqual   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hi people,

I'm quite new to the forum - in fact, this is my first post. I've been laying around for the past 3 months, since I registered, though.

Well, the thing is that I put my hands into one of these machines. I find the quality is more than OK for the price, but I'm a bit disappointed with the software functions. As many of you have already said, I would have expected things like:

- A computer-controller operation mode (this way each frame could be, for instance, saved directly to the hard disk and we could choose the output format; for instance, lossless png, etc).

- Ability to choose between 24 or 18 fps on the output file. I find nonsensical and very annoying we have to do it afterwards.

- Fine-tuning options on the machine itself like choosing different output resolutions, different formats and, the most important one, DIFFERENT bitrates/compression. I notice a lot of compression on the generated files.

- Better zooming options, allowing to capture even the registration holes if we wanted to, to crop them during postprecessing if we wanted to.

- Better brightness, contrast, gamma, tint and those all functions.

Now here it goes the main reason of my post: getting a better firmware.
I already exchanged some emails with Wolverine support (they were very kind); they told me "it's impossible to set the frame rate on the machine to 24fps because 30fps is the less that the chip can deliver" (a statement that I would label, in the best case, as "incorrect" - a claim that, simply, cannot be upheld), and even asked them if they could make some source code available in order for us to improve it. I'm a computer engineer and believe that I could make some improvements I had access to it. Unfortunately, they replied is closed-source. Althought they sent me a newer firmware version:

20170511-ZS04 (file: FWDV180N.bin) (Please let me know if it's ok to share the firmware and I'll post it in case anyone is interested)

It's a bit strange, because my machine was bought the past month and it came with a far older version (20170215-ZS02). Anyway, I haven't still tested it because I'm afraid of losing some features and not being able to roll back to the previous version (I don't know how to make a backup of the current one).

The interesting thing was that now I had a firmware in my hands and, thus, something that we could potentially "reverse engineer" in order to "retouch" some function here and there.

Please, don't misunderstand me: reverse ingeneering a firmware is a very difficult task and I don't have the necessary knowledge to ever do so. My biggest ambition was to find some flag that could change, for instance, the default FPS to 24 by looking at the file with a hexadecimal editor. Or, to say it more properly, find someone who could do so.

And this is what it happened: by inspecting the file I found the string "NT96650". We know the machine has a NovaTek chip because that's what appeared the first time I connected it to my computer. So some googling for these strings produced interested results.

The funny thing is that the chip appears to be used on a wide range of those car cams people uses to record their travels (specially in Russia?) and that it has already a huge base fan and they are already hacking their firmwares for better functionallity.

The site https://www.goprawn.com has a section for NovaTek cams, and there, on the first 4 sticky posts, there are a bunch of tools for customizing NovaTek firmwares!

So this is what I did:

- I used bnGui, "Load firmware", it successfully recognized it, -> "unpack", and got an un packed .rbn file.

- Then I opened it with NtkMPE, and... Bang! A list of valid video modes, with different resolutions, fps and bitrates is available!

 -

You can see the last one is our old friend 960x720, @ 30 fps and 9000 kbps bitrate.

And then I ended the investigation process because I have yet to figure out how does this work. I can edit the width, height, fps and bitrate settings, so I bet it would work if I change them to any valid combination. What is a valid combination? Any of the ones that appear in the list? Or any that is known to be hardcoded inside the chip?

Also the highest 1440x720 resolution from our European companion is available there.

I've seen captures of this list for those car cams and they have set up them to very esotheric combinations, with very high fps and bitrate settings. So I don't see the problem setting fps to 24.

I made modifications to that file and saved it successfully. Anyway, haven't been able to repack it into a proper .bin firmware files. But in case I had it, I'm not sure if I would attempt ruining my machine by flashing it with an unproper firmware...

I plan to get in touch with the programmers to see it the tools could be used with our machines, also.

More to come...

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Mike Spice
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 213
From: Chichester, West Sussex, UK
Registered: Jun 2017


 - posted August 05, 2017 02:00 PM      Profile for Mike Spice   Email Mike Spice   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Really Interesting Pere.

I wasn't even aware one could upgrade the firmware on the wolverine machines, or how to.... I have no idea what FW is on my machine......

I just take it at default settings and put the focus on sharp.
I am reasonably happy with my results.

I think hoping for so many more features is asking a bit much of a machine at this price point however nice it would be to have.

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Berend De Meyer
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 140
From: Leek, The Netherlands
Registered: Apr 2017


 - posted August 05, 2017 02:58 PM      Profile for Berend De Meyer   Email Berend De Meyer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hi Pere,

Wow! a great find and thank you so much for your work and sharing your findings here on the forums! There are a few members (me included) with the Somikon HD-XL you mentioned and indeed the compression is one of the downsides of these both products. Also I would like to have a much better and more configurable firmware.

I'm accustomed with reversed engineering only as an end-user - not tech savy at all - and I flashed a tweaked Mac EFI ROM from the original GTX-680 Mac Edition to GTX-680 PC version. Much cheaper and more available! ;-)

So I really believe in the route you're taking now, after your discovery and I do hope so that the tech support of Wolverine is able/willing to help you. That would be really great.

Good luck with your quest and keep us posted!

--------------------
Cheers | “I am an advocate of the "if it ain't broken, don't fix it" modus operandi!”

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Mike Spice
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 213
From: Chichester, West Sussex, UK
Registered: Jun 2017


 - posted August 06, 2017 06:26 AM      Profile for Mike Spice   Email Mike Spice   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Simple to find the FW version in the menu, silly me...

For information, my Wolverine was purchased via the Amazon website, in the UK, delivered from Singapore in early July 2017

FW Version on mine: 20170310DN08EN

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Pere Pasqual
Film Handler

Posts: 43
From: Gandia, València, Spain
Registered: May 2017


 - posted August 07, 2017 10:31 AM      Profile for Pere Pasqual   Author's Homepage   Email Pere Pasqual   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hi people!

Well, noting down our firmware versions is important, as well as our "hardware versions", because probably the same firmware won't work at the same time for the step-motor version and for the belt one, possibly rendering the machine unusable by flashing it with wrong firmware!

Anyway, I've come to a dead end: I understand what I have to do to fit the modifications inside a new firmware file, but it's the program what's failing now. It hangs when trying to "pack" the file, and there's nothing I can do to solve it. Theoretically the source code for this utility is available but I have to yet find it, and also I don't have the knwoledge to implement the proper modifications. I contacted the author regarding this issue both by a private message and by a forum topic reply here and here; now I'm waiting for a reply that who know when will it come, if ever...

Suggestions welcome, as always!

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Berend De Meyer
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 140
From: Leek, The Netherlands
Registered: Apr 2017


 - posted August 08, 2017 08:15 AM      Profile for Berend De Meyer   Email Berend De Meyer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hi Pere,

Thanks again for all your work. Please keep us posted.

If only I knew how to, I'd surely lend a hand here! [Roll Eyes]

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Cheers | “I am an advocate of the "if it ain't broken, don't fix it" modus operandi!”

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