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

Posts: 223
From: Chichester, West Sussex, UK
Registered: Jun 2017


 - posted August 08, 2017 08:28 AM      Profile for Mike Spice   Email Mike Spice   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
At the risk of tempting fate, I have just finished the last reel of my current project for a customer.

The new motor has scanned 2675ft over the last week.
All seems to be fine...

I really do believe that not using the wolverine to do any rewinds has made a difference.

That little motor is not up to rewinding, the temptation to apply finger pressure during the rewind to get a tighter wind, and often giving the winding spool a helping hand, no doubt, put undue strain on what is basically a toy motor.

It is fine for the scanning process but from my experience I would encourage anyone with a wolverine, to find an alternative rewind method, as I and others, have done.

I just have 2 400ft reels of my own to do, so let's hope I am not tempting fate and facing a third motor!

[ August 08, 2017, 10:33 AM: Message edited by: Mike Spice ]

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Pere Pasqual
Film Handler

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


 - posted August 09, 2017 03:19 PM      Profile for Pere Pasqual   Author's Homepage   Email Pere Pasqual   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
There are great news about modifying our firmware...

Tobi@s, the genius behind those hacking tools, kindly replied to my messages and yesterday he released a version of his software that will do the job with ours. It's amazing! I was so tired that I wasn't able to play with it; let's see if today I'm able to do so before I fall asleep...

In the meantime, for the brave people out there, you can try by yourself. And don't forget to say "thanks" to Tobi@s! this is the link to the forum post.

Finally, I made another discovery I have yet to play with. I read here and there different file names for putting the machine in "engineering mode", tried some and this one seemed to work.

If you place an empty file named "engmode", without extension, in your SD card and turn on the machine, when you start the Wolverine, once the logo disappears, the screen is put into a red background and some messages appear:

"jpg size is too big or too"

"update logo2 failed"

"cfg file error: Open"

Then it turns off again.

Obviously it's trying to do something. I would be have if I could make a backup of my existing firmware before doing anything...

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Berend De Meyer
Expert Film Handler

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


 - posted August 09, 2017 03:47 PM      Profile for Berend De Meyer   Email Berend De Meyer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
That's great news indeed. But as you stated, no mods before you have a virgin back-up of the original firmware. I hope the genius can help you further. Thanks again for sharing your endeavour.

--------------------
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: 223
From: Chichester, West Sussex, UK
Registered: Jun 2017


 - posted August 10, 2017 03:16 AM      Profile for Mike Spice   Email Mike Spice   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
interesting stuff Pere.
I shall leave mine well alone for the time being as I have around 15 50ft rolls to scan for someone.
Watching your hacking stories with great interest, good luck!

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


 - posted August 10, 2017 04:34 AM      Profile for Kurt Froberg   Email Kurt Froberg   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hello all, I am quite new to this forum.
I am following this thread with great interest. I bought the Somikon machine a few months ago and have only just tested to get a decent quality from the machine. Any improvements of the compression of the picture would be welcome. I have tried using the Neat video plugin in my editing software (Vegas Pro 13) for reducing the digital noise with some success. I have also adjusted the focus of the lens since it was not really focused from factory. This is my second Somikon, the first one suffered from bad jitter / jumping picture and bad take up spool. Is anyone here using the new Reflecta Super 8 + scanner? I have searched the web for any reviews or user comments but not found any so far.
/Kurt

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Pere Pasqual
Film Handler

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


 - posted August 10, 2017 07:15 PM      Profile for Pere Pasqual   Author's Homepage   Email Pere Pasqual   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I just want to announce that I tried my first firmware modification, with about 10x bitrate, 1440x1080 and 24fps, and I failed miserably. The file isn't flashed into the machine. The original update firmware file they provided me gets correctly written using the same instructions.

I have yet to repeat the process to discard any potential mistakes, and also there are still some other options available that could work.

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Mike Spice
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 223
From: Chichester, West Sussex, UK
Registered: Jun 2017


 - posted August 11, 2017 04:04 AM      Profile for Mike Spice   Email Mike Spice   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
good luck. I hope your experiments don't write off your machine.
I wouldn't have a clue where to begin!

My scanner is still chugging away. I have been sent 15 50ft reels and the motor is still holding out.

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Osi Osgood
Film God

Posts: 10034
From: #399R K.O.A. Mountian Home, ID. 83647
Registered: Jul 2005


 - posted August 11, 2017 10:57 AM      Profile for Osi Osgood   Author's Homepage   Email Osi Osgood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
We just watched (in order to sell it) the Orson Welles version of Treasure Island. Still looks great!

--------------------
"All these moments will be lost in time, just like ... tears, in the rain. "

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Berend De Meyer
Expert Film Handler

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


 - posted August 11, 2017 12:15 PM      Profile for Berend De Meyer   Email Berend De Meyer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
We just watched (in order to sell it) the Orson Welles version of Treasure Island. Still looks great!
Yep, for sure we will find out where to look and how to use the goodies! [Big Grin]

--------------------
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: 223
From: Chichester, West Sussex, UK
Registered: Jun 2017


 - posted August 11, 2017 03:25 PM      Profile for Mike Spice   Email Mike Spice   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
without wishing to offend anyone, this thread is about the wolverine scanner, not orson wells films.

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Berend De Meyer
Expert Film Handler

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


 - posted August 12, 2017 06:51 AM      Profile for Berend De Meyer   Email Berend De Meyer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hi Mike, I think @Osi only made a joke about our quest to find the diy treasure goodies for the Wolverine and Somikon scanners. At least that's my interpretation of his off-topic post [Wink]

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

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Pere Pasqual
Film Handler

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


 - posted August 12, 2017 02:38 PM      Profile for Pere Pasqual   Author's Homepage   Email Pere Pasqual   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Sorry people, now I've really come to a dead end [Frown] . I've tried every possibly recipe I could attemp to "cook" our custom firmware and failed. The machine would simply not attempt to flash the image (althought something is recognized as the machine won't start when I put the file on the SD card).

Also my machine is now flashed with the updated firmware version they sent me, and there's no bitrate difference on the generated files (in fact, with the same captured footage, this time it's a few bits lower). I don't notice any differences, in part because I didn't play enough with the old firmware to see any. I could play with crop and zoom settings a lot so I even captured half of the registration holes (it's regular 8 footage), unveiling a significant % of the image that was hidden until now and that to me suits better for 16:9 cropping. But that was probably available also on the previous firmware version.

Also the "border" on the registration holes area looks like a very thick black line. It looks to me like if the resolution was in fact fake - could it be that it was an interpolated resolution, thus the output resolution was in fact much lower than the announced CCD/CMOS chip one? Hmm...

Sorry to be this deceiving... [Frown]

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Mike Spice
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 223
From: Chichester, West Sussex, UK
Registered: Jun 2017


 - posted August 13, 2017 06:34 AM      Profile for Mike Spice   Email Mike Spice   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
don't apologise. you have been doing some very interesting work indeed.
I admire your efforts to try and change things with the firmware [Smile]

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Berend De Meyer
Expert Film Handler

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


 - posted August 13, 2017 06:40 AM      Profile for Berend De Meyer   Email Berend De Meyer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hi Pere,

I agree, no need to apologize at all! You've done an amazing job so far trying to find and how to DIY upgrade the firmware. I hope my efforts regarding my e-mail to Somikon will have some - if any - result.

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

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Pere Pasqual
Film Handler

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


 - posted August 13, 2017 07:30 AM      Profile for Pere Pasqual   Author's Homepage   Email Pere Pasqual   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Well, some minutes ago I got some "partial" success thanks to new instructions I got from the firmware tools author! [Eek!] [Eek!]

Don't get too excited: it doesn't work. The machine got flashed! That's the good news. But then the machine can't operate, appart from the scanner light being turned on.

The good thing is that it can be flashed back to it's original firmware, so no harm done.

I was able to make a simple test using these tools where I simply unpacked the image and repacked it again without modification - the machine detected it as a valid firmware and flashed it, but again, it was non-functional. So this leads to the conclussion that the problem is not with my modifications, but the tools that are generating the firmware image. I'm going to pass this info (along with a more technical one) to the creator of the tools. We are in his hands again [Wink] . But hopefully it is a minor modification he is able to do for us [Smile]

In the meantime, I've uploaded my first and only capture with the wolverine to this moment:

https://youtu.be/e_O5HESFlqQ

It's a one-minute minute from a home recording I bought at a flea market for 1 €; God knows how it ended there! This is Spain in the mid-60's or first 70's, judging by the car model (Seat 600). The car plate belongs to Alicante, so it was probably shoot in a town near there.

I applied a lot of zoom out so I even captured the registration holes. This is regular 8 mm footage, so a lot of visual information is discarded if you crop it to 4:3. I used MP4Box to change framerate to 18 fps (althought I can't be sure if that's the proper one) and applied a simple color filter because the original capture looked far more washed and with a bluish tint. On the top left corner you can notice that I also applied a "logo remove" filter to test if I could diminish the registration hole lack of information.
This was done in seconds with the filters that AVIDemux ships by default, so please don't be too hard! [Big Grin]

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Berend De Meyer
Expert Film Handler

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


 - posted August 13, 2017 07:53 AM      Profile for Berend De Meyer   Email Berend De Meyer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hi Pere,

Thanks for your update! Firmware-modding can be a real PITA as you've seen last week. I hope your flash-man will be able to accommodate you with the proper files to upgrade your Wolverine.

When seeing a 8mm home movie that was bought by an unanimous 3rd party, I always wonder who those peoples are and what has become of them. Thanks for sharing. Are you willing to share this RAW footage with me - sending me the original non modified mp4 file - so I can compare it with the RAW footage I get from my Somikon? Thanks in advance.

Enjoy your Sunday afternoon!

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

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Pere Pasqual
Film Handler

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


 - posted August 13, 2017 09:46 AM      Profile for Pere Pasqual   Author's Homepage   Email Pere Pasqual   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Sure Robert! Here it goes:

https://mega.nz/#!dW4zlLwA!WYg2tq_SDd8yUrJlIa5635Fvw4s_BPO2WegYgZqXuP4

My thoughts about the people who appear in the footage are the same. I even put the plate number on the Youtube description; who knows? I wish it could be broadcasted and any of the starring persons watched it.

By the way, I'm on vacation! [Big Grin]

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Mike Spice
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 223
From: Chichester, West Sussex, UK
Registered: Jun 2017


 - posted August 13, 2017 12:12 PM      Profile for Mike Spice   Email Mike Spice   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Keep up the excellent work on the firmware Pere.
Really interesting.
I enjoyed your film clip too, I have subscribed to your channel and look forward to seeing more clips from you.

my understanding is regular 8mm is usually 16fps
while super 8 silent 18fps and sound 24fps.

I have been making my regular8mm at 15fps with mp4box.

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Berend De Meyer
Expert Film Handler

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


 - posted August 13, 2017 12:20 PM      Profile for Berend De Meyer   Email Berend De Meyer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hi Mike,

AFAIK normal 8mm and/or Super 8mm is commonly shot @ 18 fps or 24 fps. In post-production I convert all from 30 fps to 18fps (factor 0.6) because of my assumption that 18 fps was by far the most used - time/cost effective - speed by most filmers.

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

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Berend De Meyer
Expert Film Handler

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


 - posted August 14, 2017 07:45 AM      Profile for Berend De Meyer   Email Berend De Meyer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
By the way, I'm on vacation! [Big Grin]
Have a great time and enjoy! [Big Grin]

--------------------
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: 223
From: Chichester, West Sussex, UK
Registered: Jun 2017


 - posted August 14, 2017 10:24 AM      Profile for Mike Spice   Email Mike Spice   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
AND ANOTHER FAILURE!

This time the take up spindle clutch has seized up and thus causing the motor to judder like an old bus.

Email sent to Wolverine, so we shall just have to wait and see.
let's hope they send me a new one, as they did with the motor...

I should add, having opened it up again, the replacement motor still seems fine...no sign of gunk oozing out..

 -

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Berend De Meyer
Expert Film Handler

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


 - posted August 14, 2017 03:06 PM      Profile for Berend De Meyer   Email Berend De Meyer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Mike, sorry to read about your machine failing AGAIN! Wow, a buyer needs to stress their nerves big time. What a pity still...

--------------------
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: 223
From: Chichester, West Sussex, UK
Registered: Jun 2017


 - posted August 14, 2017 03:35 PM      Profile for Mike Spice   Email Mike Spice   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
a great shame, but thankfully I have completed my 'paid scanning'
Lets see how Wolverine Data respond to this fault....
That will be the make or break.
I have until 21 sept to take this up with Amazon, Until then, I am happy to see how Wolverine data deal with it.

It is not easy technology to get right, I am disapointed, but I am not angry or heartbroken, yet...

The problem is trying to make a take up reel do two jobs, clutch feed take up from the film gate, and rewind.... tricky problem to solve at this price point...

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


 - posted August 14, 2017 09:30 PM      Profile for Doug Stratton   Email Doug Stratton   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Amazing stuff going on here !! I unfortunately sent my Hammacher Schlemmer version back to them for a refund. I am pretty glad I did not end up drilling air vents in it. In the short time I had mine since Feb, Wolverine already had 2 major internal revisions. The HS version reflected this as well. Why on Earth would I want to pay 500$ (what the HS sells for) for a machine thats more so "a work in progress" and poorly tested?

I am going to wait a good year or so and hopefully by that point they will have down a final solid design and possibly better menu/control internals. Then again if the wonderful fimrware MOD gets perfected I wont have to worry so much about Wolverines internal settings

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Mike Spice
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 223
From: Chichester, West Sussex, UK
Registered: Jun 2017


 - posted August 15, 2017 01:25 PM      Profile for Mike Spice   Email Mike Spice   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
24 hours later a response from wolverine:

how many feet of film have you scanned?

I said 10,000 feet altho I am not sure, probably 7000 ft.

The reply came back that they wanted to charge me $20 for the new take up assembly.

I pointed out that the machine has now failed twice in less than two months and perhaps I should take the matter up with amazon, who I purchased thro.

I also pointed out that I take great care of the scanner, I never use it rewind and it runs less than 6 hours a day..

I am now being sent the new part for free, after the 'engineers test it thoroughly to make sure it won't fail'

yikes..... not overly happy, I am tempted to try and get my money back thro' amazon, but I do like having the ability to scan 8mm film and charge a small amount of pocket money for it!

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