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Author Topic: Digital Transfers, where to start?
Richard Holloway
Posts: 1
From: Atlanta, GA, USA
Registered: Jan 2019

 - posted January 30, 2019 09:38 AM      Profile for Richard Holloway   Email Richard Holloway   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I need to transfer probably 5000 or —6000 feet of film to digital. I have both 8mm and Super 8 on 3, 5, and 8” reels. All old family films I’d prefer to help in my direct custody.

Some were transferred to video tape about 25 years ago with marginal results. What are my realistic options? Is there a good thread to follow? The Wolverine sounds like it’s of questionable quality. Are there better quality, perhaps used systems around for a bit more? I can’t afford the $5000 range systems.

Do used setups of better quality get resold after people transfer a big batch of work? Can you rent a higher quality system for a month or two somewhere?

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Mike Spice
Master Film Handler

Posts: 421
From: none of your business
Registered: Jun 2017

 - posted January 30, 2019 10:54 AM      Profile for Mike Spice     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
You will see recent posts talking about the Wolverine damaging film, that's not good, that is actually quite upsetting.

I have a 720p wolverine and have made some quite amazing video files, it hasn't been an easy road, but none of my film has been damaged, I have had many issues with the scanner along the way.

I still use my Wolverine and get some great results... I have scanned many thousands of feet for other people, charging a rock bottom price, and they too, have all been happy with the result.

Reading in this forum, you will see one two or three wolverines being returned in an outrage of disgust because it has simply not done what was asked of it.

Commercial scanning is expensive but the results are quite something.

I have edited out around 600ft of 'precious moments' super 8 I want scanned on a proper HD scanner and I am looking at around £100/200 depending on which house I choose to do the work.

Many people strive to save films using all sorts of contraptions and produce some amazing results...

Reading through this forum it is easy to get the opinion the Wolverine is nothing short of a disgrace and while I would agree in part, I have achieved some amazing results over the last year or so.

It's a tough decision, blow £400 on a chinese cheap scanner, or spend that £400 wisely, by editing out the seriously precious parts of your films, with the 'family' shots and not the 'back garden' shots, and let someone else do it for you, without the fuss, and get some stunning expensive hassle free results.

Perhaps spend some time with a projector and video camera and see what sort of results you can achieve at home, many people do that with some surprisingly very good results, but it is a very time consuming hobby to get right.

I have never heard of anyone renting a 'proper' scanner

If I was starting all over again, I would choose the 'edit out the precious moments' to a couple of reels and have a house scan it for you properly.

If you did choose that route, don't get a dvd made, go blu ray and make sure you get video files on a usb device.

Standard 8mm scanned on my 720p Wolverine, no picture enhancement

[ January 31, 2019, 10:52 AM: Message edited by: Mike Spice ]

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Jake Mayes
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 119
From: Bath, UK
Registered: Sep 2012

 - posted January 30, 2019 11:21 AM      Profile for Jake Mayes   Email Jake Mayes   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Some labs can get 2K worth of quality out, if your willing to pay for it.

If you MUST use a wolverine (i do not recommend, just has a positive print of a family do damaged big time, luckily i had a negative to go back to and it is on it's way to andec now for a new positive print) USE FILMGUARD if you wish to protect your originals. No ifs or buts, please be careful.

Your other option is a custom telecine machine you make yourself, or drip feed your film to a lab that can do 2K scans, like on8mil in london, though find an equiv in the US.

What is your budget? What sort of quality do you want? The scans of the wolverine are not half bad, it was the damaging film and jitter issue that put me off it and lead to me opening a return case.

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Mike Spice
Master Film Handler

Posts: 421
From: none of your business
Registered: Jun 2017

 - posted January 30, 2019 11:24 AM      Profile for Mike Spice     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
There you go, a Wolverine user who has had to put up with damaged film....

It really is a conundrum.

I will defend my 720p wolverine that has never damaged an inch of mine, or my customers films.

It really is a game of dice and patience with the Wolverine.

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Bill Sherren
Film Handler

Posts: 43
From: Kent, England
Registered: Dec 2018

 - posted January 30, 2019 12:26 PM      Profile for Bill Sherren   Email Bill Sherren   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I wonder if the Velcro tabs that the Pro has just before and after the gate has helped to contribute to this damage? The earlier Wolverine models don't have this from what I can see.. Also they changed the white tabs that hold the film in place on the most recent Wolverine Pro models. Each of these changes might have different effects good or bad to the footage and its handling. My Wolverine never worked from out the box starting with a loud knocking sound when first used. This did disappear after the first scan but not a good start! 90% of the scans are unstable either at the top or the whole image. The exposure caused a flickering effect on many scenes. Choosing the low sharpness setting didn't always work. And all the sprockets were damaged with additional scratching occurring after a while. And the rather dubious guarantee which uses the record counter to tell you when its out of guarantee! 200 on counter. I reached 35 on my first two 50 foot reels! And still had nothing worth keeping! I took a long time before I invested in one and knew it had a rather poor reputation. But there were some good reviews so hoped for the best. But alas it fails on thev one job it is design to do and wrecks your films to boot!

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Janice Glesser
Film Goddess

Posts: 3468
From: Sunnyvale, CA USA
Registered: Sep 2011

 - posted January 30, 2019 01:22 PM      Profile for Janice Glesser   Email Janice Glesser   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Welcome Richard! If you do a Forum Search for topics such as Telecine, Digital Transfer, Film Transfer, etc. You will see lots of information. Also look at the Technical Topics section:

Here's a recent answer I gave to another member wanting to do his own DIY transfers.

There are several avenues you could take depending on the equipment you have and your quality expectations.


"I'm having a very good day!"
Richard Dreyfuss - Let It Ride (1989).

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Nantawat Kittiwarakul
Master Film Handler

Posts: 280
From: Rajburana, Bangkok, Thailand
Registered: Aug 2017

 - posted January 30, 2019 07:47 PM      Profile for Nantawat Kittiwarakul   Email Nantawat Kittiwarakul   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
No Wolverine&its relatives,please. A too risky investment IMHO. [Eek!]

With roughtly the same amount of money you should try DIY route first. Even off-the-wall projection approach would yield very acceptable result if properly done. You may even get away with that for,say 80% of your 5,000-6,000 ft. Then let the professionals do their job for the important (the rest 20%) part. Hope this helps. [Smile]

Just a lone collector from a faraway land...

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Lee Mannering
Film God

Posts: 3216
From: The Projection Box
Registered: Nov 2006

 - posted January 31, 2019 11:58 AM      Profile for Lee Mannering     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hello Richard. Back in the late 70s dad and I were transferring film to tape merrily. Systems have improved dramatically over the years.

I'm guessing your films are of great value to you so you will Want a good job which reflects this, experience tells me this. Look for a established business that has a pro scanner to deliver a good result which will stand you a lifetime.

The mda or muller are both great machines. Sorry for any typos on a bumpy train

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