I’ve been doing 8mm and super 8 film transfers for a while now. As you may recall I bought the Wolverine 8mm and Super8 Reels Movie Digitizer and have churned out some pretty good transfers. I even bought the new and improved Wolverine Pro model which can handle nine inch reels.
The films I am asked to transfer are often 50 – 60 years old and have been through projectors the hard way. A projector can eat film and damage the sprocket holes. The Wolverine machines use a pull down claw to move each frame in front of the camera. When it hits a damaged sprocket hole, the film usually stops. When there’s a whole section with bad sprockets, it takes much longer to scan. A seven inch reel takes a little over four hours to scan on a Wolverine, but when there are damaged sprockets, it can take much longer than four hours.
So I’ve been looking again at the options for a “clawless” scanning machine. The clawless machines don’t stop nearly as often and are five or ten times faster. They can handle film with very bad sprockets and even film that has shrunk or has bad splices both of which are typical on old films.
One answer to this is to move up to something like the RetroScan Universal which is a continuous feed scanner. There is no advance claw or any of the problems associated with a claw. They scan at 15 frames per second rather than the 2 frames a second. There are many other advantages, except one – $5200.
I’m thinking about this and looking into the few alternatives I can find. There are a lot of DIY answers, but that’s a daunting proposition and can still be expensive. I’d like to hear from anyone who knows about these things. I will keep you posted on my progress.