Re: DIY Tape-to-Film transfer?

From: edwin m (email suppressed)
Date: Tue Mar 09 2010 - 14:09:33 PST

your best bet would be to do it from a hi-res flatscreen computer monitor - laptops are usually best as they often have higher-quality screens, but maybe find a couple of good monitors & do tests. don't use CRT monitors - you'll get that awful strobing effect, last seen on reality tv office 'documentaries'.

adjusting the screen gamma to 1.8 gives good results. then make a screen (in photoshop or something) with 18% grey. set up your camera facing the screen flat on, and make the room as dark as you can. if you're using colour, remember you'll have to use filters to adjust for the monitor's colour temperature! take a reflected light reading from a couple of inches away from the grey screen - the first time i did this, i was surprised quite how much light monitors give out. use this light reading throughout - don't adjust for individual frames.

next, start filming! there are two ways to do this - one higher-quality than the other:

lower quality: open the video you want to film in a video player. for best results, use one that allows you to de-interlace the video. vlc (from does, and is free/open source. right click on the screen, click 'video' then 'de-interlace' then 'X'. hit fullscreen and then play, and pull the trigger. obviously you can't use a wind-up camera unless your video is really short.

higher quality: if your video doesn't have sync sound and you can cope with it being slowed slightly, you can film it frame-by-frame. you'll be able to use a hand-cranked bolex too. vlc has a handy button for frame-by-frame (click 'show advanced controls'). go fullscreen, and click away!

obviously there are diy ways to resolve the 25/24fps problem if you need to, meaning high quality and no slowing. if you do video work, chances are you'll have an editing program that can convert footage to 24fps and play fullscreen on an external monitor - this is by far the best way. the quality you get from all of these methods is surprisingly good - if you get it right, you'd be hard-pressed to spot the difference between your results and something from a much more expensive lab service.

hope some of that's of use


> Date: Tue, 9 Mar 2010 15:58:30 -0500
> From: email suppressed
> Subject: DIY Tape-to-Film transfer?
> To: email suppressed
> Hello,
> I've been wondering if it would be possible to do a rough DIY
> tape-to-film transfer, perhaps using a Bolex and a bright video
> projector. I have a home-made telecine box that works well for 8mm
> telecine, and was thinking of using that in reverse... probably by
> laboriously filming the video frame by frame. I'm not hoping to end up
> with a professional quality transfer or anything, I'm just interested
> in playing with the way video changes once transferred to film (e.g.
> Anthony Dod Mantle's video work). I'd expect it to come out pretty
> rough, but I'm mostly curious whether I'd need to constantly be
> changing the exposure on the Bolex, or whether I could keep it
> constant as long as the video source had relatively consistent
> contrast and brightness.
> I couldn't find anything about this on Google. Has anyone ever heard
> of someone trying this? Thanks for any help or links.
> Scott
> __________________________________________________________________
> For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.
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