Quantcast Digitized Super8 to MP4 on USB, 4x3 error? - digitalFAQ Forum
  #1  
12-21-2020, 02:23 AM
Oakleaf Oakleaf is offline
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I paid to have my Super 8 films digitized to MP4 files on a USB thumb drive. When I played the files on my widescreen smart TV, they all looked exactly the same size. The images (inherently 4:3) filled the screen top to bottom with black bands on the sides. When I started editing the files in my video software, the first file I inserted was 16:9, when I tried to pull down the second file to the timeline, a warning said it was 4:3. The documentation of the equipment used to digitize the film says its image sensor is 3.53 Mega pixels (2304 x 1536, or 3:2) and the resolution is 1440 x 1080, or 4:3. There is no setting to change the resolution output. I did some research and found this statement: "The number of lines of resolution of your film depends on the camera, lens, lighting and focus when it was recorded. 8mm and Super 8 film is usually equivalent to between 700 and 1,000 lines of horizontal resolution." I'm not sure I understand how the same size film image scanned with the same sensor results in two different resolutions. I suppose I don't really need to understand how this could happen, but since both images display at 4:3, does it matter what ratio setting is used in my movie editing software? My output will still be MP4 on a thumb drive and played on a smart, widescreen TV. As I said, I've already seen that my TV displays the 4:3 image exactly the same whether the resolution of the film scanned is 4:3 or 16:9. Thanks for reading this long post!
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  #2  
12-21-2020, 02:56 PM
latreche34 latreche34 is offline
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Why would you want to edit the files since they are already encoded in mp4 and played fines on TV? Was it done by Legacy Box?
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  #3  
12-21-2020, 04:12 PM
Oakleaf Oakleaf is offline
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I have 6 hours of video, some of it taken back in the 1950s and 60s. A lot of the footage was scenery, zoo animals, dance recitals, blurry football games taken from the stands, etc. I didn't have a way to digitize the film, so the guy just ran it all through, and now I want to cut out stuff I don't want to sit through to get to the parts I do want to see like my grandparents and parents. I'm also splitting videos to give appropriate parts to cousins and other family who wouldn't necessarily want to watch 15 minutes of my babies crawling and taking first steps. Also, several of the films faded to shades of blue, which can look better after doing color adjustments, even if it is only shades of yellow. I do have several reasons for my madness.

I think I used to have a little program that would split and re-join MP3 videos without re-encoding, which would save a lot of time, but I don't remember what it was, and it probably wouldn't work with MP4. If anybody knows of such a thing, please tell me.
Thanks for your interest.
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12-21-2020, 05:13 PM
latreche34 latreche34 is offline
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You would want to capture lossless if editing and restoration is in mind, With the footage already encoded to mp4 any restoration you do to it degrades it further.

In the other hand if just cutting scenes is what you want there are programs out there that can do that without harm to the video, It's called frame accurate GOP cutting, SmartCutter from Fame Ring is one of them, All what it does is re-arrange the frame pockets so an accurate cut is achieved no transcoding is done, I've been using it for years to edit Blu-ray movies and cut off the nude and sex scenes so I can watch them with my kids, It was the best $20 that ever spent, I think it's $49 now.
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  #5  
12-21-2020, 06:00 PM
Oakleaf Oakleaf is offline
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Thank you for your information about lossless editing and the program that can do that!
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  #6  
12-29-2020, 11:12 AM
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I use TMPGEnc Smart Render for this. I use it frequently for various hobby H.264 editing

I do wonder how bad these video captures look. "ran it all through" is never a good thing. Perhaps upload a sample?

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  #7  
12-30-2020, 03:44 AM
timtape timtape is offline
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Capturing Super 8 well is quite difficult. Unlike capturing analog videotape it's much more complex and especially hard to capture the full brightness and colour impact. The digitised copy can look OK until it's compared to the actual film.
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  #8  
01-01-2021, 12:20 AM
Oakleaf Oakleaf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
I use TMPGEnc Smart Render for this. I use it frequently for various hobby H.264 editing

Thanks for the recommendation; I'll give this a trial when I get back to the video project. I tried the Smart Cutter, but lost hours of batch work when it crashed.

I do wonder how bad these video captures look. "ran it all through" is never a good thing. Perhaps upload a sample?
One sample wouldn't show the tremendous variances in quality. I would think age of the film was the main factor, but found that is not true. One film taken outdoors in 1957 still had perfect color, and its digitized file looked great. The color of other films taken outdoors as late as the 1970s have only shades of blue. I don't blame the digitizer for the color--the film itself must have oxidized or whatever. The processed films were all stored under the same conditions, so I don't know why the color quality varied so much.

I was disappointed that the digitizer wasn't more careful in his alignment of the film. His equipment scanned a film's frames and then put the "pictures" together in MP4 format. It must have enlarged and cropped the film's frames because the tops of heads were cut off in the digitized video. When I checked the film itself, the whole heads were there. On some portions of the digitized video, the bottom of the video showed the frame divider line and a small portion of the top of the next frame.

I called him about six of the 55 videos being in 16:9 format when the film is 4:3. After a couple of days, he figured out how that happened. When a spliced film would hang up, his machine would stop scanning which resulted in two or more separate files. He wanted one file for each reel of film, so he used the free Windows Photos app in video mode to join the separate files, and didn't even know to change the default format from 16:9 to 4:3. I told him I wanted all the files to be the same, so he converted all of them to 16:9, instead of converting the 16:9 files back to 4:3. Doesn't that lessen the already not so good quality? I asked him to check his recycle bin for the original 4:3 files which he had deleted, but not all of them were found. I think he ought to redo the missing files by re-scanning the film, but he hasn't offered to do that. I don't know what to do with these different formats.
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  #9  
01-01-2021, 12:56 AM
latreche34 latreche34 is offline
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You should be careful when paying someone to do the work for you, He must have some kind of reputation or a public feedback and if the price is too cheap that's an indication of a sloppy job. legacy box is an example.
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  #10  
01-01-2021, 05:31 AM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
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Whoever you hired doesn't sound competent.

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  #11  
01-01-2021, 05:54 AM
ehbowen ehbowen is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oakleaf View Post
One sample wouldn't show the tremendous variances in quality. I would think age of the film was the main factor, but found that is not true. One film taken outdoors in 1957 still had perfect color, and its digitized file looked great. The color of other films taken outdoors as late as the 1970s have only shades of blue. I don't blame the digitizer for the color--the film itself must have oxidized or whatever. The processed films were all stored under the same conditions, so I don't know why the color quality varied so much.

I was disappointed that the digitizer wasn't more careful in his alignment of the film. His equipment scanned a film's frames and then put the "pictures" together in MP4 format. It must have enlarged and cropped the film's frames because the tops of heads were cut off in the digitized video. When I checked the film itself, the whole heads were there. On some portions of the digitized video, the bottom of the video showed the frame divider line and a small portion of the top of the next frame.

I called him about six of the 55 videos being in 16:9 format when the film is 4:3. After a couple of days, he figured out how that happened. When a spliced film would hang up, his machine would stop scanning which resulted in two or more separate files. He wanted one file for each reel of film, so he used the free Windows Photos app in video mode to join the separate files, and didn't even know to change the default format from 16:9 to 4:3. I told him I wanted all the files to be the same, so he converted all of them to 16:9, instead of converting the 16:9 files back to 4:3. Doesn't that lessen the already not so good quality? I asked him to check his recycle bin for the original 4:3 files which he had deleted, but not all of them were found. I think he ought to redo the missing files by re-scanning the film, but he hasn't offered to do that. I don't know what to do with these different formats.
The color variations are quite likely due to the film stock. The two major consumer film stocks produced during the heyday of Super 8 were Kodachrome and Ektachrome. Kodachrome is one of the most stable color films ever produced; still photos (35mm slides) taken 80 years ago often still look great. It holds up well as a motion picture film, also. Ektachrome, not so much; it often loses the red and green colors so that you end up with, basically, blue. If you capture lossless or to a low-loss format such as ProRes (on a high quality setting), you can run the video through AviSynth or possibly Resolve and tweak the colors closer to where they should be. But when you start with mp4, it limits what you can do in post-processing.

Cutting off heads and such is just laziness. I scan my own films (using a Moviestuff Retroscan...dry scanner, but non-contact [of the image surface] and decent quality) and I always frame the film to capture as much image as possible. Yes, sometimes there are unexpected shifts due to inconsistencies in the film stock, but I monitor the scan and re-frame as quickly as possible. You can always trim out edges and sprocket holes using AviSynth or VirtualDub after scanning is complete, but you can't go back and put information in which you didn't capture in the first place.
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  #12  
01-01-2021, 11:33 PM
Oakleaf Oakleaf is offline
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[QUOTE=ehbowen;73872]The color variations are quite likely due to the film stock. The two major consumer film stocks produced during the heyday of Super 8 were Kodachrome and Ektachrome. Kodachrome is one of the most stable color films ever produced; still photos (35mm slides) taken 80 years ago often still look great. It holds up well as a motion picture film, also. Ektachrome, not so much; it often loses the red and green colors so that you end up with, basically, blue. If you capture lossless or to a low-loss format such as ProRes (on a high quality setting), you can run the video through AviSynth or possibly Resolve and tweak the colors closer to where they should be. But when you start with mp4, it limits what you can do in post-processing.

Thank you for the information about Kodachrome vs. Ektachrome. I thought the blue was from the original processing, but now understand it was the film itself. I used PowerDirector to adjust the color on one 50' reel, but it took so long, I don't think I'll spend that kind of time on the rest.
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