New Low Cost 8mm Film Transfer Unit
By James Grahame
Long-time filmmakers are familiar with the devices produced by Tobin Cinema Systems. The company has offered a lineup of crystal synchronized camera motors for over three decades, along with tape recorder synchronizers and other related equipment. One could be forgiven for envisioning company founder Clive Tobin as cinematography’s Father Time, a precise and meticulous wizard who ensures that motion picture cameras behave only as desired. However, Tobin also makes impressive film-to-video transfer units.
Tobin's new TVT-S8C ($1495) is intended for serious hobbyists and low-volume transfer houses. The all-in-one design incorporates a high resolution 1 CCD camera with 490 lines of resolution. The camera is crystal-synchronized to the film and captures individual frames in real time.
Tobin took special care with the optical path: "The TVT-8C scans one film frame at a time, in real time while each frame is paused in the gate. The film movement is precisely synchronized to the camera, so the usual brief pause between film pulldowns is ample time. Shuttering is electronically timed for zero flicker.
There is only a high quality 1:1 macro lens between the film emulsion and the built-in CCD camera. The picture orientation is digitally corrected, eliminating the usual quality-robbing parts of other systems. No cheap projection lens, easily ruined first surface mirror, uncoated field lens, poor quality uncoated plastic “Coke bottle bottom” close-up lens or zoom lens to lose light, spoil sharpness and clarity, introduce geometric distortion, show vibration, reflect room lights and gather dust. No mechanical shutter to introduce a slight residual flicker. No ground-glass screen to give a fixed grain pattern, center hot spot, low contrast and resolution and dark corners."
The highly modified Bell & Howell projection system runs at either 20 fps or 24 fps (PAL format units are also available). It outputs standard S-Video that can be recorded to tape or DVD without the need for computer processing.
A self-contained film-to-video transfer system that sells for only $1495 is a bargain and Clive should sell a truckload of these. The TVT-S8C will be released in February 2009.
Link: "My Own Telecine" - Tobin Technology, Bargain Price