Retro-8: Sleek New 8mm Film Digitizing System
By James Grahame
Movie film can last for many decades if stored in a cool, dark and dry environment. The problem is that few of us still own projection equipment, so the film shot by our parents and grandparents goes unwatched. Moviestuff in Utopia, Texas provides an impressive lineup of film digitization gear that helps you to revive old movie memories for the YouTube era.
Moviestuff's latest transfer machine is the Retro-8. This high quality device resembles a reel-to-reel tape player more than a film projector, but it can handle both Standard 8mm and Super 8 film using a state-of-the-art sprocketless film gate that allows you to mix the two film types without worrying about sprocket hole damage.
Designer Roger Evans tells us, "It runs at 2fps so it takes about 30 minutes to scan 50 feet. However, you can intermix Regular 8 and Super 8 on the same roll and it is totally automatic. The unit will stop itself at the end of a run, or in case of film breakage or jam. It is designed for home use and requires a PC with win 7 64 bit and 8 gigs of ram.
The unit connects via USB, so no special capture card is required. The software will eventually handle color negative film, too. We know neg works but the beta version of the software will be reversal (projection film) only. The final version of the software will also have a notification feature that will message your phone when the unit stops or completes its run. The gate features zero image area contact and the guide rollers are rubber that handle the film by the edges only."
The introductory price for the Retro-8 scanner is $2495. Understanding that many hobbyists don't have that kind of money, Moviestuff will also rent the machine for $100 per day, with a 5 day minimum. While that might seem expensive at first glance, if you've inherited a large stash of film reels it can work out significantly cheaper than paying a film transfer house for a decent copy.
For more information, visit the Moviestuff site.