A little on the Thunderbean Scanning adventure:
Progress on a bunch of Thunderbean things took a nice step forward last week. I spent Wednesday and Thursday morning traveling a little over nine hours to do the longest scanning session ever. I drove back Friday morning and am still tired a half week later!
Over a twelve hour period, we did a ton on scans on a brand new Cintel 2/ Black Magic scanner. It scans 16mm and 35mm in 2k and 4k. We were able to scan almost my entire waiting list of 35mm prints that have been building up here over this past year and a half, and tackled a big batch of 16mm as well. During Covid, all of the scanning facilities near here haven’t been available to do 35mm- but one place had acquired a 16mm Lasergraphics scanner- and that has been very helpful.
Having the ability to have so many things scanned in a short period has been a dream. I brought many of the last batch of nitrate prints and negs that have been here for well over a year now, as well as many prints that were suffering from shrinkage due to Vinegar Syndrome. The new Cintel / Black Magic scanner is a great piece of technology, quietly handling all these reels beautifully and almost all in nearly real-time (in 4k for the 35mm). Even though I was only able to watch from a distance, I’m smitten with this machine. At some point I hope Thunderbean will be able to figure out some way to have one here.
One of the coolest things about the scanner is how well it defuses the surface on the film materials. It’s a game changer in terms of how well it hides abrasions and even some dirt on the material, making it much quicker to clean up the material when doing digital work. The results on this diffusion are beyond what I’ve seen before; I think it works much better on this machine than on the gold-standard Lasergraphics scanner (although a Lasergraphics machine is also a thing of beauty, and much more expensive).
Since we’ve been able to scan so many things this week, many projects are moving forward much quicker. More on that in these coming weeks. I’m hoping to travel again soon and do many more, including a lot more 16mm prints. Now that so many things are scanned and we’re near to finishing some of the special sets, we’ve put a few up at the Thunderbean shop. I’m still concentrating on the last pieces of Rainbow Parades, Volume 1– but working on the master.
The last time I was in California (in November 2019) our own Jerry Beck was kind enough to open up his film collection and lend a bunch of material. As we were going through some 35mm, one of the cans, when opened, sent both of our heads in the air to get away from the smell. Jerry suggested I try to scan it if there was some way to do so before it went back to the earth. That print is this week’s cartoon, Lucky Dog (1956). It’s a nice old original print, with all the original Cinemascope titles. Sadly, Vinegar Syndrome had set in pretty heavily (Vinegar Syndrome, or VS, was a polite way for Kodak to address acetate disintegration. It’s a term that doesn’t include what is actually happening to the material.
I was pretty sure this reel wouldn’t run through a scanner in the condition it was in. To relax the film, I soaked it in Film-Guard as well as using Camphor pieces (from an Indian grocery store) to plasticize the print. Both these things worked pretty well, and the print scanned like a dream.
So, here, back from the Vinegar Syndrome grave, is Lucky Dog (1956) Directed by Connie Rasinski. You’d never know this print was at film death’s door. It’s a pretty odd cartoon, even by Terrytoon standards- and lots of fun to run some of the stuff frame by frame (a quick trick: you can look at youtube frame-by frame by using the less than/more than keys ( < > ) on the lower right of the keyboard).
The use of Cinemascope is quite good at times, and it features some really fun animation (you’ll recognize Terry regulars Carlo Vinci & Jim Tyer’s work along with others).
Have a good week all!