Raspberry Pi Dual 8mm Film Scanner

13. November 2017 12:32 by Cameron in Raspberry Pi  //  Tags: , , ,   //   Comments

Last year for Christmas, I digitally captured all of my family's home movies from 8mm film, VHS tapes, and Hi8 tapes. The most straight forward was capturing the video tapes as all I needed was a Digital8 camcorder and a VHS VCR. The process for capturing the film was a bit more involved however. I setup a Kodak Ektasound Moviedeck 285 projector with its pop-out screen and recorded the projected image with a DSLR camera. The results of the capture are moderately decent. Some of the frames were overexposed and difficult to touch up in post processing.

Now about a year later, I am looking to refine my film capture process. I've seen several videos on YouTube of real-time capturing using expensive equipment and I've also seen several home-built setups doing frame by frame capturing. I know that solutions such as the Wolverine Film Scanner exist, but the production quality isn't super high and it saves videos at 30fps while 8mm film is typically 18fps or 24fps. Therefore, I wanted to embark on my own frame by frame scanner using a Rapsberry Pi 3.

Using an old dual 8 film editor (both Super 8 and standard 8mm), I have gutted most of the internals in order to fit a Raspberry Pi 3, 1080p camera (webcam or Pi cam depending on final OS used), and an LCD touch screen in place of the old rear-projection screen. For auto-feeding/rewinding the film, I will be attaching stepper motors to both film arms. I haven't finalized all of the details as of yet, but the general process will be to have the film advance 1 frame at a time and snap a high resolution image of the frame. At the end of the reel, it would be nice to be able to set it to automatically rewind, however, I might just manually rewind after resetting the film on the source reel.

I have been experimenting with Raspbian and Windows 10 IoT Core as potential operating systems for developing the solution. My main driver on using Windows over Raspbian at the moment is the ease of UI development and being able to use .NET/C# to control GPIO pins.

Please stay tuned as I'll be making regular blog posts on updates soon!

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