Film Scanning Policies & Procedures

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Motion Picture Film Scanning services are available at CalArts for faculty, staff, and students in E39. Regular 8mm, Super 8mm, 16mm, Super 16mm and 35mm film formats can be accommodated.

Priority will be extended to School of Film/Video users. Scanning operations will be handled by students trained as Film Scanning Technicians.

General Information

It is important to know that the film scanners transfer film directly to an image sequence format. The Blackmagic Cintel Scanner captures raw 16mm image formats with high dynamic range directly intoDaVinci Resolve. The scans can be color graded, re-framed, noise-reduced, or have the audio extracted. 8mm and Super 8mm film formats are scanned using the Filmfabriek scanner that captures in a DPX image sequence format. This format is typically opened in DaVinci Resolve for grading.

Scanning Service

The School of Film/Video provides the film scanning process as a service. 

A “Film Scanning Request” form should be filled out to give the technician details about your scan, and to allow keeping track of your film, files and payments. Films can then be dropped off at the E46 Help Desk. If you wish to be present during the scanning of your film, please note that on your request form. Someone will contact you to let you know when your film will be scanned.

Scanning for the 2023 Fall semester is available during the following hours: 

Mondays, 12:30pm – 4:30pm

Wednesdays, 8am – 4pm

Thursdays, 3:30pm – 7pm

There is a $15 per hour fee. Charges include: Set Up (a 30-minute minimum) and Basic Color Grading (if you want to change each scene with another color grade, time will be charged accordingly). This service does not include solving any problems discovered that might prevent scanning. Once your scan is completed, you will be contacted for film and file pickup or delivery. 

Any questions concerning film scanning policies, procedures or technical issues, please contact Paul Kyle:

The School of Film/Video is not responsible for any damage that may occur to your film during this scanning service.

Prep for Telecine

Processing labs usually have an option to “Prep for Telecine” which is an older method of transferring film to videotape. But it does still prepare the film properly for scanning and should be used when possible. Prepped means your film is delivered on a film core, not a reel, heads out, with 10 feet of clear or white leader head and tails required. Scanning negatives produces the best results. Any spliced film or film prints will be inspected. 

Color Grading

The technicians will determine a basic color grade for your reel. They will render a digital file according to the information included on the Scanning Request Form. Any further color correction can be done on your own at any computer with DaVinci Resolve or with any other color correcting program of your choice. 

If your goal is to deliver on film, you will need a DPX format. Please note: KeyKode metadata is only included in the DPX file format.

Audio and KeyKode Reader Option

The optional Audio and KeyKode Reader of the Cintel expands the scanning capabilities by capturing optical or magnetic soundtracks. It can also scan KeyKode information about the frames position in the reel and film stock used. Please note this option on the Scan Request Form or discuss this option with the technician at the beginning of the session before scanning takes place. KeyKode data is only available for 16mm formats.

Film That Will Not Be Scanned

The following kinds of film content will have to be evaluated for their condition prior to being accepted for scanning:

  • Hand-processed film
  • Scratch-on or draw-on film (animation)
  • Work prints
  • Double-spliced film
  • Damaged film

Data Transfer and Delivery

You will be notified via email once your files are ready for pickup. At that time you need to come by the E46 Helpdesk and pick up a “Scanning Charge Slip”. (Your film belongs to you and you can also pick that up if you wish) Please take the charge slip to the accountant window on the second level to pay for your scan. Please bring the receipt back to the help desk so the receipt number can be recorded on our paperwork and the files will be released to you. Content will be delivered once payment is made. Media file transfer and delivery can be done either to flash media, a hard drive, or your “Deposit Box” on the server.

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