Film Scanning Services: Policies and Procedures

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CalArts School of Film/Video provides dedicated film scanning services in Room E39, situated in the Digital Editing and Post area. This service is designed for students, faculty and staff, accommodating a range of film formats including Regular 8mm, Super 8mm, 16mm, Super 16mm, and 35mm. Priority is given first to School of Film/Video courses, then student projects, and then the wider community.

Scanning Technicians

Our operations are run by proficient student technicians, adept in both the technical aspects and the sensitive nature of film scanning.

Scanning Equipment and File Formats

  • Blackmagic Cintel Scanner: This scanner is tailored for 16mm and 35mm films, capturing high dynamic range images directly into DaVinci Resolve, enabling extensive post-processing.
  • Filmfabriek Scanner: Designed for 8mm and Super 8mm films, it captures in DPX image sequence format, typically processed in DaVinci Resolve for ProRes output.

Submission and Turnaround Time

  • Submission Process: To initiate scanning, complete the E39 Film Scanning Request Form. Post-form submission, drop off your film at the E46 Help Desk or directly with staff in the Digital Editing and Post area. The E46 Helpdesk is typically open Monday – Friday, 3pm – 8pm.
  • Turnaround Time: Generally, scanning jobs are completed within one week, subject to the current queue and specific project requirements. Any expectation of rushed service must be communicated before the film is dropped off and approved by Paul Kyle. 

Scanning Fee

The service is priced at $15 per hour, covering setup, scanning and basic color grading (minimum one hour). Additional services, like adding leader and cleaning, will incur an extra charge.

Film Prep and Inspection

  • Preparation for Scanning: Films should be delivered on a core with 10 feet of clear or white leader at both ends, prepared for scanning.

Film Type Preference: While negatives are preferred due to their superior quality, all film types undergo meticulous inspection.

Films Subject to Evaluation Before Scanning:

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

Scanning Options and Specifications

  • Cropping Options:
    • Crop to Picture: Focuses on the main image area, eliminating peripheral elements.
    • Overscan: Provides a view slightly larger than the standard frame, revealing areas beyond the film’s edges.
    • Edge to Edge: Encompasses the entire scanned film frame, including perforations and edge markings.
  • Color Correction:
    • One-Light Correction: A basic, uniform color grading process applied to the entire reel for consistent exposure and color balance.
    • LOG/Flat Scan: The raw scan output from the machine. Suitable for those skilled in color correction.

Audio and KeyKode Reader Option

The Cintel scanner’s Audio and KeyKode Reader provides further scanning capabilities by capturing optical or magnetic soundtracks and KeyKode information. If desired, specify this need on the Scan Request Form or discuss it with the technician before scanning. This feature is available only for 16mm formats.

Post-Scanning Process

Upon completion of scanning, you will be notified via email. You can then collect the Scanning Charge Slip at the E46 Helpdesk, process payment at the Cashier’s Window, and collect your scanned files and film. Digital delivery options include external hard drives, FVCentral server, or cloud-based transfers.


For queries or assistance, reach out to Paul Kyle at

Film scanning involves handling delicate material. We exercise the utmost care but cannot be liable for any potential damage during scanning. By using our services, you accept this risk.

Recent Updates

Policies and procedures were last updated on 1/3/2024. Stay updated with our latest guidelines for optimal service experience.

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