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  1. You may have a jammed guide wheel roller. Something is stopping the film from going through smoothly.

    Take off both the upper and lower plastic covers that are around the teeth sprockets. It involves undoing the 2 long black screws per cover. Remove slowly as the guide rollers will fall out along with some washers. Check them all.

    Also make sure your film reel clutch for the RIGHT hand reel ( the full film reel) is very loose, so film rolls off and into the unit easily.

    Then try feeding some film through the scanning area, bypassing the teeth sprockets. Does it pull through backwards and forwards easily?

    This may be a stupid question.. But you are using super 8 film yeah? Not 8mm film? As 8mm film won't fit properly!
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    It is super 8 film, not 8mm.

    The whole problem is in the upper sprocket wheel, which seems to have more and more problems moving. Now the scanner doesn't capture even 1 frame, because when it tries to run, something blocks it; and sometimes when running fast forward makes a terrible noise. I suspect gear problems in the back area of the scanner, which I've never opened.

    Quite scared

    There's nothing blocking the upper sprocket wheel under the black plastic piece. The right hand reel is loose, and if I bypass the teeth sprockets, the film moves through the gate but the machine doesn't frame nor scan images.

    I'm considering to put everything where it was when it arrived and try to have it changed for a new one.
    Last edited by PMBen; 6th Jan 2015 at 08:34.
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  3. Send it back.

    (Naturally by bypassing both teeth sprockets the film will not run properly or scan advance. I was just suggesting to try it with some leader tape or old film to see if the film was jamming somewhere in the scanning area)

    On a side note, for the latest software version, the "fast forward" button does not run film smoothly now. It seems to stutter and cough and continuously stop advancing. I complained to Reflecta about this during the beta testing. They said that the control of film advancement has been changed in the latest release from being under software control (with the frame skipping problem) to hardware / firmware control (frame skipping fixed) and unfortunately as a side- effect of this the forward advancement button does not run smoothly. Maybe they will fix this in a new update. It would also be really nice if the software allowed you to save the jpg frame files as it ran the combine process, instead of rogue-Deleting them. Having the jpgs is very handy for post processing in eg. Photoshop. But no luck on this request yet either.

    For this reason however, it's really important that you are running the latest firmware in the unit AS WELL as the latest software. Otherwise the unit might be "doing battle" to control the film advancement and you might be getting the situation you describe that you are having, where the teeth sprockets just shudder and are confused and not much actual advancement taking place. Check again firmware and software are matching and the latest. Reinstall the software.

    Also if you have ever pressed the "power off" button on the hardware unit when you are sitting there waiting for the Cyberview s8 software to combine your movie it pops up a box that says "Cyberview S8 .... shutdown? Y/N" which throws you into a panic and is not correct. This box doesn't shut down the Cyberview S8 software from doing its job, just the hardware unit is shut down, which is not necessary to be running whilst the software is doing it's combining job (which can take up to an hour).

    A very confusing message but apparently fixing that is not a priority. It should really say "Shutdown Hardware?" So it's clear it is not referring to shutting down the Cyberview software mid-process.

    Maybe they have bigger issues to address hehe but unsettling nonetheless.

    Let us know how you go with your return.

    Cheers,
    Blackout
    Last edited by Blackout; 6th Jan 2015 at 17:07.
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    By the way, the Automatic Brightness and the Automatic Contrast are both terribly clumsy. Their result feels so forced and administered in such erratic way that I think it is better to scan with both options inactive...
    Last edited by PMBen; 14th Jan 2015 at 17:44.
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  5. hi PMBen. ABSOLUTELY. disable both. it changes the brightness and contrast "on the fly" as it is scanning which is not nice, it causes the picture to "pulse" bright and dark suddenly between frames! I cannot believe this is true and could possibly be designed this way. I have many films that have the picture zooming in over 10 seconds, and as the light changes in the picture the auto brightness and contrast were turning on and off constantly for the 10 seconds of film as the light changed. watching it back it looked like blinking.

    turn both off, and then use brightness and contrast on the avi file in post-processing (eg Adobe Premiere)
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  6. Been skimming through this thread for the past few minutes. Very interesting stuff being presented. I thought I'd chime in since, although I only heard about this little baby the other day, I'm considering getting one. Although not for the same purpose as all of you. You see, I'm a bit crazy so for my future short film which is set in "a fictional modern representation of the 1980s" I'm considering actually using super8 film. I want it to feel like an 80s B movie, and although super8 was technically 70s, it'd give the film a real charm with the sense it actually was a low budget movie from the 80s. Plus it would probably be my only experience with real film since everything pro is digital these days

    Now obviously, I'm not going to be hunched over editing real film (especially since I'd record the sound separately with digital gear) so I need some method of Telecine. I was originally thinking I'd have to mail it all somewhere to be done, but when I saw the relecta unit on B&H I realized I could do it myself for cheaper. However, reading all this gives me doubts. Even after doing the mods to make the unit work better, it could still turn out all wrong.

    What I want to contribute to the thread is this:

    http://www.moviestuff.tv/

    I found this by complete accident. It seems to be the same concept as the reflecta, but (apparently) better quality. They're about twice the price, but they're made on demand in the USA and appear to be a higher quality of construction to the reflecta. Does anyone else here have any info/experience with the retro8 pro? If not, it may be worth investigating to see if it's superior to the reflecta.

    If that has already been linked to or discussed here, I apologize. I only just found this thread. I'd really love to know if the retro8 is as good as it says it is/better than the reflecta because from what I've read here, the reflecta seems like somewhat of a bust. I absolutely love the idea of shooting my film on super8 and I'd need a solid telecine method. Again, great stuff here.

    Regards,
    John
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    Originally Posted by KnapfordMaster98 View Post
    You see, I'm a bit crazy so for my future short film which is set in "a fictional modern representation of the 1980s" I'm considering actually using super8 film. I want it to feel like an 80s B movie, and although super8 was technically 70s, it'd give the film a real charm with the sense it actually was a low budget movie from the 80s. Plus it would probably be my only experience with real film since everything pro is digital these days
    Great idea and I admire your purist stance.

    However, I would definitely (re) consider the practicality of the thing.

    Also be aware that there are tons of video filters that make present day film look old, in fact you can make it look like any old film stock. So that may be a lot more practical.
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  8. That's all very true. Keep in mind using modern digital equipment with vintage color correction looks is still the number 1 option. I do realize going super8 is a fairly crazy idea, but I love how simple it makes things. I'm into recording music as well (don't need to hire a composer!) and I often get caught up in the tech and gear and lose sight of the music itself. It's the same with film making, and working with the constraints of a super8 camera would force me to really nail the story's execution. Plus unbelievably, with the digital gear I'd want to use, super8 would be quite a lot cheaper...

    Anyway, I just wanted to mention the retro8 from moviestuff. I've been doing a bit of digging an it seems to be decent, but awfully grainy (in a bad way) with sometimes incorrect colors. It seems moviestuff used to make a DSLR based unit, but not anymore. Shame, as comparisons of the two show the latter to be better...Be interesting to know how all this compares to the reflecta super8. Build quality vs Image quality I suppose. Anyone have any opinions on the moviestuff retro8?
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  9. Knapford the Retro8 on moviestuff has been around for a while. everyone on this thread and others who are interested in transferring super8 and has done any research whatsoever knows about the Retro8.

    for starters it is more than double the price. well over 3k vs $1500 for the Reflecta. and it is not necessarily better quality scans at the end, although they are faster and I have no doubt that the Retro8 is far more gentle and respectful in the treatment of the film.

    if you look at some of the moviestuff scans on youtube youll see that Retro8 scans all suffer from a degree of "chroming" ...making scans look a lot like video. The Reflecta doesn't do this.

    this is a perfect example, with 2 transfer methods per scene, the second one being the Retro8

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YNo_767o7S0

    you can see a chroming "haze" around all sharp edges. typical of VHS video. it makes everything look like its got a white halo border around the edges of things.

    look at the edges of the "SALT WATER TAFFY" sign at 1min52. youll see the problem clearly. or the right hand edge of the statue that follows in the next scene. the image on the left looks much flatter and cleaner.

    I don't personally think from the evidence that ive seen it will be a better scan than the Reflecta. the Reflecta certainly doesn't suffer from the chroming issue.

    Film is a dog man. if I was you I would take the advice of newp and shoot with digital and use filters and tricks. shoot progressive frames only. ... shoot at 24 or 18fps or later then drop-frame. etc.
    Last edited by Blackout; 23rd Jan 2015 at 02:14.
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    Actually, there is no real comparison between the Reflecta and the Retro-8 units. The Retro-8 units all scan in full 24 bit and each frame is stored as a codec free individual hi resolution still frame while the Reflecta is scanning to a highly compressed interframe video codec. The Retro series also lets you scan uncompressed and output uncompressed; something the Reflecta will not do. Also, regarding "chroming", the degree of edge enhancement (the actual term) is totally controllable by the user. On the sample noted, I have no idea how the footage was set up on the Retro unit or the degree of post processing of the image which can lead to over enhancement. But still, the sample holds up pretty good to the Millennium. When you consider the cost of the Retro-8 wouldn't even cover shipping and installation of a Millennium, I'd say there are more similarities between the two transfers than there are differences, especially for someone working on a limited budget that wants to scan both reversal and color neg, which is just one more thing that the Reflecta can't do.

    Here are a couple of other examples of color and B/W neg and reversal:

    http://vimeo.com/78660128

    http://vimeo.com/72364968

    http://vimeo.com/80020829

    http://vimeo.com/13875976

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8DLnR00FKSo&list=UUlnTd886ytLSsTNpbXfeoIw

    Make no mistake, the Retro series was never meant to be a replacement for a high end Spirit or Millennium. However, the thing to remember is that, even on "big iron" transfer units from classic Ranks to Spirits, etc, there is ALWAYS downstream image processing to sharpen the image, reduce grain and noise, adjust gamma, etc. Send the same film to 5 different Spirit houses and be prepared to get 5 different results ranging from soft to over-enhanced. In that sense, the Retro units are no different than its larger cousins; user input makes all the difference. The Retro-8 units have modest built in color and gamma controls and some degree of grain reduction but, to get the best results, you will need to attenuate the image downstream of the capture. That can be done in real time by programming in the changes on high end scanner units like a Spirit or a Millennium or you can do it in post on your NLE from uncompressed captures on the Retro series. But, either way, some degree of interaction is required to get the desired results.
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    Originally Posted by MovieStuff View Post
    The Retro-8 units all scan in full 24 bit...
    You keep saying that but why do you think that is such a great feature?
    24 bit is pretty much the minimum, which film scanner does not do that?

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    Originally Posted by newpball View Post
    Originally Posted by MovieStuff View Post
    The Retro-8 units all scan in full 24 bit...
    You keep saying that but why do you think that is such a great feature?
    24 bit is pretty much the minimum, which film scanner does not do that?

    Well, the Reflecta, for one.

    The signal that comes off a camera may be 24 bit but it's what you do with that signal that makes a difference. Do you keep it 24 bit during the recording process? Or do you take it down to something like 8 bit 4:2:2 like you see in most HD camcorders? Having full 8 bits of color on all three color channels in the recorded file can make a huge difference when you get into post and want to do some serious color correction. You can't say that something scans in 24 bit 8:8:8 if the signal is then reduced to only 8 bit 4:2:2 or 6 bit 4:1:1 when it is recorded. So when I say it scans in full 24 bit, I am referring to the entire process of scanning and recording the signal from the camera.
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    Originally Posted by MovieStuff View Post
    [
    The signal that comes off a camera may be 24 bit but it's what you do with that signal that makes a difference. Do you keep it 24 bit during the recording process? Or do you take it down to something like 8 bit 4:2:2 like you see in most HD camcorders?
    Huh?

    We are talking about the scanning not the encoding right? Are you saying that other film scanners do not scan at 24 (e.g. 3x8bit)?
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    Originally Posted by newpball View Post
    Originally Posted by MovieStuff View Post
    [
    The signal that comes off a camera may be 24 bit but it's what you do with that signal that makes a difference. Do you keep it 24 bit during the recording process? Or do you take it down to something like 8 bit 4:2:2 like you see in most HD camcorders?
    Huh?

    We are talking about the scanning not the encoding right?
    Well, I don't understand the distinction you are trying to make. What good is a scan if it isn't recorded to something?

    Originally Posted by newpball View Post
    Are you saying that other film scanners do not scan at 24 (e.g. 3x8bit)?
    Think of it like this: Let's say that you have a true 24 bit scanner that creates and records 24 bit files. If you take those 24 bit scans and then convert them to 32 bit, you don't suddenly have a 32 bit scanner, right? Conversely, if you scan in 24 bit and then record in only 8 bit, you can't call it a 24 bit scanner. So when a piece of equipment says it scans in 24 bit, that inherently means it it also capable of recording in 24 bit. If a piece of equipment says it is scanning in 24 bit but is really limited to recording in 8 bit 4:2:2, then it is really only an 8 bit scanner because, in that instance, the limiting factor of the scan is how it is recorded. Otherwise, every cheap camcorder on the market is a full 24 bit camcorder, even if it is recording in only 6 bit 4:1:1 color space!
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  15. bottom line, is that I can get a cleaner, higher resolution and flatter scan from the Reflecta than you will get from the Retro8, from all the footage ive seen, without question. Check out the second half of this. you can see every brick on the wall, every white bar on the balcony. I challenge the Retro8 to do this. no way.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HDIPbpOASnw&list=UUgFQnyoeRl8-0_al10CNXOg


    believe me im not a massive fan of the Reflecta by any stretch it has massive hardware problems! I wish it was built like the Retro8!
    Last edited by Blackout; 24th Jan 2015 at 21:16.
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    Well, the main thing is that the Reflecta satisfies your needs. If you are happy with the image quality you are getting from the unit, that's all that matters. The Retro-8 was built specifically to the requirements of the Academy of Motion Picture Film Archives and they are also quite happy with the results they are getting, as well.
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  17. Originally Posted by MovieStuff View Post
    If a piece of equipment says it is scanning in 24 bit but is really limited to recording in 8 bit 4:2:2, then it is really only an 8 bit scanner because
    I don't know the details of the particular devices under discussion but I think you're overstating the difference between 24 bit RGB and 8 bit YUV 4:2:2. The latter has 8 bits of each Y, U, and V (just like 24 bit RGB has 8 bits each of R, G and B). So it's also 24 bit (though maybe ~1.5 bits little less if the YUV uses video range rather than PC range). The bigger difference is in the color resolution. YUV 4:2:2 has the same resolution in the luma (Y, greyscale) channel but only half the horizontal resolution in the chroma channels (U and V). So a 2000x1500 RGB image has a 2000x1500 luma channel but only 1000x1500 chroma channels. It is often simplified by saying 8 bit YUV has 16 bits of information per pixel on average (8 bits of Y, 4 bits of U and 4 bits of V).

    But even that is probably inconsequential because the optical sensors used to digitize usually don't have one red, one green, and one blue sensor for each captured pixel. The RGB sensors are laid out in a bayer pattern with half as many blue and green sensors as green sensors.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayer_filter

    So the captured image has less red and blue resolution than green resolution. And even the green sensor doesn't map 1:1 with each output pixel. The raw data runs through a "bayer filter" or "demosaic filter" to produce the final output. In the end, 24 bit RGB and 8 bit YUV 4:2:2 isn't that different.

    It's likely the differences in the devices under discussion have more to do with other issues, not the RGB vs. YUV 4:2:2 in the final output.
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  18. Originally Posted by MovieStuff View Post
    Well, the main thing is that the Reflecta satisfies your needs. If you are happy with the image quality you are getting from the unit, that's all that matters. The Retro-8 was built specifically to the requirements of the Academy of Motion Picture Film Archives and they are also quite happy with the results they are getting, as well.
    Means nothing Movistuff. My translation of what you just said is "if youre happy with inferior crappy picture then good for you, obviously you have no idea".

    show me one single Retro8 example online that isn't lacking definition and doesn't contain chroming outlines on every sharp edge. even the Retro8 video example on their own website has it.

    proof is always in the pudding. from experience in the audio world a higher spec machine don't always win the day.

    ill say it again, the Reflecta8 should be recalled with its hardware problems, its really that badly built, specifically lack of roller guides in many places causing the film to run directly against plastic, flimsy arms and reel pins that wobble like a dog, and problems with sideways jitter of film. Unlike the Retro8 which looks simply beautiful and built like a tank, and does the job in 1/10th of the time. if I was offered to swap my Reflecta with a Retro8 I would do so in a heartbeat.

    But I don't think I will be getting necessarily better results.

    Cheers!
    Blackout
    Last edited by Blackout; 25th Jan 2015 at 00:26.
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  19. I think the Reflecta does a great job judging by the links, a good investment. Thanks for the updates Blackout.
    Status - Attacked by mold spores. - Pour out a lil liquor for all the homies lost in the format wars. Sanlyn will live again, a Sanlyn v2.0 if you will
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  20. I have a number of 8mm reels and am about to send them to just8mm.com.

    One of there comments address the type of capture that your device seems to use:

    "In a frame by frame transfer, each frame of the film is imaged separately, then assembled in computer editing software to create a moving video. The problem is that 8mm film is intended to be played on a projector with internal, spinning blades. These blades move in front of the film each time a frame goes by (this happens far faster than we can see) and have the effect of fooling our brains into thinking we are seeing smooth, continuous action. Without the blades, the motion of 8mm film seems choppy and jittery, which is exactly the result you get with a frame by frame transfer. With our method, the motion in the film is much smoother and more natural because we utilize the spinning blades with which the film was meant to be used."

    Do you notice any issues of choppiness in your captures?
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  21. AVMii...this description is complete rubbish. what a scam these just8mm guys are pedaling.

    a real projector with "spinning blades" makes EVEN MORE FLICKER than a frame-by-frame scan. Worse, a real projector has the frame positions constantly moving left, right, up and down between frames slightly which make it even harder to get a stable picture.

    nothing beats a frame-by-frame scan. just ask any Hollywood film transfer company. They certainly don't use "spinning blades" to transfer Lethal Weapon to Blu Ray that's for sure. its a frame-by-frame.

    Cheers,
    Blackout
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    Originally Posted by AVMiii View Post
    I have a number of 8mm reels and am about to send them to just8mm.com.

    One of there comments address the type of capture that your device seems to use:

    "In a frame by frame transfer, each frame of the film is imaged separately, then assembled in computer editing software to create a moving video. The problem is that 8mm film is intended to be played on a projector with internal, spinning blades. These blades move in front of the film each time a frame goes by (this happens far faster than we can see) and have the effect of fooling our brains into thinking we are seeing smooth, continuous action. Without the blades, the motion of 8mm film seems choppy and jittery, which is exactly the result you get with a frame by frame transfer. With our method, the motion in the film is much smoother and more natural because we utilize the spinning blades with which the film was meant to be used."

    Do you notice any issues of choppiness in your captures?
    Blackout is right: the spinning blade in the projector is a neccesary evil for the film to move from one frame to the next without having that movement on screen (as it would create a blur). Once a frame is projected, the blade covers it, the film moves while the screen is in black and the blade doesn't uncover the film until the next frame is ready in place. That means you are alternating on the screen the bright frames of the film with the darkness of the "black frames" created by the blade in a matter of less than a second: such continuous and quick contrast is exactly what flickering is.

    In a frame by frame video transfer you don't have that flicker at all, the image can simply go from one frame to the next, therefore creating a more fluid movement.
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  23. Blackout and PMBen, thanks for your comments.
    I'm about to use a different company, Digmypics, for the transfer. They use a frame by frame capture, and will transfer at 720 x 480 using AVI at 29Mbits/sec and store to HD for me (20 cents/ft). I will also have them make DVD copies, where they tell me that about 1 hr of film (850-900 ft) will fit on a DVD. I can title the chapters on line by previewing the capture before they burn to DVD, so I'll have the easy DVD copy and the AVI on HD for any further editing etc.

    -- Sorry to divert this thread to film capture companies, would be nice to DIY, but in my case 5000ft of film isn't worth the time or money.
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  24. AVMii...just one word of warning....720x480 is not HD. that is just standard def.

    if they scan at 720x480, and just upscale to HD to "store it for you" then it wont look any better than SD still.
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  25. "store to HD" -- I'm pretty sure he meant Hard Drive.
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  26. hehe good point jagabo I think youre right.

    there is no doubt from my experience that you can pull higher resolution from Super8 than Standard def (720). it just looks less blurry if you scan to High Def. if I was you I would opt for a high def scan if its going to be your only archive pass at your own films. you wont regret it in the future...and watching the film you will just know that it is going to look as good as its going to look.
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  27. Blackout, these are just 8mm and not Super8. HD (as in Hi def, 1080p) is available from Digmypics at 30 cents a foot, so that boosts my bill from $1000 to $1500.
    This is what they say about SD vs HD transfer:

    "For SD, All film that we transfer is done at 720x480 pixels, with the entirety of the frame being filled by the film. This resolution is used regardless of the film type being 8mm or Super8. For SD media, we offer both DVDs at $8 each, or 500 GB external hard drives for $99. Each DVD can hold up to 850-900 feet of film. Our 500GB drives can hold up to 23,000 feet of SD footage.

    For HD, all film that we transfer is done at 1920x1080 pixels, with 8mm film and Super8 film taking up specific portions of that frame size. For 8mm HD transfers, the picture is at an actual resolution of 1425x1080 and has black bars on the left and right side of the film to fill in the rest of the framing. For Super8 HD transfers, the picture is at an actual resolution of 1600x1080 and has black bars on the left and right side of the film to fill in the rest of the framing. For HD media, we only offer our $99 external hard drives, which can hold up to approximately 10,000 feet of HD footage.

    In regards to quality, the HD transfer is capturing more pixels, and thus more film grain than the SD transfer. The HD video sensors also detect a wider color range than SD sensors do, which will lead to a greater depth of color for the film. With this being said, if the film is in poor condition, the HD will actually make those flaws more noticeable than the SD transfer."

    I had discounted the Hi Def scans as overkill (note the comment of "MORE film grain--isn't the resolution of ANY film grain as best as it's going to get?") , but I'd reconsider if others have some experience with it.
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  28. AVMii....at $1500 why don't you buy a Reflecta Super8. its basically that price. then you do all the transfers you want, at High Def?
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  29. Blackout, I appreciate the work that you've put into getting the Reflecta to work. This has been an interesting thread. Too much of a project for me though.
    yikes, I thought that the other project that I'm actually planning to do, capture my Hi8 tapes was complicated enough. DIY film capture just seems to be over the top and not something that I'm up for.
    Sorry to pollute your thread with mundane pleas for guidance on professional film transfer options.
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  30. its cool AvMii. that's what professional transfer companies are for.. people like you who would rather get it done and move on with their life without the hassles hehe. some of us I think just like the pain and misery sometimes.
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