Existing Film Scanning Machines


Solid points, which I will certainly keep on hand for reference. Thanks!

I’m having trouble visualizing the Keyence laser/reflector setup. Could you post a diagram? Any ref pics of the Muller setup would be appreciated too!



I just hauled this out to take a picture(s) for you. It may still work-haven’t had power on it for a couple of years.

This is the complete trigger proto. It has a an encoder as well as the laser trigger, a tachometer output, as well as parameter screen from teh PSOC, which is programmable through the Cypress software. You can see the Keyence amplifier LV-11SB at the top of the screen and the Laser at about 2 oclock

This is the Keyence laser assembly LV-S62. You can see the laser in the mount and directly across from it is the retroreflector. The film can pass between the two. With the height adjustable between the platform and the film, any gauge can work. The hardware is Actobotics from Servocity https://www.servocity.com/structural-components

This is the Sparkfun PSOC Freesoc board. https://www.sparkfun.com/products/13229 The PSOC was the only proto that I could find that was fast enough to trigger in the 1-2 microsecond range. Cypress has a range of devkits pretty cheap. I know the Muller http://www.filmfabriek.nl/ is now using the system from Frank Vine http://www.cine2digits.co.uk/ which is driven by a PIC micro. He bit-bashed the thing to get nanosecond trigger times, which allows him to control the light with extreme accuracy. A very good system.

ABOUT KINETTA. I am pretty sure Jeff senses frame lines and not sprockets, so he is probably doing as you say, an array of lasers that can identify the frame lines. He says he does not rely on sprockets at all, and can even transfer film with no sprockets, like the Library of Congress paper rolls.


Sorry, I should point out that my testing revealed that the Keyence could distinguish easity between clear film and open air. It really does work.


Thanks for dragging it out for pictures. I can almost make out the product number on the laser. What is it? I think I might want to get one for testing.

Re: Kinetta, that sounds like magic. How can you detect frame lines, especially if there’s a fade-to-black scene?? Any ideas?

Great stuff, thanks @vintagefilm


for the Keyence parts, I put the part numbers in the text for you.
Keyence amplifier LV-11SB
Keyence laser assembly LV-S62
I got mine on ebay

about detecting frame lines, I can speculate that it is a stack of sensors reading the density of the film from one position to the next across the entire frame. It is kinda the opposite of detecting the sprocket holes. You set the scan device to find the blackest (or clearest) part of the film all along the frameline. You should be able to use a stack of the keyence sensors and average the output. Since they can be calibrated to look for the condition you want, it may/could work.


whoam42a1 scanner https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChLtZ3DOPTB1RTzbctSO8jg


Where did you get your capstan? I was looking at McMaster Carr and found it difficult to find one that fit my exact needds.


I made my roller from a nylon spacer and some silicone rubber sleeving .Silicone rubber seams to grip the film very well, but needs to be cleaned regularly, as it picks up a lot of dirt. However if you google rubber rollers and click on images you will find all kinds of rollers which should take you to suitable sites. Hope you find what you’r looking for.


Thanks @whoam42a1.

Thanks for the tips. If you have any part numbers or specific vendors, that is always helpful for folks looking to recreate what you’ve done.

Do you know what durometer the rubber is (the softness rating)?

I’m wondering what the material properties of a PTR are that keep it from damaging the film and whether or not the rubber sleeves you are using have those same properties. Hmm…


Sorry,I don’t know. The sleeving I used is, soft, a wall thickness of 1mm, with an almost shiny smooth nonslip surface. I can’t tell you where it came from. We use to use it years ago, for sleeving wire harness’s. A three pronged hand tool would stretch it over the wires. Not very helpfull to to you.

These People ( http://www.flashscan8.us/category/accessories/ ) Sell PTA rollers. Scroll-down to the bottom of the page for info on rollers.

Perhaps products like this might be adapted ,
( https://www.amazon.co.uk/Display-Cleaner-Cleaning-Repeatedly-Iphone5/dp/B009JZEAGM ),
the diameter might be to small for 35mm film.
It’s hard work trying to find the right parts, or things that can be modified.


Through work I have access to a Kinetta, Scanity, and there is an older Arriscan and a Filmfrabriek nearby; if you have questions about those, I can try to answer them.


Wonderful news! One question I have is what they are using to detect a frame. The Kinetta looks like it has several light sensors in a column. Can you verify? Any idea what kind of sensors those are?

Also, any pics of the gates on each machine would be greatly appreciated. That’s my next design challenge.

Thanks for offering, Martin!


Hi Martin, I have a question about the FilmFabriek unit. I have seen the results of their post-processing software and it looks very nice. Have you spent any time with it? I wish something like that was available as a retail product. Do you have any observations or comments? thx!


The Kinetta uses a laser that is shone on the film, and the reflection is measured. For each film type, one has to do a calibration. The height of the laser is adjustable, therefore one can use pretty much any format from 8mm to 35mm, incl 22 and 9.5 mm.
The problem with this approach is that when having film with mixed stock, it can lose track of what is a sprocket and what isn´t. You end up having to do a lot of clicking trying to keep the image in frame during scanning.

Other than that I am not sure as to which sensors you refer to - the Kinetta has a LED with R, G, B and White.

The gate on the Scanity has a patent, it is completely round and uses a line scanner; thus the film stays very flat on the surface.

Vintagefilm - I have not used the FilmFabriek scanner myself, so cannot comment on the software. sorry.


Thanks, @Martin_Weiss. Kinetta is using the same approach I was planning on using, it seems. It’s good to know that it’s not always reliable with mixed stock. Perhaps I can come up with something that works for that.

Did not know the Scanity had a patent, either!



Looks like DFT (makers of Scanity) hold a couple of patents:



I believe the newest Kinetta software no longer uses the perforation sensor, so there are o problems with mixed film stocks.


Nope! :wink: The Kinetta uses both a precision encoder (80K counts per rev) and pattern matching software. Perfs are nice but not necessary.


Thanks, @BobKanter21! Can you elaborate on what “pattern matching software” means?

I have a an encoder on the machine now with 200 counts per rev. It was only meant to be temporary but I could see it being of use if I knew how it was being used on the Kinetta. I just assumed that sense film shrinkage means you can’t rely on frames being standard from reel to reel that I would have to rely on perfs. But repaired perfs can be unreliable…so I’m still unhappy with that solution but without a viable alternative at the moment.

Any light you can shed would be great!




An interesting study of several high-end scanners. Well done.