My approach to improving the Kinograph


Not suggesting that we should go out and buy new cameras, just an FYI.

Nikon engineers have developed a unique alternative for those seeking the ultimate in definition. The D800E incorporates an optical filter with all the anti-aliasing properties removed in order to facilitate the sharpest images possible.
This is an ideal tool for photographers who can control light, distance and their subjects to the degree where they can mitigate the occurrence of moiré. Aside from the optical filter, all functions and features are the same as on the D800.
Note: The D800E carries an increased possibility that moiré and false color will appear, compared to the D800. IR cut and antireflective coating properties of the optical filter remain the same with both versions.


@Andreas there was no official decision to go against intermittent motion - b/c there are no “official” decisions! People are free to pursue the design they think will work the best.

Personally, I have decided not to build intermittent motion purely based on the fact that manufacturing the parts adds complexity if Kinograph is to scale. IOW - the easiest way to get more machines in the world is if it’s easy and affordable for people to build themselves. If we had intermittent motion, I’d have to provide that part, which means manufacturing runs - which are too expensive for me to afford at this time.

Does that make sense?



In this age of very affordable, superbly accurate, 3D printers there is very little substance to that train of thought. Anyone that has the intention of building a telecine machine rather than going out and buying one must already possess the technical and practical skills to achieve it, and is likely to also have a toolbox brimming with all kinds of tools to make it happen. Adding a 3D printer to this can bring a dramatic improvement in their ability to invent, design, create, mend, and experiment with a vast range of objects, far beyond the demands of a Kinograph, and limited only by their imagination. You only have to visit sites like Thingiverse, Yeggi, and YouMagine, to see tens_of_thousands of examples of this.

I bought my first printer just over 2 years ago at a cost of nearly £2000. It was a very expensive investment, and one that I would not repeat today because a few months ago I bought a second one (different design) for £295 which is out-performing the original one in some respects. Over this last couple of years I have designed and produced more than 120 extremely useful things for the home, garden, and car, and the Kinograph that I am building will undoubtedly add many more as it develops and improves.

The point that I am making is that you will not need to manufacture anything to support the proliferation of your Kinograph - just make the parts available as downloadable model files! If your ‘customers’ cannot be bothered to print their own, then they can use an on-line service like Shapeways to produce them instead. You could even use this service yourself, and assemble kits of key parts for sale to potential ‘Kinographers’.

I agree with Andreas on the advantages of intermittent motion, but also am intrigued with the idea of continuous motion (especially if capturing sound too), although I am finding it can make huge demands on the imaging device if run at high frame-rates. I will be catering for both types in my Kinograph, using my own intermittent claw/gate design I illustrated elsewhere on this forum.



I agree with you - mostly. When I make design decisions, I always have Jordan in the back of my mind. It’s the situation I’m most familiar with and presents some limitations that are likely to be the case in other similar regions.

3D printers are not at all abundant in Jordan. If a piece were to need replacing, it would take weeks to get it shipped and you’d have to cross your fingers with customs.

If the piece is easily replicated by local craftsman (auto shops, metal workers, machinists), then it’s much easier to maintain a Kinograph.

Of course, the design is still in progress and some parts may simply have to be 3D printed (thinking of the gate) or ordered from some 3rd party vendor online. I would like, however, to minimize this as we cannot know what a person has access to in terms of 1st-world resources.

I’m also a proponent of designs that are intuitive, so that the user can easily figure out how something is made. It’s empowering and more likely to create a sense of confidence in the product, hopefully leading to their own attempt at modification and improvement to the design.

Hopefully in the not-to-distant future, access to 3D printing in areas outside of the US and Europe will increase. But for now I’d like to keep our reliance on a relatively restricted technology to a minimum for maximum engineering inclusiveness.

Of course - this is just my opinion, one among many. And, as I mentioned, likely to change depending on the obstacles we face in this process as it progresses.

What is your opinion on the new Pi NIor camera? Do you think the resolution and speed would be adequate for none professional users? At $25 USD it seems like a bargain.


IT’s certainly an option, but one with limitations. You will need to buy additional lenses to get it to work, however. Also, you will not be able to run at very high speeds. The firmware only allows 1-2fps, and it uses a rolling shutter.

I could easily see it as an option for an ultra-low-budget version.


post:25, topic:145, full:true”]
is your opinion on the new Pi NIor camera? Do you think the
resolution and speed would be adequate for none professional users?
At $25 USD it seems like a bargain.
That is very interesting.
From technical point of view, I am more for CMOS sensors, and I think they will outdistance CCD in the next few years by far.
So it would be interesting to have some more information about the signal noise ratio at various illumination intensities and frame rates.
post:22, topic:145”]
IOW - the easiest way to
get more machines in the world is if it’s easy and affordable for
people to build themselves. If we had intermittent motion, I’d have
to provide that part, which means manufacturing runs - which are too
expensive for me to afford at this time.[/quote]
post:24, topic:145”]
Hopefully in the
not-to-distant future, access to 3D printing in areas outside of the
US and Europe will increase. But for now I’d like to keep our
reliance on a relatively restricted technology to a minimum for
maximum engineering inclusiveness.[/quote]
And at this point 3D printing technology is not even present that much across Europe.
If I take a look on my technology interested friends, there is only one who has a 3D printer.
Of course the university has a 3D printer, but that it is.
The good thing about progress is, that it is anyway very fast.
If you just compare how good the quality of an open source system like Kinograph could be today towards a cheap film scanner from the first decade of the 2000s.


That is surprising, because one of the largest 3D printing vendors that supplies us here in UK is based in Sweden, and they have a presence all over Europe (UK, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Germany, Italy, The Irish Republic, Denmark, Greece, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Finland, Austria, Malta, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Cyprus, Bulgaria and Romania).

One of the most respected high-quality consumer-level manufacturers of printers is Ultimaker, and they are based in Europe (Netherlands), and they ship all over the world including Europe. My first printer was one of theirs - Ultimaker2.

Over the last 3 years I have become heavily involved in consumer-level 3D printing, and have attended many exhibitions, seminars, and workshops dedicated to this technology and where I have met fellow users from all over Europe, so I don’t think you are commenting on availability there.

Rather, I think your comment must be based on the appreciation by consumers of what 3D printers are, what they are for, and why anyone would want one? This I can understand, and is a dilemma that faces the entire industry at the present time, not only in Europe, but also in N. America, Asia, and the rest of the world. It is almost an exact replay of the situation that existed from the mid 70’s when home computers first appeared - and look how that technology has eventually embraced the world, and is now considered to be an essential part of everyday life!

I can only repeat what I said earlier -

I thoroughly stand by this, and these printers are becoming so affordable now, and so globally available, that the decision to invest in one today is a ‘no-brainer’. A couple of months ago I bought my second machine on Ebay , specifically to develop parts for my own Kinograph variant, and I am amazed at the quality it is achieving, at 1/6th of the price I paid for my Ultimaker2.

Another huge advantage of printing parts for something like the Kinograph is in the choice of materials, which far exceeds that of metal parts. There are self-lubricating plastics like nylon and graphite-loaded ABS, super-strong plastics like polycarbonate and carbon-fibre, and conductive (anti-static) plastics, to name but a few.

Designing your own parts for printing couldn’t be easier either, using free cloud-based software utilities like TinkerCad, which only needs about 2 brain cells to understand how to use.

At the end of the day, even when I factor in the cost of the printer, I think I could be saving myself up to £1000 compared to the cost of out-sourcing all the parts to an engineering shop. And I will have achieved exactly the Kinograph I wanted, with no compromises in its design. Also, if a part breaks or wears out I will just print another (improved) part for peanuts!



I’ll throw in my 2 cents…

The Kinograph is probably going to be much like 3D printers, laser cutters, etc. The are likely to be users that span the range from weekend-novices who simply want a low-cost kit on up to people who plan to use it for archive-quality or business/commercial uses. In that respect, the most important thing is to make the design open.

The person looking for low-cost can either print the materials themselves, or maybe someone will go the route of mass-producing common parts and selling as a kit. If something breaks, they could print/buy a replacement. They likely only need the machine to last as long as it takes to transfer their personal collection.Professional users would probably want something machined or built to higher standards to stand up to daily use and avoid maintenance brought on by such use.

We lost Peter as an active contributor, and he’s been through many of these design iterations. From what I recall, he was a proponent of only using continuous motion and professional level machine-vision cameras. The justification is that you can design LED lighting that flashes fast enough to stop the motion of the film during the exposure. As such, this also requires the camera to be accurate and sensitive enough to provide good results under such conditions.

That approach will put Kinograph out of reach, or at the very limit of casual home users, simply due to the cost of the components, but it is a huge savings with comparable performance to existing pre-built systems.

So, while you might not want intermittent motion using a Pi-noir camera if you’re running a business, it might be acceptable for a home user.

BUT, if the film transport, software, and overall design can accommodate either approach, then people can build it and outfit it according to their needs.


Yes, I agree with everything you say.

Personally, I am committed to building a machine that will handle a large archive that I have of both commercial and family films dating back to the 1920’s, and doing this as gently as possible. I have all gauges - 8mm/Sup8/9.5mm/16mm, but am also considering the application to 35mm (I have two circa. 1900).

Before I started constructing anything, I wanted to know which performance requirement would put the greatest strain on the complexity of the design and the overall cost. I modeled various aspects using Excel spreadsheets, and it soon became obvious that speed (frame rate) was the major factor. So, because I am not driven by commercial considerations (where time is money), this is where I am willing to compromise and will pitch my machine somewhere between 25% and 50% of full frame rate.

As for deciding between intermittent-motion and continuous motion, I am still undecided, as each have their own pros and cons. It is likely that my design will cater for both.

Intermittent-motion puts a lower demand on the temporal aspects of the image sensor, and allows for HDR and noise reduction by multi-exposure, but introduces complexity in controlling tension and overcoming reel-inertia.

Continuous motion on the other hand simplifies tension control, and reel-inertia is not a problem because film-speed is constant (except during start-up, but soft-acceleration is not difficult to achieve). However, freezing the moving frame can put a high demand on the image sensor and/or the flashed light source. For example, with 35mm running at 24fps, a global-shutter sensor would need to run at about 1/40,000 sec or an LED flash period would need to be about 25 uSec. Even with Std8 running at 16fps would require a shutter-speed of 1/25,000 sec, or a flash period of 40 uSec. These things are do-able, but at a significant cost. Obviously, reducing the frame rate can ease the situation somewhat, and allowing a small amount of pixel-smearing can help too, but this is where the rules of compromise and trade-offs come into play.

As for considering the precision/durability/cost of 3D printing versus machined metal parts, the gap is rapidly closing, especially if the parts are out-sourced to a professional print shop. However, even modest consumer-grade printers can produce remarkably accurate parts providing the right materials are used, and the user knows how to adjust and operate their machine correctly.



While I understand that you’ve calculated out the expected shutter speeds to freeze film motion, I’m thinking that in the practical application there’s more factors that help to freeze motion that aren’t accounted for. Peter seemed pretty intent that the durations you’re specifying aren’t necessary and I’d think other existing systems would have a very hard time attaining those specs as well.

Here’s a site that has helpful info on traditional photography flash units:

Not saying you’re wrong but just thinking there’s something we may be missing.