these units made from old projectors?
No. These units are made totally
from scratch in our shop.
The Universal units are continuous feed. What
does that mean?
Normal projectors have what is
called an "intermittent film movement". This means
that the film starts and stops for each frame of film.
Starting and stopping requires an advance claw. The
Retro units have no advance claw. Instead, the film
moves through the unit continuously and never stops
for each frame.
But if the film is moving
all the time, does it still capture frame by
Absolutely! We use a high speed camera shutter to
"freeze" the movement of the film when the frame is in
the correct place.
Will the bright light of
the unit burn my film?
No way. The new UltraLite LED light source is super
cool and will not damage film, even if you leave the
film on a still frame for hours.
If I already have a
Universal with the standard HD camera, can I
install the new UltraLite LED kit?
Yes! The standard HD camera benefits greatly from the
new UltraLite kit. The brighter light source reduces
noise in the picture by lowering the required gain of
the camera. The UltraLite kit is easy to install and
only requires a Phillips screwdriver and a few minutes
of your time.
the accuracy of the registration get worse as
the unit is used heavily?
No. Because there is no advance claw to wear out, the
registration will be the same years from now as it is
Do the transfers include the sprocket hole
Yes, if you wish. The cropping is determined by the
length of the supplied lens tube, which can be
adjusted. So you can include the sprocket hole area or
you can crop into only the frame area. The choice is
How long does it take to scan my
The Universal units scan at about 15 frames per
second. So 50 feet of S8/R8 or 100 feet of 9.5mm or 16mm
will take about 4.5 minutes.
What happens if the unit
reaches the end of the roll or the film jams or
The Universal units have an internal sensor that detects
when the film jams, breaks or reaches the end of a reel.
At that point, the unit will automatically stop. The
RetroScan Universal software will also automatically stop
its capture. If you check the appropriate box, the
software will also shut down your PC when the capture is
Do I need to clean my film
or repair splices?
Well, your transfer will obviously look better if you do
but, no, you do not need to do anything special to your
film and bad splices will not hurt the unit.
How gentle is the unit on film?
Will it scratch the image?
No. The Universal units handle the film only by the edges.
My film has missing sprocket
holes. Will I have to watch the unit to keep the
film from jamming in the gate?
No. The Universal units have no advance claw and no
sprockets. So the damaged sprocket holes will just slide
through the system.
Will I have to edit out the
sections of film with bad splices or bad sprocket
No but your transfers will come out better if you
prep your film.
Can I adjust the
color and brightness during the
Yes. Universal has powerful RGB color
controls in the software as well as a
the Retro unit have auto exposure?
Universal units have both manual and
auto exposure. With manual
wider latitude offered by the 24
bit scanning process of the
Universal means you can set a
median exposure that should
capture about 90% of all the
information within a typical reel.
unique auto exposure
function lets you set
the threshold for when
auto exposure will
take affect. This
provides the best of
both worlds. For all
exposures at or above
the threshold, the
auto exposure function
will sit idle. For
darker scenes that
fall below the user
defined threshold, the
sensitivity of the
camera will be raised
compensate. When the
darker scenes pass,
the auto exposure
returns to an idle
state. This helps
"searching" typical of
other auto exposure
systems and also
eliminates blooming of
highlights from high
uncompressed will also
increase the range of
your exposure by
avoiding the blocking
that typically occurs
in dark areas of under
the Universal capture both Regular 8
and Super 8?
Yes. The dual 8 gate for the
Universal handles both Regular 8 and Super
8 on the same gate.
the Universal units transfer the
audio from my film?
No. The Universal units are silent
only. You can run film with a sound track
through the unit but it will not pick up
the audio. However, the new RetroSync
Sound Module will allow you to use
your existing sound projector to
automatically produce a perfectly
synchronous audio file.
Is the RetroScan HD
Universal software included with the Universal
No. The RetroScan-HD Universal software is a product
of Alternaware and is sold separately. It is available
only to MovieStuff customers with Retro units.
How do I purchase
RetroScan-HD Universal software?
On our home page and in the provided instructions, you
can find the private purchase link for the software,
which is $199.95 USD and is an instant download.
Can the older
RetroScan-HD and the new RetroScan-HD
Universal software exist on the same PC?
No. If you have a
previous version of RetroScan-HD, it
must be removed from your PC before
installing the new RetroScan-HD
Do I have to buy a new
version of RetroScan-HD Universal software as
updates are released?
No. All updates are free. And if you have already
purchased the basic RetroScan-HD Universal software,
all future software updates for the Universal unit are
Does the PC I'm capturing on
have to be connected to the internet to install
the RetroScan-HD Universal software?
No. The software downloads first and then you manually
initiate the installation from the downloaded file. So
you can download on one Mac or PC and then copy the
software to a flash card to move to another PC for
What are the system
You need a PC running any 64 bit version of Windows 7
or above with an Intel processor approximately 2.5 GHz
or faster and 8 gigs of RAM. For full specs click HERE.
Do I need a special
capture card for HD?
No. All you need is a USB 3 port.
Can I use the
RetroScan-HD Universal software on a Mac?
Yes. We have a number of customers successfully
running RetroScan-HD Universal on Macs running Windows
emulators such as Bootcamp or Parallels, etc. However,
we are not a Mac shop so we would be of little help if
you have issues but apparently it works fine.
Can I use other software
to capture with instead of RetroScan-HD
No. You must use the RetroScan-HD Universal software
or the Universal units will not capture as intended.
What video codec does
the RetroScan-HD Universal software capture in?
None! We decided that video codecs are really a legacy
of slow CPU speeds and narrow bandwidth (think of
people trying to download videos on the internet with
Windows 98 PCs). Instead of capturing to a video
codec, the software captures to a proprietary
progressive still frame format. Each frame of film
ends up on an independent digital still frame in a
special folder. Conventional wisdom says that you have
to convert those images into a movie file before you
can play them but that is not the case with the
RetroScan-HD Universal software. Taking advantage of
the power inherent in a 64 bit PC with 8 gigs of RAM,
the RetroScan-HD Universal software can dip into that
special folder and display the still images one after
the other fast enough to create correct motion in the
software display utility. You can't open or play these
original capture files in anything other than
RetroScan-HD Universal software but you an export to
other files types that are compatible with most all
computer edit systems.
What is the
resolution of the original capture
On the stock HD camera, the original capture
files are stored as 964p. The missing 80 lines
at the top and bottom are only about as thin
as an 8mm frame line, so the visual resolution
is no different that scanning at 1080. When
you export your files, the RetroScan-HD
Universal software will gently bump each frame
up to 1080p or down convert to 720p or also
down to standard definition in both NTSC and
PAL. On the new 2K camera, you can scan at any
resolution up to 2048 x 1536.
While 2K looks just terrific, through research we
found the most
screen TV sold
that size and
between a scan
at 720 or
1080. As it
almost any off
the shelf lap
top or desk
top PC. Also,
the HD camera
for quite a
long time and
has proven to
and will work
and chip set.
964 is very
a variety of
new 2K camera
scans at both
high and low
But, even at
the image will
benefit from a
You can always
the stock HD
the new 2K
It just slips
Can I replace the camera with a different
make or model?
allows for all
as long as
doing so does
not damage the
unit or the
supply. To be
would be on
your own, in
the new camera
would not be
able to assist
you with that
process as we
with any other
noted that our
not work with
other than the
Also, we can
not sell the
unit without a
camera as we
must have a
the unit in
case you have
What types of files can I
export from the RetroScan-HD Universal capture
The RetroScan-HD Univesal software can export in PAL
or NTSC as standard definition or high definition.
High definition files can be 720 or 1080. These files
can be .MOV movies, .AVI movies or they can be
numbered image sequences as JPEG, PNG, BMP or TIF. All
HD files are 16:9 aspect ratio with black pillar bars
on the left and right sides of the screen unless
otherwise chosen in the software. With the 2K camera,
you can scan full sensor at 4:3 2K resolution. 2K
files take up a whole lot of space, so systems
intended for 2K capture should be quite powerful and
internal Raid-0 arrays separate from your system
drive. If you are considering setting up such a
system, I would advise call us before purchasing.
Can I capture color
Yes! The RetroScan-HD Universal software has a preset
for color negative and powerful color correction tools
that make color neg transfers easy. Color negative
transfers do require a bit more color correction skill
as no two color negative originals are exactly the
same, in terms of color, contrast and exposure. But
the Universal should create a file that can be easily
manipulated with most modest color correction tools
found in a typical NLE.
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