Retro-16 Pro Scanner Instructions
Please bookmark this page and then take a moment to read thoroughly.
Click HERE to return to general Retro Instructions and Links page.

NOTE: This unit is not complicated to use and the link for the hardware set up
is at the bottom of this page. However, PLEASE resist the urge to skip over
the following information as it will provide a general understanding of how the
unit works and will make using it much easier and intuitive. In fact, it is highly
advisable to read through all the instructions, including the software,
before proceeding with the set up of this film transfer unit.


If you have any issues or questions, please contact us at or call us at 830-966-4664.

It has come to our attention that some graphics cards, specifically the Intel brand,
have driver updates with a bug that prevent it from proper hardware rendering
which our product requires. PCs made by HP seem to be the most affected but
other brands can also have the same issue if not updated. Without hardware rendering
capability you will never see an image in the capture window during calibration nor
during capture of the film. It is essential that you update all the drivers for your
motherboard and graphics card for proper operation of this product before
loading the RetroScan-HD Pro software.

System Requirements
- September 18, 2014 -
Any 64 bit version of Windows 7 or Windows 8.
NOTE: This software will NOT work on a 32 bit system.
Also, you will need to install the latest free version of QuickTime
 on your PC before installation of the RetroScan-HD Pro software.

Make sure that you choose the "Custom" when installing QT and check
all boxes, including the ones relevant to legacy codecs or
RetroScan-HD Pro will not export .MOV files.
To get the free version of QT, click HERE.
You can use QuickTime Pro but it is not necessary.

NOTE: QuickTime has a bug that sometimes prevents it from loading
the codecs necessary to export .MOV files via RetroScan-HD Pro software.
If you find you can not export a .MOV file, QT may be missing the necessary
codec for proper operation. You can supplant the missing codec in QT by also
installing the Panasonic P2 Viewer Plus. It's free and only takes a second to install.
You can download the P2 Viewer Plus HERE.

8 Gigs of RAM

Around 2.5 GHz processor or faster.
NOTE: You must use an Intel processor with this unit.
An Intel i7 is ideal but i3 or i5 will work as long as it is 2.5 GHz or faster.
You can not use AMD processors with this product at this time.

Fast, internal drive to capture to.

USB 2 or 3 port.

Internet connection is not required for installation of RetroScan-HD Pro software.
However, internet connection is required to download the software.
Once software is downloaded, it can be copied and moved for installation on the desired PC.

Make sure that your antivirus software is disabled and that all other software is shut down.
Make sure that no other video devices are plugged into your USB ports while using the scanner and software.
Make sure that you have no active screen saver and that your system has "sleep" mode turned off.
Also, make sure that the font size of your Windows OS
is set to "default" or "100%". Using a larger font size, such as 125%, etc, can cause malfunctions in the software.

NOTE: If outside the USA, set Regional Settings to "USA/English"
on your PC or software may not operate correctly.

NOTE: We have a number of customers using this software
on a Mac running Windows with no reported issues but we do not support it.
If it works for you on a Mac, that is terrific. But, because we are not a Mac shop,
we have zero experience with running Windows on a Mac and will not be
able to help you if you are having performance issues with this product on a Mac.
Please do not mistake this as being unduly difficult; if you are in need of accurate
information, we would be the last people to talk to about Mac issues. ;)

General Overview of Operation

The Retro-16 Pro is a continuous feed scanner for both Regular 16mm and Super 16mm film. "Continuous feed" means that the film never stops during transfer. A super bright, no heat, light emitting diode (LED) protects the film while a high speed shutter on the internal high resolution camera freezes the film frames as they move past the camera sensor. In practice, you put the source film on the left spindle and the take up reel on the right spindle. When you turn the unit on, the film is scanned frame by frame to the hard drive of your PC using the RetroScan-HD Pro software. Once there, you can view the captured files immediately or you can export them in standard definition (SD) or high definition (HD) files that can then be brought into most any computer non-linear edit system (NLE) where they can be edited, color corrected and made into DVD or BluRay discs.

Capture File Type and Resolution

The RetroScan-HD Pro software stores everything
at 720p HD in a 24 bit (8:8:8), progressive JPEG still frame format (compressed) or as a progressive BMP still frame format (uncompressed). The original RetroScan-HD Pro capture is not a traditional video file. It is a proprietary format of individual high resolution still frames stored in a proprietary folder. When you play the original captured files in the RetroScan-HD Pro software, the built-in playback utility displays these individual still frames at a default rate of 17 frames per second (fps), which is comfortably between the two home movie standards of 16fps and 18fps. This 17fps playback rate is evident only within RetroScan-HD Pro and has no affect on your final chosen playback frame rate on your NLE system. The original RetroScan-HD Pro capture file will only function within the RetroScan-HD Pro software and can not be imported into any other program. To use your capture in another program such as Premier, FCP, Vegas Video, etc, you will need to export it based on the needs of your program.

Export File Types
After capture, the RetroScan-HD Pro software can export your transferred movies as three types of files, which are all PC or Mac compatible:

Export as a .MOV video files in the Motion JPEG (MJPEG) codec. Though sometimes conversationally mistaken for the MPEG codec, please note that the MJPEG codec is NOT the same thing as MPEG. The preferred MJPEG codec maintains individual data for each frame of film on a separate digital video frame while the MPEG codec uses information from preceding video frames to fill in missing information on the next video frame. This compression of data makes MPEG ideal for creating DVDs and BluRay discs where a lot of information has to be stored for convenient display but is less than ideal for editing or color correction on your NLE system where you want access to as much original data as possible before compression. When exporting 1:1 (see settings tab in software), all exported MJPEG video files have each frame of film on a separate frame of video. Final playback speeds can then be applied
using the speed change function on your NLE timeline. When exporting at 17fps, separation of each frame is still maintained but the video has header information that makes it play at 17fps on your PC or Mac. If you intend to change the speed in your NLE system, it is best to export 1:1 to avoid conflicting speed instructions within the video file that might make the video play in an uneven fashion.


Export in a folder with every frame of film on an individual, digital still frame that is numbered sequentially. These frames can be JPEG (smallest), PNG, BMP or TIF (largest). This image sequence can be imported with a mouse click as one group into most NLE systems where the NLE will automatically string the frames together to create a video file using the codec that is unique to that system. It should be noted that Final Cut Pro does not support numbered image sequences. However, these sequences can be imported via Photoshop CS4 and above or via Quicktime Pro to create video files that will work in Final Cut Pro.
Like with the 1:1 .MOV video files, final playback speeds can be applied using the speed change function on your NLE timeline .

In the RetroScan-HD Pro viewer, you can click the SnapShot button while the movie is playing or when it is stationary to produce a high resolution still frame suitable for printing or other usage.

Export Resolutions and Sizes
Standard definition files are NTSC video (North America and Japan) and PAL video (Europe and UK).

High definition files can be native 720p HD and up-scaled 1080p HD, depending on the needs of your NLE system. You can also export as down-scaled 360p for convenient internet use such as iTunes, YouTube, etc where resolution is not important.

Numbered Image Sequences can be SD, 360p, 720p or 1080p.

NOTE: All HD video files and HD image sequences are 16:9 with black pillar bars on the left and right side of the film frame. On 8mm, there is no option to fill the entire 16:9 digital frame with a film frame because the different aspect ratios would mean losing film frame content due to cropping. If you want to fill the 16:9 digital frame with a film frame, you will need to crop using your NLE system.

SnapShots are 4:3 at 1080 without pillar bars.

Film Types, Splices and Sprocket Holes

The Retro-16 Pro scanner can handle most any 16mm film of most any vintage, regardless of manufacturer (Kodak, Agfa, Fuji, etc). Ideally, all films should be in good condition, clean with neat splices and good sprocket holes. Due to the continuous, sprocketless feed drive of the Retro-16 Pro, film with less than ideal splices and bad sprocket holes will usually navigate the film path, however, some data may be lost in each instance. For example, splices that cover the sprocket holes will result in some frames being left out of the scan. Likewise, long stretches of missing sprocket holes will also mean lost frames. So while bad sprocket holes and bad splices may not jam and stop the transfer, you can expect some missing information on those or surrounding frames.

It should be noted that the take up motor is very powerful. This allows the unit to pull through most any kind of splice but that same power is also enough to snap the film in the unlikely event of an aggressive jam. While the Retro-16 Pro scanner has a built-in auto shutdown feature to help prevent film damage, only proper end-to-end splices should be used. Overlapping the film on splices or extra thick splices may jam and cause the unit to stop and/or damage the film. Also, please avoid splices that widen the film excessively, such as tape wrapped around the film multiple times, as theses splices may hang up on the gate and also cause a shut down and/or damage to the film. In short, the better the condition of the film, the less trouble you will have in your transfer session. Typically, if you prep the film properly, you can start a transfer and walk away, knowing that your entire reel will run smoothly.

Exposure and Latitude

The Retro-16 Pro has both manual and auto exposure.  With manual exposure, the wider latitude offered by the 24 bit scanning process of the Retro-16 Pro means you can set a median exposure that should capture about 90% of all the information within a typical reel. The 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 slightly to compensate. When the darker scenes pass, the auto exposure returns to an idle state. Transferring uncompressed will also increase the range of your exposure by avoiding the blocking that typically occurs in dark areas of under exposed imagery.

Power, Maintenance and Warranty

The Retro-16 Pro scanner comes with a universal, switching power supply that can run on anything from 110-256VAC at 50 or 60 cycles. As such, international users do NOT need a transformer of any kind. Just use an adapter to change the American plug to the type required for your local mains or replace the provided AC cord with one that is appropriate for your area. Due to a total lack of exposed, internal gears, belts or rollers, there is really no maintenance other than blowing off the gate and mirrors on the front of the unit. There are no user serviceable components inside the unit and the back cover should not be removed. Removing the back cover will break internal seals and void your warranty, which for new units is one year on all parts and labor and begins the day you receive the unit.

If you have any issues or questions, please contact us at or call us at 830-966-4664.

Click HERE to proceed with Retro-16 Pro set-up.

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All right reserved.