Retro-8 Scanner Instructions
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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 software.

System Requirements
- September 18, 2013 -
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 software.
IMPORTANT! Make sure that you choose the "FULL INSTALLATION"
of QT and not the "minimal installation" or RetroScan-HD
will not export .MOV files.
You can use QuickTime Pro but it is not necessary.

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

8 Gigs of RAM

Around 2.2 GHz processor or faster.
NOTE: It is recommended to stick with Intel i3 or i5.
We have recently found some minor performance issues with i7 but it does work.

You can use AMD but they are not optimized for image processing like Intel processors are.
Also, use of AMD processors will occasionally trigger a false error "AFFINITY" error during loading or launch.
This is not a defect of the RetroScan-HD software but, rather, a false
Windows prompt generated by the camera drivers.
If this happens, just let the warning exist in the background as it does not affect performance
but clicking off the warning will make the program crash.

Fast, internal drive to capture to.

USB 2 or 3 port.

Internet connection is not required for installation of RetroScan-HD 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.

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.

General Overview of Operation

The Retro-8 is a continuous feed scanner for both super 8mm and regular 8mm 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 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 software stores everything
at 720p HD in a 24 bit (8:8:8), progressive JPEG still frame format. The original RetroScan-HD capture is not a traditional video file. It is a proprietary format of individual high resolution still frames. The original capture file will only function within the RetroScan-HD software. When you play the original captured file in the RetroScan-HD 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 and has no affect on your final chosen playback frame rate on your NLE system.

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

.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. 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. 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 .


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 MJPEG video files, final playback speeds can be applied using the speed change function on your NLE timeline .

In the RetroScan-HD 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 video files are down-scaled 360p (for convenient internet use such as iTunes, YouTube, etc) as well as native 720p and up-scaled 1080p, depending on the needs of your NLE system.

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-8 scanner can handle most any regular 8mm film or super 8mm 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-8, 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 those specific 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 frames. Of course, this can also work in your favor as regular adhesive tape can be used to splice films together without the need of a traditional splicing kit or any special edit tape. Also, regular adhesive tape can be used to tape over ancient, ugly splices that are too much trouble to remake or remove. In both instances, such splices where the sprocket holes are covered by adhesive tape will automatically be skipped by the unit during transfer. This unique feature will simplify later editing on your NLE since you won't have to scroll through the file to cut out "glitches".

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-8 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 400 foot reel will run smoothly.

Exposure and Latitude

The Retro-8 does not have auto exposure. Experience has shown that auto exposure circuits can often be fooled by high contrast images or large areas of black or white. However, the wider latitude offered by the 24 bit scanning process of the Retro-8 means you can set a median exposure that should capture about 90% of all the information within a typical reel. While manual exposure can result in some segments slightly darker or lighter than intended, the look of the image can be easily adjusted on your NLE because the detail should still be there. On the other hand, auto exposure can result in the total loss of detail in black and white areas of the film and can not be adjusted afterwards. In short, there is no system that will make unattended aesthetic decisions you will always agree with. However, left to scan unattended, the number of unrecoverable exposure errors on the Retro-8's manual exposure is far less than the number of unrecoverable errors on auto exposure.

Power, Maintenance and Warranty

The Retro-8 scanner has an internal, 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. 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-8 set-up.

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