Kinograph is an astonishing thesis project from Matthew Epler, an artist and film historian. It’s a Pi-powered, open-source, scalable device for digitising old film stock, complete with the ability to stabilise images (another application for OpenCV) and recapture sound. A good DSLR camera is the most expensive part of the setup, at about $2000; the rest of the equipment comes to $1200. (Matthew is working on getting that figure down below the magic $1000.) Compare that to the $480,000 it would cost you to digitise 50 films on reels at a film lab, or the $175,000 it’d cost you to buy a Kinetta (the nearest commercial equivalent device) and a whole world of possibilities opens up. Film stock, be it celluloid, acetate or nitrate based, is not stable, and being able to record and save our film heritage is a pressing concern. We’ve already lost more than 90% of all silent movies, and around 50% of the films with audio made before 1950.
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