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QUADRIGA belongs to a completely new generation of film scanners that have been optimised from the ground up for archival work.

On the one hand, INSPECTIONscan functions like a viewing table on which the analogue film can be carefully moved at any speed for visual inspection, while at the same time sensor data is extracted to document the photochemical and mechanical state of the inspected film material.

Inspection the enabler for preservation

You can’t Expect unless you Inspect – the QUADRIGA concept
Besides photochemical conservation, film inspection is the most important enabler for preservation. Nearly all actions require the insights generated while inspecting the archived film materials.

Until now, film scanning has required intensive preparation work before a film reel can be entrusted to the film scanner of choice. This is now different, INSPECTIONscan enables a film inspection without any stress. The film transport is so smooth that it comes close to a manual film winder in terms of safe handling of damaged, warped and spliced film material. This means that inspection can start without any pre-condition. QUADRIGA enables sustainable film inspection on a large scale, and these insights will drive most downstream preservation decisions and provide instant digital access to the contents.

INSPECTIONscan provides full edge-to-edge digitisation of film material which remains of high archival value even after the investment in high-end scanning. The automatically generated Inspection Report also documents the dynamic shrinkage of the footage and the condition of the material before you hand over the reels to a digitisation service provider.

Inspection Workflow

QUADRIGA INSPECTIONscan is designed to assist film archivists and to enable a streamlined workflow. It supports different modes of operation.

As a manual viewing and film winding table, the operator has full control on the film transport to focus completely on the material to inspect. The film transport can be controlled in jog/shuttle mode using an optional foot pedal to control slow motion down to one frame per second.

In the semi-automatic film inspection mode QUADRIGA will digitise the material with the preferred speed and generate a complete Inspection Report, while producing a high-quality digital Access Copy. The Access Copy can be used to manifoldly. For example for further curatorial/editorial work and to avoid additional mechanical film handling.

Via the QUADRIGA touch panel, frame accurate markers and operator comments can be inserted on-the-fly, which then can be automatically incorporated into the QUADRIGA Inspection Report. This is enabled by QUADRIGA’s unique Playback-While-Recording function. Events generated in INSPECTIONscan can be used to further control the complete processing pipeline.

This metadata can also be used to autofill an OAIS compliant archive MAM system and to support the preservation strategy of the physical masters and digital archive copies.

Film Transport

The QUADRIGA INSPECTIONscan film transport is the closest thing to a manual film winder in terms of safe handling of damaged, warped and spliced film materials.

INSPECTIONscan uses extra-large diameter rollers to minimise stress to brittle, nearly breaking splices. To avoid the stress of pushing the film for every image into a stop and go behavior the film transport of course uses continuous motion to digitise your film. The laser registration without mechanical sprockets is a matter of course and an additional 2D optical registration is done on each and every perforation hole. The transport is highly optimised to not require a pressure plate to flat-press brittle warped film or a capstan to press dirt into the emulsion.

You can use the INSPECTIONscan desk in a way that not a single component of the desk will have any mechanical contact with the emulsion of your film material. And the film can be moved from the supply reel to the take-up reel and back again with virtually no tension.

To protect the film material against mechanical stress with sticky film layers, QUADRIGA offers a highly sensitive and fast-acting auto-stop. For materials with badly damaged perforations, soft rollers can be used even down to a minimum pulling force of 20 grams, which is less than you can use in a controlled manner with a hand rewinder. In addition, QUADRIGA allows you to specify the winding force for rewinding the material before a reel returns to the vault. All this makes QUADRIGA inspection by far the safest digitisation process for your archive reels available anywhere on the market.

Master Display

The QUADRIGA master display in CinemaScope WideScreen format is huge. It supports HDR and Wide Color Gamut and is delivered to you colour calibrated. You can see your footage completely from edge to edge. You can see the complete upper and lower frame line and even parts of the previous and following frame. After working with this panoramic view, you will never accept anything less for your film inspection.

All the real-time measuring instruments to validate the quality of the actual frame are located on the right part of the screen. This includes vectorscope, RGB parade, audio level meter and video levels. At the bottom you get an overview of the content of the entire reel, seeing directly the allonge, the film leader and all the single shots with all your markers and the timecode. Of course, the position of the screen is freely adjustable so that ergonomic work is fun all day long.

QUADRIGA Touch Panel

INSPECTIONscan can be operated completely via the two touch panels integrated in the desk. The QUADRIGA touch panel operates completely context sensitive and guides you through your film inspection process. And if in doubt, the integrated help page is just a tap away.

The inspection software is based on the famous Cube-Tec QUADRIGA technology. Like other QUADRIGA digitisation products in the audio and video sector, INSPECTIONscan supports Playback-While-Recording. This enables real-time playback – while still recording – regardless of the recording speed, and it allows frame-accurate QC and the insertion of frame-accurate manual markers. And yes, INSPECTIONscan is the first film scanner to support Playback-While-Recording.

All this requires a PC workstation that is designed as a highest-performance appliance. It is powered by 16 physical CPU cores and a very capable GPU. But there is no need for the operator to hassle with the computer PC operating system. QUADRIGA automatically delivers the output Viewing Copies and Inspection Reports to any pre-selected network destination.

Inspection Report

Forget about the slow and laborious work of manual film inspection and concentrate on what really matters. INSPECTIONscan behaves really smart and it does all the heavy lifting inspection work for you.

The whole QC documentation and inspection happens as a background process. And there is a lot of archival expertise already built into the machine. This enables QUADRIGA to understand the different film formats, perforation types, soundtrack formats and enables QUADRIGA to auto detect, classify and count bad splices, as well as damaged and missing perforations. Simpler but also important is the counting of total frames and measuring film length in meters and fts. The longitudinal shrinkage is documented frame-accurately as a graphic shrinkage profile plot.

The measurement of the optical densities of the film emulsion (dmin – dmax and base) with their RGB density distribution are documented as well. Frame-accurate markers generated by the operator and timecode-related operator comments are also included in the report. The selected operator settings are documented for future auditability.

As a summary, QUADRIGA estimates an overall quality rating on the photographic and mechanical condition.

The Inspection Report can be loaded together with the Access Copy to Cube-Tecs QC View application for further refinement. And for statistical analyses all Inspection Reports can be loaded to the Trusted Playback QC database service to evaluate statistical accumulations and help you learn from your data, whether you use artificial or artistic intelligence to do so.

Digital Access Copy

For the Access and Viewing Copy, the user can choose from different types of mezzanine and proxy file formats. The Advance Video Codec (H.264, MPEG-4) in a MOV container was chosen as the standard format because of maximum interoperability on all major media platforms. The default resolution is Full High Definition with an aspect ratio of 16:9 to be compliant with standard TV sets. Custom settings and user-defined pan and scan settings allow users to adjust the aspect ratio to suit their exact requirements.

You can choose image stabilisation calculated on the perforations so that possible imperfections in the INSPECTIONscan film transport will not distort the authenticity of the recorded Access Copies.

It is also good to know that the output files are automatically delivered to your network destination. This makes downstream editorial work a breeze, even in the home office.

If you require other output formats, Cube-Tec engineers have the expertise to deliver even exotic file formats fully standards-compliant and ready for long-term preservation. But be aware Access Copies are not designed as lossless digital master files for a sustainable digitisation, preserve your analog film reels. If in doubt, we recommend a look at the norm DIN SPEC 15587 “Recommendations for the digitisation of cinematographic film”.

Film Scanner Calibration

Everyone who has ever learned about metrology is aware how important it is for any inspection to trace the precision and tolerances of the equipment used. For more information visit the Cube-Tec website.

A transparent calibration procedure has been part of the QUADRIGA technology for 15 years. For this, Cube-Tec produces specialised precision alignment films and tapes. Cube-Tec also developed the Calibration-Inspector software.

By using Calibration-Inspector the whole process of measuring and document the today’s condition of the film scanner hard- & software gets fully automated. In this way, understanding the limits of the equipment used is no longer a hidden magic of the manufacturer, but becomes completely transparent to the operator and accessible to the archivist to be preserved as an important component of the inspection documentation process.

Content Branding – Logo Insertion

Before hitting the “Play” button, please read the note at the bottom of the page

A streamlined workflow from inspection to online access.

“Every reel of film heritage deserves something better than to die a slow death unseen in the archive!” to quote Jörg Houpert.

Your stakeholders want online access to your content right now! The answer no, maybe in 5 or 10 years is no solution. But INSPECTIONscan is the solution. The whole pipeline from the heritage film can to online access is prepared for you. Don’t let you stop. The content doesn’t need to be perfect; it doesn’t require good metadata; it only needs to be there when someone wants to access it.

Cube-Tec can deliver all kinds of solutions to get the required data online. Whether you choose Content Branding or just Preview Snippets or only Cataloging Data to let audience find your content – it’s your choice. But act now! The video on the right shows how the fully automatic content branding can look like. Or if you’re worried about rights clearance and need strong Watermarking Protection, in said video you can see our visual watermarking invention.

Film Identification

When inspecting historical film material, it is often necessary to determine the relevance of the elements found in the absence of documentation.

According to film identification pioneer Harold Brown, “A historical film element can only be fully understood if the recorded image, duplication status, emulsion type, and photographic quality are considered as a whole. This information forms an inseparable unit of information.”

Advanced deciphering of the information on the film edges seems like alchemy to most people as they have no idea how many hardly visible details need to be considered in the process. Worldwide, there are only a few experts and they know that this is a highly complex science in itself.

Meanwhile, users expect AI to solve many of the difficult tasks in our world. Cube-Tec’s pioneering team has recently invested several years in AI research to make the wealth of useful information hidden outside the image area accessible to users in simple forms. The pre-released Film Identification Wizard (watch the clip), the Edge Printing Inspection/Decrypter (watch the clip) and the Intertitle/Credits OCR Frame Reader (watch the clip) give a first glimpse of what is bubbling away in the Cube-Tec research labs and what INSPECTIONscan users can expect soon.

Options and accessories

INSPECTIONscan is designed to be long-lasting and updatable. The film drive is strictly modular in its construction. In addition, the tabletop also contains an additional hardware plug-in slot. Various extensions are already available for this slot, namely a PTR module (Particle Transfer Roller) with two extra large rollers and six different magnetic sound readers manufactured by our partner MWA Nova. Be curious, further highly innovative extensions are already in the development pipeline.

As the most recent member of the QUADRIGA family, INSPECTIONscan is an integral part of the exceptional QC, restoration and archiving technology that Cube-Tec and its partners have developed over the last 20 years.

Have a look at QC-View for Film, the EDFIRE restoration accelerator co-developed with the HS-Art team for Diamant and for AudioCube, as well as CubeCollections the OAIS compliant media collection and archive asset management solution.

As Cube-Tec has been involved in international archive standardisation for more than 20 years, you can be assured that our tools are compliant with the existing and upcoming film metadata standards.

QUADRIGA – Multi-Machine support

One operator can efficiently run several INSPECTIONscan tables in parallel.

For more than 20 years, all QUADRIGA systems have been highly optimized to relieve the operator of tasks that can be automated. This allows the user to focus on the important work steps and to operate more than one acquisition device at a time.

This significantly reduces overall costs, increases satisfaction with the work and improves and standardizes the work results.

A transparent calibration procedure has been part of the QUADRIGA technology for 15 years. For this, Cube-Tec produces specialised precision alignment films and tapes. Cube-Tec also developed the Calibration-Inspector software.

By using Calibration-Inspector the whole process of measuring and document the today’s condition of the film scanner hard- & software gets fully automated. In this way, understanding the limits of the equipment used is no longer a hidden magic of the manufacturer, but becomes completely transparent to the operator and accessible to the archivist to be preserved as an important component of the inspection documentation process.

In Conclusion

And remember: innovation is about finding good solutions to pressing problems.

We are very pleased about the great interest in INSPECTIONscan. The demand clearly exceeds our current delivery capacities. Cube-Tec and its suppliers are working to ramp up further production capacity, but this will only bring relief in the medium term.

Please note that there is already a considerable queue and delivery times are currently around 6 months, with a strong upward trend. Secure your order early to avoid being disappointed by late delivery dates.

Update 15-April 2023

Good NEWS – The production process could be ramped up significantly in the meantime – which enables a shorter production time. Sometimes there are even pre-produced INSPECTIONscan machines on call and thus available on very short notice, simply ask.

Contact the Cube-Tec sales team now and you will get the next surprise: QUADRIGA INSPECTIONscan is probably more affordable than you imagined.

Contact sales for pricing

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