Digitizing amateur 9.5mm nazi films

Discussion in 'Germany' started by Dutchsteammachine, Mar 29, 2020.

  1. I am currently working on acquiring several home/original 9.5mm recordings taken by a german family from the 1930s to 1940s.

    I already got 3 small 9.5mm reels with nazi-related film recordings. From what I have seen under a macro lens, they are recordings of soldier life at barracks, on trips to towns and other places, training/sports and work. Daily happenings.

    These films will be digitized in 4K with an archival-quality Müller HDS+ film scanner.
    Eventually I hope to post these on YouTube in HQ to share them with the world.

    In order to get some idea of what is on the reels, I made a quick DSLR w/ macro lens setup.



    Test 1 below was using a very bright light and AN glass that introduced a lot of 'grain'. Test 2 is much cleaner.


    Test 2, much cleaner. Shows more lines in the frames...

    Would like opinions on scanning preparation, condition of the films (Hard to say at the moment) and how you would like to see the footage (Processed/cleaned or as-is)

    Best regards,
  2. chipm

    chipm Well-Known Member

    Did you try using "Normal" glass.?
  3. No, instead i later suspended the film in air without any glass at all. Test 2
  4. PsyWar.Org

    PsyWar.Org Archive monkey

    Could use a lightbox to back light the film.
    I see some cheap thin LCD lightboxes on Ebay, etc, for around £10 that might work well if of sufficient and even brightness.
    dbf likes this.
  5. I actually ordered a Kaiser Slimlite plano LED light box 22x16 cm yesterday to digitize negatives with a DSLR, if a scanner isnt An option.

    Should work for motion picture too.
  6. I Now have a Kaiser Slimlite plano LED light box, as a high-quality light source for viewing positives.

    Made some new test shots quickly, still have to find a way to keep the film flat.



    So far the images are of excellent sharpness and contain a lot of detail.
    Harry Ree, Owen, KevinC and 2 others like this.
  7. Great initiative and excellent results so far!

    On the scanning itself, I can only say that ideally the scanning pixel size should be smaller than the smallest grain of the film. This is the only way to preserve the information contained in the analogue image (or frame in case of a film) in its entirety, as I'm sure you perfectly know :D
    Naturally, this results in very large size individual frame scans, which then have to be compressed one way or the other in order to obtain manageable-size movie files, which a zero-loss compression format is unlikely to achieve, so some information will necessarily be lost there. But at least the initial information-collecting step will not have added to the compounded loss.

    I can't help at all on the film preparation and the scanning equipment or process, but will give my opinion on the desired result.

    As a compulsive browser of every WW2 film (or still photograph) I can lay my eyes upon, in search of any marking, building or detail which might help identify the individual, vehicle, unit, location, date and/or time of the subject filmed, I have found it extremely frustrating to watch films which obviously would have provided such information, had they not been scanned in too low a resolution or poor focus, "cleaned" from imperfections, smoothed or processed in any way, thus necessarily reducing their sharpness and the information they contain.
    Whereas such rough treatment of films is understandable for reasons of file size limitations, I find it difficult to excuse in the case of photographs, where a large individual file is nowadays not a problem any more, as the tiff versions in the history.navy.mil website, for example, clearly demonstrate, as opposed to the often poorly focused and rather soft scans of even the higher definition photos at the IWM. But I am getting carried away... :rolleyes:

    Back to the subject, I would therefore strongly recommend the "as is" option, with special emphasis on getting the highest possible sharpness.

    My feeling is that the historical value of these films should be the essential point, well above any artistic or aesthetic consideration.

    That said, I will gratefully watch the scanned films in whatever form you can achieve :)

    Thank you for your efforts and keep up the good work!

    Last edited: Apr 2, 2020
    KevinC likes this.
  8. Michael,

    Thanks for the info.

    The individual frames will be compiled to ProRes444. This results in absurd file sizes... hence i'll leave those files to them and the footage archive they are working on. I'll get a much more reasonable but still high quality mp4 file.

    What is your opinion on wetgate scanning? These films certainly appear to have a lot of lines.

    If you like high quality photos, you will like some of my public work here, its all a labour of love: Dutchsteammachine-archive’s albums | Flickr
  9. Sorry, I know nothing about webgate scanning, only that when I tried to scan some old family transparencies using a standard scanner, there was a lot of diffraction because the emulsion on many transparencies had a number of tiny holes from old age and probably also improper storage, so it might be a good idea depending on the state of the negatives.

    Thanks for the link to your flickr albums. I had seen the Husten photos from your post about them, but not the other albums.

    Last edited: Apr 3, 2020
  10. The seller has more WWII films by the same person, but wants to sell them for 500 euros each. This is too much for me.

    He also has amateur 9.5mm films made in 1930s by most likely the same person, typical family movies and days out. These are cool for context, and maybe we can find out location / family. For a lot less thankfully. Most films anyways...

    I'll see what I can do.
  11. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Something like about 30 years ago,BBC 2 showed amateur cine films taken by British and German families,the German ones showing men in uniform,not at the front and a wedding to together with family gatherings.I always thought hat the Germans had better access to recording personal history than the British.

    Recorded on VHS cassette and it is somewhere among many others.It may have been converted to DVD by the BBC.

    As they say a look back in history.It would be interesting to identify any notables.A senior man appears to be in two of the frames....the setting, a tour of the town...no NSDAP flags on show but the hotel identity name in the background ends with Hahn...looks to be open judging by the window position.
  12. Gazz

    Gazz Active Member

    The hotel is in Hahnenklee, Goslar in Germany. All very interesting.
    ClankyPencil likes this.
  13. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Thanks for the identification but digressing:

    I remember Goslar being on the holiday in the Harz Mountains in August 1992.My memories of the place is the beautiful market square.

    Stayed at St Andreasberg. Braunage was still glittering, illustrating its former DFR role and there was still clear evidence of the DDR border.
  14. PsyWar.Org

    PsyWar.Org Archive monkey

    A sheet of anti Newton ring glass on top should hold them flat - or sandwich the film between two sheets.
  15. Yeah I used that for the new, much clearer ones.
  16. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    The "soldier" saluting....is he acting the goat or has the negatives been reversed?

    Otherwise again an interesting step back in history.

    Looks like the sports events may have been mandatory....perhaps induction training?

    From their cap badges,the group look to be members of the RAD and not members of the Wehrmacht.
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2020
  17. JDKR

    JDKR Member

    Don’t think they are RAD. The badge on the saluting soldier’s side is the national cockade and the soldiers taking part in sports are not wearing vests bearing the RAD spade badge. Am I missing a RAD badge somewhere?
  18. chipm

    chipm Well-Known Member

    Was 9.5 a fairly common Cine Film.?
    I am in the usa. We are used to hearing 8mm or Super-8.
    Thank You

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