Spirit DataCine

Spirit DataCine is a telecine and/or a motion picture film scanner. This device is able to transfer 16mm and 35mm motion picture film to NTSC or PAL standards or one of many High-definition television standards. With the data transfer option a Spirit DataCine can output DPX data files.[1] The Spirit DataCine has become the standard for high-end real-time film transfer and scanning. Over 370 units are used in post production facilities around the world.[2] Most current film productions are transferred on Spirit DataCines for TV, DVD, blu-ray Disc, pay-per-view, In-flight entertainment, digital intermediate and digital cinema. The Spirit DataCine is made by DFT Digital Film Technology [3] and Precision Mechatronics GmbH in Weiterstadt, Germany.[4]

SDC-2000 Spirit DataCine Film Deck, Lens Gate and Local Control Panel


Spirit DataCine

All Spirit DataCines use continuous transport motion, using a capstan and constant film tension. An optional optic audio, pick up system can be mounted in the capstan. All Spirit DataCines use a xenon lamp for illumination into a diffusion chamber to minimize dust and scratch visibility. With the standard 35mm lens gate: super 35 mm and academy 35 mm are supported. Also 2, 3, 4, perf are supported. VistaVision 8-perf and 6 perf are an option. With the optional 16mm lens gate standard 16mm and Super 16 mm are supported. With the 16mm lens gate an optional Super 8 mm film gate can be added. 16mm audio system also support 16mm mag or magnetic strip sound track on the motion picture would be picked up by a head and could be fed to an audio sound mixing console or to the VTR.[1]

Spirit DataCines use a charge-coupled device Line Array - CCD for imaging. In print mode a “white” light is shone through the exposed film image into a lens and then to prism, color glass separates out the image into the three primary colors, red, green and blue. Each beam of colored light is then projected at a different CCD, one for each color. The CCD converts the light into an electrical signal that produces a modulated video signal which is color corrected and sized so it can then be recorded onto video tape or a Storage area network-SAN hard disk array. Spirit DataCines can output to different TV standards: (NTSC or PAL) or HDTV. The Spatial Processor can change the size of the image: pan and scan, letterbox or make other aspect ratio and rotation changes. An optional Scream grain reducer can reduce film grain in all three color channels.[1]

The parts of a CCD scanner, like a FDL, Quadra, Shadow and SDC 2k-4k: (A) Xenon bulb; (B) film plane; (C) & (D) prisms and/or dichroic mirrors; (E),(F) & (G) red-, green- and blue-sensitive CCDs.

The Spirit DataCine opened the door to the technology of digital intermediates, wherein telecine tools were not just used for video outputs, but could now be used for high-resolution data that would later be recorded back out to film. The DFT Digital Film Technology, formerly Grass Valley Spirit 4k\2k\HD (2004) replaced the Spirit 2000 Datacine and uses both 2K and 4k line array CCDs. The SDC-2000 did not use a color prisms and/or dichroic mirrors, color separation was done in the CCD. DFT revealed its newest scanner at the 2009 NAB Show, Scanity.[5]

A Spirit DataCines outputing DPX files was used in the 2000 movie O Brother, Where Art Thou?. The DPX files were color corrected with a VDC-2000 and a Pandora Int. Pogle Color Corrector with MegaDEF.[6][7] A Kodak Lightning II film recorder was used to put the data output to back to film. To output the movie the Spirit Datacine’s Phantom Transfer Engine software running on an SGI computer is used to record the DPX files from the Spirit DataCine. These files are stored in the virtual telecine or on a SAN hard disk storage array. The Phantom Transfer Engine has been replaced with Bones software running on a Linux-based PC. First generation of DPX interface for data files was the optical fiber HIPPI cables (up to 6 frame/s at 2k), the next generation interface is GSN-Gigabit Ethernet fiber Optic (up to 30 frame/s at 2k). GSN is also called HIPPI-6400 and was later re-named GSN (for Gigabyte System Network). The SAN hard disks are interfaces to by dual FC-Fibre Channel, cables. The newest DPX output interface is infiniband.[1] [8]

Most Spirit DataCines are controlled by a Da Vinci Systems color corrector, 2k or 2k Plus. Some are controlled by Pandora Int.'s Pogle, some with a their MegaDEF or a Pixi color grading system. A Spirit DataCine comes with a full function control panel that can be used for control and color grade.[2]

Background and history

FDL 60

Bosch FDL 60 Telecine Film Deck and Lens Gate

The Robert Bosch GmbH, Fernseh Div., which later became BTS inc. - Philips Digital Video Systems, Thomson's Grass Valley and now is DFT Digital Film Technology introduced the world's first CCD telecine (1979), the FDL-60. The FDL-60 designed and made in Darmstadt West Germany, was the first all solid state Telecine.[9] FDL is short for Film Digital Line. The FDL-60 uses a single-line array system, whereby three lines, RGB with 1,024 CCD pixels per line to record a single line of the film image. FDL60A uses three Fairchild Semiconductor CCD 133 CCDs for the image pickup. FDL60A released in 1979 used a 115 Volt lamp to light the film. The FDL60B released in 1982 added improve video quality features to the FDL60. The FDL60C released in 1987 used a Fairchild CCD 134 and a 24 volt light source. In 1983 an optional Grain Reduce was introduced by Bosch for the FDL-60, model FDGR 60. The was the first all digital noise reducer. The FDL 60 could operate stand alone or on a color grade system. Bosch made a scene by scene color corrector model FRP 60 as an option for the FDL-60. About 568 FDL-60 telecines were manufacture from 1979 to 1989. FDL 60 were ordered in PAL or NTSC or Secam, a few were multi standard by changing a few electronic circuit cards.[10]

FDL 90 and Quadra

Philips-BTS eventually evolved the FDL 60 into the FDL 90 (1989)/ Quadra (1993). These units were able to support super 35mm, super 16mm and super 8. The units were able to zoom and position the picture. The units outputted 4:4:4 digital video to feed a color corrector like the Da Vinci Systems 888. The units also had an optional analog output. The film path was similar to the Spirit Datacine, but this was the only similarity. FDL 90 and Quadra used a three Fairchild CCD 181 CCDs. Both had an optional Pal/NTSC switchable option. Both were 3/4 perf switchable. Many FDL-90 were updated to have the Quadra electronic circuit cards improvements. A true Quadra had a new capstan position closer to the film gate and with a blue color deck.

BTS Quadra Telecine Film Deck, Lens Gate and Local Control Panel


FLH 1000

In 1994 the FLH-1000 was demonstrated by BTS inc.. This unit was never released for sale.[11] This was the first HDTV telecine. The FLH-1000 was improved - resigned and released as the SDC 2000 - Spirit DataCine.[12] The Scanning system and CCDs were made by Kodak in New York. FLH-1000 and Spirit DataCine were a joint effort between Philips and Eastman Kodak. Beta sites for the FLH-1000 were: Producers Color in the Detroit and Channel 4 in London.[10]

SDC 2000 Spirit DataCine

In 1996 Philips, working with Kodak, introduced the Spirit DataCine (SDC 2000), which was capable of scanning the film image at HDTV resolutions and approaching 2K (1920 Luminance and 960 Chrominace RGB) x 1556 RGB. The SDC 2000 Spirit DataCine uses two physical CCD, one for Chrominace and one for Detail/Luminance. The unit used two CCDs for improved Signal to Noise ratio. Inside the Luminance CCD are 4 electrical CCDs. In side the Chrominace are 3 electrical CCDs: red, green and blue. With the data option the Spirit DataCine can be used as a motion picture film scanner outputting 2K DPX data files as 2048 x 1556 RGB. The normal input data file standard is DPX. The data files are often used in DI - digital intermediate post-production using a film recorder for film-out.[1] The control room for the telecine is called the color suite or sometimes a color bay. In a two years time span the Spirit DataCine took over the number one spot of telecines from Rank Cintel.[1]

  • The 1998 movie Pleasantville was the first digital intermediate film scanned on a Spirit DataCine. This process produced the mix of B&W and color pictures. The 2000 movie O Brother, Where Art Thou? was scanned with Spirit Datacine, color corrected with a VDC-2000 using a Pandora Int. Pogle Color Corrector with MegaDEF. A Kodak Lightning II film recorder was used to put the data output back to film. This process changed the greens to a green-yellow color.[1][9]
SDC-2000 Spirit DataCine Functional Control Panel-FCP

Specter - VDC - Virtual DataCine

In 1999 Philips introduces the Specter the first virtual telecine. It is able to color correct, re-size and grain reduce 2k DPX files in real time. Used in DI work and to make multiple video formats off one film transfer scan (PAL, NTSC, Pan scan, letter box…). This was accomplished by playing the DPX files back through the Spirit Datacine’s process electronics and a Pandora International's MegaDef Colour Correction system.[13][14]

SDC 2001 Spirit DataCine

In 1999 the SDC 2001 replaced the SDC 2000, the SDC 2001 had the addition of an optional 6 vector resolution independent color corrector. An optional RGB resolution independent film grain reducer also became available for both the SDC 2000 and SDCs 2001 called the Scream film grain reducer.[1] Scream film grain reducer is a resolution independent three channel RGB grain reducer. Scream can be used on the Spirit DataCine and the VDC.[2] Also in 2000 the first D6 HDTV VTR is shown.[9][15] [16]


In 2000 the Shadow telecine was demonstrated by Philips. The Shadow (STE) is a Spirit DataCine without a Kodak front end (lens, optics and CCDs). This made for lower cost telecine transfers, good for SDTV and HDTV.[17][18]

A Shadow Telecine in a color correction suite.

SDC 2002 Spirit DataCine

In 2003 the SDC 2002 replaced the SDC 2001, the SDC 2002 had the addition of being GSN data output ready. Data interface, GSN-Gigabit Ethernet fiber Optic has speeds up to 30 frame/s at 2k. Also a Color Graphical Control (GCP) panel now came standard and replaced the monochrome functional control panel (FCP).[1][8][19]

Spirit Datacine GCP, Control Panel

SDC 2k Spirit DataCine

In 2005 SDC 2K [1] Spirit DataCine was demonstrated by of Thomson's Grass Valley,[20] The Scanning optic system are made by Kodak in NY. The CCD are made in Canada. SDC 2k has a full 2k (2048) RGB resolution. Like the SDC 200x the unit is made in Germany. SDC 2K Spirit DataCine uses three physical CCDs: red, green and blue. The SDC 2K Spirit DataCine could be configured as just a data scanner outputed on a GSN fiber Optic with speeds up to 30 frame/s at 2k or just a video telecine (with a spatial processor) or both. The DPX data files are outputted to a Bones Lunix workstation that is connected to a SAN.[9][21]

Spirit Datacine 4k with the doors closed

SDC 4k Spirit DataCine

Same as the SDC 2K [2] Spirit DataCine but with the optional 4k (4096) data scanning CCD. It can output 4k DPX files at 8 frames per second, SAN speed permitting. With the optional scaler the 4k CCD output could be used as an oversampled 2k output. The unit can also output 16 bit data.[9][21]

Spirit Datacine 4k with the doors open

SDC HD Spirit DataCine

In 2007 the SDC HD [3] Spirit DataCine, that is similar to the SDC 2K Spirit DataCine and SDC 4K Spirit DataCine was introduced. The SDC HD can output HD and SDTV video from rack 2. As the spatial processor is now part of rack 2, eliminating the need for the many electronic cards in rack 3 . The Data interface output is now using infiniband fiber Optic, rather than GSN.[9][21]

Bones Dailies

In 2007 Bones Dailies was introduced, a Linux non-linear post production software system. Bones Dailies can control all dailies production process: ingest to a SAN, up to 30 frame/s - faster than real-time and make color-graded Dailies masters. It has an audio ingest, audio syncing, ASC CDL based primary, and secondary color-correction. It will work in multiple formats: SD, HD, or 2K-4k material and can ingest content from the Spirit DataCine or other devices like video tape or digital acquisition cameras. Bones can be also be used in a virtual telecine mode.[22][23][24]

  • Bones ingest was introduced in 2004 and was the replacement to PTE – Phantom Transfer Engine software the ran on a SGI - IRIX platform. Ingest (Bones or PTE) software is used to transfer the DPX data files from the DataCine to a SAN.[25][26]


DFT - Digital Film Technology revealed its newest film scanner at the 2009 NAB Show, Scanity [4]. Scanity uses Time Delay Integration (TDI) line sensors and FPGA image processing. Scantiy uses a continuous film transport servo system, using a capstan and a LED light source. Transfer speeds are up to: 15 frame/s @ 4K, 25 frame/s @ 2K, 44 frame/s @ 1K, 69 frame/s @ 0,5K, 96 frame/s @ 0,25K. Scanity LED light sources is variable and programmable. Like all the telecines above it uses a continuous motion capstan film transport. New for scanity is the use of a infrared CCD channel for dirt mapping.[27] Scantiy has a new optical audio scanning option for 16mm and 35mm, also 16 mag strip audio.[28]

DFT Scanity Film Deck


On September 5, 2011 DFT announced a new product Flexxity. Flexxity is a suite of software for a host of post production applications. Flexxity can process DPX, R3D, ARRIRAW, QuickTime clips, stereoscopic 3D support with stereo color matching and parallax adjustments, left and right eye synchronization and more. Flexxity has a unique fast image and audio synchronization feature. [29][30]

  • Flexxity Playout:

Playout that converts DPX, Quicktime and raw digital camera clips and creates a master for playout as video, DPX, and SD or Hd video. Other feature are timeline editing, EDL on-line conforming, and optional color correction, and image resizing.[31][32]

  • Flexxity Dailies:

Flexxity Dailies can be used on-set or as a post production tool for digital and film dailies. Flexxity Dailies image and audio synchronization feature, with the easy to use timeline editing, and parallel workflows gives high throughput and more efficiency.[33][34]

  • Flexxity Archive:

Flexxity Archive software provides an easy interface for operators to access archived material from SAN disk storage and also can input film DPX files from film scanners. Flexxity Archive helps quality control of archive material. Flexxity Archive has scratch and dirt removal retouching capabilities, Grain reduction, and image contouring. Many of these feature can be add to Flexxity Playout and Flexxity Dailies.[35]

Spirit DataCine Awards

  • 1997-1998 Outstanding Achievement in Technical/Engineering Development Awards from National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences; Development of a High Resolution Digital Film Scanner Eastman Kodak and Philips Germany.[1]
  • 1996 National Association of Broadcasters - NAB, Editors’ Pick of Show.
  • 1996 ITS(Imaging Technology and Sound), International Monitor Award [1][36]
  • 1996 IBC, International Broadcasting Editors Award, International Broadcasting Convention[1]
  • 1997 Film and Video, 1997 Most Valued Product.[1]
  • 1998 Academy of Television Arts and Science / Los Angeles Primetime Emmy Award [37]
  • 1999 International Monitor Award [1]
  • 2009 Scanity Film Scanner was awarded the Outstanding Product Award in the Digital Film and Cinema category by BIRTV.[38]
  • 2010 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Award: Scientific and Engineering Awards to Volker Massmann, Markus Hasenzahl, Dr. Klaus Anderle and Andreas Loew for the development of the Spirit 4K/2K film scanning system as used in the digital intermediate process for motion pictures.[39][40]
  • 2010 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Award:• Technical Achievement Awardsto Dr. Klaus Anderle, Christian Baeker and Frank Billasch for their contributions to the LUTher 3D look-up-table hardware device and color management software.[41]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n thameside.tv Spirit DataCine
  2. ^ a b c HDTV Magazine.com, Spirit DataCine Brings Unparalleled Film Image Quality June 25, 2001
  3. ^ dft-film.de - DFT Digital Film Technology - Manufacturer of CCD based telecines and data scanners
  4. ^ precision-mechatronics.com - Precision Mechatronics GmbH Manufacture of DFT Digital Film Technology
  5. ^ DFT Scanity Page
  6. ^ Pandora International Home Page
  7. ^ Pogle picture
  8. ^ a b hawtreecreek.com Spirit operations book
  9. ^ a b c d e f g History of Telecines
  10. ^ a b c FDL 60 web site
  11. ^ colorist.org A review of Philips FLH-1000 and Spirit DataCine by John Dowdell
  12. ^ digitalcontentproducer.com A Brief History of Film-to-Tape: With DTV and HDTV-What's Next? (Part I), Feb 1, 1998 by D.W. Leitner
  13. ^ theasc.com, © 2003 American Cinematographer, DI by Debra Kaufman
  14. ^ American Cinematographer A flex Finish
  15. ^ cinematography.net D6 Test
  16. ^ - Manual for a D6 VooDoo PDF
  17. ^ DFT Shadow page
  18. ^ Shadow Operating Instructions
  19. ^ Film Maker.com, THOMSON SPIRIT DATACINE, Fri, 05/04/2007
  20. ^ Thomson Grassvalley Home Page
  21. ^ a b c SDC-4k
  22. ^ DFT Bones Dailies Page
  23. ^ DFT Bones Playout
  24. ^ DFT BONES PlayoutMaster – DPX to File and Video Conversion Tool
  25. ^ DFT Bones Transfer and Mover
  26. ^ Bones specs
  27. ^ DFT Scanity
  28. ^ DFT's SCANITY Audio Option Datasheet
  29. ^ DFT Flexxity, Weiterstadt, Germany – September 5, 2011
  30. ^ postproductionbuyersguide.com on Flexxity, October 5, 2011
  31. ^ DFT Flexxity Playout
  32. ^ DFT Flexxity Playout data sheet
  33. ^ DFT Fexxity Dailies
  34. ^ DFT Flexxity Dailies data sheet
  35. ^ itbusinessnet.com DFT Flexxity Archive, DFT Digital Film Technology Supports LATAM Market with Demonstrations of FLEXXITY Software at CAPER 2011 ,October 05, 2011
  36. ^ highbeam.com 1996 Monitor Award
  37. ^ DFT Emmy award winning Spirit DataCine
  38. ^ dft-film.com Sept. 7, 2009 press release
  39. ^ oscars.org 02/20/2010 The Scientific & Technical Awards Presentation
  40. ^ dft-film.com Jan. 13, 2010 press release
  41. ^ cinemalogue.com AMPAS Announces Scientific and Technical Awards, January 7, 2010

External links and references

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