Anton Gutscher's 8mm Film Scanner Uses a Raspberry Pi in a 3D-Printed Housing to Digitize Old Films

Building on a project from 2019, this new scanner for 8mm and Super 8 film offers HQ Camera Module support and an easier build process.

Maker Anton Gutscher has unveiled a Raspberry Pi-powered scanner for 8mm and Super 8 film, recognizing frame position and crop requirements via OpenCV β€” and now featuring support for the Raspberry Pi 4 and a 5" display, among other enhancements to his original design.

"When a relative of mine passed, she left behind a lot of 8mm film reels," Gutscher explains. "I figured too many to bring to a copy shop to digitize them. I searched the internet and found several solutions β€” from ready to use copy machines to DIY projects. However, non of them fulfilled my requirements, but my curiosity was sparked and I thought of making one by myself."

Gutscher's original design, which began back in 2019, included a custom circuit board connected to a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B, a Raspberry Pi Camera Module v2, a 3.5" touchscreen display, and motors for turning the film.

After being loaded, the system would run the film through the 3D-printed housing and capture footage using the Camera Module and a 20x macro lens originally designed for use with smartphone cameras. Clever software, including OpenCV, would recognize the position of each frame, crop appropriately, and turn the resulting capture into a high-quality digital version of the original footage.

While the original version was fully functional, Gutscher has now unveiled a second-generation version with a number of improvements. "The aim is to make it easier to print and build," Gutscher explains, "increase the performance by using a Raspberry Pi 4 and the optional use of a [Raspberry Pi] HQ Camera Module."

The ground-up redesign not only now includes the option of higher-resolution scanning but also a bigger 5" display with clearer physical buttons, a redesigned circuit board with a hole cut out in order to provide room for a fan to keep the Raspberry Pi's CPU cool, and a revised, more professional-looking chassis β€” which, along with the majority of non-electronic components, remains 3D printed.

Gutscher's new project is available on Hackaday.io now, though only a schematic has been published to date β€” the remainder of the parts awaiting full testing before being made public. Those eager to build something now, meanwhile, can instead opt for the tried-and-tested original version.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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