System Overview

Macro Economic Telecine System (METS)


  • High quality system for transferring 8 mm film motion picture images into video images
  • Build budget £200
  • Captures at 5 frames per second
  • Supports both Standard 8 mm and Super 8 mm film formats.
  • Excellent film frame to frame registration
  • Re-use home video cameras for video capture to PC
  • Simple system for enthusiasts to build
  • Test and measurement methods to optimise performance.



Telecine is the process of transferring film motion picture images to video images. METS uses a start stop motion film transport to telecine 8 mm film. It captures in SD PAL at 5.5 fps and at 4.5 fps for HD PAL. The film transport uses a simple custom designed unit and this allows close integration of video capture and film transport control software. The unit handles both Standard and Super 8 mm film formats and has framing adjustment. The film gate of the unit fully exposes the film sprocket holes, so if they are included in the captured images, they can be used in the measurement of the frame registration unsteadiness of the system.The macro lens equipped video camera transmits a continuous stream of images of the film gate at 25 fps PAL via its IEEE 1394 or HDMI video output interface. No images are stored within the video camera. The video camera digital output stream is fed directly into the PC using the appropriate video capture interface. Figure 1 shows a block diagram representation of the arrangement.


The stop motion capture program running in the PC must grab one image from the video stream of each film frame when it is stationary in the film gate. The capture program grabs the image then stores it as a sequentially numbered BMP file on the PC’s hard disk. The PC then communicates to the PIC controller to generate the pulse streams for the stepper motor drivers to energise the film transport and winding stepper motors for a film frame advance. The PIC communicates back to the PC when the film frame advanced is finished. The same cycle is then repeated. To avoid generation of vibrations when a frame is being captured any film winding is done only as the film is being moved through the film gate.In post processing the numbered BMP image files are assembled in sequence into a standard video file format along with speed correction so the filming rate of 16 or 18 fps looks the same when the video is displayed on TV at 25 fps. Rewinding the film on the Mark 3 model is done manually using a detachable handle fitted on the static feed reel axle and directly from reel to reel.

Photograph 1 shows the front view of METS mark 3 followed by a naming of the parts list.

Naming of the parts

1. Video camera 2. Camera platform 3. Macro lens 4. Chassis
5. Film gate 6. Claw end 7. Motor sledge sides 8. Cam rider claw
9. Framing adjustment 10. Cam 11. Bias spring 12. Film roller
13. LED light source 14. Tension arm 15. Feed reel 16. Static axle
17. Winding motor arm 18. Winding motor boss 19. Shim for Standard 8 mm film*  

Note:* not required for Super 8 mm film format

Photograph 2 shows the rear view of METS mark 3 followed by a naming of the parts list.

Naming of the parts

1. NEMA 17 Wind motor 2. Wind motor Drive 3. Cam motor drive 4. LED drivers
5. NEMA 17 cam motor 6. USB connector 7. RS 232 connector 8. PSU 5V & 12V connector
9. PSU 20V connector      


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