Blackmagic Cintel Film Scanner

  • 2015

  • Product
    Commercial and Industrial

Designed By:

  • Blackmagic Industrial Design Team

Commissioned By:

Blackmagic Design

Designed In:


Cintel is the world’s first affordable motion picture film scanner, acquiring stunning real-time Ultra HD scans for under $30,000. Compact and simple, it replaces bulky, complex units costing hundreds of thousands of dollars, eliminating the need for expert assembly and operation.

This has profound cultural implications for institutions and creative individuals alike. Libraries and museums can, for the first time, affordably scan vast catalogues of fragile archival film, preserving rare and important historical footage against inevitable degradation. Independent filmmakers may now harness the timeless image quality of motion picture film, confident in drastically reduced production costs and lead times.

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  • Motion picture film scanners can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. With bureaus charging over $10,000 for a single feature length film scan, it was clear that an affordable alternative was needed to democratise this otherwise exclusive technology. One third of the cost of similar products at $30,000, Cintel is driven by a rational approach to traditionally complex engineering problems. By reducing mechanical assemblies to their essential elements, and devising innovative electronic solutions for film control and image stabilisation, significant efficiencies in size, part count and assembly were made.

  • Cintel's spherical RGB LED illumination chamber achieves sharp, high quality scans at real time speeds, and ensures that fragile film is not exposed to the damaging thermal stress and colour fading effects common to traditional scanning lamps. The patented diffusing sphere technology also removes dust and scratches, eliminating a labour-intensive, time-consuming process from archival and restorative workflows. Mechanically, every sub-assembly is finely tuned to prevent misalignment and abrasion caused by unwanted resonance from multiple moving parts. Integrated with high-end image stabilising software, Cintel offers gentle film handling and accurate, high quality real-time Ultra HD scans.

  • Cintel's architecturally minimal visual language is unique to the industry, emerging naturally from a thorough process of mechanical rationalisation and size reduction. More than just an elegant shroud, the extruded aluminium enclosure is integral to the strength of the overall structure. Highly space efficient, the simple, rectilinear form fits seamlessly into contemporary interior spaces. With painstaking attention to the smallest detail, every element was carefully considered and honed for optimum performance, minimal weight and visual simplicity. Seen as a whole, Cintel is an elegant visual expression of precision and refinement.

  • Typical film scanners can weigh over 150kg and cover a footprint of 2m2. Cintel's aerospace inspired 'space-frame' chassis facilitates strength and rigidity without excess size and weight. Ultra-slim and weighing less than 60kg, Cintel is the world's smallest Ultra-HD motion picture film scanner. With critical sub-assemblies set precisely on a highly toleranced machined aluminium deck plate, every effort was made to minimise the enclosure around these parts. Compact digital servos reduce depth and prevent unwanted resonance. Further space efficiencies were achieved by integrating many mechanical functions into software based control systems, eliminating the need for complex, bulky and expensive assemblies.

    Maintaining correct tension on sensitive rolls of film during real-time scanning demands an intricate array of spools, rollers, and sprockets. This has led traditional film scanners to be highly complex and intimidating to operators. In light of this, Cintel is an approachable, intuitive design pared back to its essential elements. By removing all superfluous detail only critical functional elements remain, providing a clear, legible workflow free from unnecessary complexity. Fully integrated with everything needed to capture and transfer films to Ultra HD files, the user need only a power source, laptop and a roll of film to begin scanning.

    Cintel is manufactured under strict quality control, with continuously calibrated machining to ensure precise alignment of film to the centre of the Ultra HD image sensor. Misalignment over 65 microns (equivalent to the width of just 10 Ultra-HD pixels), will cause images to be cropped, rendering scans unusable. Cintel's camera is mated to a CNC machined deck plate and aligned with the scanning bed to a tolerance of ±0.02mm. Stainless steel film roller assemblies have highly precise run-outs limited to 20 microns, while hard anodised sprockets are broached for precise registration. Vapour honed film lands provide low-friction running surfaces, preventing degradation to ensure consistent, on-going accuracy.

    With multiple, rapidly-moving parts involved in real-time scanning, it was important to consider ways of reducing potential risk to users. Easily accessed, Cintel's work space is angled at 8° for safe, secure loading of heavy film onto main plates that are positioned for optimal ergonomics. Activated remotely via a laptop, the entire scanning process can run safely behind soft-close sliding doors. Should the user accidentally contact moving parts, integrated sensors will detect the anomaly and gently decelerate motors, preventing injury without destroying valuable film. Sold in 87 countries, Cintel complies with all relevant safety standards and regulations, like AS/NZS 60950, FCC, CE, RCM, WEE & ROHS