Film recorder

A film recorder is a graphical output device for transferring digital images to photographic film.

All film recorders typically work in the same manner. The image is fed from a host computer as a raster stream over a digital interface. A film recorder exposes film through various mechanisms; flying spot (early recorders); photographing a high resolution video monitor; electron beam recorder (Sony HDVS); a CRT scanning dot (Celco); focused beam of light from a light valve technology (LVT) recorder; a scanning laser beam (Arrilaser); or recently, full-frame LCD array chips.

For color image recording on a CRT film recorder, the red, green, and blue channels are separately displayed on the same gray scale CRT, and exposed to the same piece of film through a filter of the appropriate color. (This approach yields better resolution and color quality than one could obtain with a color CRT.) The three filters are usually mounted on a motor-driven wheel. The filter wheel, as well as the camera's shutter, aperture, and film motion mechanism are usually controlled by the recorder's electronics and/or the driving software.

Higher-quality LVT film recorders use a focused beam of light to write the image directly onto a film loaded spinning drum, one pixel at a time. The LVT will record pixel beyond grain. Some machines can burn 120-res or 120 lines per millimeter. The LVT is basically a reverse drum scanner. The exposed film is developed and printed by regular photographic chemical processing.


Film recorders are available for a variety of film types and formats. The 35mm negative film and transparencies are popular because they can be processed by any photo shop. Single-image 4x5 film and 8X10 is often used for high-quality, large format printing.

Some models have detachable film holders to handle multiple formats with the same camera.


Film recorders are used in digital printing to generate master negatives for offset and other bulk printing processes. They are also used to produce the master copies of movies that use computer animation or other special effects based on digital image processing.

For preview, archiving, and small-volume reproduction, film recorders have been rendered obsolete by modern printers that produce photographic-quality hardcopies directly on plain paper.

Film recorders were also commonly used to produce slides for slide projectors; but this need is now largely met by video projectors that project images straight from a computer to a screen.

Film recorders were among the earliest computer graphics output devices; see, for example, the IBM 740 CRT Recorder was announced in 1954.

Nowadays, film recorders are primarily used in the motion picture film-out process for the ever increasing amount of digital intermediate work being done. Although significant advances in large venue video projection alleviates the need to output to film, there remains a deadlock between the motion picture studios and theater owners over who should pay for the cost of these very costly projection systems. This, combined with the increase in international and independent film production, will keep the demand for film recording steady for at least a decade.

Key manufacturers

Traditional film recorder manufacturers have all but vanished from the scene or have evolved their product lines to cater to the motion picture industry. Dicomed was one such early provider of digital color film recorders. Polaroid, Management Graphics, Inc, MacDonald-Detwiler, Information International, Inc., and Agfa were other producers of film recorders.


Arrilaser Film Recorder

Film recorder Oscar

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awarded an Oscar to the makers of the Arrilaser film recorder. The Award of Merit Oscar from the Academy Scientific and Technical Award ceremony was given on Feb. 11, 2012 to Franz Kraus, Johannes Steurer and Wolfgang Riedel.[1]

See also


External links

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