Wolverine Reels2Digital MovieMaker

In this page I plan to collect all my findings and discoveries about this machine.
I would like to thank Tobi@s from Goprawn’s forum, who made the real effort of discovering how firmware for Novatek chipset is packed and arranged, and figured out how to repack it again and identified flags that made possible modifying the bitrate, resolution and fps, and finally released a bunch of utilities for doing so.

Memorable credit goes also to Hugoboss00 from the same forum, who after months of stopped development did the finding that corrected the bug present in Tobia@s’ tools, making them finally work with our machine.

Now about the real stuff. The following downloads are firmware images for the original MovieMaker machine, each one supporting a different set of bitrate and resolution. Every attempt I made about changing the framerate was unsuccessful: from the worst case where the machine would work but wouldn’t record videos to the ones were, no matter which bitrate I set, the resulting files were @30fps.

So the only effective changes in the following list of modified firmware are bitrate and resolution.

How to flash

Just unzip the file after download, rename it to plain  FWDV180N.bin, copy it on an SD card, put it into your Wolverine and turn the machine on. The LED above the Power button will blink several times, indicating that the machine is being flashed properly. After a while, the machine will reboot with the new firmware installed. It’s better to remove the card and erase the image file, in order to avoid possible infinite firmware updating loops.

Downloads

 

 Resolution Aspect Ratio Bitrate File Description
960×720 4:3 8000 FWDV180N_original Original firmware without modification in case you want to restore the original settings
720×576 4:3 16000 FWDV180N_720x576_8000 PAL DVD resolution
960×720 4:3 16000 FWDV180N_960x720_24fps_8000 Not suitable for Blu-ray, as it only supports this resolution for 16:9 aspect ratio.
1440×1080 4:3 16000 FWDV180N_1440x1080_24fps_8000 Not suitable for Blu-ray, as it only supports this resolution for 16:9 aspect ratio.
1920×1080 16:9 16000 FWDV180N__1920x1080_24fps_8000 Unless your footage was shoot with an anamorphic lens, this will look stretched on your LCD TV (or you’ll have to manually switch the aspect ratio of the set to 4:3)

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30 thoughts on “Wolverine Reels2Digital MovieMaker”

    1. Wasn’t aware of such a side effect! Have to try it by myself. Could it be possible that you own a different revision of the machine, also? Do you happen to own the one with a belt or the direct-drive version?

  1. Thanks so much for this. Just ordered my Wolverine and was getting very disheartened by the pixelated quality online. I wonder if you have any YouTube/Vimeo links of how your 8/Super 8mm looks with some of these higher quality scans? Would love to take a look.

    1. Didn’t upload anything, Morgan :(. I may try it later. Anyway, I noticed some improvement but not as one would expect for the huge rise in bitrate. I think we are hitting a hardware limit (poor quality of the CMOS or the lens itself), or a firmware/software one (poor quality of the codec). My recommendation is that you try capturing in the format with the highest bitrate possible and then you convert it “offline”, via high quality software codec on your computer to a more suitable bitrate for storage in case you have the disk space and patience to do so…

  2. I can’t tell you thank you enough for publishing these files! I flashed the 1440×1080 resolution file and the 1920×1080 file with no issues whatsoever. I am now re-scanning my family films using the 1440×1080 resolution. I cannot tell an appreciable difference in the quality compared to the original transfers I did using the factory settings with the 960×720 resolution but the file size is nearly double so I know there has to be somewhat better quality. Is there a way to get higher bitrate and resolution but maintain the original 4:3 aspect ratio? Thanks again!

    1. I remember trying higher bitrates but it didn’t work, so I suspect I hit a “physical” limit there. Also, as you noted, although noticeable, the improvement in quality is not that big, specially considering the increase in file size. Same for resolution: highest available for the device is 1920×1080, and even if higher was possible, the CMOS max megapixel count is 3 and some, so you wouldn’t be able to do 4K, but 2K would be theorically possible, although I have my doubts if really Full HD or even HD “native” resolutions are being really used when capturing.

      Finally, be warned that those 4:3 resolutions are not officially supported by the Blu-ray standard, just regular SD resolutions (720×480, 720×576), so take that into account if you are planning to burn your footage into a Blu-ray compliant disc.

  3. Kudos for modding the firmware! The bitrates themselves seem acceptable which leads me to believe that the compression of all the JPG stills is a lower quality setting than desired and the bit rate is simply adequately preserving the existing poor JPG quality. Have you discovered any settings to adjust the JPG compression? Would be nice to use JPG stills that are saved with less compression and higher quality when it converts them to a MP4. Thoughts?

    1. Thanks, Joshua! I don’t even remember if the Wolverine allows individual frame grabbing on the menu. Have to recheck that.
      If otherwise you mean to develop such a function from scratch, unfortunately that’s out of my scope since we don’t have an open source firmware / SDK / specs to work with… :/

  4. Hello,
    I have a question :
    Do you think your firmwares will be adapted to the european version of the volverine, i.e. the reflecta Film Scanner Super 8 – Normal 8 ?
    Thanks for you reply.

    1. I don’t know exactly what you mean. Are you asking if they will work on it? I have no idea. Unfortunately, I don’t have one of those machines to try the firmware on them :(. And I wouldn’t recommend trying it as you can brick the device.

  5. Is it possible to create/make available a firmware that saves individual Jpeg frame captures before merging them all into an MP4 file and enabling creating the movie afterwards on a PC by combining the jpegs? Reason is that wolverine mp4 compression renders poor quality.

    1. That would be great, Peter, but unfortunately I don’t know how to do so. For such a development one would be a full development kit or open source firmware and specks, and neither Wolverine/Novateck hasn’t realeased such a thing 🙁

    1. You cannot. You would need to access the internal EPROM, which I don’t know if is possible, and also I have no idea what software would you need to do so in case it were.

  6. Hi,
    After the search for a better and higer quality 8mm to digital film, i came to your site. Thanks for the firmware.
    I see the site is last updated dec 2017. Do you have a newer firmware available?

    Hope to hear from you soon.
    Regards,
    Ben

  7. Thanks for all your excellent work on the firmware issue. I have read all the 2017 posts on http://8mmforum.film-tech.com/, and your post here with great interest.
    I purchased the Moviemaker (regular, not Pro) a few days ago (Mar 2020) and have digitized many films since at 720p.
    I would like to flash your 4:3 1080p firmware to my machine, but am not sure the “Original” firmware you have kindly supplied in your post will match my newer system. Could you please let me know the version string of your “Original” firmware? This would help greatly.
    Many thanks in advance for your help!
    Steve

    1. Hi, Steve! I don’t have the machine at hand now; I’ll try to check later. On the meantime, would you mind reminding how do you do to check what the “version string” is? I completely forgot about that xD

  8. Hello, nice features, by the way is there a possibility to change the compression mode ?
    Actually this firmware generate a mp4 file, is there a way to change encryption method ?
    Thanks
    Vincent.

    1. I don’t really know if this is possible at all, but I suspect that’s the only codec supported by the hardware itself. You can do this postprocessing by sofware, in any case. Which format did you need, Vidalv? Anyway, I maximized the bitrate as much as I could.

  9. It seems this version of firmware is for the most recent model where I can find for the previous one ? The model with a strap.

  10. Hi Operator, I have just received my Wolverine Moviemaker pro, but also I am a little disgusted with the quality especially regarding noise. I have noticed when you put the plug in cable to view on an external monitor it is not the same quality, therefor I thought maybe if I can capture on my pc rather and edit out the frames in between you will have a very higher quality, but now you have the display overlay…is there anyway to switch it off or bypass it?
    Thanks

    1. I don’t think you’d ever get better quality with that method. As far as I know, Moviemaker Pro’s output is an analog, 480p o 576p NTSC or PAL output. You are scanning your analog source with a CMOS, converting to digital, overimposing som letters, then converting it back to SD analog definition, then you want to capture it again with an analog grabber. The maximum resolution you are going to get that way is SD, and it will be, in any case, noticeable worse than the image captured directly by your CMOS from the 8mm frame to a digital file. Not to mention that you would need to sync the capture speed from your capture card to that of the Wolverine’s, which may not be possible in the worst case or very difficult in the best one. Not even worth considering it.

  11. Hi everyone. I have (I believe) the first revision of Wolverine 8mm and Super 8 and I can’t get it to start flashing.. I renamed the .bin as described and even added FACTORY.CFG to see if that would help. Nope, scanner boots up normally, at least I get that. So, what gives, any ideas??

    1. I don’t think so and I wouldn’t risk trying. Although the hardware seems to be pretty similar, just different reel size and FullHD. Maybe it’s compatible and I forgot it. In case I find the related info I’ll post it here…

  12. Thanks for your excellent work. I’m using your firmware on a Hammascher Schlemmer with good results. Previously I’ve been using the one from Somikon with 20 FPS, but changed it to yours because Somikon has a bug with Sharpness. I’ve read somewhere that you get less compression with less sharpness.
    So here are a few questions and ideas:
    – Is it possible to play around with sharpness at a firmware level to reduce compression effects?
    – Do you have Somikon 20 FPS firmware to compare it with yours and see whats the difference and how they mannage to reduce FPS to 20? I have it in case you need it.
    – In case you find out how to reduce FPS, I’m not sure how this works, but in theory if you have a higher bitrate and lower FPS to 1 frame per second, compression should be reduced? Then you can fix the FPS on a computer.

    I really appreciate your work, this are only ideas. Hope they are useful.
    Regards,
    Nico

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