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WORKFLOWS: Super16 vs 4K

16mm Super16 4k editing redcode prores 4.2.2 4-2-2 2k red

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#1 Grant Perkins

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Posted 28 August 2018 - 02:56 AM

For all the editors who are hiding out in this forum :ph34r: ....I was wondering if film is actually cheaper to once you got to post than video.
 
Specifically, can you outline the difference in workflow between a Super16mm workflow vs shooting in 4k(or even 2k) and finishing on the accepted digital projection format(or 35mm)?
 
My guess is that film would come out a bit cheaper and easier to manage for the beginner. Quite counter-intuitive I know, but digitial non-linear editing appears to be a black hole which swallows all of your budget.$10K!

 

I'm betting that a 10:1 shooting ratio on Super16, comes out cheaper than a shoot-it-'til-people-threaten-to-leave:1 shooting ratio on video.

 

Can anyone comment on this?

 

 


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#2 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 28 August 2018 - 07:22 AM

These days, film tends to be edited using a NLE, even if it's going to to a print to be projected. Super 16 can't be projected. it's intended to be blown up to 35mm  Unless you're going to edit on film using work prints etc, there isn't much difference once the Super 16 has been transferred to a digital format to be edited on a NLE. On a 10k budget, I don't think you'd have much left after you've bought the stock and paid the lab costs including the transfer.. 

 

You can use proxy editing for 4k media, which reduces the strain on your computer.


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#3 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 28 August 2018 - 10:07 PM

So... I think there are two topics here... one is technical, one is creative.

Technically, the files you get from the film scanner vs a digital camera, are very similar. They're all pretty heavy formats, so you need a decent computer to work with them, either 2k or 4k. The biggest difference is that shooting ratio's are generally a lot lower on film then on digital, so you have much less media to work with.

On my edit bay, the workflow is the same between digital and film.

- OCN Colored and transcoded to a proxy media in DaVinci (1080p Pro Res)
- Audio synched in Avid
- Project edited
- OCN re-linked in DaVinci to AAF out of Avid (XML out of Premiere/Final Cut)
- Grade and SFX work done
- OMF output for audio work and proxy 1080p cut exported for audio
- Mate audio with picture in DaVinci and export final output (Pro Res XQ, DNXHR, DCP)

Creative wise, Film is a lot easier to color then digital is in my opinion. I haven't ever needed the kind of extensive power window work on film that I have on digital shows. This is mostly because digital cameras generally have more issues with latitude unless shot at base ISO, which very few people do. So you're constantly cleaning up highlight clipping and black issues. I also find myself constantly fighting skin tones with digital, that I've not struggled with at all on film, generically speaking of course. There are a lot of variables, but considering I shoot digital and film all the time, I have just noticed how much more work it takes to make the digital image look pleasing.
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#4 Jon O'Brien

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Posted 29 August 2018 - 05:46 PM

What is the best way to learn how to do this complete digital workflow? What is the ideal set up? Is there a book, or series of books that can guide you in this? I'm interested in shooting on Super 16 and editing, colouring and distributing digitally. The film side of it I'm fine with to get started. The computer side for me is the main mystery.


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#5 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 29 August 2018 - 05:56 PM

You need to decide on which NLE best suits your way of working, because they have their differences,

 

Have a look at this list that I put together on the Lightworks forum:

 

https://www.lwks.com...temid=81#136870


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#6 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 31 August 2018 - 03:15 AM

What is the best way to learn how to do this complete digital workflow? What is the ideal set up? Is there a book, or series of books that can guide you in this? I'm interested in shooting on Super 16 and editing, colouring and distributing digitally. The film side of it I'm fine with to get started. The computer side for me is the main mystery.


Ohh gosh, the workflows very yearly as does the software, so any "books" would be way out of date in the long run. I use to teach filmmaking and every year we'd make a new curriculum and by the end of the year, there would be an industry-wide change of some kind that forced me to make some pretty substantial changes in the education workflow, mainly due to software companies.

In terms of what you need? DaVinci Resolve 15 is everything you need. It's $299 and it has everything from a pretty decent editing function through audio and visual effects as well. Blackmagic's website has a "Davinci Resolve Configuration Guide" datasheet which is under the "Latest support notes", under the support tab under Resolve section. That will help identify minimum system requirements for operating system and hardware. It's a bunch of technical shit, but if ya want something to read... it's something to read.

So what kinda computer is the real question. Well, I recommend Intel i7 or i9 processor machines, with 32gb of memory minimal, 1tb (or more) SSD boot drive, some sort of spinning disk array internally (which may require some special hardware depending on your computer) and a really good GPU like a GTX1080ti with 11gb of video memory. That mixed with a simple Blackmagic I/O solution and a decent monitor for grading purposes, will make a nice setup.
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#7 Phil Connolly

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Posted 03 September 2018 - 09:22 AM

I don't think a super 16 workflow is going to save you money over digital. As others have said most shot on film projects are post produced digitally - so if your shooting super 16 yours costs are for both - Film Stock + Lab Fee's + Transfer fee's + plus editing and post production = to result in a digital file you can project. 

 

Super 16 isn't a projection format - so if you wanted to stay photochemical - you'd need a blowup to 35mm. These aren't cheap and it maybe cheaper to post produce 16mm digitally. The venues that can screen 35mm are getting rarer...

 

So the point of shooting on film is an aesthetic decision - its not going to save you over digital money. Now it is possible to manage the costs of shooting on film so that its achievable on a low budget - e.g using short ends, low shooting ratio etc... Theres a filmmaker in the UK that make's micro budget 16mm films and hand processes all his footage to save money (and provide an interesting look). http://film.britishc...g/broncos-house

But to work with film on v low budgets it does risk compromise in other areas.

 

For affordable post software - Resolve as Tyler states is good. Or you can look at Adobe Creative suite - that has the benefit of being available on a monthly rental plan. So you could rent Premier for an month or two to complete your edit. 


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#8 Grant Perkins

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Posted 03 September 2018 - 11:44 PM

On my edit bay, the workflow is the same between digital and film.

- OCN Colored and transcoded to a proxy media in DaVinci (1080p Pro Res)
- Audio synched in Avid
- Project edited
- OCN re-linked in DaVinci to AAF out of Avid (XML out of Premiere/Final Cut)
- Grade and SFX work done
- OMF output for audio work and proxy 1080p cut exported for audio
- Mate audio with picture in DaVinci and export final output (Pro Res XQ, DNXHR, DCP)

 

 

Thank you for your reply. I put it though Google Translate just so I'd know what you're talking about. The response was what I guessed it would say: "Hire a professional."  :wacko:


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#9 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 03 September 2018 - 11:59 PM

Thank you for your reply. I put it though Google Translate just so I'd know what you're talking about. The response was what I guessed it would say: "Hire a professional."  :wacko:


Yep lol :)
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#10 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 04 September 2018 - 01:43 AM

 

Thank you for your reply. I put it though Google Translate just so I'd know what you're talking about. The response was what I guessed it would say: "Hire a professional."  :wacko:

 

Just a note that Lightworks can do that workflow, you can work on the edit on the free version for months (if required) and use the above export with a one month Pro license for the above workflow to Resolve. Lightworks isb't that demanding in computer power, especially if you use the internal proxy editing (with that, some use i3 machines, although i5 is better).  The latest version  (!4.5) will also export to a Reaper DAW, if you're on a tight audio budget.


Edited by Brian Drysdale, 04 September 2018 - 01:43 AM.

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#11 Mark Dunn

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Posted 04 September 2018 - 07:13 AM

+1. LW runs at a clip even on my most unsuitable HP Touchsmart, and even with media on external drives. Although I only use 25Mbps data rates.


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#12 Phil Connolly

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Posted 04 September 2018 - 09:38 AM

 

Thank you for your reply. I put it though Google Translate just so I'd know what you're talking about. The response was what I guessed it would say: "Hire a professional."  :wacko:

 

Post production looks daunting when your starting out and workflows can be complex, especially if your using different software for different elements (sound, colour, offline etc...) and the complexity of moving the project between those.

 

Or it can be quite simple, if you pick a multi-purpose package: Avid MC, Resolve, Premier and learn one of those (personally I'd avoid FCP, but it has its fans). Then your workflow can be as simple as import rushes...edit...export film. Would it be as polished as a more advance system? Probably not, but with care it can get the job done.

 

You don't need to run before you can walk. Learn the basics, keep it simple and as you develop more skills you can incorporate more advanced tools and workflows. You can actually do a lot within a single application - I only started using on-line/offline workflows and pro-tools for audio when I found myself getting frustrated with the limitations of FCP. But it took me a while to get to that point. 

 

A simple process can be interchangeable with film or digital. If you get the lab to do a HD prores transfer of the 16mm - once the material is transferred you can treat it the same way in your edit as you would with digital originated footage.  

 

Are you going to hire an editor or do you plan to cut yourself? 


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#13 Grant Perkins

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Posted 05 September 2018 - 12:01 AM

 

A simple process can be interchangeable with film or digital. If you get the lab to do a HD prores transfer of the 16mm - once the material is transferred you can treat it the same way in your edit as you would with digital originated footage.  

 

Are you going to hire an editor or do you plan to cut yourself? 

 

Well, I am still putting together my professional (ha!) editing suite; which is a project in of itself. Specwise, I'm told (translation: researched from countless youtube bloggers) that it competes with any pro setup. I previously worked with Premier Pro and got pretty comfortable with working on DSLR 1080p footage and was able to put together a couple student shorts on the Macs in the lab.

 

I was hoping(dreaming, wishing) to shoot on S16mm because I absolutely hate the image quality of the shorts that are shot on video However, shooting on the 70D, I could just take out my card, stick in the computer, and then I edit away.

 

Is there no painless way to shoot on film?


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#14 Pavan Deep

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Posted 05 September 2018 - 03:02 AM

There’s more to it than saying film is expensive and painful, it really depends on several things; like what and how you are shooting, are you working alone or with a small team. In my experience shooting Super 16 is easier and cheaper. Of course there is buying the stock, which can be easily bought from other filmmakers who have left over stock i.e. re-cans, this is a very cheap and easy way to buy film. You need to process and scan your exposed film; again this it doesn’t have to cost much, processing is much simpler, but scanning is complicated and can get expensive, you need to explore and see what you need, I believe having scans done to 1080p is what a lot do and you'll notice a huge increase in image quality from your DSLR footage. As for cameras there are lots to choose from and they are very cheap to buy or rent, just look around to get a sense of what’s commonly used, different cameras and approaches are used for different projects and budgets.

 

Pav


Edited by Pavan Deep, 05 September 2018 - 03:02 AM.

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#15 Phil Connolly

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Posted 05 September 2018 - 06:24 AM

There’s more to it than saying film is expensive and painful, it really depends on several things; like what and how you are shooting, are you working alone or with a small team. In my experience shooting Super 16 is easier and cheaper. Of course there is buying the stock, which can be easily bought from other filmmakers who have left over stock i.e. re-cans, this is a very cheap and easy way to buy film. You need to process and scan your exposed film; again this it doesn’t have to cost much, processing is much simpler, but scanning is complicated and can get expensive, you need to explore and see what you need, I believe having scans done to 1080p is what a lot do and you'll notice a huge increase in image quality from your DSLR footage. As for cameras there are lots to choose from and they are very cheap to buy or rent, just look around to get a sense of what’s commonly used, different cameras and approaches are used for different projects and budgets.

 

Pav

I think you would struggle to find a film workflow to be cheaper then digital. You can produce and edit digital images for almost nothing. With film your going to have Stock, processing and transfer costs and they always cost more then nothing...

 

Now which gives the best visual results...thats up for debate. Its a no brainer that film outperforms cheap digital aesthetically. But if we are just talking about recording a moving image, that you can then edit of sufficient quality to tell a story there is no way film is cheaper. It might be possible to shoot film relatively cheaply by getting deals etc... but it will still cost 10X more then digital...but will it look 10x better? 

 

Another thing to consider is the level of digital camera your using the 70D isn't bad, but leveling up an hiring a mid range digital camera eg. Ursa, Raven, FS7, C300Mk11. Would improve the look way beyond what a DLSR can do, while still costing less then film.

 

The day rental price on an FS7/Ursa Mini in the UK is only sightly more then purchase price of a 400ft roll of 16mm. I would also argue that 16mm (at least) isn't drastically better then good digital. Especially if your working in low light. The 2000ISO rating of the FS7 means you can get away with a smaller lighting package. With super 16 - you really need to be working with slower stocks. I've always found 500ASA stocks in 16mm to be way too grungy. 

 

 

Is there no painless way to shoot on film?

Pain is temporary, film is forever. Shooting film isn't vastly more difficult then digital - it just costs a bit more. If your budget can stretch to film and you prefer the look - then you should shoot film. It should be a straight forward calculation. Film isn't crazy expensive but the costs can be significant when your working with a micro budget. 

 

The last short I made, I wanted to shoot on super 16mm. After I'd crunched the numbers for the running time/shooting ratio - it added £2.5k to the overall cost (with the deals I could find at the time). I didn't have £2.5k spare in the budget - so I went digital, the choice was made for me. Maybe I could have found the savings to shoot film... but in the end the production went £2k over budget as it was and if I'd got film costs on top of that overspend - I would really have been in trouble. 

 

Otherwise shoot on what you can afford, remembering that the shooting format these days is one of the least important elements of a film. Audiences will accept film or digital, but the won't accept poor storytelling, sound, lighting, editing, acting...etc.... 

 

I can usually tell a film is going to be rubbish when the director introduces it as "My 35mm short film..." or "My Red Dragon 6k short film". 


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#16 Pavan Deep

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Posted 05 September 2018 - 11:42 AM

I wouldn't say it's a 'struggle' but I would say it's not always easy. You should have hired me and you would have shot film and not gone over budget.

 

Pav


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#17 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 05 September 2018 - 12:48 PM

Is there no painless way to shoot on film?


I mean, the workflow between editing film and editing real digital cinema is identical, so it's not really a "film" thing. It's just a consumer camera thing vs a "professional" camera thing. The only difference is just cost when it comes to the film aspect, but when you've got a digital file, the workflow is identical.
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#18 Phil Connolly

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Posted 07 September 2018 - 05:13 AM

I wouldn't say it's a 'struggle' but I would say it's not always easy. You should have hired me and you would have shot film and not gone over budget.

 

Pav

show your working out


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#19 Pavan Deep

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Posted 07 September 2018 - 07:10 AM

I can gladly show you but I'm not sure if this thread is the right place. Like I said before a lot depends on what and how you are shoot, whether you working alone or with a team.  

 

Pav


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#20 Jon O'Brien

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Posted 08 September 2018 - 11:28 PM

You need to decide on which NLE best suits your way of working, because they have their differences,

 

Have a look at this list that I put together on the Lightworks forum:

 

https://www.lwks.com...temid=81#136870

 

Thank you for that Brian. I will spend some time looking into this.

 

DaVinci Resolve 15 is everything you need. It's $299 and it has everything from a pretty decent editing function through audio and visual effects as well. Blackmagic's website has a "Davinci Resolve Configuration Guide" datasheet which is under the "Latest support notes", under the support tab under Resolve section. That will help identify minimum system requirements for operating system and hardware. It's a bunch of technical poop, but if ya want something to read... it's something to read.

So what kinda computer is the real question. Well, I recommend Intel i7 or i9 processor machines, with 32gb of memory minimal, 1tb (or more) SSD boot drive, some sort of spinning disk array internally (which may require some special hardware depending on your computer) and a really good GPU like a GTX1080ti with 11gb of video memory. That mixed with a simple Blackmagic I/O solution and a decent monitor for grading purposes, will make a nice setup.

 

Thanks Tyler. Great to know this in advance.


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