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#41 John Sprung

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Posted 22 July 2009 - 03:05 AM

John, do I understand the Lipsner-Smith cleaning machine correctly; those cloth rollers are used to wipe the Film clean? Does the Film get put into this machine while still wet -- immediately after being removed from the final wash in the developing process?


No, the film is completely dry of the water wash from processing before it gets rolled up at the end of the processing line. It has to be, or it would be ruined by rolling it up with wet emulsion touching the base of the next turn. That's the reason for the big drying boxes and takeup elevators. It's rolled up in cans for several minutes, even up to a few hours, before it goes in the cleaner. If you order B neg transfers, it may even be a few weeks in the can before it gets cleaned again.

The cleaning machine uses a solvent, not water. 1,1,1 trichloroethane was the best one, they have "green" substitutes now. The film goes thru the solvent in an ultrasonic tank, then over the cloth rollers, which counter-rotate at 200 RPM.


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#42 Terry Mester

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Posted 23 July 2009 - 12:30 AM

Hi Karl,
You're absolutely right that it's not possible to eliminate all dust. However, every little bit helps. Covering the Film Gate with plastic is a further elimination of dust contamination. I don't know how many labs use the sophisticated dust control setup you describe. I do know that dirt from developing -- allowed to dry on the Film -- is going to be considerably harder to remove than if it's sprayed off with water (as I suggest) before the Film dries.
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#43 Terry Mester

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Posted 27 July 2009 - 01:05 AM

... Most 16mm shows (currently, Burn Notice, Monk, One Tree Hill, and Chuck are all shot on S16) ...

Do you know if Monk was shooting on Super16 back in the 2003 season? I just got via special order from the U.S. a DTV DVR/VCR, and I now get the HD American broadcasts. (N.B. to Canadians: you are going to be shocked by how good DTV is! It's amazing!) I just seen an episode of Monk from '03 which was 4:3. Was that possibly shot on video? If they shot that using S16, they were chopping off the edges of the Frame.

I also just saw an older episode of CSI: Miami on an HD broadcast, and it was also 4:3. If that was shot on 3-perf S35, then they were chopping off the edges.
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#44 K Borowski

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Posted 27 July 2009 - 06:24 PM

I just seen an episode of Monk from '03 which was 4:3. Was that possibly shot on video? If they shot that using S16, they were chopping off the edges of the Frame.

I also just saw an older episode of CSI: Miami on an HD broadcast, and it was also 4:3. If that was shot on 3-perf S35, then they were chopping off the edges.


Not sure what you're trying to say.

This happens all the time.

What used to be done was that shows were shot 4-perf when everything was 4:3. Later everything was switched to 3 perf. with a 4:3 extraction, but in some cases they were protecting for 16x9 too.

But, yes, it was common to chop off the edges. There are viewfinders with apertures and "safe areas" overlaid, as well as monitor overlays.

"The Shield" which just went off the air, was one of the last SD-finish-only shows I can think of; it was shot on S16.
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#45 K Borowski

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Posted 27 July 2009 - 06:37 PM

Hi Karl,
You're absolutely right that it's not possible to eliminate all dust. However, every little bit helps. Covering the Film Gate with plastic is a further elimination of dust contamination. I don't know how many labs use the sophisticated dust control setup you describe. I do know that dirt from developing -- allowed to dry on the Film -- is going to be considerably harder to remove than if it's sprayed off with water (as I suggest) before the Film dries.


But, Terry, you don't understand. Film is just an origination format now. The last finished-on-film show was "Murder She Wrote" in the U.S. It's been almost 15 years since it went off the air.

Film exists as an origination format that is scanned as quickly as possible upon coming out of the processor. It's not projected, it's not printed to film dailies, it is scanned and vaulted. That's it now. There aren't even any cut negative shows anymore, from what I hear.

There is no way to keep just negative film completely free of dust, before it is scanned digitally (and a lot of it must be done by hand because it slips past the scanner). But, as others here have said, 16mm it is of such a size that it becomes objectable if it isn't removed.

I don't know what the average footage shot for an average episode of TV is these days, but you're talking say, for mathematical simplicity's sake, 20:1 ratios, so figure with a 40 minute hour that you have 32,000 feet (6 mi. or 10.75 km), ~1-1/6 million frames to dust-bust. Simple cleanliness will eliminate a lot of this, but obviously on the basis of shear numbers not all of it.

Even with an infinite supply of compressed air, perchloroethane (not the environmentally safe crap that doesn't work as well), particle rollers, and an extra water wash, there are 1-1/6 million opportunities for something to slip past.

But, even here, it is a numbers game how to remove dust. If it takes six hours to dust-bust a 16mm show digitally, I guarantee it would take at least twice as long (at least twice as much money) to physically remove the same amount.

Also, with dust or hairs in the gate, it is IMPOSSIBLE to remove this source when you have only the first-generation copy, no print. You can only add density, not take it out optically.
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#46 Michael Most

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Posted 27 July 2009 - 08:34 PM

I don't know what the average footage shot for an average episode of TV is these days, but you're talking say, for mathematical simplicity's sake, 20:1 ratios, so figure with a 40 minute hour that you have 32,000 feet (6 mi. or 10.75 km), ~1-1/6 million frames to dust-bust.


Most shows shoot 32,000 in the first 3 days!

The average drama today exposes about 10,000 feet a day for 8 days. Many episodes will hit 100,000 feet or more. That's what happens when you have two cameras rolling on almost every setup, and, shall we say, slightly less experienced directors than we used to have.

I do recall the days when we used to shoot for 7 days, expose about 40,000 feet total, and print about 2/3 of that. And that was on 4 perf. And we seemed to get just as much coverage as we often do today. Funny how that works...
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#47 Terry Mester

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Posted 27 July 2009 - 09:55 PM

... Film exists as an origination format that is scanned as quickly as possible upon coming out of the processor. It's not projected, it's not printed to film dailies, it is scanned and vaulted. That's it now. There aren't even any cut negative shows anymore, from what I hear.

There is no way to keep just negative film completely free of dust, before it is scanned digitally (and a lot of it must be done by hand because it slips past the scanner). But, as others here have said, 16mm it is of such a size that it becomes objectable if it isn't removed.
...
Also, with dust or hairs in the gate, it is IMPOSSIBLE to remove this source when you have only the first-generation copy, no print. You can only add density, not take it out optically.

I was thinking of the Telecine machine. The cooling fan for the bulb will bring dust into the Film Gate if it isn't designed to be air-tight. However, dust won't be nearly as visible as dirt and debris left over from developing.


Michael, is it possible to find out if Monk was shot on Super16 back in 2003? I'm really curious to know.
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#48 Terry Mester

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Posted 28 July 2009 - 12:26 AM

All right, I found the info on Monk. Here are quotes below from postmagazine.com. The NTSC version is a 3/4 crop of the HD scanned version. I definitely do not like the washed look of the NTSC version, but I would blame that on being an electronic conversion from the HD version. Apparently they get 3-1/2 hours of dailies a day from only two cameras! I can't believe it. There should be less than one hour per day!

Postmagazine.com. Article
"The 79-minute pilot was shot in 35mm, but when the series got picked up by USA Network, production switched to Super 16mm for budget reasons. Season one was shot and posted in Toronto. "
"All 29 episodes have been shot Super 16mm with two Arriflex 16SR cameras using mostly Kodak Vision 7279. Film-to-tape transfer and online post is done at Encore Hollywood (www.encorehollywood). "
"Monk shoots mostly on location, and DP Tony Palmeri says he's using post now more than ever before. What he means is that in his head he sees a shot on the screen and knows he can create a look later when he's color correcting rather than spend a few more hours hanging lights. Encore's Spirit DataCine turns all the footage into a Panasonic D-5 master and Betacam dailies that get sent over to Monk editorial at Ren-Mar. Monk uses three Avid Media Composers for offline post, two for the editors and one for the assistant editor to upload footage. "
"Rosen says because they shoot two cameras he often gets three and a half hours of dailies a day. And it's a rigorous schedule, he continues, where multiple episodes are in production and post at the same time. One time, he recalls, he worked on four different episodes in one day. "
"Encore colorist Pankaj Bajpai says to get a good quality HD master from Super 16 you have to start at the beginning and make sure your exposure is correct. He says, "35mm is much more forgiving."
The real challenge, he continues, is controlling the grain. They make two passes from the Super 16mm negative. The HD pass is minimally processed - no noise reduction or crushing of blacks. That HD master is not used until final assembly. The NTSC dailies are a 3/4 extraction downstream from the HD signal and are given basic color correction so they don't look washed out. Bajpai says that during final color correction he spends a lot of time with the DPs and post supervisor getting the look just right."


Here's the Link:
http://www.postmagaz...20E-Newsletters
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#49 John Sprung

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Posted 28 July 2009 - 12:58 AM

I do recall the days when we used to shoot for 7 days, expose about 40,000 feet total, and print about 2/3 of that. ...


Yup. It was a lot easier on the editors.




-- J.S.
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#50 Peter Moretti

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Posted 01 September 2009 - 02:43 AM

Yup. It was a lot easier on the editors.




-- J.S.


I think directors understood editing better and held stronger opinions on how scenes should be cut than they do today. FWIU in the "old days," directors used to frequently came up from editorial, it then changed rising from tv commercials and then even from music videos.

I realize that Heaven's Gate is "old" by now, but that film was directed by someone whose background was burning through film to capture that one transcendent image. Michael Cimino made his name in commercials.

We also use a much faster, choppier, energetic style of editing now, esp. in tv where you have to keep the viewers' attention. A sequence with lots of cuts and CU's requires more takes and angles and results in more footage being exposed.
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#51 David Abell

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Posted 05 May 2010 - 01:03 AM

Something to keep in mind is that digital camera manufacturers are employing every PR trick in the book to hype their product.

If a movie or show uses a digital camera to film something on a TV screen, the PR release will make it look like the whole show/movie was shot with that one camera.

This year has been a sad, sad year in the history of network television with the quality of cinematography taking a big nose dive in my opinion.

There are DPs on this board opining that the Genesis is better than film and it's ludicrous. I understand that they think they're helping their future job prospects by saying publicly that their bosses are far-seeing geniuses (or perhaps they're just in denial ;) ) but really...

I found this board trying to figure out why Law and Order: CI looks so bad this year, to the point where I lost most of my enjoyment of the show. I'm still not sure if it's because it's really well-shot Genesis images or really awful film (shot by the same DP).

CSI Miami is now looking like a soap opera and the difference is night and day.

One of the few shows that don't disappoint is The Mentalist that is shot on film and looks entirely magical (which I guess is appropriate! ;) )

I guess we're lucky it started shooting before the networks went after SAG by downgrading their shows to video.

That's what happened for the most part. The Digital manufacturers and their Amen Corner in the press will tell you that shows are shooting on video because it's cheaper and there's no difference in quality, but the difference is quite huge (at least assuming you bothered to hire a good DP!)

That said, the Genesis is, for my money, the least bad of the video systems. It is leaps and bounds better than the pallid RED and is the only digital system that can provide images that won't make you run away screaming from your screen if you enjoy good cinematography.

That said, it's still not up to snuff if you care about quality images (which I realize most executives couldn't care less about - hence the continual pressure to shoot on the latest "hip" camera they read about in the trades).
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#52 John Sprung

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Posted 05 May 2010 - 01:14 PM

That said, the Genesis is, for my money, the least bad of the video systems.


Have you looked at the very similar Sony F-35 or the new Arri Alexa?




-- J.S.
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#53 georg lamshöft

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Posted 09 May 2010 - 12:26 PM

I'm not sure if the Genesis (or the nearly identical F35) is the only viable option for digital cinematography, well experienced DPs who know the limits of their equipment can create nice, somehow "cinematic" images even from 2/3"-HD-cams. But that's not the point, they make lots of money with the big TV-productions and I think given all the effort put into writing, production design and cinematography of these shows the cinematographers have to be able to use proper equipment. I repeat myself: I don't see any point in shooting a >>1Mio$-episode with anything less than 35mm. Does anybody really thinks that any of these shows can only survive with cost-cuttings enabled by digital aquisition or any cent saved ever reaches any artist? "House" or "Castle" looks much better and "cinematic" than all Genesis/D-21/RED-shot series I'm aware of. I only see "House" in PAL-resolution, but the moment I see a contrasty scene of Mr. Lauries' unshaved face with crispness, smooth rendition, perfect skin-tones and depth I know that it's still 35mm - not HD. Once I told my family what they have to pay attention to, even they noticed the difference easily! The very popular German TV-seres "Tatort" once switched to Betacam (or Digibeta?) and audience members (many of them are >50 years old women who have no clue about cinematography!) complained about it so they had to switch back to S16. They tried to switch to RED (for no obvious reason) recently but they had to stop their plans because the workflow was too complicated... Makes me wonder who pushes digital again and again and again... Is it really the artists?
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#54 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 09 May 2010 - 12:34 PM

On the upside, there isn't any UK stuff being shot on 35 to go to video anyway.

Wait, hang on, that's not an upside.
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#55 Rob Vogt

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Posted 10 May 2010 - 11:40 AM

Law and Order is Genesis, Law and Order SVU and Criminal Intent are F35. House is also being shot on the Canon 5dM2. The F35 and the Genesis are really different cameras as well. The Genesis has Panalog, the colors are not manipulative, the native ASA is 400 while the F35 has more HD-SDI outs on the camera, has a completely customizable paintbox (which is a positive and a negative), has a more complex locking mechanism for the deck, can ramp has a native ASA of 500, its weighs slightly less (although when outfitted with the 19mm rods that evens out with the 17mm PV rods). The only show in NY still being shot on 35 is 30 Rock I believe.
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#56 James Compton

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Posted 10 May 2010 - 12:37 PM

The only show in NY still being shot on 35 is 30 Rock I believe.



Mmmm...No, that's wrong. 'FRINGE' shoots in Queens on a regular basis. 'How To Make It In America' is also 35mm and shot in NYC. There are new shows still coming down the pipline that are scheduled to be shot on film. Have alot of shows switched? Yes. Will they all? Doubt it.
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#57 John Sprung

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Posted 10 May 2010 - 01:10 PM

House is also being shot on the Canon 5dM2.


Wasn't that more a one-episode stunt, not a permanent change? We use 5D2's here and there, but for special shots, never as the full time "A" camera.

Genesis and F-35 use the same chip, and therefore the same vertical stripe color array pattern. The rest is different.





-- J.S.
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#58 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 10 May 2010 - 02:42 PM

House was a 1 time thing as far as I know, for special circumstances on set.
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#59 Rob Vogt

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Posted 10 May 2010 - 09:02 PM

Mmmm...No, that's wrong. 'FRINGE' shoots in Queens on a regular basis. 'How To Make It In America' is also 35mm and shot in NYC. There are new shows still coming down the pipline that are scheduled to be shot on film. Have alot of shows switched? Yes. Will they all? Doubt it.


Fringe for the most part moved to Toronto as of this season. Boardwalk Empire, on the other hand, also shot on film for the most part(although my friend said they're also using the EPIC for some stuff).

Edited by Rob Vogt, 10 May 2010 - 09:06 PM.

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#60 Joe Walker

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Posted 12 May 2010 - 10:08 AM

In fact, excuse me while I belt down some hard liquor to deal with that extra bit of bad news for the day.




Dear God, this has got to be the funniest thing I've ever seen you post Karl! I'm literally crying laughing right now. I hope your having a better day, if it helps you just made mine! :lol:
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