Jump to content


Photo

a lot of questionable film


  • Please log in to reply
34 replies to this topic

#1 Dave Plake

Dave Plake
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 88 posts
  • 2nd Assistant Camera
  • Oahu

Posted 09 January 2006 - 04:05 AM

I have at my disposal thousands of feet of 35mm negative.... 3 different stocks.... all from a show that ended. I don't know if the film is good anymore. Is there any way short of taking 15-20 feet of every single roll (about 115 cans) and shooting all of those feet processing it and then taking it to telecine? Can you send it to dr rawstock and they can test it? How do they test their short ends since they "guarantee" their film?

Thanks
D
  • 0

#2 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 19759 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 09 January 2006 - 11:19 AM

I have at my disposal thousands of feet of 35mm negative.... 3 different stocks.... all from a show that ended. I don't know if the film is good anymore. Is there any way short of taking 15-20 feet of every single roll (about 115 cans) and shooting all of those feet processing it and then taking it to telecine? Can you send it to dr rawstock and they can test it? How do they test their short ends since they "guarantee" their film?

Thanks
D


It's called "snip testing" -- they snip off some of the head of the roll and test that by processing it. You can send your film to a lab and ask them to snip test the rolls. You will get back some density numbers that will tell you how much fogging the negative has. To be sure, yes, you'd want to get every can snip-tested.

If the show just ended and it was new stock when they bought it, odds are high that it's fine unless they stored it improperly (like sitting out in the sun.)

Or you could sell all the stock to Dr. Rawstock or whoever, take the cash, and buy some new film, although MUCH less of it!
  • 0

#3 John Pytlak RIP

John Pytlak RIP

    (deceased)

  • Sustaining Members
  • 3499 posts
  • Industry Rep
  • Rochester, NY 14650-1922

Posted 09 January 2006 - 03:53 PM

Some labs may even have a sensitometer, such that they can expose a full gray scale on the film, and compare the full curve sensitometry to fresh film of the same type. They should also be looking for any sign of fogging from x-ray inspection, which may not always be uniform along the length of film.
  • 0

#4 Stuart Brereton

Stuart Brereton
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 3061 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 09 January 2006 - 04:22 PM

Bear in mind that any lab doing clip tests on recanned stock will be extremely conservative about what they say is usable or not. Understandably, they don't want to get blamed for any problems you might have.

If you are going through telecine, you will have a greater range of 'saveable' stock than if you planned to go to print.
  • 0

#5 Mike Crane

Mike Crane
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 141 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 09 January 2006 - 06:24 PM

You may want to sell it off to Pro8mm. They buy "bottom of the barrel" 35mm short ends and convert them to super 8.
  • 0

#6 Dominic Case

Dominic Case
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1357 posts
  • Other
  • Sydney Australia

Posted 09 January 2006 - 06:46 PM

They buy "bottom of the barrel" 35mm short ends and convert them to super 8.

That sounds a bit dodgy to me. Cutting the film up doesn't reduce the fog or the grain :o ; and since graininess is one of the things that goes UP with old stock, surely it's going to be a much much bigger problem in super 8.
  • 0

#7 Mike Crane

Mike Crane
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 141 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 09 January 2006 - 06:52 PM

I agree. But, Pro8mm buys old short-end footage none the less. It may therefore be a good spot to dispose of older film.
  • 0

#8 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 19759 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 09 January 2006 - 10:43 PM

I agree. But, Pro8mm buys old short-end footage none the less. It may therefore be a good spot to dispose of older film.


They would snip-test it though like anyone else buying it.
  • 0

#9 Mike Crane

Mike Crane
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 141 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 10 January 2006 - 01:01 PM

They do NOT snip test for their Pro8 16 or super 8 films when they buy direct from individuals. They bought a couple 1000 feet of older 5245 short ends from a friend of mine (couple years ago) at a very low price with no testing. He was told it would be cut up and sold at some point. Formerly, he tried to sell it to Dr Raw Stock, and it was rejected.

I also had confirmation that they do not snip test from one of the employees when I got some Xray damaged film from there.

This would lead me to belive that the only film that is snip tested is that which may be done prior to arriving to Pro8mm from other short end dealers.

I suppose the reason they do not snip test is because they are unable to process 35mm film.
  • 0

#10 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 19759 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 10 January 2006 - 01:50 PM

Well, then, that's pretty idiotic on their part -- I could sell them some completely useless stock, make a buck, and leave them screwed. Doesn't make any sense from a business standpoint. Are you sure they aren't buying recan from recan sellers? That stuff would be snip-tested.

A recan buyer doesn't have to be able to process the film themselves -- they send the snips to a lab.
  • 0

#11 Mike Crane

Mike Crane
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 141 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 10 January 2006 - 03:02 PM

True, my understanding is that they buy most of their film from recan re-sellers that should test the footage. But they will also buy from individuals and cut side deals. It seems they are indiscriminate about where the film comes from as long as the price is right.

The sad part is that they themselves do not get screwed. It is their customers that are the ones that really get hurt.
  • 0

#12 Chris Fernando

Chris Fernando
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 148 posts
  • 1st Assistant Camera

Posted 10 January 2006 - 04:12 PM

The sad part is that they themselves do not get screwed. It is their customers that are the ones that really get hurt.


Sounds like they're set up for the long haul.

Edited by CMPhern, 10 January 2006 - 04:13 PM.

  • 0

#13 Adam Frisch FSF

Adam Frisch FSF
  • Sustaining Members
  • 2009 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles, USA

Posted 11 January 2006 - 08:06 AM

Bear in mind that any lab doing clip tests on recanned stock will be extremely conservative about what they say is usable or not. Understandably, they don't want to get blamed for any problems you might have.

If you are going through telecine, you will have a greater range of 'saveable' stock than if you planned to go to print.


Stuart is right. Labs will almost always discourage from use of old film although the densities might just be slightly off.

I'm sitting with a report here myself on some 200T film "not recommended for use" by Technicolor, London:

Reference Densities:
R 0.18
G 0.59
B 0.92

Actual Films Densities:
R 0.31
G 0.75
B 1.12

The film shows some raised densities (?) in all colors, but by very little. In telecine this is easily corrected and would pobably not even be detectable. So, many times film that is "not usable" is in fact fully usable depending on what your end product is....
  • 0

#14 John Pytlak RIP

John Pytlak RIP

    (deceased)

  • Sustaining Members
  • 3499 posts
  • Industry Rep
  • Rochester, NY 14650-1922

Posted 11 January 2006 - 11:35 AM

Stuart is right. Labs will almost always discourage from use of old film although the densities might just be slightly off.

I'm sitting with a report here myself on some 200T film "not recommended for use" by Technicolor, London:

Reference Densities:
R 0.18
G 0.59
B 0.92

Actual Films Densities:
R 0.31
G 0.75
B 1.12

The film shows some raised densities (?) in all colors, but by very little. In telecine this is easily corrected and would pobably not even be detectable. So, many times film that is "not usable" is in fact fully usable depending on what your end product is....


Sorry, those d-min increases are quite substantial, and will affect quality. Even if the fogged tone scale is correctable in telecine, it's likely you will have an increase in granularity. As I noted, overexposing slightly will help put the scene information up the curve and less on the most fogged grains. The film is "usable", but don't expect the same image quality as fresh film, even on telecine.
  • 0

#15 Dominic Case

Dominic Case
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1357 posts
  • Other
  • Sydney Australia

Posted 11 January 2006 - 05:06 PM

So, many times film that is "not usable" is in fact fully usable depending on what your end product is....

Exactly so!

The lab doesn't know what your end product is or what your requirements are.

If we approve aged stock with figures like those quoted, and there is a visible difference (yes, there WILL be, as John says - these figures aren't even borderline, they are bad), then someone is going to have to pay for (a) the extra telecine time to match the dud roll to the others, or (B) the re-shoot. You can bet that the customer won't want to ("you said it would be OK and it isn't, I've had to spend $$$ to fix your problem").

If we reject it, there will always be a suspicion that it would have been OK, and we've cost the customer money by having to go out and buy fresh stock. Or we get ignored. What's the point.

If you are that keen to save the money, you will spend a little of it to shoot a proper test of the sort of scene you plan, and have a look at the result yourself. Otherwise, it's not worth the risk.
  • 0

#16 Adam Frisch FSF

Adam Frisch FSF
  • Sustaining Members
  • 2009 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles, USA

Posted 12 January 2006 - 07:10 AM

We've been over this so many times, it's nauseating. Yes, there is a risk. And if you have a paying customer, then avoid it. If you don't or you have investors who understand the risk and are willing to share it for the opportunity to get a 35mm look on 16mm or even DV money, then it's not only an option, but a very viable route.

I built my reel on short ends and old film. I've shot at least 10 shorts and probably more than 15 music videos on outdated stock without one single mishap or shot getting lost. Yes, some of it was a bit grainy, but then we'd match the grain levels to the grainiest one on the rest or we'd de-grain it in post and so on. There's always a way.

All I'm saying is that my philosophy when I was starting out was to rather shoot the stuff on old 35mm than new DV. This boosted my reel in a very significant way. So one could almost say I owe my career to old film stock. This is a factor one has to recognize.

You have to ask yourself this question: will my film look better on 35mm that's slightly grainier than normal 35mm, or on new 16mm film or HDCAM? If you're wired like I am then you'd probably say that 35mm will always look better, no matter what.

I understand the labs position on this topic and I'd do exactly the same thing if I was a lab owner. But that doesn't make the words "not suitable for use" more correct.
  • 0

#17 Stephen Williams

Stephen Williams
  • Sustaining Members
  • 4708 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Europe

Posted 12 January 2006 - 08:00 AM

If you're wired like I am then you'd probably say that 35mm will always look better, no matter what.


Hi Adam.

Exactly my thoughts.

Cheers,

Stephen
  • 0

#18 John Pytlak RIP

John Pytlak RIP

    (deceased)

  • Sustaining Members
  • 3499 posts
  • Industry Rep
  • Rochester, NY 14650-1922

Posted 12 January 2006 - 04:52 PM

Adam wrote:

I built my reel on short ends and old film. I've shot at least 10 shorts and probably more than 15 music videos on outdated stock without one single mishap or shot getting lost. Yes, some of it was a bit grainy, but then we'd match the grain levels to the grainiest one on the rest or we'd de-grain it in post and so on. There's always a way.


As I had written:

The film is "usable", but don't expect the same image quality as fresh film, even on telecine.


It's just nice that 35mm film gives better quality than the alternatives, even when it's slightly fogged. So in your case, you are making the decision that's best for you. Using older film is fine, as long as you know what you are dealing with, and can live with the compromises.
  • 0

#19 Stuart Brereton

Stuart Brereton
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 3061 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 12 January 2006 - 05:24 PM

John or Dominic,

How far off from the reference densities can film be and still be usable? By usable I mean correctable in TK to intercut with fresh stock. I know that this is a hard question to answer, and it's also the question that labs err on the side of caution with, but Dominic described the densities that Adam quoted as being 'not borderline, but BAD'. So, what is borderline, and where does it change to bad? Is there a rough rule of thumb that can be applied?

I promise not to hold you responsible for your answers ;-)
  • 0

#20 Dominic Case

Dominic Case
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1357 posts
  • Other
  • Sydney Australia

Posted 12 January 2006 - 06:52 PM

So, what is borderline, and where does it change to bad?

Let me ask you a question:

On a greyscale, where does it change from black to white?
  • 0


Wooden Camera

CineLab

Tai Audio

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Rig Wheels Passport

Opal

Glidecam

Metropolis Post

Abel Cine

Visual Products

CineTape

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Aerial Filmworks

Willys Widgets

Paralinx LLC

FJS International, LLC

rebotnix Technologies

Ritter Battery

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Technodolly

The Slider

Opal

The Slider

Willys Widgets

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Wooden Camera

Metropolis Post

Rig Wheels Passport

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Tai Audio

Aerial Filmworks

CineTape

Glidecam

rebotnix Technologies

Ritter Battery

CineLab

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Visual Products

Technodolly

Abel Cine

FJS International, LLC

Paralinx LLC