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35mm film editing


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#1 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 20 January 2006 - 09:53 PM

Is anyone aware of a forum like this one, geared to editing 35mm film, or any sites on the subject. I've been seaching and the landscape looks pretty bare. There are a few digital forums but even those are few and non seem to have links to film editing. I recently acquired an editing machine and want to learn how to use the damn thing, but here in El Paso there are no facilities for film that I'm aware of so I guess i'm going to be self taught and although books are great it's nice to be able to talk to expirenced people for advice. Thanks-Steve
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#2 Rolfe Klement

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Posted 21 January 2006 - 03:15 PM

There is a school of film medium manipulation somewhere in the UK. I was going to go to a course at it. They do things like scratch film neg etc and I am sure they do cutting on the the ol' six plate.

Check the shooting poeple archive for info on it - they should have info or links on it

I have done a tiny bit but not for a while. The biggest probelm for me was damage to the neg or IN or IP whichever

thanks

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#3 Paul Bruening

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Posted 21 January 2006 - 04:47 PM

Hey Cap.

Old school is pretty intuitive. Older books will show you the grease pencil marking techniques as well as cut direction and splicing methods. I kinda' miss the old Steenbeck 8 platter. Geeze, I am getting old!

What is complicated about the old ways was binning and filing the cuts, especially, all the little trim cuts. It can come up to a mound of paper work and a mountain of film hanging and laying all over the place. YOU MUST KEEP IT ALL ORGSANIZED AND PAPERWORKED. It becomes a nightmare if you don't manage it with serious anal-retentiveness.
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#4 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 21 January 2006 - 05:11 PM

Hey Cap.

Old school is pretty intuitive. Older books will show you the grease pencil marking techniques as well as cut direction and splicing methods. I kinda' miss the old Steenbeck 8 platter. Geeze, I am getting old!

What is complicated about the old ways was binning and filing the cuts, especially, all the little trim cuts. It can come up to a mound of paper work and a mountain of film hanging and laying all over the place. YOU MUST KEEP IT ALL ORGSANIZED AND PAPERWORKED. It becomes a nightmare if you don't manage it with serious anal-retentiveness.


The only book that I believe is currently around is "16mm Film Cutting" by John Burder. The principles are the same, although things like the layout recording tracks on 35mm magnetic film are different. It's kinda fun and when you lose sync you can always throw the splicer against the cutting room wall!!

You need to log everything and have loads of labeled film cans to store the trims. You'd need to check if the dubbing suites can handle 35mm mag film these days. So much of it is digital.

About 6 years ago I saw a feature that had a credit declaring that it had been cut on film. Shows how rare it has become.
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#5 Dan Goulder

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Posted 21 January 2006 - 06:51 PM

If it's any comfort, I believe Steven Spielberg has cut every one of his films, from Munich on back, on a flat bed. I'd be curious to know if any other high profile filmmakers still cut this way.
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#6 dd3stp233

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Posted 21 January 2006 - 09:49 PM

I've heard a lot of the old timers still use flatbeds or even upright Moviolas. Some low-budget films may use them too. Also many people that consider themselves film purists, that actually prefer to physically handle the film during editing.
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#7 Ahjudah

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Posted 21 January 2006 - 10:53 PM

If it's any comfort, I believe Steven Spielberg has cut every one of his films, from Munich on back, on a flat bed. I'd be curious to know if any other high profile filmmakers still cut this way.



David Lynch, for one.


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#8 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 22 January 2006 - 01:07 AM

what I've got is a KEM 6.35 with the Cinemascope head that capible of working on Cinamascope, widescreen and academy standard. It's a 6 plate machine in almost perfect condition and really is a thing of beauty. I must admit that I'm surprised, being from the video world and now knowing that much about film yet, that your telling me this isn't the way it's done anymore, that it's "old school" . I know "The Producers" was cut on a machine exactly like mine and KEM is still selling a model that looks identical. How are they doing it now? Is it transfered to video, cut on a computer, then what? Don't you still have to cut and assemble the actual film negative using the video as your guide to get the answer print? At this point I am very low budget as well so I'll have to do a lot of things on my own. I also read that using reveral stock is the way to go when learning to edit for various reasons. Has anyone else heard that? Please forgive my ignorance but I'm a rookie at this so please feel free to enlighten me. Here are some pics.

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#9 Robert Hughes

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Posted 22 January 2006 - 03:51 AM

Nah, that ol' thing is a piece of junk. Just ship it prepaid to me and I'll be sure it's disposed of properly... :lol:

Seriously, it looks like someone just handed you the keys to a gold mine. You've got the equipment to make a feature. Go for it. Plenty of books describe film editing, mostly for 16mm (for instance, "Cinematography" by Kris Malkiewicz & David Mullen), but you'll be able to see the connection.

Edited by Robert Hughes, 22 January 2006 - 03:55 AM.

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#10 Stephen Williams

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Posted 22 January 2006 - 05:03 AM

what I've got is a KEM 6.35 with the Cinemascope head that capible of working on Cinamascope, widescreen and academy standard. It's a 6 plate machine in almost perfect condition and really is a thing of beauty. I must admit that I'm surprised, being from the video world and now knowing that much about film yet, that your telling me this isn't the way it's done anymore, that it's "old school" . I know "The Producers" was cut on a machine exactly like mine and KEM is still selling a model that looks identical. How are they doing it now? Is it transfered to video, cut on a computer, then what? Don't you still have to cut and assemble the actual film negative using the video as your guide to get the answer print? At this point I am very low budget as well so I'll have to do a lot of things on my own. I also read that using reveral stock is the way to go when learning to edit for various reasons. Has anyone else heard that? Please forgive my ignorance but I'm a rookie at this so please feel free to enlighten me. Here are some pics.


Hi,

Does the centre section roll over to go from 16mm-35mm?

Stephen
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#11 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 22 January 2006 - 05:42 AM

I've had conversations with an editor friend of mine about how the use on non linear editing equipment has changed the pacing of feature films compared to those films cut by the more traditional route.

Using a traditional film route you'd get a cutting copy or workprint made from your camera negative. You'd do all your editing on that and when everything is locked you'd sent the negative to be cut so that it matches the edits on your workprint. This has dissolves etc marked out on it by chinagraph (grease) pencil. The neg cutters use the edge numbers on the negative to match up with the workprint.

You then sent the cut neg to the lab who will make an answer print, you use this to begin grading the film. You may need a few prints before you finally get a print that you feel happy about the grading.
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#12 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 22 January 2006 - 11:48 AM

Also, if you're cutting sound on mag on the flatbed, you'll need to find a place that can still ink numbers on the rolls after you've synced them, so that once you start breaking things up into trims, you have a way of syncing up the shots without slates.
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#13 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 22 January 2006 - 02:00 PM

Also, if you're cutting sound on mag on the flatbed, you'll need to find a place that can still ink numbers on the rolls after you've synced them, so that once you start breaking things up into trims, you have a way of syncing up the shots without slates.


Failing that, remember to put sync marks on every sound and picture trim, together with shot info and keep the trims together.
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#14 Robert Edge

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Posted 22 January 2006 - 02:14 PM

Some suggestions:

Raymond Spottiswood, Film and its Techniques, University of California Press

Spottiswood worked with John Grierson and the National Film Board of Canada. This is a classic work that went through many printings, worth reading not only for the technical information but also the history. Long out of print (my copy was printed in the mid-60's), but not hard to find through, eg, www.abebooks.com

Ralph Rosenblum, When the Shooting Stops ... the Cutting Begins, Da Capo Press, 1979.

Rosenblum edited The Pawnbroker, The Proucers, Goodbye Columbus and six of Woody Allen's films, among others. Recently reprinted.

Michael Ondaatje, The Conversations: Walter Murch and the Art of Editing Film, Vintage, 2002.

Ondaatje is a Canadian novelist and poet. He met Murch while Murch was editing the film version of Ondaatje's novel The English Patient, and they decided to write a book about Murch's career and approach to editing. It is a fascinating book.

Charles Koppelman, Behind the Seen: How Walter Murch Edited Cold Mountain Using Apple's Final Cut Pro and What this Means for Cinema, New Riders, 2005.

Murch's transition to digital...

Both of the books about Murch contain a good deal of technical information.

The February issue of American Cinematographer contains an article about Frederick Wiseman, who continues to edit the old fashioned way because he thinks that it helps him find his films. The photo of his editing room will tell you what you're in for :)
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#15 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 22 January 2006 - 02:16 PM

Failing that, remember to put sync marks on every sound and picture trim, together with shot info and keep the trims together.


Yes, you could use a gang synchronizer and write with a Sharpie on the mag the corresponding edgecode number on the film, but that can get pretty tedious for large rolls.
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#16 Robert Edge

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Posted 22 January 2006 - 03:11 PM

Sorry, that should be Spottiswoode with an "e". He also wrote A Grammar of the Film: An Analysis of Film Technique.

Just did a quick search, and there are lots of copies of both books available second-hand.
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#17 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 22 January 2006 - 03:37 PM

Yes, you could use a gang synchronizer and write with a Sharpie on the mag the corresponding edgecode number on the film, but that can get pretty tedious for large rolls.


Rubber numbering is the best method, the added difficulty with 35mm being that there are 4 perfs per frame. If you don't have a rubber numbering machine available, you're going to have to be extremely anal about your frame marks when you're track laying.
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#18 Robert Edge

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Posted 22 January 2006 - 06:27 PM

Charles Koppelman, in Behind the Seen, after saying that F.F. Coppola, in 1967, bought the first Steenbeck flatbed to be used on a feature film in the US (The Rain People), says this about the KEM (pp. 51-2):

"So in 1972, another challenge for Murch on The Conversation ... was the new editing machine he was using - this one a huge, gray, ultrmodern KEM Universal "8-plate" flatbed, similar to the one that Thelma Schoonmaker had used to edit Woodstock in 1970. Until The Conversation, all of Murch's picture editing experience had been on the traditional upright American Moviola. The sleek German KEM had two rotating-prism screens, was push-button operated and capable of playing three tracks of sound at the same time. But it required film workprint to be strung together in large 1000-foot (11 minute) rolls of consecutive shots, rather than spooled into cupcake-sized individual takes a minute or two long, as used on a Moviola. The two machines require working in different modes, which Murch likens to a sculptor using different materials: instead of building up the "sculpture" of the film from the small bits of "clay," as would have been the case with a Moviola, editing with a KEM involves chiseling away chunks of "marble" from large blocks of film, ultimately revealing the movie hidden inside.

"Although it is a mechanical device, the Moviola is in fact a non-linear system with more organizational similarities to random-access computerized editing than to the linear KEM system. Consequently Murch's change to the linear KEM from the non-linear Moviola actually required more of a wrenching conceptual shift than the shift he would eventually make from film-based editing to digital editing. After The Conversation, Murch would switch back and forth between KEM and Moviola over the following 20 years, depending on the director he was working for and the editorial syle of the film."

Koppelman goes on to say that Murch first used an Avid in 1994, on a Linda Rondstadt music video, and that The English Patient was the first feature film that he edited entirely on Avid.

Coppola, in a contribution to Ondaatje's "The Conversations" entitled "I'm NOT going to mix the picture upside down!", tells an amusing story about his and Murch's efforts to figure out the gear that he brought to the US from Germany in 1967.
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#19 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 22 January 2006 - 08:29 PM

Charles Koppelman, in Behind the Seen, after saying that F.F. Coppola, in 1967, bought the first Steenbeck flatbed to be used on a feature film in the US (The Rain People), says this about the KEM (pp. 51-2):

"So in 1972, another challenge for Murch on The Conversation ... was the new editing machine he was using - this one a huge, gray, ultrmodern KEM Universal "8-plate" flatbed, similar to the one that Thelma Schoonmaker had used to edit Woodstock in 1970. Until The Conversation, all of Murch's picture editing experience had been on the traditional upright American Moviola. The sleek German KEM had two rotating-prism screens, was push-button operated and capable of playing three tracks of sound at the same time. But it required film workprint to be strung together in large 1000-foot (11 minute) rolls of consecutive shots, rather than spooled into cupcake-sized individual takes a minute or two long, as used on a Moviola. The two machines require working in different modes, which Murch likens to a sculptor using different materials: instead of building up the "sculpture" of the film from the small bits of "clay," as would have been the case with a Moviola, editing with a KEM involves chiseling away chunks of "marble" from large blocks of film, ultimately revealing the movie hidden inside.

"Although it is a mechanical device, the Moviola is in fact a non-linear system with more organizational similarities to random-access computerized editing than to the linear KEM system. Consequently Murch's change to the linear KEM from the non-linear Moviola actually required more of a wrenching conceptual shift than the shift he would eventually make from film-based editing to digital editing. After The Conversation, Murch would switch back and forth between KEM and Moviola over the following 20 years, depending on the director he was working for and the editorial syle of the film."

Koppelman goes on to say that Murch first used an Avid in 1994, on a Linda Rondstadt music video, and that The English Patient was the first feature film that he edited entirely on Avid.

Coppola, in a contribution to Ondaatje's "The Conversations" entitled "I'm NOT going to mix the picture upside down!", tells an amusing story about his and Murch's efforts to figure out the gear that he brought to the US from Germany in 1967.

Interesting comparision of the 2 machines. I met Francis. I used to be good friends with Laurence Fishburne and He took me to a looping session for Apocalypse Now.
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#20 Mark Dunn

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Posted 23 January 2006 - 08:28 AM

More power to you. Although you'll need a ton of money even to make a short film, the usual advice is that computer editing isn't cheaper if you're just having a few prints. There's nothing to beat getting your hands on the stuff, actually being able to see your images.
I haven't edited since film school, so don't quote me, but I reckon flatbeds are actually quite inconvenient for fine cutting and working with mag film. I'd want to use a pic-sync as well for that ( http://www.acmade.co...Compeditor JPEG ). I got mine (16mm) from ebay for £1; it complements my £75 Steenbeck but I don't know if they ever caught on in the US; perhaps the Moviola is your equivalent. It's used for synchronising rushes as well. You can't easily view single takes on a flatbed, they're more for viewing. And I'd say that edge numbering was essential. Good luck.
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