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Cost of Digital Intermediate


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#1 Eugene Lehnert

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Posted 31 January 2006 - 03:06 PM

I am working on a short film and I was interested in finding out the process of using a digital intermediate to go to 35mm film.

I am shooting on Super16 and I wanted to actually get a negative cut, but do to some recent problems with shooting I wanted to see if I could fix them using the DI route. I have some edge fogging and I thought that going the route of a DI I could zoom into the image avoiding the sides of the image. I know it would increase grain but I wanted to weight my options. It might actually be cheaper to just re-shoot some film.

What can I expect when doing a DI on a film that is about 5 minutes long? Is it easy for me to say create my own credit sequence in After Effects in a high resolution format and use it in the DI?
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 31 January 2006 - 03:15 PM

Well, 2K D.I.'s generally cost anywhere from $100,000 to $200,000, or more -- for a feature, so my guess is that if you divide that by 20 (a 5 minute film instead of a 100 minute film), that's like $5,000 to $10,000.

So odds are high that it would probably be cheaper to reshoot if possible.
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#3 Eugene Lehnert

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Posted 31 January 2006 - 03:30 PM

Yes, it would appear so.

How much do supervised HD video transfers cost? I can work in DVCPROHD in the 720p format since I have access to the panasonic deck and I have the drive space. Then at DVFilm I can transfer 5 minutes of video for about $2k.

This way I thought I would be able to use still images and create an opening title sequence in After Effects and even composite in a starfield and moon in the scene shot at night. Options that would be out of my reach otherwise.
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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 31 January 2006 - 07:01 PM

I think most HD Spirit sessions are around $500/hr. -- figure on needing double your footage running time at least for making corrections.
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#5 Keith Mottram

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Posted 01 February 2006 - 07:23 AM

David, apart from the fact that you sit in rgb colour space what are the major disadvantages of going down a spirit route for a DI? If you look at the fact that a spirit 2K scan is actually an upressed HD scan (correct me if I'm wrong) and you transfer to SR then would this not be a viable cheap alternative to a Filmlight/ other hi-end? With the correct post-path you could create a 4:4:4 SR master for considerably less than the $100,000.

Keith
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#6 Stephen Williams

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Posted 01 February 2006 - 07:58 AM

David, apart from the fact that you sit in rgb colour space what are the major disadvantages of going down a spirit route for a DI? If you look at the fact that a spirit 2K scan is actually an upressed HD scan (correct me if I'm wrong) and you transfer to SR then would this not be a viable cheap alternative to a Filmlight/ other hi-end? With the correct post-path you could create a 4:4:4 SR master for considerably less than the $100,000.

Keith


Keith,

RGB color space is the main Issue. You are correct that a 2K Spirit is not 2K.
For the budget consious its the way to go, but don't expect it to look as good as a contact print from the neg.

Stephen
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#7 Keith Mottram

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Posted 01 February 2006 - 08:51 AM

Keith,

RGB color space is the main Issue. You are correct that a 2K Spirit is not 2K.
For the budget consious its the way to go, but don't expect it to look as good as a contact print from the neg.

Stephen


Stephen,

I think this is possibly the best route for those wishing to have their low budget cake and eat it. You could feasably end up with an SR master plus all SD deliverables and put yourself in a reasonable place for sales. I've seen SR RGB blowups (Mirrormask went 4:2:2 SR to 35mm) and they are soft, but the results for the price are practicle. Out of interest does anyone else know of other films that went through this path- I'm talking film to SR to filmout, rather than HD originated?

Keith
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#8 Stephen Williams

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Posted 01 February 2006 - 09:18 AM

Stephen,

I think this is possibly the best route for those wishing to have their low budget cake and eat it. You could feasably end up with an SR master plus all SD deliverables and put yourself in a reasonable place for sales. I've seen SR RGB blowups (Mirrormask went 4:2:2 SR to 35mm) and they are soft, but the results for the price are practicle. Out of interest does anyone else know of other films that went through this path- I'm talking film to SR to filmout, rather than HD originated?

Keith


Keith,

I have seen a Swiss features posted this route, recording 4:4:4 from the Spirit. It was very good for the budget. However it does not look like it came from Hollywood although its clearly far better than any 'home' posted job. Now if you could take a 4K Spirit, down res to HDCAM SR 4:4:4, I guess that would look better still.

Stephen
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#9 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 01 February 2006 - 12:03 PM

There are the old Spirits, the new 2K and 4K Spirits. The old Spirits are basically HD rez (1920 pixels across), so that had to uprez slightly to get to 2048 pixel across (2K).

I think red and blue chroma is sampled at a lower rez too on the older Spirits, but I'm not sure on that.

Basically the difference between a Spirit telecine and a true film scanner is that a scanner is pin-registered. It tends to go slower than a Spirit transfer. So the general guideline for a D.I., if both a 4K or 2K Spirit and a film scanner (like a Northlight) are an option, is that if the material is going to be used for efx compositing, then use a scanner. If the bulk of the movie isn't, you can use the Spirit.

A Spirit scan may look slightly less noisy / grainy because of the diffused light source used. In terms of sharpness, a 4K Spirit transfer is pretty sharp, comparable with film scanner work from what some post houses tell me.

Yes, a Spirit transfer to HDCAM-SR 4:4:4 is becoming a slightly lower-cost option for a D.I. To my eyes, it looks comparable to an all-2K D.I., but not as sharp as a 4K-to-2K D.I.
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