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The Costs of an Optical Blow-UP


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#1 JP Creatives

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Posted 27 April 2006 - 02:07 PM

Hello,

I was just wondering if anyone had any idea how much a s16mm to 35mm optical blow-up may cost for a feature?

Also, I was wondering all the steps involved. Say I got best-lite dailies with the Key Code Burn in and edited in Final Cut Pro. WHen I have picture lock what would I do from there? I just can't seem to wrap my head around this process, so any advice and knowledge will be welcomed, even what technicalities to be careful of while editing so the negative conform and soundtrack match up, etc.

Thanks in advance,

JP

Edited by JP Creatives, 27 April 2006 - 02:08 PM.

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#2 Jason Debus

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Posted 27 April 2006 - 04:51 PM

I'm interested in hearing about the costs involved as well, and also I'm still trying to learn the complete workflow.

What I can add to your original post is that an EDL (edit decision list) is exported from FCP. A negative cutter conforms your negative according to the EDL, usually using AB rolls. Then from there I'm not sure how the optical blowup to 35mm works exactly. Also I'm not sure how you would go about titles, dissolves and similar compositing effects and would be curious as to how this is accomplished & the costs involved.
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#3 Dominic Case

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Posted 27 April 2006 - 07:09 PM

There are two slightly different approaches (plus a few variations).

Either:-

You get the 16mm neg cut in A&B rolls, and make a 16mm Intermediate Positive (IP) on a wet gate contact printer. The neg needs to be graded to do this, and it is usual to make a mute check print before going ahead with the IP, to ensure that the neg cut is correct, and the grade is OK.

Then, from the 16mm IP you make a 35mm dupe neg on an optical printer. This dupe neg obviously carries the correct grading through from the IP, and so no further scene-to-scene corrections are needed when making prints.

This is a cheaper method than the next alternative, but isn't quite such good quality, as you have a generation of 16mm in the duping stages.

So the alternative method is:-

You have the 16mm neg cut in a single roll, with handles (4-6 frames on each end of each shot). This is graded, and a 35mm interpos (IP) is made on a wet gate optical printer. Then the IP goes back to the neg cutter who cuts it down to the correct length, and a 35mm dupe neg is made on a contact printer.

The reason for the overlength neg cut is that splices have a tendency to jump slightly on some wet gate optical printers, so it's best not to have splices on frames that you need. You have to use a wet gate printer in the first stage (making the IP) to eliminate any scratches or cinch marks that have appeared on the original negative (there will be some, however carefully the neg cutter has handled the film).

It's possible to blow up directly from A&B rolls, but you carry that risk of splice jump. Also, opticals, titles etc are best done directly on to 35mm, and they have to be cut in at some point: it's best to cut them in to the 35mm IP while it is being cut down to length so that you end up with a one-piece dupe neg.

As with any neg cut to an EDL, there is a risk of the numbers going wrong in the list management, or in the matching of film frames to video frames. This can result in anything from sync drifting bay a frame or two, to totally incorrect shots being cut in. If you are going with the first blow-up option, use the 16mm check print, play it against the final sound edit before you go to your sound mix. Any sync errors will show up, though the easiest way to correct them by a frame or two is usually to adjust the sound to match the picture cut error rather than the other way around. Otherwise (and if you decide to go for quality with a 35mm IP - blow-up option 2 - ) it is a good idea to use the EDL to make a pos conform (print the selected takes, and get them fine cut to make a 16mm cut work print which you can then play against the sound edit.
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#4 Canney

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Posted 28 April 2006 - 12:38 PM

How long is your feature. Cause the last time I looked at a blow up price that was done by a lab it was $350 a minute to 35mm. Yet I think the place was a bit pricy.
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