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Super 8 - 45min to feature length - possible?


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#1 Chris Graham

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Posted 15 June 2006 - 10:49 AM

Hey, gang

Haven't been here for a while. Took a hiatus from several projects..

Anyhow, is it possible? I'd like to submit something for Showtime's Latino Showcase or the HBO Showcase. I'd like to shoot on S8 as a challenge. It's about a retro-pop group from the 80's. I feel that the S8 grain would be appropriate and affect the story. I have 10K saved up. :)
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#2 Tron X

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Posted 15 June 2006 - 11:13 AM

If you go to onsuper8.org you'll find a super 8 calculator under the tools section on the main page. It should help you.
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#3 Rick Palidwor

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Posted 15 June 2006 - 12:58 PM

Wht wouldn't it be possible? It's a matter of whether it suits the project, and it sounds like it does, so go for it.
(See the thread below for comments on the super 8 feature Sleep Always).

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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 15 June 2006 - 02:04 PM

Sure it's possible. I'd avoid a 45-minute movie though unless it is clearly intended to be sold for a one-hour TV time slot, like a doc for the History Channel. Otherwise, it's a useless length, too long to be a short and too short to be a feature.
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#5 Chris Graham

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Posted 15 June 2006 - 05:30 PM

Wht wouldn't it be possible? It's a matter of whether it suits the project, and it sounds like it does, so go for it.
(See the thread below for comments on the super 8 feature Sleep Always).

Rick


thx, Rick. Always liking your input in the Super8 mag. I believe those Latino showcase shows have shorts, and at very small lengths. I'll sort it out.
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#6 Anthony Schilling

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Posted 16 June 2006 - 12:07 AM

Shoot it on a quiet crystal sync cam, and 7217. It will be great!
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#7 nathan coombs

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Posted 18 June 2006 - 05:45 AM

Shoot it on a quiet crystal sync cam, and 7217. It will be great!


I would start negotiating and get a quote for an uncompressed, straight to hard drive telecine for all that material. Finishing this way will really allow you to massively correct for exposure errors, colour correction etc. speeding up your filming and finishing to a higher quality to escape that poop super-8 look that tv channels loathe (except for short, deliberately grainy inserts in their DV programming).
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#8 dd3stp233

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Posted 18 June 2006 - 08:01 AM

Neil Young's feature film "Greendale"(2003) was shot on super 8. It was blown up to 35mm and had a limited theatrical release. Saw it at the premiere in L.A., of course, grainy on the big screen but he used it for a unique kind of look. So S8 has been used before to make a feature.
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#9 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 18 June 2006 - 08:28 AM

I would start negotiating and get a quote for an uncompressed, straight to hard drive telecine for all that material. Finishing this way will really allow you to massively correct for exposure errors, colour correction etc. speeding up your filming and finishing to a higher quality to escape that poop super-8 look that tv channels loathe (except for short, deliberately grainy inserts in their DV programming).



I'd like to examine the three primary formats for transferring Super-8 to NLE (Non Linear Editing).


Method #1

Uncompressed, straight to hard drive telecine is the superior digital transfer option because one can better use visual correction tools to enhance the picture quality.

Method #2

Analog Betacam SP offers seamless color correction capabiliites that are not limited by 5-1 dv compression codecs. Playing back a BetaCam SP tape from a BVW, PVW or UVW Betacam SP player in component or S-video mode should easily surpass the 5-1 compression scheme dv incorporates, it just depends on the analog signal is encoded that determines how much quality is retained....

Method #3

Super-8 to DV transfers offer the best of all worlds from both a price and quality point of view.

--------------------------------------

Analysis of all three methods....

....Both Uncompressed 10 bit OR Betacam SP transfer offer the most potential bang for the quality buck, whereas mini-dv offers the most overall flexibility in terms of transfer costs and established editing platforms that already exist.

Would it be safe to say that all three transfer methods are imperfect, that all offer both advantages and disadvantages?

------------------------------------------
Method #1

Uncompressed 10 bit transfers use a ton more memory which results in more expensive versions of NLE programs currently available on DV that probably have less bells & whistles. Can an umcompressed transfer onto an uncomnpressed NLE system be easily transfered back to either analog or digital video with no complications? Is it possible that an uncompressed 10 bit transfer is a hassle to work with when it comes to being able to transfer the signal back to either digital video or high end analog video such as Betacam Sp?

Method #2

BetaCam SP requires a more high end NLE platform that will then use more memory when converting the analog signal to digital video. A standard dv NLE platform that converts betacam sp to digital video via 5-1 compression may not be the best way to handle the betacam sp signal. Was anything gained by first transferring to betacam Sp and then converting to dv if the betacam tape will be compressed at 5-1? Perhaps yes if one later gains access to a higher-end NLE system that won't compress the betacam sp signal at 5-1. A betacam SP tape will probably archive better than a mini-dv tape, but the playback machines are much more expensive.

Method #3

Mini-DV NLE offers the most bang for the buck but may be limited in it's full scale ability to color and video correct an image. Is it possible that "grainy" super-8 does not do well via color & video correction in a dv NLE world but less grainy super-8 has no problem?

Might the lower grain Super-8 stocks properly transfered to dv allow for a full range of color and video correction? Is it also possible that when people make assertions about the lack of quality of dv color and video correction that they are refering to "do it yourself" dv transfers that may have used improperly calibrated dv cameras? Is it possible that high end dv transfers done on a rank are of a high enough quality and don't suffer quality losses when color and video corrected on a dv editing platform?

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I'm curious to see if anyone strongly disagrees with any of the premises I made above, and if so, why.

Among the three methods discussed above, my present belief is that there is no one super-8 film transfer to video work flow that is automatically superior to the other two methods.
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#10 Chris Burke

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Posted 18 June 2006 - 08:47 AM

check out www.cinelab.com. For $43.00US per cart of either 7217 or 7218, processing and telecine, which can be to your format of choice which includes straight to hard drive as a 10 bit uncompressed file. There is no surcharge for straight to drive. For Super 8, I highly recommend this route. You will have to supply the drive. I have used them before and give them high marks. They have made many improvements over the last year or so and are worth checking out. For a feature, I am quite sure they can cut you a better deal than the book rate. On a side note, they have a film recorder if you wish to have a print. Perhaps they will do a deal for an entire package that includes a film out. Good luck


chris

I'd like to try and sort out the above statement.
The commonly held belief is that all Digital is superior to analog.

Uncompressed, straight to hard drive telecine is the superior digital transfer option because one can better use visual correction tools to enhance the picture quality.

Analog Betacam SP offers seamless color correction capabiliites that are not limited by 5-1 dv compression codecs. Playing back a BetaCam SP tape from a BVW, PVW or UVW Betacam SP player in component or S-video mode should easily surpass the 5-1 compression scheme dv incorporates, it just depends on the analog signal is just encoded that determines how much qualityis retained....

Ergo, if color correction and video correction of your super-8 film transfer is essential to your video post production process....
......Both Uncompressed 10 bit OR Betacam SP transfer offer the most potential bang for the quality buck, whereas mini-dv offers the most overall flexibility in terms of transfer costs and established editing platforms that already exist.

Would it be safe to say that all three transfer methods are imperfect, that all offer both advantages and disadvantages?

Uncompressed 10 bit transfers have less editing platforms available and use a ton more memory that involves more expense and less editing options in terms of existing editing platforms. Also, can an umcompressed nle editing system be easily transfered back to either analog or digital video with no complications?

BetaCam SP requires a more high end NLE editing platform that will then use more memory when converting the analog signal to digital, meaning a standard dv NLE platform that converts betacam sp to digital video via 5-1 compression may not be the best way to handle the betacam sp signal. Was anything gained by first transferring to betacam Sp and then converting to dv if the betacam tape will be compressed at 5-1? Perhaps yes if one later gains access to a higher-end NLE system that won't compress the betacam sp signal at 5-1.

Mini-DV NLE offers the most bang for the buck but may be limited in it's full scale ability to color and video correct an image. Is it possible that "grainy" super-8 does not do will via color correction in a dv NLE world but less grainy super-8 has no problem?

-------------------------------------------------------

I don't know if I agree with all of the above statements, I'm just curious if those are all points that seem correct in asserting the benefits and drawbacks of each transfer method. I'd be curious to see if anyone strongly disagrees with any of the premises I made above, and if so, why.



My recommendation is straight to hard drive. If your system can not handle the files, make offline clips with at least a window burn. Then you can go somewhere that can handle the uncompressed files. Serial ATA II drives and raid cards are coming way down in price, making editing of uncompressed SD more affordable and accessible than ever.
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#11 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 18 June 2006 - 08:54 AM

My recommendation is straight to hard drive. If your system can not handle the files, make offline clips with at least a window burn. Then you can go somewhere that can handle the uncompressed files. Serial ATA II drives and raid cards are coming way down in price, making editing of uncompressed SD more affordable and accessible than ever.


But then to do color correction on someone else's system could become a cost prohibitive scenario.
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#12 Chris Burke

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Posted 18 June 2006 - 09:21 AM

But then to do color correction on someone else's system could become a cost prohibitive scenario.



For some yes, but not all. Deals can be struck. You can do all your own grading at home, quite easily these days, bring in that reference movie and save your self a lot of time and money at the post house. If you have not given any thought to how the movie should look and go into the post session unprepaired, then yes, it will cost you a small fortune on someone else's system. I feel that going to hard drive gives you many more possibilities than going to lower end tape formats. Beta SP is fine and all but an expensive choice as you have stated.

If you are cutting on Final Cut Pro, you can take the uncompressed stuff and make them into DVCPro 50 files that can be cut and graded in real time. The quality between those two formats is negligible.

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#13 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 18 June 2006 - 12:47 PM

Straight to hard drive, 10-bit uncompressed, does not necessarily lead to better results if the quality of the telecine machine & transfer is mediocre (nor will it make up for mediocre photography.)
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#14 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 18 June 2006 - 01:09 PM

Straight to hard drive, 10-bit uncompressed, does not necessarily lead to better results if the quality of the telecine machine & transfer is mediocre (nor will it make up for mediocre photography.)


If someone has a well tuned Mark III Rank for doing standard def, and they want to offer 10 bit uncompressed transfers, how much additional investment is required and will the investment automatically result in an equally good transfer?

Is it possible that some of the hardware that works for standard def may not work at all when switching to 10 bit?
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#15 Chris Burke

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Posted 18 June 2006 - 01:13 PM

Straight to hard drive, 10-bit uncompressed, does not necessarily lead to better results if the quality of the telecine machine & transfer is mediocre (nor will it make up for mediocre photography.)




Well said and I suppose that could be true for any format. I just feel that all things being equal, the straight to hard drive is a better deal. This isn't the same for everyone, but I think a great way to go for a more professionally minded Super 8 shooter.
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#16 Chris Burke

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Posted 18 June 2006 - 01:25 PM

If someone has a well tuned Mark III Rank for doing standard def, and they want to offer 10 bit uncompressed transfers, how much additional investment is required and will the investment automatically result in an equally good transfer?

Is it possible that some of the hardware that works for standard def may not work at all when switching to 10 bit?


When I have mentioned 10 bit and I assume the same of the other posts in this thread, it does mean standard def. 10 bit Hi-def is another thing all together and there is a big difference all around. I am speaking of standard def.

The labs that I have delt with are using Blackmagic cards inside a G5. All of the stadard def cards that Blackmagic offers are under a grand. Other hardware needs are the RAID arrays needed for the capture and a monitoring solution. All this paired with a well tuned MarkIII should yield excellent results that are visually superior. It does go with out saying that best tools in the hands of an incompetent operator will not make a difference and in fact can look worse. 10 bit uncompressed on a hard drive is comparable to digi beta, albeit slightly better.

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#17 Chris Graham

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Posted 19 June 2006 - 11:13 AM

Regarding the telecine, can anyone recommend a superior transfer machine & service. A Shadow Telecine transfer to 10-bit to Lacie with supervised grading. Edit at home using Lacie. the Analog medium hmm
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#18 Anthony Schilling

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Posted 19 June 2006 - 02:39 PM

The best thing out there for S8 is Flying Spot in Seattle www.fsft.com. They have good colorists, Thompson Shadow scanner, can go to HD if you want, and hard drive dumps are available.
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#19 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 19 June 2006 - 08:34 PM

The best thing out there for S8 is Flying Spot in Seattle www.fsft.com. They have good colorists, Thompson Shadow scanner, can go to HD if you want, and hard drive dumps are available.


I haven't been to Yale lately but I've been impressed with Spectra Film & Video in North Hollywood CA, and Film & Video Transfers in Northridge CA.

If a 10 bit transfer is like Digibeta then going to Betacam SP is not really that huge of a drop off. However the advantage of the 10 bit would come in if one can then go home and begin editing from the transfer drive. So if one wants to explore 10 bit transfers, backwards engineer it.

Create your 10 bit playback set-up at home FIRST before bugging a lab that doesn't offer the transfer service. One method would be to get a lab that already does 10 bit and pay them to do a short Super-8 to 10 bit transfer for you (including the drive). If one can actually then successfully install the necessary editing software and edit from the 10 bit transfer drive, they could then easily encourage a local film transfer lab to offer the 10 bit service because now the lab has someone they can do tests with, the advantage being one could then supervise the transfer session.

I wouldn't do more than one short film transfer to 10 bit UNTIL I had the editing software system up and running and functioning from conception to completion in my own NLE studio.
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#20 Anthony Schilling

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Posted 19 June 2006 - 08:47 PM

Sony Vegas 6.0 is a great NLE system that can pretty much handle anything. Very user friendly too.
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