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Super 8 transfer


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#1 John Adolfi

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Posted 25 June 2006 - 08:56 AM

So have we decided yet the best process or "abstract" to use when transfering super8 to video? Direct to hard drive the best in terms of quality, color space and simplicity? I know several m onths ago you all had some fun with Santos discussing this.
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#2 Bryan Darling

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Posted 25 June 2006 - 03:47 PM

I have made a business in transferring Super 8 film to digital. On Friday I had a meeting with a motion-picture lab in San Francisco to set up a relationship where I will transfer/scan their clients S8 film to hard drive or Mini-DV tape for editing and archiving purposes. Depending on how things go, I may go through a complete upgrade and overhaul to do 720 & 1080 conversion of S8 film with the ability of going from complete uncompressed HD all the way down to Mini-DV.

Right now I do SD conversions mainly to DV files on hard-drive or Mini-DV tape for editing and archiving. The transfer comes in with room in both the blacks and highlights so that the black and white levels can be set later. This is great in that you don't get "blown-out" highlights and you have detail in the shadows that you can control. I do a lot of the timing myself for clients since they don't have the experience or understanding of color and video levels. Additionally they can't control and manipulate in real time.

The question as far as hard drive or tape is not one of quality and color space necessarily, in that I could deliver the same files that lie on my hard drive right onto Mini-DV tape and there would be no difference in either of those things that any of my clients could ever notice. It really boils down to how you plan on editing, what software/hardware system and what workflow, what kind of manipulation to the original footage you will do, and what format you will end up on. So much of the quality comes down to your editing platform.

For instance my edit system will take DV footage and up-sample it to 4:2:2 native YUV color space. Any filters or effects added to it does not diminish the original quality unless you are taking the footage and going "way out" on some sort of color or levels manipulation where it just breaks apart. What's great is that upon final output you don't incur any artifacting, some may be familiar with that sort of mesh screen appearance to rendered footage using the Microsoft DV, or MSDV, codec.

Finally, if your final format is for DVD or say projection on a DLP projector, then you probably won't need to have say a full uncompressed transfer as by the time you finish and get it out onto a TV or digital projector, there would be no real perceivable quality difference. Look how people using just regular Mini-DV cameras would do a film-out even years ago when it was new. So a lot of it comes down to how much money, time, and effort you want to expend in addition to how much knowledge and experience you have about a particular system/workflow, and how much that can take away from actually just shooting and making the film you want to make.

There are no simple answers, just do what is practical and what you can afford. As time goes on and your resources, knowledge, and experience grows, you can do more and afford more.
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#3 Justin Lovell

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Posted 25 June 2006 - 10:35 PM

Sounds cool. What system are you using to do your transfers?


I have made a business in transferring Super 8 film to digital. On Friday I had a meeting with a motion-picture lab in San Francisco to set up a relationship where I will transfer/scan their clients S8 film to hard drive or Mini-DV tape for editing and archiving purposes. Depending on how things go, I may go through a complete upgrade and overhaul to do 720 & 1080 conversion of S8 film with the ability of going from complete uncompressed HD all the way down to Mini-DV.

Right now I do SD conversions mainly to DV files on hard-drive or Mini-DV tape for editing and archiving. The transfer comes in with room in both the blacks and highlights so that the black and white levels can be set later. This is great in that you don't get "blown-out" highlights and you have detail in the shadows that you can control. I do a lot of the timing myself for clients since they don't have the experience or understanding of color and video levels. Additionally they can't control and manipulate in real time.

The question as far as hard drive or tape is not one of quality and color space necessarily, in that I could deliver the same files that lie on my hard drive right onto Mini-DV tape and there would be no difference in either of those things that any of my clients could ever notice. It really boils down to how you plan on editing, what software/hardware system and what workflow, what kind of manipulation to the original footage you will do, and what format you will end up on. So much of the quality comes down to your editing platform.

For instance my edit system will take DV footage and up-sample it to 4:2:2 native YUV color space. Any filters or effects added to it does not diminish the original quality unless you are taking the footage and going "way out" on some sort of color or levels manipulation where it just breaks apart. What's great is that upon final output you don't incur any artifacting, some may be familiar with that sort of mesh screen appearance to rendered footage using the Microsoft DV, or MSDV, codec.

Finally, if your final format is for DVD or say projection on a DLP projector, then you probably won't need to have say a full uncompressed transfer as by the time you finish and get it out onto a TV or digital projector, there would be no real perceivable quality difference. Look how people using just regular Mini-DV cameras would do a film-out even years ago when it was new. So a lot of it comes down to how much money, time, and effort you want to expend in addition to how much knowledge and experience you have about a particular system/workflow, and how much that can take away from actually just shooting and making the film you want to make.

There are no simple answers, just do what is practical and what you can afford. As time goes on and your resources, knowledge, and experience grows, you can do more and afford more.


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#4 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 26 June 2006 - 07:36 AM

I devoted a topic to this question on my forum...

http://www.hostboard...ic/f/405/t/1484

The answer has also been left on another topic on this forum.

http://www.cinematog...n...ost&p=11066

However, I think the most complete one is the one on my forum.
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#5 Phil Talsky

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Posted 06 July 2006 - 10:07 PM

Who in San Francisco are you using for Telecine? I'm in the South Bay (Sunnyvale) and am just getting into Super 8 and am looking for a good source for telecine.

Thanks!

Phil
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#6 Bryan Darling

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Posted 07 July 2006 - 12:07 AM

No lab I'm aware of is doing S8 telecine in SF. That's why I was approached to do the work for a lab there. I'm in Sacramento. Currently I transfer to Mini-DV or hard drive. If at some point your interested feel free to PM me.

Who in San Francisco are you using for Telecine? I'm in the South Bay (Sunnyvale) and am just getting into Super 8 and am looking for a good source for telecine.

Thanks!

Phil


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#7 Douglas Hunter

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Posted 07 July 2006 - 11:41 AM

So have we decided yet the best process or "abstract" to use when transfering super8 to video? Direct to hard drive the best in terms of quality, color space and simplicity? I know several m onths ago you all had some fun with Santos discussing this.



Shadow or spirit telecine or film scaning with wet gate direct to hard drive, digibeta or HD.

This is what is necessary to get the most accurate representation of what was actually on the film strip, and to allow for the greatest manipulation in post.

This is expensive and you can count on one hand the number of places in the US that can do this.

Sometimes people talk about "uncompressed" Technically speaking this is a misleading term, in that all video in your computer is represented by a codec that has specific parameters and includes some type of compression even digibeta and HDCAM are compressed formats. The question is not compressed VS. Uncompressed but what codec and work flow will best suit your budget, post production needs and the aesthetics of your project. For some this will mean shooting off the wall of their living room with a cheap video camera, for others it will mean betaSp or DV etc.

Personally I do not like miniDV or DVCAM for super8 because they do not handle high contrast or broad exposure range within a shot very well and the color space is too limited. When I do a telecine the goal is always to get the best representation of the filmstrip.
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