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Cost of Blow-Ups to 35mm


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#1 Christian Blas

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Posted 16 July 2006 - 01:32 AM

I am thinking about shooting a feature-film in 16mm, but don't know what the cost is to blow-it-up to 35mm, bringing to my question...what is the cost to blow-up anamorphic 16mm to 35mm (possibly 35mm being anamorphic too). Quick question about this...if I do shoot 16mm anamorphic, will the feature appear anamorphic when blown-up to 35mm, making the movie Super 35mm? Next question...can you blow-up 16mm to Super 35mm or is 35mm the limit?

"Dire answer in need to a dire question"-?
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 16 July 2006 - 02:49 AM

First of all, Super-35 is not a projection format -- like Super-16, it has to be converted either digitally or optically into a standard 35mm sound aperture format for projection with a soundtrack on the print made from that negative. So if you blew-up spherical Super-16 to Super-35, you'd then have to blow-up Super-35 to 35mm anamorphic, assuming you framed for cropping to 2.35, or reduce down to standard 35mm 1.85, assuming you composed for that.

So generally you would blow-up Super-16 to the sound aperture projection format in 35mm that you planned on using for the release prints. There are only two 35mm formats used for theatrical projection: spherical 35mm for matted widescreen (usually matted to 1.85 : 1 by the projector) or anamorphic 35mm for CinemaScope projection (unstretched by the anamorphic projector lens to 2.39 : 1).

As for "anamorphic 16mm" do you mean 16mm shot with standard anamorphic lenses, which have a 2X squeeze? If so, then if you did an optical printer blow-up, you'd just use a spherical lens on the optical printer and copy the 2X squeezed image onto the 35mm anamorphic aperture area of the negative. Only issue is that you'd be cropping the sides since the 35mm anamorphic aperture is slightly less than 1.20 : 1, which is why when it is doubled by twice during anamorphic projection, it becomes about 2.39 : 1. So if the 16mm negative is 1.33 : 1, then if you used the whole negative and it had a 2X optical squeeze to the image, unsqueezed it would be 2.66 : 1, too wide. So it has to be trimmed on the sides when it is blown-up to 35mm anamorphic.

It would be more common, if you wanted a 35mm anamorphic negative, to shoot in Super-16 with normal spherical lenses and crop top & bottom to 2.39 : 1, stretch this cropped area to a 2X squeezed image and put that onto 35mm.

An optical printer blow-up from 16mm to 35mm generally is around $30,000 for a feature, using an IP and IN as intermediate dupe elements, creating a 35mm IN for printing. A digital intermediate approach would be more like $100,000 for a feature depending on the details of how you did the D.I.
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#3 Christian Blas

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Posted 16 July 2006 - 07:31 AM

As for "anamorphic 16mm" do you mean 16mm shot with standard anamorphic lenses, which have a 2X squeeze? If so, then if you did an optical printer blow-up, you'd just use a spherical lens on the optical printer and copy the 2X squeezed image onto the 35mm anamorphic aperture area of the negative. Only issue is that you'd be cropping the sides since the 35mm anamorphic aperture is slightly less than 1.20 : 1, which is why when it is doubled by twice during anamorphic projection, it becomes about 2.39 : 1. So if the 16mm negative is 1.33 : 1, then if you used the whole negative and it had a 2X optical squeeze to the image, unsqueezed it would be 2.66 : 1, too wide. So it has to be trimmed on the sides when it is blown-up to 35mm anamorphic.

Alright I get it. So can I blow-up anamorphic 16mm to (regular) 35mm? What will happen when transferred or blown-up?
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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 16 July 2006 - 11:25 AM

Are you talking about an optical printer blow-up from a regular 16mm negative shot with 2X anamorphic lenses?

If so, most common scenario would be to make a contact-printed color-timed 16mm IP, then optically blow this up to a 35mm IN, trimming the sides (shoot and put a framing chart at the head of the movie) so that the (later unsqueezed) image would be 2.39 intead of 2.66. In other words, your 16mm negative and IP is either 1.33 or 1.37 (but has a 2X squeeze to it) and you're copying it with a spherical optical printer lens to a 35mm anamorphic aperture that is about 1.20 : 1, so there is some loss on the sides to get the width down to 1.20.

Then this optically printed 35mm anamorphic IN would get answer printed, and along with the optical negative created from your audio master, composite prints would be made.

This is assuming that there are no optical effects in your movie, just straight cuts and lab A-B roll dissolves and fades. When you start talking about efx like title over picture, it gets more complicated. Those shots may have to be composited in 35mm and then spliced into your 35mm IN.

A second scenario would be to try and blow-up from the 16mm negative to a 35mm IP, rather between the 16mm IP and 35mm IN, but this would require a lab that can do that, and your negative would have to be "zero cut" with frame handles on each side of the cut, sometimes as much as five extra frames on each side. There is a little improvement in quality compared to making a 16mm IP since you are copying 35mm from IP to IN. It also allows you to make a 35mm print directly from the 16mm negative, although it's a very expensive print.

It's becoming more common these days to use a digital intermediate instead for all of this.
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