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Blury/out of focus transfer, what could have happened?


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#1 Eduardo Bunster

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Posted 13 August 2006 - 11:16 PM

Hi, Im actually working on a short film called "D-construir" which I am photographing and directing
It´s an action-animation piece and I just made a transfer (16mm to Digibeta and DVCam) in a Ursa Diamond telecine a couple days ago. This was the sixths transfer I´ve made for this project and something pretty strange happened... The image turn out to be pretty blury (really out of focus) on the left side of the frame through the whole transfer. The material was shot in a H16 Bolex from 1965 so during the transfer I asume it was a camera/lense problem, but later I checked and realized that the previous 5 transfers went out OK (material shot with the same camera, lenses and stock during the same year) and that I have used 2 different lenses for this material and the problem was there in both cases, so I leave the lenses out of the question. In addition to that the material was shot during 5 different days and I check the camera at least a couple of times during those sessions, so I tend to think the problem was not in the camera either.

So I would really apreciate some experienced opinion, is it posible that somehow this was a telecine problem? or maybe a stock problem ;) ? maybe a problem at the gate of the Bolex? something else...

I would like to arrive with a good theory to the postproduction center, to try fix the problem

Thanks for any help

Eduardo
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 13 August 2006 - 11:22 PM

It's possible it was a telecine problem, although the telecine operator most likely would have double-checked to make sure that it wasn't his fault when he saw the blurry half of the image.

You could have another telecine person look at it, or have a lab negative inspection done, or have it printed and projected to see if is on the film itself.
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#3 Eduardo Bunster

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Posted 14 August 2006 - 11:21 AM

Thanks Mr Mullen
I will visit both the telecine operator and the lab to clear up what happened
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#4 Eduardo Bunster

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Posted 14 August 2006 - 01:12 PM

The matter was resolved.
I went to the postproduction center and ask if I could check the footage on the other telecine (Spirit). After a few moments of discusion, they agreed and I checked the footage with the colorist and it looked great on the Spirit!
So the problem was the Ursa machine, its weird though because the colorist told me he had worked with other 16mm materials the same day and they came out ok
Anyway, hope this may be useful to someone in the same case someday
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#5 Eduardo Bunster

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Posted 17 August 2006 - 03:13 PM

I went back and re-copied the material yesterday through the Ursa Diamond telecine using the same DaVinci session. The colorist told me the Ursa was "out of focus" the previous time, and that it was in focus this time.
We take a look at the material and the blurry zone was gone, so we copied it again, but in general the image look quite less sharp (especially soft on the wide shots) compared with the Spirit image of the same footage. I told this to the colorist and he told me that this was normal because the Spirit was a far better machine and had a better "focus" because of the kind of light it uses.
Ok, Spirit could be a great machine and deliver better/different results, but it doesnt make sense to me that such a high end technology machine as Ursa could deliver such mediocre results in the 16mm format. I think maybe its just this machine in particular.
Any ideas or similar experiences?
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