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Cost of a 16mm Matchback and Optical or Contact Print


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#1 David Sweetman

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Posted 17 August 2006 - 10:20 PM

For my next film I am seriously considering conforming the negative and striking prints off that. Thus far my post workflow has been to telecine, then finish offline. This would mean no VFX, which have thus far been an integral part of my movies. The reason would be to preserve image quality. I'm thinking I could get any nasty telecine to save money there, right? I really don't know how the shots are "matched back" and I would want to make it as easy as possible for the negative editor in order to make it as cheap as possible for myself.

I've not written the script yet, but it would be about 10 pages, so 10 minutes. I've got plenty of film already, I'll be shooting on kodak 18 and 45.

I specifically want to know what the ballpark cost would be just for the matchback, then for the print. I've heard of two types, optical and contact prints; does one have a benefiet over the other?

I could call up the post house, and definitely will before I shoot, but I figured I'd ask here first just to see if it would be a viable option, budget-wise.

Any insight on the matter is greatly appreciated, thanks!

...and what about audio?? Could I use the .aif data file rendered out of Avid?
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 17 August 2006 - 10:49 PM

Just some random articles I found doing a Yahoo search, some old, that might help you:

http://www.nanddfilm...m/OurPrices.php
http://www.negativec...m/cut-list.php3
http://www.digitaled...emierematchback
http://www.creativep...news/11358.html
http://www.macworld....nematools/?pf=1

Do you want a 16mm print with a soundtrack? Or a blow-up to 35mm?

If you shoot standard 16mm, then you can cut the neg and make a 16mm contact print.
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#3 David Sweetman

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Posted 18 August 2006 - 05:06 AM

Oh I get it, optical's only for blow-up? So I'd get a contact then, to reg 16. Thanks for the info; okay so I'd letterbox during the xfer to 1.85 and burn the timecode info onto the black area...that is, if it's possible to letterbox the print as well; it sounds as though it's standard to letterbox the projector, not the actual image, but I'd much rather crop the actual image. Can they do that with a contact print?
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#4 David W Scott

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Posted 18 August 2006 - 08:19 AM

Oh I get it, optical's only for blow-up? So I'd get a contact then, to reg 16. Thanks for the info; okay so I'd letterbox during the xfer to 1.85 and burn the timecode info onto the black area...that is, if it's possible to letterbox the print as well; it sounds as though it's standard to letterbox the projector, not the actual image, but I'd much rather crop the actual image. Can they do that with a contact print?


Standard projection practice is to apply the correct aspect ratio matte in the projector. It does leave you vulnerable, though -- I saw an incorrectly projected print of "Pretty Woman" with mics, booms and flags in the top of half the shots.
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#5 Sam Wells

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Posted 18 August 2006 - 09:23 AM

There's no aspect ratio matting in 16mm projectors.

They're 1.33 ish

-Sam
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#6 David Sweetman

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Posted 19 August 2006 - 12:47 AM

So this aspect ratio thing might give me problems, I don't want to write a 4:3 story; worst case scenario I'll cut the negative, then telecine that to HDCAM or whatever video format the festival wants and letterbox in the telecine. I guess I could get an optical blow-up to 35...anyone who'd interested, I found this site which explains the process clearly and concisely: http://www.cineric.com/blowups.html ...sounds expensive, what with the 16mm answer print, then the 35mm interpositive, then the 35mm internegative, then the 35mm answer print...

Or maybe there's still a way to letterbox the 16mm contact print.
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#7 Hal Smith

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Posted 19 August 2006 - 02:48 AM

So this aspect ratio thing might give me problems, I don't want to write a 4:3 story; ...Or maybe there's still a way to letterbox the 16mm contact print.

Anamorphic?
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#8 David Sweetman

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Posted 19 August 2006 - 03:38 AM

Anamorphic?


I'd love to. Problem is I don't think there are any anamorphic lenses in arri bayonet mount. Plus, our interior footcandle levels may be somewhat lacking, and my 1st will have little or no experience.
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#9 Hal Smith

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Posted 19 August 2006 - 04:03 AM

I'd love to. Problem is I don't think there are any anamorphic lenses in arri bayonet mount. Plus, our interior footcandle levels may be somewhat lacking, and my 1st will have little or no experience.

It might be worth asking David Mullen about it, his encyclopedic knowledge might know a way of pulling it off within your constraints.
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#10 Sam Wells

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Posted 19 August 2006 - 08:11 AM

Well I think then your only real option on a 16mm print is "pillarboxing" it

You could do it with a "C roll" and contact printing; I haven't & don't know how steady your box wd be..

A step contact printer would seem best bet but are pretty rare birds now I think.

-Sam
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#11 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 19 August 2006 - 11:48 AM

Maybe a C-roll negative would work, with a clear area where the black borders would go, black in the middle. In theory, that should "burn in" a black border top & bottom. Something to ask the lab and do a test -- that should be easy.
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#12 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 19 August 2006 - 12:45 PM

Maybe a C-roll negative would work, with a clear area where the black borders would go, black in the middle. In theory, that should "burn in" a black border top & bottom. Something to ask the lab and do a test -- that should be easy.


---I knew someone who did that on a B/W short. It worked out well.
Though he wanted to have the matte roll as a loop, but the lab insisted on a full C-roll.

---LV
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#13 David Sweetman

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Posted 19 August 2006 - 06:36 PM

Huh, that's a really good idea. I'll look into that with the lab next week, thanks
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#14 David Sweetman

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Posted 20 August 2006 - 02:25 AM

So, new things have come to light, and I might be getting a 2k DI for pretty cheap. I think I will still proceed to write the script as planned, with no VFX, so I have the two options to choose between. Thanks for all the help; that C-roll idea, that's really creative, I won't forget that one. I should be deciding the post workflow within the next few weeks when the script is finished. Now I've got to concentrate on the script...
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#15 Dominic Case

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Posted 20 August 2006 - 11:00 PM

The C-roll idea ( a burn-in widescreen mask) is fairly standard for those few people who want a 1:1.85 16mm print. The lab has to be precise with the exposure on the printer: too little and you get a bit of image faintly visible in the blacked out areas top and bottom, too much and the top & bottom edges of the image suffer from image spread and the black frame blurs into the image itself.

Loop printing on a contact printer isn't a good idea - the printers rely on correct tension in the negative (and stock) to keep good contact and steady registration, that's not so easy to acheive with a loop. Also, on 16mm, the splice is likely to cause problems every time it comes around.

If you get a 2K DI, presumably you will print out to 35mm. But if you thought that the conventional blow-up option was pretty expensive, brace yourself for the cost of the DI.
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#16 David Sweetman

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Posted 21 August 2006 - 01:12 AM

But if you thought that the conventional blow-up option was pretty expensive, brace yourself for the cost of the DI.


That's exactly what I thought, but a buddy of mine who works at the post house seems to think the DI route is the way to go, and that he can get it within my price range. We'll see what happens, though, we haven't talked exact prices just yet.
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#17 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 21 August 2006 - 01:36 AM

You could always do this:

Now on Ebay

Bell & Howell Model 6100C Series C
Professional 16mm Motion Picture Printer. Together with Optical Printing Sound Head Model 6100 CS item number: 260015505098 Starting bid: US $1,295.00 End time: Aug-23-06 10:45:00 PDT (2 days 11 hours)

Then you could print to your heart's content. B)
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#18 John Carreon

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Posted 21 August 2006 - 02:20 AM

Hey David,

I just read the whole post in one sitting, right now...and earlier you said you would have a 1st with little or no experience...I'm assuming 1st AC...why?

Plenty of people out there with more experience, i.e. me...or others...look around. People shooting on film is almost a novelty for the low end of the budget spectrum.

Where are you located? I might be able to recommend a few people...drop me an e-mail if you like.

John
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#19 David Sweetman

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Posted 23 August 2006 - 02:47 AM

Then you could print to your heart's content. B)

I could print to my head's ache is what I could do with that...

We'll be shooting in and around Sylmar, just north of LA, and actually also in Temecula, which I think is very close to you. And yeah we need a crew!
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