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Super 8 transfer


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#1 Matthew W. Phillips

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Posted 02 October 2006 - 07:24 AM

Hey, my Super 8 fanatic buddies,

I'm going to be buying some equipment so I can do my own Super 8 transfers to digital. If any of the Cinematography.com members are interested in getting some film transfered, I'm going to be cutting massive deals for them. Its not going to be RANK, obviously, but Ill make it cheap and try to give quick turnaround. Im not going to do it as an all out business, but more as just a sideline thing to offset some of the cost of buying the gear.

I wanted to put it up here since this is my stomping ground and all of you guys (or gals) who shoot Super 8 are awesome. Im going to give 50% off for Cinematography.com members so that's real cheap. Anyways, feel free to comment on this thread as far as questions, suggestions, rants, anything.
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#2 Sean McHenry

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Posted 02 October 2006 - 10:38 AM

I'll be standing in line with a few smaller projects for you. I am shooting a short piece in Super 8 this fall. Should be half a dozen rolls or so needing transfered to DVCam or MiniDV.

Let us know what system you are going with.

Sean
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#3 Chris Burke

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Posted 02 October 2006 - 03:05 PM

Hey, my Super 8 fanatic buddies,

I'm going to be buying some equipment so I can do my own Super 8 transfers to digital. If any of the Cinematography.com members are interested in getting some film transfered, I'm going to be cutting massive deals for them. Its not going to be RANK, obviously, but Ill make it cheap and try to give quick turnaround. Im not going to do it as an all out business, but more as just a sideline thing to offset some of the cost of buying the gear.

I wanted to put it up here since this is my stomping ground and all of you guys (or gals) who shoot Super 8 are awesome. Im going to give 50% off for Cinematography.com members so that's real cheap. Anyways, feel free to comment on this thread as far as questions, suggestions, rants, anything.



what sort of transfer technique will you be usings?

chris
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#4 Matthew W. Phillips

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Posted 02 October 2006 - 04:01 PM

I'll be standing in line with a few smaller projects for you. I am shooting a short piece in Super 8 this fall. Should be half a dozen rolls or so needing transfered to DVCam or MiniDV.

Let us know what system you are going with.

Sean


Well, the two Im thinking about are the Workprinter from Moviestuff (if I can get hold of one in a recent timeframe) or an Elmo TRV-S8 or Goko transfer system. If I find a deal on something better, Ill take it, but its unlikely I could afford anything in a higher range than this.
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#5 Bryan Darling

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Posted 02 October 2006 - 04:20 PM

I strongly recommend the Workprinter. I've been using one in my business for over two years. My experience comes from a film & photography background so I've spent a lot of time creating and refining a system for the needs of my business. I've taken a demo of my work on DVD to a lab in San Francisco and they were surprised at the quality compared to their "professional" telecine machines that do only 16/35. What I've found is that to get really good results it's not just a plug and play sort of thing.

I spend a lot of time doing scene-to-scene correction, as with any transfer. There is a definite difference between a straight one-light and a scene-to-scene. I feel it's very important to have a good understanding of color, video principles, and digital workflow. It's one thing if it's going to be for a hobby, it's completely another if it's something you will be doing/offering to others.

No matter what you'll end up spending endless amounts of time & energy and good amount of money to get good results, improve on those results, and in keeping at a level of good results. It's just important to keep in mind that these things are not just a monetary issue. The thousands you'll spend in equipment such as the machine itself, building/buying a decent computer, hard drives, video camera, editing/digitizing card, etc.

I think for some, unless you really want to spend all the time and money, it can be better, easier, and cheaper just to find a good post house or lab and have them transfer your film. I'm not trying to talk anyone out of buying a film transfer unit, just think that people should be aware that it's not just a matter of buying a unit and then the magic happens. I've been able to create a successful business helping others and providing specialized services utilizing these tools, but I am constantly working on things to refine and innovate to achieve results on par with Ranks, etc.

That said, the Workprinter is a great machine. I would recommend it over the Elmo or Goko systems. The workprinter is extremely versatile when it comes to options of workflow. It's a very simple machine, more so than a projector. The only thing I've had to replace are belts, but then I use my machine enormously.

I hope some of this helps in deciding on a system. Good luck and have fun!
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#6 Anthony Schilling

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Posted 03 October 2006 - 12:33 AM

The WP is a great piece of equipment to have. But I've had mine for almost 3 years, and still learning how to do better transfers. I agree with Bryan about learning the work flow, and it's still quite tedious once you do.
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#7 Matthew W. Phillips

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Posted 03 October 2006 - 02:18 AM

Ok, I finally have equipment. I had to drive for 3 hours to get it, but I managed to get a system someone had bought from moviestuff. Its not a Workprinter, as I could not track one down and I also had no desire to wait 60 days or more for it. It's a Cinemate-20 and its suppose to transfer in real time. I kindof messed with it tonight, but Im not doing any serious transfer practice until I get myself a decent 3CCD camera tomorrow. Once I get some stuff transfered successfully, Ill upload a file to my site and link here so you folks can see. I imagine it will take me a while to get real good results but I can start somewhere.
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#8 David W Scott

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Posted 03 October 2006 - 11:09 AM

I'm very curious to see your results. Good luck! :)
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#9 Bryan Darling

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Posted 03 October 2006 - 07:58 PM

If anyone is interested. I have some Mpeg-4 clips of film transferred with using the Workprinter XP using my system. Suffice it to say it looks better on DVD but that's just a size/compression issue. Here is the link:
http://www.homemoviestore.biz

Go to the services page and click on the samples link, then click on film conversion.
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#10 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 03 October 2006 - 08:18 PM

Hey, my Super 8 fanatic buddies,

I'm going to be buying some equipment so I can do my own Super 8 transfers to digital. If any of the Cinematography.com members are interested in getting some film transfered, I'm going to be cutting massive deals for them. Its not going to be RANK, obviously, but Ill make it cheap and try to give quick turnaround. Im not going to do it as an all out business, but more as just a sideline thing to offset some of the cost of buying the gear.

I wanted to put it up here since this is my stomping ground and all of you guys (or gals) who shoot Super 8 are awesome. Im going to give 50% off for Cinematography.com members so that's real cheap. Anyways, feel free to comment on this thread as far as questions, suggestions, rants, anything.


For me this is reinventing the reel. I'd much rather go to Spectra Film and Video and know that when I edit my project I'm getting top quality. This also applies to the Super-8 Rank houses such as Yale, Film & Video Transfers, and others.
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#11 Bryan Darling

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Posted 03 October 2006 - 09:04 PM

For me this is reinventing the reel. I'd much rather go to Spectra Film and Video and know that when I edit my project I'm getting top quality. This also applies to the Super-8 Rank houses such as Yale, Film & Video Transfers, and others.



I would say not so much reinventing the reel but rather innovating the reel. It's amazing what technology in both hardware and software has done over the years. I've been working in film for a meager 11 years but so much has really opened up. So much relies upon the operator/colorist. Technology is only as good as the person utilizing it. I think what's great is that there are options now. By next year, with my investment in further hardware & software, I'm convinced there will pretty much nothing I can do that a lab like Spectra couldn't. The best part is one can achieve results for a fraction of the cost, i.e. a DaVinci is $100k. The hardware/software setup I am investing in will do all a DaVinci can and more for a fraction of the cost.

The one thing that won't change in all this is the human being, his/her knowledge, experience, & wisdom in utilizing all the tech here and in the future.
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#12 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 03 October 2006 - 09:29 PM

I would say not so much reinventing the reel but rather innovating the reel. It's amazing what technology in both hardware and software has done over the years. I've been working in film for a meager 11 years but so much has really opened up. So much relies upon the operator/colorist. Technology is only as good as the person utilizing it. I think what's great is that there are options now. By next year, with my investment in further hardware & software, I'm convinced there will pretty much nothing I can do that a lab like Spectra couldn't. The best part is one can achieve results for a fraction of the cost, i.e. a DaVinci is $100k. The hardware/software setup I am investing in will do all a DaVinci can and more for a fraction of the cost.

The one thing that won't change in all this is the human being, his/her knowledge, experience, & wisdom in utilizing all the tech here and in the future.


Well, I guess that is the dream.

As for reality, I don't see how starting with a 3 chip camera will allow you to get a Spectra Transfer quality. A well maintained rank has several boards that do very sophisticated enhancements.

There are 3 chip cameras that are 10 years old that are still as good as most of the current crop of under $ 3,000 dollar 3 chip mini-dv cameras, and they don't output a compressed signal. If you continue on your quest I recommend you do a hundred feet of film with Spectra and from time to time compare that transfer to what you can do with the same piece of film.
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#13 Bryan Darling

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Posted 03 October 2006 - 10:08 PM

Hehe, well not so much a dream. I mean I understand where you are coming from and I can agree. I myself was pretty amazed. I've been at this several years. Even Monaco in S.F. was amazed at what I've been able to do. It rivals there transfers and they've been in the business for about 100 years. But I'm not talking about compressed signals and cheap DV cameras. I'm talking about full uncompressed digital video. I?m talking about scene-to-scene real time color corrections, etc. I've always used professional transfers as a base for comparison. I've used them for 11 years.

But to each their own, and everyone must do what they are comfortable with. The great thing is that there are constant innovations that one can take advantage of if they know how to and can figure out how to. My system may utilize a Workprinter XP but it is so much more than just that device. There is almost an infinite number of possibilities one can apply to using it. It's a matter of being able to recognize those possibilities, experimenting and testing that hypothesis and then improving on it. It's a never-ending process.

I in fact had a very lengthy, almost 2 hour, conversation with one of the owners of Spectra, he was the chief colorist at Pro8 and he admitted that he's been very surprised at what a couple of people have been able to accomplish with a Workprinter. They recognize that there are other possibilities and options. It just happens that they are in an industry and service a particular clientele that is used to, and expects, a Rank transfer.

I myself find no issue with Ranks or otherwise, it's more a thing of what one is comfortable with and knows. However I feel it would be close-minded to exclude the thought of a possibility that something else might accomplish the same end goal, in this case a high-quality & versatile film transfer, albeit through a different means.

Anyhow my purpose is not to create an argument, and please I hope you do not take as such, but rather to point out that there is a possibility of something else even as preposterous as it may sound. I do say though that you have a valid perspective.
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#14 Matthew W. Phillips

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Posted 04 October 2006 - 12:46 AM

For me this is reinventing the reel. I'd much rather go to Spectra Film and Video and know that when I edit my project I'm getting top quality. This also applies to the Super-8 Rank houses such as Yale, Film & Video Transfers, and others.


Fantastic, go to Spectra and spend $235.00 an hour (for 20 minutes of footage). I know you will get top quality. I would demand it for the money they charge. Some of us though don't have that kind of dough to spend on transfer. I dont personally if I hope to do a feature. Yeah, my quality wont be like your Spectra RANK, but to me, its the difference between having the money to do a feature and not having the money to do it. I assume doing it is always better than not doing it.

I have my own opinions about Super 8 and what to do with it. You remind me of Santo in that you believe in spending huge amounts of money on Super 8 to make it look professional, when maybe what you should do is just move up to a higher gauge. I think it's humorous how some people will spend so much to make an amateur format look pro. Super 8 should be cheap to buy cameras for, cheap to shoot, and cheap to transfer. If I charged someone more than $45.00 to transfer 30 minutes of footage, Im ripping them off and they might as well upgrade to a bigger format. I dont believe in $235.00 hour transfers and $10,000 primes for Super 8. It just doesnt make sense.
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#15 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 04 October 2006 - 06:11 AM

Fantastic, go to Spectra and spend $235.00 an hour (for 20 minutes of footage). I know you will get top quality. I would demand it for the money they charge. Some of us though don't have that kind of dough to spend on transfer. I dont personally if I hope to do a feature. Yeah, my quality wont be like your Spectra RANK, but to me, its the difference between having the money to do a feature and not having the money to do it. I assume doing it is always better than not doing it.

I have my own opinions about Super 8 and what to do with it. You remind me of Santo in that you believe in spending huge amounts of money on Super 8 to make it look professional, when maybe what you should do is just move up to a higher gauge. I think it's humorous how some people will spend so much to make an amateur format look pro. Super 8 should be cheap to buy cameras for, cheap to shoot, and cheap to transfer. If I charged someone more than $45.00 to transfer 30 minutes of footage, Im ripping them off and they might as well upgrade to a bigger format. I dont believe in $235.00 hour transfers and $10,000 primes for Super 8. It just doesnt make sense.



I never gave out numbers of any kind so I'll assume those are your numbers. If you shot 20 minutes of footage that would be 8 cartridges of film at 24 frames per second. 8 cartridges would run around 30-35 bucks for stock and processing.

So you will spend 240 dollars for the film and processing but rather than spend another $240.00 dollars for a top notch transfer, you would hope to shave 100-150 bucks off of that price. I'm not knocking your goal but keep in mind that when you factor in the time, energy. lighting, volunteer help, actors, make-up, a donated location or two, crafts services of some kind, skimping on that final 100-150 bucks could be a mistake because it may minimize some of the finer points of your efforts.

And even with all I mentioned above it still may not justify shooting it in 16mm.
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#16 Matthew W. Phillips

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Posted 04 October 2006 - 06:32 AM

I never gave out numbers of any kind so I'll assume those are your numbers. If you shot 20 minutes of footage that would be 8 cartridges of film at 24 frames per second. 8 cartridges would run around 30-35 bucks for stock and processing.

So you will spend 240 dollars for the film and processing but rather than spend another $240.00 dollars for a top notch transfer, you would hope to shave 100-150 bucks off of that price. I'm not knocking your goal but keep in mind that when you factor in the time, energy. lighting, volunteer help, actors, make-up, a donated location or two, crafts services of some kind, skimping on that final 100-150 bucks could be a mistake because it may minimize some of the finer points of your efforts.

And even with all I mentioned above it still may not justify shooting it in 16mm.


It sounds like a bargain when youre talking about shooting 20 minutes of footage, but what can you seriously do with that? A 10 minute short with a realistic minimum of 5:1 ratio is going to be 2.5 times what you quoted. And for a 90 feature at the same ratio, youre looking at 450 minutes of footage. To transfer 450 minutes of footage at Rank prices, you are looking at [(450 * 3)/60] = 22.5 hours * 235.00 hour (I got the figure from Spectra's site since you mentioned them first) is $5,285.50. Add to that the $30 cost of stock and processing for each cartridge (430 / 2.5) = 172 cartridges = $5,160.00 and you have already topped ten grand and doubled your budget. At that rate, 16mm is looking mighty nice, I think. You actually will get a cheaper price with a 16 Rank than with S8. In fact at Spectra, 16mm is $175.00 for 20 minutes of footage. Over 22.5 hours of 16mm, you will save $1,350.00 and offset a good deal of your increased stock cost. It almost makes it silly to not shoot 16 if you plan to Rank.
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#17 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 04 October 2006 - 07:38 AM

It sounds like a bargain when youre talking about shooting 20 minutes of footage, but what can you seriously do with that? A 10 minute short with a realistic minimum of 5:1 ratio is going to be 2.5 times what you quoted. And for a 90 feature at the same ratio, youre looking at 450 minutes of footage. To transfer 450 minutes of footage at Rank prices, you are looking at [(450 * 3)/60] = 22.5 hours * 235.00 hour (I got the figure from Spectra's site since you mentioned them first) is $5,285.50. Add to that the $30 cost of stock and processing for each cartridge (430 / 2.5) = 172 cartridges = $5,160.00 and you have already topped ten grand and doubled your budget. At that rate, 16mm is looking mighty nice, I think. You actually will get a cheaper price with a 16 Rank than with S8. In fact at Spectra, 16mm is $175.00 for 20 minutes of footage. Over 22.5 hours of 16mm, you will save $1,350.00 and offset a good deal of your increased stock cost. It almost makes it silly to not shoot 16 if you plan to Rank.


If you add up all the hours from all the individuals that it will take to make your feature a reality, you could calculate a price per "man"/hour based on the total number of hours divided by your total budget. What you'll probably find is that price will rise just a tiny bit per "man" hour to do the higher quality transfer and you may find you spend less time tweaking the video levels after you have edited your film.

The advantage to the do it yourself technique comes into play if you can focus solely on your project and don't have other jobs or responsibilities to bog you down. There are definitely situations where a person has more time than money and it could be logical to do it yourself or find someone who has already invested in a lot of the hidden equipment needed to do a decent job.
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#18 Todd Darling

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Posted 07 October 2006 - 09:16 AM

Guy's it's super 8. Also no one has seen this guys transfers you may be very suprised. Let's let him post something he's transfers before we say it's not as good as X Y or Z. Yes Rank transfers will look better but a lot has to do with the artist behind the machine. I get told how much better stuff looks that has been done on a flame over After effects all day long. It's like the debate over Avid and Final Cut they both do the same thing. If he does the color correction and the Gamma Correction well, it may be very good and worth the savings. I mean if your going to pay $200 or so an hour for transfer and then get it dumped to minidv it's kinda pointless anyway, I Think.

I think there is a lot of percieved professionalism in this business. It cost more therefore it has to be better. Let's wait and see how it looks.



--Todd

Edited by Todd Darling, 07 October 2006 - 09:18 AM.

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#19 Clive Tobin

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Posted 07 October 2006 - 08:08 PM

... or an Elmo TRV-S8 or Goko ...


Actually I am quite insulted that nobody is suggesting our new Tobin Video Transfer TVT-S8K units rather than these dated and probably worn-out devices that were never that good to start with. Many of our buyers worldwide rave about the results and have bought several additional units.
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#20 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 07 October 2006 - 08:15 PM

Actually I am quite insulted that nobody is suggesting our new Tobin Video Transfer TVT-S8K units rather than these dated and probably worn-out devices that were never that good to start with. Many of our buyers worldwide rave about the results and have bought several additional units.


Yes but as a result they are too busy doing transfers to spend time on these forums.
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