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Student friendly lab?


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#1 Jonathan Engborg

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Posted 08 October 2006 - 04:21 AM

Okay, so I have read the article "Bonolabs vs. Spypost" ( http://www.cinematog...gitk/digitk.htm ) and tried to look around for other places where I can transfer some 2000ft of 35mm film that I will be shooting for a student short in a month or two.

The reason for an HD transfer is the post-production work which there will be a lot of as we can't afford huge green screens on location etc. And doing roto on MiniDV material is not one of my favorites and the post people that will work on this agree as well.

Anyway, Bonolabs seem to have a student friendly price for HD transferns but I am very much afraid of the results shown in the article.

So, does anyone know a place where I can get an HD (preferably DVCPro or better, I suppose) to Harddrive transfer as cheap as possible?

Or, do you know of better workflows for a post-heavy project?

Thanks a lot for your time, and if there is a thread about this somewhere, please let me know where to read!

(A link about the different HD codecs would be nice as well... I have this far only worked with DVCPro... are there better alternatives that computers that aren't the highest of high-end computers can handle? )

Thanks again!
/Jonathan.
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#2 Stephen Williams

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Posted 08 October 2006 - 04:42 AM

Hi,

I would call up Spypost.

Stephen
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#3 Michael Collier

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Posted 08 October 2006 - 05:39 PM

I had a good experience talking to the sales guys at PWNY. They got me a great deal on post for low budget indies, I am sure they will work with students. I don't know yet the quality, I will know in a month or so, but I hear great things from them. PM me or email me in a month and I will let you know what they charged me and its quality.

Telecine is a spirit to D5HD and simul dub to either SR or DVCPRO (not sure yet, checking the post houses in my area.) I can post pics for you if you'd like.
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#4 Jonathan Engborg

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Posted 08 October 2006 - 08:05 PM

Thank you both for your answers!

I have been thinking of SpyPost but my teacher says their rates are quite high, but I will definately ask them of course. My guess is that I won't be able to afford it though.

PWNY sounds very interesting as well... I guess I'm out of date but I don't really know what D5 HD is... Wikipedia/google, here I come! I will surely e-mail you Michael, to check what your experience has been.

Pics would be lovely!

/Jonathan.
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#5 Michael Most

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Posted 08 October 2006 - 08:45 PM

I have been thinking of SpyPost but my teacher says their rates are quite high, but I will definately ask them of course. My guess is that I won't be able to afford it though.


Sounds like your idea of "student friendly" is the facility should either do it at a loss or for free. Schools are not charities. While it's in a facility's interest to develop relationships with up and coming filmmakers, they're not in business to give things away at a loss, and those that still want to be in business next year won't do that. Being a student doesn't mean you have some sort of right to process and transfer film for next to nothing. Everything costs money. If you don't have enough money, and can't get enough via grants, loans, or scholarships, you can't do it. That's the way it works. It's also why many student and personal projects are done on video formats.

I'd like to drive a Ferrari, but I can't, because I can't afford it.
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#6 Scott Fritzshall

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Posted 08 October 2006 - 11:47 PM

Sounds like your idea of "student friendly" is the facility should either do it at a loss or for free. Schools are not charities. While it's in a facility's interest to develop relationships with up and coming filmmakers, they're not in business to give things away at a loss, and those that still want to be in business next year won't do that. Being a student doesn't mean you have some sort of right to process and transfer film for next to nothing. Everything costs money. If you don't have enough money, and can't get enough via grants, loans, or scholarships, you can't do it. That's the way it works. It's also why many student and personal projects are done on video formats.

I'd like to drive a Ferrari, but I can't, because I can't afford it.

To be fair, there are plenty of places that do give pretty decent student discounts. Sometimes, the tradeoff you'll make is that your film becomes bottom priority, since they're not making much money off of you.


Are you actually going to be delivering the film in HD? If they only reason you want an HD transfer is for doing compositing, then why not save yourself some money and get an SD transfer to DigiBeta? You keep 4:2:2 color, just like with DVCProHD, and a lower amount of compression. It's used all the time for professional compositing work. Disregard this if you actually need to deliver in HD, but there's no reason to spend the extra money on an HD transfer if you're only going to SD.
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#7 ryan_bennett

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Posted 09 October 2006 - 12:16 AM

CineLab

I stand behind these people. I scoured for cheaper prices and my word, didn't find any and they did a great job every time I have went to them. Hell, I learned how to deal with a lab and a good deal just from them. Give them a call or PM me if you want some samples.
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#8 Jonathan Engborg

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Posted 09 October 2006 - 03:13 AM

Uhm, I never said I was looking for something free? But I do believe that there are differences between labs in price (and thus outcome...) and that's really what I'm looking for; some information about labs that might be able to give me a student discount, or just cheap but good labs.

I would also like to drive a Ferrari, but I'd be very happy driving a Mercedes or BMW.

Scott, I suppose I don't HAVE to deliver in HD... so I will definatley look into the DigiBeta. I have worked on some HD raw material (from the HVX-200) and have always thought that I can get away with a lot more if I have it in HD all the way to the last step when I do rotowork. But then I have never worked with DigiBeta material (only MiniDV). Do you have a short clip (1-2 seconds) with motion that I could try to work on just to see what it's like? I would really appreciate it!

Ryan, will send you an e-mail right now.

Thanks again for your time and answers!
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#9 Brett Waszkelewicz

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Posted 09 October 2006 - 03:53 PM

I just did a transfer at PWNY for my student film. I transferred 16mm to HDCAM SR on a Spirit, and then had the footage put on a hard drive. Considering the amount of money they charged me (not very much), they treated me wonderfully. Never once did I feel like a low prioroty, even though I'm sure I was- and everything came out fantastic. I totally recommend them.

Edited by Brett Waszkelewicz, 09 October 2006 - 03:54 PM.

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#10 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 10 August 2007 - 02:29 AM

I phoned and got an estimate from SpyPost once upon a time. I think they quoted me a student price of something like $450 for the first hour and then $100+ for each additional hour.

They're really nice people, so if you call up and act like a humble film student who's NOT out to "get a deal" but to take advantage of their facilities and talented staff, then they'll treat you well and might quote you a special rate.

A friend of mine called them up once basically with the attitude that he deserved a special deal & discount, 1200' of 16mm was the most he'd ever shot, so he thought that was actually a lot of film and was expecting a deal for it being so much...logical right? :P Yeah, they gave him a mouthful.
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#11 Robert Hughes

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Posted 10 September 2007 - 01:43 PM

From a post house perspective, student films are generally more trouble than they're worth. They are often plagued with technical problems ranging from poor exposure to dropped sync, tinny audio and faulty edl lists. Students may not understand the nature of the problem and ask for band-aid solutions rather than taking their materials back for correction. After eating up valuable studio time, they realize they're broke and can't pay. No wonder it's hard finding labs that will bend over for student work.
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#12 Michael Most

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Posted 10 September 2007 - 07:10 PM

From a post house perspective, student films are generally more trouble than they're worth. They are often plagued with technical problems ranging from poor exposure to dropped sync, tinny audio and faulty edl lists. Students may not understand the nature of the problem and ask for band-aid solutions rather than taking their materials back for correction. After eating up valuable studio time, they realize they're broke and can't pay. No wonder it's hard finding labs that will bend over for student work.


There's some truth in what you say, but one of the key things for students is for them to understand that imperfections in their craft are part of the learning experience. We do all of the lab work (and some DI work as well) for a major film school at a major university here in Florida (as well as a number of other universities in the area), and the work varies greatly. But we have an understanding with the school that we will transfer based on charts the students are required to shoot, and the results are - well, what they are. Student cameramen don't have the same level of experience and skill as pros - nor do they have access to the same lighting packages and crew - and their film is just not going to be as consistent in most cases. Students who are doing things on their own need to have a similar understanding. If they approach their relationship with a lab with some respect for professionalism, and an understanding of their own limitations, things can go well. When they approach it from a point of view of "I shot this perfectly and you (the lab) ruined it," well, things can go a bit less well.
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