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Cutting negative a wise idea?


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#1 Patrick Cooper

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Posted 25 October 2006 - 10:36 AM

I am planning to shoot some 16mm negative film for a low budget project of mine. This will be the very first time that I will be exposing negative movie film. The plan is to eventually telecine all the accumulated footage (possibly with a Rank) and then edit on tape. I had the idea to cut all the unwanted segments from the negative and splice the remaining shots together, therefore reducing the lenght of the overall film and reducing the cost of telecine. Is this a wise idea? Or would the risk of dust and scratches be too great? Should I instead have to bear the full price of the telecine with the total amount of film exposed?
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#2 Stephen Williams

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Posted 25 October 2006 - 10:50 AM

I am planning to shoot some 16mm negative film for a low budget project of mine. This will be the very first time that I will be exposing negative movie film. The plan is to eventually telecine all the accumulated footage (possibly with a Rank) and then edit on tape. I had the idea to cut all the unwanted segments from the negative and splice the remaining shots together, therefore reducing the lenght of the overall film and reducing the cost of telecine. Is this a wise idea? Or would the risk of dust and scratches be too great? Should I instead have to bear the full price of the telecine with the total amount of film exposed?


Hi,

If you slate every scene, there is no reason not to ask your lab to assemble the takes you think were good. This is not something you should do at home! Negative cutting is very cheap . When I shot high speed footage with a Photosonics, I asked the lab to cut out the first and last minute of every take! This reduced my telecine running time by 50%!

Stephen
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#3 Richard Boddington

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Posted 25 October 2006 - 10:53 AM

I am planning to shoot some 16mm negative film for a low budget project of mine. This will be the very first time that I will be exposing negative movie film. The plan is to eventually telecine all the accumulated footage (possibly with a Rank) and then edit on tape. I had the idea to cut all the unwanted segments from the negative and splice the remaining shots together, therefore reducing the lenght of the overall film and reducing the cost of telecine. Is this a wise idea? Or would the risk of dust and scratches be too great? Should I instead have to bear the full price of the telecine with the total amount of film exposed?


I can tell you this would be a DISASTER, don't do it.

Yes you will expose your neg to undue risk and most likely ruin it. Neg cutting is for pros.

Also, in the long run you won't save a dime.

Just colour correct the shots you'll be using, skip over the bad takes while you transfer. Then lay down the entire roll to tape, and do the next roll. Hopefully you have camera notes, or while you're sitting there just tell the colourist to skip takes you won't use. This is how I do it. I just say, skip this shot...and this one...and this one....and this one.....

You'll use a little more video tape that's about it, and tape, unlike film, is very cheap.

My good buddy Stephen has presented an alternate method above, which I'm sure is also good :D

R,
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#4 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 25 October 2006 - 02:45 PM

Leave it to the professionals. That is why they are there. And of all the post services, this is going to be one of the cheapest and most critical.

DO NOT CUT YOUR OWN NEGATIVE.

I only did this once in a class at NYU and it was a pain in the neck. Even if I could do it, I wouldn't. Felt like it took forever and we were conforming a short.

So spend a few dollars for the service. It will be worth it in the end.
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#5 Patrick Cooper

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Posted 25 October 2006 - 07:15 PM

"If you slate every scene, there is no reason not to ask your lab to assemble the takes you think were good."

It would be good if i could slate every shot but I'll be mainly filming wildlife for this project. Difficult to put a slate between the camera and a bird before the subject flies away!
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#6 Dominic Case

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Posted 25 October 2006 - 07:20 PM

General rule of thumb with 16mm is don't cut the neg unless you have to. (And if you have to, get it done professionally.) Even the lab or a neg cutter will run the risk of handling marks, and on 16mm they will be relatively larger on the frame.

If "negative cutting is very cheap", then maybe it isn't very good.

As others have said, if you are colour correcting on the telecine, don't bother with the takes you won't use - just let them run at the correction for the previous good shot. So, no time lost in the grading session, and not much time lost when you just run straight through, uninterrupted, for the transfer. Overall, money saved in neg cutting would easily pay for any etra telecine time.

It might be a different argument if you are shooting a very high ratio and there is going to be a lot of unneeded film (as with the high speed stuff mentioned previously). But my guess is that if you are counting the cost of transfer, you are also counting the cost of stock, and you won't be shooting more than you think you have to. SO you've done some of the cutting before you even start the camera!
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#7 Stephen Williams

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 02:19 AM

If "negative cutting is very cheap", then maybe it isn't very good.


Hi Dominic,

Out of interest how much does Atlab charge per hour for neg cutting?

Stephen
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