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Are Negatives still cut?


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#1 G. Stephen Bruno

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Posted 28 December 2006 - 11:20 AM

I was wondering what the typical process is for finalizing a cut.


I know that most films these days go though a DI and I was wondering if the EDL is still sent for negative cutting and optical effects or is the digital file(s) just printed up?


Also, which is more cost effective?

thanks for your time.


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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 28 December 2006 - 11:28 AM

Most movies actually don't go through a D.I. -- it's still rather expensive. "Akeelah and the Bee", for example, didn't. A few big-budget movies have avoided them, like "The Prestige" (anamorphic) or "Munich" (that one went through an optical printer blow-up.) I think even "Lady in the Water" last year didn't do a D.I.

But if you're talking about mainstream Hollywood movies, most of them have been using a D.I. lately.

It's still cheaper to just cut negative and strike contact prints, assuming you shoot in a 35mm format that allows that (standard 1.85 or anamorphic). The edit has to be done with neg cutting in mind (frame & a half of waste allotted on each side of a cut, for example.)

Yes, digital efx would be filmed-out and cut into the neg, just like optical printer effects.

Even if you shoot in a format that requires a blow-up/conversion to a standard 35mm projection format (Super-16 or Super-35) for example, generally an optical printer blow-up is cheaper than a D.I., although it comes close to the same costs when you factor in the later costs of mastering the movie digitally for home video, which is inevitable -- the D.I. covers that cost, but it would be an additional cost if you did the blow-up using an optical printer. Really rough figures, for example, would be $100,000 for a D.I. versus $40,000 for an optical printer blow-up from Super-35 using a IP/IN... but $50,000 more to finish the movie to HDTV for home video -- so it can work out to be about the same.
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#3 Zachary Vex

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Posted 02 January 2007 - 04:48 AM

What about 2-perf pulldown? I recently acquired a Techniscope camera and would like to use it in the most efficient, least-expensive way. I found an inexpensive 35mm projector designed for telecine and I'm having it adapted to do 2-perf pulldown as well (it uses a servo-motor sprocket pulldown instead of Geneva pull-down, allowing complete control over the number of perfs per pull) so I can do my own 2-perf transfers for editing in Final Cut, and then submit the film for scanning after it's been cut down to the select portions. Pixel Farm has told me that if I provide them with negative that's been cut down within 4 frames (either side of the splice) of the edit points they can run it through their Arri scanner and give me 2-perf scans.

Is there an approach to editing/scanning that's been proven to deliver the lowest budget when shooting 2-perf 35mm? Keep in mind that the most likely final medium for the early projects I expect to deliver will be DVD, in some sort of HD format, but I'd like to make sure they can be put out on 35mm for release if the need arises.
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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 02 January 2007 - 01:15 PM

What about 2-perf pulldown? I recently acquired a Techniscope camera and would like to use it in the most efficient, least-expensive way. I found an inexpensive 35mm projector designed for telecine and I'm having it adapted to do 2-perf pulldown as well (it uses a servo-motor sprocket pulldown instead of Geneva pull-down, allowing complete control over the number of perfs per pull) so I can do my own 2-perf transfers for editing in Final Cut, and then submit the film for scanning after it's been cut down to the select portions. Pixel Farm has told me that if I provide them with negative that's been cut down within 4 frames (either side of the splice) of the edit points they can run it through their Arri scanner and give me 2-perf scans.

Is there an approach to editing/scanning that's been proven to deliver the lowest budget when shooting 2-perf 35mm? Keep in mind that the most likely final medium for the early projects I expect to deliver will be DVD, in some sort of HD format, but I'd like to make sure they can be put out on 35mm for release if the need arises.


It's just a matter of how much quality you want to pay for. There's no hard line. Your idea should work as long as this projector/telecine rig is designed to handle camera negative safely and not scratch it (most projector / telecines are simple "film chains" meant to handle a print). And it has to somehow transfer keycode information unless you have a foolproof way of matching the TC to the frames on the negative.

Another approach would be to retransfer portions off of the uncut camera rolls to 4:4:4 HD on a Spirit that handles 2-perf, and then recut / assemble it in HD. But without an accurate EDL, it may get time-consuming. And the quality won't be quite as high as a 2K scan.
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#5 Matthew Buick

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Posted 02 January 2007 - 09:02 PM

Holy crap! I'm getting a D.I on my new film, entitled 'Spagetti Western', it'll be oot in March/April. I didn't realise they were so expensive, maybe I should rethink.

Edited by Matthew Buick, 02 January 2007 - 09:04 PM.

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#6 Scott Fritzshall

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Posted 02 January 2007 - 09:32 PM

Really rough figures, for example, would be $100,000 for a D.I. versus $40,000 for an optical printer blow-up from Super-35 using a IP/IN... but $50,000 more to finish the movie to HDTV for home video -- so it can work out to be about the same.

Does your rough figure for a D.I. include a filmout, or is that just the cost for scanning and grading?
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#7 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 02 January 2007 - 11:07 PM

Does your rough figure for a D.I. include a filmout, or is that just the cost for scanning and grading?


Everything including the film-out. You could break it down as something like $50,000 for the film-out and $50,000 for everything else (scanning, auto-conforming, color-correcting, dust removal, etc.) Of course, prices vary a lot more wildly than that.
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#8 Robert Hughes

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Posted 08 January 2007 - 12:38 PM

Holy crap! I'm getting a D.I on my new film, entitled 'Spagetti Western', it'll be oot in March/April. I didn't realise they were so expensive, maybe I should rethink.

Matthew, even though you're just a teenager you've read and written enough posts by now to know that film production is very expensive. Stick with Super 8 , get it telecined to DigiBeta if you can and cut on your home computer for video/internet release. That's your best bang for the buck; anything fancier is orders of magnitude more expensive.
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#9 Jim Hoene

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Posted 10 January 2007 - 08:54 PM

Stick with Super 8 , get it telecined to DigiBeta if you can and cut on your home computer for video/internet release.
[/quote]

Digibeta or DV?

[quote name='Jim Hoene' post='147451' date='Jan 10 2007, 06:51 PM']Stick with Super 8 , get it telecined to DigiBeta if you can and cut on your home computer for video/internet release.
Digibeta or DV?[/quote]
I mean MiniDV
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