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35mm print to tape


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#1 davidhughens

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Posted 11 January 2007 - 02:48 PM

I have one print of my film -- 35mm -- and need it transferred to digital. Can anyone recommend a company? Any thoughts on doing this? Thanks!
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#2 Max Jacoby

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Posted 11 January 2007 - 04:30 PM

Transferring a print to video is not a very good idea, because the contrast of the print stock is higher than what video can take. You'll lose all shadow detail and highlights and the final product will look nothing like the 35mm print. It's a better idea to either transfer the original neg or a low-contrast print. Both have more latitude than a print, allowing you to get the look you want.
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#3 Matt Goldberg

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Posted 17 January 2007 - 01:43 PM

You may want to see a restoration specialist. Ascent has a subdivision north of LA who may do something like this, or at least take a look. Contacting film historians and preservationists may point you in the right direction as well. Typically, when a studio or client needs to restore an old film without the neg, it may take some time and other methodology, but I think it can be done to a certain degree. Going print to video will probably involve some intermediary steps. If it's a newer film on a particularly newer print stock, this type of transfer will probably render a different look for the film.
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#4 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 17 January 2007 - 06:27 PM

You might want to consider having a duplicate negative made of your print and then transfer that. This is a more expensive method that a straight transfer from the Print but can yield very good results. That said I have seen some very good looking transfers from 35mm print from new modern telecine(s) like the Spirit, DSX, etc.

-Rob-
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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 17 January 2007 - 10:14 PM

You might want to consider having a duplicate negative made of your print and then transfer that. This is a more expensive method that a straight transfer from the Print but can yield very good results. That said I have seen some very good looking transfers from 35mm print from new modern telecine(s) like the Spirit, DSX, etc.

-Rob-


There's no advantage to making a dupe neg of a projection-contrast print for telecine -- you're still stuck with the exposure range stored on the print, you can't expand it at that point. You need to make a low-con print or IP off of the original negative. Otherwise, you do what you can with the print in the telecine transfer but expect it to be a little harsh-looking.
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#6 Patrick Cooper

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Posted 18 January 2007 - 01:36 AM

Transferring a reversal print directly to video can make the footage a little nostalgic looking. The increased contrast makes it look like it was shot on a reversal film and reversal films generally have a vintage look about them. I hope you don't mind if your footage ends up looking a little like archival material.
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#7 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 18 January 2007 - 05:53 AM

There's no advantage to making a dupe neg of a projection-contrast print for telecine -- you're still stuck with the exposure range stored on the print, you can't expand it at that point. You need to make a low-con print or IP off of the original negative. Otherwise, you do what you can with the print in the telecine transfer but expect it to be a little harsh-looking.



I mentioned it because we are making several 16mm print dupes for an archive this week and I made Dvcam transfers from the dupe-negs. I think some telecine equipment like the Cintel I was using has an easier time with negative stock than with print. I was able to get a very nice looking transfer out of the neg, of course a low con master would be better.... One of our guys made a feature length 16mm pic last year and he made a master-positive print (specifically for video xfer) which was amazingly sharp and good looking in transfer.

-rob-
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#8 Isaac Chung

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Posted 25 January 2007 - 12:04 AM

So this sort of process is never done? I ask because I'm in a situation where it might be my only option (budget wise).

I'm monetarily backed into the corner to do a zero-cut super 16mm AB to a direct 35mm print. Telecine for the video master would need to be done with the print. Otherwise, a telecine of any zero cut check prints would have the one-frame fades at each cut.

Considering that I won't be creating a 35mm IP, would a telecine from the 35mm print suffice at all? Max's comment makes it sound unusable; I guess I'm curious about the extent of the contrast problem.

**I'm aware of the other options (straight cut, 16mm IP, HD transfer, etc--) just seeking an answer regarding this specific route.
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#9 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 25 January 2007 - 02:14 AM

So this sort of process is never done?


Sure it's done sometimes, just that it looks somewhat harsh. You see old public domain movies transferred to tape from a print that exists, for example.

If you think this video transfer is what people will be watching more often over the years than the print, then it's silly not to spend the money to transfer it in a satisfactory manner that represents how the movie should look.

If you're making a direct blow-up to a 35mm print, then also make second one to a 35mm IP for the video transfer, or make a Super-16 IP, which is cheaper. Obviously you'll have the timing lights to make the direct blow-up to a 35mm print, so that's the best time to strike a timed interpositive immediately afterwards.

Worst case scenario, make a timed Super-16 low-con print.

Using a projection-contrast print should also be a last resort for a telecine transfer, unless you're going for a special look that needs that much contrast. Or if you're absolutely sure this is only a temporary transfer, like to submit for film festival consideration or to interest a distributor.

These days, a movie really isn't finished until it is mastered to video in some manner, since that is the primary way most people will end up seeing the movie.
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#10 Isaac Chung

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Posted 29 January 2007 - 04:21 PM

Thanks David, you're absolutely right. I talked with Duart at length about this process. The way to get the video master froma zero cut negative is to create a Super 16mm optical IP, which is roughly double the cost of getting an IP the traditional way.
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