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One-light telecine first, grading later. Advice?


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#1 Zulkifli Yusof

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Posted 18 January 2007 - 01:17 PM

hey

I would like some advice concerning workflow options of doing a one-light telecine to d-beta, offlining to the nle and then grading it and finishing on a d-beta.

The project is already picture locked in the nle but how to best deal with grading the project and finishing on d-beta? Online it from the d-beta master for tape to tape grading or grade from the negative?
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#2 Bryan Jacobson

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Posted 19 January 2007 - 03:45 PM

Lots of options here. Some initial thoughts.

1. No reason to do a one light, your film has already gone through that stage since
you are picture locked in your nle.

2. You have a roughcut, an offline edit ready to conform in an online suite.

3. Output A and B mode Edls. Research what information your post staff will need
for each step of this process, talk to the people who you will be working with.

4. Cut the neg? Up to you. Research your costs, if it's cheaper to just grab from the
original rolls than you probably wont get as much dirt, but I've seen some clean
film come back from the cutter in my day, but be aware some film even after
going through the lipsner can stay dirty depending on who you use.

Once all of your scenes have been tranfered in a Best Light, reconform in an Online suite,
tweak color digitally if needed or do a tape to tape. If you need to do any repos better to
put the neg back up.

The only reason to do a second one light would be if you decided to do a final Tape 2 Tape
color correction- digi to digi- instead of a final CC from select rolls, or scenes off original
rolls. Not really enough information in your post to get technical. Good luck.
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#3 Zulkifli Yusof

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Posted 20 January 2007 - 05:50 AM

Hey

Thanks for the reply Bryan.

It's a 16mm project and it has went through one-light telecine in d-beta. Currently, the picture is now locked in the NLE and we're thinking of doing either a tape to tape grade or to go back to the negative and grade it. So my concern is, which would be a more efficient way of doing things? Of course going back to the negative is ideal but does that mean my editor has to re-edit again?

I purely understand the tape to tape process but what actually happens if you decide to go back to the negative without actually cutting it.

Thanks
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#4 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 20 January 2007 - 12:30 PM

Always go back to the neg if you can. A master grade (tape to tape) can never compare to that, since all the info simply isn't there.
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#5 David Cox

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Posted 20 January 2007 - 07:58 PM

Of course going back to the negative is ideal but does that mean my editor has to re-edit again?


No - not as long as your editor has done things properly. If you were to go back to the neg, you would grade and transfer just the shots you have used in your final edit, and lay them to tape on the same timecodes that your one-light versions currently use. Then your editor will use an EDL (edit decision list) to autoconform the new shots using those timecodes.

A note for the future - if you plan on doing a tape grade then be aware that many "one light" transfers don't form an ideal base for this. This is because many labs use old telecines with no noise reduction for one-lights, so you end up with unnecessarily grainy material to start with. A "best light" transfer is better as a base for further grading.

David Cox
Baraka Post Production Ltd
www.baraka.co.uk
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#6 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 21 January 2007 - 03:03 PM

A note for the future - if you plan on doing a tape grade then be aware that many "one light" transfers don't form an ideal base for this. This is because many labs use old telecines with no noise reduction for one-lights, so you end up with unnecessarily grainy material to start with. A "best light" transfer is better as a base for further grading.

David Cox
Baraka Post Production Ltd
www.baraka.co.uk


Very good point by David. This is the reason for bad results 9 times out of 10.
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#7 Matt Workman

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Posted 21 January 2007 - 05:13 PM

I am working with a certain lab in NYC right now who recommended this workflow:

Super16 -> 2K Spirit -> DVCPROHD Harddrive and D5 Tape.
EDIT -> EDL
D5 Conform -> DaVinci -> DVCPRO HD and D5 Tape.

They commented that there was little difference if I chose to do a 1 light or best light if we went into the DaVinci later. I am assuming because the spirit is high quality enough and that a D5 transfer stores enough data that a tape-to-tape from a 1 light isn't as bad a from a digiBeta.

I am pushing for a best light from the Spirit incase we can't afford the colorist's rate.

Any thoughts? Thanks,

Matt
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#8 Rolfe Klement

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Posted 21 January 2007 - 05:39 PM

I would do

Super 16 > One light DVCAM with timecode
EDIT > EDL
Super 16 + 2K Spirit + Da Vinci with EDL > Conform > DVC PRO HD + D5 (and SD and web etc)

Make sense?

means you only touch the expensive colorist once anf gives best possible quailty

thanks

Rolfe
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#9 Chayse Irvin

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Posted 21 January 2007 - 06:43 PM

How do you make sure the EDL time code off the one light matches the second (Best light) transfer? Is that info the colorist gets off the EDL as he is placeing the selects off the EDL?

What do you mean Davinci with EDL > conform?
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#10 freddie bonfanti

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Posted 21 January 2007 - 07:19 PM

Rolfe,

thats exactly how im gonna do my next super16 project...i was wondering how much would that sort of workflow cost? a rough idea? say its a 6 minutes short
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#11 Zulkifli Yusof

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Posted 22 January 2007 - 02:36 PM

Super16 -> 2K Spirit -> DVCPROHD Harddrive and D5 Tape.
EDIT -> EDL
D5 Conform -> DaVinci -> DVCPRO HD and D5 Tape.


Hey, that makes perfect sense if I telecined to HD, but I'm doing it to digibeta. I'm sure with HD, a one-light or best-light telecine would be better than digibeta.

I have the same question as Chayse regarding matching the timecode. How to make sure that the timecode from the original one-light telecine matches the now fully graded shots from the negative?
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#12 Michael Most

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Posted 22 January 2007 - 04:14 PM

I have the same question as Chayse regarding matching the timecode. How to make sure that the timecode from the original one-light telecine matches the now fully graded shots from the negative?


Most facilities put a punch at the beginning of each roll, and initialize the time code at that punch to a specific hour or half hour. That time code is noted on the box, or at the very least, on a log. When the roll is hung again for a new transfer, the time code is reinitialized to the same number.
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#13 Bryan Jacobson

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Posted 22 January 2007 - 04:25 PM

The timecode laid down from telecine during your first onelight will never change as long as you stay with the same framerate you transfered at. Many want a 29.97, some want 23.98 if going to HD, as long as you
edit what was laid down to tape in the correct TC, it will always match up with your original cam rolls TC.

When the colorist gets your edl, he or she will put up the film sequencially by cam roll. The C mode edl will give the colorist scenes by hour TC starting with 1. Once all of the select scenes are transferred, you pull em back in uncompressed and do your thing. It's a very standard process, but there is also a lot more to it depending how deep you wanna go.

In my previous post I said (for some stupid reason) to do a onelight if you are doing a T2T, this is not the best way as was pointed out- thank you for the correction David. A best light is definitley the way to go, 2K or better- I like the C-Reality, but have seen some real sharp images come off a spirit for 16. I believe the spirit has better grain reduction but much of that has to do with the tech skills of the colorist as well.

All cutting the neg does is increase the speed of your transfer time thus reducing costs. The neg cutter should provide you with a new conformed edl based off of select roll foot frames and keycode. It's not something I would suggest if your editor has never worked with that type of workflow before. Think of having to search through 100 rolls of 35mm to find 110 scenes. Now think of the colorist putting up 12-14
rolls knowing they are transferring the entire roll for each and all of the scenes are there. Computa Match was good company, not sure if they are still around.

Bryan
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#14 Daniel Christie

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Posted 28 January 2007 - 10:35 PM

How do you make sure the EDL time code off the one light matches the second (Best light) transfer? Is that info the colorist gets off the EDL as he is placeing the selects off the EDL?

What do you mean Davinci with EDL > conform?


Ask for a FLEX file when you do the telecine. A FLEX file will have a log of roll numbers and keycode cross referenced to the video TC. When you go back to telicine for online or go to the neg cutters, they use the FLEX and a CMX EDL, which can be crossreferenced to generate the neg pull list with keycode and edge numbers.

Daniel
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#15 Brian Wells

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Posted 28 January 2007 - 11:12 PM

Always go back to the neg if you can. A master grade (tape to tape) can never compare to that, since all the info simply isn't there.

Hey Adam-

Here in the states some places offer a HD "dailies" service direct to HDD on a Spirit for a small premium over a DV transfer (like 25% more). Do you think it would be an acceptable compromise to grade in something like FCP with Colorista instead of paying 3x as much for a scene to scene transfer with an expert? Of course, all there info isn't there, but maybe with HD it's enough to still have a good look for a good price.

With today's modern film stocks, I would think any kind of Spirit HD transfer would look good to begin with, without alot of adjustments. I mean, what does a colorist have to correct when you shoot properly?

I'm learning here, OK.

Brian
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#16 David Cox

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Posted 29 January 2007 - 05:45 AM

Hey Adam-

Here in the states some places offer a HD "dailies" service direct to HDD on a Spirit for a small premium over a DV transfer (like 25% more). Do you think it would be an acceptable compromise to grade in something like FCP with Colorista instead of paying 3x as much for a scene to scene transfer with an expert? Of course, all there info isn't there, but maybe with HD it's enough to still have a good look for a good price.

With today's modern film stocks, I would think any kind of Spirit HD transfer would look good to begin with, without alot of adjustments. I mean, what does a colorist have to correct when you shoot properly?

I'm learning here, OK.

Brian


Brian - you kick up a couple of good questions here.

(1) For later digital grading, is transferring to disk better than transferring to tape?
That depends on the format that the data is saved in. It could be worse if it is too compressed. It could be the best way if the material is saved as high bit depth, high resolution files. This is how pro DI's are done. The problem with the latter, is you need big fast disks and computers to work with them.

(2) Why shouldn't I save money by avoiding an expert colourist?
You could save money all the way through the film making process doing this. You could write the film yourself, do the make up yourself, do the catering yourself. But a writer will write better, a make up artist will do the make up better etc etc. So its a case that yes you can technically perform the role, its a question of whether you have the skill to do it as well. A limited budget might force your hand on this one though!

(3) Is a colourist only there to corrected filming errors?
The term "colour correction" is a bit misleading. Yes - it can help with exposure issues or matching scenes cut to cut shot in different available light, but you would be missing a very big trick if you only ever see a colourists role as a technical process. If you look on the colourist as a second bag of filters for your camera, you will see that their role is to extend the range of looks available to you as the DP / Filmmaker beyond what you can practically do in camera. This might include things that you can't do in camera, but also includes things that are risky for you to do in camera because there is no "undo" function should another party (such as the client) not like the look you are proposing.

Hope all that helps!

David Cox
Baraka Post Production
www.baraka.co.uk
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#17 Rolfe Klement

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Posted 31 January 2007 - 08:01 AM

Been busy - belated reply

For a six minute piece - depends how much original negative you have

I would say for anything less than 3000ft of film most TK guys do not want to use the EDL- they just run the whole roll - if you have made a rough cut before you know which shots work and which do not - so you can skip over them

Another very important part of final output to SD from 35mm is that you can zoom 500% with no loss of resolution - this means a medium shot can become a close up (HD is different)

You can also frame different shots (if you are taking 1:85 from a full 35mm neg )

It gives you room to play :)

Timecode - always sync your NLE to the punch hole as Mike says

Costs - depends - I try to build relationships with compnaies and try send commercial work there way - this means pet projects get good deals (but not free)

thanks

Rolfe
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#18 Zulkifli Yusof

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Posted 11 February 2007 - 09:16 AM

On the subject of zooming in during telecine, is it true that for a digibeta output, a super-16mm project would need to be zoomed in less thus attaining a sharper picture as compared to a standard 16mm project?
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#19 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 25 February 2007 - 10:33 AM

Brian - I get poop all the time because I tout the horn of colourists and how important they are. What's the big deal - anyone can balance a colour in Photoshop, can't they? And for many people they're just there to correct and balance scene to scene so they cut well. These are also, coincidentally, the films that look the worst, in my opinion.

Grading in TK is a powerful tool and when done with skill can completely transform an image and take it from mediocrity to fantastics. It's impossible to convey the sinking feeling when you sit with a colourist that can't get the stuff out that you know is buried in the neg. This has happened on so many occasions (re-grade happened on my last music video, for instance) that it really is worth getting good people to begin with - there is a reason for it.

I've also graded on the Baselight, but wasn't happy. Don't know if it was the inexperience of the grader, the system or the way it was shot, but it's one of those videos that just didn't work visually. But I'm leaning towards the Baselight/grader option - I don't trust a machine that's not grading from the neg. They keep on telling me all the info is there from the neg, but it sure doesn't feel like it. Feels like any master grade where the s**t goes bad and cracks the minute you push it in some direction....
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#20 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 25 February 2007 - 10:56 AM

Brian - I get poop all the time because I tout the horn of colourists and how important they are. What's the big deal


I don't recall "giving you poop" so much as disagreeing when you implied that colorist work was more important than the lighting of the original when we got into a discussion on whether lighting was one of the most important aspects of a DP's job. But what it really comes down to is the type of material you are shooting. Even now, as I am shooting a TV series that will be finished tape-to-tape, the look is more created on set with lighting and production design, etc. than it will be in the final color-correction, simply because the show is very straight-forward in its look. Sure, there were problematic shots where I will need some help from the colorist. But in narrative work, the mundane work of balancing shots so that they cut smoothly from one to the next within a scene is important. Now sometimes that can actually require quite a lot of creative work from the colorist to make that happen.

And even now, there are feature shoots where the final post will be photochemical and the look has to almost entirely be created in camera and with non-digital means. And even with the D.I.'s I've done, the best-looking shots tend to be the ones that needed the least corrections. Even most colorists will prefer that they not have to deal with problematic footage, just as most DP's would rather get nice locations to shoot rather than save problematic ones.

However, I agree completely with you regarding the colorist versus DIY approach in FCP. You're hiring an expert who color-corrects day after day, year after year -- they will understand things about coloring shots that you will never know from doing it occasionally on Photoshop. They will also have the proper monitors and scopes to make sure that what you correct will be laid to tape properly. Ultimately they will save you time and get your more quality, plus be a useful artistic voice and offer good ideas for improving the shot. It's also very easy to screw-up a shot in digital color-correction and get lost in the process, generating artifacts that you can't track down the source of, hence why hiring an expert is a good idea.
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