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Rank Cintel question


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#1 Elliot Rudmann

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Posted 12 February 2007 - 10:29 PM

I will be shooting a short student film (roughly around 15-20 minutes) in Boston in about a month and I am trying to do research on what would be the best lab to get my telecine done at. Cinelab is very affordable when it comes to supervised transfers, and they use a Rank Cintel Dav Turbo machine along with a Copernicus color corrector (more information here http://www.cinelab.c..._telecine1.php). Another film I shot earlier last year was transferred at Finish Edit in Boston, and I was very pleased with the results, but it burned a nice big hole in my wallet. They used a Ursa Diamond along with a DaVinchi color corrector I believe. So my question is, how comparable, in terms of quality, is Cinelab's Rank Cintel vs. Finish's Ursa Diamond + DaVinchi?

I should also mention that for this project I intend to isolate certain parts of the frame and manipulate their color (which I think is called power windows..?) Would the rank cintel/copernicus be capable of doing such things? I know Finish was. I appreciate any advice you could give to clear up my confusion when it comes to the whole telecine process. Thank you!

Elliot

EDIT: Also should mention that this project will be telecined to 480p, not 2k.

Edited by Elliot Rudmann, 12 February 2007 - 10:30 PM.

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#2 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 13 February 2007 - 12:26 AM

I will be shooting a short student film (roughly around 15-20 minutes) in Boston in about a month and I am trying to do research on what would be the best lab to get my telecine done at.


Hi Elliot

The URSA is a later model Rank flying spot telecine, we have put almost all of the "aftermarket" mods available into our turbo rank and I am generally very happy with the picture but the Diamond will be a bit better, to be honest.

As for the Copernicus vs. DaVinci I believe Finish has a 2K Davinci which has many more power window type features than the Copernicus does. I have used both the Davinci 2K and Pogle platinum (both with Spirit telecine's, me operating) for my own film work and they are very powerful colorist's tools, they also cost quite a bit.

I use the Copernicus almost every day it is a great all digital 10bit 4:4:4 color corrector and it does have power windows but they are neither as flexible or as powerful as the newer machines. We keep our supervised rate reasonable on this machine. I feel it allows many people, who would not otherwise have the opportunity, to experience the process of working in a telecine suite.

That said I am shooting a feature film in NYC and NJ, roughly 100k ft. of super 16 and some 35. We are processing all of the negative here at Cinelab but the transfer is being done at MI post in Manhattan on a Spirit so...... :rolleyes:

Feel free to contact me at the lab and get other opinions as well, we would be more than happy to process your negative for you and get it to Finish if that is what you decide to do.

-Rob-
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#3 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 13 February 2007 - 12:31 AM

My advice is this: never try to save on transfer. It's false economy.

Even with a brand new CRT and an experienced colorist, an old Cintel will not perform very well. Never heard of the Copernicus color corrector, but I doubt it will be able to do any power windowing. For that you need Pogle or DaVinci, basically.

Most lab telecines are quite poor, since they at best are there to transfer one lights. Most of the ones I've encountered are horribly poor - grainy s**t-transfers that you could have done better yourself by pointing a DV camera at a screen. Also, without being to prejudiced, a colorist who's stuck at a lab that hasn't got a proper TK dept, is probably not that good. There's generally this old approach at labs that if you have some experience with film grading (timing), you're somehow qualified to do transfers on a telecine as well. The two have nothing in common.
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#4 Keneu Luca

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Posted 13 February 2007 - 01:09 AM

Anyone have any suuggestions on telecine for a 16mm 100' test roll of negative? Preferably NYC area.

Thank you.
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#5 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 13 February 2007 - 01:12 AM

Even with a brand new CRT and an experienced colorist, an old Cintel will not perform very well.

This is true, however if you have a Cintel with all of Dave Walker's parts in it (basically a SD Nova in many ways) it will make a picture which is very close to a Ursa and very good.

Never heard of the Copernicus color corrector, but I doubt it will be able to do any power windowing. For that you need Pogle or DaVinci, basically.

The Copernicus was made in 2000 and does have power windows, you could also use a Baselight or Scratch or any number of other tools other than the standard DaVinci or Pogle options.

Most lab telecines are quite poor, since they at best are there to transfer one lights. Most of the ones I've encountered are horribly poor - grainy s**t-transfers that you could have done better yourself by pointing a DV camera at a screen.

Maybe that is so in the UK but here in the US if you cannot produce good looking work people will go elsewhere.

Also, without being to prejudiced, a colorist who's stuck at a lab that hasn't got a proper TK dept, is probably not that good. There's generally this old approach at labs that if you have some experience with film grading (timing), you're somehow qualified to do transfers on a telecine as well. The two have nothing in common.

Well I do not want to say anything negative here but if you think that is true you have been working in video color space too much, try making a film with a print. Also I am 33, so I have not had time to learn the old approaches yet. I am making a feature film in NYC right now and I am also finishing a 7 min. short both are narratives, the short is a traditional film cut on a steenbeck for a film finish, the feature we are working in video, for now, on a Spirit. I also work at and part own this lab, I take picture quality pretty seriously.

Also I recommended that Elliot might want to work on the DaVinci if he wants to do allot of power window FX but he did say he was on a budget so...We could say that he must do a 4k pin reg Northlight scan and work on a Baselight8 but he would not get past the first few frames when his credit card melts.

-Rob-
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#6 Elliot Rudmann

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Posted 14 February 2007 - 11:01 AM

Thank you everyone for your responses, and Rob, I really appreciate your honest advice. I have had many great experiences with Cinelab, last semester I sent out 1600' of 16mm to be processed there and it looked fantastic. Interestingly, yesterday I saw some telecined footage from cinelab (scene-by-scene color corrected to beta SP) from a friend's project, and while I did feel that the colors were a bit flat, i had no other problems with what they had sent him. Ultimately I think I will go the same route that I took with my film last semester: process the footage at cinelab, and transfer at Finish.
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#7 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 14 February 2007 - 12:09 PM

Thank you everyone for your responses, and Rob, I really appreciate your honest advice.



No problem, we are always trying to improve this department and I think we have come a long way since we first setup transfer about 5 years ago. Telecine is a very tough department we work very hard to make everything that leaves the lab look as good as possible of course not everyone can come in to sit in on their transfer so not all expectations are always met.

I am looking at some newer gear and anticipate that we will be adding newer services sometime this year. We added super8 transfer on the rank early last year and that's been very popular.

As I said too I am shooting a feature picture in NY/NJ and we could transfer on the rank at Cinelab but we are going into MI post in Manhattan to work on a Spirit/Pogle setup (probably about $2M in TK gear) so I am well aware of the difference :D

-Rob-

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#8 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 16 February 2007 - 01:28 PM

My advice is this: never try to save on transfer. It's false economy.

Even with a brand new CRT and an experienced colorist, an old Cintel will not perform very well.


It would be useful to clarify what "an old cintel" is since they have been made for well over 25 years.

Morseo than the age of the cintel, it's the adjustment cards that are in them and how often they are adjusted and how in depth the servicing is that matters most. If one does not have enough shading boards it can be hugely counterproductive to regrade the boards whenever the facility changes film guages. Eventually, the labs may just decide to keep their boards set up properly for 16mm and 35mm and not regrade them for Super-8 because it is not cost effective. I'm not saying this is common, I'm just saying it is possible that this occurs.

One problem with older cintels is that they need regular servicing by rank cintel technicians, who are few and far between and who just get tired of doing it after a while, even when they are being paid A LOT OF MONEY. Super-8 Rank Cintel Specialists are few and far between. The new film transfer systems are apparently easier to service, but they cost a lot of money, so it becomes tempting for a rank cintel technician to only want to service the newer equipment. This would be another example of how fragile the system out there can be for the low budget filmmaker if they choose to work with a transfer place that has been on hold waiting for a technician to properly service their rank.

If anybody wants to become a qualified rank cintel technician, you might make a good living at it.
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#9 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 16 February 2007 - 07:08 PM

It would be useful to clarify what "an old cintel" is since were made for well over 25 years.

If one does not have enough shading boards it can be hugely counterproductive to regrade the boards whenever the facility changes film guages. Eventually, the labs may just decide to keep their boards set up properly for 16mm and 35mm and not regrade them for Super-8 because it is not cost effective.

One problem with older cintels is that they need regular servicing by rank cintel technicians,

If anybody wants to become a qualified rank cintel technician, you might make a good living at it.



Cintel machines are still made today, The DSX and Millenium machine lines are their current CRT Based Products.

I have seven DAV shading boards for our Cintel TurboII/DAV these have both black and white shading unlike the original rank boards which only have white shading. Also the original MarkIII line did not shade Super8 and had to be modified to use a shading board for Super8.

Older Cintel MarkIII telecine's were almost entirely analog devices, from the servo to the scan generator I have replaced every system in our Turbo with 1998 to 2001 era components this includes the servo whichis a Metaspeed, the entire Video section which is all HD bandwidth DAV stuff, the scan generator which is DAV Digital and the framestore which is 444 10 bit, many of these systems are either adjustment free or have greatly simplified and more reliable adjustments.

The last of the Turbo MKIII telecine systems were sold along side the URSA series and had similar reliability and very high picture quality, esp with a new tube and PMT's We thought about a URSA but the cost was higher and they are less serviceable than the turbo's and except for the later Diamonds, etc. picture quality is similar.

I am a Rank technician by default, not choice, and if the newer machines were constant "tweekers" like the old analog ones were I would have thrown them in the Charles by now. We go through tens of thousands of feet a month on these machines with no breakdowns and just simple routine maintenence. I am re-working our #2 suite now and plan to add a DaVinci 888 to it.

Last words on the Rank for me is that they can make a very good SD picture if they are late era machines (around the end of the 90's beginning of the 2000's) and are reliable and cost effective. Time to move on to some kind of scanning in the future.


By the way DAV became Nova Telecine (www.telecine.com) they make what is supposed to be a excellent CRT HD/2K telecine/scanner now.
-Rob-
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#10 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 17 February 2007 - 12:00 AM

Cintel machines are still made today, The DSX and Millenium machine lines are their current CRT Based Products.

I have seven DAV shading boards for our Cintel TurboII/DAV these have both black and white shading unlike the original rank boards which only have white shading. Also the original MarkIII line did not shade Super8 and had to be modified to use a shading board for Super8.

Older Cintel MarkIII telecine's were almost entirely analog devices, from the servo to the scan generator I have replaced every system in our Turbo with 1998 to 2001 era components this includes the servo whichis a Metaspeed, the entire Video section which is all HD bandwidth DAV stuff, the scan generator which is DAV Digital and the framestore which is 444 10 bit, many of these systems are either adjustment free or have greatly simplified and more reliable adjustments.

The last of the Turbo MKIII telecine systems were sold along side the URSA series and had similar reliability and very high picture quality, esp with a new tube and PMT's We thought about a URSA but the cost was higher and they are less serviceable than the turbo's and except for the later Diamonds, etc. picture quality is similar.

I am a Rank technician by default, not choice, and if the newer machines were constant "tweekers" like the old analog ones were I would have thrown them in the Charles by now. We go through tens of thousands of feet a month on these machines with no breakdowns and just simple routine maintenence. I am re-working our #2 suite now and plan to add a DaVinci 888 to it.

Last words on the Rank for me is that they can make a very good SD picture if they are late era machines (around the end of the 90's beginning of the 2000's) and are reliable and cost effective. Time to move on to some kind of scanning in the future.
By the way DAV became Nova Telecine (www.telecine.com) they make what is supposed to be a excellent CRT HD/2K telecine/scanner now.
-Rob-



Wow, that is some terrific info. I kind of messed up my opening sentence and left out some words (I do that a lot, drives me nuts) so I went back and added them.
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