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Fed up with Cinelab.... Good super8 transfers?


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#1 Joseph Winchester

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Posted 16 February 2007 - 12:50 PM

Long story, but after being told by Cinelab that my 5 rolls of Super8 hadn't been transferred yet (days later) because the super8 sometimes gets pushed to the back while the 35 and 16mm customers get priority... and now receiving a terrible transfer to 8-bit, all out of focus, with the wrong specs.... I am in dire need of a good place to get Super8 processed and transferred.

I understand unless I'm there it's hit or miss with exposure and color, etc. etc. and I accept that. I have no issue paying for that kind of attention when I need it. But I shouldn't have to be there for the telecine to be FOCUSED correctly.

There's got to be someone around that cares about quality and realizes that my dollar is a good as the next guys.

Any good recommendations?

Basically I'm looking for processing and telecine to uncompressed SD on a hard drive. No high def necessary.

Thanks in advance...
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#2 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 16 February 2007 - 01:13 PM

Long story, but after being told by Cinelab that my 5 rolls of Super8 hadn't been transferred yet (days later) because the super8 sometimes gets pushed to the back while the 35 and 16mm customers get priority... and now receiving a terrible transfer to 8-bit, all out of focus, with the wrong specs.... I am in dire need of a good place to get Super8 processed and transferred.

I understand unless I'm there it's hit or miss with exposure and color, etc. etc. and I accept that. I have no issue paying for that kind of attention when I need it. But I shouldn't have to be there for the telecine to be FOCUSED correctly.

There's got to be someone around that cares about quality and realizes that my dollar is a good as the next guys.

Any good recommendations?

Basically I'm looking for processing and telecine to uncompressed SD on a hard drive. No high def necessary.

Thanks in advance...


Spectra Film and Video does stunningly good rank cintel transfers. You'll probably get significantly better quality by transfering to betacam sp, than outputing the tape signal via COMPONENT, NOT FIREWIRE, into a Kona Card or Black magic card, than having that signal converted to a DVC-PRO 50 codec as it goes into final cut pro. You can also choose to have the COMPONENT Betacam sp signal converted to either 8 bit uncompressed or 10 bit uncompressed, but that may be overkill and might result in longer render times (or not, who knows anymore). I'm not necessarily saying that after you finish editing on Final Cut Pro you must than layback to betacam sp, you are totally free to choose whatever tape edit mastering steps you want to take when you export from Final Cut Pro, I'm strictly advising you on what will probably give you the best transfer method when going into final cut pro.

Yale Film Labs does a lot of processing and is strongest in their color and black and white reversal services. When it comes to negative film processing among Yale, Spectra and Pro-8mm, I don't know who offers the best processing. All three labs are located very close to each other and of the three labs, Yale is probably the busiest, but that can be both a blessing and a curse.
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#3 steve hyde

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Posted 16 February 2007 - 04:16 PM

...CinePost in Atlanta is a cost-comparable alternative.

I use FSFT in Seattle for high quality S8 transfers, but that is 300/hr

Steve
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#4 Jim Keller

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Posted 16 February 2007 - 04:22 PM

There's also Yale Film and Video in North Hollywood, CA. I've never used them for 8 but I've been extremely happy with their 16 work.

http://www.yalefilmandvideo.com/

Be sure to read their subject material policy under "terms" before sending them film, however.
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#5 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 16 February 2007 - 05:13 PM

.
I understand unless I'm there it's hit or miss with exposure and color, etc. etc. and I accept that. I have no issue paying for that kind of attention when I need it. But I shouldn't have to be there for the telecine to be FOCUSED correctly.



Joseph you are going to have a tough time with that film because your CAMERA was out of focus.

BTW we run 10bit SDI direct out of the Rank/Color Corrector into a G5 with a blackmagic card, NO Firewire,No Analog Component conversion, No Compression.


We process and transfer tens of thousands of feet of 8mm film every month, and that is just 8mm, 99% of our customers are very happy with our service and quality.

Again Joseph your camera was out of focus you can tell this because the grain in the image is sharp. If you called us we would be happy to make an accommodation for you on your next order once you straighten out your technical problems.

-Rob-
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#6 Michael Ryan

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Posted 16 February 2007 - 05:22 PM

Hello Joesph,

Check out www.framediscreet.com Really excellent attention to detail. You can check out examples
of the transfers on the site. Excellent rates. Highly recommended.

Mike
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#7 Scott Bullock

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Posted 16 February 2007 - 06:06 PM

Hello Joesph,

Check out www.framediscreet.com Really excellent attention to detail. You can check out examples
of the transfers on the site. Excellent rates. Highly recommended.

Mike


Is Frame Discreet set up to transfer color negative? I didn't think they were, but I could be wrong.
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#8 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 16 February 2007 - 07:27 PM

Is Frame Discreet set up to transfer color negative? I didn't think they were, but I could be wrong.



I transfered some "Max8" widescreen super8 color negative for Justin some time back,I do not know if he has figured out a color negative scan yet or not. I thought his transfers that he had on his website were very good looking.

There is some difficulty with properly compensating for the orange mask in negative and the softer nature of the emulsion when using a film chain style system. A scanner will use a specialty camera which is feeding a some kind of computer system with High speed data, when you use a video camera (either over DV, Component or SDI) the signal processing makes it nearly impossible to compensate for the nature of negative stocks and this is why you would use a "real" film scanner or telecine, in additional to the gentile film handling and crystal locked speeds of a digital servo.



-Rob-
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#9 Scott Bullock

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Posted 17 February 2007 - 12:07 AM

Hi John;

I've used Cinelab on numerous occasions and feel that you folks do a wonderful job, especially given that I've never supervised any of the transfer sessions. I also feel that you folks are very informative and helpful when dealing with you over the phone. My only complaint is that on the last job I did where your lab was utilized we were up against a deadline and for one reason or another our film processing and transfer kept getting bumped back. This was the first time that I had used Cinelab for Super 8 processing and transfers, every other time it has been for 16mm projects. Anyway, I know that you only do Super 8 on certain days or whatever, but I remember the producer and me sweating pretty heavily regarding our deadline, and that the producer kept calling you guys almost everyday and getting a "we're going to do it tomorrow" kind of answer. We both sort of felt that our project wasn't taking precedence because it was Super 8 instead of 16mm or 35mm, which was a shame considering that we bought a package deal from you that included stock, processing, and transfer.

In the end (following a few days of sleepless editing sessions due to the untimely turnaround of the processing and transfer), everything turned out great and I'll be sending other clients to Cinelab in the future. But I do remember thinking at the time that if it had been an equivalent sized 16mm or 35mm project the turnaround would have been much quicker. That being said, I do think you folks do a wonderful job and I will continue to use your services, but is there any way to speed up the turnaround for Super 8 projects? I mean, if it were to be labeled "urgent" or something?
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#10 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 17 February 2007 - 03:22 AM

Long story, but after being told by Cinelab that my 5 rolls of Super8 hadn't been transferred yet (days later) because the super8 sometimes gets pushed to the back while the 35 and 16mm customers get priority



I am completely wrong, I still have Josephs footage on the G5 at the lab and it's soft in the middle and I did not transfer it right.

I have turnaround time problems with super8 which I am trying to solve, We get pushed up against allot of deadlines and I think we need to extend our turnaround times so we can allow for people to plan accordingly. I really do not want to let anything leave that's not right.

I thought this job was a different job, where the focus was way out on allot of the shots, I'll certainly refund the transfer and offer to do it right for free...

I certainly would like to have a Nice Super8 department and I am putting a second suite together right now which will be dedicated to Super8 and reversal. I need to get someone to play colorist.

I have put my ugly mug on this fourm and I'll be happy to take whatever abuse is properly accorded me.

-Rob-
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#11 Kevin Zanit

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Posted 17 February 2007 - 04:53 AM

I've never worked with this lab (in fact I've never even has S8 telecined come to think of it), but I have followed Robert's posts and they have always seemed very honest, and for a lab to offer to not only fix the problem, but to it for free all together is very nice, they sound like good people.
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#12 Michael Ryan

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Posted 17 February 2007 - 09:02 AM

Hello All,

I just wanted to add a bit of a reality check here.

I'm a writer and I have been covering the world of Super-8 for over a year now and I just wanted to point something out here.

I'm not connected to Cinelab and I'm not here to make excuses for them.

Everyone doing business in the Super-8 world are small companies. They don't have huge staffs, they don't
have huge profit margins, they don't have huge bank accounts to buy all the equipment they need.

However, what these Super-8 compaines have is lots of passion for film and filmmakers. I think many readers would be surprised to know that many big names in the Super-8 world are really doing this for the love. They could stop tomorrow and make more money doing just about anything else.

When you have a problem with a Super-8 company, always,always give them a chance to fix the situation. They really want your business. They really want to keep you as a customer. Are they going to be able to fix the problem right away, get back to you right away? Probably not. That's the nature of a small company.


I know it's difficult, but we have to give these guys a little slack. Many of these companies really do a fantastic job supporting the Super-8 format and without them what would happen to Super-8?


Mike
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#13 Scott Bullock

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Posted 17 February 2007 - 10:59 AM

Hello All,

I just wanted to add a bit of a reality check here.

I'm a writer and I have been covering the world of Super-8 for over a year now and I just wanted to point something out here.

I'm not connected to Cinelab and I'm not here to make excuses for them.

Everyone doing business in the Super-8 world are small companies. They don't have huge staffs, they don't
have huge profit margins, they don't have huge bank accounts to buy all the equipment they need.

However, what these Super-8 compaines have is lots of passion for film and filmmakers. I think many readers would be surprised to know that many big names in the Super-8 world are really doing this for the love. They could stop tomorrow and make more money doing just about anything else.

When you have a problem with a Super-8 company, always,always give them a chance to fix the situation. They really want your business. They really want to keep you as a customer. Are they going to be able to fix the problem right away, get back to you right away? Probably not. That's the nature of a small company.
I know it's difficult, but we have to give these guys a little slack. Many of these companies really do a fantastic job supporting the Super-8 format and without them what would happen to Super-8?
Mike


I agree completely. Like I said in my earlier post, I've used Cinelab many times and have always been pleased with the results. I will continue to use them in the future and will be turning clients in their direction. While the producer and I got a bit stressed on our last project, in the end everything turned out great. And I will say this, Cinelab has been a lot more professional than other places, which shall remain nameless, that I've used for Super 8 processing and transfer in the past.
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#14 adam berk

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Posted 17 February 2007 - 01:58 PM

Has anyone ever used this place? 3516

If so, how were the transfers?

thanks,
adam
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#15 Joseph Winchester

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Posted 17 February 2007 - 01:59 PM

"I just wanted to add a bit of a reality check here."

My reality is already in check, my friend.

Robert has offered to re-transfer my footage, and I will probably take him up on that offer. I don't hold grudges or anything like that. ALL of us make mistakes. I've also asked the mods to change the title of this thread. I think I made a mistake calling Cinelab out when it truly wasn't my intention. I was a little ticked and wanted a place to get a better transfer.

Obviously Cinelab is a great company with a reputation to uphold. Like I said, I worded my thread title and post wrong... I didn't mean to call them out in a public forum, so for that I apologize.

So anyways, perhaps this discussion is on hold for now? I think we're all in agreement?
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#16 ryan_bennett

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Posted 22 February 2007 - 12:33 PM

Just curious around when you sent your footage because I know things at Cinelab must get hectic with Emerson, BU, Mass Art and other schools with film departments, basically all their students sending their 16mm over there at the end of the semester, clogging things up.
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#17 Justin Lovell

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 01:44 AM

Just curious around when you sent your footage because I know things at Cinelab must get hectic with Emerson, BU, Mass Art and other schools with film departments, basically all their students sending their 16mm over there at the end of the semester, clogging things up.



Hey hey,

At frame discreet, we are equipped to handle super 8/16mm color negative. More info can be found on our website, or just call me up and we can chat...

Rob is correct, color negative is a beast in its own to get right. Seems as though every passing day I'm learning something new and tweaking the way the scanner is interpreting the film.

With negative film, you cannot get the right results without some type of color correction capabilities. (Most "telecine film chains" (older method) do not have this type of control, as most of the work they are dealing with is reversal film- though having control over your colors -even with reversal film- during the transfer will give you a lot more options for restoring faded footage, footage shot with incorrect filtration, or just to help balance out some strange color shifts).

Rob is lucky over at cinelab because he can run his system at all kinds of different _realtime_ speeds.

We currently scan frame by frame @ about 7fps, then apply industry standard pulldown patterns to the footage according to the frame rate that you've shot at. Its a slower process, but yields very good results.

On another note, I'm always interested in seeing/ comparing my asthetic choices with the choices made by colorists at other labs. Rob has been very willing to help me out with retransfering some S8 color neg that came back to me with some issues. No matter where you decide to go, have a chat with the people running the show and see if they're a company you are comfortable dealing with.

best of luck,
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