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Super 16mm WorkFlow Questions


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#1 Luke Chimi

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Posted 17 February 2007 - 02:24 PM

Hello,

Questions for a super 16mm feature with a small budget. (This is all hypothetical.)

If I got a Mac Pro, and threw in an HD capture card, (which one I don't know, but Black Magic seems to be mentioned quite often) and then had Best Lite dailies transfered to an HD format (again I am unsure of my options, or if this is super expensive to do).

Would I then be able to capture into my computer and edit online in some HD format on Final Cut?

I know there are miniDV cameras that record HD now, so technically wouldn't I be able to have my dailies recorded to MiniDV HD and edit online in like 720p or even 1080p?

Could a Mac Pro handle an online edit in HD?

I guess my goal would be able to only go as far as a Best Lite and get quality results. I don't want to do an upconvert later, wouldn't be able to afford a print, and would love to be able to have the res to tweek and perfect my footage at home without paying tons for a supervised transfer.

My thought would be to get a good Mac Pro with HD capturing and then after having all my footage transfered to one of what seems like many possible HD formats rent a deck or a camera for a weekend and upload all of my footage.

Anyone have any ideas on the topic, or experience?

Thanks,

Luke
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#2 Luke Chimi

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Posted 17 February 2007 - 02:35 PM

Hello,

Questions for a super 16mm feature with a small budget. (This is all hypothetical.)

If I got a Mac Pro, and threw in an HD capture card, (which one I don't know, but Black Magic seems to be mentioned quite often) and then had Best Lite dailies transfered to an HD format (again I am unsure of my options, or if this is super expensive to do).

Would I then be able to capture into my computer and edit online in some HD format on Final Cut?

I know there are miniDV cameras that record HD now, so technically wouldn't I be able to have my dailies recorded to MiniDV HD and edit online in like 720p or even 1080p?

Could a Mac Pro handle an online edit in HD?

I guess my goal would be able to only go as far as a Best Lite and get quality results. I don't want to do an upconvert later, wouldn't be able to afford a print, and would love to be able to have the res to tweek and perfect my footage at home without paying tons for a supervised transfer.

My thought would be to get a good Mac Pro with HD capturing and then after having all my footage transfered to one of what seems like many possible HD formats rent a deck or a camera for a weekend and upload all of my footage.

Anyone have any ideas on the topic, or experience?

Thanks,

Luke


Just to clarify some more. I have always finished my films on Video via a transfer to MiniDV. I love being able to just edit it and mix and score it and dump it to tape, but this time I want better quality than MiniDV.

So I am looking for the video workflow, but want to have a good quality master to show around, not something that originated on MiniDV which is a tape quality that I have come to despise.

Thanks,

Luke
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#3 David Cox

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Posted 17 February 2007 - 04:18 PM

Well in essence the answer is that you can work the way you have suggested and it will ?work?. But there is a whole minefield of technical and creative issues that get thrown up that could badly affect the quality of your production. This list is very long and the answers to all of these issues will have been posted here individually previously. For example, your choice of digital medium will affect whether (on one hand) your Mac can handle things or (on the other hand) the image quality is adversely affected. Having all your material on a single disk drive that developes a fault will mean the loss of your film. The choice(s) of software will dictate what tools you have availabe to you and how long you have to wait processing your work. Also remember that just because you have the tools to do a job, doesn?t give you the right to do that job well. Buying a saw doesn?t make you a carpenter.

David Cox
www.baraka.co.uk
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#4 Luke Chimi

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Posted 17 February 2007 - 04:55 PM

Buying a saw doesn?t make you a carpenter.

David Cox
www.baraka.co.uk


No, it doesn't.

Thanks,

Luke
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#5 Chris Burke

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Posted 17 February 2007 - 05:55 PM

Hello,

Questions for a super 16mm feature with a small budget. (This is all hypothetical.)

If I got a Mac Pro, and threw in an HD capture card, (which one I don't know, but Black Magic seems to be mentioned quite often) and then had Best Lite dailies transfered to an HD format (again I am unsure of my options, or if this is super expensive to do).

Would I then be able to capture into my computer and edit online in some HD format on Final Cut?

I know there are miniDV cameras that record HD now, so technically wouldn't I be able to have my dailies recorded to MiniDV HD and edit online in like 720p or even 1080p?

Could a Mac Pro handle an online edit in HD?

I guess my goal would be able to only go as far as a Best Lite and get quality results. I don't want to do an upconvert later, wouldn't be able to afford a print, and would love to be able to have the res to tweek and perfect my footage at home without paying tons for a supervised transfer.

My thought would be to get a good Mac Pro with HD capturing and then after having all my footage transfered to one of what seems like many possible HD formats rent a deck or a camera for a weekend and upload all of my footage.

Anyone have any ideas on the topic, or experience?

Thanks,

Luke



If by online edit in HD you mean uncompressed HD, then you will also need to have a very fast and large RAID to put all the footage on. Also monitoring the HD material is another equipment expense. In order to do a proper color correction of the material you need to be looking at a monitor other than your computer screen, it will not give the accurate color and contrast that you will need and since you are finishing to video you need to be looking at a video monitor. So factor in that cost as well. Since you have stated that this is a feature and that you have limited funds as most of us do, then may I suggest the following:

Have your best light put onto DVCam, edit, generate an edl and then have the selects rescanned at DVCPro HD. Your Mac Pro can handle the DVCPRo, right out of the box. You won't need tons of storage space. You can have all your dailies transfered to DVCPro HD, but of course you will need a deck for that. The only thing that I can see as a problem is that not many festivals and such accept DVCPRo HD as a screening format, most ask for HDCam. I know that you can have DVCPro HD converted to HDCam and I have heard that great results can be had. So perhaps this format is for you. All this being said, I highly suggest that you get a post production supervisor on board. someone who can suggest the best workflow for you project. I am finishing a short shot on Super 16. I did the offlline on DVCAM and then rescanned selects to hard drive as uncompressed HD 10bit. I am doing a film out from this file as well. It was economically feasible for me becaus it was a short. For a feature, that is another matter and I would recommend a tape based format. Good luck and keep in touch.

chris


PS I am not sure where you will be doing the best light, but really try to get the best you can out of it. Some places only really give you a one light if they know you will be doing a rescan later on. So if your best light is all you can afford, get the very best best light you can get. Try to have it scanned of a newer maching as well; Spirit, Shadow, etc....
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#6 Luke Chimi

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Posted 17 February 2007 - 07:09 PM

If by online edit in HD you mean uncompressed HD, then you will also need to have a very fast and large RAID to put all the footage on. Also monitoring the HD material is another equipment expense. In order to do a proper color correction of the material you need to be looking at a monitor other than your computer screen, it will not give the accurate color and contrast that you will need and since you are finishing to video you need to be looking at a video monitor. So factor in that cost as well. Since you have stated that this is a feature and that you have limited funds as most of us do, then may I suggest the following:

Have your best light put onto DVCam, edit, generate an edl and then have the selects rescanned at DVCPro HD. Your Mac Pro can handle the DVCPRo, right out of the box. You won't need tons of storage space. You can have all your dailies transfered to DVCPro HD, but of course you will need a deck for that. The only thing that I can see as a problem is that not many festivals and such accept DVCPRo HD as a screening format, most ask for HDCam. I know that you can have DVCPro HD converted to HDCam and I have heard that great results can be had. So perhaps this format is for you. All this being said, I highly suggest that you get a post production supervisor on board. someone who can suggest the best workflow for you project. I am finishing a short shot on Super 16. I did the offlline on DVCAM and then rescanned selects to hard drive as uncompressed HD 10bit. I am doing a film out from this file as well. It was economically feasible for me becaus it was a short. For a feature, that is another matter and I would recommend a tape based format. Good luck and keep in touch.

chris
PS I am not sure where you will be doing the best light, but really try to get the best you can out of it. Some places only really give you a one light if they know you will be doing a rescan later on. So if your best light is all you can afford, get the very best best light you can get. Try to have it scanned of a newer maching as well; Spirit, Shadow, etc....


Thanks a lot Chris. Your response has made me think about my plan a lot.

It would cost a lot to get a Mac Pro, HD card, HD Monitor, Raid Drive. Perhaps the best thing to do would be just get a cheap one light to MiniDV, edit the movie on a cheap PC and have an up convert done at a post house to HD. I didn't think about the whole festival thing, and it is very important to consider what they project on.

I just feel like it would be very annoying to edit a whole movie with a crappy one light, and heartbreaking to then only realize I won't be able to afford to go back later and rescan my selects.

So, I have a few more questions for you.

Adobe Premier 2.0 seems to be set up for editing 24 fps, at least it says it is. Is this even necessary to worry about if I go the above route? Would they be rescanning via the KeyCode or the TimeCode?

Also, I tend to capture my footage in one gigantic chunk of video. I do not log. For the sake of doing an HD rescan would I have to log all my footage? Or would the fact that they are only scanning my selected shots via the Film Key Code make it all not matter?

I guess what I am asking is...Is the process like doing a digital negative cut, so to speak? Or is it based off the video and TimeCode?

I plan on using Postworks in NY and have heard nothing but great things about them. Would you have any idea or anyone else about their pricing which is not listed on their web page?

Would this HD transfer cost like 30 grand or something?

I can't afford a post production supervisor so I am trying to learn as much as I can myself, so this forum is kind of like my supervisor. I can't imagine anyone doing a no-budget film could get a post production supervisor. All they can do is ask people questions who are willing to answer them for free.

I am a long way from making a feature and I am really just trying to learn the post world. Anything anyone has to offer along the lines of information is welcomed.

Thanks,

Luke
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#7 Michael Most

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Posted 17 February 2007 - 08:38 PM

I plan on using Postworks in NY and have heard nothing but great things about them. Would you have any idea or anyone else about their pricing which is not listed on their web page?


Why don't you call them and find out? One phone call will give you a hell of a lot more useful, accurate information than any amount of semi-anonymous responses on an Internet forum.
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#8 K Borowski

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Posted 17 February 2007 - 08:42 PM

Why don't you call them and find out? One phone call will give you a hell of a lot more useful, accurate information than any amount of semi-anonymous responses on an Internet forum.


But dude, it's the digital age and all. Like, come on, if it can't be had on the net, then why bother with it?

~Anonymous.
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#9 Matthew Buick

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Posted 18 February 2007 - 04:16 PM

Buying a saw doesn?t make you a carpenter.

David Cox
www.baraka.co.uk


Yes it does.

please,

Matthew
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#10 david romberg

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Posted 02 April 2007 - 11:47 PM

just wondering if there is still an advantage to shooting in super 16 even if you are working in sd video?
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#11 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 02 April 2007 - 11:53 PM

just wondering if there is still an advantage to shooting in super 16 even if you are working in sd video?


They use 35mm for commercials only shown in standard def video all the time. And you can see the difference between 35mm and Super-16 on standard def, so yes, there is still an advantage to Super-16 compared to shooting in sd video, for sd video presentation.
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#12 Phil Gerke

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Posted 05 April 2007 - 02:28 PM

I am finishing a short shot on Super 16. I did the offlline on DVCAM and then rescanned selects to hard drive as uncompressed HD 10bit. I am doing a film out from this file as well. It was economically feasible for me becaus it was a short. For a feature, that is another matter and I would recommend a tape based format. Good luck and keep in touch.


I am curious about your decision to scan your selects to HD and then film out from there. What are the advantages? Why not just use your offline to put together a print master with the film and go from there? Color grading? EFX?

Thanks
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#13 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 05 April 2007 - 04:51 PM

Why not just use your offline to put together a print master with the film and go from there? Color grading? EFX?

Thanks


Resolution, color-space, compression, frame rate... DVCAM is only 720 x 480 pixels (in NTSC), with 4:1:1 color and a lot of compression. Not adequate for something shot on film to go back to film again using a digital intermediate step.

You need to use a digital format with higher quality to retain more of the quality of the original film elements. Hence why projects offlined in standard def video have selects from the camera rolls rescanned and conformed using the EDL at HD or higher resolutions for digital intermediate work. The ideal situation is for the digital in-between stage to keep as much of the original film's information as possible, to be as lossless as possible. DVCAM is definitely "lossy" for something shot in Super-16.
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#14 Chayse Irvin

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Posted 05 April 2007 - 05:16 PM

Even DVCAM on broadcast looks really bad in my opinion. If you compare channels like Spike TV (or local low budget stations) to A&E or NBC you will notice the difference between DVcam broadcast and Digibeta broadcast, in that realm its not even a resolution issue, thats due to compression. DVCam to film would be unwatchable for me in a theater.

Edited by Chayse Irvin, 05 April 2007 - 05:17 PM.

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#15 Phil Gerke

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Posted 05 April 2007 - 06:20 PM

I know you would not use your DVCAM for film transfer, my syntax was poor. Certainly the lo rez stuff is strictly for an offline.

I should have been more specific. Why not use the EDL created from the offline edit of the DVCAM to then assemble a print master from the IN. Isn't that how it is done when a DI is not involved? You do a scan to DVCAM or whatever, offilne edit on whatever, use the EDL for an online assembly of the actually film, then make prints.

The way I understand it is that he scanned his selects (determined by the offline) and then blew that up back to film. Am I not understanding something? If not what is the advantage of the extra step? A poor mans DI?

I am more than willing to accept that I may not have a strong grasp on things such as this, the film world is pretty new to me.

Thanks!
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#16 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 05 April 2007 - 07:18 PM

I should have been more specific. Why not use the EDL created from the offline edit of the DVCAM to then assemble a print master from the IN. Isn't that how it is done when a DI is not involved? You do a scan to DVCAM or whatever, offilne edit on whatever, use the EDL for an online assembly of the actually film, then make prints.


You're just talking about the standard non-digital method of conforming a negative -- you use the EDL to cut the negative to match the offline cut, then you answer print the negative, etc.

The only complication is that Super-16 is not a final projection format, so after the negative is cut and answer printed, you'd either make a color-timed Super-16 IP in a contact printer and then a 35mm IN in an optical printer, or you'd go directly to a 35mm IP in an optical printer (having to do the color-timing at the same step) and then make a contact-printed 35mm IN.

Doing this Super-16 blow-up to 35mm using a digital intermediate step has become a popular alternative, and in some ways less complicated if your film has digital efx in it.
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