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From shooting to screening - the film's "journey"


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#1 Josef Heks

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Posted 17 May 2007 - 03:48 AM

Hi,

I'm doing a project for my film uni course, and need to find out about the pipeline of shooting film. Basically I'm just wanting to know what happens to the actual film once it is shot until when it is screened in terms of processing, digitization, intermediates etc...I don't really know the terms very well!

So this is the scenario I am particularly interested in:

A short film, shot on 35mm, which will have some greenscreen fx shots. Once the film is complete it would need to be made into 35mm prints as well as digital copies.

Many thanks to those who can help me out with this!

Cheers :)
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#2 Josef Heks

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Posted 18 May 2007 - 01:12 AM

No one can help me out with this?? Please tell me if my question is not making sense. And also, I did not expect a detailed explanation or anything, just the basics. Id really appreciate it if someone could help me out or even just point me in the direction of some articles or something.

thanks so much
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#3 John Sprung

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Posted 18 May 2007 - 06:48 PM

What you're asking about is all of post production. There's more to it than anybody would want to try to type up as a reply on a forum like this.
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#4 Josef Heks

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Posted 19 May 2007 - 04:55 AM

What you're asking about is all of post production. There's more to it than anybody would want to try to type up as a reply on a forum like this.


aahh no see I think Iv mislead you. What im wanting to know is what happens to the actual film stock in terms of processing etc once it has been shot. This is what i THINK happens, but Im sure some of it is wrong/ left out so whatever comments you can make would be great.

1. Film is shot
2. Film is developed/processed (this is the Master?)
3. A copy of the master is made (Negative print???)
4. The Negative print is used to make further lower quality copies which are needed.
5. At some point one of the prints (not sure which) is digitised. To what resolution Im not sure..
6. This digital footage is editied on NLE and Fx work is done.
7. The timecodes of the edited footage is used to cut the master up to create the final copy.
8. I have no idea how the FX shots fit into the final print?? Printed from digital onto film?

Also, if anyone knows any articles about this stuff that would also be appreciated.

Many many many thanks :)
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#5 Jon Kukla

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Posted 19 May 2007 - 05:10 PM

Your main problem here is that there is no such thing as a "standard" workflow - every film will have a customized one tailored to their needs and budget. However, there are some general steps which can be discussed.

I'll break this down into "old school" 100% film-based and "new school" mostly-digital-based.

Old school:
Negative is shot and developed > film dailies are struck for viewing and to create a workprint for editing; often a backup negative is also generated > editing cuts the workprint and requests reprints as need be > picture is "locked" > opticals are created > negative is assembled by a highly-skilled negative cutter using keykode logs > answer prints are struck for color timing > approved answer print settings are used to generate interpositive copies (IP)s > soundtrack is "married" to the print > IPs used to create internegatives (IN)s > INs used to create release prints. Usually the IP will also be used to create b/w separation masters, which are stable archival color separations that store each color channel on an individual roll of b/w film, because the b/w process is much more stable for preservation than current ECN/ECP color film technology.

New school:
Negative is shot and developed > dailies are generated digitally through telecine, output to one or several formats (DigiBeta, BetaSP, DVCAM, miniDV, DVD, etc), and include burnt-in timecode and keykode > editing "cuts" the film on a computer program using one of these formats as an "offline" source > the picture is "locked"> an edit decision list (EDL) is generated from the keykode and footage used in the digital cut > the EDL is used to indicate which frames should be given a higher-quality (2K or higher) scan for DI > (VFX, if needed, use parts of this scan for their rendering) > all sources (scanned negative, VFX, titles, digital footage) are assembled into the final picture > the locked picture files are color graded on a computer system > the digital grade is used as a master digital source for the digital cinema files and the consumer copies > if going for a release print, a slightly modified grade is created for a film-out; this grade's master file will be "printed" out either directly as a release print or as an IP, which then undergoes the same path as above.

Most films are some combination of the two or may iterate sections within this several times. The vast majority now use digital editing, while anything not going out to the theater (music videos, TV drama, commercials, etc) will never return to the film realm after telecine and/or scan. Some films also make unusual usage of post-processes to create particular looks, such as "Traffic", but this has never been common and is even less so as digital grading capabilities have increased.

That's a very rough guide and, as I usually spend far less time involved with post, may have some errors... Hopefully you understand the gist, though?
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#6 Josef Heks

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Posted 19 May 2007 - 07:34 PM

A fantastic post Jon, thanks so much it was very helpful. Is it particularly important having a strong knowledge of all this or is it something a cinemtaographer generally just leaves to the post production facilities?
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#7 Z Will Ham

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Posted 21 May 2007 - 12:10 AM

Hope I don't hijack your posting but -
How are the (film) prints made from digital files? There must be some machine for this?
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#8 Josef Heks

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Posted 21 May 2007 - 03:17 AM

Hope I don't hijack your posting but -
How are the (film) prints made from digital files? There must be some machine for this?


Not at all, Id actually be interested to know that myself..
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#9 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 21 May 2007 - 04:21 AM

Not at all, Id actually be interested to know that myself..



If you're at uni doing a film course you should be hitting your library and lecturers for this information.

http://en.wikipedia....iki/Film_making

http://en.wikipedia....al_intermediate

http://en.wikipedia....-related_topics

Here's a book for your library work

http://www.amazon.co...r...164&sr=1-46
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#10 Dominic Case

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Posted 21 May 2007 - 08:45 AM

Most cinematographers will gain some knowledge of lab work (ancient or modern) as they are concerned that the quality of their imagers is maintained throughout the workflow. Unfortunately, they are often off the payroll for most of the postproduction phase when much of the lab work takes place.

I might just add a couple of points to Jon Kukla's very informative post: as he says, most productions follow a path that is somewhere between the two extremes (all film, and not much film at all) that he describes. So a common pathway might be:-

Shoot negative.
Process negative.
on a feature some of the negative might be printed to make a work print (for the sake of seeing image quality at full film resolution. Typical in Australia would be between 0% and 10%- which is for bigger budget shows
Transfer negative on telecine to tape or digital format for editing. A log of keykodes (on the negative) and timecodes (on the tape) is generated so that the neg matcher can identify where to cut later on.
File negative for later access.

After editing, either all required takes are extracted from the camera rolls, assembled together and then scanned to 4k, 2k or HD files for Digital Intermediate assembly and colour correction.
After all digital work, the final digital master is output to 35mm negative on a film recorder.
---or---
All required shots are cut and spliced frame-accurately by a negative matcher to produce a final cut negative.
The cut negative is graded (on a Colormaster or Hazeltine (USA)), which doesn't alter the negative but produces colour correction data for the printing machine.

An Answer Print is made using the final cut negative (or the digital negative) and the optical sound negative (that's another story). It is approved or further corected and another print made and so on until approval.
An interpositive (IP) is made from the original neg using the approved grading. This serves as a safety master (the original negativecan now be put away). For big release features, several IPs may be made.
The interpos is used to make one or more duplicate negatives.
Release prints are made from the dupe negs. As the colour grading has already been incorporated into the IP, no further scene-to-scene correction is needed at release printing stage.

That's it in a nutshell. Most productions that follow the more traditional (non DI) path still have a few shots scanned (digitised) - for optical transitions such as dissolves, or for titles, repair, or special grading beond the scope of film grading. The digitally corrected frames are then outpu on a film recorder to 35mm negative which is cut in with the original negative by the neg matcher.

Where are you doing your film course? Check out the library - if you can't find the book referred to in a previous post, we'll have to talk the librarian into getting one ;)
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#11 Dominic Case

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Posted 21 May 2007 - 08:57 AM

Hope I don't hijack your posting but -
How are the (film) prints made from digital files? There must be some machine for this?

Digital files are passed to a film recorder which exposes 35mm negtive frame by frame. Most recorders are laser film recorders: they shoot onto very fine grained intermediate negative stock. It's a slow process - each frame takes a couple of seconds: do the maths, you'll find a complete feature would take several days.

Older CRT recorders scan the red values, then the green then the blue, for each frame in turn, onto a high-res tube, which is photographed through coloured filters. Typically these machines are even slower, up to 18 or 20 sec per frame, even shooting onto faster camera negative stock.

Once the negative is exposed and processed, it is used to make prints on a conventional contact printer.

In theory you could make first generation prints directly from a file using a film recorder. But it becomes a very very time consuming and expensive exercise especially if you need to go back and get another print, as you don't get a negative.
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#12 Josef Heks

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Posted 21 May 2007 - 06:29 PM

Cheers Dominic, that was all very helpful. Im at UTS btw.
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