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Super 16 to DVC-PRO HD


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#1 Benjamin_Lussier

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Posted 08 October 2007 - 12:30 PM

Hi guys,

I just finished shooting my shirt short film on Super 16 (Kodak 7218) and I want to get an HD transfer. I want to retain the original frame rate 24 FPS, no pull-down... no drop-frame.

I have 6800 feet of super 16 to get transfered.

1. What should I ask for exactly when I get to the studio ? A TGA sequence ? that would take alot of disk space. A seires of DVC-PRO HD quicktimes ?

2. What happends exactly when u get it transfered I mean. The exposed film is still in the cans... fresh out of the mags. Do I have to go to the lab before I get it transfered ? The film is still light-sensitive... it needs to get processed with a "fixative" solution or smtg, doesnt it ?

Im just trying to understand the process... can anyone help me ?

Thanks

Best regards,

Benjamin
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#2 Adam Thompson

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Posted 08 October 2007 - 02:09 PM

1- You ask the tech doing the transfer as to what type of file you'd need given what kind of editing system you are using. He will clear that up for you quickly. Hopefully its a properly set up HD ready and popular program, this always makes things easier.

2- Uhh are you asking, does film get processed before it gets telecined? Yeah.? I dont mean to sound rude but you shot on film and don't know this? Some very basic film classes would make things a lot easier for you.


You might try shooting one roll of 100ft. to test things out first. This will teach you tons of things about your lab process, exposure and editing issues before you jump in with 1000's of feet. This should always be done with any camera and workflow, be it digital or film.
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#3 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 08 October 2007 - 06:50 PM

Hi guys,

I have 6800 feet of super 16 to get transfered.

1. What should I ask for exactly when I get to the studio ? A TGA sequence ? that would take alot of disk space. A seires of DVC-PRO HD quicktimes ?


Benjamin



First your film must be processed :blink:

Most telecine houses will be setup to go to better formats than dvcprohd, it is considered pretty low end for a super16 transfer, mostly it would be used for keycode dailies and not a "finish" video format. In general either D5 or Hdcam/SR are the preferred tape formats or direct to disk recordings. Most shops which will go to disk will offer either Quicktime uncompressed or DPX scans. Both of these are high bandwidth formats but you could always recompress down to a low end hd format like dvcprohd in FCP or Avid.

-Rob-
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#4 Patrick McGowan

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Posted 08 October 2007 - 09:03 PM

Get your film processed soon man! Even if you wait on the transfer, your film has undergone its photochemical process in the camera and needs to be developed. I would not wait too long, especially with 500T, because it will affect the color response and increase grain.

Edited by Patrick McGowan, 08 October 2007 - 09:04 PM.

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#5 Patrick McGowan

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Posted 08 October 2007 - 09:17 PM

By the way have any of you done a direct to disk or hard drive transfer? Would a regular lab do that?
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#6 Nick Mulder

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Posted 08 October 2007 - 09:38 PM

Not a 'lab' no - unless it has telecine/transfer facilities also
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#7 Benjamin_Lussier

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Posted 08 October 2007 - 09:47 PM

Yes Im asking a silly question.

Im not the D.O.P on this, guys.

Im the director, its my first project on film and I want to learn... no need to be rude.


Thanks for everything.

Ben
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#8 Nick Mulder

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Posted 08 October 2007 - 10:23 PM

Yes Im asking a silly question.

Im not the D.O.P on this, guys.

Im the director, its my first project on film and I want to learn... no need to be rude.
Thanks for everything.

Ben


I dont think anyone is being rude - its just hard to imagine such a circumstance that someone who types "I just finished shooting my shirt short film on Super 16" regardless of the typo (?) doesn't understand the basics of processing - i.e. that it is actually required.

The " :blink:" icons etc.. are just an indication of the incongruity you have presented us. It is bit of a clunker to tell you the truth - but, as you suggest>> take it as a learning experience and good luck with the film !
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#9 Patrick McGowan

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Posted 08 October 2007 - 10:40 PM

I was just saying you shouldn't wait too long, mostly because I've done that with a few of my projects and it ages the film quite a bit. I would suggest having a lab/telecine house in mind before shooting. That's all.
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#10 Chris Burke

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Posted 08 October 2007 - 10:43 PM

Yes, most labs do direct to drive transfers now. It is rapidlly becoming the norm. I do it all the time for shorts. for a feature it is another matter as the files can be quite large and you would need an impossible amount of storage. You can go straight to drive in any type of file format, like dv or dvcpro HD, so ask the lab you are dealing with which will be best for your project.


forgive any rudness that may be implied or not. It is just that your question was greener than green. Just like the film you take to the drug store for "processing", cine film must be processed before you can do anything with it
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#11 Benjamin_Lussier

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Posted 08 October 2007 - 11:45 PM

It is bit of a clunker to tell you the truth


Clunker:
something worthless or inferior... how is that not rude Mr. Mulder ?

I'm making the transition from video to film... and Im learning as I go. I took the plunge. How can you gain knowledge if you don't ask these stupid questions, out of fear of humiliation.

I'm used to digital and want to learn "old school"... if you look at it the other way around. Would you laugh at your grand-ma for asking questions about the internet ?

It just really gets to me when people do that. It's anti-pedagogical.

anyway.

Mr. Burke, Mr. McGowan... thanks for everything :) ... I'll look into it.
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#12 Scott Fritzshall

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Posted 09 October 2007 - 12:08 AM

Your film must be processed before you can do anything with it. Once it's processed, you can handle it and expose it to light without hurting it.

In order to get a transfer to HD, you need to go to a facility that has an HD telecine. They're becoming much more common these days, but not all places have them. Call them up and ask what their capabilities are. They'll undoubtedly charge you more to go to HD.

If you use an HD telecine, they'll output the results to an HD tape format such as DVCProHD (unlikely), D5, HDCam, or HDCamSR. Then you'll need to use a tape deck attached to a computer to pull in the files to your hard drive. This step will cost you extra unless you have a friend who works there who will do it for free [hint: such friends can be very valuable!!].

If they have a datacine like a Spirit or a scanner like a Northlight or an Arriscan, it will spit out the results as data onto a hard drive, usually in .dpx format. These machines are more expensive and thus tend to cost more, again unless you've got a friend there who will do it for a discount or something.

As a general rule, you should try to work backwards with this sort of thing: figure out what format your final result needs to be and go backwards from there all the way to how you'll shoot and on what format. If you're only ever going to be showing in standard definition, it may not be worth the added expense of an HD transfer.

Edited by Scott Fritzshall, 09 October 2007 - 12:08 AM.

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#13 Nick Mulder

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Posted 09 October 2007 - 12:17 AM

Clunker:
something worthless or inferior... how is that not rude Mr. Mulder ?

I'm making the transition from video to film... and Im learning as I go. I took the plunge. How can you gain knowledge if you don't ask these stupid questions, out of fear of humiliation.

I'm used to digital and want to learn "old school"... if you look at it the other way around. Would you laugh at your grand-ma for asking questions about the internet ?

It just really gets to me when people do that. It's anti-pedagogical.

anyway.

Mr. Burke, Mr. McGowan... thanks for everything :) ... I'll look into it.



I was saying they haven't been rude - I did by implication reserve the right to be so myself however ...

What I meant by 'clunker' is basically the truth of the matter - if you were to ask the question you did as director in circles such as this and most probably in a 'directors forum' if such a forum exists it would make people well, I dunno... at least look at you waiting for the rest of the sentence that would make it make sense.

Its weird that after shooting 6800' of film you now ask about processing - who is paying for this ?

Considering these factors I dont think the grandmother analogy stands up - perhaps if she bought a computer for the same eventual cost of your stock, processing and transfer and then wondered if it used more coal when on the net than when it was doing the washing...

Maybe thats taking it a little far :P

"anti-pedagogical" huh ? - sheesh, I had to look that one up - Well, maybe I am being 'anti-pedagogical' - tell in a year or so when you're in the industry and know a lot more about film if you still think that though...

as I said earlier: take it as a learning experience and good luck with the film !
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#14 Sam Wells

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Posted 09 October 2007 - 09:35 AM

If you're on a Mac and FCP I'd skip DVCProHD and work in ProResHQ.

This doesn't sound like a project that will want to be dealing with dpx files.

-Sam
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#15 Benjamin_Lussier

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Posted 09 October 2007 - 03:02 PM

Okay.. it was a pretty stupid question....I'll admit that.

Ive been working in post-production for five years now... everything that comes B4 post-prod is pretty foreign to me. And yes... I was pretty clueless... I know how to expose film properly. But for some reason I confused processing with "making a print"... I thought that what I shot was already the negative... but for some reason it was still light-sensitive and I had to process it.... anyway.

If I make a one-light transfer and do my color corretion in Combustion or Shake or whatever... Im guessing that since it's been transfered to an 8bit image sequence, I don't have as much control as I'd have with a telecine , right ?


Does that mean that a datacine like a Spirit scans the film at a high dynamic range ? Like a cineon file or smtg ? Or is it just an internal mechanism that dims/brightens the light in front of the negative b4 it gets digitized... like the post proudction equivalent of a push/pull ?

It's a bit confusing.
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#16 Nick Mulder

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Posted 09 October 2007 - 04:28 PM

But for some reason I confused processing with "making a print"... I thought that what I shot was already the negative... but for some reason it was still light-sensitive and I had to process it.... anyway.

Now, I'm confused ! - I wont try to reverse engineer though and just say this: What you put in the camera to shoot is %99 of the time a negative stock, when you finish shooting you keep it light tight and take it to the lab to be developed into a negative (no longer called 'stock' but is the same physical piece of film) - this is what gets transfered (telecined) . Some people get physical film print made optically, this is the thing you can put through a projector and watch at home and its possible to transfer this also, but that is not what you should be doing in normal circumstances - a negative gives you much more control.

If I make a one-light transfer and do my color corretion in Combustion or Shake or whatever... Im guessing that since it's been transfered to an 8bit image sequence, I don't have as much control as I'd have with a telecine , right ?


Correct.

Does that mean that a datacine like a Spirit scans the film at a high dynamic range ? Like a cineon file or smtg ? Or is it just an internal mechanism that dims/brightens the light in front of the negative b4 it gets digitized... like the post proudction equivalent of a push/pull ?


This is where my knowledge gets dim also ... But yes, you can scan to file at higher range with certain machines, and its not just 'pushing and pulling' as I'm guessing how you understand the terms - I think a little more research into push/pull and you 'll realize its not quite the same. Dimming and brightening move the gamma curve up and down (addition and subtraction) - push and pull work more like a multiplication and division of the curve (with a little plus/up)

This is knowledge from stills B+W - hopefully it stands up to cine !
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#17 Patrick McGowan

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Posted 09 October 2007 - 08:50 PM

So wait, I want to clarify something. The only way you can get a direct to disk telecine, is to get a scan on a spirit or datacine? Cant they just do the HD telecine and put it on to a hard drive rather than a tape?

This is where I'm green. ;)

Edited by Patrick McGowan, 09 October 2007 - 08:51 PM.

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#18 Evan Warner

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Posted 09 October 2007 - 11:14 PM

Hey Ben,
I do agree with some of the other comments, you really need to make sure you understand the fundamentals of film before you embark on a project like this. Anyhoo, now that yo have your project sound pretty much identical to mine in terms of production and post.

I shot 2000 feet of 7218 three weeks ago which I am making into a 10 min film, hopefully finishing to HDCam. Here is what my current post workflow is.

1) process your negative at the lab. Dunnno where you are but here in Vancouver it is costing me 15 cents per foot as a student.
2) Get them at the same time to prep the neg for transfer ( they add leader to the ends and coat it in some sort of chemical. This is standard and I think most labs will do it automatically anyway)
3) Get the film telecined. I'm on a very small budget so I searched around and found a much better deal at a place in seattle so I'm taking it there.
3a) Pick your HD flavor, like others have said there are a wide range of HD flavors and depending on your budget and needs some make more sense than other. For my project I have talked to the transfer house and have decided to get ProRes 422 HQ files directly to harddrive AND a HDCAM tape backup.

**why ProRes and not uncompressed??**
I'm sure lots of people have different opinions and might agree or disagree with me on these points but from all my research this is my conclusion.

Uncompressed

You really cannot get any better quality than uncompressed but it comes at a high cost. You need very fast RAID to playback and edit the film. If you are willing to invest money into this then this may be fine for you. For interest, my 2000 feet of film (55mins) would take over 400GB of space. You have over 3x the film as me so more than 1.2-1.4 terrabyes plus you will need to add in quite a bit for render files, sound ect. AT least 2 terabytes I'd say. This is very doable but you need to do the research and have the money. I really cannot afford this. You could do an offline edit ( making a copy of the footage in a smaller format and then going back tot he high quality only at the end) but I have not had good experiences doing this in the past and it also can become a problem if you are doing any FX work.

Prores (only works with Final cut pro 6)

After coming to the conclusion above I too was looking at going DVCPro HD but then Prores came out. It is supposed to be visually loss-less ( meaning you can hardly tell the difference between it and uncompressed). It is much smaller, about 80GB for my project and and 350GB for yours and it doesn't require a super fast raid either. I'd recommend a pretty fast computer to do this but the same would be true for uncompressed. Anyway, will you lose some quality? yes. Will it be really that noticeable? I think no. This is the path I am going.

4) Once I do all my editing and color correction and FX in ProRes 422 then I am hoping to go to a video suite in town and get the final project dubbed back to HDCAM for screening and for festivals.

I will say that I am just at the same stage in my project as you are so this is a new process for me too but I have been thinking about it for 4-5 months and trying to put all the pieces together. If your budget is significantly more than mine ( ie. not all coming from your own pocket) then maybe things will be different. The entire reason why I chose this process is because

a) it cuts cost in exchange for my time
B) it allows me to edit and color correct and do FX work all in-house ( good learning process)
c) I'm rather interested in these types of workflow issues and can see my self doing more of it in the future.

So yeah thats what I'm doing and it seems as though our two projects have a lot in common. Where are you based if I might ask?

As for everyone else, what do you think of my proposal? Sorry for the word vomit, I've been trying to take so much in, guess this was just a chance to spit it all back out =)

Cheers
Evan
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#19 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 09 October 2007 - 11:20 PM

"Okay.. it was a pretty stupid question....I'll admit that."

There are no stupid questions only stupid people and I have been that person :blink:

"Ive been working in post-production for five years now... everything that comes B4 post-prod is pretty foreign to me. And yes... I was pretty clueless... I know how to expose film properly."

There is alot to it and all film has to be processed that is how the latent image formed by the light sensitive silver halides turns into a not light sensitive usable visible image there are no bits or bytes here just organic chemistry.

" But for some reason I confused processing with "making a print"... I thought that what I shot was already the negative... but for some reason it was still light-sensitive and I had to process it.... anyway."

There is allot of lab and film terminology that makes more sense when you become more familiar, Films like "Touch of Evil" or "Taxi Driver" for example would have "rushes" made from the processed negative and that is what you would use to edit with, there was no video, really, used back then. Even people like Michael Bay will have these prints made for large action films they help accurately judge the photography and a 35mm contact print is roughly equivalent to a 4K scan and recording but much cheaper and simpler. So in some instances Process and Print go hand in hand but now with all of the techno-devices it has become less common.

"If I make a one-light transfer and do my color corretion in Combustion or Shake or whatever... Im guessing that since it's been transfered to an 8bit image sequence, I don't have as much control as I'd have with a telecine , right ?"

NO all color corrections systems are at least 16bit internal processing with a 10bit I/O for HD video there is significant loss of ability to grade images done in 8bit space. Often a show will do what is called a "milky" transfer to a format like D5 and then after the show is edited go back to the color corrector and do a final grade. You could do similar with Combustion or Shake or Color you just need a "real" file like a uncompressed 10bit HD quicktime for example and if you are going to use a software package like the above mentioned allot of patience and a realization that a calibrated grading monitor is essential.

"Does that mean that a datacine like a Spirit scans the film at a high dynamic range ? Like a cineon file or smtg ? Or is it just an internal mechanism that dims/brightens the light in front of the negative b4 it gets digitized... like the post proudction equivalent of a push/pull ?"

The spirit has a basically constant and controlled diffuse light source that I believe can be irised a bit for film setup and then there is a set of controls on the color corrector (I have only used a Pogle with the Spirit but I assume that the DaVinci is similar) which allow you to setup sensitivity of the individual color pickups.

There are many versions of the Spirit from the sdc 2001 to the Spirit 4K the results in data mode for an original spirit will be something like 3 f.p.s and the color is half sampled and it cannot capture the full D-min to D-max range of negative but it is primarily a "video" device meant to make top quality broadcast HD video.

Devices like the Arriscan or Northlight will capture significantly more dynamic range than a telecine but the newer Spirit 4K or Cintel DSX are close in data mode.


It is not like a Push/Pull however the better the scanner the more usable information can be wrung from the original negative.

-Rob-
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#20 Chris Gravat

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Posted 19 October 2007 - 04:40 AM

Can anyone recommend a good HD transfer house in New England? And if not new england somewhere that I can ship to thats reliable.
Thanks

- Chris Gravat
Boston, MA
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