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What to tell the processing lab and the teleciner?


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#1 Hampus Bystrom

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 12:35 PM

Hey guys,
I've just finished my Super8-cartridge (Vision2 200T) and I've taken really careful notes on F-stop, FPS and ASA and what kinds of filter I've used and so forth. This film is going to be our reference on how to film our big and serious project, we have filmed tests with different lightning, ASA, filters F-stops and over/under-exposing. Could these notes help either the lab or the teleciner when processing/scanning the film? I've heard alot about how serious dp's always shoot test-shots and take careful notes for the lab to use.

Thanks!
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#2 Douglas Hunter

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 02:19 PM

The key thing is to give the lab the right amount of information and the right type of information.
Giving too much or the wrong type of info will just create ambiguity.

What the lab needs to know is your processing and telecine instructions.

Are you pushing, pulling, or processing normal? Do you want the film prepped for telecine etc?

If you are doing an unsupervised telecine spell out all the basics for them:

1- How much footage you have and what it is (reversal, neg., format, color or B&W)
2- The tape format you are going to. Or these days the file format you want and how you want your files named / tapes labeled.
3- The film speed you want the film transferred at. (18? 24?)
4- The type of time code you want (drop or non-drop?).
5- The aspect ration of your film.
6- The aspect ratio that you should see on the tape.
7- You should also provide shipping instructions including your shipping address and special packaging needs you may have.
8- General instructions regarding your telecine. Is there a general look you want to apply to all the footage. or do you want to go right down the middle? You can also mention something about how they should handle the highlights and blacks. Also if you have done any VFX in camera such as dissolves etc. do you want the lab to smooth them out? That sort of thing.
9- Are there any deal breakers. If they string up your film and there is a horrible camera scratch on a roll, or everything is way under exposed do you still want them to telecine it?
10- Your contact info including your cell phone #. Let them know that they are welcome to call you if there are any questions or problems.

In general most of this info should be given to the lab before your film ever reaches them.
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#3 Hampus Bystrom

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Posted 03 May 2008 - 06:49 AM

1- How much footage you have and what it is (reversal, neg., format, color or B&W)
2- The tape format you are going to. Or these days the file format you want and how you want your files named / tapes labeled.
3- The film speed you want the film transferred at. (18? 24?)
4- The type of time code you want (drop or non-drop?).
5- The aspect ration of your film.
6- The aspect ratio that you should see on the tape.
7- You should also provide shipping instructions including your shipping address and special packaging needs you may have.
8- General instructions regarding your telecine. Is there a general look you want to apply to all the footage. or do you want to go right down the middle? You can also mention something about how they should handle the highlights and blacks. Also if you have done any VFX in camera such as dissolves etc. do you want the lab to smooth them out? That sort of thing.
9- Are there any deal breakers. If they string up your film and there is a horrible camera scratch on a roll, or everything is way under exposed do you still want them to telecine it?
10- Your contact info including your cell phone #. Let them know that they are welcome to call you if there are any questions or problems.


What's the benefits of pulling alt. pushing the film? And how does one really do this?
I would like the films to stay in as good quality as possible, because I'm going to play them in an art-exhibition.
How would you recommend that I show the films? I'm not playing them all in order on one screen, but rather on different
screens in different parts of the location which we're renting. (That's kind of fuzzy, hope you understand what I'm getting at.)
So even if playing the films directly on a projector reassures the bets quality, this would not be possible because I would have to get
like 6-10 different Super8-projectors. Digitalizing the films are most convenient, but I'm not sure if the quality would be tolerable on 19" monitors?
Hope you have the time to answer my questions! Really appriciate it mate!
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#4 Douglas Hunter

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Posted 03 May 2008 - 12:11 PM

What's the benefits of pulling alt. pushing the film? And how does one really do this?
I would like the films to stay in as good quality as possible, because I'm going to play them in an art-exhibition.
How would you recommend that I show the films? I'm not playing them all in order on one screen, but rather on different
screens in different parts of the location which we're renting. (That's kind of fuzzy, hope you understand what I'm getting at.)
So even if playing the films directly on a projector reassures the bets quality, this would not be possible because I would have to get
like 6-10 different Super8-projectors. Digitalizing the films are most convenient, but I'm not sure if the quality would be tolerable on 19" monitors?
Hope you have the time to answer my questions! Really appriciate it mate!


1) Pushing & pulling: Usually we don't talk about this topic in terms of "benefits". Usually pushing / pulling is done in conjunction with a specific method of exposing the film. Pushing and pulling are just different tools we have for achieving different looks but you really need to shoot your footage planning to do one or the other. Pushing and Pulling are achieved at the lab by leaving the film in the developer for a longer(pushing) or shorter(pulling) time than normal.

2) In terms of showing the films, it all depends on what you mean by "as good quality as possible" Projected film does look significantly different from telecined footage, but if your goal is for the video to look as much like the original film as possible then I think there are a few things you would want to consider.

A- In telecine do a supervised session to either digibeta or 10bit 4:2:2 quicktime files. This will give you the most color information of any standard definition format and the least amount of the "video" look.

B - As for you monitors you will want to adjust the monitors using color bars so you can adjust the contrast, brightness, and color of each monitor so they are as close as you can get them to standard norms.

C- You mention that the films are showing in an art exhibition. If you are in a gallery space the challenge is often that galleries usually have white walls and if the room has a lot of light then you are going to get a lot of reflections on the monitor that make it harder to see your films. So be very picky about how you place your monitors in the room, keep the room dark and minimize reflections any way you can. If there are any dark colored walls in the gallery position the monitors so that they are facing the darkest part of the room.

hope that helps.
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#5 Hampus Bystrom

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Posted 03 May 2008 - 12:22 PM

1) Pushing & pulling: Usually we don't talk about this topic in terms of "benefits". Usually pushing / pulling is done in conjunction with a specific method of exposing the film. Pushing and pulling are just different tools we have for achieving different looks but you really need to shoot your footage planning to do one or the other. Pushing and Pulling are achieved at the lab by leaving the film in the developer for a longer(pushing) or shorter(pulling) time than normal.

2) In terms of showing the films, it all depends on what you mean by "as good quality as possible" Projected film does look significantly different from telecined footage, but if your goal is for the video to look as much like the original film as possible then I think there are a few things you would want to consider.

A- In telecine do a supervised session to either digibeta or 10bit 4:2:2 quicktime files. This will give you the most color information of any standard definition format and the least amount of the "video" look.

B - As for you monitors you will want to adjust the monitors using color bars so you can adjust the contrast, brightness, and color of each monitor so they are as close as you can get them to standard norms.

C- You mention that the films are showing in an art exhibition. If you are in a gallery space the challenge is often that galleries usually have white walls and if the room has a lot of light then you are going to get a lot of reflections on the monitor that make it harder to see your films. So be very picky about how you place your monitors in the room, keep the room dark and minimize reflections any way you can. If there are any dark colored walls in the gallery position the monitors so that they are facing the darkest part of the room.

hope that helps.


Cheers, I really appriciate so much help. Well, what's the effects of "pushing" or "pulling" the film then? More grain? Less grain?
When I say "best quality possible", I guess I mean without the film looking "pixilated" due to the scanning of the film.
I scanned a film recently and I loved the way it looked, but when I tried playing the film on a "21 inch monitor it looked very pixilated.
We are going to pick out a location which works for playing films, so no worries there.
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#6 Douglas Hunter

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Posted 03 May 2008 - 03:31 PM

Cheers, I really appriciate so much help. Well, what's the effects of "pushing" or "pulling" the film then? More grain? Less grain?


That's a longer conversation, it changes where the tonal range would fall, it changes the appearance of grain and at times color. Say, if you underexposed reversal film by a 1/2 stop and then pushed it by the same amount, you may find that it looks normal but has more detail and more grain as well, you may also find the colors shifting a bit. I'm no expert on this topic so I can't describe it very well.



When I say "best quality possible", I guess I mean without the film looking "pixilated" due to the scanning of the film.
I scanned a film recently and I loved the way it looked, but when I tried playing the film on a "21 inch monitor it looked very pixilated.


So in that case the questions are: what type of telecine did you use? as well as how was the image getting to the monitor and what kind of monitor was it? All three are worth looking at. I forgot to mention that earlier, the device you use to play the image out the the monitor does matter. A digibeta deck out to a monitor will look a lot different than a DVD. Not that I assume you have the money to rent a bunch of digibeta decks for your screening.
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#7 Hampus Bystrom

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Posted 03 May 2008 - 05:40 PM

So in that case the questions are: what type of telecine did you use? as well as how was the image getting to the monitor and what kind of monitor was it? All three are worth looking at. I forgot to mention that earlier, the device you use to play the image out the the monitor does matter. A digibeta deck out to a monitor will look a lot different than a DVD. Not that I assume you have the money to rent a bunch of digibeta decks for your screening.


Yeah I was trying to edit my post with more info but it looks like it didn't work. Anyway, it was my first ever Super8 digital transfer, and I didn't know what to expect. Other than I didn't want it to be an .avi-file burned onto a DVD, which I told them. That's exactly what they did, so I guess I won't be using that place for scanning my films anymore. The monitor was actually just my computer screen, I played the .avi-file with VLC and just made it fill the screen. I know this probably wasn't the optimal thing to do. But it was just a test-clip and looked pretty good anyway.

Here it is if you want to see:

View on Vimeo

It does look good in this small format but if you scale it up to fill the screen it quickly looks horrible.
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#8 Hampus Bystrom

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Posted 06 May 2008 - 01:42 PM

By the way, does "prepping" a film for telecine enhance the quality noticeably?
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#9 Douglas Hunter

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Posted 06 May 2008 - 02:30 PM

It does look good in this small format but if you scale it up to fill the screen it quickly looks horrible.


I looked at the footage and there is a fair amount of compression artifacts in the picture, but I expect to see that on web video. I've seen a lot worse. Are you also responding to the grain of the super 8 film or just the compression?

Preping the film means cleaning it and adding long head and tail leader in order to thread the telecine machine. Basically you want you film as clean as possible before it goes to telecine. It only improves the quality to the extent that less dirt means a more pristine image.
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#10 Hampus Bystrom

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Posted 07 May 2008 - 02:44 PM

I looked at the footage and there is a fair amount of compression artifacts in the picture, but I expect to see that on web video. I've seen a lot worse. Are you also responding to the grain of the super 8 film or just the compression?

Preping the film means cleaning it and adding long head and tail leader in order to thread the telecine machine. Basically you want you film as clean as possible before it goes to telecine. It only improves the quality to the extent that less dirt means a more pristine image.


I mean the grain of super8, I mean I love grain to some extent but when watching the telecine on a fairly big screen it really is too much.
But I don't know if this test-film is a good reference because I really shot it without knowledge of the camera.
My new test-film which just got processed will be a much better test, because it was shot with incident light meter and gray-cards and the whole chabang.
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#11 Douglas Hunter

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Posted 07 May 2008 - 03:54 PM

I mean the grain of super8, I mean I love grain to some extent but when watching the telecine on a fairly big screen it really is too much.


I think you mentioned earlier that you were shooting 200T which does tend to look mealy. Only Velvia and the 100D have fairly fine grain among the color stocks. Its been a while but I seem to remember double-x as being very smooth grain.

If a smoother grain is a big part of your aesthetic then you should shoot 16mm.
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#12 Hampus Bystrom

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Posted 08 May 2008 - 01:12 AM

I think you mentioned earlier that you were shooting 200T which does tend to look mealy. Only Velvia and the 100D have fairly fine grain among the color stocks. Its been a while but I seem to remember double-x as being very smooth grain.

If a smoother grain is a big part of your aesthetic then you should shoot 16mm.


Yeah, can't afford it tough. But I'm sure I've seen 200T viewed with a fair amount of grain on a pretty big screen.
This is such a hard question to ask because it's entirely subjective.
But I guess I'll just try and project (trough a computer) my newly processed 200T when it's scanned and all ready with the optimal settings.
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#13 Hampus Bystrom

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Posted 22 May 2008 - 08:50 AM

Also, I've been meaning to ask you guys;
I have four filters on my lens; one UV-filter, one 85B Filter, one Polarization filter and one ND8-filter.
How much should I compensate for these filters? Now I know that the ND8-filter reduces light by (circa) three f/stops.
But what about the 85B-filter, the UV filter and polarization filter? Does these need any compensating?
I'm using these filter's when filming outside these days in the summer when my incident light meter measures f/stop 32 or something.
So what f-stop should I set the camera to if I take all these filters into considiration and my incident light meter measures 32?

Last week I shot some B/W reversal with my polirization filter and my UV-filter. The weather was far from satisfying and was often changing from cloudy to extremely sunny and the f-stop was sometimes 32, 22 or 16. I set my cameras aperture to 22 (max) and just went nuts. Do you think this will come out okay or completely useless?

Cheers!
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