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Is this film overexposed, or bad telecine? Video link


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#1 Jefff

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Posted 21 May 2008 - 08:14 PM

Hey Guys,

I recently shot five rolls of Ektachrome 64t, with a Canon 814 Auto Zoom Electronic, which as you know meters the film correctly.

Well, I had the film sent straight from the lab to the telecine. I haven't had a chance to view the actual film (about 4 days shipping), but the telecine is pretty bad. The sky is always super bright, everything looks washed out, devoid of any vibrant colors, and the only shots that look decent are night scenes. I'm pretty pissed to be honest. (at myself mostly. The camera worked well with Kodachrome, though)

Was my camera just not metering the film correctly, or is it the telecine?
Also, if it was my cameras fault, do you think I could color correct the miniDV tape on my avid?

click this link to view my telecined film:
http://www.homemovie...eff/521697.html

p.s.
the first few shots at the start of the video were done at dusk, and maybe the operator thought it was just underexposed? The damn sky is just glowing white.

Edited by Jefff, 21 May 2008 - 08:17 PM.

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#2 Douglas Hunter

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Posted 21 May 2008 - 10:42 PM

Jeff,

Its very difficult to tell what we are looking at on a small highly compressed image. That being said, its not a simple case of the camera metering the film correctly, its a matter of what you wanted to expose for and if the film (and the telecine) could handle it.

Also did you take notes while shooting? Camera reports are beautiful things when you have questions in post. You should always keep detailed notes when you are shooting. Even if all you record is the subject of the shot, what you were exposing for and what the F stop was that would be very helpful to you in situations such as this.

Also what was the method of telecine used? Did you go to a smaller lab with non-professional gear or to a bigger lab with a reasonable telecine set up? It sound like your session was not supervised so did you instruct the operator to go scene to scene or did they just do a rough "best light" run? In telecine you pretty much always get what you pay for.

You mentioned color. Keep in mind that 64T does not have very good color to begin with, it does tend to have a desaturated look. In addition you transferred it to miniDV which has very little color information in the signal. So if it was color you wanted the deck was stacked against you.

Concerning exposure, keep in mind that reversal has a narrow exposure range, in high contrast shots you are always pushing against the shoulder or the toe depending on what you are exposing for. Looking at your images its hard to tell what was happening. You have areas of normal exposure in almost all of your shots. If the earlier footage was at dusk the telecine operator could have been trying to get you normal exposure for the foreground objects such as water, rail road tracks and grass thinking that you would rather have that than an underexposed foreground and a more normal sky. Did you tell the lab what you wanted for each scene or did they need to do some mind reading?

Looking at some of the shots such as the time laps of the sun set over water, the water is the closest to normal exposure so in that case I would expect the sky to be more blown out because it looks like you were exposing for the very dark water. And if you were exposing for the sky I would expect the water to be nearly black.

So basically the things you do not like about the footage were likely a combination of shooting and telecine.

Also I always encourage people to not be so trusting of their BTL light meters. Super 8 cameras are all OLD and the photo cell could go at any time even on good cameras. Also when you are exposing film in shots that have a broad exposure range, such as the earlier shots in the reel you need to know when you are shooting what the different parts of the frame are reading and ask yourself what you want to expose for. This is essential, and its more easily achieved with a good hand held meter than with the BTL meter.

Edited by Douglas Hunter, 21 May 2008 - 10:45 PM.

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#3 Jefff

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Posted 21 May 2008 - 11:05 PM

Jeff,

Its very difficult to tell what we are looking at on a small highly compressed image. That being said, its not a simple case of the camera metering the film correctly, its a matter of what you wanted to expose for and if the film (and the telecine) could handle it.

Also did you take notes while shooting? Camera reports are beautiful things when you have questions in post. You should always keep detailed notes when you are shooting. Even if all you record is the subject of the shot, what you were exposing for and what the F stop was that would be very helpful to you in situations such as this.

Also what was the method of telecine used? Did you go to a smaller lab with non-professional gear or to a bigger lab with a reasonable telecine set up? It sound like your session was not supervised so did you instruct the operator to go scene to scene or did they just do a rough "best light" run? In telecine you pretty much always get what you pay for.

You mentioned color. Keep in mind that 64T does not have very good color to begin with, it does tend to have a desaturated look. In addition you transferred it to miniDV which has very little color information in the signal. So if it was color you wanted the deck was stacked against you.

Concerning exposure, keep in mind that reversal has a narrow exposure range, in high contrast shots you are always pushing against the shoulder or the toe depending on what you are exposing for. Looking at your images its hard to tell what was happening. You have areas of normal exposure in almost all of your shots. If the earlier footage was at dusk the telecine operator could have been trying to get you normal exposure for the foreground objects such as water, rail road tracks and grass thinking that you would rather have that than an underexposed foreground and a more normal sky. Did you tell the lab what you wanted for each scene or did they need to do some mind reading?

Looking at some of the shots such as the time laps of the sun set over water, the water is the closest to normal exposure so in that case I would expect the sky to be more blown out because it looks like you were exposing for the very dark water. And if you were exposing for the sky I would expect the water to be nearly black.

So basically the things you do not like about the footage were likely a combination of shooting and telecine.

Also I always encourage people to not be so trusting of their BTL light meters. Super 8 cameras are all OLD and the photo cell could go at any time even on good cameras. Also when you are exposing film in shots that have a broad exposure range, such as the earlier shots in the reel you need to know when you are shooting what the different parts of the frame are reading and ask yourself what you want to expose for. This is essential, and its more easily achieved with a good hand held meter than with the BTL meter.


Thank you for writing such a detailed response.
It was a lower-end telecine lab, and I definitely got what I paid for, but in nearly every shot the sky is completely blown out with very little contrast. I assumed the telecine operator would know to expose a shot for dusk rather than lightening the shot...

I guess I just screwed up. I guess I can't trust the built-in meter, and I need to be more specific to the lab. I'm just kinda bummed, since the film doesn't really pop with color either. I need to try out some other film, and get myself a hand held meter.
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#4 Rafael Rivera

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Posted 22 May 2008 - 12:04 AM

Call the Telecine Facility and speak with them, most will be happy to work with you and to address many of your concerns. IN many instances they may offer to transfer the footage again once they find out what's on the film.
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#5 Douglas Hunter

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Posted 22 May 2008 - 12:51 AM

Thank you for writing such a detailed response.
It was a lower-end telecine lab, and I definitely got what I paid for, but in nearly every shot the sky is completely blown out with very little contrast. I assumed the telecine operator would know to expose a shot for dusk rather than lightening the shot...


Assumptions can cause a lot of problems. That being said, Rafael is right, you should call the lab, tell them what you see on the video and what you expected to see. Ask them what they saw during the transfer, etc. They are really the folks who can tell you why the telecine turned out the way it did. A dialogue now may lead to a re-do or at least to better results in the future. Good luck.
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#6 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 22 May 2008 - 02:01 AM

They used a Projector-Camera telecine system. Those ALWAYS turn out horrible since most Super8 projectors send a beam that's brightest in the middle of the frame, so it's incredibly difficult for a "lab" such as this to expose correctly for the entire frame.

If you want a quality telecine, find someone who has a rank telecine system. What they did, you could have done yourself with a projector, a $10 Ambico telecine box off eBay and a 3CCD camera.
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#7 Richardson Leao

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Posted 22 May 2008 - 03:37 AM

They used a Projector-Camera telecine system. Those ALWAYS turn out horrible since most Super8 projectors send a beam that's brightest in the middle of the frame, so it's incredibly difficult for a "lab" such as this to expose correctly for the entire frame.

If you want a quality telecine, find someone who has a rank telecine system. What they did, you could have done yourself with a projector, a $10 Ambico telecine box off eBay and a 3CCD camera.


it seems like the light was measured in the ground so the sky got burnt out. A handheld lightmeter will probably solve your problem. But if you wanna see how well exposed is your film... get a projector and have a look.
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#8 Mitch Perkins

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Posted 22 May 2008 - 10:59 AM

They used a Projector-Camera telecine system. Those ALWAYS turn out horrible


Wrong.


since most Super8 projectors send a beam that's brightest in the middle of the frame, so it's incredibly difficult for a "lab" such as this to expose correctly for the entire frame.


Modified light source, diffusion. Incredibly simple.

Mitch
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#9 Mark Dunn

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Posted 22 May 2008 - 11:16 AM

Wrong maybe, but there is bad vignetting on the transfer, or rather a hotspot in the centre, so my money is on a bad telecine line-up.
E64 isn't that bad.
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#10 Mitch Perkins

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Posted 22 May 2008 - 12:49 PM

Wrong maybe,


"They used a Projector-Camera telecine system. Those ALWAYS turn out horrible"

Absolutely wrong 100% for sure. We use a chain w/VX2000 or sometimes Z1U, to often *stunning* (depending only on the quality of footage) results, and I am tired of folks dismissing this setup offhand.

but there is bad vignetting on the transfer, or rather a hotspot in the centre, so my money is on a bad telecine line-up.


Mine too - the transfer blows, both figuratively and literally. ~:?)

It's not enough just to have the equipment; you gotta know how to work it...

E64 isn't that bad.


Agreed. We've seen a ton of dazzling, deep rich colours from this stock.

Mitch
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