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Cheaper to cut negative and scan THAT?


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#1 Mike Nichols

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Posted 23 June 2008 - 05:20 PM

I have never had a negative cut before. Would it be cheaper to have the negative cut and scanned instead of sending the transfer house tons of rolls?
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#2 John Sprung

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Posted 23 June 2008 - 06:08 PM

Telecine from cut negative is very rarely done any more. If you're thinking of going that route, talk to your facility first to see if they have a machine that can handle it. A lot of them will lose focus for a frame or so when the thickness of a splice hits. Feature films usually telecine from an IP or IN instead -- at least they did last time I was involved with one.

You have to think through your whole workflow to see if this makes sense. If you make a film workprint of circled takes and cut the old fashioned way, the print alone will likely break the bank. You could telecine circled takes to SD and trace back, but that's not easy, and doesn't save you much. What we do is telecine dailies to HD, and work on tape the rest of the way.



-- J.S.
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#3 Dirk DeJonghe

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Posted 23 June 2008 - 11:46 PM

We do scans from cut negatives all the time; We use the diagonal splice that has no additional thickness and passes the gate with no jumps;
A scan from a cut negative is only done when the customer also wanted a film print direct from the negative and the negative needed to be cut anyway.

If doing a scan only for DI we prefer to make smaller rolls of selected takes only. This brings down the footage by a factor of ten or twenty easily. Keykodes are reread and the selects rolls are recleaned before scanning.

It all depends on the scanner and the capabilities of the lab.
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#4 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 24 June 2008 - 12:01 AM

We do scans from cut negatives all the time



One of the guys who used to work at Cinelab now lives in LA and cuts negative a Deluxe, he said almost all of his work is building scan flats, flash to flash, etc... Negative cutting ends up being about $5 a cut plus other expenses, this adds up quick and entails handling the negative, plus with your 2-perf negative Mike there is more work..

I'll try to email some more options for you tomorrow I have just been busy since we last spoke.

-Rob-
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#5 Paul Bruening

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Posted 24 June 2008 - 08:10 AM

Hey fellas,

Do your movements take tape splices or cemented only? If cement only, do you prefer left handed cuts, right handed cuts or don't care which?

Mike,

You can cut the scan flats with 5 frame "handles" on each end of each take. This gives real-time film movements time to settle down as well as give you a little trim/adjustment room when you conform the high res to the low res EDL. Handles are normal and are often factored automatically into the post budget.
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#6 Mike Nichols

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Posted 24 June 2008 - 10:36 AM

One of the guys who used to work at Cinelab now lives in LA and cuts negative a Deluxe, he said almost all of his work is building scan flats, flash to flash, etc... Negative cutting ends up being about $5 a cut plus other expenses, this adds up quick and entails handling the negative, plus with your 2-perf negative Mike there is more work..

I'll try to email some more options for you tomorrow I have just been busy since we last spoke.

-Rob-



Cool Rob. As usual, the wheels are always spinning. It looks like SR is going to be my DI medium. If you calculate the recording aperture for two perf as 1828 x 1556 but the scanning aperture as 1828 x 761 (for 2.40) that fits quite nicely into a spherically scanned 1920 x 1080.
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#7 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 24 June 2008 - 11:07 AM

You can cut the scan flats with 5 frame "handles" on each end of each take.



With 2-perf 35mm you want to just extend that to 10 frames or so as the frames are half as big. Also there is no really clean cut in 2-perf I believe the techniscope films made before digital were all A-B rolls and not single strand as there is no margin to make a clean single strand cut. This does not matter for a scan but if you were going to do an optical finish it would...

-Rob-
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#8 Nate Downes

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Posted 24 June 2008 - 11:09 AM

Telecine from cut negative is very rarely done any more. If you're thinking of going that route, talk to your facility first to see if they have a machine that can handle it. A lot of them will lose focus for a frame or so when the thickness of a splice hits. Feature films usually telecine from an IP or IN instead -- at least they did last time I was involved with one.

You have to think through your whole workflow to see if this makes sense. If you make a film workprint of circled takes and cut the old fashioned way, the print alone will likely break the bank. You could telecine circled takes to SD and trace back, but that's not easy, and doesn't save you much. What we do is telecine dailies to HD, and work on tape the rest of the way.



-- J.S.

Oh? Pricing it out last year I came to less than $12,000 for a print. Far less than the DI scan for the same negative w/o editing would have been. But that depends on your workflow too I would imagine, correct?

Edited by Nate Downes, 24 June 2008 - 11:10 AM.

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#9 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 24 June 2008 - 11:20 AM

Cool Rob. As usual, the wheels are always spinning. It looks like SR is going to be my DI medium.



This is good, a Spirit transfer? I think that sitting with the colorist and going through the flats for selects is going to your best bet for price, building scan flats then transferring will probably be as expensive in the end as just sitting with the colorist.

-Rob-
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#10 Paul Bruening

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Posted 24 June 2008 - 11:44 AM

Hey Mike,

The usual reason for paying someone to cut the negs is because it is a highly specialized craft. It's not that demanding from a knowledge standpoint. It's that it is tedious and there is no room for error. It is required for an all optical approach. The editor works in a dust controlled room sometimes with positive pressure ventilation. He uses two different cement splicers, a left hand and a right hand lapper. If he's good he'll use the motorized splicers instead of the scraper type. He cuts two rolls. An A roll and a B roll. Where the A roll has a take, the B roll will have opaque film. Where there's a take on the B roll the A roll will have opaque film. This system exists for no other reason than to hide the splices on the contact printed IP roll (you can also correct chrome and lum here and perform fades and dissolves).

So, the point to all this over-explaining is that if you're going DI you don't need to pay a guy for cutting your neg. You just need your scan rolls to have the frames you need for your conforming step with however many frames as handles and whatever type of splice your preferred post house requires. A neg cutter often costs anywhere from $3,500 to $7,500 depending on the number of cuts times the cost per cut. If you go with Rob's guy at $5 per cut and you have an industry average of one cut every five seconds, you'll have 1080 cuts in a 90 minute feature. That's $5,400. While you will need to accurately make the cut points for each take, including the handles, your splices won't need to be flawless. Even if you goof a handle cut, you can keep up with that in a report form and make the accommodations when conforming.

This is something you can do yourself and save all that cheese. You'll need a couple of winders and a 2 or 4 gang synchronizer with footage counter. Then get whatever splicer your post house requires. You can snag most of this off of Ebay or rent it.

I only mention this since you've communicated your efforts to save on the budget in PMs and other posts. Many of us are still cheering for your success as we want to see more 2-perf productions getting recognition. Good luck with it all.
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#11 Paul Bruening

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Posted 24 June 2008 - 12:17 PM

Oh, and in remote connection to your actual question...

Any prep that you can do will save you money at the post house. If you're getting real-time capture then prepped rolls will significantly cut down on the per hour costs. If you're getting scans then the prep will save you on the roll set-up and baby sitting charges. Just as importantly in these days of rising shipping costs, your prep can mean only three 2000' rolls are shipped instead of maybe up to a couple hundred short end rolls in 400' cans.
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#12 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 24 June 2008 - 12:29 PM

This is something you can do yourself and save all that cheese. You'll need a couple of winders and a 2 or 4 gang synchronizer with footage counter. Then get whatever splicer your post house requires. You can snag most of this off of Ebay or rent it.



I have a 9min.16mm short I am cutting the negative on myself, building A and B rolls, so while I agree that you can do it yourself is is a laborious task, plus if done under the wrong conditions there is a very good possibility of introducing dust and other artifacts into the negative.


When we assembled Mikes 2-perf film after processing we used a 4perf synchronizer, it has marks on it to distinguish individual perfs and a Maier&hancock hot splicer. It takes some work, I did some of it and Brad did the rest, to make sure the 2-perf frames are lined up right as you do not want to reframe in telecine and there were allot of short ends.


Again I think it will be easiest to just bring all the negative to go through. My general understanding from working with several negative cutters is that $5 a cut is the general going rate but things like dissolves are more and there are usually handling and other fees...

-Rob-
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#13 John Sprung

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Posted 24 June 2008 - 03:04 PM

We use the diagonal splice that has no additional thickness and passes the gate with no jumps;

We looked at that about 20 years ago. The splices weren't strong enough back then, it scared us away.

If we're thinking of dailies telecine, the other issue is how long it takes. We find that fast forwarding on the Spirit gets the job done quicker than having a film selects reel cut. But this is all for HDTV, not DI.



-- J.S.
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#14 Dirk DeJonghe

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Posted 24 June 2008 - 03:50 PM

John,

I started my career with a Maier Hancock splicer that was so old it still had the original Bell and Howell nameplate on it. About twenty years ago we started using the Hammann diagonal splicer. Every new negative cutter I train has to make about 1000 practice splices before they are allowed to touch customer negatives; Once mastered this diagonal splicer is incredible, you can even make splices without losing a frame, or resplice on an existing splice, just don't make a habit of it.
The splicers are returned once a year to Hammann for servicing and adjustment.
We do lots of single strand work for direct S16 to 35 blowup and on 1.85 the splices are invisible and more steady than any A&B rolls.They are absolutely steady on the scanner, and 99% steady on the telecine. Using fresh cement and letting the splice dry for one minute before handling it, reduces breaks to an absolute minimum, certainly not more than the classic overlap splice that can also open up.
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