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Sound sync edit of s16 on a flatbed


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#1 Dave Campbell

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Posted 07 February 2009 - 01:05 AM

This is a budget question, but also a theoretical workflow question. Planning (not really) to make a 10 minute film, mostly of a conversation between two people in s16. Output to HD or SD for television viewing. Trying to save money in post. Sound recorder is a non timecode field recorder. Using clapboards at beginning of takes. After I get the color negative film processed, would it be practical to get a work print, (being s16 - minus the sound, of course), and edit the entire film on a flatbed, (I have access to one), and then send it to the lab to be Telecined, color adjusted, and the soundtrack synced up? Would this be worthwhile, or alternatively have the lab process the film, and Telecine the unedited film so that I do the sound sync and edit on my computer in FCP at the end of the process? Which do you think makes more sense, if either? I have a fear of the guy at the lab sound syncing takes that won't be used while the meter is running and running.
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#2 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 07 February 2009 - 03:39 PM

You really need to have the sound on 16mm mag film when using a flad bed, otherwise how can you judge where to cut the film? Syncing an edited mute cut would be a nightmare, it's bad enough syncing up without slates when you know where and what the words are before the the edit.

Syncing half way through a take which might be cut on the wrong words because the editor wasn't that good at lip reading... You don't want to be sitting in expensive places like a lab syncing up this stuff and the lab guy isn't going to be that impressed with you either.

Best way would be to get the neg telecined onto as high a quality format as you can afford - some places will transfer onto a hard drive and then sync everything up on your FCP. Cut it and then grade it. Work prints are projection contrast, so don't telecine that well, plus the splices will show.

You should also plan the track laying and then mixing your sound.

Edited by Brian Drysdale, 07 February 2009 - 03:39 PM.

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#3 Dave Campbell

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Posted 07 February 2009 - 09:02 PM

Best way would be to get the neg telecined onto as high a quality format as you can afford - some places will transfer onto a hard drive and then sync everything up on your FCP. Cut it and then grade it. Work prints are projection contrast, so don't telecine that well, plus the splices will show.

You should also plan the track laying and then mixing your sound.
[/quote


Thanks Brian. The process is becoming more clear. What does the term "grade it" refer to?
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#4 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 08 February 2009 - 04:48 AM

Hi William,

Whether you shot reg. 16 or Super 16, you would not get sound on the workprint itself. Workprint is picture only these days. If you were cutting on film, you would transfer your sound media to 16mm mag film, sync the picture and sound of each take on a flatbed, then hang picture and mag together in a trim bin. You should then be able to edit in sync on the flatbed.

The real issue is that there are no Super 16 flatbeds, at least to my knowledge. Very few projectors also. So you would only be able to see the reg. 16 portion of the frame, which could be a serious problem. Super 16 was designed originally for optical blow-up to 35mm and not meant to be edited or projected. Today it's used exclusively as an origination medium - it's usually either telecined for a video finish or scanned for DI (digital intermediate = film>digital>film). So you might find it easier to telecine the footage and edit on a computer, since that is the most common Super 16 workflow today. Hacking your own path through the jungle of post production usually costs you more time, sweat and money than following the well-traveled road.

Grading means color correcting, BTW.

*EDIT: If you want to save money, don't sync footage during dailies. Just have the transfer facility telecine the picture and sync at home in your NLE (non-linear editor = Final Cut Pro or whatever program you use).

Edited by Satsuki Murashige, 08 February 2009 - 04:51 AM.

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#5 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 08 February 2009 - 07:19 AM

The real issue is that there are no Super 16 flatbeds, at least to my knowledge.


They do exist.

http://www.steenbeck.com/3-4.html

How many are around is another matter. I suspect most Super 16 productions have been made for TV and the editors had mostly moved over to NLE system like AVID years before the change over from regular 16mm to Super 16 in TV happened.

Assuming it was possible, I doubt it would be worthwhile modifying the school's flat bed for a one off, there would really need to be a demand.

Although, I suppose you could just compromise and not see the image on one side during the editing, if you could get away with it.
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#6 Dave Campbell

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Posted 11 February 2009 - 02:46 AM

Thank you both for clearing up the process for me. I was over thinking and making it complicated. What if the output of the s16 film was to be a 35mm negative dup? What format should the s16 film be transferred into for the best chance of a quality blow up?
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#7 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 11 February 2009 - 04:42 AM

Thank you both for clearing up the process for me. I was over thinking and making it complicated. What if the output of the s16 film was to be a 35mm negative dup? What format should the s16 film be transferred into for the best chance of a quality blow up?


You could go the optical blow up from the neg cut S16 to 35mm using though the interpositive / internegative route - which may still be the cheapest. You can do a 2k scan of the s16, create a DI then onto 35mm.

A lot of this depends on your budget, you should talk to a couple of labs to get costings.
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#8 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 11 February 2009 - 01:17 PM

They do exist.

http://www.steenbeck.com/3-4.html

Wow, didn't know that. Thanks Brian!

William, whatever post path you choose to make 35mm prints will be expensive, I thought you were finishing on HD? You should call your lab for more specific info on going to 35mm and for price quotes.
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#9 Mark Dunn

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Posted 11 February 2009 - 02:25 PM

Syncing up on a flatbed isn't ideal. You need to run a sound loop between each take and keep the picture on the sprocket. Doing it on a flatbed would mean taking out the mag film to cut out the loop and that way you lose sync.
The tool for the job is a pic-sync; I don't know what the American equivalent is called- Magnasync?
Here's the sort of thing
http://www.mondofoto...async_SX8_c.jpg
but you need the one with multiple sound heads and a picture head. You can't see full-frame but then syncing up is not a creative process anyway.
A lab or cutting room might have the kit in a box somewhere, but it's rare- I got mine for £1 a few years ago from a post company which was throwing them away. I got the option of Ken Loach's 35mm. pic-sync but had to turn it down- no room. BTW my Steenbeck cost £75 so they are around and being thrown away because they take up a lot of space. You might get ine for nithing if you collect it.
AFAIK the Super-16 Steenbecks were conversions. Here they were done by Mel Worsfold who has been the agent for years.
Good luck if you do this on film. I hope you do, it's great fun.
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#10 Dominic Case

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Posted 11 February 2009 - 05:16 PM

As you say that this is realy a budget question, here is the answer.

I guess you would pay a lot more to have work prints of everything, than you would pay to have all your footage sound synced at telecine.

That is apart from the complications of cuting the super 16 material on film - which I presume from the tone of your question would be a first time for you. Though it would be fun and a useful learning experience.


By the way, I think there is a concept missing from this thread - one that is often not understood by newer filmmakers. It's the idea of offline editing. In principle, that means that the copy that you edit is not the copy that will be used to produce the final show copy. Instead, you make a low cost (and therefore low quality, or unreproducible) version and cut that, then go back to the original and cut that to match.

In a pure film process, that means you edit a work print, then match cut the original negative. It saves damaging the neg from handling marks, and allows you to change your edit during the editing process. Work print isn't suitable for duplicating from, either photgraphically or by telecine, so you have to go back to the neg.

In tape-based processes, you make a quick and dirty (cheap) transfer of all of your original negative, digitise and edit that on your FCP system, then go back and retransfer just the takes you need at higher quality, and match-edit them based on your EDL. (This is most advatageous when you have a lot of original footage with complex cutting. In your case, a simple conversation might not be too hard to manage whichever way you go.)

With fully digital postproduction, the costs of transferring to a good standard in the first place probably aren't that much more than transferring to anything else, so offline really isn't such a significant saver. But it's still a concept that needs to be understood.
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#11 Dave Campbell

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Posted 12 February 2009 - 04:47 PM

Wow, didn't know that. Thanks Brian!

William, whatever post path you choose to make 35mm prints will be expensive, I thought you were finishing on HD? You should call your lab for more specific info on going to 35mm and for price quotes.






Right now it's all theoretical. I'm trying to understand the process. Thanks, great information.
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#12 Dave Campbell

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Posted 12 February 2009 - 05:13 PM

By the way, I think there is a concept missing from this thread - one that is often not understood by newer filmmakers. It's the idea of offline editing. In principle, that means that the copy that you edit is not the copy that will be used to produce the final show copy. Instead, you make a low cost (and therefore low quality, or unreproducible) version and cut that, then go back to the origin

In tape-based processes, you make a quick and dirty (cheap) transfer of all of your original negative, digitise and edit that on your FCP system, then go back and retransfer just the takes you need at higher quality, and match-edit them based on your EDL. (This is most advatageous when you have a lot of original footage with complex cutting. In your case, a simple conversation might not be too hard to manage whichever way you go.)

With fully digital postproduction, the costs of transferring to a good standard in the first place probably aren't that much more than transferring to anything else, so offline really isn't such a significant saver. But it's still a concept that needs to be understood.
[/quote]


I remember years ago helping a friend make a 16mm sound short. I remember the lab made two prints, one a work print, and the other held in reserve and not touched. The A & B rolls. He cut the work print on a flatbed, then the lab used the pristeen print and an optical printer to make the master. I'm guessing that was the then way to do it and your explaining the now way. I think I understand the concept. Budget wise, if I do a cheap transfer initially, the more takes I do, the more money I would save. Thank you for that very good information.
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