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Bland Colors with 16mm?


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#1 Scott Lovejoy

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Posted 10 February 2009 - 01:51 PM

I got my first roll of 16mm color film back from the lab, telecined to miniDV tape.

I was bothered by the colors of the footage. Specifically the colors seem kind of bland...nothing pops, it reminds me of 70's porn footage (almost the style seen in Boogie Nights). I'm wondering if this is because it was a cheap telecine, or because it was on miniDV, or if because this is normal color saturation for 16mm color film. The stock was Kodak 7219 (Vision 3, 500T).

Let me know if I should give any other info.
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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 10 February 2009 - 01:55 PM

Well the stocks are pretty low contrast these days, capturing a lot of detail/information neutrally so you can then manipulate it in post. Also, you can only film what the film sees, you know? Also, how were your exposures? If they had to "correct" shots, it might've been at the expense of saturation. And yes, MiniDV is a poor representation of what was actually on the negative.
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#3 Scott Lovejoy

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Posted 10 February 2009 - 02:27 PM

Well the stocks are pretty low contrast these days, capturing a lot of detail/information neutrally so you can then manipulate it in post. Also, you can only film what the film sees, you know? Also, how were your exposures? If they had to "correct" shots, it might've been at the expense of saturation. And yes, MiniDV is a poor representation of what was actually on the negative.


It was a test role, and I believe we got best-light, so I don't think they corrected anything, but I know that that could have a lot to do with the colors being poor.
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#4 Mike Lary

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Posted 10 February 2009 - 02:27 PM

Did you get an unsupervised transfer? Was it a one light transfer or a scene by scene correction? Either way, unless you get a supervised transfer or give very specific instructions to a telecine operator who follows directions (most won't), then it's a crap shoot. Unsupervised transfers are usually performed by the least experienced operator on an older system. The quality will be lower to start with, then it gets degraded even more when you dump to MiniDV.

The first time I had a supervised transfer on a 2K system and dumped to a better tape format I was very excited to see that the footage looked the way it was supposed to based on how it had been shot. Cheaper transfers always left me discouraged and wondering how things went so 'wrong'.

If you can't afford a supervised session, your next best bet might be to get an unsupervised transfer on a better telecine and request a flat transfer to an HD format. That way you'll have high quality source with plenty of data to play with.
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#5 Rob Vogt

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Posted 10 February 2009 - 03:47 PM

To add to his reply send the post house all your notes with the footage and some shots taken with an SLR as reference if it cant be supervised
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#6 Tom Hepburn

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Posted 10 February 2009 - 03:58 PM

Just for clarification:

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't a best light set or adjusted based on the first few seconds of visible frames? Then "they" let it roll till the end. If one was to send SLR shots when getting a best light transfer, wont' they just match that to the first few seconds ?

Tom
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#7 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 10 February 2009 - 04:23 PM

The problem I have with film now is that the complaint by the original poster is actually a fair description of what modern Kodak stock is designed to look like - bland, flat, colourless and 70s.

They're doing this so as to keep ahead of ever improving electronic capture, but by turning it into a race of numbers they're overlooking the fact that this stuff looks like junk.

P
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#8 David Rakoczy

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Posted 10 February 2009 - 04:36 PM

Just for clarification:

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't a best light set or adjusted based on the first few seconds of visible frames? Then "they" let it roll till the end. If one was to send SLR shots when getting a best light transfer, wont' they just match that to the first few seconds ?

Tom


Yes, actually they dial in the color chart/ gray scale.... and let it go from there for better or for worse. Viewing your dailies THAT way is a learning experience! :o So many of our mistakes are cured in telecine, and we never even know it, that we often miss the learning curve part of our trade.
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#9 Sam Wells

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Posted 11 February 2009 - 10:28 AM

The problem I have with film now is that the complaint by the original poster is actually a fair description of what modern Kodak stock is designed to look like - bland, flat, colourless and 70s.

They're doing this so as to keep ahead of ever improving electronic capture, but by turning it into a race of numbers they're overlooking the fact that this stuff looks like junk.

P


It's a different bland - or maybe we could compare to "poorly timed 70s film"

Looking at a bunch of DVD's lately I've been thinking hey that looks f*** great - then I go oh yeah right it's 5248 :) etc

Dunno why EK can't apply T grain and other aspects of V2, V3 technology to formulas that really worked.

-Sam
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