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16mm Telecine postproduction workflow for blow up to 35mm?


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#1 Alex Fuchs

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Posted 28 May 2009 - 03:26 AM

Hi there,
I have some questions about the right postproduction workflow for an 16mm project. We shoot on 16mm and at the end we want a blow up to 35mm.
First question is: What is the right telecine resolution for that? 2K or 4K? Am I right that 2K makes sense, because 16mm film has no higher resolution?
Second question: The prefered postproduction workflow is to edit the whole movie digital, putting some digital effects on it, do the grading digital and then do a telecine back to film. What exactly is the digital intermediate process? Can I work with an offline quality, edit the movie and later replace it with the full telecine resolution? What is then with the timecodes, when I get the stuff digital? When it is possible I want to get the telecine files as digital files.
Maybe somebody has some answers for me. 1000 thanks to you.
Alex

P.S.: Does somebody knows the data rate for an 2K vs. 4K telecine digital file? Can I handle a 2K telecine project on an ordinary final cut pro machine?

Edited by Alex Fuchs, 28 May 2009 - 03:29 AM.

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#2 Chris Burke

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Posted 28 May 2009 - 09:32 AM

Hi there,
I have some questions about the right postproduction workflow for an 16mm project. We shoot on 16mm and at the end we want a blow up to 35mm.
First question is: What is the right telecine resolution for that? 2K or 4K? Am I right that 2K makes sense, because 16mm film has no higher resolution?
Second question: The prefered postproduction workflow is to edit the whole movie digital, putting some digital effects on it, do the grading digital and then do a telecine back to film. What exactly is the digital intermediate process? Can I work with an offline quality, edit the movie and later replace it with the full telecine resolution? What is then with the timecodes, when I get the stuff digital? When it is possible I want to get the telecine files as digital files.
Maybe somebody has some answers for me. 1000 thanks to you.
Alex

P.S.: Does somebody knows the data rate for an 2K vs. 4K telecine digital file? Can I handle a 2K telecine project on an ordinary final cut pro machine?


Alex,

Are you shooting Super 16? I am assuming that because you said that you want to blow up to 35mm and Super 16 is ideal for that. 2k is plenty for a super 16 to 35 blow up, although there is more resolution than 2k on a super 16 frame. Scanning at higher resolutions does show a difference. Whether or not it is a worth while difference is another question, because of computer processing and storage needs for 4k, which are enormous. THe following is a suggested workflow that has worked for many people. I will say however that you should, if you already haven't, strike up a relationship with a lab and see what they say about the easiest way for both them and you to get to a 35mm print.


For a short film:

1.) Shoot your film
2.) Scan all flats at 2k dpx (Cineform codec if you can, this allows you to use normal computer hardware)
3.) Make offline quicktime movies from DPX files, you can do this in Color, since you are using FCS 2 (ProRes HQ)
4.) After offline edit, grade your material in Color
5.) reconform with in Final Cut Pro at 2k
6.) sync up audio and output 2k master for filmout.


For a feature:

Same as above except that you will not scan all your material at the beginning. Unless the lab can deliver a compressed format like Cineform, which has all the resolution and color fidelity, but not the huge size.

Instead, you would do a one light or best light transfer to a standard def format with keycode and timecode, DVCAM is great for this. After the edit, you will rescan only selects based on an EDL that you will generate.


If shooting lots of film for a feature or otherwise, use Cinema Tools to set up a database in which you will be able to keep track of all you film via keycode and timecode.

I strongly suggest that you get a postproduction supervisor on board, someone who has done this before and knows all the pit falls along the way.

The big hurdle within this workflow is monitoring. You are probably all set for your offline, even if it is in ProRes HQ, but when you grade dpx files in log or linear color space, it is a different type of monitor or projector that is required. The thing is that those types of monitors are very expensive.

Why does this matter you ask? Because, if you are going out to 35mm, you need to be sure that what you see on the screen is what is going to be projected up on the big screen. Unless you have a calibrated DCI compliant monitor or projector, you are not going to get what you think you are getting.

Some CRT computer monitors can come close to what you need and you will probably end up using one of those. THere are some monitoring solutions out there from Blackmagic Design and the like, but I am not sure how well they work. Perhaps others can chime in with their experience.

Final Cut Pro can handle 2k, but it takes quite a RAID to be able to play back 2k files, they are 12 meg per frame. A super 16 frame is probably a little smaller, 2048 x 1240, depending upon the scanner. I would use at least an eight drive SATA or SCSI array, striped as the playback disk. Get as much RAM as you can afford, it is rather cheap right now.


My over all advise is to do as much as you can on your own machine so as to lessen the time you will have to SPEND in the professional color correction suite. Nail the exposures and look you want in camera, that way you are not burdened with a huge work load afterward. I am going through very much the same thing right now, where I will be scanning about ten thousand feet of film, conforming an edit in FCP and then back out to film. I will be touching back here to share my experience.
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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 28 May 2009 - 10:27 AM

There are basically two methods often used, ignoring the optical printer method. Conceptually, one method is to transfer once at high-enough quality, making lower-rez offline copies for editing, go back and finish at higher quality, color-correct, use that digital master for the film recording to 35mm.

The other method is to only make a low-rez transfer to video, edit that (scan your efx shots separately at high resolution, do the work separately) cut an offline version, then use your EDL to rescan selects from your camera rolls and conform the scans to the EDL to create an edited master, cut in your finished efx shots, color-correct, etc.

Generally your choices have been either a telecine transfer to HD 1920 x 1080P (4:4:4 10-bit LOG preferable using HDCAM-SR or tapeless I guess) or scan to 2K RGB 10-bit LOG. If you want to do all your scanning up front to the entire camera rolls, then a telecine transfer to HD is more likely for cost and speed reasons, and HD 4:4:4 and 2K RGB are not that far apart in quality as long as you transfer LOG (in which case, you'll probably want to make some lower-rez offline copies with LOG converted to video monitor gamma, for dailies and editing.)

Some people call the HD method a "poor-man's D.I." though it's not cheap either. Basically you are working in an HD tape environment for post, like a TV show might, except that you want to do 4:4:4 LOG transfers. The other method is more the traditional D.I. route, take your offline EDL and your camera rolls, scan selects off of the rolls, conform, color-correct, etc.

Efilm has started a program where you scan all your footage to data upfront and make dailies from that, and the D.I. later, but I'm sure it's not cheap.

As Chris said, for a short film, that's possible, but for a feature, film scanners generally are not used for camera rolls due to volume, cost, speed and daily turnaround need.
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#4 Alex Fuchs

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Posted 02 June 2009 - 03:38 PM

Thanks a lot Chris and David for sharing your experience and knowlegde. Your infos are gold worth.
1000 thanks
Alex from Berlin
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