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Telecine/Best Light/One Light Questions


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#1 Evan Andrew John Prosofsky

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 10:02 PM

Hi there,

Just had my first S16mm shoot, I shot kodak vision2 50d.
I plan on sending my footage to cinelicious to transfer. (Diamond clear HD)

Question in point, being that it was my first time shooting, I am slightly worried that my exposure might be off. I tried to consistently overexpose my neg by 2/3 of a stop, but some shots (due to lack of light) were underexposed, and some shots may have been overexposed more than 2/3 of a stop due to my relative "newbieness".

I have always understood a part of a telecine to involve the fixing of my aforementioned errors and choices (eg. bringing down overexposed image for thicker neg, darker blacks, etc.) Is this true? I do not need cinelicous to completely grade my footage, I simply need a nicely exposed image to work with later, wherein they 'fix' my exposures.

Is this involved in a regular telecine? Or do I need a "best light"? and what exactly is a best light? etc.

Thankyou very much,
Evan
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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 10:52 PM

That's when they put each shot in it's "best light." e.g. fixing things shot to shot/scene to scene quickly. One light will only adjust the first shots of a new sequence; if even sometimes.

In truth, a one light might show you your errs more, to learn from, and then later on you can try to get a supervised where you'll sit in the session with the colorist and speak about how to get things fixed. This way you're only spending time on takes/shots you're using.
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#3 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 11:47 PM

I do not think any Telecine house will do a 'real' one light these days unless it is specifically requested, all transfer will generally be best light. The difference is with a one light the telecine is set at the head of the roll and run possibly without even looking! Best light will have the colorist go through the whole roll and correct for any gross exposure issues or color balance problems. A best light recorded to a 10-Bit format is very grade-able in post.

-Rob-
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#4 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 01 April 2010 - 12:54 AM

Hi Evan,

Best light at most telecine houses means footage is corrected shot to shot. The best thing you can do to get what you want is to communicate with the colorist before the job. Let them know what the intended look is, show them color corrected still frames, whatever you can do.

That said, I have personally had a bad experience with Cinelicious and will never use them again. Their film handling practices are unacceptably sloppy in my opinion, producing the dustiest transfers I have ever seen (something I specifically asked them about prior to the job, and which they assured me was not a problem).

They also did not bother to report an emulsion scratch that appeared intermittently over one whole roll. So I would say that if you are going through the expense of shooting film, then you should get the best telecine you can get. You get what you pay for.
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#5 Steve Zimmerman

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Posted 02 April 2010 - 12:30 PM

Personally I do not reccommend "Upres 1080p" transfers like what you mentioned. They are only enlarging the SD image. The one I just had done came back looking VERY noisy and not presentable. Better to do either a high quality SD transfer or a real HD transfer. Send me a private email if you want.

Steve
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#6 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 02 April 2010 - 12:32 PM

I'll put in a bit more here and suggest my preferred post house here in Philadelphia, Shooters Post and Transfer. Really good and knowledgeable people and treat each job as though it's important to them (because, well, it is!). Give them a call and speak with them about a best light, I find them pretty affordable for my own needs (though honestly I'm almost always doing supervised).
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#7 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 02 April 2010 - 03:08 PM

Personally I do not reccommend "Upres 1080p" transfers like what you mentioned. They are only enlarging the SD image. The one I just had done came back looking VERY noisy and not presentable. Better to do either a high quality SD transfer or a real HD transfer. Send me a private email if you want.

Steve



Steve

Uprezed transfers can look good from Super-8 or Std-16 however Super-16, or in your case, Anamorphic 35mm they are dailies only. I think it is a matter of reasonable expectation if you shoot 35mm anamorphic and get a $100 transfer that is clearly a uprez you can't expect it to look like a Arriscan 4K. That said we (at Cinelab) have a Y-Front coming to improve our Uprez transfer and 2K solutions available as well. I know Paul at Cinelicious installed a newer Spirit-1 room.

There are always places like Co3 Telecine is $1800/hr and Arriscan scans are $1000.00/hr (2fps at 4K) I know those of us who own smaller shops that cater to more interesting jobs are constantly working to improve the work we do and balance that with reasonable pricing.

-Rob-
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#8 Steve Zimmerman

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Posted 02 April 2010 - 10:26 PM

[quote name='Robert Houllahan' date='Apr 2 2010, 04:08 PM' post='320115']

"We (at Cinelab) have a Y-Front coming to improve our Uprez transfer and 2K solutions available as well. "


Sounds very promising Robert, I wish you well for your improvements :lol: .

It will be great when 2k transfers become more common and the prices can go down a little more.

Thanks,
Steve
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#9 Evan Andrew John Prosofsky

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Posted 03 April 2010 - 07:34 PM

Hi Evan,

Best light at most telecine houses means footage is corrected shot to shot. The best thing you can do to get what you want is to communicate with the colorist before the job. Let them know what the intended look is, show them color corrected still frames, whatever you can do.

That said, I have personally had a bad experience with Cinelicious and will never use them again. Their film handling practices are unacceptably sloppy in my opinion, producing the dustiest transfers I have ever seen (something I specifically asked them about prior to the job, and which they assured me was not a problem).

They also did not bother to report an emulsion scratch that appeared intermittently over one whole roll. So I would say that if you are going through the expense of shooting film, then you should get the best telecine you can get. You get what you pay for.

That is very unfortunate, I'm sorry to hear that. I'd heard good things from others about cinelicious. I like their price, the direct to drive options, and I enjoyed that "hunter richards 600ft" test roll montage. However, hearing your story makes me feel a little worried.

Anyone have any good or bad experiences I should know of?
Can anyone recommend another post house?

Thanks for all the responses,
Evan
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#10 Paul Korver

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Posted 04 April 2010 - 04:36 PM

That said, I have personally had a bad experience with Cinelicious and will never use them again. Their film handling practices are unacceptably sloppy in my opinion, producing the dustiest transfers I have ever seen (something I specifically asked them about prior to the job, and which they assured me was not a problem).


Hi Satsuki,
Sorry to hear you had a bad experience with us. I spoke with Andy (the colorist that did the transfer) about this and he said you reached out to complain that were about 30 frames or so that had dust in them and that he promptly emailed you back offering to fix the dust and hadn't heard anything back. The offer still stands by the way. We stand by our work and if there are any issues we always work hard to resolve them.


Personally I do not reccommend "Upres 1080p" transfers like what you mentioned. They are only enlarging the SD image. The one I just had done came back looking VERY noisy and not presentable. Better to do either a high quality SD transfer or a real HD transfer. Send me a private email if you want.

Steve


Hi Steve,
Not sure if you did your uprez here or somewhere else... admittedly it's best to use the native resolution of the scanner/telecine. That's why we just bought a HD/2K capable Spirit Datacine with DVNR 2K/daVinci 2k to be able to address the needs of our higher end clientele or for people who are looking for the best image possible. But we also keep the diamond clear HD around for budget conscious folks who really seem to like the picture-to-price ratio.

Regards,

Paul
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#11 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 05 April 2010 - 12:37 AM

That is very unfortunate, I'm sorry to hear that. I'd heard good things from others about cinelicious. I like their price, the direct to drive options, and I enjoyed that "hunter richards 600ft" test roll montage.

Well I think it is very hit or miss. When I called they were transferring a commercial so I suspect they have different standards of work depending on who the client is and whether they are supervised or not - I really can't imagine a commercial job getting the same quality of film handling that we did. Our job was just a student short, unsupervised, about 5,500', small potatoes. I don't have a problem with that in theory, every business has to prioritize. They do offer very reasonable prices for the HD direct-to-drive options, anywhere else is around $800/hr. book rate (for a Spirit HD transfer direct-to-drive).

However, what I don't like is how they dismissed my concern about dust on the negative when we gave them the job, saying "it wasn't a problem" when in retrospect it clearly was. We agreed that "dust" in this case meant only hairs, not specks and they assured me that their particle rollers would handle the problem.

I asked them about the dust after reviewing the work and they said, "oh yeah, that's normal - you should expect to do some dust-busting." Some of these are huge hairs that cover 1/4 to 1/2 width of the Super16 frame. In one case, our best take of the film's opening dolly shot had a hair that crossed at least 80% of the frame! There were 28 affected frames with large hairs in total, I did not even bother to count the smaller hairs. That's a serious amount of rotoscoping that needs to be done, not (as I was told) "about an hour of work in Photoshop."

My other issue is that they did not report a long emulsion scratch on one of the rolls. To be fair, Fotokem did not report it either. But I think this is rather inexcusable. In this case, I'm pretty certain it originated in camera, but not reporting a problem like that is a red flag and I don't like it.

Can anyone recommend another post house?

Spypost in San Francisco is one very reputable house. Expensive for direct-to-drive but well worth it.

Hi Paul, thank you for your kind reply, I really do appreciate it. After Sean locks picture, we will have a friend do the post cleanup in After Effects. However, I think that charging $100/hr for this cleanup work kinda misses the point - IMHO it shouldn't have happened in the first place.
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#12 Kent Kumpula

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Posted 07 April 2010 - 06:15 PM

Our job was just a student short, unsupervised....

OK, so you got a unsupervised transfer. Nothing wrong with that, if the budget is tight that is perhaps all you can afford sometimes.

However, what I don't like is how they dismissed my concern about dust on the negative when we gave them the job, saying "it wasn't a problem" when in retrospect it clearly was.


Interesting. Did they do some cleaning, like ultrasonic cleaning of the film?

If not... did anyone else do ultrasonic cleaning of the films? This is important, because if nobody gave the films a ultrasonic cleaning before the transfer then you will without doubt get some dust with the transfer. How much dust depends on a lot of things, and if this is a problem or not depends on what you expect. But you cannot expect to get a dust-free transfer without a proper ultrasonic cleaning. Perhaps the communication about this failed between you guys.

My other issue is that they did not report a long emulsion scratch on one of the rolls... But I think this is rather inexcusable.... I'm pretty certain it originated in camera, but not reporting a problem like that is a red flag and I don't like it.


Wait a minute here... Didn´t you just write you had a unsupervised transfer? As in a transfer that is not supervised during the whole transfer by telecine staff?

If you indeed wanted (and received) a unsupervised transfer... could you please explain to me why you are upset about a scratch that was originated in your camera? You expected them to find the scratch and to report it, even when you ordered a unsupervised transfer?
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#13 Chris Burke

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Posted 08 April 2010 - 10:31 AM

OK, so you got a unsupervised transfer. Nothing wrong with that, if the budget is tight that is perhaps all you can afford sometimes.



Interesting. Did they do some cleaning, like ultrasonic cleaning of the film?

If not... did anyone else do ultrasonic cleaning of the films? This is important, because if nobody gave the films a ultrasonic cleaning before the transfer then you will without doubt get some dust with the transfer. How much dust depends on a lot of things, and if this is a problem or not depends on what you expect. But you cannot expect to get a dust-free transfer without a proper ultrasonic cleaning. Perhaps the communication about this failed between you guys.



Wait a minute here... Didn´t you just write you had a unsupervised transfer? As in a transfer that is not supervised during the whole transfer by telecine staff?

If you indeed wanted (and received) a unsupervised transfer... could you please explain to me why you are upset about a scratch that was originated in your camera? You expected them to find the scratch and to report it, even when you ordered a unsupervised transfer?



I've made it standard operating procedure that I ask the lab for a scratch report, always.
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#14 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 08 April 2010 - 03:53 PM

Did they do some cleaning, like ultrasonic cleaning of the film?

Yes, at Fotokem. Cinelicious picked the film up direct from them.

Wait a minute here... Didn´t you just write you had a unsupervised transfer? As in a transfer that is not supervised during the whole transfer by telecine staff?

"Unsupervised transfer" means unsupervised by the client, i.e. me and the director. The colorist is still there, correcting shot to shot. It is cheaper because they guarantee a 3:1 ratio, meaning three hours of work for every hour of footage. As you probably know, you pay by the hour. There is obviously no guaranteed ratio for supervised transfers.

In fact, the colorist did call me with some questions during the session about color and contrast decisions. So it's not unreasonable to expect a call about a serious issue like an emulsion scratch.
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#15 Kent Kumpula

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Posted 08 April 2010 - 04:14 PM

Yes, at Fotokem. Cinelicious picked the film up direct from them.


Well then there is definetly a problem somewhere, either at Fotokem (for not cleaning the film good enough) or at the transfer place. A ultrasonically cleaned film should not be dirty. Sure, one or two (or extremely few and very small) particles will still somehow get in there. But not at the amount that has been descibed here.

"Unsupervised transfer" means unsupervised by the client, i.e. me and the director. The colorist is still there, correcting shot to shot.


Ah, OK. Sorry, I thought that it was totally unsuperviced, as in a "unsupervised onelight" or something like that...
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#16 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 08 April 2010 - 04:58 PM

Well then there is definetly a problem somewhere, either at Fotokem (for not cleaning the film good enough) or at the transfer place. A ultrasonically cleaned film should not be dirty. Sure, one or two (or extremely few and very small) particles will still somehow get in there. But not at the amount that has been descibed here.

Yeah, I know. I recommended them to the producers on another short I shot about a year ago, with the stipulation that they had to have the negative ultrasonically cleaned beforehand (charged to us, or course). I was told their response was, "Why?" We didn't end up using them after that, so I guess I should have known better.
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#17 Kent Kumpula

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Posted 08 April 2010 - 05:05 PM

...they had to have the negative ultrasonically cleaned beforehand (charged to us, or course). I was told their response was, "Why?"


Wow, really surprising! I guess we are talking about Cinelicious here, and not Fotokem? Just want to make sure so the wrong company doesent "get the dirt in the face", so to speak...
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#18 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 09 April 2010 - 02:17 AM

Wow, really surprising! I guess we are talking about Cinelicious here, and not Fotokem?

Yes.
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#19 Paul Korver

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Posted 09 April 2010 - 02:32 AM

Wow, really surprising! I guess we are talking about Cinelicious here, and not Fotokem? Just want to make sure so the wrong company doesent "get the dirt in the face", so to speak...


While Satsuki does sound frustrated I can't imagine he's talking about Cinelicious as we would never respond that way. We have film cleaning on premises because we're well aware that dust loves film and if anyone asks us to clean film (or if we've done dailies and are about to put the film up again for a final) we would of course clean the film or at least suggest it be cleaned. While Fotokem generally does a good job with both processing and prep/ cleaning film.... we've definitely had the odd batch that came in looking like it hadn't been. I'm having a difficult time understanding where all Satsuki's negativity is coming from especially since as soon as he reached out to say he was unhappy with 30 frames (out of 164,000) we offered to fix them at cost... even though there was a *distinct* possibility that the film may not have been properly cleaned at Fotokem. I say *distinct* because it is our obsessive practice to clean our PTR rollers with warm water and and entire film deck with compressed air prior to every transfer... and if the film is truly clean when it comes in... the transfers are clean (aside from the odd spec of dust that is nearly impossible to prevent). We're a small shop that is very passionate about film. Sucks to take the fall on this one but I guess you can't win them all.

-Paul
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#20 Kent Kumpula

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Posted 09 April 2010 - 06:25 AM

While Satsuki does sound frustrated I can't imagine he's talking about Cinelicious as we would never respond that way... even though there was a *distinct* possibility that the film may not have been properly cleaned at Fotokem.... We're a small shop that is very passionate about film. Sucks to take the fall on this one but I guess you can't win them all.


Yeah, perhaps thee fault here is actually at Fotokem, and you are the ones taking all the beating.
I never thought you would respond like that, and I was very surprised about this whole story.

If the films were properly cleaned I can´t imagine where all the dirt would come from. It is more likely they received a bad cleaning at Fotokem than... a Telecine machine so dusty/dirty that the film would get hair and dirt in the amount described in this thread. Perhaps Fotokem even forgot to give the films a cleaning? I transferred negative films that were not cleaned, and they were pretty dirty. Mostly in the beginning and at the end of the reel. (this was by the was the way the client wanted the films, dirty).

The words from one unhappy client should not be enough to ruin one companys reputation. Some people are impossible to please, and some people spread bad rumors if they are unhappy. And I have never heard things like this about Cinelicious earlier (that is why I was so surprised). Hopefully (and probably) this will end up as a one-time-thing.

The client sure has the right to be unhappy in this case. But if Fotokem did a bad cleaning, they should be the target for this complain.

Edited by Kent Kumpula, 09 April 2010 - 06:28 AM.

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