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S16mm Telecine options


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#1 Duncan Buckley

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Posted 27 August 2010 - 05:04 AM

Hi,

I'm having a real headache trying to come up with the best option with my footage. I have been using my K3 for some time and I now feel happy enough with the results that i'd like to take it further and create some shorts but its the final output that always gets me stuck. The camera is S16mm and I would love to get the best out of it when viewed. The final piece isn't for film but HD output for TV viewing. I would also like to have the ability to grade the footage myself digitally mainly to learn the colour correction process and to have greater control.

There are so many options when you transfer plus the medium you output to that i'm unsure what is best. I read the posts on 2k scans to dpx files, 1080 scans, SD and more and I appreciate that everyone is creating footage taylored to there final market. What would you recommend for myself? I want the best looking footage that I can be proud of, ability to grade digitally and output to DVD.

I have been using Ilab in the UK for processing my film mainly for testing my cameras and the various lenses and stock that are available. I will be emailing them aswell as Technicolour for their advice too.


Kind Regards,

Duncan
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#2 Chris Burke

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Posted 27 August 2010 - 08:28 AM

Hi,

I'm having a real headache trying to come up with the best option with my footage. I have been using my K3 for some time and I now feel happy enough with the results that i'd like to take it further and create some shorts but its the final output that always gets me stuck. The camera is S16mm and I would love to get the best out of it when viewed. The final piece isn't for film but HD output for TV viewing. I would also like to have the ability to grade the footage myself digitally mainly to learn the colour correction process and to have greater control.

There are so many options when you transfer plus the medium you output to that i'm unsure what is best. I read the posts on 2k scans to dpx files, 1080 scans, SD and more and I appreciate that everyone is creating footage taylored to there final market. What would you recommend for myself? I want the best looking footage that I can be proud of, ability to grade digitally and output to DVD.

I have been using Ilab in the UK for processing my film mainly for testing my cameras and the various lenses and stock that are available. I will be emailing them aswell as Technicolour for their advice too.


Kind Regards,

Duncan



I realize that the amount of water between us does make a difference ($$), I am in Boston USA, your in the UK. I can not advise you as to which lab or transfer house because I have never used any in you neighborhood, I can only tell you what I have done. I have been in the exact same position as you and wanted pretty much the exact same thing. This is what labs do for me here. Mind you not all will do this, because it is less work for them and they want to make money on the million dollar grading suite. I get my film scanned as dpx files returned to me on hard drives. Flat scan, no grading. This fits my needs perfectly as i am set up at home to grade footage. It can be a mixed blessing, because a pro suite and colorist has many more tools and know how at their disposal, all of which can make the footage look its absolute best. Also, the storage space needed is huge. I don't know how much you have, I suspect that shooting with one hundred foot loads indicates a small amount. from the dpx, you can do pretty much anything you need to. I know you only need HD output, but you asked for the best and you want to grade it yourself. This workflow gets the most out of your pound. It involves the transfer house the least, cause that is where the big cost is, and it allows you to deliver footage onto any medium. Any tape based workflow is going to cost you dearly, unless your talking DV, in which case HD is out the window. When talking to your lab and techinicolor, ask for a flat scan of all frames as dpx files put onto hard drive. File dimensions will probably be something like 2048 x 1152, maybe a bit taller. there will be a scanning charge and a data management charge, they have to transfer all your footage to your drive. helpful tip: give them a hard drive or drives with fast connections at the very least firewire 800. this minimizes the data management.
now the software part. what platform are you going to be grading on? I use Mac, with Apple's color, which does the job for me. I know that there are other that do it better but all in all, it works. There are other apps out there that can do some of the heavy lifting; I also use Graphics Converter to convert all the dpx stacks into ProRes 4444 files, then I grade those. I only did that because it did it faster than Color. With the ProRes files, I grade and frame clips as I like and output to ProRes 1080 HQ, export to final cut for final touches and output from there to either file, DVD or Bluray. It is a cheap (relative term), easy and straight forward workflow that has worked for me several times. Maybe you don't have the hardware that can handle the huge amount of data. If you are on a mac, get the lab to deliver the files as ProRes 4444, they are approximately a tenth in size compared to their dpx parents, with 99.9 percent of the info. this may incur extra cost, it may not, there are several variables, but is gives you a lot of flexibility.
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#3 Duncan Buckley

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Posted 27 August 2010 - 10:07 AM

Hi Chris,

Wow thank you for the reply you have really provided a library of information. I work in windows im afraid but CS5 does accept dpx files, not sure about proRes as I believe that is FCP only. I have fired off the relevent questions to the labs here and I will be waiting with fingers crossed for the replies. I will be searching out fast hard-drives today with quick read/write speeds, it shouldnt be too expensive and it will be something that I will use over and over. I appreciate that film is expensive and its worth it for the best looking results possible.

Do you know if there any other codec that offers the same advantages as ProRes?

Regards,

Duncan
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#4 Will Montgomery

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Posted 27 August 2010 - 10:57 AM

Do you know if there any other codec that offers the same advantages as ProRes?

Apple invented it because there was nothing else out there like it. If you're concerned about quality you can go Animation codec or another uncompressed one. Just becomes taxing on your machine.
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#5 Paul Korver

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Posted 27 August 2010 - 11:08 AM

Hi Chris,

Wow thank you for the reply you have really provided a library of information. I work in windows im afraid but CS5 does accept dpx files, not sure about proRes as I believe that is FCP only. I have fired off the relevent questions to the labs here and I will be waiting with fingers crossed for the replies. I will be searching out fast hard-drives today with quick read/write speeds, it shouldnt be too expensive and it will be something that I will use over and over. I appreciate that film is expensive and its worth it for the best looking results possible.

Do you know if there any other codec that offers the same advantages as ProRes?

Regards,

Duncan



Hi Duncan,
There's no codec currently out there that is as high-quality, efficient (in terms of picture quality to data rate) and universally accepted as ProRes. Now that ARRI has adopted ProRes for the Alexa it even solidifies it more as a rock solid, professional codec that the big players in post need to embrace. Cineform is great as well but less universal and heavy on CPU processing. Pro Res will work on a PC. All you need is to download the free "ProRes Decoder for Windows".

Even though tapeless workflows and ProRes are catching on at bigger post facilities... most places like the ones you've mentioned will typically still transfer first to tape, then charge you to digitize that tape to ProRes. At Cinelicious we've been transferring film direct to ProRes since day one and were on the forefront of that movement. We have clients from many continents that send us film and a hard drive, we email them with a private password to view their color session online in realtime (and give notes to the colorist via iChat, Skype etc), and send back their film and HD or 2K transfer to ProRes their drive. Of course we can do DPX as well but like Chris mentioned, ProRes is so efficient it's what most of our clients want.

Give us a call/email if you want an alternative quote.

Best,

Paul
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#6 Chris Burke

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Posted 27 August 2010 - 11:32 AM

Hi Chris,

Wow thank you for the reply you have really provided a library of information. I work in windows im afraid but CS5 does accept dpx files, not sure about proRes as I believe that is FCP only. I have fired off the relevent questions to the labs here and I will be waiting with fingers crossed for the replies. I will be searching out fast hard-drives today with quick read/write speeds, it shouldnt be too expensive and it will be something that I will use over and over. I appreciate that film is expensive and its worth it for the best looking results possible.

Do you know if there any other codec that offers the same advantages as ProRes?

Regards,

Duncan


Cineform codec may do the trick, but I am a Mac guy, so I don't really know. Adobe does handle dpx files rather well, so you you be in good hands there. Everything I have heard about Premiere is great. Yes, the hard drive cost to performance ratio is great; not much money for what they will do for you over and over. don't rely on them for long term storage though. The lab my be able to convert to cineform codec, animation codec may be the way to go, but I believe those files will be quite large as well. Perhaps just staying in dpx on your timeline and then outputting to the format of choice when all is done. This will not be in real time unless you have a rocket ship for a machine.
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#7 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 27 August 2010 - 01:04 PM

We have clients from many continents that send us film and a hard drive, we email them with a private password to view their color session online in realtime (and give notes to the colorist via iChat, Skype etc), and send back their film and HD or 2K transfer to ProRes their drive




Finally! I've been trying to persuade people to do this really for some time. Usually you get what I like to think of as the Mike Most response, which can be summarised as "you have to use our HDCAM-SR machine because of our HDCAM-SR machine, which requires that you use our HDCAM-SR machine. Because of this, you have to use our HDCAM-SR machine."


Grr.


P
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#8 Oliver Christoph Kochs

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Posted 27 August 2010 - 07:04 PM

Yes, ProRes is natively only on a Mac but it is available for Win as a decoder, so you can at least transcode your files under Windows.
This will import in Media Composer as well as Premiere etc.
You can find it here.
If you do use 444 or Millions+ color depth you don't have much to choose from. To my knowledge there is only DPX (Cineon), JPEG2000 and Cineform.
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#9 Andy_Alderslade

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Posted 28 August 2010 - 05:58 AM

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Finally! I've been trying to persuade people to do this really for some time. Usually you get what I like to think of as the Mike Most response, which can be summarised as "you have to use our HDCAM-SR machine because of our HDCAM-SR machine, which requires that you use our HDCAM-SR machine. Because of this, you have to use our HDCAM-SR machine."


Grr.


P


Sometimes it does feel like what the labs are doing is 10 years in the past, people in the states where getting direct-to-hardrive scans 5 years ago and the labs here still insisted on investing in HDCAM-SR decks, rather than just hiring when required like the clever post-houses did.

Even a scan to an HD format is still a premiere service, that you subsequently pay through the nose for. If you were to shoot digitally, hiring a Standard Def camera would be near impossible these days.
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#10 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 28 August 2010 - 06:33 AM

I'm not so sure, I did a short in LA about four or five years ago and we ended up having to get it put on HDCAM (not even SR!) then went down the road to Filmlook and had it dumped onto a disk. Not ideal.

But yes.

P
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#11 Will Montgomery

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Posted 30 August 2010 - 08:35 PM

Even though tapeless workflows and ProRes are catching on at bigger post facilities... most places like the ones you've mentioned will typically still transfer first to tape, then charge you to digitize that tape to ProRes. At Cinelicious we've been transferring film direct to ProRes since day one and were on the forefront of that movement.


It's facinating how workflows get engrained into the business and it takes a while to change habits, but telecine houses are getting faster and faster at adopting new methods. When I used to transfer S16 to miniDV I had to work with the colorist at a major transfer house here in Dallas to get them to transfer to "anamorphic DVCAM." In order to get the most pixels out of the 720x480 DVCAM frame I wanted them to "squish it" horizontally (which in their lingo was actually stretching it vertically I think) so I would bring it into Final Cut and mark the clip as anamorphic so it would stretch it back out to 16:9 (rather than letterboxed). It seemed like a really obvious way to do it but apparently I was one of the the first to even ask for it there. They had a special setting they would bring up when I walked in the door.

When I started asking for HD ProRes files directly it was like the new thing, then next time I went it a few months later was standard procedure. I'd bet most people are asking for ProRes &/or Uncompressed files all the time now.
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#12 Duncan Buckley

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Posted 31 August 2010 - 06:35 AM

Still no reply from the labs but it has been a bank holiday so they're probably still half asleep like myself.

I'm glad ProRes can be used on windows as it seems to be the standard format now. I'm curious why this workflow hasnt been adopted over here as standard though, is the Uk really behind on developements?

Paul I have been on the cinelicious site and seen your vimeo videos, beautiful stuff just a shame you dont have facilities in the UK. I know that the option to post out to you is available and I will take that into account depending on the reply is receive here.

Anybody have a prefered place to process and transfer their footage in the UK?
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#13 Chris Burke

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Posted 01 September 2010 - 08:03 AM

I was just reading about Online JPEG coded on the Blackmagic Design website, it is for windows and is made to work with premiere. You may want to check it out, it seems to be the windows equivalent of ProRes.
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#14 Dirk DeJonghe

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Posted 01 September 2010 - 11:43 AM

We are not in the UK but two hours from London by Eurostar. We do process and transfer to ProresHD HQ every day, direct to hard drive. Send us a sample and we can transfer to DVD or FTP.
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