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Reg 16mm to HD


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#1 Kevith Mitchell

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Posted 08 October 2010 - 10:47 AM

Hi

I'm editing a 16mm feature(shot in 1:33) and I'm talking to labs about transfering the neg to HD. One thing I've found out is that it is going to HD is not an affordable process. Just for mounting, conforming to selects, color correction, number of edits, man-hours, etc can easily cost $25,000 to $30,000. Just to get a "tape copy".

Plus HD does not accept the 1:33 aspect ratio. I will have pillars on the side of my image. No full screen.

To save money, my plan is to go to negative cutter, create a neg, and scan the neg to high res standard video. In the end I have a neg and a video copy.

Has anyone done this route before???? And where can I see a reg 16mm image tranferd to HD (with pillars) on the net???
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#2 Tim Carroll

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Posted 08 October 2010 - 02:15 PM

Hi Kev,

Transferring film to most digital formats is expensive, no getting around that. But you might try this method, which can probably bring your costs to less than $25,000 to $30,000.

The way we've done it is to have all the film processed, and then do a one-light or best-light SD transfer of all your footage to something like mini-DV tape, "with a window burn". A window burn puts the timecode and the film key code right on the video tape. This is much cheaper than an HD transfer.

You then take that video tape, ingest it into your computer's NLE and edit your film to make it look the way you envisioned. Once you have it the way you want it, then you record the key code for each section of film used in your final edit.

Take that information to the transfer house and have them do a color corrected transfer of only that footage (plus handles) to HD. Many houses will put that HD material either on a hard drive or on disc, so you don't have to deal with any tape issues with the final color corrected transfer.

Then you take that HD transferred material and make your final movie.

If you shot your film with a five to one ratio, you end up only transferring one fifth of the total footage to HD, which saves you a ton of money.

Make sense?

Best,
-Tim
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#3 Will Montgomery

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Posted 08 October 2010 - 03:54 PM

Unless you have a friend that does it, cutting negative is neither cheap nor easy. Plus you'd have to make work prints to see what you're going to cut (more money).

Tim's method is the least expensive and smartest way to do it. There are plenty of telecine houses with SD machines sitting around with nothing to do so you can probably make a deal if you are very nice.

Just make sure your reels are well labeled and documented with edge codes. Organization will save your a$$.
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#4 John Sprung

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Posted 08 October 2010 - 05:42 PM

If you cut your negative, be sure to tell the video facility about it when you book telecine time. Most telecine these days is from dailies or IP, and the machines that do it often lose focus for a frame or two at splices. That's for 35, it might be worse in 16. They may have to put you on the one machine that's set up to pass splices, or send you to another company.

Or, do it Tim's way -- selects with handles, then online.





-- J.S.
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#5 Kevith Mitchell

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Posted 14 October 2010 - 12:32 PM

So far what I'm learning is: For economics/saving money sake, make a traditional A-B roll negative cut. That way I have a negative master that can be transferred to any format now and in the future.

Take that A-B roll and transfer it to beta and create units/copies from the beta.

The part that cost most with HD is the color correction, man-hours, and the conforming.

But one thing is for sure...the mastering process from a film negative is a fast dying art.

It has gone to video which is not cheap at all as people make it to be it and has a million hidden cost. Labs, negative cutters and title makers have been telling me the only people who go from film to video are huge budget productions. I can get titles made for $300.00 on film. On video, basic titles cost $2,500.00!!!
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#6 Kevith Mitchell

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Posted 14 October 2010 - 12:42 PM

Hi Kev,

Transferring film to most digital formats is expensive, no getting around that. But you might try this method, which can probably bring your costs to less than $25,000 to $30,000.

The way we've done it is to have all the film processed, and then do a one-light or best-light SD transfer of all your footage to something like mini-DV tape, "with a window burn". A window burn puts the timecode and the film key code right on the video tape. This is much cheaper than an HD transfer.

You then take that video tape, ingest it into your computer's NLE and edit your film to make it look the way you envisioned. Once you have it the way you want it, then you record the key code for each section of film used in your final edit.

Take that information to the transfer house and have them do a color corrected transfer of only that footage (plus handles) to HD. Many houses will put that HD material either on a hard drive or on disc, so you don't have to deal with any tape issues with the final color corrected transfer.

Then you take that HD transferred material and make your final movie.

If you shot your film with a five to one ratio, you end up only transferring one fifth of the total footage to HD, which saves you a ton of money.

Make sense?

Best,
-Tim


Tim,

Sounds like a lot of tranfering. When all is said and done, I have to assume the master of the film is on tape.

Also I shoot this whole feature on an Arri S. Love those Schnider lens. Absolutly crisp image. So I guess you can understand why I want to master from the negative.
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#7 Kevith Mitchell

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Posted 14 October 2010 - 12:52 PM

If you cut your negative, be sure to tell the video facility about it when you book telecine time. Most telecine these days is from dailies or IP, and the machines that do it often lose focus for a frame or two at splices. That's for 35, it might be worse in 16. They may have to put you on the one machine that's set up to pass splices, or send you to another company.

Or, do it Tim's way -- selects with handles, then online.

Thanks John...

That is very good advice in this "padora's box" of going from film to video.



-- J.S.


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#8 Freya Black

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Posted 16 October 2010 - 04:48 AM

Hi

I'm editing a 16mm feature(shot in 1:33) and I'm talking to labs about transfering the neg to HD. One thing I've found out is that it is going to HD is not an affordable process. Just for mounting, conforming to selects, color correction, number of edits, man-hours, etc can easily cost $25,000 to $30,000. Just to get a "tape copy".

Plus HD does not accept the 1:33 aspect ratio. I will have pillars on the side of my image. No full screen.

To save money, my plan is to go to negative cutter, create a neg, and scan the neg to high res standard video. In the end I have a neg and a video copy.

Has anyone done this route before???? And where can I see a reg 16mm image tranferd to HD (with pillars) on the net???


Do you really need to finish it in HD?
If you conform the neg you could just get it transferred at SD and then one day if you feel you need HD you will be able to retransfer from the neg.

love

Freya
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#9 Paul Korver

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Posted 17 October 2010 - 03:25 AM

Hey Kev,
Why not scan everything once to 2K (2048 x 1556) ProRes? Then you'll have a 2K master that is editable in Final Cut. You'll be able to pan/scan to set the vertical framing for the HD master without having to pillar box the image.

-Paul
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#10 Oliver Christoph Kochs

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Posted 17 October 2010 - 12:04 PM

Humm, in this topic lies most of the whole Film vs. HD problem. HD Transfer is still very expensive and is a killer for most low-budget films that would like to use film. Since editing/processing/handling data in HD needs high-end machines (like i.e. a Apple Pro 8 core or a HP Z800) and you have shot R16 (not S16) i would go this route:
Do it in SD. Onelight telecine. Make one tape with Keycode in the picture and one without. Make sure, the tapes have the same timecode. When you go directly to video files also make sure that the Keycode vs. clean films are identical in Timecode. They MUST have the same starting frame and length. Edit your film with the clean version. Do all sound and ADR etc.
After you're finished: re-batch with the Keycode tapes / files. Create a keycode EDL and scan that material in HD/2K from the original negative.
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#11 Paul Korver

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Posted 17 October 2010 - 01:18 PM

Humm, in this topic lies most of the whole Film vs. HD problem. HD Transfer is still very expensive and is a killer for most low-budget films that would like to use film. Since editing/processing/handling data in HD needs high-end machines (like i.e. a Apple Pro 8 core or a HP Z800) and you have shot R16 (not S16) i would go this route:
Do it in SD. Onelight telecine. Make one tape with Keycode in the picture and one without. Make sure, the tapes have the same timecode. When you go directly to video files also make sure that the Keycode vs. clean films are identical in Timecode. They MUST have the same starting frame and length. Edit your film with the clean version. Do all sound and ADR etc.
After you're finished: re-batch with the Keycode tapes / files. Create a keycode EDL and scan that material in HD/2K from the original negative.


There are plenty of Super 16mm and Ultra 16mm options that are very very affordable. I've seen full Super 16mm Aaton packages go on Ebay for $5-$6K. Also... I guess it's all relative but I'm not sure I'd consider an 8-Core Apple a "high end machine". I'll expand on what I was saying above that the beauty of ProRes 4444 is that you can have realtime editing and playback from almost any mac built in the past 3 years.... quad core 2008 would be fine. You can easily get realtime playback of 2K ProRes 4444 from one of these machines and yet keep full bandwidth colorimetry. Scanning full reels only once also has benefits of protecting the negative, not having to reclean and deal with dust, and also avoiding the costly / time-consuming process of scanning selects from an EDL.

At Cinelicious we've done a few ProRes 4444 DI's where all film was film transfered at at least HD resolution, edited/finished on a mac didn't see tape until the final sequence was mastered to HDCAM-SR. One that was shot anamorphic 35m just screened at the Arclight in Hollywood (on of LA's finest theaters) from a 2K DLP projector and it looked incredible... is now being submitted to all major festivals etc.

Shooting film has never been more affordable.

-Paul
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#12 Chris Burke

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Posted 17 October 2010 - 05:36 PM

I have to agree with Paul, if you already have not, I would scan everything at 2k ProRes 4444 as he stated. You can get a better deal than the 25 to 30k you quoted. Ask around, many labs will cut deals. As paul stated, it is the best bang for the buck. Are you cutting on a Mac? What software? If Final Cut Pro, then I would highly recommend the ProRes route. It is the time in the suite and use of all the expensive equipment that runs up the cost. If you are just do a flat scan direct to hard drive and you can encode the dpx files yourself, you will save even more money.
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