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What should I expect to pay?


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#1 Dylan Kress

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Posted 17 October 2010 - 07:07 PM

Hey guys,

Shooting some tests and I'm wondering what I should expect to pay to get 1600' of Fuji Vivid 160 processed and transfered to HD DPX files assuming I provide the hard drive.

Thanks,
Dylan
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#2 Dylan Kress

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Posted 17 October 2010 - 08:23 PM

I'm looking to get some estimated costs to get an idea for what I should be expecting to pay for a short film. It would be great to compare the cost of transferring to HD agains the costs of transferring 2k. I know this can vary drastically depending on where you go, but any info would be GREATLY appreciated!

Thanks guys. This forum is amazing.
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#3 Chris Burke

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Posted 17 October 2010 - 10:11 PM

I'm looking to get some estimated costs to get an idea for what I should be expecting to pay for a short film. It would be great to compare the cost of transferring to HD agains the costs of transferring 2k. I know this can vary drastically depending on where you go, but any info would be GREATLY appreciated!

Thanks guys. This forum is amazing.



shop around. if you are willing to wait for the transfer, you could get it all on hard drives as dpx stacks for well under a grand. I am not quoting you anything except a conservative indie price.
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#4 Dylan Kress

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 12:22 AM

Any places that you would recommend checking???

I'm sure going to a place like FotoKem will be out of the question but I really want to find a place that will help break me into the process and guide me in the right direction. It's going to be more of a learning experience so I want to make sure it's a place that doesn't mind holding my hand thru the process :rolleyes:
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#5 Chris Burke

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 07:57 AM

Any places that you would recommend checking???

I'm sure going to a place like FotoKem will be out of the question but I really want to find a place that will help break me into the process and guide me in the right direction. It's going to be more of a learning experience so I want to make sure it's a place that doesn't mind holding my hand thru the process :rolleyes:


I have not used them but, Fotokem reportedly does have student rates and loves helping students out. Other labs, many of which advertise here, are much the same. Cinelab, Cinelicious, Spectra, Alpha Cine, Lightpress, Cinepost all do great work and have student rates. It can be a bit daunting the first time out, but only having 1600 feet of film is easy. What platform are you editing on?
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#6 Elliot Rudmann

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 09:21 AM

It would be great to compare the cost of transferring to HD agains the costs of transferring 2k. I know this can vary drastically depending on where you go, but any info would be GREATLY appreciated!


Any decent post-house shouldn't charge you for the marginal difference (in resolution and file size) between 2k scans and HD scans.
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#7 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 10:53 AM

As mentioned many labs will work with you for reasonable rates. I've even gotten deals from Technicolor and Deluxe up in NYC. Call around, shop around, and I'm sure you can find some folks who can get you in on budget.
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#8 Will Montgomery

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 04:54 PM

1600 feet of 35mm or 16mm?

Completely flat, one light or scene to scene?

Spirit or something pseudo-HD?

I would love to know how pricing on something like that is done now too. I believe its a 2-step process. First you scan the film then create the DPX files so that's a ton of time. You might be better off going to a ProRes HQ 4:4:4 file and making DPX yourself.

Can DPX files be made directly from the telecine/scan? Or does it have to come in as another file type then be converted?

For 16mm I'm guessing book rates would add up to $3000 and 35mm like $1750. BUT I know plenty of telecine houses would do it for less (possibly much less) so let us know what you find.
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#9 Elliot Rudmann

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 05:02 PM

Arriscan film scanner directly outputs 10-bit log dpx files, other scanners should do the same. Scan film to dpx, color correct dpx, deliver final dpx/QuickTime/mxf, etc.
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#10 Elliot Rudmann

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 07:22 PM

Spirit or something pseudo-HD?

LOL. You and I are quite the elitists, Will!

You might be better off going to a ProRes HQ 4:4:4 file and making DPX yourself.


Well it would be the opposite way around, if he wanted a prores color corrected file at the end. But if he wants just DPX, all the lab would have to do is scan the film to dpx, grade accordingly, and spit back out dpx, which may actually save him some money vs going to prores because it would cut one step out (dpx to quicktime conversion) for the lab. The prores codec is proprietary to Apple, and as far as I know, isn't licensed out to high end color correction systems. However, a third party software like Pomfort Silverstack can be used to take in dpx stacks and create prores files from them.
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#11 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 08:01 PM

all the lab would have to do is scan the film to dpx, grade accordingly, and spit back out dpx,




Labs are all too often extremely unwilling to do things like this, probably because it doesn't involve charging the client an extremely large amount of money for access to technology - viz. HDCAM-SR tape decks, etc - that they don't really need.


Therefore this sort of thing tends to be expensive. I think it's sort of a protective wall around the multi-million dollar film scanner that they feel they need to maintain.


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#12 Elliot Rudmann

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 11:10 PM

Phil, I mention that process because it's actually a very common workflow where I work, and for lower budget clients, it's often the preferred one since it's less work for us given that we're a smaller company than most post production houses that do telecine/scanning. Sometimes the film students/independents want to grade their scans (on Apple Color or whatever platform..) so they specifically ask for DPX log files back, so we give them dpx right out of the scanner. Scan and copy to hard drive, bam, done. We do own an SR deck that we often use for the higher end clients who are finishing their projects with higher end finishing houses that demand SR tapes, we know it's a type of deliverable that's not very practical for lower budget projects.

Nevertheless, I wouldn't be surprised if bigger labs with a larger overhead tend to push a more expensive workflow; business is business. Given that the post process can be a very technical and difficult workflow to understand for some, I wouldn't be surprised if they got away with it.

-Elliot
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#13 Will Montgomery

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Posted 19 October 2010 - 08:48 AM

I'm curious how different telecine houses work because where one place does something "all the time" another one might never work that way. It's kind of interesting how there isn't a standard.

To all those telecine guys out there: what is your standard workflow or your top 2 or 3?

It was my understanding that a DI system and telecine system are separate and distinct. A telecine like a Spirit or Millennium can feed a DI which is basically a large disk array OR the telecine can send directly to tape or to an Final Cut/Avid system. Is this true or is that only one example?

So unless the scanning machine can directly output DPX files (which I guess some can?) It would be a two-step process in outputting to a DI then outputting DPX or whatever files where requested. Which of course adds time and money so if ungraded DPX files are what is needed then using that machine that can directly output those would be the most efficient and least expensive right?

Paul? Robert? Am I misunderstanding how these work?
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#14 Elliot Rudmann

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Posted 19 October 2010 - 09:47 AM

I'll try to answer some questions for you, Will.

[[[I'm curious how different telecine houses work because where one place does something "all the time" another one might never work that way. It's kind of interesting how there isn't a standard.]]]

If all of the companies used the same standard and workflows, the one with the cheapest prices would probably win out :-) but seriously, the simplified workflow is pretty standard actually, it's what the client wants at the end that can change how things are done. Also, technology and newer systems/upgrades play a big part in determining workflow, as the equipment used in DI/telecine houses can vary greatly.

[[[It was my understanding that a DI system and telecine system are separate and distinct.]]]
Yes and no. A DI system typically involves a film scanner that generates files from each frame of film scanned, which is then color graded. Many places that use a spirit datacine for example, or other high end telecines that incorporate a file based workflow can also be called a DI system. Telecine, for the most part, has essentially been a heavily tape based workflow.

[[[So unless the scanning machine can directly output DPX files (which I guess some can?)]]]
No guess. Modern film scanners CAN. Arriscan I know for certain can also output tiff and cineon.

[[[It would be a two-step process in outputting to a DI then outputting DPX or whatever files where requested. Which of course adds time and money so if ungraded DPX files are what is needed then using that machine that can directly output those would be the most efficient and least expensive right?]]]

3 step more realistically: Scan film to dpx, color dpx, and render out dpx/file/layoff to tape. A post house could technically charge you for all three if they wanted. But then again, every company is different. If you are capable of handling dpx files, and know how to properly grade LOG files, then the most efficient (and cheapest route) would be to simply pay for film scanning. Sometimes what I do is literally hook up a clients hard drive and literally have the arriscan scan dpx files directly to that hard drive. No copying necessary.

Overall it's a confusing process because of the varying degree of what clients want and what workflows post houses like, which is largely determined by things such as their equipment/staff/company overhead. Personally, I think the production stage is a bit more unpredictable. :-)

Edited by Elliot Rudmann, 19 October 2010 - 09:48 AM.

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#15 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 19 October 2010 - 12:45 PM

Sometimes what I do is literally hook up a clients hard drive and literally have the arriscan scan dpx files directly to that hard drive. No copying necessary.



Works for a slow scanner, of course - not for a spirit. In my experience people are quite unwilling to do this sort of thing, and I perceive a lack of IT savvy as being responsible for it. Some places are extremely traditionalist and even view Clipsters as dangerously newfangled, so wandering in with a firewire drive (and in doing so, obviating their $150k tape decks) is often not very welcome. I applaud you for being willing to do this and I suspect this is how it will be more and more. Of course, given modern SSDs, you could do the same thing in realtime with a Spirit...

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#16 Will Montgomery

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Posted 19 October 2010 - 02:15 PM

Thanks Elliot, that clears it up a little. So the workflow is determined by how their particular machines work as well as what the client wants.

So a Spirit or Millennium can act as a "scanner" for a separate DI system that is basically a big hard drive array that can then provide files in whatever format you want. OR you can use a machine like an Arriscan which is dedicated to scanning and outputting files by itself.

Usually what I'm doing is basically telecine with grading then instead of running it off to tape, they run it off to Final Cut Pro in a ProRes HQ codec. So that's not really DI, because the grading is done like standard telecine would be done just laid off to a computer instead of tape. Whereas DI would scan AND THEN be graded after the film has been put away. Correct?

Thanks again for helping me understand the process.
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#17 Paul Korver

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Posted 19 October 2010 - 10:18 PM

Good Points all around. Especially Elliot. This past year I went on a worldwide search for the best film scanner in the world... had test films made up in Prague that went to 250 lp/mm (that could break a 12K scanner) and dynamic range charts that go from 0-4 density, and also registration charts.... The test took me from LA to NY to Sweden, Germany and Amsterdam as I ran these test films through the ARRI, Northlight, and a whole slew of new scanning technology. As you can imagine I'm fairly obsessed with scanning film. So I figured I'd add a few thoughts.

I hear you Will... when I first got into this I was confused by the telecine/scanning terminology... here's a few key points:

The "Telecine" process creates an uncompressed video stream that must travel over SDI or HDSDI cables at whatever SMPTE standard you can send over those cables be it SD, HD, PAL etc. The image is recorded by anything that can record from SDI cables.... like Broadcast Video Decks to Tape or AJA/Blackmagic etc video cards that translate and the video to video files on hard drive. The latter is the workflow we started doing 3 years ago at Cinelicious and is 80% of what we do. Most old-school post houses are pre-wired to have to go to a deck first... then ingest from deck to video card if you want a quicktime on hard drive. I always thought that was dumb so we generally skip the deck and go straight to hard drive (as video quicktimes).

The DI process means "Scanning film to Data", and as Elliot pointed out, creates one uncompressed DPX file for each frame of film. "Data" in the DI world can technically means DPX, TIFF or Cineon files but 95% of all DIs are scanned to DPX. The data never touches HDSDI cable and normally travels over Infiniband or Fiber usually to Linux SAN volumes.

Hybrid Datacine machines (Spirit, Millennium, C-Reality) can do both video and data. Pin registered scanners (ARRI, Northlight, Ditto, Imagica etc) only output DPX (no video). The benefit of pin-registered systems is that they are steadier than non-pin registered systems. But just because a system is pin-registered doesn't mean that it's always steady. Most ARRIs perform really consistently from one machine to the next (as we would expect from the Germans) with most producing a fluctuation of about 6 microns (one 4K pixel width) from frame to frame. Northlights have a wider range of fluctuation across their product line with the very best outperforming ARRI at 5 microns but most coming in at about 8-9 microns.

But by definition mechanical pin registration slows the process down. What no one has not discussed is the speed of the scanning system and how that necessarily affects the price. The reason it affects price is not only operator / facility time... but the scanner manufactures charge huge amounts for what they call "speed upgrades". It's annoying because the machine you just paid $700K it totally capable of going faster.... but they want $100K more to unlock the software code that allows the post house to take advantage of it. Those costs necessarily trickle down to filmmakers.

The Northlight 2 and an Arri with a high speed package can scan 2K resolution at about 2-4 fps at their highest quality settings ("double flash" mode in the case of the Arri). The Arri has a faster 6-8 fps "single-flash" mode that has less dynamic range and is suggested by ARRI to be used for dailies only... however I know at least one big shop in LA that to all their DIs in single flash mode to save time.

So... the best film scanner in the world would not only have very good registration but also be very fast... it would also make amazing advancements in the currently somewhat limited (around 2.4) dynamic range achievable on high-end DI scanners ARRI and Northlight... (FYI motion picture negative has around 3.0-3.4 dynamic range depending on the stock). I'm not saying the DI scans from the features we've all seen for the past 10 years are bad... they're obviously not... but they could be better... because there is more information on the film stock that current scanners can't hold. So does such a scanner exist? I'll have to save that for another post.

Anyway... those are my thoughts on all. Hope it wasn't too long-winded.

-Paul
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#18 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 19 October 2010 - 10:32 PM

Paul you're like an x g/f of mine.. just getting me to the point of getting something new then pulling it away ;) Do let us know when you post about that "better/faster" scanner.
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#19 Will Montgomery

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Posted 19 October 2010 - 11:07 PM

Hybrid Datacine machines (Spirit, Millennium, C-Reality) can do both video and data. Pin registered scanners (ARRI, Northlight, Ditto, Imagica etc) only output DPX (no video). The benefit of pin-registered systems is that they are steadier than non-pin registered systems.

So the ARRI and other Pin registered scanners only scan a few frames per second but are steadier than the Spirit? Is that the advantage of such a scanner over the Spirit? It seems like the Spirit being able to do realtime would be a major plus and cost saver unless those scanning machines are much less money to own.

Spirits make use of a pin in the gate though right? Yours is the only Spirit I know of that can see into the sprocket holes for Ultra16 (and another reason you should expect some film from me soon).

Thanks for the education on this.
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#20 Elliot Rudmann

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Posted 19 October 2010 - 11:27 PM

Yes, pin registered will produce more stability throughout, it's the advantage of having a less-than-real-time scan time. A Spirit's real time ability is excellent/efficient for HD dailies but for higher quality work and finishing a film scanner is really the best way to go, as it will produce scans with more sharpness and range (advantage of the arriscan's two-flash system). In terms of cost, I know the Arriscan, even with a 16mm+35mm gate is actually quite a bit cheaper than a Spirit Datacine, and I would guess requires less maintenance as well.
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