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#1 John Young

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 05:50 PM

I recently contacted Cinelicious for a quote on scanning my film.

I LAUGHED when they told me the cost for film to dpx.

The second thing I thought was that I REALLY need to get into this business.

The quote they gave me was 1250/hr and said that for 2 hours of footage it would be basically $5000.

[rant] I really don't care that the machine might cost eighty million in R&D and even more millions to build. Especially when some labs have the ability to scan 65mm at 11k, and I wanted a paltry HD scan. I fully understand that the lab has to pay for the machine somehow, and that someone made up some numbers out of thin air. I'm also sure that someone could come up with a big formula to tell me exactly why the cost is what it is based on the number of perforations in seven miles of film. Maximize profit; YAY capitalism. [/rant]

Ok, now as far as I can tell, with my projected film costs being $1320 (3600' of 16mm x current Kodak list price). Processing at 0.15/ft = $540. One light workprint = $900. Answer Print $306. Release print with optical sound +- $500.

Add all that up = $3600. This could go even lower with short ends.

So, it seems to me that the cheapest way to go is to say: "Hell with the Digital Intermediate" and edit and finish on film.
Now comes the part where someone asks how I get my film on the internet. It's got to be digitized.

The single question in my mind is: Do I spend the extra $5000 (bringing my total to $7000 or so) to go to DVD/Internet and forget all this film business? And remember, I have to buy the film, and then get it processed and THEN pay the $5000 to scan in my 3600'.

Surely there has GOT to be a cheaper way to get quality scan from 16mm. I have hard disks, in just about any format you want.

I can see why many people go the DLSR route. For $7000 I could make Ben Hur on a 7D.... well, probably.

Anyhow, I'm hungry now, so I am going to go eat and await your words of wisdom!

THANKS!
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 06:03 PM

Welcome to the real world -- yes, these are expensive machines. $5000 to scan two-hours of material actually seems really low, I would have guessed more like $30,000, so someone is giving you a bargain. A 4-hour HD telecine supervised session to transfer that material wouldn't be a whole lot cheaper, but perhaps you can get an unsupervised transfer for less.

Sure, you can go the photochemical route, but in the end you still need a digital copy for DVD / internet, and perhaps you'd want that transfer to be 1080P, not 480P.
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#3 K Borowski

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 06:27 PM

Color correction from a timed IP is far less time-consuming, but the quality of a 2nd generation copy is obviously not going to be as good as an original. Projection-contrast prints will appear too contrasty on TV, so you need to make another element if you're striking prints straight from the OCN.


The lab isn't just paying for a machine. They're paying rent, electricity, water, telephone, high speed internet, server (they are dealing with massive file sizes dealing with 2K+ files), sewage, all the costs and expenses of chemistry, control strips, ultrasonic cleaners, oh, and a paltry cost of labor.


The machinery is usually the LEAST expensive part of the equation. It's the trained, skilled human beings that put up with hell, work odd hours, and don't see their families that usually cost the most. But hey, pay no attention to the man behind the curtains.
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#4 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 06:36 PM

You could also shop around to see what else is out there price wise-- an unsupervised transfer to some form of tape would probably be cheaper, then you'd need to rent a deck to capture it all in; Or see if you can get a best light just to prores files @1080p that's my typical route. You can always go back later on and rescan just the good film to DPX if you need to once it's been edited. Sure you're paying for 2 sessions, but you're working on just what you need to work on.
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#5 Paul Korver

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 10:16 PM

I recently contacted Cinelicious for a quote on scanning my film.

I LAUGHED when they told me the cost for film to dpx.

The second thing I thought was that I REALLY need to get into this business.

The quote they gave me was 1250/hr and said that for 2 hours of footage it would be basically $5000.

[rant] I really don't care that the machine might cost eighty million in R&D and even more millions to build. Especially when some labs have the ability to scan 65mm at 11k, and I wanted a paltry HD scan. I fully understand that the lab has to pay for the machine somehow, and that someone made up some numbers out of thin air. I'm also sure that someone could come up with a big formula to tell me exactly why the cost is what it is based on the number of perforations in seven miles of film. Maximize profit; YAY capitalism. [/rant]

Ok, now as far as I can tell, with my projected film costs being $1320 (3600' of 16mm x current Kodak list price). Processing at 0.15/ft = $540. One light workprint = $900. Answer Print $306. Release print with optical sound +- $500.

Add all that up = $3600. This could go even lower with short ends.

So, it seems to me that the cheapest way to go is to say: "Hell with the Digital Intermediate" and edit and finish on film.
Now comes the part where someone asks how I get my film on the internet. It's got to be digitized.

The single question in my mind is: Do I spend the extra $5000 (bringing my total to $7000 or so) to go to DVD/Internet and forget all this film business? And remember, I have to buy the film, and then get it processed and THEN pay the $5000 to scan in my 3600'.

Surely there has GOT to be a cheaper way to get quality scan from 16mm. I have hard disks, in just about any format you want.

I can see why many people go the DLSR route. For $7000 I could make Ben Hur on a 7D.... well, probably.

Anyhow, I'm hungry now, so I am going to go eat and await your words of wisdom!

THANKS!


Hi John,
I read our post coordinator Katie's kind and informative response to your pricing inquiry. If your response was to laugh then rant on a discussion board then I'm not sure you have a realistic understanding of the costs of film scanning. First of all you failed to clarify that the quote was for scanning your film from the most cutting edge film scanner currently available. It wasn't simply "film to DPX" but 4K oversampled to 2K, VFX-qualified (pin-registered) full dynamic range, high-end DI quality scans that you can see on screens in major motion pictures. Many post companies charge by the frame for this quality of scanning. If we were to break it down that way 2 hours of 16mm is 172,800 frames @ $5,000 = less than $.03/frame. Sure you can probably find a non pin-registered modified Oxberry scanner sitting in a garage somewhere that would do it for lower than that (or a Spirit 2K that's sitting around) but our new scanner is the furthest thing from that.

In the future before venting your frustrations in a public forum it would be great if you simply replied to the email and expressed your concerns. We certainly would have recommended a more cost effective path (ie. HD transfer with from our Spirit to 1920x1080 DPX, Uncompressed HD, or HD ProRes 4444). If you would like to explore less expensive options to still achieve a great look for your project please give us a call or an email.

Best,

Paul
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#6 John Sprung

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 11:17 PM

So you're shooting two hours of dailies, how long will the finished show be? Probably the cheapest route would be to have your dailies telecined to SD video with time code and flex files. Then edit in SD, trace back and pay for the really good 4K transfer on the selects only. Also, are you shooting such fine grain film and super sharp lenses that you really need 4K?





-- J.S.
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#7 Benjamin Rowland

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Posted 28 January 2011 - 01:35 PM

The pricing sounds pretty fair to me.

Paul, what kind of scanner are you using? Also, congrats on landing the Norman Seeff library restoration.

all the best,
Ben Rowland
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Opal

rebotnix Technologies

Willys Widgets

Paralinx LLC

Technodolly

Glidecam

Rig Wheels Passport

Aerial Filmworks

Metropolis Post

Broadcast Solutions Inc

The Slider

Abel Cine

Ritter Battery

Tai Audio

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

CineTape