from which I can create DVD copies to submit to festivals and such? is that right?
Edited by Fhj Ais, 30 March 2011 - 04:07 PM.
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Am I understanding this correctly? 16mm workflow
18 replies to this topic
Posted 30 March 2011 - 04:07 PM
expose 16mm > process > prep for telecine > telecine to digital format like miniDV > transfer digital format to NLE
from which I can create DVD copies to submit to festivals and such? is that right?
Edited by Fhj Ais, 30 March 2011 - 04:07 PM.
Posted 30 March 2011 - 04:40 PM
Correct, but generally the DV you get is just for the edit, you'd then finish you edit, go back in and rescan the film in higher quality, do color corrections ect, and get it to a high quality digital format put in FXs/titles ect and then export for DVD/BluRay/D-Cinema/Back to Film.
Posted 30 March 2011 - 07:13 PM
could you explain this a bit more? you lose me at 'go back in and rescan the film'. sorry I am still learning.
Posted 30 March 2011 - 07:52 PM
When you just get it put onto DV they'll generally just make it look "ok," which means you'll have problems with matching, and in the end the film will look nowhere near as good as it could and should. But, that's ok, this DV or whatever the format is is just for the editorial and it doesn't matter how it looks. Later on, you'll create an EDL which will list what you did in your editing program as well as the time-codes for edits. These time-codes are linked to the film through something called a Flex-File so the timecode and the film correspond. With that EDL they re-scan the film, this time in much higher quality than DV to a digital format, generally a .dpx file. These files are then fed into a color correction machine, and with you in a room, you and a colorist make sure your shots match and clean things up. It's basically doing something called a Digital Intermediate, but it's the de-factor way now a days to work with film. While this is more costly, in the end it gets the best images possible.
If you're on a budget, you should be trying to get your film as 1080p ProRes files, either 422 HQ or, if you can find it 4444 as a "flat scan." this will preserve as much information on the film as possible and can be cut in most NLEs and will allow you to do your own color correction. It won't really be as good as working with a skilled colorist or off of a .dpx file, but it'll be a lot better than dv.
Posted 31 March 2011 - 08:54 AM
The prep for telecine is generally handled by the lab after processing...just tell them to do that.
Adrian is right, you generally want to do a "one-light" transfer in SD to keep costs down first, then when you've edited and determined exactly which footage you need go back and do an HD scan with a good colorist of just the parts you need. You can get into timecode if you're doing a major project but if you're just exploring film that isn't quite as important.
Main thing is to get out there and shoot some film so you understand the process. Borrow or rent a camera and shoot like 400' of film in different lighting conditions so you can start to get a feel for how light sticks to film. It's magical and helps you develop your planing and design skills because it's not as easy as picking up a camera and pressing record.
Spend an hour with a good colorist (the guy that adjusts the color during your film to video transfer) and it would be worth a week of film school classes.
Posted 21 April 2011 - 03:12 AM
You probably won't learn anything useful from a Colorist, and you would be paying a lot of money to learn it. I suggest walking into a facility, and asking them for a tour. Not even 8-12 hours with a colorist would be enough time to teach you the things they know. I just came off a show with a really easy work flow, but the post house went out of business right after I completed.
But here's a work flow that worked for me, and was very cost-effective. Your footage starts with shooting. Use Vision2 or Vision3 stocks with good lenses. Then film developing which is a small cost in comparison. You should let the lab's telecine scheduler do the transfers for you. Or you need to find a good post house that offers good footage for a reasonable price (150/hr - $400/hr). You can also try Colorlab.com. You can either scan to file or layback to tape. I personally prefer tape (so I have a backup), but it depends on money. If you go to tape, you have to get it onto the computer. So usually datacine saves time and is worth the extra price in the end. But if you do tape, you either need to rent a deck from a place like digdif.com or you have to hire an editing bay with the appropriate hardware/deck. Telecine and Digitizing can be super expensive, so be careful on pricing... Telecine should not cost more than $400/hr, but high end facilities can charge up to $800-1,200/hr. I recently paid $175/hr for S16mm to HD-1080 onto HDCAM with award-winning results. That same facility only charged me $100 to transfer each hour of footage to a ProRes422 file. For that same job, Cinelicious.tv quoted me $1200/hr for a 2k DaVinci transfer. This is the highest I have ever seen, and I don't believe anyone should pay this much for telecine when you have Dalsa 4K out there. So I figured they were either way overpriced, or they were trying to take me for a loop.
In my opinion, if you are new and shooting regular 16mm, don't bother with high-end telecine facilities or dealing with tape. Have your lab do datacine in-house, unsupervised. Film is not video, so it will be a much more expensive toy to play with. I prefer transfers using the old standard-- Spirit 2K, with high saturation, high contrast, and a solid balance of exposure (sometimes on the lighter, and sometimes on the darker side).
To make your footage look better, you can color correct in the computer yourself or have an indie guy do it. You can buy plug-ins to reduce noise and grain in the edit bay, so don't waste money on high end DVNR (DV noise reducing) bays. I recently used a denoiser in CS5 and the results with S16mm were really impressive. http://www.revisionf...oducts/denoise/
Posted 21 April 2011 - 11:09 AM
You won't learn to be a colorist but they will be able to tell you the exposure issues with your shots from their perspective which will help you shoot better technically (sometimes artistically too.)
Posted 21 April 2011 - 04:29 PM
I think it all depends on how much money you have to spend. The folks here are at all different levels and budgets. I for one am a Zero-budget filmmaker. Which basically means I have no budget but I fund my film making with money I should not be spending for film making i.e. food, car, gas, mortgage money etc... Folks with large budgets can sit down with a colorist and pay to have them listens to your needs.
But all I want is to have what I shot transferred at the highest quality I can afford. If it's under or over exposed I need to see it so I can learn from it. "Give me what I shot".
Places like Cinelicious, which do great work I might add, are the "Abbey Road" of film transfer. They are not setup for an experimenter like me who shoots a couple hundred feet. So you end up paying for 20 minutes transfer time(one hour studio time) to transfer 5 minutes of film.
People with budgets and larger projects don't have a problem with this, it's us little people who are having the hard time and succumb to the idea of shooting with a DSLR. I'm still loading film when I can. I suggest, shop around and find the best bang for your buck. Best of luck to you!
Edited by Herbie Pabst, 21 April 2011 - 04:31 PM.
Posted 22 April 2011 - 12:17 PM
A couple of comments from the peanut gallery. Todd... That's crazy you got a $1,200/hr quote from Cinelicious for a DaVinci 2K / Spirit HD transfer and you were definitely misquoted. Do you remember who you spoke or emailed with? $1,200/hr is our commercial ratecard for HD telecine and we do get that much for high-end commercial finishing sessions which are a dog-and-pony show attended by 6-12 clients and agency creatives as it takes a small army to operate our facility at the level of service they're accustomed to. We have a much more competitive rate for indy filmmakers that don't require all the client service bells and whistles. While I wouldn't consider us the "Abbey Road of film transfer" I do thank Herbie for the compliment as we are a true boutique shop offering an inspired environment, cutting edge equipment, and talented artists. We do not compete on price and definitely aren't the shop to go to if you're main goal is the lowest price possible or if you have less than 10 minutes of film as we do have an hour-minimum. However if you have a project that would benefit from great service, talent, and incredible equipment at a reasonable rate then it would be worth looking in to our services.
Posted 28 April 2011 - 02:05 AM
Some of this has been said already, but I figured I'd way in a bit here with some of my experiences. There are many options, so I will try to categorize them a bit.
It starts with major options, you have 4 (well 2 really these days):
#1 Traditional 16mm->35mm blow-up:
Not done very often at all these days, doesn't afford you the colour-control of a DI and is very hard to find. It requires creating a cut-list from video dailies which are then used to cut the negative, before being enlarged.
#2 Traditional 2k DI
The most quality you can get in a DI. Each frame of the film is scanned as an image file and stored on a hard drive array. This method has better resolution and colour-depth than an HD-DI, but is usually quite a bit more expensive. This process requires that you transfer the film to a video tape format first which you then create and EDL and list of select cuts from so that only the frames that are used in your final film will be scanned with the expensive 2k scanner. Then the scanned frames are taken into a non-linear DI suite and colour corrected. This is the best option for 35mm prints, but again it's also the most expensive.
#3 HD Telecine (often called and HD-DI these days)
This is an economical alternative to a 2k DI. You colour the film in a telecine suite rather than a DI suite (a little bit different) while it is being transferred from the negative to high-definition tape. This is often done as selects from a previous standard definition transfer. However that is more common with features, and with shorts the house will often transfer everything directly to HD tape the first time because it is cheaper and easier than doing two transfers. This is starting to happen with more and more features as well. This is really the best option if you are only going to HD tape in the end and not doing a film print. It can and often is used for film prints as well, and although HD-DI film prints can look very good they are not quite the quality of a true 2k DI.
Note: You will be transferring to 1 of 3 tape formats: HD-D5 (rare these days), HDCAM SR, or HDCAM. HD-D5 and HDCAM SR are suitable for making film prints from. Plain HDCAM is a compromise in quality, but can be used in a pinch. However in practice NOT with 16mm. HDCAM has a relatively high amount of compression that seriously emphasizes the grain in 16mm, making it look much noisier than it actually is, so the 16mm/HDCAM combination is rarely used as a master (it is used as an exhibition format though).
#4 Standard-definition telecine
Exact same thing as an HD-DI just to standard-definition tape (almost always Digital Betacam). Not really a great option as a final product. Most festivals these days want HD so having your film in only SD is not really the best idea unless you absolutely can't afford anything else. This process is usually used for dailies on features, but few things are finished SD-only these days.
Realistically the average indie short shot on 16 or 35mm gets finished as option #3, an HD-DI. Often there are no SD dailies. You just send the film to the lab/transfer house and get see your footage for the first time as you colour-correct it to HDCAM SR. You then get the tapes captured to HD Quicktimes which you edit in Final Cut Pro. The sound is then sent to the sound editor, who sends back stems, the final piece may get a minor colour 'touch-up' in an NLE then it's married with the audio stems and send back out to tape. Usually an HDCAM SR master for safe keeping and then either to a 35mm film print (if there is the budget) or to plain HDCAM as an exhibition format.
Large festivals might only accept 35mm prints, D-Cinema or HDCAM tapes. Smaller festivals (and some large festivals for their shorts programme only) will accept Digital-Betacam. Even smaller festivals may accept Beta SP, DV, or DVD. But keep in mind: anything not HD will look very, very soft when blown up to a big screen. And anything but high-end professionally-authored DVDs will look really crummy.
More and more festivals accept Blu-ray as an exhibition format. But you run into the same problem you do with DVD: anything "cheap" looks terrible. Although HDCAM may be a bit more expensive than a cheapo Blu-ray it will be of decent quality and much cheaper than a good looking Blu-ray.
I tried to simplify the options as much as possible, so if you didn't find the above info clear, you should consider getting yourself a good post-production supervisor. They will be there to walk you through these options and handle the technical side of things when dealing with the lab. In fact, even if you do understand this stuff they are still valuable because they often have worked with the labs in town before and know what the best deals and options are.
Hope this helped.
Posted 28 April 2011 - 09:48 PM
You know I love you and it's very cool that you took all the time to write all that out... but those workflows are a bit dated. Not one of them mentions the word "tapeless". Or "ProRes" or Avid "DNxHD" for dailies deliverables (which is almost becoming the norm). Nor does it mention the fact that it's basically very hard and very expensive to get HDCAM-SR stock since the only factories were demolished in the recent disaster in Japan. Por Fhj (Or Ais?) Don't want him or her to get stuck in the early 2000s.
Posted 28 April 2011 - 10:57 PM
I would LOVE if they were dated. For higher-end clients that's true, but not for the indie world. Places like Technicolor or Deluxe offer tapeless dailies, and have for quite a while, but charge a premium for it and don't offer it to indie filmmakers. There seems to be some dragging of the heals to offer tapeless HD-DIs because well, after all if you can afford tapeless then chances are you're going 2k anyway so there really isn't a lot of point in a tapeless HD-DI.
I remember pushing to just get the VFX shots tapeless for an HD-DI project I worked on years ago. I knew they had a hard-drive based recorder that recorded in DPX files that they often used as an intermediate step between telecine and tape anyway, and I asked for the DPX files to simply be copied to an external hard-drive instead of going out to tape and then being recaptured back to drive somewhere else and I got puzzled looks like I was asking for something ridiculous. No tape? What do you mean?
For you guys I'm sure it's tapeless everything at this point. But when you call Technicolor or Deluxe, and others and try and quote an indie film's DI you still get offered tapes as the only affordable option. It happened to me a week ago. They assured me that they could do it despite the HDCAM SR shortage (which I pressed all of them about). Hopefully that will push them into going tapeless, but it seems not yet, at least not for indie productions.
The reality is for a lot of shorts dailies and final transfer are the same thing. And that transfer almost always ends up as Uncompressed QTs, DNxHD, and more often ProRes, but it gets there from a tape. It seems like an unnecessary step to me, but it's still what goes on.
I totally respect what you guys do, and you guys are definitely keeping on the edge as far as using the most up-to-date workflows but tape-based HD is still what most indie filmmakers are being offered. You seemed to imply yourself that you guys were a bit above what most indie productions could afford. When what indie filmmakers are being offered catches up to the kind of workflows you guys use now it will be a good day, but as of a week ago anyway it doesn't seem to have happened yet.
And don't even get me started about tapeless exhibition! For the big productions D-Cinema is a no-brainer. But when a D-Cinema package costs about 3/4 or more of the price of a 35mm print, HDCAM is the only real "cost effective" options for most indie shorts.
I was trying to give advice tuned to what Fhj Ais probably has available to him when making an indie short. That's all.
Posted 28 April 2011 - 11:04 PM
And while we're on the subject of tapeless. Do you know how many masters for both DVD and Blu-ray projects still get sent to me on tape? Tapeless is so much easier but it seems so many still like their tape.
Edited by Adam Hunt, 28 April 2011 - 11:04 PM.
Posted 29 April 2011 - 10:34 AM
Good points but really those guys are just trying to find a way to keep charging for their SR decks is all. And by the way we do a lot of indie DI's... there's case study on our site about a straight to ProRes 444 DI workflow. We just finished a full length indie feature that was a short at Sundance last year that was S16mm straight to Avid DNxHD for dailies and we're doing a the 2K selects scanning from the EDL on the Scanity next month. And we have another indie DI for some very talented recent USC grads that we start the ProRes dailies on next month as well. Indie films are alive and well at Cinelicious ... and they're always 100% tapeless... unless for some reason the client wanted/needed tape.
Posted 29 April 2011 - 12:22 PM
Tape is almost dead.... Tape will be dead and gone long before film will.
Posted 29 April 2011 - 08:28 PM
Specially when the industry has apparently been relying on ONE factory in an earthquake zone.
Posted 30 April 2011 - 01:37 AM
Well that's good to hear. I wish you guys had a branch here in Toronto.
Posted 02 May 2011 - 10:53 AM
So you're ready to let that Spirit go for cheap right?
Love your work, keep film alive.