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I've got seven rolls of Super8 to transfer (in HD)


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#1 Matt Stevens

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Posted 21 October 2011 - 10:35 AM

This weekend I am shooting super8 at a wedding. I have five rolls of Tri-X Reversal and one roll of Ektachrome 100D. I also have my straight8 2011 entry, which is Tri-X reversal I want xfered so I might as well do it at the same time. Everything is shot 18fps.

So I cannot afford places like Cinelicious or Lightpress (both do outstanding work) simply because it is NOT in the budget of the bride and groom. I can't even meet the minimum prices most want.

There are plenty of places that do 3CCD capture and that is what will likely have to happen here.

But look, maybe someone can help. Who knows, right? So here I am, putting it out there.

Their budget is $130 and not a penny more (and that includes an extra $30 on my part for my own straight8 roll). That is what they have and I can get it done locally, but it's 1080i and not 10809. :( 1080p would be better.

That budget must include shipping back to Jersey City, NJ (07307). I'd provide you a hard drive to place the footage on.

I'll have the footage back from the lab Tuesday morning and can mail Priority same day, so it would arrive the 27th. I'd need it back by November 7.

Just to be clear...

Six rolls of B&W Kodak Tri-X reversal
One roll of Kodak Ektachrome 100D color reversal
I provide the hard drive
I need HD at 1080p in the 1.33:1 aspect ratio.
Uncompressed QuickTime is great. ProRes, not so much. I have a PC. I do not have a MAC!
I use Adobe CS5 to edit.
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#2 Will Montgomery

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Posted 24 October 2011 - 04:34 PM

I like this bidding idea... maybe there's a new site idea here... kind of like Priceline but for telecine.

I'm not knocking you Matt at all, I totally get it and why not ask since we're all among friends.

But the race to the bottom is really hurting our industry. Companies like HP have sites where you basically bid on video projects and the company goes with the lowest bidder almost all the time. Almost no regard for their ability or portfolio... just the lowest bidder. Projects where they would spend $100k they now get done by some guy in their basement for $10k. OR companies with tons of employees, rent & equipment have to start bottom feeding and wind up laying people off. Sometimes it shows, sometimes it doesn't. It really happens in the color business where those guys are usually the last people at the trough.
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#3 Matt Stevens

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Posted 24 October 2011 - 06:50 PM

What can I do? They want the cheapest possible option and have a small small budget.

For MY stuff, I contacted the companies and spoke with them, got prices and made my decision and for my next short, will likely return to the gents who did the work, Lightpress. They were very good and extremely helpful.

The reason I posted here about this particular job is that after contacting a few places and receiving either no response at all, or very sloooow responses, I figured I had to ask.

But, having received no responses at all, I am going to go local and do it at Duall in NYC. It is NOT the option I want, no offense to them. But it is what it is and so 1080i capture via 3CCD camcorder is what I am going to do.
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#4 Will Montgomery

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 08:57 AM

Check out these guys... they have modified Rank telecine machines that give a decent SD output for $20 per 50' reel to hard drive or HD for $25 per reel. I've used them before and been very happy; I had them scan a ton of Regular 8mm film for me. There are better colorists out there but it would be hard to beat these guys for the price.

http://www.mymovietransfer.com/

I think since you are doing tri-x for a wedding, you may actually do just fine with an SD transfer and simply up-res in Final Cut or whatever you're editing with. Shoot HD for the majority of the wedding then intercut with up-resed try-x and you'll be golden. It will soften it a little which may actually help the look. Especially if you were going to pillar box for the film anyway.
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#5 Matt Stevens

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 01:46 PM

Cool, I have always wanted to try them.

Just a while ago I mailed my film to filmaker8.com on the recommendation of a few people. Price will end up being about the same, maybe a tad less. I think they will give me what I need to please my client.

Reversal stock is cool, but man oh man, shooting with 200t or 500t gives you SO MUCH more breathing room and options. What a shame it's big big bucks to transfer it.
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#6 Will Montgomery

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Posted 26 October 2011 - 10:42 AM

Reversal stock is cool, but man oh man, shooting with 200t or 500t gives you SO MUCH more breathing room and options. What a shame it's big big bucks to transfer it.

It would be the same from mymovietransfer.com since they are using Rank Cintel machines either way.
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#7 Matt Stevens

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Posted 26 October 2011 - 09:47 PM

Well, I contacted them and they got back to me, but I asked them some questions and they have not responded. I think I know why.

Combing through their website, it look like to get your footage you have to buy a hard drive. At TWICE retail.

You can send them one, but they charge $100 to load the data. Sorry, but that is absolutely ludicrous, especially if it's for half a few reels of super8. If you have a 3,000 feet, okay, I can see that. But three rolls/50 feet?

That really makes them a no-can-do. I'd love to try them, but that alone makes them more expensive than pretty much everybody out there.

It's the outrageous cost of transferring super8 that keeps pushing me to buy a DSLR camera, something I'm loath to do. Rolling shutter sucks. Handheld royally sucks. But nobody I talk to who wants me for to shoot is willing to pay for super8 when DSLR is "much cleaner" and is a fraction of the cost. :(

I love the format and will try and do a few more shorts with it and one large project, but then it will be digital and no looking back. And that just sucks.
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#8 Will Montgomery

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Posted 27 October 2011 - 09:37 AM

Too bad, I don't remember the part about the fee if you use your own drive but since they are so inexpensive I guess it makes sense; it still takes time and machines to copy files around and capture. If you are paying $300+/hour for telecine it's easier to wave those costs rather than the $150 or so they seem to be charging.
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#9 Paul Korver

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Posted 28 October 2011 - 01:36 AM

HI Matt,
I've noticed you complaining about prices a lot. There's no problem with that of course... but just a suggestion that if there was a way that you can up-sell the value of film to your clients then they might happily pay for it. At Cinelicious we have a lot of clients that get paid great money to shoot weddings on film... some are shooting 100% film and charging in the 5-figures... others are shooting a mix. There are definitely clients out there that can afford and appreciate film. At Paper Tape Films which is fairly mid-range prices are set at around $500/roll for SD and $600/roll for HD (that's shot, transferred and edited). Paper Tape Films did about 30 weddings last year in various cities across the US at an average budget of around $7K per wedding (and shot an average of 15 rolls per wedding). Do the math. There's money to be made shooting film when you put out a quality product (which judging by the work you've shown I'm sure you're more than capable of), learn how to sell the idea of film to clients, and finding the right clientele.

Will really makes a good point about the state of the industry. It's tough to support the high cost of high end equipment. Even with the cost of some telecine gear coming down the manufacturers still charge crazy money when something breaks. We recently paid $20K for when one board died on our Spirit... and that was a used part swap price.

Food for thought.

Best,

Paul
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#10 Geoff Howell

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Posted 29 October 2011 - 08:36 AM

With regards to 'my movie transfer', I'm just thinking out loud here, but assuming that you are going to be shooting weddings on a semi regular basis; what if you were to pay for one of their over priced hard-drives and then the next time you require their services return that very same drive to them to use for the transfer.

The rationale being that they surly can't charge you $100 to prep a drive that they have already prepped on your previous transfer.

after a couple of jobs you would have more than covered the initial cost of the drive and it's also good for 'my movie transfer' as it will encourage return costumers.

You could also look at pushing the 100D to 200asa (or possibly even higher!) and find somewhere with a cheap projector/hd camera set-up. As far as weddings are concerned I suspect what what the client is ultimately after is a slightly grungy retro home movie look (the opening credits from The Wonder Years!) which a slightly more DIY telecine will help enhance. (although I fully admit I know absolutely nothing about filming weddings!)
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#11 Matt Stevens

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Posted 29 October 2011 - 01:38 PM

Guys, the cost to transfer is far more than the cost to purchase the film or develop. It's a problem. And it is like pulling teeth to get anyone to pay for it. No one wants to shoot film because of it, so it is insanely frustrating. DSLR DSLR DSLR, it's all I hear. Well, fricking DSLR footage looks like stinking jello when you move the camera so I hate it. :(

Now, I paid good money for the 1080p transfer of my super8 stuff on the short film Miscommunications and I didn't complain about it. I publicly praised Lightpress for their work. And I have complimented Cinelicious numerous times. They are awesome and I badly want to work with them too. Their works speaks for itself. Right now I am planning a low budget feature and am hell bent with leather to shoot some of it on Super8.

And there is the distinct possibility of shooting a wedding with some cinematic elements for the friends of my wife's girlfriend and believe me, they have serious money. I already laid it down... We shoot digital AND super8 AND we put the cost for transferring 200t negative stock properly in the budget or I ain't doing it. We'll see if they balk. If they do they are nuts because they are willing to pay for a real steadicam operator.

My problem this time are the hidden fees with the lower cost services. You see a price, then read the fine print and find it will cost MUCH much more. That hurts when you shoot just two or three rolls.' You need to shoot a dozen to justify the costs and many small projects don't require that much film being used.

My movie transfer' would be doable in the long term. Say three different jobs and that up front cost will be dissipated. I exchanged some emails with them and they seem like good guys.

Because of costs and time issues I went with filmmaker8.com and part of the reason why was the recommendation of someone who says they are professional and care about what they do.

Just this morning I talked to some people who loved my Super8 shorts and they wanted to bring me on to direct this little project and shoot it super8. "You have the camera and the eye, so that will save our budget", blah blah blah.

When I broke down the costs of film, development and then the transfer costs, that was that. Busted. They are going to shoot with a Canon T2i and make it look the way they want in post. :rolleyes:
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#12 Will Montgomery

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Posted 31 October 2011 - 09:54 AM

You're totally doing the right thing for that client.

The trick is to find clients that understand and appreciate the value of film especially for an occasion like a wedding. Sometimes that means finding churches in higher-end neighborhoods and sponsoring an event there or setting up a booth at a local wedding show where you can show off what film can look like. Maybe setup a 16mm projector and show some actual film footage projected (that always is a winner) and a big LCD with transferred footage; maybe even do a side by side comparison.

Basically you want the client to come to you for film vs. trying to sell the client on film after the fact. Maybe create a video that pushes the nostalgic elements of Super 8 (or 16mm) by showing some archive film footage vs. a modern DV wedding then show that DV wedding if it were shot on real film. There are plenty of father's of the bride out there that will get it, especially ones with money. Then as Paul is saying you can charge much more because they are coming to you for something special.

DSLR is here to stay for a while so the bulk of the shoot will probably still be that but you can certainly slip some film in.

Another thing I like to do is to hand out cheap Autofocus Super 8 cameras (like the Canon AF314xl) with one roll of Ektachrome 100D film to people in the bridal party. Then have them shoot throughout the day and then process and transfer to SD with Dwayne's photo. Then take that transfer and cut in some of the random, out of focus shots for effect. You can simply up-res those to HD and be fine since the lenses (and format) are so soft anyway. Save the good transfers for well shot film on a good camera (or larger budget productions.)

At Dwayne's:

$17 (film)
$12 (processing)
$12 (SD film chain transfer)
$10 Misc. mailing

$51 for the first roll, ~ $45 for each additional roll since telecine is $5 per roll after the first one
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#13 Matt Stevens

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Posted 31 October 2011 - 10:39 AM

All good food for thought.

I'm happy that over the weekend another short film I was going to be a part of is going to mix format. DSLR plus Super8 for dream sequences. They are willing to to spend the extra money because they get what the medium can do. The DP also understands that the dream sequences require the camera to move and he wants to avoid the jello effect.

They will use my Nikon R10 with Tri-X.

The next wedding I do it would be great if I could find someone who is a guest to hand a Canon 310XL to, but only if they understood what it is they need to do. I could even ask some of my buds who shoot super8 here and there to come along and just shoot for fun.

Gotta think outside the box.
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#14 Will Montgomery

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Posted 31 October 2011 - 10:57 AM

Here's an example of how you can cut together shots from a 5 year old and kinda make it work...


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#15 Matt Stevens

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 09:28 AM

Will, I saw that one before. It's very cool.

I gave my wife a Canon 310XL one day to shoot some footage.

:o

Never again. Like you, I wonder how an auto focus camera can be completely out of focus.
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#16 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 10:50 AM

Just some food for thought...

Develop Tri-X 8mm at Cinelab $15.00

Transfer to HD at 1080P Pro-ResHQ Minimum $125.00 which is about 400' worth best Light @ 0.32/ft.

This is scaled on our Y-Front... now I know it is easy to dismiss it because you think it is "just" scaled up but the machine has excellent picture qualities. I tested the Flash-Scan and the scaled Y-Front looks better IMO and it has produced work for a number of high profile clients like the Chanel spots by Scorsese..

Cheaper "HD" transfer machines use economy sensors which are either noisy or don't have allot of dynamic range, good sensors (Color) which have big enough photosites and decent enough resolution start at around $6K just for the camera. A good Monochrome (for real RGB ) at 4K resolution is around $20K.

Inexpensive transfer has compromises and I think we have priced the Y-Front option as reasonably as possible as it is relatively expensive to maintain I have had very few people think it was not good enough for what it is.

-Rob-
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#17 Matt Stevens

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Posted 02 November 2011 - 06:36 AM

Rob, it is something I might try at one point. It depends on the project.

The biggest hurdle for doing anything experimental is the cost of the telecine, which is why I am thinking of investing in a nice projector so I can shoot Tri-X and color reversal when I want to test something or just mess around. I actually have about four rolls of film undeveloped for over a year because of the costs that will be associated with getting them developed and transferred. They were just things I shot of random stuff. I decided that when I reach ten rolls of mess-abouts, I'll pay the piper. B)
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#18 Freya Black

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Posted 03 November 2011 - 04:38 PM

This weekend I am shooting super8 at a wedding. I have five rolls of Tri-X Reversal and one roll of Ektachrome 100D. I also have my straight8 2011


Wish I had seen this b4 but unless they changed the rules, I was under the impression that the straight8 film had to go back to straight8 to be processed and transfered. To stop any cheating!

Certainly in the past, they were supposed to do it not you.

love

Freya
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#19 Matt Stevens

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 09:05 AM

Freya, you get the straight8 roll back if you ask for it and can have it. I want mine transferred in High Def. Straight8 provides PAL and their transfers are absolutely very nicely done. But I really do want an HD transfer.

That being said, I never did send the straight8 roll in. I did the wedding rolls with filmmaker8 and they did a good job considering what I gave them (easily my worst 8mm photography ever as I was so pressed for time).
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