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HD telecine or SD with keycode and scan later?


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#1 Brian Rose

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 10:49 AM

I'm slowly moving forward on a new doc project...one of those multi-year endeavors that gets shot as time and money allows. It's a biopic, covering roughly five or six decades, and I want to shoot different stocks/formats as time period dictates...16mm black and white for the 50s and 60s, super 8 for the 70s, beta for 80s, and so on.

I'm considering my post workflow with regards to the 16mm. Work will be digital naturally. I'm torn between the cost benefit of getting it all transferred in HD 1080 telecine from the get go, which will be what I carry all the way to the final piece, or getting an SD transfer with a keycode for editing, then when I've got a picture lock, getting only the chosen bits transferred in either HD 1080p, or 2K scan.

Trick is I haven't worked out how much 16mm I'll be shooting...it is kind of up to where the story goes...it'll be a healthy amount, since the bulk of the story's action is in the 60s. And as I shoot more film, it would seem that then the costs benefit of editing SD, then getting only the chosen bits in HD makes more sense. But if it is less, then would it make sense to get it all in HD 1080p? And what about 2K? Is it really worth the added cost over 1080p, given I won't be finishing to film or making a DI?

What do you all think?

Best,

BR
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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 11:11 AM

Brian; were it me, for a Doc, i'd go the SD Keycode route. You will be shooting a lot of stuff, most of which will probably hit the cutting room floor; hence no need to HD all of it, and I think the up-front savings will be beneficial to allow you to shoot more. Once you have an edit in SD you can always look for grants/financing for the final scan, but still show on DVD ect to potential investors distributors and the like.

But, and here's the caveat, if you think some of the footage you shoot might be worth-while as stock footage, or useable for other projects, then you might as well get the whole thing done flat in HD (which is about the same as 2K in terms of resolution; so let's just lump them together).

Another consideration is that by going SD you'll be able to keep your project on tape -v- having a lot of HD footage across multiple hard drives. This will save you a lot of stress over drive failures while you edit, which, let's face it, can take a considerable amount of time.

Now that's just me and my 2 cents, if you can get a good deal on the HD and it's not much more than SD, certainly go that route. or if you're noticing you're not rolling as much as you thought; well then again HD starts to make a lof more sense as you wisely mention.
Good luck
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#3 Brian Rose

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 11:29 AM

Adrian, that's makes a ton of good sense.

The footage I don't forsee being useful as stock footage, not now at least. One day all my material will be donated to the public domain, but until then, I don't see licensing it out. 16mm black and white probably won't drive much interest anyways.

And I wont' be shooting TONS of film. Budget won't allow, sad to say. The interviews will be high def, but the b-roll and reenactments will be film, where applicable. So it's a documentary, but it'll be planned and storyboarded to the same extent as a narrative feature.

I even want to shoot the still photos on film, and do all my moves in camera like Ken Burns used to do. It makes the photos breath with grain, and there is a subtle bob and weave even when the shot is static.

This film will be all about getting away from the digital suite, and back to doing stuff in camera.

BR
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#4 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 11:43 AM

Brian you are the vanguard of a glorious past ;) and I respect you for that immensely. It's always great to work as much in cameras as possible.
That being the case, I'd go flat scan prores 4444 1080P if you can afford it and grade later on.
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#5 Brian Rose

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 11:56 AM

Brian you are the vanguard of a glorious past ;) and I respect you for that immensely. It's always great to work as much in cameras as possible.
That being the case, I'd go flat scan prores 4444 1080P if you can afford it and grade later on.


Well as you aptly pointed out, it does make more fiscal sense to save on the front end, and use the rough cut to fundraise for the finish. And it gives me time to figure out whether I want to keep my full frame 4x3 original, or crop and zoom to 16x9. I really hope for this film to have a distribution model lined up, so hopefully I can bypass the **(obscenity removed)** festival circuit, or at least, get in past the twits that masquerade as judges! ;)
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