Jump to content


Photo

Low Budget 35mm Workflow


  • Please log in to reply
24 replies to this topic

#1 John Jaquish

John Jaquish
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 91 posts
  • Other

Posted 14 October 2012 - 08:23 PM

Hello,

I'm planning on shooting a short film on 35mm (spherical, 1.85) and wanted to check on a few things, keeping in mind changing costs of film, telecine, DIs and release formats.

I've shot a lot on Super 16 before, and have always gotten an HD telecine and was happy with that (have never had a blow up to 35 done). I have shot a few segments on 35mm for a project that was shot predominantly on S16 and had it HD-telecined with the rest of the footage. So, I've never shot a whole project on 35 before. This will be somewhat of a test of the workflow before tackling a larger project and I'd like to consider all options. That said, this will be a project that will stand alone and that I'd like to submit to film festivals.

Being that there's no distribution in place, I'd like to test the waters but be realistic about release options. I suppose the simplest choice would be to get an HD telecine on the footage, edit that, and have that be my final format.

Although, if I did want this to be screened in the theater, I'd like to consider larger release formats (especially if I want to see this through post-production looking ahead to a larger project). From my understanding, my options would be as follows:

1. Figure on releasing in HD. Shoot 35, have it processed and telecined and that's it. (In this case, would it make more sense to shoot 3-perf? Also, would I be sacrificing the whole point of shooting a larger format in this case? I suppose grain, rather than resolution, would be more of a consideration here.)

2. Shoot for a (2K) digital intermediate, with option for a film-out to a 35mm print. (Again, I suppose it would make more sense to shoot 3-perf here. Now, what I am a little unsure about is, what would make the most sense as a format for the edit? Would I get an SD or HD telecine? My understanding is that the price for an HD telecine is not that drastically more expensive than SD. And after having an EDL, the keycode would be matched and the negative cut and that would be scanned as a DI? Or, is it possible to start with a DI to edit? I don't suppose getting the whole camera negative would make much sense as far as cost. But is it ever common practice to scan certain takes like they would print certain takes for a work print? Finally, what would I submit to festivals, say if I had a 2K edit, but not yet a film-out? Are most festivals accepting only either HD (1080) or film prints? So, I would downconvert to HD anyway, making the 2K DI meaningless, being only an option as a possible film-out later on?)

3. Shoot with a film print in mind directly from the camera negative. (Now, in this case, it would make more sense to shoot 4-perf, since I'd be making a contact print, is that right? So I would have the negative telecined, edit that, have the negative cut, make dupe prints and then a release print from that?)

I guess it's difficult to make recommendations on any path with a project like this without knowing the available budget/detailed release plans, but I'd like to sort of get a survey and confirm possible options. If I were to shoot a larger project, I'm trying to decide whether to plan on shooting 3-perf and keep it digital in post, or to shoot 4-perf with plans to get a print.

The main point I'm confused about is on the DI (say, 2K), if this is typically done on the whole camera negative, if it can be done on certain takes, or if it's usually done on a cut negative. And the typical costs for a 2K scan vs. an HD telecine. And what most festivals are projecting (HD? 2K? 4K?)

Finally, if I want to shoot on black and white, are there any other considerations to make (I know B&W prints are considerably more expensive than color, but are there any considerations to make as far as a scan/telecine of B&W?)

I know I have many questions here, and if any one would be able to provide some insight, I would be greatly appreciative.

- John
  • 0

#2 Chris Burke

Chris Burke
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1675 posts
  • Boston, MA

Posted 14 October 2012 - 09:13 PM

I would pick option number two
  • 0

#3 John Jaquish

John Jaquish
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 91 posts
  • Other

Posted 14 October 2012 - 11:18 PM

I would pick option number two


Seems reasonable.

To simplify things (slightly), what is the usual practice for a low budget 2K DI? Would I have a telecine of the camera negative, edit, get an EDL, conform and cut the negative and have the cut negative scanned? Or would I get an IP and have that scanned? Alternately, does anyone ever get select takes scanned, as they would print certain takes when editing film, and then edit the DI?

Thanks again.
  • 0

#4 Will Montgomery

Will Montgomery
  • Sustaining Members
  • 2031 posts
  • Producer
  • Dallas, TX

Posted 15 October 2012 - 09:10 AM

Honestly in today's environment, unless you know a great film cutter, I would do option 2 with a slight change.

I would have your film telecined at low-res, cut with that then go back and do a good 2K at a supervised session with a colorist on only the parts you need. Then do that film out. This assuming that you mean like 5-10 minutes when you say short film. You will need to talk to someone for a while about how to prep your film for the film out, don't just send a quicktime file and hope for the best.

Check out these guys when you're ready. They were completely unknown to me until last month and have done great work for a very reasonable price, They can do film outs for less money that I've ever seen.

Video Film Solutions
  • 0

#5 John Jaquish

John Jaquish
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 91 posts
  • Other

Posted 15 October 2012 - 10:05 AM

Honestly in today's environment, unless you know a great film cutter, I would do option 2 with a slight change.

I would have your film telecined at low-res, cut with that then go back and do a good 2K at a supervised session with a colorist on only the parts you need. Then do that film out. This assuming that you mean like 5-10 minutes when you say short film. You will need to talk to someone for a while about how to prep your film for the film out, don't just send a quicktime file and hope for the best.

Check out these guys when you're ready. They were completely unknown to me until last month and have done great work for a very reasonable price, They can do film outs for less money that I've ever seen.

Video Film Solutions



Cool, thanks for the tip. I'll check them out. Is there a logging system used for the keycode on the film when doing the low-res edit to match when doing the 2K scan, or is it just a matter of scrolling through the correct roll to the take you need?

Thanks again.
  • 0

#6 Prashantt Rai

Prashantt Rai
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 118 posts

Posted 13 June 2013 - 02:54 AM

I think option of shooting 4 perf anamorphic and then contact printing is a good idea. i shot my first low budget indie that way. it premiered at Karlovy Vary film fest on a 35mm print.

a) superb resolution.

b)No DI needed (we didnt have money)

c) nothing beats, even today, an anamorphic look on 35.

 

I think there are still plenty of negative cutters around so don't worry.

 

But what you have to worry about is find or make a list of film festivals that would still screen 35mm on Print. Your film will stand apart from those rest of those digital originated/projected films. Its psychological, the impact on the minds of the audience and jury. Many of you may not agree, but I  think it does play a role.

 

if you get a distribution offer, then I guess they will take on from there - scanning, colour grading on 2k etc etc.


  • 1

#7 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 19769 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 13 June 2013 - 11:52 AM

Trouble is, what if the distributor asks for a digital copy to screen themselves? And many film festivals want to see it digitally before they decide on whether to accept it.  So at minimal, you need a decent telecine transfer for DVD copies even before you sell it.  Even the filmmaker is going to want a digital copy that isn't a film print, otherwise the only way to look at the movie is to get a 35mm projector.


  • 1

#8 Jock Blakley

Jock Blakley
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 73 posts
  • Other
  • Melbourne, VIC

Posted 13 June 2013 - 08:51 PM

Given the cost of film-out, would it be cheaper in the end - and give a better quality in the print - if you were to shoot four-perf, do an offline in SD, conform the neg, and then use that conformed neg for both HD transfer and to directly strike a print?

 

Dependent of course on the amount of post work that you'll require.

 

The look of a print struck directly from the OCN is incomparable.


  • 1

#9 Dirk DeJonghe

Dirk DeJonghe
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 606 posts
  • Industry Rep
  • Kortrijk,Belgium

Posted 14 June 2013 - 08:44 AM

Cutting the negative is still an option, but to remind you of the limitations: on 35mm dissolves are usually prepared as separate A-B rolls to interpositive/dupneg to be spliced in the OCN. Similar with superimposed titles.

You still have to make an optical sound negative (usually Dolby SR-D) and have a proper Dolby mix for that;

SD telecine for offline editing is a good choice, Keykodes should be burnt-in as double-check with the EDL conversion to Keykode output. You don't cut a negative twice.

Since you are in PAL country, SD telecine is best to 25fps even if you shoot at 24 fps. This is order to retain a 1:1 relationship between film frames and video frames.

Direct prints from 35mm OCN are as good as it gets, the limitation is you can only do RGB grading on the entire frame, no secondaries or masks. No reframing, or speed changes, etc.


  • 1

#10 Mark Dunn

Mark Dunn
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 2432 posts
  • Other
  • London

Posted 14 June 2013 - 10:14 AM

Dirk, was it you who recut Tacita Dean's neg after it was messed up by a UK lab (presumably they didn't use 'scope splices?)


  • 0

#11 Dirk DeJonghe

Dirk DeJonghe
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 606 posts
  • Industry Rep
  • Kortrijk,Belgium

Posted 14 June 2013 - 10:52 AM

Mark,

 

No, it wasn't us, but working on it. It was another UK artist where we did some serious repair work.


  • 0

#12 Prashantt Rai

Prashantt Rai
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 118 posts

Posted 14 June 2013 - 04:48 PM

Regarding finishing a film with print .

We did a single light telecine transferred a to a "beta" tape.
Did the edit.
Finished the film on print.
We sent the festivals a DVD of the print telecine. But told them that the film is shot on on 35 anamorphic and finished optically on print.
We got acceptance from karlovy vary, georgia, Montenegro, Paris spiritual film fest, and a couple of more which I don't remember.

In India, distributors or potential buyers come and see your film in the edit suite. Seriously, not kidding. If they like the movie they pay you lump sum money and tell you to get lost. They take on from there. They treat this as an investment. This way they buy a lot of films and distribute it in the best theatrical window they deem it fit. Some major film corporations have 40-50 films in their kitty.
  • 0

#13 Jock Blakley

Jock Blakley
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 73 posts
  • Other
  • Melbourne, VIC

Posted 14 June 2013 - 09:39 PM

You still have to make an optical sound negative (usually Dolby SR-D) and have a proper Dolby mix for that;

 

If your film is shorter than 45 mins and you use optical SR rather than Dolby Digital, I beleive you no longer need to pay for a Dolby licence. And of course, Dolby A-type (and it'c copies like Ultrastereo and DTS Stereo) and mono are also options depending on your lab (some will only create soundtrack negs from supplied masters, others will do the master for you).


  • 0

#14 Dirk DeJonghe

Dirk DeJonghe
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 606 posts
  • Industry Rep
  • Kortrijk,Belgium

Posted 14 June 2013 - 11:11 PM

The Dolby license is not the problem here, but you have to make a physical SEPOPT negative, of course you can make many prints from this negative. I just wanted to make it clear that for a single print it is a fair percentage of the total lab cost.


  • 0

#15 Prashantt Rai

Prashantt Rai
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 118 posts

Posted 15 June 2013 - 03:07 AM

Transferring your sound mix from the sound studio on to a sound negative for 110 min costs somewhere like 1800 USD.
Dolby license fee depends on the number of prints you are striking and the fee is charged in the following brackets
1-5 prints
5-30 prints
30-75 prints
75+ prints = 7000USD

I think the good option is to just record stereo. I have also heard Dolby amplifier is often switched off in the theatre :-) or down for maintenance and the movie is running on stereo.
  • 0

#16 Prashantt Rai

Prashantt Rai
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 118 posts

Posted 15 June 2013 - 03:08 AM

The print bracket I mentioned above is my knowledge couple if years old. If it has changed in the recent past then please update me too.
  • 0

#17 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 19769 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 15 June 2013 - 11:05 AM

As Dirk mentions, you have to decide with a photochemical finish how to handle fades & dissolves -- if not A/B rolls, then you have to build opticals (or do them digitally) and then cut them into a single-strand negative.  And if your neg is A/B roll cut, it makes it harder to then telecine it for a video master... 

 

Ideally after answer printing, you'd create an interpositive, which will be single-strand, splice-less, and color-timed -- this can serve not only as a protection master, but be used for a video transfer to SD or HD, which will also go much faster than transferring an untimed negative.  You used to also be able to make a low-con print for transfer -- not as good as an IP -- but I think Kodak discontinued that stock.


  • 0

#18 John Jaquish

John Jaquish
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 91 posts
  • Other

Posted 18 September 2013 - 12:37 AM

I'm seeing the rest of these posts just now. Thank you all for the comments, especially yours, David. I've since shot the film and completed editing from a 1080P transfer. Although, I'm considering testing different post houses for 2K samples.

 

Nevertheless, with more research, and developing events since I first posted this a year ago, I'm wondering about the practicality/ultimate use of even getting a film print. I'm now preparing a feature that I'll be shooting on 35mm again, and I'm wondering if there would even be a place for a 35mm print (that is, not even accounting for the cost, but just the practicality of distribution these days with a digital master vs. a print). Would it be more advantageous for me to focus instead on a DCP workflow?


  • 0

#19 Adrian Sierkowski

Adrian Sierkowski
  • Sustaining Members
  • 7118 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles, Ca

Posted 18 September 2013 - 10:59 AM

Honestly, I'd just go DCP-- as while I"m sure there are many theaters out there which still show prints, it just isn't as cost effective as the DCP normally is; plus there's no degradation from use.


  • 0

#20 Matt Stevens

Matt Stevens
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 702 posts
  • Other

Posted 18 September 2013 - 12:03 PM

At this point a print is for preservation. Distribution today is digital and many times it's a bleeping Blu-Ray!


  • 0


Broadcast Solutions Inc

Visual Products

Abel Cine

Rig Wheels Passport

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

FJS International, LLC

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Aerial Filmworks

Glidecam

Paralinx LLC

Wooden Camera

rebotnix Technologies

Ritter Battery

Metropolis Post

Technodolly

The Slider

Willys Widgets

Tai Audio

CineLab

CineTape

Opal

Wooden Camera

Rig Wheels Passport

CineLab

Ritter Battery

Paralinx LLC

Abel Cine

Opal

Glidecam

Aerial Filmworks

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

rebotnix Technologies

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Visual Products

Tai Audio

Willys Widgets

Metropolis Post

Technodolly

FJS International, LLC

Broadcast Solutions Inc

CineTape

The Slider