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What specifications should I get when transfering/telecining?


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#1 Dylan Gonzalez

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 11:17 PM

I have 3 rolls of super-8 film that I want to get developed now. However, being new to super-8 and film in general, I'm really lost when it comes to what I should do getting my footage telecined/transfered. I'm used to directly inputting my footage from my HD cam to the computer via USB, which is a pretty simple process in comparison.

 

I have a few questions concerning this process:

 

1) What fps should I get my footage transfered to? It was shot at 24fps, but the facility I'm looking at offers 29.97 (typical SD), 23.98 (typical HD) and 24 fps. I'm a little confused as to what would offer me the best quality.

 

2) What should I have my stock transferred to? A harddrive? A data DVD? What is the best option?

 

3) Are there any other concerns I should have with this process? Anything I should look out for?


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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 11:46 PM

Depends on what you want to do with the footage -- you could get it transferred to 24P (or 23.98P actually) in 480P, 720P, or 1080P depending on the telecine, and put onto a hard drive in a format such as Apple ProRes 422, if you plan on editing it on something like FCP.  If you can afford to transfer it to 1080P, you might as well, you can always resize it later to 720P or 480P.  With Super-8, I'm not sure if you'd see a lot of resolution difference between 480P and 1080P but certainly the larger format will play better on many screens.

 

Several years ago, you probably would have transferred it to NTSC (if you are in a 60 Hz country) so it would have been run at 23.976 fps and transferred to 59.94/480i with a 3:2 pulldown, if you had shot at 24 fps.  You would have probably asked for it back on a DV, beta-SP, or digi-betacam tape. From that it would have been easy to dub to other tape formats or copied to a DVD (but it would have been interlaced being mastered in NTSC).  

 

Nowadays, you don't need to transfer it interlaced-scan, you can use a progressive-scan format going to something other than tape, like a hard drive.  And you can put 480P onto a DVD or 1080P onto a blu-ray, etc. or finish for internet distribution in 480P, 720P, or 1080P.

 

But I'm not an editor so what codecs are best for delivery and editing, I'm not sure... there are so many.


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#3 Zachariah Shanahan

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 11:54 PM

If it was shot at 24fps then get it transferred at 24fps to your own HDD in High Definition. It will appear jumpy if you mess around with the captured frame rate. Pro Res 422 is great to edit with. If you want more control of the image then find a lab that does Pro Res 4444. 

 

What facility are you looking at?

You should get it processed as soon as possible but take your time finding the right company to do the transfer/telecine/scan. These are all different methods which will produce varying results.

 

A lot of places record the image while projected on a wall. You don't really want that for footage used for a final cut of a project. Ask in scrupulous detail what equipment they use and for examples of their results. 

 

Good luck. 


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#4 Chris Burke

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 12:54 AM

What type of film did you shoot? Tri-X, 7219 color negative or color reversal? What kind of camera, model number? What is your intended delivery format? These three things factor into the type of transfer you should get. But by all means, you do see a difference between standard def and high def transfers, it just all depends upon who does it and what kind of scanner is being used. The real cheap-o transfer houses that tell you that you won't see much beyond the standard def transfer they give, are wrong. Cinelab, Cinelicious, Spectra Film and Video, LightPress, Film and Video solutions and more do excellent work, check out their reels. You should get an HD transfer to hard drive as some high quality codec. ProRes as mentioned or Avid would cover most situations. Video and Film solutions does a 2k scan, ithat gives you a 2048 x 1556 discreet frame of each super 8 frame. That would give you the most out of S8. It also costs the most. With the oversampling, you could re-frame for any delivery format, do image stabilization and color grade with much more precision and finer results. Check out Avisynth on the web for before and after videos. Also look at Neat Video examples. It works just as well with film originated material as it does with video. This last method I mentioned is the bleeding edge of s8 and is not for the dilettante.  It takes substantial computing power and storage for a home set up, so if you think your machine is fast, you should double check. This might all be in reach for you depending upon how much footage you have. Super 8 shooters tend to be frugal, so a handful of rolls could be cheap enough for you to splurge on a really good transfer, which means a really good colorist.


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#5 Dylan Gonzalez

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 01:19 AM

Thanks David, Zachariah and Chris for the feedback. This is a huge help for me.

If it was shot at 24fps then get it transferred at 24fps to your own HDD in High Definition. It will appear jumpy if you mess around with the captured frame rate. Pro Res 422 is great to edit with. If you want more control of the image then find a lab that does Pro Res 4444. 

 

What facility are you looking at?

You should get it processed as soon as possible but take your time finding the right company to do the transfer/telecine/scan. These are all different methods which will produce varying results.

 

A lot of places record the image while projected on a wall. You don't really want that for footage used for a final cut of a project. Ask in scrupulous detail what equipment they use and for examples of their results. 

 

Good luck. 

 

I was looking at this facility: http://framediscreet.com/. It was reccommended to me when I purchased film stock at a local university film club.

 

My only concern with the Pro Res codecs is that I edit on Adobe Premiere Pro CS5. I've had trouble using this codec before - the software doesn't export Pro Res and I believe there are bunch of hoops you have to jump through to import and work with Pro Res footage.

 

What type of film did you shoot? Tri-X, 7219 color negative or color reversal? What kind of camera, model number? What is your intended delivery format? These three things factor into the type of transfer you should get. But by all means, you do see a difference between standard def and high def transfers, it just all depends upon who does it and what kind of scanner is being used. The real cheap-o transfer houses that tell you that you won't see much beyond the standard def transfer they give, are wrong. Cinelab, Cinelicious, Spectra Film and Video, LightPress, Film and Video solutions and more do excellent work, check out their reels. You should get an HD transfer to hard drive as some high quality codec. ProRes as mentioned or Avid would cover most situations. Video and Film solutions does a 2k scan, ithat gives you a 2048 x 1556 discreet frame of each super 8 frame. That would give you the most out of S8. It also costs the most. With the oversampling, you could re-frame for any delivery format, do image stabilization and color grade with much more precision and finer results. Check out Avisynth on the web for before and after videos. Also look at Neat Video examples. It works just as well with film originated material as it does with video. This last method I mentioned is the bleeding edge of s8 and is not for the dilettante.  It takes substantial computing power and storage for a home set up, so if you think your machine is fast, you should double check. This might all be in reach for you depending upon how much footage you have. Super 8 shooters tend to be frugal, so a handful of rolls could be cheap enough for you to splurge on a really good transfer, which means a really good colorist.

 

I have one reel of color reversal (Ektachrome 100D) simply for testing/experimentation purposes and then two reels of color negative (Vision 3 200T and Vision 3 500T). I shot using a Canon 514 XL-S. Most likely, I'll just upload the film to the Internet, but I might send it out to festivals if it turns out OK.

 

I will check out the facilities you have listed. Thanks very much for these suggestions.


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#6 Matt Stevens

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 11:27 AM

Simply tell the company you you Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 and what your codec limitations are. They should be able to accommodate you. I have a PC and CS5 and have successfully used proRes. 

 

Framediscreet, Cinelicious, Lightpress, Spectra will all do you right. You can't go wrong with any of them. 

 

You definitely want 1080p. Just remember, with only three rolls of film your per-roll charge won't be cheap. Normally you need 6 or 7 rolls to get a good per-roll price. Just let them know you are new to this, what you have and ask for their lowdown.


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#7 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 12:17 PM

There is a discussion here about ProRes on PC's:

 

http://forums.creati...thread/3/932382

 

 

One person writes: "I use MXF OP1a AVC-100 to master to. When I export it goes about 2X faster then if I used a QT based codec like Prores or DNxHD."

 

It's a bit Greek to me, but I guess he means AVC-Intra 100 codec, which is 422, H.264/MPEG4 compliant, in an MXF OP1a file.  I have no idea whether that is a good idea or not.


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#8 Dylan Gonzalez

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 02:55 AM

Thanks for the help, Matt and David. I think I'm going to e-mail framediscreet directly with some questions and see what they say - I would prefer to use them if possible, as I can deliver my film in person. I believe they only use Pro Res 422 at this facility though, so I'll have to look into this.

There is a discussion here about ProRes on PC's:

 

http://forums.creati...thread/3/932382

 

 

One person writes: "I use MXF OP1a AVC-100 to master to. When I export it goes about 2X faster then if I used a QT based codec like Prores or DNxHD."

 

It's a bit Greek to me, but I guess he means AVC-Intra 100 codec, which is 422, H.264/MPEG4 compliant, in an MXF OP1a file.  I have no idea whether that is a good idea or not.

 

 

Simply tell the company you you Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 and what your codec limitations are. They should be able to accommodate you. I have a PC and CS5 and have successfully used proRes. 

 

Framediscreet, Cinelicious, Lightpress, Spectra will all do you right. You can't go wrong with any of them. 

 

You definitely want 1080p. Just remember, with only three rolls of film your per-roll charge won't be cheap. Normally you need 6 or 7 rolls to get a good per-roll price. Just let them know you are new to this, what you have and ask for their lowdown.


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#9 Chris Burke

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 08:03 AM

for the role of reversal, if testing with it, you don't need to transfer it, get a projector instead, probably much cheaper.  You can see how the camera works as it was meant to viewed. Keep in mind that shooting the color negative is going to look very different than the reversal, so only judge camera functionality (exposure et al). Both negative stocks are the cutting edge of photochemical imaging and will look amazing. Framediscreet does top shelf work, your gonna love it. Please let us see the results.


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#10 Will Montgomery

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 11:09 AM

I suggest saving up and having one of the higher-end houses do a few rolls of something you shot well. Just once, so you can see what's possible and have something to compare. It really comes down to the colorist honestly. Whether it's a Spirit, Millennium or Shadow telecine the technical quality will be great; it's the colorist that will make you love it or hate it. If you can attend the transfer I'd do that too simply for the educational value. It's worth a day trip if you have to travel.

 

As far as format I usually ask for ProRes HQ, 1080p, 23.976 since that is a standard professional frame rate in the U.S. for HD projects. These days I don't run into file copying charges as much so if you want to go for ProRes 444 you'll have a ton of information to work with and can always down-res from there. Think of it as your "digital negative." I haven't bothered with uncompressed DPX files for Super 8 since it really seems like overkill.

 

You will see a difference in a 1080p scan vs. an up-resed 480p scan as long as what you shot is in focus, but as David said in Super 8 it's not as drastic as with 16mm or 35mm.


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#11 Dylan Gonzalez

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 04:11 PM

Thanks, Chris and Will.

 

I e-mailed Frame Discreet and I think I'm going to go with ProRes. Right now, the only thing I'm a bit iffy on is the frame rate I should have the footage transfered to. Some of the feedback has been mixed.


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#12 Will Montgomery

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 05:10 PM

As long as you shoot at 24 fps transfer at 24 fps or 23.976. If you are not going to broadcast it then stick with 24 if you like. There's no noticeable difference in speed, it's just the technical standard for some HD broadcasts.


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#13 Dylan Gonzalez

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 02:55 PM

As long as you shoot at 24 fps transfer at 24 fps or 23.976. If you are not going to broadcast it then stick with 24 if you like. There's no noticeable difference in speed, it's just the technical standard for some HD broadcasts.

 Thanks for the help, Will. I ended up e-mailing the facility and asking them about this. According to them, there's no big difference either way and he reccommended I go with 23.98 fps, as most people do. I submitted my order and I'll see how the footage turns out.


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