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white titles over image on color negative

titles color negative

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#1 chris hoag

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Posted 18 October 2015 - 06:55 PM

I was just wondering if a few of the great minds on cinematography.com would be kind enough to double check what I think is a process to create white titles burned into an image when shooting on color neg. (I want to make prints directly from the camera originals- no IP. The film will only be 2min and have text over the image pretty much the whole time.) So first I shoot the image on one roll of neg (vision3). Then I shoot the titles on another roll of neg (vision3 or hi-con 7363 if I can find it) by shooting white (or clear backlit) letters against a black background. So now I have a negative of both the image and the titles (which now appear as black text on a clear background) and I then have the lab bi-pack them together and print them onto print film resulting in an image with white titles burned into it. Is this the way to go? I assume when bi-packing I would want the 2 strips from the camera (the image neg & the titles neg) to be emulsion to emulsion so that they're are both in focus, right? Does this mean I need to shoot the text reversed so the strip can be flipped when bi-packing so the sprockets line up on the same side? Also, does this mean it can only be bi-packed in the optical printer and not the contact printer (because the strip of print stock has to be emaulsion to emulsion with the camera stock and this can only be done with one strip of camera stock at a time)? I guess some of these are questions for the lab but the more feedback I get, the better. Thanks!

 

-Chris

 


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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 18 October 2015 - 07:24 PM

I don't know of any labs without an optical printer that could bi-pack two strips of 35mm negative to make a print.  Yes, if you could, black letters on clear negative bi-packed in front of the picture negative would allow the image to pass through the clear areas and expose onto the print stock, and the black letters would block any light and thus appear as white on the print.

 

But you'd need to use an optical printer to make the print in order to bi-pack two elements in the projector side of the printer.  And then you are talking about printing the entire reel that way even if the titles are only in the first part if you want a single print with no splices in it.

 

As far as I know, you can't really contact print three pieces of film together with the image having another piece of film between it and the print stock and hope that it will be in sharp focus.

 

I think you saw simple white titles burned in over images for 16mm prints back in the 1950's to mid-1970's when it was a reversal to reversal stock process, because then you could A-B roll the 16mm reversal original with the B-roll containing clear letters on a black field.  This is similar to how white subtitles could be burned into an IN by having the color IP of the negative combined in a second exposure pass with the hi-con b&w positive of clear letters over black, so that you ended up with white letters burned into the IN.

 

But you can't do this with A-B roll printing using color negative since if the B-roll contained a clear field with black letters, you'd just end up seeing the picture through the letters over a black background in the print because the clear area would expose the print and turn it black, and if you had a B-roll with a black field with clear letters, then you'd end up with black letters burned in over the image on the print.

 

I could be wrong, maybe some lab has managed to bi-pack two negatives in a contact printer but I would think the element farthest from the print stock, which would have to be the background image, would not be in sharp focus having a whole strip of emulsion in between it and the print stock.


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#3 Gregg MacPherson

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Posted 18 October 2015 - 10:50 PM

....I assume when bi-packing I would want the 2 strips from the camera (the image neg & the titles neg) to be emulsion to emulsion so that they're are both in focus, right? Does this mean I need to shoot the text reversed so the strip can be flipped when bi-packing so the sprockets line up on the same side? Also, does this mean it can only be bi-packed in the optical printer and not the contact printer (because the strip of print stock has to be emaulsion to emulsion with the camera stock and this can only be done with one strip of camera stock at a time)?......

 

I think there are people who have used a tripack in a contact printer to get what you want. You may have to accept the letters not being perfectly sharp.  Google and there are some exerpts from books about it.

 

Aside from that,  my thought is that if you find some creative ways to use alternatives that don't need burned in titles or opticals,  your lecturer may respect you.  And there are alternatives.


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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 19 October 2015 - 12:25 AM

The letters will be sharp since they have to be in contact with the print stock (assuming they are on the "normal" side of the emulsion for a negative) in between the background negative, it's the background image that will be soft because it has a whole other piece of film in between.  

 

And again, this is assuming that the lab can even put three stacked pieces of film through a contact printer.

 

And it doesn't solve the other problem, which is that what about the rest of the printed reel that doesn't need titles over it?  Are you going to print this titled section separately and splice it into the rest of the print?

 

The only practical way to burn in white letters over picture without resorting to optical printing and dupes, or a film-out of digital titles, is to double-expose them in-camera and create a finished negative with the titles already in the image.  No matter what, the background has to be dark enough or have a dark area for the white letters to read without drop-shadows and hold-out mattes being used.

 

If you want to get tricky, you could double expose them using a glass reflection set-up in-camera using back-lit artwork (probably bigger than 8x10 for each title card), especially if the background can be soft and the focus can be on the letters.


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#5 Gregg MacPherson

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Posted 19 October 2015 - 01:00 AM

I was imagining the original neg emulsion to emulsion with the print stock,  and the titles,  black letters on clear film,  emulsion contacting the cell side of the original neg. 

 

It may be easier and cheaper to run this as a C roll.  You wouldn't have to print the whole film in a tripack.

 

Can one tripack in a continuous contact printer?  It's not my field and I don't know for sure,  but it's easy to find some useful documentation,  for example...

 

Journal of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers
Vol 2,  p.234 (239)

"Printing the Negative to the Positive.

As in the case of any integral tripack printing operation, no registration problems are involved in printing Eastman Color Negative Film onto Eastman Color Print Film, and printing can be done on a continuous contact printer."


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#6 Gregg MacPherson

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Posted 19 October 2015 - 01:20 AM

Sorry,  I just read the original post more carefully.  There is text over image for most of the film.  So the C roll idea may not be useful.  The whole film probably has to be tripacked.


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#7 Dirk DeJonghe

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Posted 19 October 2015 - 05:52 AM

The traditional way is to make an IP from the picture and AB print it with the white titles on black background on high contrast stock onto the dupeneg. Except digital, I don't see many other practical solutions.
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#8 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 19 October 2015 - 10:02 AM

Yes, that's what I was saying, it has to be done with IP's to create a new dupe neg with white letters burned in over the image, just as in the old days when shooting color reversal.

 

I guess with the tri-pack idea, the titles don't have to be in between, even if the picture is in between, the exposure will be held out by the lettering whether in front or behind.


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#9 chris hoag

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Posted 19 October 2015 - 03:19 PM

Thank you all for your help & feedback! I definitely need both the text and image to be in sharp focus. I did think about just double exposing in camera to get the titles but the timing would need to be extremely precise given what I need the text to do and I couldn't achieve that in camera. The IP route is an option I've contemplated but the drawback is it involves an extra 2 print generations which isn't ideal given that the film is to be shot and printed on 16mm which is grainy enough as it is. So that's why I proposed the bi-packed optical printing method. I only need one print so I figured just printing directly from the camera negatives would save me some image quality loss and possibly even money. Of course this would all be much easier if only could get my hands on some Ektachrome!


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#10 Gregg MacPherson

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Posted 20 October 2015 - 12:00 AM

Dirk,
If you read this, just perhaps to school us a little about a tripack in principal....

In a tripack, one of the film layers must be one thickness distant from the "print stock". So will that layer always yield a soft image? If so, how soft and what typical uses does this third layer have?
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#11 Dirk DeJonghe

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Posted 20 October 2015 - 12:40 PM

I have never done bi-pack or tri-pack. I am quite familiar with optical printers, having run one since about 25 years now, but only for blow-up, reduction and 1:1 ops as well as flat to Scope. As far as I can see, these title operations are mainly done on IP/DN as I suggested, with travelling mattes etc. I am sure the literature has some examples on how this was done before digital titling replaced it. Since about 15 years all titling we do in-house was digital to film.


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#12 Gregg MacPherson

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Posted 20 October 2015 - 03:53 PM

Thank's Dirk.
Stacked layers is interesting. It may have, or have had some interesting use outside the legitimate industry by artists/experimentals.
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#13 Dirk DeJonghe

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Posted 20 October 2015 - 10:48 PM

OK, you are right, artists do 'things' to film like destroying the emulsion, scratching film, etc. 


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#14 Gregg MacPherson

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Posted 21 October 2015 - 12:51 AM

There is plenty of room to play "outside the legitimate industry" without doing that. Does that displease you somehow?
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#15 Mark Dunn

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Posted 21 October 2015 - 06:19 AM

Not that I can afford it, but I've entertained the idea of using the Steenbeck as a b/w contact printer. Bipack is no problem as the sprockets are intended to take two layers of film. Potentially one could print holdout mattes and re-expose.

Not sure about tripack though.


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#16 chris hoag

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Posted 21 October 2015 - 08:29 PM

So I just got off the phone with Vince at Fotokem and he says they can indeed bi-pack the two camera rolls together in the contact printer (yes, tri-pack if you include the unexposed print film) and it used to be done quite often for adding subtitles according to him. He said the camera roll with the image on it would be emulsion to emulsion with the unexposed roll of print film and the camera roll with the text on it would be the one with its emulsion separated by the thickness of the other roll's base. I asked him if that would mean the text would look blurry but he seemed to think the loss of focus would be minimal to the extent that you wouldn't notice it. I was sorta surprised to hear that, does that sound right to you guys? I guess my follow on question now is can I get away with just shooting the titles (off a backlit kodolith) on vision3 or will I have to try to find some 7363 or 7302 to get enough contrast. I want to make sure that the black around the text on the kodolith registers as perfectly clear in the negative so it can be bi-packed, that is the most important thing right? Can I achieve the same Dmin with vision3 as with 7363 or 7302? And for the parts on the text roll where there isn't any text, would clear leader be clear enough to use as a spacer? Thanks again guys!

 

-Chris


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#17 Gregg MacPherson

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Posted 21 October 2015 - 11:11 PM

Hey, told you so. Maybe.

Did you already ask Vince re the stock for the titles? He might sell you some high con B&W. He might also know if a B&W camera stock could work. You could test that. Shoot a very small amount of film where you progressively overexpose the white letters. Vince will know if the black is dense enough, and if a halo is comming around the letters.
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#18 Gregg MacPherson

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Posted 22 October 2015 - 04:00 AM

Not that I can afford it, but I've entertained the idea of using the Steenbeck as a b/w contact printer. Bipack is no problem as the sprockets are intended to take two layers of film. Potentially one could print holdout mattes and re-expose.

Not sure about tripack though.

 

Long time ago,  I bipacked in a pick-sync to make a B&W work print.  A little magnalite type torch fitted to a tube with shroud made of cardboard.  Little slit for the light.  Fingers giving a little drag on the film edge.  Actually worked quite well.


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