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File format for 16mm Telecine


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#1 Francis Elvans

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Posted 15 March 2016 - 01:28 PM

Hello,

 

Apologies if this is a dull question, but I'm very new to this and after somewhat getting to grips with the operation of 16mm cameras it's now post production that I have to come to terms with. 

 

I'm making a short and pretty much experimental film, the only goal is to make the best of what materials I have.

 

I've shot some cans of 16mm and I'm going to send it off for processing and transfer.

 

My question is, what file format do I ask to have it transferred to? 

 

 

If it makes any difference here are some other details:

 

I'm editing using Premier CS5 on a Windows Laptop

 

5 years ago it was, but now the laptop isn't tremendously powerful.

 

I want the work to be finished in some form of HD of course, but it probably won't end up anywhere other than on a blue-ray for screenings.

 

It would be nice to have a high quality format as a master copy and for archival purposes.

 

I'm anticipating some dust issues, I know it would be tremendously laborious but I'm prepared to edit some shots frame by frame to remove the dust (related question: what program do I use for this). I thought I'dmention it as a consideration in case there are file formats that would prevent editing individual frames.

 

Thanks for all your help.

 

Francis


Edited by Francis Elvans, 15 March 2016 - 01:37 PM.

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#2 Jeff L'Heureux

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Posted 15 March 2016 - 03:01 PM

Apple ProRes 4444 is a nice robust editing and coloring format to master in.  You can edit individual frames just fine.


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#3 Francis Elvans

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Posted 15 March 2016 - 03:12 PM

Hi, thanks for the response. I was under the impression that it is not possible to use Apple ProRes on a Windows PC, is this not the case? (Since I'll be using Premiere CS5 on a Windows PC).

 

Thanks


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#4 Jeff L'Heureux

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Posted 15 March 2016 - 03:29 PM

Most editing systems on PC can still read and edit ProRes (I don't use Premiere but I'm fairly certain it will) but some have the annoying restriction of not letting the user output/encode new ProRes files.  I believe DNxHD is the other common format used if this is the problem.  Either way, you could still edit the ProRes masters, but may have to output to DNxHD.  Or you could output an uncompressed .TIF sequence in the very end onto an external hard drive and take it to a Mac system to encode into ProRes.  It's complicated and there's lots of options, but a lot easier if you own both a PC and a Mac.


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#5 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 15 March 2016 - 05:15 PM

You'll have to ask a lab person to be sure, but I think most places deliver either DPX files (uncompressed single frames), Prores (lightly compressed video files), or uncompressed video.

If they can also do more PC friendly compressed video codecs like Cineform or Avid DNxHD then all the better. If the former, you may have to take the uncompressed video and transcode to a more friendly codec yourself.

You definitely won't be able to edit with DPX or uncompressed video on your system, they are too heavy. I understand that there are ways to work with Prores on PCs now through plug-ins, maybe someone can explain how to do that. I'm a Mac user so I have no idea about PCs.
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#6 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 15 March 2016 - 05:20 PM

Pro Res is an add-on which can be downloaded for any Windows based computer. I'm not sure if Pro Res 4444 is supported with the standard plugin though, that's worth examining further.

But yes, I would absolutely have the telecine done in Pro Res 4444 because it's a 12 bit, full raster format which works very well as a source for color correcting.

However with all that said, I doubt your computer will be able to playback Pro Res 4444. It really requires fast storage and even faster CPU. It uses distributed multithreaded decoding, so the more cores you have, the better it plays back.

In terms of scanning quality, scanning a 2.5k for Super 16 and 3k for straight 16, is a smart idea. This will allow for the appropriate scaling into a 2k workflow.

You could also go cheap and do a 1080p telecine and standard Pro Res HQ workflow with a flat, uncolored transfer. File sizes are a lot smaller, but it's still decent quality. Those files should work fine on a 5 year old computer without specialized storage. I work with them all the time on my old macbook pro and they're fine.
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#7 Francis Elvans

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Posted 15 March 2016 - 06:32 PM

Thanks for these responses, very helpful.

 

Whilst I do hope to upgrade to a better computer system I am stuck for the time being with this Laptop, so it's probably safest to go for the ProResHQ format to give myself the best chances of it all working.

 

I'm not sure what you mean by 'uncoloured' - do you men no colour correction, orno colour at all? Would I be able to correct the colour myself?

 

But, I'm now wondering if it is possible to get the better ProRes4444 format and then convert a copy of it it to ProResHQ so that I still have a high quality 'master' of which I could use in the future with a better system? Is this possible - do I need a powerful computer to even do this? Would I use Premiere for such a task? 

 

Thanks.


Edited by Francis Elvans, 15 March 2016 - 06:37 PM.

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#8 Anthony Schilling

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Posted 15 March 2016 - 07:27 PM

I would do an image sequence since it's codec free. DPX files if you want incompressed, or Jpeg is compressed but user friendly and look good.


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#9 Francis Elvans

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Posted 15 March 2016 - 07:50 PM

I would do an image sequence since it's codec free. DPX files if you want incompressed, or Jpeg is compressed but user friendly and look good.

 

It would make sense in so far as I would have a high quality copy of the files, but it seems I would not be able to edit DPX on my meagre computer and so I would need to transcode(convert?) a copy of the DPX to a useable format. I am wondering if this is possible and straightforward, and if I can do it without spending huge money on a separate program from Premire/After effects. If not then unfortunately I will have to ask for a lower quality format just so I can cut this project and end up with an HD file in the end.

 

Thanks again.


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#10 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 15 March 2016 - 08:31 PM

'Uncolored' in this case means flat, low-contrast uncorrected images. The idea being that you would then have more flexibility to grade the image youself later. But if you're not comfortable doing that, then having the telecine operator do a shot-to-shot color correction of your images is always an option. It will cost more, as you are paying for their time on an hourly basis.

You can easily transcode Prores4444 to HQ yourself on a Mac using Premiere. On a PC, you'd have to find a way to be able to write Prores files before you could do that. And you'd have to ask someone PC-savvy how to do it.
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#11 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 15 March 2016 - 11:16 PM

We deliver DPX frames and ProRes444 to Premiere users on PC all the time Windows can read ProRes but generally cannot write it.

 

That said we are using Digital Vision Nucoda to write much of the ProRes444 we send out these days, Nucoda has an official Apple ProRes license.

 

You could edit the ProRes444 in Premiere and then export an uncompressed Quicktime or DPX etc. for the finished product or go to a Grading system with the DPX frames or ProRes444 and the XML or EDL from Premiere for finishing.


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#12 Francis Elvans

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Posted 16 March 2016 - 06:38 AM

Thanks fo this.

 

Just to clarify:

 

What I'm hoping to get at the end of it all is just a blu-ray disc with the finished project on, that looks decent. I'm not quite sure exactly how writing to disc works, is it the case that the ProRes files are directly written to the disc? So I cannot easily (on my machine) get to a blu ray disc with ProRes? But I could output to DNxHD and write to blu-ray then?

 

This is a steep learning curve.


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#13 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 16 March 2016 - 09:40 AM

What exactly are the specs of your computer system?  That's where you need to start if you plan on doing the majority of this post-work at home...


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#14 Francis Elvans

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Posted 16 March 2016 - 11:10 AM

Hi there,

 

It's worth noting that I'm only working in small amounts of film at the moment, the whole thing probably wouldn't be cut from more than 1600ft, maybe smaller.

 

These are the specs:

 

Intel Core i7 - 2630QM CPU@2.00GHz

6.00GB DDR3 Ram

NVIDIA GeForce GT 540M

640GB HDD (I could swap this for SSD if necessary)

 

I've an external drive too.


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#15 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 16 March 2016 - 11:37 AM

For Pro Res HQ, those specs should be fine with a USB3 drive.

For 4444 2.5k, probably too close for comfort.

You will need a faster graphics card for coloring in real time tho.
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#16 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 16 March 2016 - 01:30 PM

Bear in mind if you get it in a high-quality format, you can always extract lower-quality, easier-to-use versions of it. It might take overnight to render the lower res versions, but you can do it.

 

P


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#17 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 16 March 2016 - 03:06 PM

What I'm hoping to get at the end of it all is just a blu-ray disc with the finished project on, that looks decent. I'm not quite sure exactly how writing to disc works, is it the case that the ProRes files are directly written to the disc? So I cannot easily (on my machine) get to a blu ray disc with ProRes? But I could output to DNxHD and write to blu-ray then?


Basically, you want to send the lab a hard drive to have your footage put on. Then they will ship it back to you. You would work from the drive and then when you are finished editing, export your master from Premiere in a high quality format like Prores, Cineform, or DNxHD. This is now your master file of the project. Then you would either use Premiere or Media Encoder to compress this further into the various versions that you need, Blu-Ray, DVD, web. From here, you would need to encode this Blu-Ray version with a program like Encore and use a Blu-Ray burner to actually create discs. This will make your disc compliant with standard Blu-Ray players. If you just dump a Prores file onto the disc, then you are essentially just using the disc as an external hard drive and it can only be read by a computer.

You need to work from a hard drive because Blu-Ray is a delivery format for already compressed footage. A dual-layer disc only has 50GB of storage capacity. There are thumb drives and CF cards with larger storage capacity, but they are relatively slow compared to hard drives. 1600' of 16mm comes out to 44 minutes of footage. 44min of Prores4444 in 1920x1080 @ 23.98fps is roughly 100GB worth of footage. And then you also need space for the Premiere Scratch Disk and any additional versions of your edit that you plan to render out.
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#18 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 16 March 2016 - 04:07 PM

Hi there,

 

It's worth noting that I'm only working in small amounts of film at the moment, the whole thing probably wouldn't be cut from more than 1600ft, maybe smaller.

 

These are the specs:

 

Intel Core i7 - 2630QM CPU@2.00GHz

6.00GB DDR3 Ram

NVIDIA GeForce GT 540M

640GB HDD (I could swap this for SSD if necessary)

 

I've an external drive too.

 

I agree - that should work.  What is the capacity of the external drive?


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#19 Francis Elvans

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Posted 16 March 2016 - 05:59 PM

Thanks for the help everyone.

 

 

I agree - that should work.  What is the capacity of the external drive?

 

It's 1TB.


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#20 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 16 March 2016 - 06:50 PM

With that amount of space, you may be able to get DPX files of the footage made as your raw files, and then get them down-rezzed to another format like ProRes to use as your work files (as Phil mentioned.)  But I know DPX files are huge, so even a 1TB drive may not hold that amount of footage.  Not really sure.  Either way, make sure you ask as many questions that you need to when you speak to the lab.


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