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Low volume, affordable Super 8 processing/transfer?

processing transfer cost telecine scanning budget super 8 usa

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#1 Nick Collingwood

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Posted 01 April 2016 - 04:32 PM

Hey everyone!

 

So I live in NYC and I've been shooting Super 8 as a fairly serious hobby since last summer. I love it. This forum has been a source of so much info. I've already bought several cameras, shot vacations, field trips, events, etc. Problem obviously is it ain't cheap! And even more of an issue is minimums. Given that I don't normally shoot 4+ rolls at a time, I've been forced to wait for weeks if not months while I slowly shoot more rolls until I meet the minimums.

 

I've gotten developing from Spectra with their film+processing packs for ~$40/roll but that of course doesn't include shipping to/from costs then I have to ship it out for HD telecine unless I do it somewhere in NYC but to be honest, I prefer the pro places as their quality and turnaround is been way better than local in my opinion. Moving on, I've also just bought film locally at B&H/Adorama for ~$38/roll or Du-All for ~$32/roll then sending for processing/scanning at CineLab. That's probably my cheapest method I've found since Spectra scanning is pricey!!

 

Anyways, even with that, I run into the minimum issue with CineLab and Spectra. With $ minimums around 200ft for processing and $150 for HD scanning, that's around 6 or even 8+ rolls before I hit the minimum. I've gotten as low as 6 rolls telecined at CineLab for around $125 which is below their minimum but I guess they just shrugged their shoulders and did it when I mailed the package. All in all, if done right and hitting minimums, I can get a roll bought/processed/scanned for around $70 if not a little less including all the shipping.

 

I know Spectra has their "Rank-A-Roll" packages but those are pretty steep in price in comparison to doing it normally. (~$105/roll) And Yale has its "Reel Deal" packages which are $125/roll. I've also (early on in my tests) gotten 2 rolls developed and scanned as a "Test Roll" from CineLab for around $90 but I'm not sure they'd let me do that every time.

 

So all that to say... you guys have any advice as far as best quality/price balance for low volume Super 8? Does no one else run into this issue? You guys just always shooting 10 rolls at a time? haha. Help a budget filmmaker/enthusiast out!! I know I'm kinda asking for the moon here with film costs these days but the cheaper I can get my methods, the more I will shoot! And I'm always itching to shoot more film! (Also I am very eager to hear more details about Kodak's new S8 packages in the fall. Seems like that would fix my issues if the price is right)

 

Sorry for the wall of text. Slow day at work haha.


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#2 Will Montgomery

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Posted 04 April 2016 - 10:09 AM

Cine Film is a slow process in general. Spectra and Cinelab are really great labs and we're lucky to have them. I have a special cabinet where I stuff all my shot film and hold on to it until it reaches critical mass then I send it off (I recently sent off 13 cartridges to Spectra). Maybe you'd have enough at the end of the summer?

 

You're not going to beat processing prices at Spectra or Cinelab really (nor do you want to cheap out on that), so it comes down to the transfer.

 

Many years ago I had this company run a giant roll of Super 8 for me. Fairly decent results although you'd do better quality-wise with Spectra, Cinelab, Gamma Ray or several other places...but a decent price for ProRes 422.

 

http://mymovietransf...0p_Pricing.html

 

You could even go with a lower-res 720p transfer, then if there's something you really like, send that to a higher-end service. Part of the charm of Super 8 is it's "low fidelity" anyway...if you want perfection you'd be sliding up to Super 16 and 35 anyway.

 

Run the numbers, you may find it worth it to invest in an inexpensive transfer unit like from MovieStuff.tv. It would be an investment to start, but you'll save money over a long period.

 

For me, it's worth it to work with good colorists. This time around I'm considering a quality flat transfer and working with an excellent local colorist.


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#3 Perry Paolantonio

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Posted 04 April 2016 - 11:45 AM

We don't charge minimums for scanning. Well, we do, but it's only 50' for 8mm and 100' for 16mm, so it's not really a minimum most of the time. Many of our clients process at a lab they're comfortable with, and have the film prepped and sent to us for scanning. For 8mm, that means Cinelab, Spectra, Pro8mm, and Dwayne's Photo. They all do nice work. 

 

Cinelab is physically close to us (and you in NY), so shipping to/from each location is reasonable. UPS Ground is within the overnight zone for NY to Cinelab, and from Cinelab to us. So it's pretty quick as well.


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