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3-perf to 4-perf transfer?

3-perf 4-perf

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#1 Gleb Volkov

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Posted 16 May 2016 - 11:07 AM

Hello,

 

I shot a short film on a 3-perf camera on B&W negative, and need to finish it in 4-perf print on a contact printer for a theatrical projection.

 

Aspect ratio is 1:1.85.

 

The negative capture area is the same on 3-perf and 4-perf for 1.85, is it not?

 

As far as I understood it's a fairly simple process that uses some black border cropping on the print.

 

 

Is that so? Am I missing anything? Is there anything that might prevent or complicate the transfer to 4-perf print?

 

Thanks in advance for your help!


Edited by Gleb Volkov, 16 May 2016 - 11:07 AM.

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#2 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 16 May 2016 - 11:25 AM

It just needs an optical reduction. Remember, 3 perf is s35 so the frame is wider. It needs optical reduction to fit into an academy frame. It's an expensive process unfortunately.
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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 16 May 2016 - 11:39 AM

It's either an optical printer conversion, typically you cut the negative, time for an answer print, then knowing the printer light values, make a contact-printed timed IP from the 3-perf negative, then you put that in an optical printer and create a 4-perf 35mm dupe negative, from which you make a print.

 

Now of course it is possible to put a cut 3-perf negative into the optical printer and create a 4-perf 35mm print directly, but that is less common, both because you put your negative at some risk using a spliced roll but also because all of the printer light corrections would have to be done in the optical printer.  Today, you'd have a hard time finding a lab to do that.

 

And there is the other issue of getting the negative cut and whether you'd have to make it single-strand (so any fades and dissolves would have to be done in an optical printer and dupes cut it, or done digitally and recorded back to 3-perf and cut in) or A-B roll cut, which then means you would have had to pick standard lab lengths for the fades and dissolves, plus now with an A-B roll negative, you can't easily do a single step blow-up from a 3-perf negative to a 4-perf print in an optical printer (which as I said, was already unlikely).

 

The more common approach today is to do a D.I., get the negative scanned, color-correct digitally, do all the transitions digitally, and then use a film recorder to put it out onto a 4-perf 35mm negative, then make a contact print.

 

As Tyler said, the 3-perf image area is "super" and the 4-perf 35mm print projection area is smaller, within "Academy" width to allow a soundtrack on the side of the print.

 

Which of course brings up sound...

 

All of this seems rather complicated just to make a print for a short film.  If your intention was to make a print, you should have shot it in 4-perf standard 35mm (1.85 or anamorphic 2.40) so that you could cut the negative and make a contact print.


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#4 Gleb Volkov

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Posted 16 May 2016 - 11:53 AM

Thanks for the detailed answer!

 

It wasn't really a choice of shooting 3-perf to begin with, I was just faced with this fact on site at the last moment. So now trying to figure this out.

 

The entire film is a one-shot fitting on a single 400' roll of film, 5:30 m.

There's no cutting involved, except trimming the edges and maybe adding titles.

It's completely mute, there's no sound track required for a projection.

 

So which way would be the simplest for me at this point?


Edited by Gleb Volkov, 16 May 2016 - 11:57 AM.

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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 16 May 2016 - 11:57 AM

You'd have to consult a lab to see which of the options I laid out is more doable.  Even just putting titles on the roll requires a splice to deal with unless you do a D.I.

 

So many labs have retired their optical printers that most are going to recommend doing a D.I.


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#6 Gleb Volkov

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Posted 16 May 2016 - 12:04 PM

Ok, got it. Will pick it up with the lab. Thank you for your time, that helped me a lot!


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#7 Dirk DeJonghe

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Posted 17 May 2016 - 04:11 AM

You need both an optical reduction plus a 3Perf to 4 perf change. This is done by having a 3Perf movement in the projector and a 4Perf movement in the camera of the optical printer. Once this is done, you still need to put a mask by exposing a mask film on a contact printer. It has been many years since we did 3 perf work on the optical printer, but all the parts are still there. What is more, when doing direct optical reductions from B&W negative to B&W positive, you may run into halation problems, depending on image content (black halation around backlit hair for example). This is because of lack of anti-halation layer in the B&W positive, this problem is much reduced when going via Interpositive/Duplicate negative.


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#8 Gleb Volkov

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Posted 17 May 2016 - 08:18 PM

Thanks for the detailed explanation!

 

Upon further research I am now trying to go another route:

The projection will be on a Kinoton lab projector, which is supposed to be able to screen 3-perf with a simple flick of a switch.

I'm planning to make a 3-perf (rather than a 4-perf) positive and just screen this way.

 

If all checks out this is supposed to be a simpler route.


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#9 Dirk DeJonghe

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Posted 17 May 2016 - 11:56 PM

Very few 3Perf projectors around.


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#10 Doug Palmer

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Posted 18 May 2016 - 03:35 AM

Very few 3Perf projectors around.

But lots of 4perfs.  Is there an economic way I wonder to convert them to 3perf.  And Tyler, I believe you were considering some months back of manufacturing a 3perf/2perf machine  :D Any further thoughts on this ?  

It does seem a lot of trouble to make a 4perf print from a 3perf original.  And I guess you'd have similar sorts of problems with 2perf original.


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#11 Dirk DeJonghe

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Posted 18 May 2016 - 04:32 AM

You would also have to provide optical sound recorders for 3 perf. I don't see that happening. 


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#12 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 18 May 2016 - 10:29 AM

Very few 3Perf projectors around.


Far as I know, there aren't ANY 3 perf projectors around. I'd bet there were only a few, 4 perf projectors modified and they're probably long gone.

3 perf came around right at the end of cutting on film, so there would be no reason to project 3 perf camera positive. Filmmakers would simply transfer the negative to video, cut on video, conform the negative and reduction print it to 4 perf.

Adding sound to 2 or 3 perf is easy, Dolby Digital already resides between the sprockets. Adding a timecode track to the outside edge were SDDS is, would also be simple.

My 2 perf and 3 perf table top projector idea would be specifically designed to run a modified format. However, it costs a lot of money to develop. I did see a very similar design recently that kinda threw me off a bit, even though it was 4 perf, the concept was very similar.
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#13 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 18 May 2016 - 10:44 AM

Ten years ago, all the major labs in Los Angeles could project 3-perf -- Technicolor, Deluxe, FotoKem.


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#14 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 18 May 2016 - 11:36 AM

I was told by the blokes over at Fotokem, they still have theirs.
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#15 Kenny N Suleimanagich

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Posted 18 May 2016 - 01:26 PM

I wonder if the 2016 prices of an optical reduction still work out to be less expensive than shooting 4 perf for a 1.85 release? 


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#16 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 18 May 2016 - 06:10 PM

If you're doing a photochemical finish and you're very tight on shooting ratio, 4 perf winds up being less money then 3 perf, by a very small margin. 2 perf reduction printed and turned into anamorphic, is less expensive. With a digital workflow and scan back to film, 3 perf is the best way to go.

From my understanding, you can't time the film during the IP/optical reduction process. If you COULD, then you WOULD save a considerable amount of money and time. However, I think you need to first time the film and make a 3 perf IP, then do a reduction print to 4 perf. That means you'd be 5th generation by theatrical, which is really bad.
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#17 Dirk DeJonghe

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Posted 19 May 2016 - 12:24 AM

We can time the film during optical reduction/blow up and make fades as well; our optical printer has the B&H light valves and fader. We did many hundreds of S16 productions where only a few direct blow-ups were made purely for festivals. First a trial print was made on S16 contact positive, then viewed and color correction fine-tuned, then in many cases only one blow-up print was made. We did the same for 3Perf, but no contact print here, only reduction to 4Perf direct.

A properly made direct blow-up from S16, with good lenses and good photography still is mind-blowing quality even today.


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#18 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 19 May 2016 - 12:09 PM

So you can do scene by scene color correction through your optical printer?
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#19 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 19 May 2016 - 01:06 PM

It's been done the other direction too, there were a few gorgeous 70mm timed prints made off of the Super-35 o-neg for "Howard's End" and "Remains of the Day".
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#20 Kenny N Suleimanagich

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Posted 19 May 2016 - 01:57 PM

I didn't realize those were S35! 

 

I was actually recently watching some deleted scenes from "Remains of the Day" on youtube and they look like they're from a workprint – the image is 1.37 and you can see the boom pole dipping into the frame occasionally, with dust spots here and there. I was thinking about projection mattes and such, and wondering how common something like that was in the photochemical era: shooting full-aperture for a 1.85 finish. 


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