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35MM Film Reel Optical Negative vs PrintMaster Vs InterPositive Vs Internegative


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#1 Frank Chang

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Posted 08 August 2016 - 03:02 PM

Hello. Just two questions about 35mm film reel optical negative, printmaster and interpositive-internegative.

 

First question. I understand that camera negative would be the best in picture quality (i.e first generation).

But how about "optical picture negative with no audio track",  "printmaster" and

"interpositive" or "internegative" Which one comes first as best in picture quality? What I meant by this is,

which one comes in as early (nearest to 1st generation) and which one is the later generation.

 

Second question. What is the order of best quality from best to worst (worst here will be considered as dupe

for theater print)

 

 

Thanks for advance for the answers

 

 

Frank


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#2 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 08 August 2016 - 03:31 PM

Hey Frank, welcome to the forum!

Per the rules here, we use first and last names as our identifiers. You will probably be hounded about that until you remedy it, so might as well give you the heads up.

For photochemical finishing, everything is done with a negative to positive to negative to positive. So original camera negative would have an "interpositive" struck from it. That would be the 2nd generation and would have color/soundtrack applied.

Generally an internegative is struck from the interpositive and that "IN" is used to make theatrical prints. Several "IN's" will be struck from the interpositive because one IN can only run off a few hundred prints.

Theater prints can obviously be made from any IN, either early in the run or late in the run. Obviously the first prints struck from the first IN would be the best prints.

You can also strike answer prints directly from the camera negative. This technique is done to check things like color and sound before striking a final IP. Smaller films use this technique to strike a hand-full of high-quality prints, right from the negative for festivals or limited runs.

Unfortunately, there are really only two ways to "finish" your movie. One way is the process mentioned above, but it's only good for academy 4 perf camera original. The moment you wish to "save" film and shoot 2 perf or 3 perf, you need to do an optical reduction, which is expensive and adds one more layer to the whole process. With 2 and 3 perf, it's better to just scan the negative at 5k and laser it back to film. The funny thing is, that whole process is more costly then just shooting the movie on 4 perf to begin with! If your net result will be a photochemical finish with 35mm prints, you can't get better then shooting it 4 perf.

Hope any of that was helpful.
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#3 Frank Chang

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Posted 08 August 2016 - 03:45 PM

I see. Thanks Tyler Purcell for the detailed info. So, which generation would "optical picture negative with no audio track" be?

 

 

Frank Chang


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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 08 August 2016 - 03:54 PM

Words like "printmaster" and "optical negative" usually apply to the soundtrack, not the picture.


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#5 Frank Chang

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Posted 08 August 2016 - 04:13 PM

Thanks, David Mullen. I have seem a 35mm film reel that was marked Opt Neg on the leader but the film

is orange based and have pictures but no soundtrack. I assume by what you said, the leader maybe

incorrect in saying it is optical negative. Since it is an orange based and with only pictures (no soundtrack),

what do you think it is? I was thinking it is perhaps an interpositive or internegative? 


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#6 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 08 August 2016 - 04:43 PM

If it were original negative for an edited movie, it would have cement splices in it though I'm not sure how easy it is to spot that.  Also I believe you'd see the keycode numbers jump at each cut.  A lab person who handles cut o-neg versus IP or IN could tell you the differences more precisely.

 

Obviously an IP would have a positive image with the orange color mask.

 

Maybe the person meant to write "original negative" not "optical negative"?

 

This is an example of an optical soundtrack negative that I found online:

Reel9-2.jpg


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#7 Frank Chang

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Posted 08 August 2016 - 05:08 PM

The film that I was referring also came with a log sheet from a lab called "Studio Film Labs".

It's got the footage with the scene description from start to finish. From the date of the

log sheet, it is about 1 month before theater release. It does also have another separate

35mm reel of orange film that have stereo analog track only with no picture.

 

So, the film in question is orange based with pictures only and fully edited, but no sound track.

Do you think it is an original negative? And if so, what generation would this be?

And would this supposed original negative be a best source if one decides to convert to

blu-ray format or will there be a better generation one should go looking for?

 

 

Thanks


Edited by WallStreet Bull, 08 August 2016 - 05:14 PM.

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#8 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 08 August 2016 - 05:27 PM

Orange would be negative.

Depending on the vintage, original camera negative will have keycode numbers on the edge, as of I believe the 80's. If the film is older the 80's, you'll have to look for other identifying information.

Yes original camera negative is the best to make a scan from. You will have to color correct and find sound of course.
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#9 Frank Chang

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Posted 08 August 2016 - 06:01 PM

Thanks, Tyler. This is from the 80s. Without knowing the keycode numbers, do you think the film

in question should be an original camera negative, since it came from a lab that was about 1 month

before theater release?

 

And by "Orange would be negative", I assume you mean the pictures on the film should

be in negative polarity?


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#10 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 08 August 2016 - 06:09 PM

Interpositives are orange too. If the image is a negative, then it could be original negative or a dupe negative made from the interpositive.

 

By definition, the original negative is first generation (unless one considered the first thing copied off of it to be the first generation... so does that make the original negative the "zero" generation? No generation?)

 

You'd have to warn the people doing the transfer that they are dealing with cement-spliced original negative, if that's what it is.  I don't know if a scanner would be put less stress on the splices than a telecine -- I'd assume so since scanners don't run in real time.

 

A month before release doesn't mean anything -- the film could have been finished a year before it got released and interpositives and dupe negatives struck back then.


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#11 Gregg MacPherson

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Posted 08 August 2016 - 06:10 PM

In a dust free room,  with some cotton gloves,  using a set of film rewinds,  split spools,  looking at the picture neg (orange mask),  do you feel or see any splices?  No?  Then this is an internegative.  One step or more (probably two steps) removed from camera negative.


Edited by Gregg MacPherson, 08 August 2016 - 06:21 PM.

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#12 Frank Chang

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Posted 08 August 2016 - 06:13 PM

Thank you all for the information.


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#13 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 08 August 2016 - 06:16 PM

"WallStreet Bull", you need to contact Tim Tyler the administrator and fix your User Name -- you were supposed to register using a real name.  It's one of the first instructions listed.


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#14 Frank Chang

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Posted 08 August 2016 - 06:28 PM

Ok, thanks.


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#15 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 09 August 2016 - 01:59 AM

And by "Orange would be negative", I assume you mean the pictures on the film should
be in negative polarity?


Yes, a "negative" would have negative polarity imagery. David is right about the orange look of an interpositive, it's just not quite as bright and of course would have a positive image.
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#16 Perry Paolantonio

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Posted 09 August 2016 - 11:47 AM

You'd have to warn the people doing the transfer that they are dealing with cement-spliced original negative, if that's what it is.  I don't know if a scanner would be put less stress on the splices than a telecine -- I'd assume so since scanners don't run in real time.

 

Depends on the scanner. Speed really isn't the issue as much as tension. We can run pretty delicate film on our scanner at 30FPS with no problems - cut neg, shrunken film, film with splices made of bandaids (not kidding. it has happened). 

 

to the OP: it's also possible that it's a CRI, which is actually a positive film, but with an image that looks like a negative (just to confuse matters). It's a duplicate negative, basically. CRIs went out of fashion a while back but were pretty popular in the 70s/80s. Unfortunately, they have their own problems and tend to be less stable than camera originals, so they're more susceptible to fading.


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#17 Frank Chang

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Posted 09 August 2016 - 12:30 PM

Hello Perry. If assume it is a CRI and a positive film, but looks like negative. If one would project the image, would it be positive or negative? I am a little confused.

This film was from the mid 80s. I also heard that later CRI were better in less or none of fading, yet. Not sure if this is true?

I suppose fading could always be corrected with computer corrections?

Lastly, if you were to scan the film to 4K, would you consider this to be the best source to do it from?

 

Thanks

 

 

PS: I am logging in to the forum from my FaceBook account. Could I still change my username here to my name (Frank Chang)?


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#18 Perry Paolantonio

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Posted 09 August 2016 - 01:55 PM

Hello Perry. If assume it is a CRI and a positive film, but looks like negative. If one would project the image, would it be positive or negative? I am a little confused.

If you look at a negative, the image is reversed (blacks are white, white is black, and in the case of color, there is an overall orange cast to the film. If you print this to a CRI, which is reversal film (a positive film stock), you get what looks like a duplicate of the negative, for the most part: it's orange, the image is inverted so white is black and black is white. It was used as an intermediate to avoid beating up the camera original negatives in repeated printings. Pretty common format in the 70s and 80s. However, it can fade, and our experience has been hit or miss. On one film we scanned recently, the film elements we were given consisted of two complete 5-reel CRIs on 35mm. They were made at different labs and stored in different locations for quite some time. One is much more faded than the other, and the same scanning parameters give drastically different results. 

 

I suppose fading could always be corrected with computer corrections?

Maybe. Depends on the extent of the fading. The only way to know for sure is to run some scan tests to take a look at what you have. And remember, for older films it's not uncommon for the reels that originated at different labs to get mixed together, so it may be that one reel looks fine and another doesn't because at some point they were independent of one another and have their own separate issues. 

 

 

This film was from the mid 80s. I also heard that later CRI were better in less or none of fading, yet. Not sure if this is true?

Not necessarily. Quality of processing, storage conditions, how many times the film was used to make prints -- all that stuff plays into fading.


 

Lastly, if you were to scan the film to 4K, would you consider this to be the best source to do it from?

A CRI is ok, certainly better than a print, but not as good as the original neg. You're at least one generation away from the original with a CRI, so it will be slightly softer, and it may have more damage from having been printed. Then again, it may not be. There's really no hard and fast rule - you want to get as close to the original as you can, but if you have A/B roll negative, you're typically looking at a lot more work on the conforming/grading side but it should give you the sharpest results. A CRI is generally going to be easier to color correct because it will already have been timed by the lab when it was struck. Or at least, that's the theory. In reality, even CRIs may still need extensive scene by scene color correction. 

 

PS: I am logging in to the forum from my FaceBook account. Could I still change my username here to my name (Frank Chang)?

 

 

Send a message to Tim Tyler, and he'll get it straightened out. 
 
-perry

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#19 Frank Chang

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Posted 09 August 2016 - 02:06 PM

Many thanks. Perry, being that this film is orange and have no soundtracks, could it be

a backup negative rather than a CRI?

 

I currently don't have any tools or know-how to 

find out the difference when I look at the reel itself. Are there markings, coding, etc to

look for to tell if it is CRI or backup neg or original neg? The reels were produced by

"Studio Film Labs".


Edited by WallStreet Bull, 09 August 2016 - 02:16 PM.

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#20 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 09 August 2016 - 02:33 PM

CRI's were discontinued by Kodak in the mid-1980's.

 

I never figured out how labs got around the base being on the "wrong" side by skipping a generation when using CRI's.  When CRI's first came out, Kodak claimed the results were sharper than when making an IP/IN (until improved intermediate dupe stock came out in 1976) but if the CRI was struck emulsion-to-emulsion using a contact printer then the print would have been made by looking through the base, unless the CRI was made in an optical printer.


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