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Awesome S16 Transfer from FotoKem (with Links to Samples)


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#1 Karl Lee

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Posted 27 September 2016 - 01:24 PM

Well, I'm a little late (ok...really late!), but I just wanted to give a shout out to FotoKem for a really nice S16 processing and transfer job they did for me late last year.  I finally got around to uploading a few samples of my filming in Chicago, Toronto, and Ottawa which I thought I'd share, since I know many of us are curious about how others' transfers have turned out.  I'm really happy with the transfer, and I think FotoKem's work added a nice, crisp look to my otherwise rudimentary camera work.

 


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#2 Will Montgomery

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Posted 27 September 2016 - 02:58 PM

I've never thought of FotoKem accept for really large projects. Good to know they'll take test reels and less than 10,000 feet!


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#3 David Cunningham

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Posted 27 September 2016 - 03:10 PM

Oh yes... I use them all the time for processing and printing of my 16mm projects.  They are pretty much on par for pricing for those things as well.

 

As for transfers, I still go with MetroPost and Gamma Ray Digital because their prices are way lower and I think their scans at least on par if not better than what I have seen from Fotokem.

 

Unfortunately, Youtube compression makes it impossible to see how good these scans are as the grain is all blocked up.  The color and sharpness as a whole look excellent and your exposure and composition look great!  Any chance we can get some full quality downloads to get an idea what those scans really look like?


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#4 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 27 September 2016 - 07:50 PM

Oh yes... I use them all the time for processing and printing of my 16mm projects.  They are pretty much on par for pricing for those things as well.


Same here.  I've been extremely happy with Fotokem's work.

 

Nice work, Karl.  But I must say, it's a bit too crisp for my tastes.  I really have to look to see any grain, to the point that it looks like it could be mistaken for digital.  But as long as you got what you were looking for, that's all that matters.


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#5 David Cunningham

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Posted 27 September 2016 - 08:05 PM

Same here.  I've been extremely happy with Fotokem's work.
 
Nice work, Karl.  But I must say, it's a bit too crisp for my tastes.  I really have to look to see any grain, to the point that it looks like it could be mistaken for digital.  But as long as you got what you were looking for, that's all that matters.


I bet the grain is there in the original. You can see it in flashes. I think it's the compression.
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#6 Gregg MacPherson

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Posted 27 September 2016 - 08:07 PM

The Toronto clip I looked at on my 23" HD screen was 50D stock.  I didn't expect to see grain.  Bill,  do you think one normally would see grain.

 

The Chicago clip had less contrast,  as though there was a lot of UV,  or no sunshade or ?


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#7 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 27 September 2016 - 11:43 PM

One side note, anything you've seen in the theaters in the last 3 years that was shot on film in the US, was processed and finished at FotoKem.

FotoKem is the LAST big lab in the country that can do everything. So their work is spot on.

I've recently developed a business relationship with them and outside of the high pricing, the results are top notch.
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#8 Karl Lee

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Posted 28 September 2016 - 12:47 AM

Thanks for the notes and replies.  As some of you have already mentioned, I think some of the quality and grain is definitely lost in the YouTube compression.  I actually tried exporting a variety of different formats from Premiere and and uploading them to YouTube, but I found that even the higher resolution files ultimately succumb to YouTube's transcoding and compression.  

 

Same here.  I've been extremely happy with Fotokem's work.

 

Nice work, Karl.  But I must say, it's a bit too crisp for my tastes.  I really have to look to see any grain, to the point that it looks like it could be mistaken for digital.  But as long as you got what you were looking for, that's all that matters.

 

Bill, to my eyes grain is much more evident in the original ProRes clip I received from FotoKem, but moreso in the 250D than the 50D which is what I would have expected.   As I mentioned, I think the YouTube compression has killed some of the grain detail.  Out of curiosity, when you mentioned that it looks a bit too "crisp", are you referring to the lack of grain, or is there something else about the filming and/or transfer that might be making it a little too crisp in your opinion?  

 

 

Unfortunately, Youtube compression makes it impossible to see how good these scans are as the grain is all blocked up.  The color and sharpness as a whole look excellent and your exposure and composition look great!  Any chance we can get some full quality downloads to get an idea what those scans really look like?

 

I don't know exactly which equipment FotoKem used for the transfer, so I'm not sure if it was technically a telecine or scan transfer.  The end product, as I requested, was a ProRes 4444 clip, so I don't have discrete, individual frames from a scan.  Even so, if you're curious I could try uploading a few snippets of my transfers to Dropbox and make them available for  download.  I think ProRes is pretty much out of the question on account of its size, but I could experiment with a few different formats.

 

 

I've never thought of FotoKem accept for really large projects. Good to know they'll take test reels and less than 10,000 feet!

 

Yes, my project was just processing and transfer for 800' of S16, and they were very accommodating and happy to help.


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#9 David Cunningham

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Posted 28 September 2016 - 02:56 PM

I am pretty sure they use a Spirit 4K Datacine for their transfers.

 

If you export to Prores 422HQ you should have most of the original information except the ability to re-grade.  That should be small enough to upload to dropbox or even a google drive folder you could share.


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#10 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 28 September 2016 - 05:07 PM

Bill, to my eyes grain is much more evident in the original ProRes clip I received from FotoKem, but moreso in the 250D than the 50D which is what I would have expected.   As I mentioned, I think the YouTube compression has killed some of the grain detail.  Out of curiosity, when you mentioned that it looks a bit too "crisp", are you referring to the lack of grain, or is there something else about the filming and/or transfer that might be making it a little too crisp in your opinion?

 

Lack of grain is part of it, but I guess I'm used to seeing a softer image even when viewing a high-end film-to-digital transfer.  Could also be the deep depth-of-field.  Were you using NDs?...


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#11 Karl Lee

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Posted 30 September 2016 - 01:13 PM

Bill,

 

I was using a ND9 when I was shooting 250D in Chicago, and no filter when I was shooting 50D in Toronto and Ottawa.  I checked my notes, and with a couple of exceptions, I filmed most of the shots in Toronto and Ottawa at a T5.6 / 8 split (50D / no filter).  In Chicago, I filmed most of the shots in direct sunlight at T11, while most shots with mixed sun / shadows were filmed at a T5.6 / 8 split or T8 (250D with ND9).  That said, perhaps the narrower apertures and resulting deeper DOF are contributing to your observations.  Also, many shots were filmed with my lens at its widest (11.5 mm), so that combined with the narrower aperture did result in a deeper DOF.

 

Generally speaking, when filming exteriors as I did in my uploaded videos, are narrower apertures like T8 or T11 used frequently, or do most cinematographers prefer filtering down to maybe a T2.8 or T4, even on a sunny day to achieve a shallower DOF?  There are many variables and I'm sure it all depends on the situation and desired look, but maybe next time I'll give it a try.  Focus will be a little more critical, but I wouldn't mind experimenting with a shallower DOF. 

 

You hear about trying to make video look like film all the time, but I guess trying to make film look like film can sometimes be an issue as well!


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#12 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 30 September 2016 - 02:15 PM

Bill,
 
I was using a ND9 when I was shooting 250D in Chicago, and no filter when I was shooting 50D in Toronto and Ottawa.  I checked my notes, and with a couple of exceptions, I filmed most of the shots in Toronto and Ottawa at a T5.6 / 8 split (50D / no filter).  In Chicago, I filmed most of the shots in direct sunlight at T11, while most shots with mixed sun / shadows were filmed at a T5.6 / 8 split or T8 (250D with ND9).  That said, perhaps the narrower apertures and resulting deeper DOF are contributing to your observations.  Also, many shots were filmed with my lens at its widest (11.5 mm), so that combined with the narrower aperture did result in a deeper DOF.
 
Generally speaking, when filming exteriors as I did in my uploaded videos, are narrower apertures like T8 or T11 used frequently, or do most cinematographers prefer filtering down to maybe a T2.8 or T4, even on a sunny day to achieve a shallower DOF?  There are many variables and I'm sure it all depends on the situation and desired look, but maybe next time I'll give it a try.  Focus will be a little more critical, but I wouldn't mind experimenting with a shallower DOF. 
 
You hear about trying to make video look like film all the time, but I guess trying to make film look like film can sometimes be an issue as well!

 

Don't get me wrong, Karl - you're footage is really nice!  But the higher f-stops and wide lens definitely make sense.  It's all a matter of taste but when shooting in direct sunlight, I try to filter the image so that I don't go beyond f/5.6 or a f/5.6-f/8 split at most.  It's also a matter of optics.  I have vintage Zeiss & Cooke primes which produce softer images than modern lenses even at higher stops.  I'm guessing you were using a newer lens?...


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#13 Karl Lee

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Posted 02 October 2016 - 03:35 PM

No offense taken, Bill.  I can certainly see your perspective regarding the deeper DOF and overall crispness of some scenes, and I'm always interested to hear feedback from others. 

 

My lens is a Canon 11.5 - 138.  I bought it used, and I'm not quite sure when Canon made this particular lens, but it's specified as a S16 lens, so my guess is probably late '90s or early 2000s.  It's not nearly as expensive as a Cooke or Zeiss, but I didn't want to put too much money into a much more expensive lens since this is more less a hobby for me...and I already put enough into buying the SR3!  Even so, I've been quite pleased with the lens, considering that I was able to stay under $2500 for a pre-owned PL mount zoom.

 

On a side note, in an earlier post Gregg indirectly mentioned something about the possibility of UV (presumably since it was a sunny day) resulting in less contrast. Under what circumstances would the use of a UV filter be recommended?  I don't have any UV filters at the moment, although I was thinking of picking up one at some point to use as an optical flat in my matte box for lens protection if I'm not using any other filters. 


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#14 David Cunningham

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Posted 04 October 2016 - 09:09 PM

Just an FYI that I just received my most recent Fotokem process and "one light" print and again it is amazing and might even be better than some places' fully timed prints. Beautiful work! That is all.
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