First post on this forum. I must say, having never actually worked with film before, I'm glad I found this website. Very informative.
DISCLAIMER: Never having worked with film, my knowledge comes entirely from the internet, no hands on experience. So if I say anything that sounds absurd, just let me know.
Having always used digital cameras, I want to shoot a movie on Super 16mm film, and have it finished on 35mm film. I've been trying to work out the workflow to get from the exposed negatives to that final print. I want to have it photochemically color timed, preferably without ever having a Digital Intermediate.
Now, if I were shooting on 35mm, I would simply color time, make the inter negative, and make copies from there, all analog. But with super 16, there is the sticky problem of having to blow it up to 35mm, and from what I've read, there are many ways to go about this. There are several discussions already on this forum, but most of them are over 10 years old, and the technology seems to have changed rather significantly since then.
I have an idea for some possible workflows, but I don't know if they would actually work the way I want them to or not.
One of them is to edit the 16mm film together, have it color timed, then optically blown up to 35mm, but I'm not sure if the colors would translate well (I've read conflicting statements, but some say that an optical printer can't reliably transmit the colors, meaning it might have to be retimed.)
If that were the case, I could have it edited, optically blown up to 35mm, then color timed, but that adds the cost of working with more 35mm in the process.
For another option, and I wouldn't really mind this as long as I didn't have to digitally alter the colors, but I could edit the 16mm film, color time it, then data scan it at 4k(Not that much more expensive than 2k) then downscale it to 2k(or not, if printing 4k weren't much more expensive, but I don't know.) and have it printed to 35mm film. The problems with that, however, after it was scanned, I don't know if you would have to digitally alter the colors, or if the direct scan can be printed back without any processing.
If it were the case that I would have to mess with the colors digitally anyway, then another thought was that I could edit the 16mm film, scan it without color timing, print it back to 35mm film, then photochemically color time that copy. But, that might be absurd. I don't really know, but I feel like after it was scanned, then printed, there might be some information taken from the film that makes photochemical color timing less effective, since you're just working with what a digital printer put on it, not the original analog goodness.
That's a bit of a book, so I'll summarize my specific questions:
1. Assuming both processes were done properly, which would be less expensive, optical blow up, or scanning then printing back to film? (I have no reference for cost for digital printing or optical blow up. As far as I know, in this day and age, one could be far cheaper than another.)
2. Assuming both those processes were done properly, which do you think would give the best results? (Knowing that I want a photochemical timing done.)
3. Will an optical printer transfer the timed colors properly, or would it have to be timed again?
4. Will a scan of an already color timed print properly transfer the colors when printed back to film? Or would the colors still have to be digitally altered before printing.
5. Can and untimed scan that has been printed back to film still be photochemically color timed, or is that absurd?
6. Sort of related to the first question, but any reference as to how much printing 2k and 4k digital to film would cost? I can't find any information on the cost like you can with scanning. Also, specific costs of the optical blowup.
I feel like some people are going to ask, "Why not just use a digital intermediate, instead of photochemically color timing? it would give you much better results, and be cheaper", and they're probably right, but it's just a hands on artistic thing. I'm relatively young, and grew up in a world that is entirely digital. Watching actual 35mm films at a theater is like a distant childhood memory, as most theaters have long been digital. And making movies with digital cameras is all I have ever done, but quite frankly, I'm at a point where I would like to create movies the same way my favorite movies from decades past were created, even if it slightly compromises visual clarity.
Just this month, I had two productions: one was a Super16 short film, direct blow up to 35mm after making a S16 contact print first, all photochemical workflow, the other is a feature film, shot on 35mm with both a photochemical grading and digital grading for DCP.
Just to say the film grading is still very much alive. For small runs, a direct blow up is more economical up to about 5 prints. We print a S16 print first, project it and do further color corrections if needed, the same grading information is then used during the blowup to positive or to interpositive. For direct blow-up you need to pland ahead concerning fades, titles etc. With good lenses and modern stocks, the results are breathtaking.
Apparently these guys are one of the best regarding DI to 16/35mm film prints on the US east coast. They provide a scene by scene color timed internegative and a single positive print as per their listed base price. The color timed IN then becomes the fundamental cornerstone to multiple prints if you can afford it. I would digitally grade your scanned film originals. Slightly. http://www.videofilm...iates--printing
Edited by Nicholas Kovats, 13 December 2016 - 05:33 PM.
Personally, I'd do a complete digital workflow on Super 16 these days.
Cutting 16mm negative requires special expertise (expense) and more time then 35mm due to the A/B roll nature of the format to cover splices.
Optical printers inherently soften the image and CAN add dirt/noise to the image if not in the best condition.
Doesn't matter how you cut the film, on 16 or digital, the photochemical finish process is the same. Keycode numbers on the side of the film (and in the Avid editing system) identify a particular frame's relative location. Once edited, the negative would be A/B roll cut and an answer print on 16mm would be made to check everything. After that, you would make a 35mm interpositive and color the film during that blow up process. All of your work from there on would be in the world of 35mm, which again is expensive. You could also strike a 16mm Interpositive and then make a 35mm blow up internegative, but that leads to less over-all quality.
My suggestion is to scan all the negative at 4k, cut the film digitally and then conform back to the 4k. Then spend all that money you would have on the blow up and 35mm answer printing/photochemical coloring process, on the laser out.
The quality of a 4k digital scan, color and laser out to 35mm is FAR superior. This one of the rare cases where doing a digital finish of something shot on film, does absolutely look better then the photochemical process.
I've only done one Super-16 feature about 18 years ago, did the blow-up at Colorlab in Maryland.
Yes, the problem was dealing with opticals like titles over picture. Back then, we did that work in 35mm and cut them into the 35mm dupe negative made from the Super-16 IP, then made a Super-16 reduction as well so we could cut them back into the Super-16 negative. Today, I'd do a D.I. -- you're going to need a digital master and a DCP for theaters anyway.
Much appreciated for the input, just wanted some info and viewpoints that weren't a decade old. I figured that digitally blowing it up would probably be the best option, but now I'm sure after looking at the prices given for digital printing by Video & Film Solutions (After days of researching, I don't know how I didn't come across their website before...) They are much lower than I expected, and had I known that, I probably wouldn't have even considered the optical blow up to begin with. Hopefully one day, I'll have a budget large enough to skip the blow up and just shoot 35mm film to begin with.
Robert. It says here on your web site that ..."Cinelab is acquiring a new LED based 2K film recorder from the same LA based company that built our state-of-the-art modular film scanner. " Will this be replacing the laser based Arri?
I think Tom's (VFS Owner) 2K filmout prices are low because he is using a LCD recorder he built and not an Arrilaser.
Hey Robert, what do you think about doing a 4k workflow from start to finish with a 4k laser out to 35mm? Do you guys have a machine that can do that, or do you think an entire 2k workflow would be sufficient?
I gather most DI films printed to 35mm were mostly 2k anyway eh?
Yeah, the Cinelab web site, it's like an artifact from the 90's.
I am working on a total redo of it in January with cool new pics and a better structure and information and scan samples and a toaster. Also a VOIP phone system and a receptionist so we improve our less than great phone communications.
We acquired two 4k license Arrilaser film recorders from Technicolor-Postworks NYC and I am going to have the guy who was Arri's Arrilaser guy out to the lab in January. Also we are talking to Steve Shaw about his closed loop recorder-lab calibration system, we are already a LightSpace license holder for monitor calibration and LUT creation.
I think the Arrilaser will be $275/min to shoot 2K and $475/min to shoot 4K and I have yet to figure out YCM seperation pricing.
We have the 2K LED recorder setup for 16mm recording at about $85/min