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Workprint or Telecine


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#1 Nguyen D. Nguyen

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Posted 05 July 2005 - 12:52 PM

Hello all,

I have a very quick question (asking for a possibly lengthy response) about shooting on 35mm and getting the negative processed.

If I were to shoot on 35mm, which would cost less:
(1) Getting the negative developed and making a one-light workprint to edit manually
(2) Getting the negative developed and doing a one-light telecine with the time-codes to edit in final cut.

I'm talking specifically about the processing (I have access to both manual and computer editing systems). I was thinking of doing a telecine instead, editing it on final cut, and outputting an EDL so I can conform the negative. Is the cost of making a workprint vs. telecine very big? By how much so? Thanks.
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#2 K Borowski

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Posted 05 July 2005 - 01:14 PM

It all depends on the quality of your telecine (and the corresponding price) versus the quality of your workprint. If you get a B&W workprint, chances are that it is going to be cheaper than your 2K telecine transfer. Also, it depends on what sort of equipment you have access to. With a little looking around, I have found a guy who has a 16mm contact printer that he'll let me use for free. All that my workprints are going to cost is the price of print stock and chemistry. Like I said it all depends. If you could tell me what labs you are considering for workprinting and how long your movie is I could probably give you a better idea what a workprint would cost.

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#3 Nguyen D. Nguyen

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Posted 05 July 2005 - 01:28 PM

It all depends on the quality of your telecine (and the corresponding price) versus the quality of your workprint.  If you get a B&W workprint, chances are that it is going to be cheaper than your 2K telecine transfer.  Also, it depends on what sort of equipment you have access to.  With a little looking around, I have found a guy who has a 16mm contact printer that he'll let me use for free.  All that my workprints are going to cost is the price of print stock and chemistry.  Like I said it all depends.  If you could tell me what labs you are considering for workprinting and how long your movie is I could probably give you a better idea what a workprint would cost.

Regards.
~Karl Borowski

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Let's say, for example, you want to shoot about 10 (~1000ft) minutes of 35mm color or b/w, and you want to make an ... acceptable, but not great quality telecine (just to edit, so you can at least judge the most critical things, like correct focus, fogging, etc.). The lab that I used for my previous film was fotokem down in la, so I'd be glad to know if there are other more cost-effective film developing labs, in north and south CA. I paid about 150-170 for a b/w 400 16mm negative to be developed and had a one-light workprint struck from it.

Again, the quality really doesnt' have to be that great, it's just for editing purposes and should at least have the timecode so i can match the original film negative.
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#4 Michael Most

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Posted 05 July 2005 - 05:58 PM

Hello all,

I have a very quick question (asking for a possibly lengthy response) about shooting on 35mm and getting the negative processed.

If I were to shoot on 35mm, which would cost less:
(1) Getting the negative developed and making a one-light workprint to edit manually
(2) Getting the negative developed and doing a one-light telecine with the time-codes to edit in final cut.

I'm talking specifically about the processing (I have access to both manual and computer editing systems). I was thinking of doing a telecine instead, editing it on final cut, and outputting an EDL so I can conform the negative. Is the cost of making a workprint vs. telecine very big? By how much so? Thanks.


Do you currently have either a film editing room or a digital editing system? If so, this should influence your decision because that's a fairly significant cost. If you go the film route, you also need to print sound and you also need to sync and code the dailies, meaning you need a coding machine (probably an Acmade, but it could be something else), either rented or owned. If you go the telecine route, the sound is usually synced for you by the transfer house, although the cheaper you try to go the more likely it is that you'll be fixing a lot of that sync sound during editorial. You do, of course, eliminate any and all issues regarding negative cutting by editing on film, since by supplying a work picture you ensure absolute accuracy.

As for printing picture vs. telecine, the costs are not that different, about .20-.25 per foot. In telecine you have to pay for the tape stock, which makes up some of the difference provided you're using a professional tape format. You can find "bargain" telecine rates of considerably less, but you get what you pay for. Someone else mentioned being able to see focus problems in a telecine transfer, but this is precisely what you **can't** judge. To properly judge focus issues, you need either a film print or, at the very least, an HD telecine transfer.
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#5 Nguyen D. Nguyen

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Posted 05 July 2005 - 10:14 PM

Do you currently have either a film editing room or a digital editing system? If so, this should influence your decision because that's a fairly significant cost. If you go the film route, you also need to print sound and you also need to sync and code the dailies, meaning you need a coding machine (probably an Acmade, but it could be something else), either rented or owned. If you go the telecine route, the sound is usually synced for you by the transfer house, although the cheaper you try to go the more likely it is that you'll be fixing a lot of that sync sound during editorial. You do, of course, eliminate any and all issues regarding negative cutting by editing on film, since by supplying a work picture you ensure absolute accuracy.

As for printing picture vs. telecine, the costs are not that different, about .20-.25 per foot. In telecine you have to pay for the tape stock, which makes up some of the difference provided you're using a professional tape format. You can find "bargain" telecine rates of considerably less, but you get what you pay for. Someone else mentioned being able to see focus problems in a telecine transfer, but this is precisely what you **can't** judge. To properly judge focus issues, you need either a film print or, at the very least, an HD telecine transfer.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Yes, I do have access to a flatbed editor (or easily can get access to one) and a digital editing system.

So basically, processing the negative and getting a workprint made is cheaper, right? I suspected as much, which is good, because I do prefer to do it the old way (makes me focus more on every little frame till I get sick, not that digital isn't good too). I like holding my pictures and feeling them in my hands. Call it old fashion, but I do put a lot of work into it, so I gotta get the most out of it.

I kind of figured that in order to have a workable workprint on digital, you'd need to get a pretty high D.I. like an HD master. If that's the case, the costs look like they're better spent elsewhere.

Cool, thanks for the response.

Edited by Nguyen D. Nguyen, 05 July 2005 - 10:16 PM.

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#6 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 05 July 2005 - 11:26 PM

Did you read the part about having to get the sound transferred to mag and getting an ink coding machine? You're cutting picture AND sound, remember. It's not as simple as getting a workprint.

Don't do this without cutting something short first on someone else's flatbed editing system before you commit to doing a larger project this way. Cutting a movie on film requires a lot of planning and organization and a careful understanding of workflow, lest you find yourself crawling on the floor looking for a two-frame trim that you need to put back in...
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#7 Nguyen D. Nguyen

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Posted 05 July 2005 - 11:42 PM

Did you read the part about having to get the sound transferred to mag and getting an ink coding machine?  You're cutting picture AND sound, remember.  It's not as simple as getting a workprint.

Don't do this without cutting something short first on someone else's flatbed editing system before you commit to doing a larger project this way. Cutting a movie on film requires a lot of planning and organization and a careful understanding of workflow, lest you find yourself crawling on the floor looking for a two-frame trim that you need to put back in...

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Thanks for the advice. I'm still in the very infantile stage of the preproduction process where we're trying to work out all the numbers and details first. Every project I've worked on so far, we've used a DAT recorder and it wasn't synced dialogue (sound effects were about the closest thing) and most of the projects have been short so far.
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#8 Dominic Case

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Posted 06 July 2005 - 11:14 PM

Again, the quality really doesnt' have to be that great, it's just for editing purposes

I can't believe I read this in a cinematography site.

Your work print (whether on film or tape) is the only proof you have of the quality of the image you've shot. OF COURSE it has to be good. Exact colour balance isn't important (though if you've exposed correctly, a one-light print or transfer will be spot-on); but you need to know that your image is sharp, steady, and not fogged at the very least.

Also, if some shots are better than others, you need to know in the editing stage which are the good shots and which are the duds. Can't do that if the quality of the workprint isn't up to it.

Or doesn't the quality of the image matter?
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