Jump to content


Photo

Crappy Film Transfer


  • Please log in to reply
8 replies to this topic

#1 CHE

CHE

    New

  • Basic Members
  • Pip
  • 8 posts
  • Other

Posted 28 September 2005 - 02:14 PM

Hello All...

I recently shot a short on Kodak Vision 500T. I had adequate light and was getting readings around 4-5.6. I also used a grey card at the head of each roll.

Here is my question...the telecine came back looking simply horrible. There was grain all over the place and the colors were totally washed out. The lab claims that it was shot poorly. However, I have sent the film to a new lab and it came back looking really good. What happened at the first lab? I used PRO 8MM in California for the bad telecine. Any thoughts? I would like to understand what constitutes a bad transfer. Thanks.
  • 0

#2 John Pytlak RIP

John Pytlak RIP

    (deceased)

  • Sustaining Members
  • 3499 posts
  • Industry Rep
  • Rochester, NY 14650-1922

Posted 28 September 2005 - 03:19 PM

Hello All...

I recently shot a short on Kodak Vision 500T. I had adequate light and was getting readings around 4-5.6. I also used a grey card at the head of each roll.

Here is my question...the telecine came back looking simply horrible. There was grain all over the place and the colors were totally washed out. The lab claims that it was shot poorly. However, I have sent the film to a new lab and it came back looking really good. What happened at the first lab? I used PRO 8MM in California for the bad telecine. Any thoughts? I would like to understand what constitutes a bad transfer. Thanks.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


The "look" of a transfer is very dependent on the skill of the colorist. Even with simple "primary" color correction tools, they have control of the shadows, midtones, and highlights of every scene. A "lifted" black where the blacks transfer as a dark gray may make the grains much more visible, especially if the negative is somewhat underexposed.

Usually a transfer house will first try to understand the "look" you want -- was this done?
  • 0

#3 Eric Steelberg ASC

Eric Steelberg ASC
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 538 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles, CA

Posted 28 September 2005 - 03:35 PM

You get what you pay for and Pro8 has very average equipment. And judging by their rates you are most likely getting a very inexperienced colorist.

Out of curiosity, what film stock were you transferring?

I would be helpful to post some still frames of the bad vs the good.

Edited by Eric Steelberg, 28 September 2005 - 03:35 PM.

  • 0

#4 Jaan Shenberger

Jaan Shenberger
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 262 posts
  • Director
  • San Francisco

Posted 28 September 2005 - 07:30 PM

did you also get a workprint? often you have to clearly reiterate many times that you want your telecine dailies to be from your neg, and not the workprint. this has happened to some people i know. the difference in image quality between a transfer from a workprint and from a neg will be substantial-- less grain, better colors, more shadow detail, etc.

i have no idea why any lab would think anyone would want their telecine to come from the workprint. is it cheaper/easier for them or something?

hope this helps,
jaan
  • 0

#5 Sean Morris

Sean Morris
  • Sustaining Members
  • 83 posts
  • Other
  • Sydney / Australia

Posted 28 September 2005 - 08:27 PM

Hi,

Personally, I would stay away from the older Ranks MkIII etc, I think most
of the older Ranks are way past the used by date, try another post house.

Cheers
Sean
  • 0

#6 CHE

CHE

    New

  • Basic Members
  • Pip
  • 8 posts
  • Other

Posted 29 September 2005 - 08:46 AM

Thanks one and all. I will post pics of the good vs bad. The difference was incredible...almost has obvioius as day and night. Ok, thanks again and watch for the pics.
  • 0

#7 Stephen Williams

Stephen Williams
  • Sustaining Members
  • 4708 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Europe

Posted 29 September 2005 - 09:02 AM

i have no idea why any lab would think anyone would want their telecine to come from the workprint. is it cheaper/easier for them or something?

hope this helps,
jaan

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>



Hi,

Thats how labs make money. Tell people its better to transfer from a print!

Stephen
  • 0

#8 Wendell_Greene

Wendell_Greene
  • Sustaining Members
  • 545 posts
  • Other

Posted 29 September 2005 - 10:17 AM

Actually there are a some directors and DPs who like to transfer from a low contrast print rather than the negative when working on music videos and commercials. I read that David Fincher liked to work this way when he was shooting on film.

Colorist Dave Hussey of Company 3 who worked with director Chris Milk and Cinematographer Danny Heile on the Modest Mouse music video for "Ocean Breathes Salty told Film and Video Magazine [the article "How They Did It"-Pushing Music Video Technique to 11] " Chris Milk, Danny Hiele and I decided to transfer from a low contrast print. We felt it would give us a rich, highly saturated element that would still have cinematic appeal."

Director Phil Harder said "[Cinematographer] Matty [Libatique, ASC} and I have always believed in transferring from a print rather than the negative." And while most people will use a low contrast print when doing a film to tape transfer from a print, Libatique does not. "He doesn't use any safety nets, say Harder. "His philosophy is "Print it and it is what it is"

On the "Mad Season" music video by Matchbox 20, Libatique was forced to shoot in daylight conditions that were constantly changing. In order to control contrast he had daylight scenes that were shot in overcast conditions printed on Kodak Vision Premier and scenes shot in sunlight printed on Fuji.

Harder felt that transferrring from the print give the video a look "reminiscent of old CP16 footage". "We put the film print up in telecine and it looked great right off the bat". The duo also felt that he high contrast film print "signifiied nostalgia and helped them exploit the film textrue as much as possible" - "Crowd Control" -American Cinematographer - July 2001, page 76
  • 0

#9 David Cox

David Cox
  • Sustaining Members
  • 323 posts
  • Digital Image Technician
  • london, UK

Posted 29 September 2005 - 01:36 PM

This could also be a confusion between a "one light" and "best light" transfer. Your original lab might have assumed that you just needed a "cheap as possible" transfer from which you would edit, then re-telecine your selected rushes to "full quality" later. This practise is common place where there are a lot of rushes because it means you only use an expensive telecine for the rushes you actually use in your final edit. The cheap one-light transfer is usually done on an old telecine, with no noise reduction or stopping for regrades.

However, personally I hate it because you have no idea if your original film is any good and surely part of the reason for the transfer is to be able to technically review your film.

David Cox
Baraka Post Production
London
  • 0


FJS International, LLC

Technodolly

The Slider

Ritter Battery

Abel Cine

Metropolis Post

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Wooden Camera

CineTape

Tai Audio

Rig Wheels Passport

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Willys Widgets

Glidecam

rebotnix Technologies

Opal

Visual Products

Aerial Filmworks

CineLab

Paralinx LLC

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Visual Products

CineTape

Technodolly

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Glidecam

Opal

Tai Audio

Paralinx LLC

Metropolis Post

CineLab

Wooden Camera

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Willys Widgets

rebotnix Technologies

Rig Wheels Passport

Aerial Filmworks

FJS International, LLC

Ritter Battery

The Slider

Abel Cine