Jump to content


Photo

Super 16mm to HD options


  • Please log in to reply
11 replies to this topic

#1 Doug Williams

Doug Williams

    New

  • Basic Members
  • Pip
  • 2 posts
  • Producer

Posted 08 October 2005 - 02:10 PM

I am shooting my first very low budget super 16mm feature and I would ideally like to finish it to HD. I had a couple of ideas of how to do this as cheaply as possible and I wanted to run it by you guys. I will have a very tight shooting ratio(I will have thirty 400 ft rolls)

1. Get all super 16mm footage transferred to an HD format (D5? HDCAM?) as well as a standard definition video format of some kind (what kind?). Do an offline edit with FCP on my home computer and then do an online session somewhere using the EDL from FCP and the HD tapes. Color correct.

2. Get the super 16mm footage telecined to standard definition as cheaply as possible. Do an offline edit with FCP, then give this to the post house and ask them to transfer only the necessary 16mm film to HD. Then do an online edit with the FCP EDL. Color correct

3. Get the super 16mm footage telecined to sd, do the offline and then get the negative cut so I have a super 16 master. Then get that whole thing transferred to HD. Color correct.

Does that make sense? Does anyone know which route is likely to be cheaper and maybe approximately how much it would cost? Has anyone used either of these options? Is there a cheaper option I?m missing? Recommendations about which particular HD or SD?

ANOTHER very important thing for me to consider with this is that I may not have enough money in the budget to finish on HD right away. That would mean I would be stuck with showing what is intended as my offline edit around to distributors and investors and trying to raise enough to finish on HD or blow up. If that is the case then I would want the edit I do on my home computer to be the highest possible quality it can be. What would be the highest quality video format to telecine to which I would be able to load onto my home system and edit? (My home system is a g5 with final cut pro hd and nothing extra) If I have the footage transferred to mini DV then I can just hook up my minidv camera and put it on my system with the firewire. That would be easy but I?m sure it?s not the highest quality video I could edit. I would do that if I knew for sure I would be going to HD and not showing anyone the offline. But what would be the choices for a superior digital format I could edit at home and how would I get it cheaply from the tapes onto my system? Rent a deck? Ask the lab to put it on my harddrive? I just don?t understand the various options. After reading all of this it seems that if I don?t know I will be finishing on HD then maybe choice #2 or #3 with a higher quality telecine to sd is a better choice to defer as much as the expense as possible until later on. I?m really looking for the best option if I will definitely finish on HD- and the best option if I won?t. I know that is a lot of questions and what ifs from a novice but any help or recommendations is really appreciated. Thanks guys.
-Doug
  • 0

#2 Andy Sparaco SOC

Andy Sparaco SOC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 203 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Chicago and most airline lounges

Posted 09 October 2005 - 07:03 AM

Any way you go will not be cheap. A simple direct approach would be to Xfer to Digabeta or D5 and have the tapes dubbed to Mini DV. You will have the best looking DV you have ever seen if you go this route. In this fashion you can get a presentable, affordable edit to raise money with and/or then conform to a SD master for sale to a cable venue or DVD. In this way you do not have to spend Big $$$ until you have a buyer.

Shoot 1:66


Another strategy is to transfer to Digibeta and have someone log & capture your footage to uncompressed D1 and dump the material to a firewire drive. If you have a computer and editing program that is fast enough you can edit in full uncompressed D1. This works for a mini DV capture also -but don't capture long chunks (labs have a tendency digitize in huge chunks) as the file size will be large and bog your computer. You can also easily back up your materials to DVD-Ram-be sure to organize it. THis will facilitate Effects shots as you have segregated the elements you need to send to outside resources. 30 Seconds of Uncompressed D1 video is about a GIG so it is possible to move data around via an FTP site. I have used folks all over the world to work on video projects.

You will find some duplicators/dubbers will offer this service if asked, especially the ones that do a lot of TV commercial dubbing-they usually have edit systems for inserts. Be Sure to get their EDL so you can recapture at another venue.

What you do in preperation of your materials after the shoot will save you money every step of the way. You have heard "location,location,location? In a edit is is "organize, organize,organize". You will get a better finished product quicker if you run a "tight ship".

EDL's are Text based logging/capture files or the roll/Timecode numbers that define all of the elements in a edit.

Also dump all of your audio to your likely tape format so that your audio elements will appear as video tape reel numbers.

You will save $$$ buy doing an MOS xfer and syncing yourself- If you do not use a Time code slate/Audio recorder be sure to have the Scene info called out after the clap so you can hear it in the edit.


You could just Xfer to mini DV and it will look great but will not have the Quality/Bandwith for a broadcast venue. The difference in Xfer cost between Digibeta and Mini DV is usually the cost of the layoff deck . The cost of a Digibeta to mini dub under a $100 per hour plus tape you can supply.

Another note be smart and organize your Xfer rolls in the order of the film instead of the order they are shot. Xfer all at once.

One advantage to the Super 16 is that you have the "potential" for a hi-quality HD transfer which any one who is a potential investor or buyer would recognise. It's easier to explain "This is a preview edit" when you have shot in film as opposed to DV. Informed Buyers/Investors recognize the value of film acqusition.
  • 0

#3 David Cox

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

Posted 09 October 2005 - 01:48 PM

Hello,

Of your suggested routes, your number two is commonly used even by those who aren't so budget concious just to be efficient.

Transferring all your rushes to miniDV would be a good route for you. As for the quality of your offline that you will need to show distributors , I have three thoughts...

(1) Distributors and agents will be very used to seeing ungraded offlines and will be experienced enough to judge your film at that stage.

(2) There would be a quality improvement if you were to transfer to DigiBeta and capture uncompressed SD video. BUT I think the significant extra costs involved and the issues raised coping with that data rate on your system would not justify a relatively minor increase in quality at offline level. I would save your cash for your final.

(3) When you transfer all your rushes to miniDV, this is when there could be the opportunity to make a big difference to the final quality of your offline. Some labs use crap (technical term!!) old telecines to do low cost "one light" transfers for editing. These transfers can be grainy and quite horrible. Get a sample from the lab or telecine house you will use for your one-light transfer and see what the quality is like. It will never be brilliant, because the point of these transfers is to be cheap. But some are better than others.

If you are concerned about distubutors seeing a "low quality" version of your film, what about this idea. Once you have cut your film, cut a trailer of a couple of minutes duration. Get EDLs for that and get the shots for that transferred in a decent telecine and conform them to your EDL. Still stay in SD at this point because you will still most likely be showing distributors DVDs etc. This way you can show your potential buyers what look you have in mind but without paying to have every shot transferred at that time.

Good luck.

David Cox
Baraka Post Production
www.baraka.co.uk
  • 0

#4 Matt Pacini

Matt Pacini
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1246 posts

Posted 31 October 2005 - 06:52 PM

I'm not sure what the need for an HD master would be anyway.
Anyone you're going to be showing it to, (distributors, festivals, etc.) are going to want to see it on a standard def DVD anyway.
Spend as little money as you can, and if you get a distributor, they'll likely go back to the neg & start over anyway.

MP
  • 0

#5 Will Montgomery

Will Montgomery
  • Sustaining Members
  • 2030 posts
  • Producer
  • Dallas, TX

Posted 02 November 2005 - 12:17 AM

Bonolabs in Virginia can do a decent HD transfer at $600/hr to hard drive. But the good news is that thats RUNNING TIME not a 3 to 1 or 5 to 1 ratio. Downside: not scene to scene, just a good neutral balance and then its up to you to color correct.

Most HD shops I've seen charge around $600-$900 per hour but generally its like a 4 or 5 to 1 ration depending on how many scene changes there are.

It sounds like your best move is to go to SD miniDV or uncompressed hard drive for editing on your PC then transfer just what you need to HD when the money's available.
  • 0

#6 Jaan Shenberger

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

Posted 02 November 2005 - 08:06 AM

i'm pretty immersed in the myriad postproduction options & workflows, and here is the undisputed best option for your situation, in my opinion...

1. get your footage transferred by bono (or somewhere comparable) direct to hard drive at HD. opt for the flat transfer. the cost advantage is literally insane. i priced out an HD transfer of 4100 feet (114 mins) of 16mm to about $2000, which is a great deal in itself, but when you consider that you won't need to rent a deck to get it into your NLE, it borders on unbelievable.

2. use a sensible naming convention and use something like quicktime pro or FCP to create individual clips for the takes, and make sure you do so without recompressing. (or you could go the referenced subclip route in FCP)

3. take all these HD clips and batch render them through something like after effects, creating good quality standard definition DV25 versions, with the same file names with "_DV" or something added. these are your offline clips.

4. edit your offline in FCP. if you need to for screenings, do some rudimentary color correction in FCP, which is fast & easy for DV25 footage.

5. create your online edit by easily swapping the offline for the online HD versions, then copy them into an HD sequence.

6. take all that money you saved and put it towards color grading. make sure you use something that works in 32-bit floating point, or at absolute minimum 16-bit. hire someone good. since you got the flat transfer and you're working in floating point, and your colorist is good, you can make it look almost any way you want (assuming your exposures are good). there are many options in getting your EDL/footage into the grading software/system with minimal headache.

in the end, you'll have your picture & audio tracks on hard drive, and you can easily make some dynamite-looking standard def dvd screeners. if a distributor or festival requires an HD tape, take the drive to a post house. if they want it on film, then it's likely that someone can pay for a true DI & filmout.

hope this helps,
jaan
  • 0

#7 beanpat

beanpat
  • Guests

Posted 02 January 2006 - 06:10 AM

you'll need to consider that no post house will likely transfer only portions of a film reel.
  • 0

#8 Stephen Williams

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

Posted 02 January 2006 - 07:58 AM

you'll need to consider that no post house will likely transfer only portions of a film reel.


Hi,

If attending the transfer they will do anything you want! There is no point in grading 'Out Takes'.

Stephen
  • 0

#9 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 19769 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 02 January 2006 - 11:19 AM

The only thing to add is if the final project is in HD, HD is 1.78, not 1.66-to-1.68 like your Super-16 negative, so you will be transferring it to full-frame 16x9 (1.78) and trimming slightly from the top & bottom of the negative.

The only way to transfer 1.66 Super-16 to 16x9 video without cropping is to add black mattes on the left & right side, which would be fine if you are editing for an eventual film finish and retransfer, but it is a non-standard format for video release (although some movies are released to DVD that way, slightly side-matted to 1.66.) I mean, you could transfer to 24P HD-D5 this way, slightly side-matted to 1.66, and then later make full-frame 16x9 HD versions, plus a 4x3 side-matted pan & scan version from that, but personally, I'd probably just transfer to full-frame 16x9 video and just slightly crop the 1.66 negative to fill 16x9 (1.78).
  • 0

#10 Phil Rhodes

Phil Rhodes
  • Sustaining Members
  • 11947 posts
  • Other

Posted 02 January 2006 - 11:52 AM

Hi,

> to Xfer to Digabeta or D5 and have the tapes dubbed to Mini DV.
> You will have the best looking DV you have ever seen if you go this route

Actually I find that digibeta to DV looks nastier than you'd think - probably the codecs are fighting somewhat, but it's really quite bad considering what it should look like.

This is the main reason behind my impatience with telecine suites who can't transfer direct to DV.

Phil
  • 0

#11 David Sweetman

David Sweetman
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 757 posts
  • Student

Posted 12 January 2006 - 11:47 PM

Digibeta and BetaSP -- they are different formats, correct? I can transfer BetaSP to MiniDV for free. Do you believe direct-to-MiniDV looks better than this route? I've done this before because I don't like MiniDV, and having the footage on Beta is a more permanent and reliable format, and I just like the idea better than having it on a bunch of miniDV tapes. But if going straight to DV looks better, then obviously that would make more sense.

Furthermore -- what about digitizing from the BetaSP deck, through the MiniDV deck, and straight to the hard drive, without commiting it to a MiniDV tape? Would that be the same as putting it on MiniDV?

Edited by David Sweetman, 12 January 2006 - 11:49 PM.

  • 0

#12 Jaan Shenberger

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

Posted 13 January 2006 - 01:47 AM

Furthermore -- what about digitizing from the BetaSP deck, through the MiniDV deck, and straight to the hard drive, without commiting it to a MiniDV tape? Would that be the same as putting it on MiniDV?


yes. once the analog signal from the betasp deck goes into the minidv/dvcam device, it's encoded to the dv25 format, meaning that it's identical to what would be laid to minidv tape.

also, i've had to wrangle with footage that was telecined to betasp and then dubbed to dvcam/minidv. it looks pretty crummy. especially 16mm... depending on what your footage looks like, the grain may may look all mushy and kinda "color clumpy".

telecine to digibeta then dubbed to minidv looks better. but as someone stated, theoretically a telecine straight to minidv/dvcam should look better. though you should find out if the telecine truly is routed straight to the minidv/dvcam deck. i've heard of telecines sometimes being routed to the digibeta deck and passing through to the minidv/dvcam. this would yield the same result as going to digibeta, then dubbed to minidv. if there is a similar "pass through" set up but with a d1 deck, then the signal will maintain its full quality (same as going straight to minidv/dvcam deck).

hope this helps,
jaan
  • 0


Rig Wheels Passport

The Slider

Wooden Camera

rebotnix Technologies

Aerial Filmworks

Technodolly

Tai Audio

Glidecam

Broadcast Solutions Inc

CineLab

Visual Products

Opal

FJS International, LLC

Ritter Battery

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Paralinx LLC

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

CineTape

Metropolis Post

Abel Cine

Willys Widgets

Metropolis Post

Ritter Battery

Opal

FJS International, LLC

Wooden Camera

Paralinx LLC

Willys Widgets

Tai Audio

The Slider

Rig Wheels Passport

Broadcast Solutions Inc

rebotnix Technologies

Technodolly

Glidecam

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Abel Cine

Visual Products

CineTape

CineLab

Aerial Filmworks