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Printing Digital on Film


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Hey Everyone,

 

for my next movie i'm considering to print my digital Footage on Film once it's through the edit. 

Does someone has experience with the process and may have some results to share?

 

Shooting on film in the first place is not in the budget unfortunately, but to get close to the look we want to try this out.

 

We're shooting on the Alexa Mini.

 

I would be very happy for your thoughts,

 

Best Regards,

 

Luca

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3 minutes ago, David Mullen ASC said:

Depends on if you just want a film print to project for people or if you want to transfer to film and then retransfer to digital.

It would be a retransfer to digital afterwards. 

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6 hours ago, Luca Hain said:

Hey Everyone,

 

for my next movie i'm considering to print my digital Footage on Film once it's through the edit. 

Does someone has experience with the process and may have some results to share?

 

Shooting on film in the first place is not in the budget unfortunately, but to get close to the look we want to try this out.

 

We're shooting on the Alexa Mini.

 

I would be very happy for your thoughts,

 

Best Regards,

 

Luca

If you can’t afford to shoot film, I doubt you can afford the 10’s of thousands of dollars to film out a negative, scan it, and then re-color correct the result.

I’ve only done film outs for a film release, but never rescanned the film negative.

But, if there will be no film release, I would grade the digital movie and output a low contrast log version for creating the film neg, just so you don’t throw away data that you might need to digitally color correct your new film negative. I would certainly run multiple tests of short clips before committing to the work flow.

Good luck with this and please share your results if you ever do it.

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If you are only going to digital for release, the expense and effort makes no sense.  Take that from one of the few remaining Film Timers in the World.

There are very good LUT packages that you can use to make your end product look like film origination IF you use a very structured approach and grade log with printer lights in your finishing software.

Most people fail at a true film look because they simply cannot grade a image with printer lights because they didn't light and shoot it like film.

In film, you do EVERYTHING before the camera and damn little after it.  What is done after the negative is developed is uniformly applied to the image using ONE end-gamma;  you don't get to do power windows and gradients and all that bandage work.

if you MUST do power windows, gradients and gamma shifts, grade your master to a neutral look throughout, lock it and THEN use printer lights and LUTs to emulate film, but if you do radical stuff that is not true to film stock response, it won't work.

 

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Posted (edited)

We have the machines, it's not difficult. We can shoot out to negative or print film. Pricing ranges from as little as $150/min to $800/min depending on the machine/type of stock/resolution.

I don't have any samples I can share publicly for rights reasons, but if you have the money and are serious, we'd be more than happy to do a sample for ya of your project. I prefer the print method over the negative method, it think it just looks more like what you expect from a film. The negative recording method, is more for recording out visual effects shots to cut into a cut negative to be printed. However, if you just want to add a "film look" to your digital show and record/scan, rather than make a print for projection purposes, it maybe advantageous to do the camera negative or internegative process rather than print. With the print process, it's really only designed for projecting, they never scan anywhere near the quality of the negative record outs. 

If you were local, I'd be more than happy to thread up yee ol' 35mm projector and show ya a print we did recently that came out really nice. 

Edited by Tyler Purcell
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Christian Sprenger did it on Guava Island (shooting on the Alexa LF, there's an article on Filmmaker Magazine about it), the FUBU episode of Atlanta as well (where he shot in Super 16 mode on an Amira and then printed to film, scanned it).

It looks unlike any digital film or footage that I've ever seen that tried somehow to make it look like film in post by adding grain or anything else. And it's not subtle at all, the results are really impressive. It obviously still looks different than something actually shot on film, but it's as close as it gets. 

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On 6/2/2021 at 3:09 PM, Frank Wylie said:

If you are only going to digital for release, the expense and effort makes no sense.  Take that from one of the few remaining Film Timers in the World.

There are very good LUT packages that you can use to make your end product look like film origination IF you use a very structured approach and grade log with printer lights in your finishing software.

Most people fail at a true film look because they simply cannot grade a image with printer lights because they didn't light and shoot it like film.

In film, you do EVERYTHING before the camera and damn little after it.  What is done after the negative is developed is uniformly applied to the image using ONE end-gamma;  you don't get to do power windows and gradients and all that bandage work.

if you MUST do power windows, gradients and gamma shifts, grade your master to a neutral look throughout, lock it and THEN use printer lights and LUTs to emulate film, but if you do radical stuff that is not true to film stock response, it won't work.

 

...one of the few remaining Film Timers in the World.

And you don't want to document your life's work??

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3 hours ago, Simon Wyss said:

I’m about the only one in this country who can synch image and sound down to a frame as well as lace up a Matipo in the dark. Guess who cares, nobody.

God, I'd love to have a Matipo; that's my dream printer!  I visited João de Oliveira's "Bat Cave" under the stairs at the BFI J. Paul Getty Center Lab in 2000 and he had a brace of the machines that he used on a regular basis.

Nothing like a step contact printed release print...

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11 hours ago, Daniel D. Teoli Jr. said:

...one of the few remaining Film Timers in the World.

And you don't want to document your life's work??

Why?  I time other people's work, and as I am fond of saying, "All my clients are DEAD".

I am a technician.  I take great pride in my work, but it makes for poor reading. 

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3 hours ago, Simon Wyss said:

I’m about the only one in this country who can synch image and sound down to a frame as well as lace up a Matipo in the dark. Guess who cares, nobody.

Your legacy could be to create a cocktail called the Matipo. "Served exclusively at the ASC clubhouse at first, the Matipo, created by Hollywood professional Simon Wyss, rapidly became mainstream, and is now served in the hottest bars and clubs all across the country. Part of its early success was the mistaken belief that it was named after the Brazilian municipality of the same name."

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I built a 2k 16mm recorder and I am in the process of making a updated second one with an optical sound galvo.

We have been doing allot of filmout to 16mm and scan back for music vid projects.

 

Here is a few Alexa shot filmout 16mm rescan jobs we did:

 

https://www.garylongdop.com/sober

https://www.garylongdop.com/x-lovers

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2 hours ago, Robert Houllahan said:

I built a 2k 16mm recorder and I am in the process of making a updated second one with an optical sound galvo.

We have been doing allot of filmout to 16mm and scan back for music vid projects.

 

Looks great Robert. For sure something I want to play with at some point. 

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On 6/5/2021 at 12:47 AM, Karim D. Ghantous said:

 

Works for me! Although the compression took away the randomness of the grain.

Robert, does your film recorder use lasers or something else?

I have two Arrilaser 4K recorders and I am in the process of modding one for camera negative but in general the laser recorder is a complex tech to DIY and the laser power is really good for slow intermediate stock, with the laser ND mod that Arri came up with the Arrilaser can shoot to 50D but anything faster it cannot calibrate to.

The 16mm recorder uses a Radiforce CAT Scan imaging panel and a servo motor controlled CP16 but I am rebuilding it with a very very nice Auricon 860.

I am also thinking of possibly using a DLP or LcOS or LCD 3-panel projector and a lamp mod for another Auricon I have to possibly shoot 2K(ish) Pix and Optical sound to print stock in realtime.

I am also thinking about either buying a Definity 35mm recorder or building out a Radiforce panel 35mm recorder so I can shoot to a wider range of stocks without using up the hella super expensive lasers in the Arrilaser recorders.

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