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Guest Rod Blackhurst

super 8mm telecine labs review

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Jürgen,

 

Chris' Super 8 Today test focused on the Americas and Australasia, but not European labs as yours included, IIRC.

 

The kindly given hyperlink to your E6 test above leads to nowhere, unfortunately. Hence I took initiative to mirror the target file here in part (can't host your complete PDF for you ;) as I have limited space here at ciny.com)

 

Cheers,

 

-Michael

post-27184-1210204517.jpg

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Concerning South America, as up today, as far as I know, the best super-8 laboratory is in Sao Paulo, Brasil, and is called Megacolor. They process color negative on ECN-2 only , but can also process if solicited color reversal on ECN-2 for cross processing chemical effects.

I did develop thousand of feet of color negative there between 2005 and 2006, and I can say that the quality was excellent in terms of chemistry. They have an impressive standard of quality that allows to get very clean super-8 footage. They treat it exactly with the same high standard as 35mm. Great and friendly laboratorist team. The cost of process is however , now more expensive than a few years ago, but the important thing, is that they are still committed to mantain super-8 on their workflow.

 

link of the lab :

http://www.megacolorsp.com.br/sitetemp/

 

Late 2007 or early 2008, Megacolor, was one of the first, or probably the first laboratory in South America to meet the Image Care Kodak program.

 

 

 

 

 

In South Pacific area, I would say the best Transfer place, as far as I know, is Park Road Post (ex-The Film Unit), they have a Spirit Datacine machine with the super-8 kit upgrade, HDCAM SR deck output , and they can also do 2K data output to their SAN (the data is then recorded on external hard drive). Their colorist crew is friendly and experienced.

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source : http://www.todd-ao.co.uk/

 

"TODD-AO UK WILL CEASE TO PROCESS SUPER 8mm ON 31st JULY 2008"

 

I have seen yesterday that announce on their site.... on the link above, there is a contact email for further information...

 

From what I have heard this is one of the best super-8 lab in Europe for ECN-2 processing.

Hopefully they will re-consider their decision ... or move that service somewhere else.

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For those of you that have used Spectra, do you feel comfortable sending in your film from afar (NYC) and letting them handle everything i.e. unsupervised?

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For those of you that have used Spectra, do you feel comfortable sending in your film from afar (NYC) and letting them handle everything i.e. unsupervised?

Yes, absolutely. My earlier negative comments were limited to a transfer several years ago and I'm more than ready to give them another try. Their actual color adjustments were fine. They are a great benefit to the Super 8 community and should be supported.

 

As with any transfer, you should give some guidelines as too the mood and style you're looking for. Options are limitless. Even if you just say "vibrant and saturated" or "muted and 70's looking" that will give them an idea of what you're looking for.

 

The great thing about Spectra is they are a one-stop shop and you can simply send any type of stock to them (including their own or Pro8mm's) and within 10 days you'll have your film and transfer back ready to roll.

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I have a question about pricing for telecine transfers. I was just looking at Spectra's price sheet online... Does it really cost $265/hr to put your footage on a DVD? I'm a photographer and just wanted to start shooting super 8 films for fun as a hobby. But if that's how much it costs, there is no way I'll be able to afford it. Are there any much cheaper alternatives (that still offer good quality)?

 

Thanks!

-Lesley

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I have a question about pricing for telecine transfers. I was just looking at Spectra's price sheet online... Does it really cost $265/hr to put your footage on a DVD? I'm a photographer and just wanted to start shooting super 8 films for fun as a hobby. But if that's how much it costs, there is no way I'll be able to afford it. Are there any much cheaper alternatives (that still offer good quality)?

 

Thanks!

-Lesley

 

Best bet is to talk with Doug or Jerry at Spectra directly.

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I have a question about pricing for telecine transfers. I was just looking at Spectra's price sheet online... Does it really cost $265/hr to put your footage on a DVD? I'm a photographer and just wanted to start shooting super 8 films for fun as a hobby. But if that's how much it costs, there is no way I'll be able to afford it. Are there any much cheaper alternatives (that still offer good quality)?

 

Sam's club and many other photo labs offer a cheap solution to get your Super 8 film onto DVD. You'd have to shoot reversal film (Ektachrome 64T) but they'll do an ok job. Like $30 for 200 ft or something ridiculously cheap.

 

You'll be better off never trying a real telecine house like Spectra because once you do you'll never go back to a DVD mill. A real colorist can make your film come alive and offers endless style options. But if you're just shooting some home movies you can use Sam's Club and see what you get. Might be fine for your needs.

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Sam's club and many other photo labs offer a cheap solution to get your Super 8 film onto DVD. You'd have to shoot reversal film (Ektachrome 64T) but they'll do an ok job. Like $30 for 200 ft or something ridiculously cheap.

 

You'll be better off never trying a real telecine house like Spectra because once you do you'll never go back to a DVD mill. A real colorist can make your film come alive and offers endless style options. But if you're just shooting some home movies you can use Sam's Club and see what you get. Might be fine for your needs.

 

 

That's such a bummer. I was hoping I misunderstood the pricing. How do student filmmakers get this done? Or any normal person? Is there a student discount at any of these places?

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Some places, particularly in the US, not so in Europe, offer student discounts. Occassionally, they are even applied to young filmers that aren't really at film school at all. Kodak reps can be quite generous at handing out discounts here (despite the 20% price hike discussed here and here).

 

But bear in mind that these are high-quality gears and highly-skilled craftsfolks. Whether you rate Super 35 or Super 8 doesn't really matter, as the skill in the transfer is the talent who works the machinery - that is what you essentially pay for. In light of that and the results you get, the prices at Spectra are really okay.

 

But you are right, filmmaking isn't a dirt-cheap hobby, even a profession, irrespective whether its on cine-film or digital video. In Germany, as most film students have to finance their own student projects almost in full, it's quite fair to state that only better-off kids are able to go to film school at all. No wonder then that the last German Oscar winner is out of a well-connected family of aristocratic noblemen.

 

Returning to the topic: Will is absolutely right. Once you have seen a professional transfer, your views on Super 8 change forever. It can be that good.

 

-Michael

 

 

 

P.S.: Lesley, you were kindly asked to register a username consisting of your full and real first and last name. Please go to the my controls menu in the upper right-hand corner and make the amendment in the sub-menu. If you are not happy with this policy, feel free to voice it in this thread here.

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Will is absolutely right. Once you have seen a professional transfer, your views on Super 8 change forever. It can be that good.

 

That's why I've been shooting mostly 16mm, if you get pro transfers the cost difference is minimal and the quality is amazing. It's a very slippery slope.

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does anyone know why Todd ao are stopping their super 8 service?/ Not enough business for them?

 

Oh dear, I just saw that on their site. Using Super 8 has got surprisingly painful in the UK, Todd-AO provided the only decent service here - it was only painful when paying for it!

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Will be in Camden next Wednesday to discuss implications for a long-term project of mine on previously agreed terms. There were rumours in the hallways about stopping the service, but there were no words about doing it a ) so suddenly, and b ) to abruptly.

It's a terrible loss as this leaves ANDEC in Berlin as essentially the only professional laboratory in Europe working an integrated S8 sales/process/telecine service. And their quality got a bit patchy, recently, but is nevertheless still very good.

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It's a terrible loss as this leaves ANDEC in Berlin as essentially the only professional laboratory in Europe working an integrated S8 sales/process/telecine service. And their quality got a bit patchy, recently, but is nevertheless still very good.

 

When using Andec for negative they lost the first 30 seconds off a roll, torn off - no note or apology from it.

 

I've only used them for reversal since, and always used Todd-AO for my negative. They were expensive but it sure was easier than having to send your film abroad, pay postage, taxes, then have to send it back of to be telecined.

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I am curious...has anyone dealt with MyMovieTransfer.com? I am considering going with them since they are quite a bit cheaper than Spectra. I know you get what you pay for, but if I go through Spectra this time, the film wont be made in the time frame my Producer wants (since I'd have to add extra money with it which will take time). They use a Rank Cintel and even offer 4:2:2 Uncompressed for $100 per project. I don't think I'll do Uncompressed this time, but it's good to know I can if I need to.

 

Anyways, anyone ever dealt with them and if so, what was your experience? I like that they are confident enough to give free samples of their work to anyone who wants to send them a small amount of film. I emailed and they confirmed that they do transfer at 24fps at no extra charge. I also like how they do flat rate shipping and charge a fair amount for tape stock unlike Spectra who charge $17.00 for one miniDV tape.

 

DISCLAIMER: I'm not bagging on Spectra, just to be clear. I know that Spectra does fantastic work but they do seem to overcharge on some of the sideline items like shipping and tape stock. Honestly, even their telecine rates seem a bit higher than a great many other places that offer Rank Cintel transfers. Also realize that I prefer to get "flat" color transfers so I can edit it myself so a good colorist means pretty much nothing to me. I mainly direct this disclaimer to Alessandro because I know he is on fire for Spectra.

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When using Andec for negative they lost the first 30 seconds off a roll, torn off - no note or apology from it.

I've only used them for reversal since, and always used Todd-AO for my negative. They were expensive but it sure was easier than having to send your film abroad, pay postage, taxes, then have to send it back of to be telecined.

 

Likewise, Andy!

I settled in quite comfortably with using Todd-AO for negative and Andec for reversal, especially B&W (either directly from EU or via Widescreen Centre from UK, as those guys then bear responsibily for shipping - if anything goes wrong, I get at least new carts).

 

I never used Andec for negs because when I started using Vision, I was already London-based and Todd-AO made a great impression. So why venture afar if you can get it done down the street? Sorry to hear about your negative negative experience with Andec (stupid pun intended :unsure: )

Them not showing accountability is the thingy that annoys me a bit. Both myself and my brother had independently issues with B&W reversal, where two packs of cartridges had completely different developing quality: one was proper, while the other had unmistakably coarse grain and flares (I think that's the English word, sort of like foggish haze over some takes) - camera or cart issues are out of question for cause. Looked more like an aged developing bath that wasn't replaced in die time. Also: at the end of one reel, perfs were torn, making this piece almost unusable... no comment from their side.

But they are in business for a long time, and during the 1990s when no one gave a hoop about Super 8, they stuck with it, even specialising in B&W, and for that, they merit alot of gratitude.

 

Let's see what Todd-AO has to say re. how S8 will stand with them in the future.

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I am curious...has anyone dealt with MyMovieTransfer.com?

Yes, they are also known as Debenham Media Group.

 

They do a fine job, I would suggest really talking to them about your project to make sure they know you are interested in quality. They're equipment may not be the latest and greatest but I was satisfied with the results. I'd kind of forgotten about them, might be time for me to send more to them.

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Its a shame about todd Ao because I have had some nightmare scenarios with other super 8 telecine firms in London, its hard enough trying to shoot film without a budget in the uk anyhow - let alone when our domestic places are closing up shop.

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I can imagine your troubles, Damien. Rest assured that to my knowledge, Todd AO is only closing down its 24 hour turnaround on developing and general developing of negative films. I am unaware of them shutting down either completely (no way) or stopping to do their Super 8 telecine service. At least they still brag about their Super 8 clients here.

 

So no need for nightmare scenarios.

 

The loss is really that you had a high-quality one-stop shop for your work in Europe and the UK. If I now want the best quality work with Super 8 negative in Europe, I will have to get the development done at Andec in Berlin, and then the telecine done at Todd-AO, which means unnecessary traveling time and potential damage to the negs. I hope Andec ups their game now in respect to telecine, with uncompressed to HD options being overdue on a good Cintel.

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Some places, particularly in the US, not so in Europe, offer student discounts. Occassionally, they are even applied to young filmers that aren't really at film school at all. Kodak reps can be quite generous at handing out discounts here (despite the 20% price hike discussed here and here).

 

Er, where do you mean by here?

Not England surely?

 

I've never even managed to get the 10% student discount out of Kodak UK despite being a real full time student for some time. The discounts in the states are way higher and easier to get. Kodak U.K. just don't want to know.. I've never heard of Kodak reps handing out generous discounts in the u.k.!

Other filmmakers I've met here have similar negative experiences.

Are you sure you aren't thinking of Fuji?

 

Don't want to dwell too much on negative stuff but my experience has been much the opposite!

 

love

 

Freya

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Find it strange that a company called Todd-A0 who developed the 65mm process have been reduced to doing S8 !!! . Iam sure its not the original company , just some corporate company like [Engulf and Destroy] who bought the name . And do know they do 35/16 mm.

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I can imagine your troubles, Damien. Rest assured that to my knowledge, Todd AO is only closing down its 24 hour turnaround on developing and general developing of negative films. I am unaware of them shutting down either completely (no way) or stopping to do their Super 8 telecine service. At least they still brag about their Super 8 clients here.

 

AFAIK it's only S8 developing they are stopping and will still be doing 16mm and 35 developing as well as telecine in all formats.

 

While we are talking about the state of S8 in the U.K, has anyone noticed that S8 black and white stocks are literally double the price they are in the U.S. whereas this isn't the case for any of the other stocks?

Really strange!

 

It feels like someone somewhere got the price mixed up and they just went with it!

 

Yes it just gets more and more bleak for S8 in Europe.

 

love

 

Freya

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