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Guest Kathleen Lawler

Telecine options for Final Cut Pro

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Guest Kathleen Lawler

Hello everyone

 

My 16mm student film is off to be developed, then the negative will be sent over for a Best Light Telecine. I will attend.

 

I've heard that transferring film to miniDV makes the footage look awful. Given that we will be editing on the latest version of Final Cut Pro, what other options do I have?

 

And can they transfer in 4:3 ratio, so I can crop to 16:9 later, differently depending on the shot? My framing has been fairly inconsistent, and want to know if it can be fixed....

 

Many thanks in advance!

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Final Cut is more or less format-independant. The format you transfer to depends on your delivery requirements, the equipment available to you, and your budget. If you're going for a standard definition finish, DigiBeta is the best you can get, but they'll probably charge you more, and you'll also need a DigiBeta deck to capture it. If you're going to be capturing it yourself and all you've got available is miniDV decks (probably the case for most students), then that pretty much makes your decision for you. MiniDV does not inherently make material look awful, it should, as a general rule, be more or less visually identical to DigiBeta. The difference is that DigiBeta has a lower level of compression, and 4:2:2 subsampling instead of 4:1:1 for miniDV.

 

If they can transfer it to HD formats and you're able to capture from HD tape (or get it digitized somehow), and you are able to pay for it, then knock yourself out. HDCam is a popular choice.

 

As for framing, what format did you shoot on- Regular16 or Super16? The standard transfer either way is to fit it within the SD frame, so with S16 it will be slightly letterboxed. If you shot R16, then it will be transferred full-frame, and if you want to change the aspect ratio to something wider, you just need to crop it or add the black bars. This gives you the ability to reframe by a small amount vertically, but not horizontally, because your image already fills the whole frame.

 

You should frame for how you want it to look on set and as a general rule not rely on post-production to make your images for you. If you decide that you want to reposition it horizontally, you've then got to zoom in on what's left, because otherwise you'll just have a black void where the edge of frame was. And zooming in like that will destroy your image very very quickly, so avoid it whenever possible.

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Guest tylerhawes

Ideally you will do any reframing up/down in the telecine session so that you are not resizing in post, which is detrimental to image quality. That will slow down telecine, though, if you have a lot of it. Another option is to transfer to HD pillar-boxed (black on the sides) and do an HD finish with zoom/repos, which will look fine if your final deliverable is SD, but will still be soft when seen as HD.

 

If you've got the budget, transfer to the best HD format you can afford. HDCAM-SR would be best, D5 is a close second, HDCAM is a more distant third, but still much better than DV or Digibeta.

 

If you must go to DV or Digibeta, see if you can do an anamorphic stretched transfer for better quality. You'd have to do your repos in the telecine session, though, since you'll only get the 16:9 area of the frame.

 

If you aren't going to be doing much in the way of color correction / adjustment and post, pretty much leaving as-is from the telecine session, then it's probably not worth it to go to Digibeta. However, if you are going to do any significant color correction, Digibeta can look a LOT better than DV because of it's 10-bit sampling (primarily) and less compression/422 color space (secondarily). DV's 8-bit compression really starts to show when you do some gamma and saturation changes.

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Final Cut is more or less format-independant. The format you transfer to depends on your delivery requirements, the equipment available to you, and your budget. If you're going for a standard definition finish, DigiBeta is the best you can get, but they'll probably charge you more, and you'll also need a DigiBeta deck to capture it. If you're going to be capturing it yourself and all you've got available is miniDV decks (probably the case for most students), then that pretty much makes your decision for you. MiniDV does not inherently make material look awful, it should, as a general rule, be more or less visually identical to DigiBeta. The difference is that DigiBeta has a lower level of compression, and 4:2:2 subsampling instead of 4:1:1 for miniDV.

 

If they can transfer it to HD formats and you're able to capture from HD tape (or get it digitized somehow), and you are able to pay for it, then knock yourself out. HDCam is a popular choice.

 

As for framing, what format did you shoot on- Regular16 or Super16? The standard transfer either way is to fit it within the SD frame, so with S16 it will be slightly letterboxed. If you shot R16, then it will be transferred full-frame, and if you want to change the aspect ratio to something wider, you just need to crop it or add the black bars. This gives you the ability to reframe by a small amount vertically, but not horizontally, because your image already fills the whole frame.

 

You should frame for how you want it to look on set and as a general rule not rely on post-production to make your images for you. If you decide that you want to reposition it horizontally, you've then got to zoom in on what's left, because otherwise you'll just have a black void where the edge of frame was. And zooming in like that will destroy your image very very quickly, so avoid it whenever possible.

 

 

 

 

I have a question about using the "matte" > "widescreen" filter in Final Cut Pro that I think might be okay to interject as it might also be of interest to the original poster because of the discussion about matting in post.

 

I know people who like to shoot 4 X 3 and then add their black bar/desired aspect ratio in Final Cut Pro because it gives them some options of slight framing corrections. However, I read an article in which a production that shot with DVX-100s used that camera's letterbox feature because the

production didn't want to lose resolution in post in FCP by cropping it then.

 

If you edit full frame film footage or Mini-DV or whatever, why would matting it in Final Cut Pro affect/diminish the resolution?

 

"Shooting the show in the camera's 24P setting, we used the in-camera letterbox function instead of adding a widescreen matte in Final Cut Pro to retain

a higher resolution image."

 

from "DV" magazine July 2007 pg. 34 "Graduation Day for Online Video"

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You lose resolution shooting DV when you have the matte turned on...there are scores of posts that explain why this happens.

 

Also, since you're supervising the telecine, you should bring an external hard drive so they can hand it over to you in an "uncompressed" format. Then just use the miniDV tape as a backup. Ask them how much storage space on the drive you'll need for the amount of footage you're transferring.

Edited by Jonathan Bowerbank

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Hello everyone

 

My 16mm student film is off to be developed, then the negative will be sent over for a Best Light Telecine. I will attend.

 

I've heard that transferring film to miniDV makes the footage look awful. Given that we will be editing on the latest version of Final Cut Pro, what other options do I have?

 

And can they transfer in 4:3 ratio, so I can crop to 16:9 later, differently depending on the shot? My framing has been fairly inconsistent, and want to know if it can be fixed....

 

Many thanks in advance!

 

 

 

Mini DV is crap. Have them scan the film and create a file using an uncompressed video codec that works with FCP.

 

They would most likely give you a letterbox transfer since your aspect ratio is not 16:9.

 

.

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Mini DV is crap. Have them scan the film and create a file using an uncompressed video codec that works with FCP.

 

They would most likely give you a letterbox transfer since your aspect ratio is not 16:9.

 

.

 

Driver is that really your name are you like Bono or Sting or The Rock? Seriously though if your aspect ratio is not 16x9, but you want it to be, then you should work out the matt in tk and then get a squeeze of that area to fill a full height anamorphic transfer. As for FCP it is format agnostic (to a point), but hardwear isn't so check, check and double check your system req's.

 

best,

 

Keith (currently waiting for an SR machine to lay off some FCP edited Live From Abbey Road)

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You lose resolution shooting DV when you have the matte turned on...there are scores of posts that explain why this happens.

 

I ran a search under "DV" "matte" and "resolution", here, and came up with nothing. Would you mind giving the short explanation on this topic?

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