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What is the best format to get your processing back in?


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For a 10 minute Super 35 movie with probably 25 minutes of film that will be processed, what is the best format to recieve that processing back in for best editing?

 

I don't have an editor, so I don't know what the editor would require the content to be in or what's mainstream these days.

 

I know there are several formats, and it has evolved over the years, but something this small, can it just be put on a disk, or does it have to be put on a hard drive or tape.

 

Final question, is there anything special I need to tell the lab to make sure I get the best results back?

 

Thank you for sharing your expertise,

Alexander

 

 

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Go with a ProRes codec. Its good for most NLEs and has lower compression.

 

I would think there are more options that just "ProRes" codec... such as bit depth, 422 vs 444 sampling, HD, 2K, 4K, Log vs Rec 709. etc.

 

Since I've never done this, I obviously can't give detailed options...

 

And aren't there othe codecs that are used for Film scanning?

 

Although I think ProRes probably is the most accessible by most... It would be nice to know what other options are and their 'features'...

Edited by John E Clark
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Depends on your budget, final output format, and resolution needs (theatrical film print, 4K/2K theatrical DCP, or 1080p web/blu-ray only). Also, what aspect ratio you composed for in camera and if you wanted to preserve any extra exposed parts of the negative (if any) for repositioning the frame or reframing for alternate aspect ratios like 4:3.

 

If you're just going to finish digitally for the web and blu-ray and don't have any fx shots, the best bang for your buck is probably a 2K film scan in Cineon Log to ProRes4444. A film scan with have solid registration unlike a telecine transfer, and 2K buys you a tiny bit more resolution over 1920x1080 for reframing. For fx shots, or if you plan on radically reframing the picture, I would go with a 4K scan instead. Prores4444 is a 12bit video format that will preserve most of the information on the negative without the ginormous file sizes of uncompressed video and is NLE friendly, unlike DPX frames. Cineon Log will preserve all the dynamic range on the negative so you can grade after cutting.

 

You would use this Prores file as your master and transcode to a smaller, lighter codec like Prores LT to edit with. Since the timecode will match, it should be easy to replace the LT with the 4444 version after locking picture, so you can grade from the higher quality version.

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I would think there are more options that just "ProRes" codec... such as bit depth, 422 vs 444 sampling, HD, 2K, 4K, Log vs Rec 709. etc.

 

Since I've never done this, I obviously can't give detailed options...

 

And aren't there othe codecs that are used for Film scanning?

 

Although I think ProRes probably is the most accessible by most... It would be nice to know what other options are and their 'features'...

 

It varies from lab to lab. Also there was no indication of budget, so I figured ProRes is a good starting point, and the person at the lab doing the scan could advise further. There are dozens of ways you could capture film into digital.

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It varies from lab to lab. Also there was no indication of budget, so I figured ProRes is a good starting point, and the person at the lab doing the scan could advise further. There are dozens of ways you could capture film into digital.

 

But it is nice to know some of the variables, and while many 'lab' people are forthright, in my 'stills' days, I have met some who will 'let you make a mistake' and then require more money to correct that 'mistake'.

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But it is nice to know some of the variables, and while many 'lab' people are forthright, in my 'stills' days, I have met some who will 'let you make a mistake' and then require more money to correct that 'mistake'.

 

That's a pretty sleazy way to do business!

 

We usually try to get a feel for what the client is looking to do, and then make some recommendations based on that. For example, if someone has a bunch of Regular 8 home movies that they want to edit together in Final Cut and give to their family, we usually recommend sticking with ProRes 422 for ease of use (but probably at 2k, for flexibility and because the aspect ratio matches their originals, vs HD, which means pillarboxing). Also, you're not gaining much by using ProRes 4444 with reversal film, and the files are bigger, more processor-intensive to decode, and generally harder for a consumer to deal with.

 

If it's an archive or a library, and they want digital preservation copies and something to edit, we usually recommend 10 or (sometimes) 16bit DPX for the preservation copies and some flavor of ProRes that works for them for editing.

 

Most students want ProRes because it's easy to work with. DPX can be a real bear if you're not set up for it, and if you're on a budget and working on a laptop or a low end desktop machine, you're not really set up for it!

 

-perry

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Wow, there was a few things all of you brought up that I didn't think up.

 

1. Although the the finishing aspect ratio is 2.35, I would like the whole 1.78 frame available for any type of framing adjustment.

 

2. I would like a 4k scan to really bring out the background that much more. I know this will be more money but since it's a short, I think I'll be okay.

 

3. I don't need a print, as the output would be digital. Although it would be nice to have that option available in case a need arises in the future.

 

4. No F/X shots.

 

I think what you said here...

 

I would go with a 4K scan instead. Prores4444 is a 12bit video format that will preserve most of the information on the negative without the ginormous file sizes of uncompressed video and is NLE friendly, unlike DPX frames. Cineon Log will preserve all the dynamic range on the negative so you can grade after cutting.

You would use this Prores file as your master and transcode to a smaller, lighter codec like Prores LT to edit with. Since the timecode will match, it should be easy to replace the LT with the 4444 version after locking picture, so you can grade from the higher quality version.

 

is the way to go.

 

Much appreciated Satsuki Murashige and everyone that replied.

 

Best regards,

Alexander

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Sorry Perry, I didn't see your post before I wrote, we must have posted at the same time.

 

Pretty much I'm looking for the highest polished look I can get, anything you can add would be appreciated.

 

Alexander

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In most cases, the ProRes 4444 will be sufficient - it's really a pretty great codec. We've found it to be as good as uncompressed, but with smaller file sizes. It's easy to work with and doesn't require super high-end computers to wrangle.

 

If you want a no-compromises format, I'd go with DPX, but be prepared for massive files and a clunkier workflow (you'll need to make proxies you can edit with, then conform the DPX files to those when you're done). This is common enough, but is probably too unwieldy to try to do on your own unless you have a big, fast RAID to deal with the files - especially at 4k.

 

A couple weeks ago I did a blog post on our web site about file sizes for resolutions above 2k (not all, but the ones we deal with most often). It includes ProRes 422, 4444 and DPX: http://www.gammaraydigital.com/blog/just-how-big-are-those-files-anyway

 

So it becomes a trade-off: For most use cases, DPX is probably more than is necessary. If you're doing a bunch of CGI compositing, or if you need to really eke out every last bit of color in your grade, then it probably makes sense. But ProRes 4444 will get you 95% of the way there, in a file that's just a hell of a lot easier to work with.

 

All depends on your workflow and requirements, really.

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Yeah ProRes444 is probably the best overall codec for a balance of ease to work with and quality.

 

Also getting a 2K data scan instead of HD allows for better color depth and the ability to do some reframe and post stabilization (if needed) I have been scanning Super-16mm at 2048X1300 which allows for up-down stabilization and shows a bit of the frame incoming and outgoing. Similarly a SDT-16mm or Super8mm scan at 2048X1640 or so allows for the full frame plus a bit.

 

-Rob-

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So it becomes a trade-off: For most use cases, DPX is probably more than is necessary. If you're doing a bunch of CGI compositing, or if you need to really eke out every last bit of color in your grade, then it probably makes sense. But ProRes 4444 will get you 95% of the way there, in a file that's just a hell of a lot easier to work with.

 

I only wonder about the "if you need to really eke out every last bit of color in your grade" statement. Why should DPX be even a whit better than ProRes 444 in terms of color? ProRes 444 is 12-bits and agnostic about encoding, so it can receive Cineon, or other logarithmic, or any three-band encoding you please. If the encoding is far from what it expects, ProRes 444's spatial compression could be poor, but this will affect detail rather than color.

 

Where detail and color collide is with image noise. ProRes 444 won't preserve the film grain as accurately as DPX does, and grain does influence the perception of colors. So the grader might make slightly different grading decisions working from the DPX vs. the identically coded ProRes 444, but this is not a matter of more vs. less available color.

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Whew!

 

After reading your posts, and checking different lab's websites and your blog Perry, and since I'm starting out, I think the prores444 is the best way to go. Maybe on the second job, I would have learned more, and maybe can experiment some.

 

One thing that did surprise me, on the Video & Films Solutions website, their prices, are .21 cents a foot full aperture for 2k, and a $1.05 for 4k (I imagine these are the going rates, still looking at more websites. Colorlab didn't have 4k prices from what I saw). I realized after some calculations that even on a short, this is quite a difference in money. I'm leaning to 2k and put the money saved towards a hard drive and save the 4k for another project.

 

Thank you all for your generous insight.

Alexander

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