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Stephen Perera

Digitising Vision3 16mm film for dummies

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Hi all.....could somebody take some time and describe the step by step process, options and language used for when film goes back into a light sealed can/box after shooting it and is sent to a lab......

 

honestly.....make it 'digitising film for dummies'....don't blind me with science, hit me with analogies and commons sense explanations......

 

In my case.....I shot a small roll and sent it to my lab in Spain retrolab.eu who are going to 'telecine' my roll 'without codes' so i can use the footage in the final editing if i want - explain what that means and the implications.....

 

......but is Telecine widely seen as low cost 'proofing' for editing purposes before the film to goes back to be scanned in segments wanted at 2k/4k e.g. please Mr Lab scan this segment from minute 1':23" to 2':00" at 2k......and then from minute bla bla bla..would that be an instruction?

 

...and finally, seeing as same Kodak 16mm film stock goes into Matthew Libatique's cameras as in ours what differentiates the perceivable 'quality look' of his films compared to the 16mm footage we see on YouTube that looks like badly filmed VHS tape footage.....

 

Is it the 1. camera/lens combo 2. lighting 3. post grading etc 4. scanning resolutions 5. all the above

 

To put this into context i shot a 100ft roll as a start to a paid project in standard 16mm format with Kodak Vision3 500T on Aaton XTR XC with Cooke Varikinetal 9-50mm lens

Edited by Stephen Perera

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Basically this:

 

When the Telecine the film they'll put a punch in the front of it, literally a hole, in the front of the roll, and the machine will count the frames from that punch later on when you re-scan.

You should try to get it as a flat pass 1080p if you can, prores, super high quality (as high as reasonable) so then you can, in theory, not go back and re-scan and re-color.

 

If you want to get it-re-scanned then ideally later on you'd output an EDL from your edited piece and that will be imported into the scanner and it will automatically know what you want scanned, scan and store it, and then you come in for your actual color correct. You have to make sure you and your editor actually set up your project in the first place properly for such things, though.

 

as for the final thing

 

5 all of the above.

 

Lens has a bit to do with it (camera hardly anything outside of seadiness). Lighting is VITAL, the grade is important, but not as much as lighting as ideally with good lighting you can do a contact print and it'll still look great. Scanning resolution is important, sure, but moreso is that youtube also compresses things and you have no idea what/how they did make it for youtube.

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thanks for this! Yes the lab are going to send it back ProRes so i can use in final edit if i want......

I am editing myself in DaVinci Resolve.....can anyone describe this EDL process in DaVinci vis a vis going back to scanning????

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In my case.....I shot a small roll and sent it to my lab in Spain retrolab.eu who are going to 'telecine' my roll 'without codes' so i can use the footage in the final editing if i want - explain what that means and the implications.....

 

......but is Telecine widely seen as low cost 'proofing' for editing purposes before the film to goes back to be scanned in segments wanted at 2k/4k e.g. please Mr Lab scan this segment from minute 1':23" to 2':00" at 2k......and then from minute bla bla bla..would that be an instruction?

 

I believe "without codes" probably means they won't burn in timecode or keykode. Keykode is an embedded frame counting system that's burned into the edge of the film at the factory, using barcodes. Telecines and scanners can read this code to determine current location of any frame on the reel. It's useful if you're having your negative cut to make a print, though that's done less and less frequently these days. Timecode would be an incremental counter that starts from "frame zero" for that reel -- typically a punch hole at the beginning of the reel. So if you get it without the burn-in, the picture is free of these as part of the image (but timecode and in some cases keykode would typically be embedded in a DPX sequence or Quicktime file, if that's what you're transferring to).

 

The workflow during the DI heyday was to do a cheap telecine transfer for editorial purposes, then scan the shots you used with a keycode or timecode EDL (Edit Decision List) generated by the editing system. That said, scanning doesn't cost what it did in the late 1990s/early 2000s so there's less of a cost savings to transferring it twice, unless you have a *lot* of film and you're only using a small amount.

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thanks for the replies so far

 

The lab told me, and I translate.....its a watermark that in this case they are not going to add......Im getting it back as ProRes 422 HD

Edited by Stephen Perera

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