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Jeremy Saltry

How Cinelab charged me $161 for 100' of 7219

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I have never dealt with Cinelab before. I was mainly interested in their Xena 2k scans as they are better at reading underexposure and I was running and gunning at night and mainly just using a beater handheld cam I acquired and was more of a camera/scratch test and comparing scans to a certain degree.

 

I sent in 100' of 7219 to be processed and scanned at 2k thinking this would cost around $70.

 

I initially selected DPX but the decided ProRes would be more than fine. I tried to call and emailed Robert as soon as it went out and said I didn't update the order form to ProRes my apologies. There is no drive. I would just like an upload to Dropbox in ProRes and because I am not particularly attached to the negatives, I didn't include return shipping. Days later no response.

 

Filled out their order form which said nothing about minimums on it and they pricing sheets are somewhat unclear and very scattered. I didn't think twice about it and figured if they had a problem they would call or reach out.

 

I woke up this am to $161 charge. Thinking this was a mistake I reached out with an email with my form attached and also in line with the previous emails I sent before.

 

This was the response I got:

 

HI

Charges were:
$115 min charge for process and a 2K scan
2.00 for DPX frames
$30 for a thumb drive for DPX frames (we don't upload DPX)
$14 for UPS shipping.
I can change that to ProRes and do an upload which will save $32
So 100' of 7219 cost me $161 because they never saw the email that I sent and also just started assuming things and billed me for items and services that I never was asked about. I understand that my order form was initially filled out incorrect but I tried to call and email to no avail. This honestly could have just been taken care of with a phone call or email to clarify, especially if there is no drive, no request for a drive to be purchased and at least have this brought to my attention. I talked to a few other DPs and asked them what they thought. "Shady as hell" seemed to be the general consensus.
Edited by Jeremy Saltry
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Reading emails from clients at least once a day seems like pretty standard business practice for 2019 . They can email to clarify what you want , or like you said , pick up the phone , if they don't like using email.

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What made you think it would be $70? Did you not look at the pricing PDF as it mentions on the order form?

http://www.cinelab.com/PDFS/Cinelab-StudentRateCard2017.pdf

Seems pretty clear to me, and specifically says $115 for 100 ft developing and 2K scan..

 

Didn't the reply from Cinelab say they could change the DPX files to ProRes and do an upload to save you $32?

 

I don't see the issue here.

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Dealt off and on with Rob for over 11 years and know several others who have too. Never a shady moment. Never heard of an issue along those lines. Costs are likely kept low because they don't have an office with a secretary screening emails and calls full time. I'm glad they exist as an alternative for budget film production.

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I love Cinelab, no complaints from me. I encourage you to keep trying to contact Rob and sort it out, because, if you are planning on continuing with film, your best bet is to keep using them. They're my go-to lab.

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You're right. Its there. Something just seems off with a bunch of charges on a card and no communication. I just seemed like if I didn't look into it, I would have a drive at my door a week later.

What made you think it would be $70? Did you not look at the pricing PDF as it mentions on the order form?

http://www.cinelab.com/PDFS/Cinelab-StudentRateCard2017.pdf

Seems pretty clear to me, and specifically says $115 for 100 ft developing and 2K scan..

 

Didn't the reply from Cinelab say they could change the DPX files to ProRes and do an upload to save you $32?

 

I don't see the issue here.

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Without a doubt. I haven't deal with Cinelab specifically before. It seems like a mixed bag with reviews but I guess we will see what happens.

I love Cinelab, no complaints from me. I encourage you to keep trying to contact Rob and sort it out, because, if you are planning on continuing with film, your best bet is to keep using them. They're my go-to lab.

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Honestly, this is the big problem with 100ft loads. People don't understand how much effort goes into prepping for telecine. You have to first assemble the roll with heads and tail leader. Then you have to clean it. Finally threading up and doing a quick test to make sure it's going to scan alright, all takes the same amount of time with 100ft vs 1000ft. Still need to splice those reels, still need to clean that film, still need to thread that machine.

 

The key with film is the more you do, the lower the cost. Fotokem here in Hollywood, charges $50 flat rate for processing 100ft for students, $15 to prep, $15 for cleaning and they charge a minimal of a half hour on the transfer machine, which is $125. If you had 400ft roll, it would be around the same pricing.

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The minimum was my fault. I should have asked or looked more closely. $161 just seemed a bit high and seemed like I was being billed for additional drives and services and they are pretty tough to get in touch with via phone or email. It was just 100ft which wasnt being billed to a client or anything. Fotokem I would expect to pay out the ass for and wouldnt send 100' to. Lesson learned.

Honestly, this is the big problem with 100ft loads. People don't understand how much effort goes into prepping for telecine. You have to first assemble the roll with heads and tail leader. Then you have to clean it. Finally threading up and doing a quick test to make sure it's going to scan alright, all takes the same amount of time with 100ft vs 1000ft. Still need to splice those reels, still need to clean that film, still need to thread that machine.

The key with film is the more you do, the lower the cost. Fotokem here in Hollywood, charges $50 flat rate for processing 100ft for students, $15 to prep, $15 for cleaning and they charge a minimal of a half hour on the transfer machine, which is $125. If you had 400ft roll, it would be around the same pricing.

Edited by Jeremy Saltry

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I've been in your shoes many times and i completely understand the feeling. Every once and awhile a lab "gets me' with a hidden cost that at a second glance - wasn't actually hidden. The minimum feet charge is always one of them (it also makes it frustrating when you really just want to do a test roll). Another that always used to get me is with another lab, they have an .08 per foot cleaning fee they automatically tack onto the processing before they scan it. It's enough of a jump to give you a shock, but you can't blame them - it's right there in the fine print!

I've had similar communications hiccups with Cinelab where if something didn't seem clear, or if they didn't get my memo - they would indeed make assumptions. The one I remember is asking for a DPX sequence and getting a different codec altogether with a note citing "Not enough space". I remember being kind of irked that they didnt call or email: If it was important enough I would of sent another drive or even at least chosen my preference of file format! It was no big deal, it was still a damn good scan and Robert and his team do awesome work and always have but it does tend to give the shady feeling your describing. Especially when in a worse case scenario - A client could be a real jerk about it and demanded a new scan, and I'm sure some people do. I remember this was around the time Cinelab got the clientele from Pac Lab when they shut down. I know that includes a few film schools, so I wondered if there was a sudden surge of work that may have produced communication issues.

But truth be told I always have these moments with labs, from Cinelab, Colorlab, Metro lab, Pro8mm, etc. They all have that "hidden cost factor" where you realize it's your own fault for not reading the fine print whether it be to charge you a fee for using your own hard drive, or to prep the film for scan, or a minumum amount of feet. That "shady feeling" for me is "why couldn't they just have added that to the per foot price to begin with" but again... that's not on them.

As for the other issues. I'm under the impression that with the amount of work these labs get, sometimes they're more concerned with getting it back out the door. If the lab honestly screwed up, they've all been honest with me if it's on their end (to include cinelab) if you want to present a case.

The latest lab I worked with (not cinelab) I had bring to their attention in two different occasions where they charged me completely different prices they agreed upon (one of which was regarding the minimum feet). But they've always corrected it, as naive as this may sound - I really don't think any of them are trying to scam anyone on purpose.

 

Sorry for the book.

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Sorry but in order to stay in business we and everyone else have to charge some kind of minimum charges for small orders, we try to balance things as best we can.

 

We do not upload DPX sequences to DropBox or Google Drive because 100ft of 2K DPX is about 50Gb

 

We have a small nominal charge for uploads larger than 10Gb and I think Pro8 charges $10 per Gb so..... 50Gb would be $500...YMMV

 

I worked pretty hard on the price sheets and the table on the first page has clear tables for HD and 2K process and scans by the foot for smaller than 1200ft jobs.

 

The order form requested a 2K scan to DPX and Bill charged for a 64Gb Thumb Drive to put it on we will change that to ProRes and upload it which will save $32.00

 

We have had allot of work this month and have been really involved with getting the E6 process going by rebuilding the Allen Processor we are running it on, which was bought new by Cinelab in 1974....

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Cinelab Massachusetts and Rob have been amazing help so far for my documentary on S16mm. I sent them all kinds of footage but of course in batch of 3-5 cans at least. They have been accommodating. Gave me a decent pricing.

 

I still have to pay them for a couple of cans. :rolleyes:

 

Jeremy, trouble is that with a single 100ft roll there would be pricing issues in any lab. Tyler pointed out right whether its 100ft or 1000ft initial prep is the same. I do hope you will shoot more that way you can economise.

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Seems to me that they want to get the work delivered, rather than holding it up for a day or more while they call you for instructions. It also seems that they chose the lowest cost option for what you asked for.

You can bet that if they waited for instructions they'd have people saying "why didn't you just get on with it?".

Edited by Mark Dunn
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My bad. I do shoot on film and will continue to. I don't really deal with smaller loads often but it just seemed odd and presumptuous and I understand having to make a profit and being busy with not much support. I haven't dealt with these guys before. They clearly have a following. Lesson learned.

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Jeremy

 

We just charged you for what you asked for when you filled out the order form.

 

We run 35mm and 16mm as soon as it comes in and there is a 1080P option on our DFT Spirit that is $65 for process, prep and best light scan which would be free to upload.

 

 

In general we assume that people who ask for a 2K HDR scan to DPX frames know what they are asking for and the pricing is pretty clear on the price sheet.

 

We limit upload sized to under 20Gb unless prior arrangements are made because we have so many small 8mm and 16mm jobs which we upload and larger uploads take time and bandwidth. So we have to get those DPX files back to you somehow and a 64Gb USB3 thumb drive is what Bill charged for.

 

I am sorry we do not have the staff to call everyone with a small order to check and see if the order form is what they want but we get hundreds of small jobs every month 100ft 200ft 16mm and single rolls of 8mm in addition to larger jobs it would be impossible to call everyone and also get the work done.

 

FYI your film is developed so we can send the roll of developed and prepped film back, scan it to HD for the $65 price or to 2K ProRes for the $115 price and upload either the HD or 2K ProRes files.

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I tried to reach out a few times. No problem. Always got your answering service. Before and after I sent my order in. Busy shop. I get it. Some conflicting info on my order form, tried to correct it. Really wanted to check out your 2k Scan with your Xena. Haven't dealt with you guys. Was going to go with DPX and send a drive, but just went ProRes, realized I sent you in the wrong form, didn't think I needed a drive for 444 and tried to catch you guys and got a big bill. Thanks for your response.

We are this far with a pretty good thread going here so just shoot over the 2k ProRes via Dropbox. I appreciate your response. Feel free to call or shoot me an email finish this up haha. I am two steps from giving my address and credit card number out here.

Jeremy

 

We just charged you for what you asked for when you filled out the order form.

 

We run 35mm and 16mm as soon as it comes in and there is a 1080P option on our DFT Spirit that is $65 for process, prep and best light scan which would be free to upload.

 

 

In general we assume that people who ask for a 2K HDR scan to DPX frames know what they are asking for and the pricing is pretty clear on the price sheet.

 

We limit upload sized to under 20Gb unless prior arrangements are made because we have so many small 8mm and 16mm jobs which we upload and larger uploads take time and bandwidth. So we have to get those DPX files back to you somehow and a 64Gb USB3 thumb drive is what Bill charged for.

 

I am sorry we do not have the staff to call everyone with a small order to check and see if the order form is what they want but we get hundreds of small jobs every month 100ft 200ft 16mm and single rolls of 8mm in addition to larger jobs it would be impossible to call everyone and also get the work done.

 

FYI your film is developed so we can send the roll of developed and prepped film back, scan it to HD for the $65 price or to 2K ProRes for the $115 price and upload either the HD or 2K ProRes files.

Edited by Jeremy Saltry

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If you're just shooting 100' reels it's worth saving up your rolls until you have at least 400' probably. Even though raw film costs have gone up significantly and processing has gone up too, the transfer costs are pretty reasonable for much better quality. 2k and 4k scans today give you great data to work with.

 

I do slightly miss the days of scene-to-scene color correction by master colorists...or at least hard working but extremely proficient colorists. Now I have great scans to work with but must develop my color skills substantially.

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If you're just shooting 100' reels it's worth saving up your rolls until you have at least 400' probably. Even though raw film costs have gone up significantly and processing has gone up too, the transfer costs are pretty reasonable for much better quality. 2k and 4k scans today give you great data to work with.

 

 

I had about 300' of 16mm 7203 I'd shot mostly as a lens test and left in the fridge for nearly 10 months (oops). Finally sent it to get processed over at kodak along with some push process tests I'd done. I was shocked that the 10 month old stuff turned out just fine, such that I doubt I'd be able to tell the difference if I'd set it in right after shooting. So its definitely feasible to shoot, chill, and send a batch in to whatever lab.

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Got charged $130.00 for one 100 ft roll of 16mm for 2k scans. My mistake for not looking harder but they do good work and will talk to you if you are persistent. Maybe stick to 1080 scans?

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Got charged $130.00 for one 100 ft roll of 16mm for 2k scans. My mistake for not looking harder but they do good work and will talk to you if you are persistent. Maybe stick to 1080 scans?

if you dont need their HDR scan, a 1080 scan needs like a 6% upscale to be 2k. that upscale is unnoticeable to most, plus you'll still have your original negative if you do need a higher res scan later on

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if you dont need their HDR scan, a 1080 scan needs like a 6% upscale to be 2k. that upscale is unnoticeable to most, plus you'll still have your original negative if you do need a higher res scan later on

 

This assumes you're talking about 16:9. If you're scanning film at 2k at the actual aspect ratio, the difference in size can be more than 100%:

 

1440x1080 (4:3 inside a 16:9 frame) = 1.5MP vs

2048x1556 (4:3 at 2k) = 3.186MP

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The job was a camera test for a K3 (which has some issues) a 1080p scan on the spirit or a 2K ProRes scan on our Scan Station would have been equally effective to look for camera issues, a HDR scan on the Xena especially to DPX was overkill.

 

I will offer credit to do some more camera test scans as we try to support and encourage people who are trying to get up and running.

 

Also we delivered our first roll of Ektachrome today so we are up and running E6 in 8mm 16mm and 35mm.

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This assumes you're talking about 16:9. If you're scanning film at 2k at the actual aspect ratio, the difference in size can be more than 100%:

 

1440x1080 (4:3 inside a 16:9 frame) = 1.5MP vs

2048x1556 (4:3 at 2k) = 3.186MP

correct, my mental math there defaulted to 1920x1080 vs 2048x1152.

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Thanks for the offer! That is nice of you. My apologies for the misunderstanding with rates.

 

I specifically sought out your Xena scanner as generates less noise with underexposure from what I understand. I am familiar with Scan Stations and Spirits but wanted to take a look for myself hence the DPX. I guess you can say also a scanner test. Its was more for me personally, not billed to a client or anything. Alot of this was shot at night so I wanted to see what I could get out of the scans. I don't think it was necessarily overkill, whether its an XTR or SR3 or a K3, it's all relative.

 

K3's are totally have their quarks. They are great if you get a good one. The problem was that all of the nighttime stuff came out super soft. I have actually been talking to a few DP's about this just for fun to try and see what the problem is. Pressure plate came up for back focus. A lot of it is in focus in the daytime so hitting focus came up. But what is weird is that for a fraction of a second some frames are in focus and jump out without the camera being physically moved.

 

Here is a gallery of the gate at night and the day and the frames in focus for a brief moment and not. The photo of the close up of the game is at the same position. Just one night and one day. If anyone wants to take a stab at it. I feel like Tyler knows K3's pretty well.

 

 

https://imgur.com/a/LNwi16x#jkyaRzw

Edited by Jeremy Saltry

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