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Patrick Cooper

Unsatisfied with transfer of super 8 negative film

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Posted (edited)

Recently, I had some super 8 Vision 3 50D super 8 film transferred. I was informed that some colour grading is performed on negative transfers by this business (and that has certainly been the case in the past with my previous negative films that were transferred there.) During shooting, when I was finishing off the film, my Canon 1014E's internal light meter became defective and I was forced to use my Panasonic digital M4/3 camera to take light readings. Though I have not done this before (using a digi cam to meter for super 8 ) so  I erred on the side of overexposure to play it safe. To compensate for the light loss to the Canon's beamsplitter, I subtracted half a stop which was probably too much. At a rough guess, the footage in this portion of the film may be overexposed by at least a stop and a half. Actually more likely over two stops of overexposure.

Though I was really surprised when I saw the transfer. These particular segments were really washed out. A huge loss of detail and colour information. It was like looking at reversal film that had been overexposed by a significant amount. Surely they could do better than this! I saw no attempts at correction.

By the way, a number of years ago, I was photographing some people under artificial lighting at night on 35mm colour negative film with an SLR camera. With the first print from the lab, the subjects were blown out to complete white. Absolutely no detail at all. I managed to get them to do another print where all the colour and detail were restored in the subjects. So considering that, I was under the impression that this super 8 footage could be salvageable. I actually tried to colour grade it myself (my very first time trying this.) I don't have Davinci Resolve as I don't have a powerful enough computer to run it. I had to use the rather crude colour grading tools in Shotcut but I could not get anything usable. I'm guessing that a skilled colourist with lots of experience may be able to salvage it.

There’s also some other shots elsewhere on the film with less overexposure (a bit over half a stop.) Among that footage are some white subjects illuminated by late afternoon sunlight that are pretty much blown out. I was hoping for better results than this.  

Ive contacted the business and I'm waiting for a reply. 

 

Edited by Patrick Cooper

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49 minutes ago, Patrick Cooper said:

super 8 footage could be salvageable

Just took a quick screengrab and changed levels in Adobe PS. With the original scan files one should be able to get a better grade, maybe use Premier or After Effects?

Screenshot 2020-03-31 at 08.21.23.jpg

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Posted (edited)

Nice work. That's certainly an improvement. I do have Adobe Photoshop but I don't have Premier or After Effects (no experience with those programs.) I tried with Shotcut but didn't have any success there (I admit it was my first time trying colour grading and didn't really know what I was doing.)

Edited by Patrick Cooper

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On 3/31/2020 at 12:54 AM, Patrick Cooper said:

Nice work. That's certainly an improvement. I do have Adobe Photoshop but I don't have Premier or After Effects (no experience with those programs.) I tried with Shotcut but didn't have any success there (I admit it was my first time trying colour grading and didn't really know what I was doing.)

They most likely sent you a flat / log scan. Is this from Pro8?

 

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You can download DaVinci Resolve for free and view some YouTube tutorials...that would be a great program to learn as it is/was what all the colorists I've worked with in the U.S. have used for years and years (well before Blackmagic bought them and made it an editor too).

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this looks kinda LOGy, maybe a bit over exposed too (or transfered with middle grey a smidge to hot)? the quick and dirty way to adjust this is to crank the contrast up. Its 50D so even a stop or two over exposed it should be recoverable if something is wrong. 

did you shoot a color chart at the head of the roll? If not, I strongly recommend even getting just one of those small foldable color checker charts, as it gives the transfer house a good reference for dialing things in. you can also then bump a hand written note that says "Time to chart" to instruct the transfer artist to dial the colors in to the color chart. 

Definitely get yourself a program that can do basic color adjustments, that way you wont be waiting on the lab for everything.

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Looks like an overexposed shot and a LOG scan.

Was it ProRes4444? Lots of data range from the 2K scan if so.

I would use the offset tool in the LOG grading section of Resolve to bring the shot down and then add contrast and saturation.

Should grade fine.

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