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class="style7"> Ghetto Style Film Transfer

>Published : 19th January 2008

>Hello there,

>First time poster ..

>Our 1K€ budgeted DV feature film is invited to show in Munich film festival, and they insist on a film copy. There's no way that we could afford a proper 35mm transfer. we go for the cheapest possible solution to put this standard def, 25P, DV, anamorph (16:9 cropped to 2.35:1) on film. We've decided to shoot it off an apple cinema display with Reversal 16mm film, to even save the print costs, and have the sound on some kind of parallel "double system", magnetic or DAT, i.e. not optical.

>First of all, any tip would be greatly appreciated, thank you!

>Seconds - due to the aspect ratio of the frame, I thought to shoot the squeezed image, to cover more surface of the film, hoping that a standard projector anamorph lens will stretch it back to the right dimensions. I know that 16:9 is not a film frame ratio and afraid that such an anamorphic lens on the projector will not do the right job here. Does anybody know for sure or can help here?

>Thanks a lot!

>Shai Levy,
Berlin.


>Shai Levy wrote :

class="style8">>>Our 1K€ budgeted DV feature film is invited to show in Munich film >>festival, and they insist on a film copy. There's no way that we could >>afford a proper 35mm transfer.

>It's a classic problem that I’ve had too and I don't have a good answer, but perhaps if the film is good enough to get into a major festival maybe you can get a distributor interested as well? I don't know about government grants in Germany, but here in Sweden the Swedish film institute sponsors prints for films that get into the bigger fests.

>Perhaps you got something similar in Berlin where I hear they are very supportive towards artists...

>Mattias Sandstrom

--
http://www.mattias.nu/


>Shai,

class="style9">>>we've decided to shoot it off an apple cinema display with Reversal >>16mm film, to even save the print costs, and have the sound on >>some kind of parallel "double system", magnetic or DAT, ie not optical.

>You didn't mention what film camera you would be using for the transfer.

>If you can make your film play at 25fps on the monitor (and of course, sync 25fps on the camera) , that would be a major obstacle cleared.

>Then you have to figure out how to cut together at least 10 rolls of 400' reversal film together (you mentioned a feature, no?)

>Important! Check that they have some kind of double system, or else you will have to jury rig something.

>Sounds like a nightmare, but at least a do-able nightmare!!!

class="style9">>>seconds - due to the aspect ratio of the frame, I thought to shoot the >>squeezed image,...

>oooh ... just shoot letterboxed rather than deal with squeezing and unsqueezing. This is already fragile enough, you don't want to needlessly complicate things.

>Please let us know how you turn out.

>Duraid Munajim
DP, Toronto


class="style9">>>first of all, any tip would be greatly appreciated, thank you!

>The best tip I can give is to convince them to allow you to project using a video projector. I have a feeling that if you offer to supply the projector, they will be happy to accept the offer. You could rent one for a hell of alot less than it's going to cost you for the print stock alone - and it will look an awful lot better than what you're suggesting.

>Tip to others who might be reading this: if you're going to shoot something and display it at a film festival, it's a really good idea to find out ahead of time whether they accept video submissions - and then decide whether or not you can afford to produce for them.

>Mike Most
Chief Technologist
Cineworks Digital Studios
Miami, Fl.


class="style9">>> we've decided to shoot it off an apple cinema display with Reversal >>16mm film, to even save the print costs, and have the sound on >>some kind of parallel "double system",magnetic or DAT, i.e. not optical.

>You might also consider using an old Bach Auricon Pro-600 camera with optical sound recording capability

http://www.owyheesound.com/owyheesound_instruction/Film_Making/

cameras/film_cameras/auricon_pro-600/auricon_pro-600.html

class="style9">>>The sound quality of an in-camera optical recorder is poor, compared >>to modern digital standards, but it's unique character has a certain >>smoothness that is unlike other sound recording mediums.

>Yes, it's totally ghetto, but actually it sounds like a fun exercise.

>Just don't expect Dolby/DTS-quality audio.

>Even with degraded audio quality I think you'd have a much greater chance of success by this method than with any sort of asynchronous double-system playback. Film festivals are lousy places to introduce any sort of non-standard presentation technology and expect it to (a) work, (b) stay in sync for the length of the film, and/or (c) be accepted by the projectionist who is already too busy trying to juggle many short and poorly-labelled reels of film even without the need for a specialized, custom playback setup!

>There's a chap in South America who is making his own HDV 35mm film-outs by shooting a flat-panel display and he's been very happy with the results. I'd definitely suggest using the 23" or 30" displays for highest resolution and--just as important--minimization of any "screen door" pixel pattern.

>Adam Wilt, ex-Pro-600 user, ex-film-festival-projectionist, now DV/
DVCPROHD/HDV user, Mountain View CA USA


>In addition to all the good questions and suggestions you've received so far, I would suggest that you shoot a 100-foot film test, if you still end up having to do the film transfer.

>I wish you luck. I know how frustrating it is to deal with festivals that insist on "film only" -- particularly those who do so for the sake of purist ideology. These folks seem to care less about talent and creativity than about the mystique of celluloid.

>A few years ago an old film of mine was shown at a European festival. I'd spent considerable time restoring a video version, but they were purists, and had to have film. So I showed the only print I had, which was in horrible shape. It didn't make me very happy to do that -- but the celluloid purists loved every scratch and splice!

>Dan Drasin
Producer/DP
Marin County, CA


>Adam wrote:

class="style9">> Just don't expect Dolby/DTS-quality audio.

>Actually DTS audio is always double-system, and it's possible to do with a 16mm release or answer print. The theatre needs to have a DTS system installed in order for it to work. I believe, you can have up to 7.1 channels of CD quality audio. TC is burned optically on the print the DTS 'magic box' (for lack of the real name) controls sync with the DTS CDs during playback.

>It didn't really catch on for a variety of reasons, but it's easily the finest quality sound available with a 16mm system. I don't know if they completely stopped offering this service? Last I heard of anyone doing it was in 2000. You can always give Digital Theatre Systems, Inc. in Agora Hills a call to see if it's still an option.

>They also make/made the coolest subtitling system I've ever seen. It doesn't burn any text into the frame, very clever.

>Ilia Friedman
Production Maven
Van Nuys, CA


>Adam J. Wilt wrote:

>> You might also consider using an old Bach Auricon Pro-600 camera >>with optical sound recording capability

Adam,

>I didn't know you used to use a Pro-600! I have a large collection of Auricon, no Pro 600s or 1200s (too big) but four wooden ones and a Invoice 400 prototype from the factory (faux CP16, too late). Note that in the case of an LCD, you don't want or need the Auricon TVT 144-degree shutter (for shooting CRTs in NTSC-land).

>The problems with recording single-system optical sound are getting all the settings right for optical tracks -- takes experimentation. And grain = noise, so slower stocks are better -- but there's not much colour reversal available anymore, and it's quite costly. B&W is a different matter.

>Auricon tracks can be pretty decent. And of course if you want hi-fi sound, record timecode instead of audio and use the track to slave a device that will chase TC. Poor-man's DTS.

>You can get very good results shooting off the right LCD -- but there are quite a few tricks that help -- a good lens, black surround, etc. In this case, with 16mm and reversal as a limiting factor, probably a 1920 x 1200 screen is adequate. Of course, the 1:2.35 aspect ratio is going to reduce that to 1920 x 810 or so. The anamorphic 16mm idea is probably a bad one because few theatres have anamorphic 16mm lenses anymore, and the ones they might find suck.

>I'd letterbox -- of course by the time you get down to that amount of 16mm frame, 1920 x 810 is even overkill!

>Best of luck, and let us all know how it turns out.

>Jeff "has an RCA PR25, too" Kreines


class="style9">>>I know how frustrating it is to deal with festivals that insist on "film only" >>-- particularly those who do so for the sake of purist ideology.

>True, but equally frustrating when you have done the hard yards and have a beautiful 35mm print and the Festival wont accept it and instead insist on screening off a DVD on the cinema's crap video projector designed to show the slides!

>Some exceptions like this years South by Southwest Festival that screened a feature I shot of HDCam or a HD QT through a quality HD projector. Apparently looked awesome. Full points to these guys.

>http://2006.sxsw.com/film/

>Many Thanks
Tom Gleeson
0412 677 541
www.cinematography.net


>Thank you very much for all the input.

>The Auricon Pro-600 looks interesting. i will search for it. i am too afraid of some DIY double system.

>I will definitely make a test roll with the reversal film and am
actually quite excited to see how it will turn out. I even consider developing some of it in a normal process (not reversal) just to see what it gives... try to work with the limitations

>...and of course, updates will come!

>Shai Levy
DP, Berlin
http://www.shailevy.net/


>Another question / wonder

>As I mentioned, the video material is progressive 25fps (shot with a DVX100) and will be shot off an apple cinema display. film camera will run too on 25fps. there's actually no way to make sure it will lay 1 full video frame on a 1 full film frame. I just expect to see a motion-blur like result on the film, which while its not a disaster, I'm not really a fan of.

>Can i at all work around this problem with this setup?

>Best Regards

>Shai Levy
DP, Berlin


>Shai Levy wrote :

class="style9">>>there's actually no way to make sure it will lay 1 full video frame on a 1 >>full film frame.

>On some (all? I’m not an ac) crystal motors you can phase them until it is sure. not sure if you'd be able to see it on an lcd though. If you're shooting a TV you can see the roll bar clearly and adjust to that.

>Mattias Sandstrom


class="style9">>> DTS audio is always double-system, and it's possible to do with a >>16mm release or answer print.

class="style9">>>Last I heard of anyone doing it was in 2000.

>That could have been me. It is a great way to go, but a bit of a "Roadshow" in 16mm. But you would want to use their 'generic' 16mm optical neg - I worked through FotoKem (In LA - USA) with this although then printed (to 7361 B&W reversal) at Forde Labs.

>I'm not at all sure how you could do DTS in a one-pass DIY filmout to reversal camera film.

>Personally if I was gonna shoot off a monitor I think I'd go for 7201 neg at least. The color & contrast issues with 7285 ? Yikes (or it could be cool but I'm not sure that's the coolness you want !)

>Last year the AC mag had an feature on Gus Van Sant's "Last Days" -- Harris Savides mentions a test they did, shooting DV, outputting to his Apple Cinema Display & Harris S shooting off the screen w/ his Arri 2C. I'm paraphrasing; he said it looked "great" but had "too many layers of information"

>-Sam Wells
film/.../nj


>In my copious free time, I run a film festival at a science fiction convention (plug: www.arisia.org and anyone with anything even remotely SF related should contact me, especially if you have shorts). As such I have a pretty good handle on what goes on in the booth at festivals, and mostly it involves a lot of sleep deprivation and poor scheduling.

>IF you are submitting one of the bigger films, AND you okay it well in advance, most festivals can do double-system sound, and it sounds really, really good in 16mm. But most folks aren't going to bother doing it for a single short subject. It won't hurt to ask, but ask WELL in advance.

>Going the Auricon route isn't that bad... if you can find some old can of 2239 in single-perf, A-1 will still process it and you can get pretty decent quality image that way off a good calibrated monitor. I used a Tek 650HR and an Auricon for that sort of application for a while. The sound is awful and will take some tinkering, but that's life.

>The other alternative, of course, is to shoot with that Auricon on colour negative stock, get a real soundtrack made, and get a composite one-light print made from both. The price is about double, though.

>The BEST possible sound method here is to do a makeshift transfer like this onto a reversal stock, then get the material striped and dub the sound to the magnetic stripe. I do not think anyone in the US will still stripe 16mm although there are a couple houses in Europe that will do it. Make sure the festival can do 16mm mag... but lots of folks still can show it and it sounds magnificent.

>I think that DuArt will still do kinescopes. Bono Film did it until a couple years back when they sold all the equipment on Ebay.

>Scott Dorsey
Kludge Audio
Williamsburg, VA.


>Adam Wilt writes:

class="style9">>>You might also consider using an old Bach Auricon Pro-600 camera >>with optical sound recording capability

Too bad 1200-foot rolls of single-perf reversal are a thing of the past. The Auricons worked very well with 1200-foot Mitchell mags. (But you had to cross yourself twice and propitiate the celluloid gods before loading those monsters, or risk a catastrophic dishing of the film roll -- surprise, surprise! Holding the mag and the roll almost vertically was the preferred way...)

Scott Dorsey writes :

class="style9"><< I think that DuArt will still do kinescopes. >>

>My bet is that shooting off a good Apple display would look better than a kinescope. But I don't know that for sure, and the latter would certainly entail a lot less hassle and risk.

>Jeff Kreines writes:

class="style9"><< I have four wooden ones >>

>If anyone one the planet had four wooden Auricons it would be you, Jeff. I didn't even know they'd ever made such a thing!

>Remember the guy in the grey suit with the slicked-down hair who was always hunched over the camera in the Auricon Pro 600 ads?

>Dan "take it to nostalgia..." Drasin
Producer/DP
Marin County, CA


>Follow-up and an urgent question :

>We're about to test the transfer tomorrow, shooting off an apple cinema display, the 2.35:1 image, squeezed in 50% (for a later anamorphic projection), on to reversal film, with (and here's the catch) a super 16mm camera, because that’s what we could get.

>This reversal film is going to be the end product. no blowup will be made.

>My question :

>How should i frame the 4:3 video image inside the wide super16 frame. on the left side? right side? middle..?!?

>I'm also going to test a cropped, non-squeezed image, as I’m afraid of some strange pixel artifacts on the horizontal, to those of you who are worried

>Thank you so much for the help

>best regards

>Shai Levy
DP, Berlin


>Shai Levy wrote:

class="style9">>> how should i frame the 4:3 video image inside the wide super16 >>frame. On the left side? right side? middle..?!?

>If you want to project it as standard 16; left.

>Are you sure the theatre has an anamorphic 16mm setup though? I’d
letterbox it.

>Mattias Sandstrom


>Since there is no 2X anamorphic Super-16 projection, you'd have to make sure you framed the image in the regular 16mm area of the negative so that your optical-sound prints could be projected in 16mm with a 2X anamorphic lens, assuming you find a venue that owns one. I believe that the optical track goes on the right side of the frame, so you'd be composing the image on the left side of the Super-16 frame. I could be wrong on that.

>Yes, if you see the LCD pixels in the projected image using the 2X anamorphic lens, they will look flattened horizontally, but probably grain will mask a lot of that.

>So if you are exposing directly to reversal, are you not putting a soundtrack on the print, but running it in interlock?

class="style9">>>are you sure the theater has an anamorphic 16mm setup though? I’d >>letterbox it.

>Or make one of each, a 2X anamorphic version and a letterboxed version.

>I wonder what the point of all of this is just to get a 16mm print... since most film festivals can project the digital version these days.

>David Mullen, ASC
Los Angeles


>Shai Levy wrote:

class="style9">>>my question: how should i frame the 4:3 video image inside the wide >>super16 frame. on the left side? right side? middle..?!?

>Have the rental house, or a camera tech recanter the mount and the ground glass for Standard 16. Then frame center.

>Trying to giure how much you ought to frame over to one side or the other without a test will drive you nuts. Also see if they can put in a standard 16 ground glass. OR Generate a Crosshair in the exact center of the apple display/or playback window for cantering.

>--
Steven Gladstone
New York Based Cinematographer
Gladstone Films
www.gladstonefilms.com
917-886-5858


>This is what I've been wondering. For all the effort and money you're putting into a S16 transfer, you could instead be renting or even buying a decent LCD/DLP projector and just have the projectionist throw it up in the booth. It will probably look a lot better too.

>Jim Eagan
NY shooter/editor


Shai Levy wrote:

class="style9">>>we're about to test the transfer tomorrow, shooting off an apple cinema >>display, the 2.35:1 image, squeezed in 50% (for a later anamorphic >>projection), on to reversal film...

>Please forgive me if I'm incorrect, but I was under the impression that it's virtually impossible to get S16mm projected??? How is your film going to be distributed? Are you hoping to get it shown in theatres?

>Best wishes,

>Jack Kelly
London
Dir/Prod/Camera


>David Mullen wrote:

class="style9">>>So if you are exposing directly to reversal, are you not putting a >>soundtrack on the print, but running it in interlock?

>The thing that would scare me most about this plan is the chance that the sound would drift over the length of the film. What's your plan for transferring the sound to mag to play in double-system?

>Jason Brush
SVP User Experience, Schematic
Visiting Professor, UCLA Film Dept.


>Jack,

>I believe this is for a film-festival, not distribution.
Apparently the fest projects 16 and 35, but not digital.

>Jim Eagan
NY shooter/editor


>Jack Kelly wrote:

class="style9">>>Please forgive me if I'm incorrect, but I was under the impression that >>it's virtually impossible to get S16mm projected???

>that's why he's wondering where in the super 16 frame to put the 4:3 image. (to the left)

>Mattias Sandstrom


>David Mullen wrote:

class="style9">>>So if you are exposing directly to reversal, are you not putting a >>soundtrack on the print, but running it in interlock?

>We put a magnetic band sound on the 16mm film! I didn't believe this thing exists any more. They can not project double system, but do have this option of magnetic sound on film, and they have a x2 anamorphic lens. The projector is a 35mm and 16mm in the same enclosure, so I’ve understood.

>David Mullen wrote:

class="style9">>> I wonder what the point of all of this is just to get a 16mm print... since >>most film festivals can project the digital version these days.

>The festival director strictly refused to accept a digital copy. only film. even if in the rules and regulations it says that they allow digital projection. its very frustrating...

class="style9">>>This is what I've been wondering. For all the effort and money you're >>putting into a S16 transfer, you could instead be renting or even buying >>a decent LCD/DLP projector and just have the projectionist throw it up >>in the booth. It will probably look a lot better too.

>Again, not possible. we've tried to offer many times. it will not be accepted. film only!

>Shai Levy
DP, Berlin


>Shai Levy writes:

class="style9"><< it will not be accepted. film only! >>

>Celluloid fundamentalists never give up. ("There is no film but film!")

>...And filmmaking talent be damned.

>Imagine if newspaper editors insisted on wet-plate 8x10 pictures only.

>I hope you're able to work around this limitation, Shai. Good luck, and if your transfer is successful please keep us know how it's received at the festival.

>Dan Drasin
Producer/DP
Marin County, CA