Cinematography Mailing List - CML

Telecine & Cinematographers

Telecine is an area that is hugely neglected by most cameramen.

We whinge that we aren't getting the look we want or that our efforts are being "ruined", but how many of us go to all, or most, of the transfers of our work?.

I think it's vital that we treat the TK as another tool in the image creation process.

We have to create a working relationship with our Colourist's in the same way we do with our gaffer's. Some Colourist's are able to get a saturation and punch from your neg. that nobody else can, others can give you the smooth skintones you need, yet others can ruin your efforts beyond all comprehension.

My choice of film stock is influenced by the way that it responds to TK, how far I can stretch it there, and not what it looks like printed.

Even the commercials I shoot for cinema are post produced on tape and then transferred to film. The cinema trailers I shot for the London Film Festival were shot Super 35 and then post produced on Cineon.

I filter much less in camera now finding that I can get the look I want by altering the look in TK. A ¼ pro-mist on camera with a ½ on TK gives a very gentle diffusion that is totally different to using a heavier diff. on camera. The only way to find out what these will do is to experiment and talk to your colourist.

There are more and more tools out there for us to use, we now have a range of TK's that give us different looks and resolutions it's up to us as DP's to find out what they do and to use them to the limit.

I wrote the above 5 years ago, it's now summer 2002, and I can only add that it's even more important to have a good relationaship with a colourist, as important as your gaffer.

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