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Old August 10th, 2008, 05:56 PM   #1
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16mm Film (Editing it on a computer)

I have little knowledge of using a film camera as well as editing with a film camera. However, I thought I might just get a hold of a 16mm film camera and do some messing/learning around with it. Lets say I filmed a few scenes and wanted to edit them on a computer rather than using a Steenbeck room how would I go about that? I've been using DV Cams like my optura xi forever and just thought I'd try something different, always wanted to get into film but just thought of what a pain in the ass it is to edit it. The cool thing about film is its resolution is better than some of the best HD cams. The only thing is how would you keep that resolution when editing it on the computer. Wouldn't you have to transfer the film to video [lowering the quality?].
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Old August 10th, 2008, 06:07 PM   #2
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Nathan,

Yes, you edit film on a computer. The film is transfered to a tape in telecine process. Depending on what you are willing to pay for this can be a 'one light' or 'best light' process to save expense. You can send the sound files as well, to have these duped and logged.

IF all you are doing is cutting for use in DV, then you really won't be concerned with keycodes. (Keeping track of the frame numbers for negative cutting). You simply pull the dub into your computer and edit away.

This is how feature films are edited. They are 'cut' on the computer, then the computer spits out the 'cut list' (which is given to the negative cutter) to assemble the actual negative into the final cut.

(This by the way, is the reason AVID was designed the way it is. Many people who have never had to work with a film flow, are frustrated by the 'archaic' approach that AVID takes. Its also the reason why most feature films are still cut on AVID)

Times are changing quickly though, and depending on budget requirements, FX requirements and such - many negatives are never truly 'cut' anymore.

If you just want to shoot some film, you might try shootin some super 8, still a lot of fun - you can shoot 35mm negative stock cut down for Super 8, send it off -and get a mini-dv tape of the footage back.
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Old August 10th, 2008, 06:59 PM   #3
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So I'm guessing there is no way you could do this process yourself? Also wouldn't the quality/resolution get way lowered if they put it on mini dv? Or is there another process that holds most of the native res. I'm not even sure what the native resolution is for 16mm (1400 x 2490?).
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Old August 10th, 2008, 07:12 PM   #4
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The resolution potential of 16mm (or better yet, super 16mm) will (for your purposes) be limited by the sensor used in the telecine process. Suffice it to say it outstrips most digital video cameras as of today (possibly even a 4K RED, depending on the comparison film used in any test and the format - 16mm or super 16mm). In addition, the dynamic range (ability to discern degrees of gradation in shadows and highlights) of film is generally "roughly" twice that of the best digital videocameras at this point, though that keeps shrinking. Resolution you want? You can pay for a 4K Telecine process if you like.... even from 16mm...and if you were outputting the final edit to 35mm film that might make sense. If you are only doing a digital end product, it would be a waste of money at this point and 2K will give you a digital HD output.

What this discussion ignores are other things like Depth of field, bokah (sorta same but not really - DOF related though) and some other nicities digital is still working towards. It also ignores the high price of film/processing and telecine.

As a general rule, most consumer digital video cameras are running something below 1 megapixel in resolution. Some HD Prosumer models can boast between 1Megapixel (1K) and 2K. High end cameras are between 2K and 4K... and cost an arm and a leg.

A 35mm film camera with high resolution (low speed) film will give you a perceived resolution of around 7-8K. Increase the film size (like medium format cameras or a sheet film camera and you can press resolution up to 75 to 250K ! (Or higher). But for movie production the 7K number is probably a generous starting point, unless we want to start talking 70MM film! (Since most feature films are still being shot on 35mm film.)

The issue currently with digital videocameras is the sensor size. Bigger is better, and far more expensive past a certain point. When we can put 35mm film image sized sensors into a videocamera, lots of the differences we fight about will go away, as will the other issues with DOF etc.

I hope this helps.

Last edited by Chris Swanberg; August 10th, 2008 at 07:52 PM.
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Old August 10th, 2008, 07:54 PM   #5
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Nathan, when you ask "do this process yourself" - do you mean process the negative and transfer it to video?

Well, yes, if you want to buy/rent a telecine transfer projection system. There ARE 'inexpensive' systems that many companies use - google up 'moviestuff' and 'sniper' -http://www.moviestuff.tv/16mm_telecine.html
I believe they are still offering a system that will transfer 16mm frame by frame to your computer.

But that's not in the realm of your interest, is it? When you say you want to shoot 16mm, are you talking about regular or super16? Do you have a camera available? Do you plan to shoot double system sound?

Depending on where you are located, you might just be able to take a 'film course' from the local community college, or non-profit media center. (Here in San Francisco, there is BAVC and FilmArts) You CAN still find courses in shooting film, if you want to learn about it, and experience it.
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Old August 10th, 2008, 08:42 PM   #6
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I would love to do the telecine transfer myself, however its very spendy to own a system, 2-6 grand. I guess my question is, lets say I shot something sent it in for a telecine transfer and got it back on MiniDV tape that I could put in my Optura XI DV cam. Then I captured it onto my PC via firewire to edit. Would the resolution on the MiniDV tape be back to a low resolution of 720 x 480 resolution for example or would it hold a higher resolution for example the resolution I shot the project in (16mm) or close?

As far as shooting in original 16 or super 16. For a start I would probably just do regular 16mm. Double System Sound would be good, for a start though I'd maybe have the camera handle it, however some film cameras don't record audio correct? Right now I don't have a camera, but have been looking at a few. Any of you have any recommendations?

As far as school goes I don't know, I would probably just learn on my own time trial and error and such.
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Old August 10th, 2008, 08:52 PM   #7
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I would love to do the telecine transfer myself, however its very spendy to own a system, 2-6 grand. I guess my question is, lets say I shot something sent it in for a telecine transfer and got it back on MiniDV tape that I could put in my Optura XI DV cam. Then I captured it onto my PC via firewire to edit. Would the resolution on the MiniDV tape be back to a low resolution of 720 x 480 resolution for example or would it hold a higher resolution that I shot it in or close?

As far as shooting in original 16 or super 16. For a start I would probably just do regular 16mm. Double System Sound would be good, for a start though I'd maybe have the camera handle it, however some film cameras don't record audio correct? Right now I don't have a camera, but have been looking at a few. I've seen a few Canon Scoopic 16mm film cameras, anyone ever use one? Any of you have any recommendations?

As far as school goes I don't know, I would probably just learn on my own time trial and error and such.
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Old August 10th, 2008, 10:00 PM   #8
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Nathan

Your film to telecine resolution, even back to mini-DV will be whatever they telecine it to.... 2K for example. The medium is not the decidiing factor in this situation.

If you think you might like to dabble in film to tape I suggest (recommend) you look at a Russian Krasnogorsk 16mmm camera, and suggest you find one converted to Super 16mm. They run under about $400 and are built like tanks and the Zenit zoom lens on them is pretty gorgeous glass and gives a nice sharp image. They have an old M42 mount, the same as the early Pentax cameras. Some very nice prime lenses made by Takumar are floating around in that mount still.

For your info.... Single sprocket 16mm film can be had from Raw-Stock in NYC (google them) for between $18 to $30 for a 100 foot roll (about 3-1/3 minutes worth). Processing is about $15-20 for that length... and telecine prices... well you will need to check around. It will depend on the things you want done in the process and your final resolution and output media.

Film has some definite advantages.... with a BIG price tag.

Last edited by Chris Swanberg; August 10th, 2008 at 10:40 PM.
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Old August 10th, 2008, 10:13 PM   #9
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Film also has some disadvantages as well. Film is so expensive, you cannot afford to make mistakes. Film is so hard to work with that it's easy to make a lot of mistakes... see where I'm going?

Before dropping the money for a camera, telecine process, etc... if you really just want to get your feet wet with film as a medium, maybe you should see what the film process entails step-by-step by working with someone who is more experienced with film.

DV editing is relatively cheap - so much so that I'm teaching myself moviemaking by making tons of mistakes. Sorta like film-school by trial-and-error. I'm serious about moviemaking but I'm not in a position where I can make it anything more than my #1 hobby.

Indeed, if you're looking for something with the resolution of 16mm film, it might be cheaper just to buy a RED.
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