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The TOTEM Poll: Totally Off Topic, Everything Media
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Old October 30th, 2003, 09:26 AM   #1
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Transferring FILM to DV for editing

Usual and customary, or colossal mistake?

For the record, this wasn't my idea. I am working on two film projects where the producers sent their film off to be developed and had it trensferred to DV so they could could go digital NLE.

So, am I ignorant or is this a grand mistake? It seems to me that transferring to DV means transferring to 720x480 resolution with the compressed limitations of DVtype1 (that's what it is).
If they are going to throw out the resolution of film, they could have saved the cash and shot on DV to begin with, correct?
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Old October 30th, 2003, 09:34 AM   #2
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Usually the DV copy is used as a sort of off line edit and then used to cut the negative for the finished film copy. However, specialized NLE software (such as Apple's Cinema Tools) is used to conform the EDL so the frames match up for the neg cutter.
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Old October 30th, 2003, 09:40 AM   #3
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Hmmm . . . I'll ask the producers again, but I don't think they are planning to do that. I think they are planning to stay with what they have.

Assuming they are, do you agree they could have shot on DV to begin with? Or would you maintain that the look of film remains even when converted to DV?
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Old October 30th, 2003, 09:48 AM   #4
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If I had the budget to shoot film, I'd also want to edit with film, not video. I certainly wouldn't plan to shoot film and then finish in video.
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Old October 30th, 2003, 11:07 AM   #5
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While it's a bit odd to pay for the expense of telecine and not output to a far less compressed format than DV--Digibeta being the gold standard for SD video, and HDCAM for higher-end (and deeper pocket) projects--there's a world of difference between shooting on film and shooting of DV, and that will not be lost regardless of the final format. DVD's are more compressed than DV--those look pretty good, right?

As far as the future of these projects--what is the final display medium intended to be? If it's a "straight-to-video" presentation, well, they SHOULD have telecined to Digibeta, struck DV copies, done the edit, then an online assembly in Digibeta for maximum quality. As mentioned earlier, an HD telecine would protect for the future.

If projected, yes, they have made a questionable move as the artifacts of DV will certainly show up.

Either way, the practice of shooting on film and editing with an NLE is so widespread that it's extraordinarily rare to hear of anyone cutting on film these days (although I hear Spielberg still prefers it). The advantages of NLE are so many it's hard to make an argument otherwise. The real question is whether or not you go back and conform the negative as Jeff indicated.

But really, there's a massive, qualititive difference between footage originated on DV and film. My reel (which I cut on FCP) has everything from DV to 35mm on it, and each medium has its own look that is preserved. I would love to move up to DVCPro50 to reduce the compression, but I probably won't get around to it now that HD is rapidly becoming viable.
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Old October 30th, 2003, 10:59 PM   #6
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Are there any telecine facilities equipped to deliver frame scans at high-resolution (2k-4k) uncompressed image sequences? I don't know what the protocol is...but I've been wanting to explore 8-16mm and was wondering what sort of options out there exist to get uncompressed data (sans tape format) onto a computer for editing/grading. I can probably guess that this isn't the standard way of doing things, but if anyone has any knowledge of facilities and pricerange please do chime in.
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Old October 31st, 2003, 08:40 AM   #7
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Charles,

I'd love to see your reel, can I pay you for a copy?
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Old October 31st, 2003, 12:49 PM   #8
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the DV 25mgs format is better then a hand size DV camera can out put .. if you have only viewed images from hand size camera's you have not seen what DV 25mgs can really deliver ..
compare a DSR 500 image to any hand size camera and you'll see the DSR clip is better overall ...

same with transferring FILM to DV 25 = it will look better then any video camera going to DV 25mgs ... basically a telecine is a $1,000,000 camera with controls that can take the range of FILM and make it fit inside NTSC/PAL limitions .. the signal to noise ratio cannot be touched by any video camera ...
you've rented VHS movies (240 lines resolution) - notice how much better they look then anything you've ever recorded to VHS tape ...

there's no question that if the film was transferred to 4:2:2 or HD format it would look better but depending on equipment they have for editing / decks - perhaps was a deciding factor ?...
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Old October 31st, 2003, 12:56 PM   #9
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Don,

That's a really good point, I hadn't considered any of that. I am editing the footage now and you're right, the images are quite good even at DV resolution. Thanks to all your your input!
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