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Bobbygiles
Where to go for Film Transfer?$?$?
on Jun 19, 2007 at 10:07:17 pm

Hey Guys

I'm looking for opinions on places to go for film transfer. Actualy I'm looking for the cheapest place to go for transfer. If you guys have any good transfer houses that don't require one of your limbs and cash as payment, please let me know. Thanks Bobby



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todd mcmullen
Re: Where to go for Film Transfer?$?$?
on Jun 20, 2007 at 1:23:07 pm

Bobby,

You used the word cheap in your post. As I see it, cheap plus film xfer equals un-pleasing results. What are your goals? Film festivals, etc? Also, what format is your project on now? You may have to go through a Digital Intermediate to prep your footage for a better looking film print. Which means going to HDCAM.

Lots of questions when it comes to video to film xfer.

Check out dvfilm in austin. I do not know about results though. They could talk to you about it.



Todd McMullen
Flip Flop Films
Austin
http://www.toddmcmullen.com


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Todd at Fantastic Plastic
Re: Where to go for Film Transfer?$?$?
on Jun 20, 2007 at 4:46:48 pm

I might be wrong, but I THINK the original poster was just looking for an affordable telecine house. At least that's the way I interpreted his "film transfer" needs. He may indeed have been looking for sources for a film-out, or DI, but I didn't read it that way...

Anywho...

For transfers (telecine) we always use MPL Inc. (formerly Motion Picture Laboratories) in Nashville, TN. They are GREAT people, do a very affordable job, and their cheif colorist John can play the daVinci Renaissance like a piano. They do all the projects that we shoot on 35mm (and have done some 16mm for us as well).

On the web at mplmedia.com. Ask for Di or Anita to book processing or telecine transfer time in one of their Rank suites. I live within driving distance so I've always been able to go babysit my footage, but I've had several buddies around the country just ship their neg to them and have been very happy with the results.


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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Bobbygiles
Re: Where to go for Film Transfer?$?$?
on Jun 21, 2007 at 4:32:51 pm

Thanks Guys, what I am trying to do is see how much the film prices (camera rental, lens, transfer) have dropped since the HD revolution really took force. Basically I want to see If I can now shoot 35 or even 16 at the same price as HD. Just being curious.
Thanks for your help
Bobby



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Todd at Fantastic Plastic
Re: Where to go for Film Transfer?$?$?
on Jun 21, 2007 at 7:11:00 pm

It really depends on the type of projects that you are shooting.

With something very long form (a feature film, for example), HD is probably going to be quite the winner, cost-wise.

With shorter project, the savings aren't going to be so great.

For example, we shoot tons of 35mm commercials, at prices that are often little more than our equivelant HD productions. We own our own 35mm camera and lenses, which helps, but there are plenty of other money saving tricks. One trick of course is to be very judicious with your film use (sometimes I call "action" even before pulling trigger on the camera). Rehearse a lot, and limit takes. Another is really getting filmstock bargains by utilizing short-ends and re-cans (about a year ago, for example, we bought all the re-canned stock from and HBO series whose season had ended... more than 50,000 feet and we got it for less than a nickle a foot). I never buy stock straight from Kodak unless it's an emergency. Find affordable labs (such as MPL) who are friendly and helpful.

Then again, HD looks so good and is so easy compared to film (easier to setup, don't have to wait a day for lab, no audio synching) that here it often wins out over 35mm just because of convenience. And if you use a depth-of-field converter (we use the one from P+S Technik) and real cinema lenses, HD footage can be so good that you can literally intercut it with 35mm (we've done that several times.)


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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Carlos E. Martinez
Re: Where to go for Film Transfer?$?$?
on Jun 27, 2007 at 11:36:37 am

To Todd Terry:

1) What HD camera are you using that demands a P + S converter? I thought that was a problem with 1/3" CCD cameras.

2) How much are you paying for your 35mm negative and your 16mm negative? AFAIK shooting in 35mm is far more expensive, double the cost at least, than shooting in 16mm. Particularly if you are shooting a TV project, where there won't be any theatrical projection.

Shooting 35mm short ends may work for a single TV film, but not for a series. So I am sure it's much more affordable to shoot in S16.

What I am not so sure of is if it might not be a good idea to shoot in S35 for TV projects, as then you would have a 1.85 screen and save 1/3 in film stock, which would mean a real savings. A 35mm 1000-ft roll would last more than the standard 16mm 400-ft roll.

Of course I am talking of a 16:9 or letter-box TV release. If it's 4:3 then a regular 35mm shooting will be better.

An S35 shooting is more expensive for theatrical release because you need to blow-it up in the lab, but in TV you will not need that.

Just a thought.


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Steve Wargo
Re: Where to go for Film Transfer?$?$?
on Jun 22, 2007 at 6:19:06 am

Why in the world would film related prices drop unless they were too high in the first place? Just because HD is popular has nothing whatsoever to do with film costs. And, the last thing I would do is go with the low bidder on anything.

If the film industry lowers their rates because of HD, they will all start competing in a negative environment which means that they keep dropping prices to keep up with someone who is scared to death that if they don't do it cheap, they'll lose all of that discount business. They will soon be working more hours to make less money. At that rate, they will all be out of business in about 12 months. However, the film people that actually have a brain for business will realize that the competition in their field are dropping like flies and they will double their prices because you won't be able to get it done anywhere else. Now that film rates have skyrocketed, us HD guys will be able to double our rates.

What will happen is that everything will be priced too high and no one can afford to do any production work and with no work, we will all go out of business and it's all your fault.

Kodak thought that the world was going to end when digital still cameras hit the market. However, someone over there kept their business hat on and Kodak is making more money than ever. And now, the question: Did the price of photo paper drop when digital cameras took over?

Has the price of film dropped? They are coming up with film stocks that are better than ever before. If anything, it should be higher. That's how a healthy economy works.


Steve Wargo
Tempe, Arizona
It's a dry heat!

Sony HDCAM F-900 & HDW-2000/1 deck
5 Final Cut Pro systems
Sony HVR-M25 HDV deck


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todd mcmullen
Re: Where to go for Film Transfer?$?$?
on Jun 22, 2007 at 1:01:18 pm

Bobby,

Film prices have not dropped and as a matter of fact the price for an HD package from a rental house such as Panavision or Clairmont is as much or more as a film package. So your costs will come down to post.

The way to look at this is what is needed for your specific project and what are the delivery requirements. Is it narrative drama, do you shoot in controlled environments, is it just a talking head, does the producer want film, is there lots of visual effects, is it for a cable access channel.etc.

I shoot a 1 hour drama series for NBC and there is no way we could shoot HD. So we shoot 16mm. 3 cameras roll on almost every scene. We shoot loads of film. And no one has a problem with that. As a matter of fact, I beleive that NBC is requiring most, if not all its 1 hour drama shows to shoot 16mm this season. 16mm is a perfect format for television delivery. I remember working on a vsfx unit for a movie that was shot with the Panavision Genesis. Great camera, very film friendly. But, the cables and the monitoring package that came with it was larger than the Grateful Deads wall of sound.

The bottom line is you get what you pay for and you should pay for what you need. And their are producers all over the world who have pursued one format over the other and have found that production costs usually remain the same whether, film or HD.

Todd McMullen
Flip Flop Films
Austin
http://www.toddmcmullen.com


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Todd at Fantastic Plastic
Re: Where to go for Film Transfer?$?$?
on Jun 22, 2007 at 2:48:25 pm

Hey Todd (fellow Todd, that is)...

Not to highjack this post, but this seems an appropriate place to ask in light of your last post...

As a network series shooter, can you shed some light on why the decision is made to shoot some television shows on 16mm these days instead of 35mm? That's something I've wondered about for years. I doubt it's really cost, on a big network show I bet they spend more on craft services than they do on filmstock. And I doubt it's a size/weight thing, as there are plenty very compact 35mm cameras (and plenty of big 16mm ones).

Is it now that filmstocks are so good that 35mm is considered overkill? Or is it that the inherent greater DoF of 16mm is more suited to the TV screen? Or is it an aesthetic look, that sometimes 35mm looks too slick for a particular subject?

I've not bothered to look up which other shows shoot S16mm, but your show looks great. I can't say that about 16mm shows of years past though... catch a rerun of Walker Texas Ranger sometime... doesn't look nearly as good as 35mm. And there was an NBC show of a few years back called "Working" (remember that? that's the problem, NOBODY does..ha), which was a S16mm multi-camera sitcom shot on stage... and it just looked gawd awful.

I've just always wondered what makes that decision, when the project is at a high enough level that it's probably not a financial one...

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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Bobbygiles
Re: Where to go for Film Transfer?$?$?
on Jun 22, 2007 at 3:21:39 pm

Steve,I've seen the drop in film rental prices. 5 Years ago I would rent a Arri 435es package for $2500./a day, now I can get the same package for $800/ a day. Go to Ebay or any Forum based website with a Classified page and you can find tons of great unused, refrigerated film stock (for pennies) that shooters are getting rid of because they sold there 35 package and bought an HD package. Now if I can get film stock and Camara rental for close to the same as an HD package now, I wonder if film transfer prices have dropped too????? "Hints" the reason I asked and posted the question.



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Steve Wargo
Re: Where to go for Film Transfer?$?$?
on Jun 29, 2007 at 6:40:16 am

Hmmmm. Ok. That makes some sense. But I wouldn't think that labor is dropping in price, is it?

Steve Wargo
Tempe, Arizona
It's a dry heat!

Sony HDCAM F-900 & HDW-2000/1 deck
5 Final Cut Pro systems
Sony HVR-M25 HDV deck


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todd mcmullen
Re: Where to go for Film Transfer?$?$?
on Jun 23, 2007 at 2:39:25 pm

Well,

Not sure. I can only speak for our situation. I beleive there is no reason to shoot 35mm for a Tv release. Super 16 is a perfect fit for HD Delivery. And yes new film stocks are fantastic. I would say that it is a budget-to-performance factor for shooting 16mm. We go for the doc style so gloss is not part of the equation.

And I am positive our craft service budget is minimal. And for size. You cannot beat a 16mm camera with on-board battery, modulus wireless, zoom lens with zoom control on right hand grip. This camera setup can get into any situation. Completely free of cables.

I firmly believe that if you have good lighting, good camera angles, and good locations then you can make a cell phone camera look great. But for now I am honored to be shooting 16mm film.

And to answer Bobby's question, I think most all film labs will work with you to make it happen. I think you will find that the difference in Film VS HD can be equal.

j

Todd McMullen
Flip Flop Films
Austin
http://www.toddmcmullen.com


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