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Handling videos of film transfers at atypical frame rates

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Joe Gardner
Handling videos of film transfers at atypical frame rates
on Oct 1, 2013 at 5:54:11 pm


I work for a film archive that mostly deals with amateur films shot on 16mm, Super 8mm, 8mm and 9.5mm film. We now have a film scanner that gives us the ability to capture films as progressive scan video files, where one video frame equals one original film frame, played back at the original frame rate of the film. We are currently using Final Cut 6, which doesn't seem to allow us to create sequences that are 18 fps, 15 fps, or other home movie/silent film frame rates. Because of this, if we capture a film in sections (e.g. creating several 18 fps progressive video files for one reel), we're unable to put them back together and output a single master file in the original frame rate (via Compressor or FCP). Currently we are capturing Uncompressed 10-bit avi files in both SD and HD resolutions. We are also able to capture TIFF and DPX image files, but I imagine we'll run into the same problems with not being able to load, edit or output them at the correct frame rate. So my question is, is FCP6/Compressor able to do this and I'm missing it? If not, are there any editing systems that allow for editing in and outputting atypical (for video) frame rates?

I should say that the reason I am using Final Cut with Uncompressed 10-bit avi files is that we were already using Final Cut before, but our new film scanner is not able to output Uncompressed 10-bit mov files. We're planning to very shortly upgrade editing software in any case, but we want to pick the best fit for the files we are able to create with our film scanner.

Thanks very much to anyone who can steer us in the right direction!
Joe Gardner
Northeast Historic Film

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