Dialogues between film and digital

From: David Tetzlaff (email suppressed)
Date: Tue Feb 09 2010 - 13:48:11 PST

Myron asked:

> Am I correct in thinking that transferring at 30fps at telecine, then
> slowing to 15fps in FCP has some merits?

No. A 30 fps NTSC transfer (29.97) is really a 60 field transfer and
each field is only half of frame every other scan line, interlaced
together. An NTSC telecine is going to assume that your original is 24
fps, and is going to create some blended fields to make the math come
out right.

What you want, without question, is some form of progressive frame
scan, where every frame of your original is either scanned completely
once and only once, or some other exact and equal number of times, but
nothing that duplicates some frames more times than others, or does
any frame blending during the transfer.

Now, even if you are going to wind up with NTSC DVD playback, it's OK
to have a 24p (24 progressive frames per second) time base because all
US DVD players understand discs authored from such source files and
play them back at the proper speed, doing all the math with their
wonderful microelectronics.

There are many different kinds of film scanning machines. What you
will want to use depends to some extend on what you can afford.
Professional labs can charge a lot of money. On the other hand, if you
can borrow a good HDV camera with 24p mode (e.g. Canon HG-A1 or Pana
HVX) you'll probably be happy with what you get by projecting them
onto a white screen (with a conventional projector, e.g. a Pageant) at
24fps and shooting the screen in 24p mode: I film frame will equal one
video frame and you can muck around to your heart's content in FCP.
Shoot with pillar boxing (fill the screen top to bottom, and let the
sides of the wideangle screen stay empty. That way you can crop it
back to 4:3 for SD.

If you can find a willing friend with a camera I'd give this a shot
before going to a higher cost method.

Finally, if you decide to go with a more 'professional' approach,
check out this guy. http://www.moviestuff.tv/equipment.html I have no
experience with him, but he seems to know what he's doing on the basis
of his website, and I think you can learn more about the process there.

If you do go to a professional transfer service, do not get output on
tape, but, as Ken says, get a quicktime file on a hard drive in the
Apple ProRes422 codec (not 422HQ) at whatever the native resolution of
the scanning device happened to be.

For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.