Posted on November 22 2017
Now Offering Color Corrected Plus for Log Scanning
Color correction of film has long been a standard component of the film production workflow. Over the past 5 years there has been a transition going on in Hollywood from traditional telecine (color correction during the scanning in a color suite) to log scanning (scanning to maximize the image detail with raw log data files and then post color correcting the files). Everything seen on television or in the theatre is color timed and corrected in order to achieve beautiful images that maximizes color, exposure, framing and frame rate. But the method of achieving this result has dramatically changed. At Pro8mm we have been transitioning ourselves and following the film industry so that we too can offer our clients log scanning with post color correction. Since every roll of film is shot under different lighting conditions, getting the exposures just right to maximize the tonality, highlights or blacks of an image can only be achieved by color correcting the footage.
Post houses that specialized in traditional telecine color correction were often looked at as a kind of a boutique backbone service for the industry. Many clients chose a facility not just based on the type of telecine equipment they had, but also choosing a specific “Colorist”. Some of these folks were kind of legendary in Hollywood. Some colorists had special techniques that clients would request. A color corrected transfer was an experiential part of the filmmaking process. Clients would attend the session supervising / working with the colorist to achieve the exact look they wanted. At Pro8mm, we developed our own special techniques for getting the most out of 8mm film. The average color timing session was a 3:1 ratio, which meant 10 minutes of film would take 30 minutes to transfer /color correct. In those days, we charged by the hour, and it could get expensive, especially if you went beyond the 3:1 but you left with gorgeous finished images. Just add your own editing.
But a few years ago, the entire process started to change, and telecine scanning with a colorist in a scanning suite was replaced with data scanning and post color correction. People wanted to color correct their own footage not only to save money but to have greater creative control of what the finished images. Color timing was becoming part of the editing process.
Data scanning is a process of getting all the detail from the film onto computer files. This can be done but using log techniques and larger digital files. Log scanning or raw files, is a scan that does not capture any contrast in the highlights or shadows. The scan is flat so that the digital file will not miss any of the detail that was captured on the film. The scan is also done over the entire piece of film in a process we call “over-scanning.” This captures every pixel in the frame, and beyond the image border to guarantee everything that was on the film has been captured digitally. Because the scan goes over the film sprockets, the sprocket information can be used to optically stabilize the film frame, essentially giving you an optically pin registered film image on digital,
Now that you have achieved a superior scan of the information on the film and it is properly registered given optical pin registration, you can now use this file in post production to create a superior finished image.
WHY WE ARE OFFERING COLOR CORRECTION PLUS IN 2K AND 4K
There seems to be a bit of confusion with the data scan process. We added data scanning three years ago so that individuals with the tools and the desire could color correct their own projects. For many professionals this has been an overwhelming success as they have the resources to do their own color correction . But many beginner filmmakers do not have these resources and are are not taking full advantage of what their film might look like when properly color corrected. The idea was for clients to take our log scan and do the color correction themselves as part of the edit process. We understand that although the software for this is inexpensive, even free, there is also a quantity of time and effort needed to learn to operate the software. Some customers would prefer to have this work done by a professional. We want to be sure that every filmmaker has the opportunity to get the most out of Super 8 ( or 16mm or 35mm) film) so we will now be offering this color correction process as part of our services.
Film has lots of latitude to capture an image over a broad range of lighting conditions. The chances of getting a perfect exposure today is even less likely because older camera equipment may not have had the exposure system calibrated in years. You might not know you are off a stop or two with available light, even when using a light meter. In the past, this would have been catastrophic, but with the latitude of modern film, this is no longer a grave issue as long as you color time the footage.
We often have clients ask us to push or pull the film one stop in processing if they think the exposure was off during shooting. Fixing these exposure issues with color correction is better than guessing about how many stops to push or pull when you haven’t even seen the footage yet. Vision 3 film has up to 13 stops of latitude, so this gives you a huge advantage if you color correct the footage for exposure.
In recent months we have been exploring adding additional post services to our log scans so clients would once again be leaving with finished looking footage ready for editing.
Here is a couple of examples of what a 4K Plus Log Scan looks like after we color corrected the footage.
Example 1: Was shot with the Classic Pro at 24 fps using color negative film 50D.
Example 2 : Was shot with a Rhonda Cam at 18 fps using color negative film 50D. This illustrates how using even the most basic super 8 camera you can get stunning images when the footage is properly processed, log scanned in 4K and then color corrected.
For additional questions about 4K Plus Log Scanning, mail us firstname.lastname@example.org
© Rhonda Vigeant & Phil Vigeant 11/17