1. I want to send in some film for transfer. What do I need to write on my film cans to make sure that my film gets handled correctly at the lab? What else do I need to send in with the film?
This may surprise you but we actually receive film in a box with absolutely NO
information about who sent the film or how the film should be handled, paid for, or
shipped. We have a shelf for these unclaimed films. To expedite your
order, fill out the correct order form and label each box
or can with your name. If you wish your film
reels transferred in a certain order please write the corresponding number on
each can or box.
2. What are the basic steps that my film goes through to get transferred?
3. I underexposed my film by 4 stops. Can I fix the problem in the processing stage?
No. Most processing machines can only push or pull up to 2 stops. Your results would not match any of your film which was shot and processed normally, even if the machines could do extreme forced process. Its better to re-shoot.
4. My light meter was acting up. Can a lab adjust for the different exposures during processing?
Not a chance. The processor is set at a certain speed for normal processing. How would a lab know when to change development-that section of the machine is secure from light? Changing the speed of the processor would affect all the other films on the lab roll.
5. I shot a cartridge of S8 but the lab says that the film was never exposed. How could that happen?
Unfortunately, with Super 8, even though the motor runs & the footage counter advances, the film may not actually have budged. When the cartridge is opened in the dark, exposed film will be on the "topside" of the cartridge. If the film did NOT run through the camera, it will still be on the "bottom" side. If you see the word "exposed" printed directly on the film when you take out the cartridge, then you can be assured that the film actually ran through the camera. Sometimes the cartridge is not seated in the cartridge chamber all the way, hence the film is not engaged. Sometimes the camera malfunctions.
6. I forgot to use a filter with my color negative film. Can a lab fix the problem in the processing stage?
No. The only way to "color correct" would be in the telecine transfer.
7. What’s the difference between black and white reversal and black and white negative film? Which is better? Why would I choose one over the other?
You can project a reversal film. It gives you a "positive" image. If you use black and white negative film you will need to have the film transferred to video in order to see your positive image. The major disadvantage of a reversal film, whether black and white or color reversal, is that the filmmaker has very little exposure latitude in shooting. If you do not nail the exposure, you will have underexposed or overexposed film. Given the current "work flows," filmmakers are transferring their footage for editing in their computers. Therefore, you are going to have more flexibility if you go with a negative stock.
8. Should I shoot on color reversal or color negative?
The discussion would be similar to the above one on b/w film. Most of the industrys color production originates on color negative film. Color reversal, however, is known for its rich saturated colors. Here again, the reversals have very little exposure latitude and only one exposure rating (see below). With the color negative stocks by both Kodak and Fuji, the filmmaker has a whole range of film stocks rated for daylight or tungsten lighting and for a variety of different exposures. Given the current post production workflow, it makes sense to choose from the color negative stocks and transfer for editing directly in your favorite NLE (non-linear editing) program. Here at Bono's we offer high definition and standard definition telecine transfers direct to hard drive. The "tapeless" workflow bypasses videotape. So you receive your film transfer in file format, ready-to-edit.
Please note that the VNF (Video News Film) color reversal stock was discontinued by Kodak in December 2004. Any remaining stock (7240, 7250, 7239, and 7251) is therefore considered obsolete. We would not recommend purchasing the stock or shooting on it. Bono's discontinued processing the VNF in May of 2005. Kodak is manufacturing a color reversal stock 7285 (for 16mm) and 5285 (for 35mm) rated at 100 Daylight. Fuji manufactures the Velvia stock (8540) rated at 50 Daylight. These stocks require processing in the E-6 chemistry.
9. So how do I choose the correct stock for my project?
Films serve different purposes. You need to start with defining your idea or theme, the style and mood, your location, and, just as importantly, your budget. PI which was processed here was shot on 16mm black and white reversal. A music video for Nine Inch Nails (also processed here) was shot on 35mm black and white negative. Different stocks for different films. Both the Kodak and Fuji websites offer extensive explanations and case studies of how and why their different stocks were chosen for specific shoots. We recommend that you test out the camera stock(s) that interest you before committing to shooting an entire project. Pre-planning and research will save you money and time.
10. I've heard about something called the "DI" workflow. What exactly does that mean?
DI refers to "Digital Intermediate" and reflects the immense changes that are going on in the moving image industry. It may help to compare it to a more traditional filmmaking route first. Here's a somewhat simplified explanation: Film intermediates refer to the intermediate stages that are required to arrive at a release film for projection and exhibition. The original film would be processed and then workprinted by making a film copy of the original film. After editing the workprint to the storyboard and/or script, the original film would have been "conformed" to the workprint. This step is also called a "match back" because the "negative cutter" is matching the workprint back to the original film. Intermediates made from the original called internegatives and interpositives would have been printed from the edited original (with all the special effects and color timing or grading factored in) and processed to set the stage for the duplication of the prints for presentation (called "release prints)."
In the new "DI" world, once the original film has been processed and transferred, it is edited in the computer. All the color correction or manipulation, transitions, creative play with time, motion, rhythm, etc. take place within the NLE (non-linear editing system). Once the project is complete, the media maker has the option to distribute or deliver the project or title on high definition videotape or go "back out to film" via a film recorder. The process of going back out to film is called a "film out." The final edited film is exported from a program such as After Effects into the film recorder. The film, with all the special effects, titles, etc, is exposed one frame at a time in the film recorder. Once the film is exposed, it's taken down to the lab for processing and you now have that final "master" ready for duplication. An early theatrical film created via the DI route was "O Brother Where Art Thou?" The Coen brothers discussion of how they achieved the look they wanted through the use of the computer is worth viewing (as an "extra") on the DVD of the movie.
Clients of Bonolabs' high definition tapeless transfers are taking advantage of our 10-bit uncompressed transfers to create their digital intermediates in Final Cut Pro.