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Iv'e been keeping up with all of the talk out there about the Aaton Keylink
system and with some of the issues being raised -- audio pre-roll,
Flex Logging ect. So, here is more information on the subject.
Crawford Post had its first Keylink system installed in 1992 and we
have always been current with what ever upgrades are available.
For those of you who have worked on large documentary projects you
will agree that they provide more interesting variables and
conditions than any other production type.
Recently, Crawford completed a documentary series for Time-Life
Television and NBC called "Lost Civilizations". Over 400,000 feet of
Super 16mm film was shot using the Aaton S16mm cameras. Footage came
in from all over the world. Film was shot at 24fps, 25fps, 30fps,
48fps all with sync sound. The various production companies mixed
sync footage between 60Hz and 50Hz references all for NTSC telecine.
Some of the audio had good pre-roll and some did not.
In addition to providing complete post production on the series,
Crawford was contracted to transfer and sync all of the footage with
the Aaton system including sycing sound and create negative
matchback EDL for possible Letterbox versions to be posted at a later date.
Some times the audio had good pre-roll and other times it did not. As
far as audio pre-roll goes we could care less if there is any at all!
The key to elliminating the pre-roll issue is not to use 1/4" in the
telecine process. The Keylink is much too fast for a Nagra T.
Crawford always uses a random access digital audio system in-place of
the 1/4" in an Aaton sync telecine session. With random access
audio, sound can be tranferred with film in "real time" in-sync with no
pre-roll problems. This also allows you to lay down whole platters
of film instead of one take at a time. DAT is also a very acceptable
means for replacing the slow 1/4".
In addition to the syncing process, we needed to generate Flex files
for batch digitizing and negative matchback. For the most part, we
used the Keylink's auto logging feature. It works perfectly.
Producers from the Time-Life series asked some of us at Crawford
to speak with them at the '94 Jackson Hole Film Festival on this subject.
A written document was published and distributed outlining all of the
technical aspects of the production. I'm sure it is still available
for those of you interested in reading up on the details.
Strong proponents of the Aaton system's speed and accuracy
are producers Bill Morgan and Jayson Williams based in the D.C. area.