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Re: Audio & Such


On 7th July you wrote

>>Here in L.A., telecine daily transfer rates are so low ($300/hr is a HIGH rate
here) and delivery requirements are so tight (everyone wants viewing cassettes
by 9 or 10 AM, even if the film doesn't show up in the facility till 5 AM) that
any post-transfer synching step is impractical, even if it's relatively
efficient. Not to mention the fact that practically no one here is willing to
pay for separate synching.<<

In the UK the norm is a price per foot of film.    This price varies depending
on whether it is overnight or day transfers and what deal the client gets for
the job but can range from 9 pence to 13 pence per foot for 16mm.    This
equates to 180 pounds sterling to 260 pounds sterling for 2000 ft (say $270 to
$390) for an hour of telecine transfer time,  and this price includes the cost
of laying down to BETA SP and tape stock.

Sound synching is charged out at 4p to 5p per 16mm foot - $120 to $150 per
2000ft plus (in my case) 1.5p per foot - $45 per 2000ft for a DAT clone of

>>I assume you also have at least 3 stations doing this work? I really find it
hard to believe that you turn around up to 15 hours of synched material (that's
30000 feet of 16mm) in a 10 hour shift, particularly if you're synching each
shot manually. When do you begin to receive the telecine masters? Also, what do
you lay back the track to (I assume it's some kind of video master) and what are
your duplication requirements following this work?<<

The norm is up to 20,000ft per night - the 30,000ft normally only happens at the
start of a week when productions have been filming over the week-end.   Labs in
the UK shut down from Saturday to Monday.

We have four SADiE's doing the work with four staff operating them.    Sound is
loaded between 23.00 - 03.00.    Neg normally starts hitting the TK's at 00.30
and is available for synching from 01.00 onwards.    Delivery times for
completed transfers are from 06.30 to 09.00.   A fifth SADiE has just been
purchased to help to lighten the load.

Its pretty tight going and a lot of juggling has to go on to meet the deadlines
- and we sometimes miss them<g>.   We average 60 slates per hour when synching
depending on the "state" of the rushes.    Therefore we take about half an hour
to do the average 30min BETA tape.    This gives an overall turnround time of
about 2 hours for 1200ft of film including telecine time,  synching time,
layback to BETA and handling time ( if you assume the sound is loaded while the
TK transfer is going on).    All our DAW's have removeable disks so sound can be
loaded on one machine, synched on another and laid back on a third.    Normally
three workstations do the synching up and the fourth does laybacks.   
Duplication requirements are normally VHS copies and DAT clones of sync sound
and these are carried out as the sound is being laid back to BETA..

On the 30,000+ nights we very rarely hit our deadlines,  but we normally have
the decks cleared by midday and we try to do split deliveries to every cutting
room so that they have at least part of their rushes by the deadline times with
the rest coming ASAP afterwards.

We started doing synching to clapper since a lot of productions and telecine
houses had bad experiences when timecode in camera was introduced as the
greatest thing since sliced bread - most of the problems being down to how the
film crew handled the process on location.   Also productions didn.t like the
overhead of 10 second run-ups on each slate - in a drama with an average of 10
slates per camera roll this can be quite a significant overhead on a large

With advances in our DAW software we are now looking at using Flex or Aaton
files from our TK's to do a lot of the placing within the DAW so that the
synching process can be speeded up considerably.

Jim Guthrie,
Sprockets & Bytes Ltd.,
Bristol/Denham.  UK



  E-mail from: Jim Guthrie, 08-Jul-1996