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Re: ACMED code

In a message dated 7/1/97 9:12:08 PM, you wrote:

>In closing, I must confess I don't understand Acmed code.
>I mean it really does not help you get back to the OCN.
>You still need the negative cutter to eye match up the workpix 
>to the neg. So other that being a nice way to organize the dailies
>for the editor, what so great about it?
>Jim Mann
>DuArt Film and Video

Back in the days when Moviolas and KEMs ruled the cutting room running the
workprint and mag tracks through the coding machine was standard practice.
The main purpose of the code numbers is pretty much the same as timecode in
video editing. You can usually figure out where a piece of film came from and
the corresponding track to put it back in sync without having to look it up
in the code book.

The code numbers, which by the way are now usually printed with an Acmade
machine, serve other purposes. If you look at a 35mm print on a bench, the
key numbers are small, upside down and hard to read. In addition, since they
can fall on any perforation, you will have a hard time figuring out which key
number belongs to which frame, especially on dark scenes. Acmade numbers are
printed right on the frame line, are right side up and much larger and easier
to read than key numbers--that is if the numbers printed correctly and
weren't wiped off by an overzealous apprentice editor.

Every negative cutter I've met will match the neg. to the workprint whenever
possible. They will use a cut list as a guide and use a Loc Box to match to
video if they have to, but the most reliable is still the workprint. They
pretty much ignore the Acmade numbers.

Now in this age of electronic editing do we still need Acmade numbers? I used
it on my last show and found it very helpful. We printed the film and had the
workprint run through telecine to protect the negative from excessive
handling. When we prepare the rolls, we cut off the waste so sometimes the
slates are very close to a splice. Add that to the fact that key readers
sometimes have a hard time with print film and we could get a bad database.
We zeroed out the Acmade numbers at the head leader's hole punch and asked
the telecine operator to give us these numbers in the telecine log and burn
in the numbers on the video for reference. It worked great. We still had to
log in the key numbers by hand in order to communicate with the lab, but this
is something that we are used to doing in the cutting room.

Although telecine operators seldom see it, there is another use for Acmade
numbers--preview coding. When we preview films we will run the cut workprint
and mixed mag tracks through the coding machine, usually using a different
color of coding tape. The purpose for this is if we have a film break we can
get things back in sync within a few minutes.

--Dan Fort, assistant editor

Thanks to Colorlab of Maryland for support of the TIG in 1997
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