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Re: Telecine and the future????

Steve and all:
     While I fundamentally agree with your tiering conception, I'd just like
to point out that when our facility chose a highest-tier telecine, it was
chosen as a means of "future-proofing".  In fact, most of our work thus far
has been at the "finishing" level, but we have had a good deal of dailies as
well as a modicum of hi-definition/data work.
     In a sense, then, it is up to any given facility to choose their
telecine options.  True, buying a "dailies-only" telecine is much less
expensive, but ultimately limits the range of work you can do.

>A Telecine, with all the bells and whistle's is very expensive, and when
>needed All the bells and whistle's are a good thing, however on many
>projects all that is needed is a "dailies" pass, then later a new
>"Beauty" pass
>transferred off of a cut Negative, or flash to flash selects roll.

     So why not allow both passes at the same facility?

>I can't afford $1200/hr for dailies, nor do I think a facility should
>have to use a $1200/hr machine to transfer dailies at 15 cents or so a
>foot. Either way it is overkill for dailies.

    We have a daily rate that is fairly competitive.  It's a little more
than a lab would charge but far below $1200/hr!  And hey, if the time is
available, why not use it?  As for quality issues, a one-light is a one
light on any machine (or a best light is a best light!).

>        I'll still do music videos and commercials on the higher end
>tiered machines), however all my low budget feature/ documentaries can
>happily go on the "DAILIES" machine, Until comes time to finish, when I
>can jump up to the more expensive machine for my finished program. The
>key to this is for facilities not to have to Amortize such an expensive
>machine to fill a niche, they would be more likely to buy a cheaper
>machine that will
>prevent them from taking a loss by operating a more expensive machine at
>a lesser rate. At least that is my thinking.

     Once a facility has made a commitment to a top-tier machine, it becomes
a part of the facility and any use at all is good use.  We have found that
many DP's appreciate the quality of our dailies work, and the best news is
that they can come right back to us for the full tweak.
     I think a lot of this has to do with the local market.  Major hubs such
as NYC or LA might not have as much open time on the high-end machines as
smaller markets.  Our facility has been able to keep pretty busy, but we've
generally always had time to run any and all projects seeking to book with

>I think it will help people keep shooting projects on Film that might
>otherwise go to video, Cheaper Dailies, With money to finish the final
>project on a higher end machine. Any one else think this makes sense?

     The other side of the coin is very good quality medium priced dailies
that surpass video in quality and may be sufficient for release with only a
little more tweaking (perhaps) on the same telecine with the same session
file all ready to go.  We even have done dailies to digital beta.  As they
are already synched, we can insert the newly tweaked pix right on top of the
dailies.  It all depends on the size of the project, but there are a
multitude of solutions.
     Certainly, if we ever got to a point where our telecine was fully
booked all the time, the concept of buying a dailies-only telecine might
make sense, but if we were that busy it might also be worth looking into the
"virtual telecine" concept.
     I can understand that dailies should be simple and cheap.  But there's
always something to be said for good quality, and if a facility can use a
higher-tiered machine for dailies and still charge a fair rate, it could
mean they will be that much ahead of the game come time for the full-bore
     It really comes down to a multiplicity of factors:  the market, the
budget, and the timeframe come to mind.  Every facility has a little bit
different slant.  Every DP has a different approach.  Some folks like to get
down and dirty, others are a bit airy.  No facility can be all things to all
people; still, it doesn't hurt to be versatile.  We've just found that the
best way to be versatile is to be able to offer all the tiers!
    Thanks for posting, and I hope my rambling was of some help.

Bob Lovejoy
Senior Colorist
Shooters Post & Transfer
Cherry Hill, NJ

Thanks to Cliff Laidlaw for support in 1999
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