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telecine and the future ??

I have read this thread with increasing interest, and although not a
telecine colorist I have direct interest in the communication process
and the quality issues raised here surrounding video dailies. It seems
the discussion has crystallized into three different areas. Levels of
equipment, colorist involvement, and viewing systems.

We  work in facilities that have machines that range from Mk 3, Turbo 2
up to Ursa Gold, usually with an 888 or DUI attatched, and it is a
necessary "luxury" in this day and age of color corrected dailies, to
have the full range of correction capability at our disposal. In the
hands of a talented colorist, even an old Classic corrector does just
fine. We have been very successful in offering custom dailies for our
clients while keeping the cost compettive to the overnight onelights
available from many labs and 'dailies houses'. We are certainly less
expensive than the 'bouotique dailies houses' and I daresay our work is
at least as good if not better. True, we are not using Spirits or
Diamonds for our dailies, but I am not sure that isn't overkill to a
degree. (re the post that started this whole thread)

I know that many cameramen would like to have a true one light that
accurately reflects the density and exposures etc.  We do a tmost of our
work for commercials, and have found that the requirements for
commercial dailies go far beyond this. As has been mentioned, we are
trying to shoehorn film latitude, contrast, color rendition and
brightness range etc. into a very different medium. The client wants to
see a mini final on the set the next day, and as Chris Bacon mentioned,
the editor and client will live with this 'video workprint' for many
days to follow. In fact, some ad agencies are starting to request
specific colorists, overriding the DP in some instances. The Director
and DP are often not present at the final,
and the dailies are sometimes the only way the DP has of communitacing
his wishes to the final colorist. We have been told people take our
dailies into the final and say, make it look like the dailies. Of course
there is always room for improvement, but the dailies can set the tone
for the final look.

Often, in commercials DPs are going for a very stylized, non 'normal'
look and only by constant and effective communication can we pull that
off. Even for a 'middle of the road' transfer, we are usually asked for
"good contrast, strong blacks, rich color etc." indicating that the DP
wants some level of correction applied. We always start with the grey
card if one is photographed, but unless we are instructed not to touch
the dials once balanced, we find we are always doing something. Even
when using the Gamma Density chart that has specific IRE values, the
image can ;usually benefit from some correction. But as been repeated
many times, in spite of the advancements in Grey Card Technology,
various systems for determining video printer lights what remains is the
communication between the DP and the telecine environment as the key to
producing the desired results.

Now after all the fabulous communication and millions of dollars worth
of equipment are operated by skilled and experienced personnell, and the
hard work of dozens of people are distilled onto that little piece of
video tape, it is shoved into the 15 year old TV in the back of the
motor home with all the windows open and the client wonders why it looks
so bad. There was an extended discussionof this very subject on the CML,
but Bob Kertesz expresses it very eloquently in his previous post. The
short answer is that there is no answer other than to send a video
technicial out with the tapes. We do often delliver the tapes and offer
to set up the monitor to match what we did in transfer, but have gotten
many panicked calls that the dailies are too __you can fill in the
blank. (Light, dark, colorful, washed out, contrasty, flat, etc.) Bill
Bennett has found a solution that works especially well. I am not sure
what the long range answer is other than continued education of
producers, production managers, agency personnell etc.

-- Ed Colman-SuperDailies
Cinematographer Supervised Dailies

Thanks to Cinesite for support in 1999
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