16mm film transfer - interlace or not?

cbrillow wrote on 6/24/2005, 3:42 AM
Looking for advice from those who have experience with 16mm films transferred to DV.

I'm about to send some out some film for transfer, with the intention of including the material on a DVD. The film was shot at 24fps by a television station in the 1960s. I'm considering asking the transfer house to write my file without pulldown, thinking that it would yield the equivalent of 24p. There is no soundtrack, but I would be eventually syncing it with audio from a different source within Vegas.

Does anyone have any experience along these lines -- is this a good way to go, or should I have the transfer house do the interlacing/conversion to 29.97fps at the outset?



farss wrote on 6/24/2005, 4:08 AM
Well if they're going to give it to you on tape then it has to run at 29.97 and it has to have pulldown. As far as I know you cannot write 24 discrete frame per second to tape, well apart from CineAlta systems.
The only question for you is do you want it 24p or 24pA, 24pA is abtter if you wish to remove the pulldown as you can get to exactly the same 24fps as was on the film.
If however they're transferring it to a hard drive you could just get a AVI file thats 24fps, Vegas should handle that just fine and then you can do as you like with it.
If you're spending serious money on it, why not get a higher res scan, that way if in the future you need it in HD your sweet, they may of course charge more for that.
Then again if it's 16mm shot by TV guys it maybe pretty cruddy. Are you certain it was shot as film, back then there was a lot of kine transfers, that's video transfered to 16mm and it looks pretty bad even starting with PAL, I hate to think what a NTSC kine looked like.
ScottW wrote on 6/24/2005, 6:10 AM
Are you sure that stuff going to tape has to have pulldown? I do a frame-by-frame capture to DV avi all the time and routinely send it to tape without pulldown - it just runs fast when you play it back.

cbrillow wrote on 6/24/2005, 7:13 AM
Thanks, Bob & Scott, for your comments. Here's a little more information that addresses some of your input:

1) I'm not familiar with the term 24pA -- is that where they insert a frame now and then so the playback speed is correct? (which is not the same as pulldown...)

I'm having it done by Roger Evans of moviestuff.tv, who assures me that it's possible to give me a tape with actual 1-to-1 correspondence between the film and the video frames. I've used his 8mm equipment, which captures about 1 frame/second using my camcorder firewire connection into the PC. Pulldown is an option upon completion of the capture, so it will write a DV avi file with or without pulldown. I am able to write these out to tape without conversion.

2) I'm not spending "serious" money on it, because this is your basic "labor of love", and I won't be compensated for it. Can't afford to be exceptionally generous working at these rates... In general, though, I agree with the concept of anticipating future needs in a higher resolution scan. I've done that in the past with still photos, and it's nice having the higher res scans in these days of cheap memory, disk space and faster 'net connections.

3) This isn't kinescope footage. It's a couple of editor's reels from an abandoned TV pilot, made by the character who's the subject of one of my websites. It would make great "bonus" material for the DVD I'm creating for him. Even if it's cruddy, it will be far and away better than any known-existing clips from that era.

What I'm trying to find out from those of you who've dealt with film transfers in 24p, is the best approach to eventually putting this material on DVD. Should I stretch the video on the timeline to adjust playback speed, or do I use a particular rendering option, or does it need to be done in the project properties? Or should I just have it created with pulldown, so I don't have to do any of the above?
jkrepner wrote on 6/24/2005, 7:17 AM
They might be able to help if the tape option at 24fps isn't possible.


EDIT: (oops you replied the same time I did)
Former user wrote on 6/24/2005, 7:27 AM
If you are transferring to standard NTSC at running speed, it has to be converted to 29.97 which means it has to have pulldown.

If you transfer one frame at a time, no there is not pulldown, but as you noted, the speed is wrong also.

Dave T2
ScottW wrote on 6/24/2005, 9:07 AM
24pa - is "advanced" and the pull-down is 2:3:3:2 rather than 2:3 as in the case of 24p.

I would let Roger go ahead and do the pulldown for you (heck, he should be able to give it to you in both formats); then the only choice is whether you want the pulldown to have interpolated padded frames or not. I typically interpolate since most of our material is only going to be viewed on TV, but if we've got a customer that's going to use the footage on a computer display, then we don't interpolate.

johnmeyer wrote on 6/24/2005, 2:20 PM
I own one of Roger Evan's Workprinters. ScottW's advice is correct: Have him (Roger) put the video on the tape without the pulldown. Edit in Vegas as a 24p project. Then render to MPEG-2 with the pulldown flag set or, if you render to NTSC DV tape, insert the pulldown at that point.

I've done a lot of this, although with 8mm, which unfortunately is shot at a lower speed, so the MPEG option isn't as clean (because the DVD spec doesn't include a pulldown flag for 18p material, so you have to encode the material after doing the pulldown), but you still want to do all the editing using the progressive capture, without pulldown.
farss wrote on 6/24/2005, 5:39 PM
At the end of the day given what the project is it's not going to make any difference. I'm assuming it's going to be married with 60i video and you will not be adding much in the way of temporal FXs to the film originated material.
If you get back 24 discreet frames on a tape (which will be at the wong speed so you have to change the media fps in Vegas) or have the pulldown inserted at capture ultimately I think your whole DVD will have to be 60i. If all of your material was film originated then you could author a 24p DVD in which case you keep everthing 24p.
Probably on the balance I'd get a frame by frame transfer and let Vegas handle the pulldown, if needed later you can use the material in a 24p project but even so if the pulldown is 24pA then Vegas can restore the exact original 24fps.
What's going to have a MUCH bigger impact is the quality of the telecine work. Be warned, if it's old stock it might have many problems and contrary to popular belief once its 8 bit 4.1.1 trying to fix them will be impossible beyond minor tweaks. Unfortunately high quality telecine or film scans are very expensive. Ideally unless you've got access to very expensive kit the best place to correct problems is during the telecine transfer. As this is just a 'bonus' piece then there's no way you can justify that sort of money. Probably having the film professionaly cleaned and lubricated might be within your budget but if it's not your film I'd be asking the owner if it's OK to do that.
RalphM wrote on 6/24/2005, 6:04 PM
Roger at Moviestuff will probably do the cleaning and lubrication as part of the transfer.

Keep in mind that the way films were originally projected often did not result in a pristine viewing experience unless the projector operator was fastidious. There are many factors that will probably be far more important than how you do the pull-down

I would agree that there is not a whole lot that can be done after transfer. It is possible to correct significantly in-camera during the transfer, but that requires constant attention.

I will also note that most people will not pay to have any post processing done, and some like the less than perfect "old movie" look.

It is very likely that at least some of the film will be suffering from red shift. If it is severe, try converting it to B&W, which will often make a much more pleasant viewing experience.


cbrillow wrote on 6/24/2005, 7:35 PM
Many thanks to all who have invested their time in trying to help. A few comments on the latest offerings:

1) RalphM: Yup, cleaning is included with all of Roger's transfers. As for the suggestion for converting to B&W, I'd already considered that for a different reason, and may do that for an alternate version. In this particular case, though, the very fact that it's color footage is one of the two big reasons that this is such a rare find. The other reason is that there simply is almost no remaining clips from that era of the show. Given that it was a pilot, very, very few fans have ever even seen it, and would probably drown in their own saliva at seeing the horrid, multi-generation VHS copy of the finished product that I own. If this turns out half as good as I expect, it will totally blow 'em away.

2) Scott: I like the suggestion that Roger supply both formats -- don't know why he didn't suggest that when I talked with him. Shouldn't cost much more than another tape and a modest amount of $ more.

3) johnmeyer: A lot of good stuff in your 2 paragraphs. Writing my own DV tape with Vegas-created pulldown would give me what I ultimately want -- an "archival" copy with 1-to-1 frame correspondence between tape & film, and a regular old video clip that I can slap on the timeline and use in the manner to which I'm accustomed. (I've not fiddled with 24p to this point...)

4) Bob (farss): You were very generous with your time & expertise. You're probably right in that it ultimately won't make much difference in the end. Yes, it will be mixed with 60i material gleaned from deteriorating 1" master tapes from the late 1980s, transferred from aging playback decks. (that are getting harder and harder to find these days) I guess my hangup is that I want to try to cover the bases with this one transfer. Most important is that I have access to a video that represents, frame-by-frame, what's on the film, in noninterlaced form. I may never actually use it in that form, but the thought that I have it relaxes my little pea-brain...

I didn't mention it, but this footage has no sound on the film. Because they're edit reels, the audio was presumably on other reels, magnetic or optical. I have no idea which, because they're not available. As mentioned, I have a cruddy VHS copy of the finished product and plan to strip the audio from that, sync it up and edit in Vegas for my project.

And, because I've not yet seen exactly what I've got, it may be that there are scenes missing from the film that appear on the VHS. In this case, in order to reconstruct the entire episode, I may have to use some of the inferior VHS footage to fill-in. I've been able improve that, thanks to the threads video restoration, notably those authored by johnmeyer. I'm hoping that this will be minimal, but we shall see.

Perhaps there will be fomidible challenges that I'm naively overlooking, but it seems like a fun and doable project!
RalphM wrote on 6/25/2005, 5:45 AM
Synching the audio from the VHS to the film transfer will probably be a challenge. However, Vegas is an excellent tool for this. Let us know how it comes out....