Cine to Telecine to AVI and then editing-Part Two

Richard Jones wrote on 3/5/2012, 7:40 AM
I should again like to thank everyone who helped me to understand some of issues involved in the transfer of cine film to DVD (see ). As promised, I am reporting back on my experiences with Timeless Moments Ltd and thought it would be sensible to do this in a new thread.

I had 400feet of already edited Standard 8mm film dating from 1966 transferred to a DVD and fifteen 3inch reels of Super 8mm film from 1989 copied to a hard drive for me to edit myself in Vegas Pro 10e.

The films were thoroughly cleaned and given a protective coating which helped not only to preserve them but also to eliminate any scratch marks on the front of the film --- of course it was impossible to deal with any damage on the emulsion side. The results showed no evidence of the hair, dust or fluffy edges we had become familiar with when we used to project cine film on to a screen.

The films were then captured with each frame being scanned separately and singly. It was at this stage that the frame speeds were reconciled (see below) with some white balance correction being made as well.

The company then Colour Corrected the film and adjusted the Levels and Gain as necessary before making the transfer to a DVD which included chapter markers identified by a name and small loops from the relevant parts of the film. The upper face of the DVD was printed with the title and an image taken from the film. The DVD cover also featured pictures taken from the film with the title being printed on the front and back covers as well as the spine.

The film transferred to the hard drive was not a good subject for editing to start with as it was shot in India in bright light with deep shadows, high contrast and a great deal of intense colour. As a result, the editing process has been time consuming although generally straightforward. To eliminate the exposure errors which sometimes occurred when the shutter was pressed and to bring the right ‘pace’ to the final product as well as to allow me to make the necessary transitions, each separate shot from the film had to be cut out and used on its own as an event. As a rule, the white balance adjustments that had already been made by the company needed no further tweaking but I have had to look carefully at colour matching, colour balance, exposure and saturation with some events requiring more attention than others. I have also found it worthwhile to apply some small element of sharpening, usually using no more than the medium pre-set in the un-sharp mask FX.

I have found out that the adjustments from the 16 frames per second of Standard 8 and the 18 fps of Super 8 film were made by duplicating a number of intermediate frames. I know this is not ideal but, given that I live in PAL land where TV sets work at 25fps, I think we have just about managed to get away with this and can see no really objectionable features either in any panning sequences or where faster moving objects were filmed. I am not sure that this approach would have been so successful had the transfer been made to the 29/30fps standard of NTSC.

The only problem I met was when trying to use the Mercalli 2.0 stabilising plug in. This caused Vegas to crash but I am guessing that this was because the plug in found it difficult to deal with the duplicated frames when trying to even out from frame to frame.

Incidentally, the company has told me that it prefers to work on an interlaced rather than progressive basis because it encounters fewer problems this way. As a result, my editing has been on this basis as well with no discernible problems arising.

Finally, I can say that, although the final product is not of the standard we have become used to with Digital and HD, the all round results have been more than satisfactory and look much better than they did when the original film was projected on to a screen. I only wish we had had access to a modern video camera in those days!

A Google search suggests that this is one of the most expensive of the services available in the UK but, in my opinion, both the costs and the effort have been worthwhile. The charge for transferring both Standard and Super 8mm film to a DVD is 15p per foot or £60 (approx. US$100) for a 400 ft. reel with the transfer to a hard drive costing 10p per foot. The company also offers additional services to deal with any of the exposure issues that can occur when starting to shoot and to stabilize any shaking that might have occurred with a hand held camera.

All in all I feel very pleased with the services offered by Timeless Moments Ltd (and should mention that I have no connection whatsoever with the company).



amendegw wrote on 3/5/2012, 10:25 AM
"The only problem I met was when trying to use the Mercalli 2.0 stabilising plug in. This caused Vegas to crash but I am guessing that this was because the plug in found it difficult to deal with the duplicated frames when trying to even out from frame to frame.I've posted the following serveral times before, but suggest you follow this principle in using Mercalli V2 for stabilizaton:

When stabilizing video in Sony Vegas 11 using the internal stabilizer or Mercalli V2, best results are obtained when matching properties of source footage, project properties and render properties. If render properties must be different, render to an intermediate or a new track.

I was a little confused from your post exactly what your Project Properties & the properties of you source footage are. Your Mercalli V2 problem may be a result of Mercalli not having a render template to match these. This is easily solved by creating your own custom Mercalli template.


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Richard Jones wrote on 3/6/2012, 4:52 AM
Thank you, Jerry. I shall try that the next time I do this.

My Project Properties for this project were set at PAL 4:3 720 x 576 and 25fps but I now think I should have created a template to match the source footage from the hard drive.

This is quite a learning experience!

Thanks agaion.

Richard Jones wrote on 3/6/2012, 8:31 AM

I've now checked the source material (i.e. the stuff on the hard drive) using G Spot and find that it is the same as that I quoted above --- meaning that the properties for the source and the project are the same.

johnmeyer wrote on 3/6/2012, 9:46 AM
You have to remove any pulldown (duplicate fields) before you can do any meaningful editing of this material, other than "cuts-only." The duplicate fields (it should be duplicate fields, not frames, if the pulldown was done correctly) will completely screw up any fX or process that attempts to look at adjacent fields or frames (such as motion estimation used in Mercalli).

Richard Jones wrote on 3/7/2012, 5:57 AM
Thank you, John. That is what I suspected was the problem when I tried to use Mercalli. The other FX I have applied (mainly related to colour adjustments.

By the way, so many thanks to you and Jerry for all the generous help you have given --- here as well as in other subjects. It really is very much appreciated.

johnmeyer wrote on 3/7/2012, 11:45 AM
That is what I suspected was the problem when I tried to use Mercalli.There is another problem with Mercalli. I've posted about this in detail elsewhere, but the short version is that you MUST have a Mercalli render template that matches exactly every detail about your source footage. If you don't have one, you have to create one. That part sounds easy: you just get one of the existing Mercalli templates, modify it, and save it. However, the tricky, undocumented part of the solution is that you have to modify the Comments section so that the information there is accurate. Normally the comments are never used by the rendering software, but for some reason Mercalli does use this. Search in this forum for "Mercalli template" along with my user name to get more details of how to create these templates.
johnmeyer wrote on 3/7/2012, 1:41 PM
My post about 3/4 of the way down in this thread describes the problem I found with the Mercalli templates and how I worked around that problem:

stabilizer plugin question

You might also find a few interesting things in this thread as well:

Anyone Figure Out Mercalli Render Bug Fix?

Richard Jones wrote on 3/8/2012, 5:23 AM
Again, very many thanks John.

I shall have to play around with this but am going to be short of time for a few days so may not be able to get round to this for a while. Fortunately I managed to cope without Mercalli on the project I have just finished --- by deleting the offending events! Thankfully, this does not seem to have done too much harm to the pace and structure of the final film.