How does video get transfered to film? : LUSENET : Editing DV Films : One Thread

I know parts of this process but I want to know if I've left anything out. 1. Video is digigtized (hopefully with out compression) and transfered to Digital format. 2. 3;2 pulldown is applied? or every 5th field gets droped? 3. Fields are combined into frames (this is were I'm confused) 4. Color correction is applied and film grain added 4. Frame is blown up to what resolution? 5. Frames are dumped out to a film recorder. I think that's it in a nutshell but please let me know if I left something out.

-- Michael Ash (, November 21, 1998


Hello Michael, I think you should try the site of Film Team in Austin which is This site is quite informative regarding tape to film transfer, I haven't tried their services yet though. Good luck!

-- Antonio Bunt (, December 29, 1998.


If you are using Premiere 4.2 there is a great article in the articles section of our web site. The article comes complete with Excel worksheets.

Stewart Cruse Editor Digital Eidtor

-- Stewart Cruse (, February 02, 1999.

There are essentially two different ways video is transfered to film. The first is essentially filming the image off a screen and the second is by using computer uprez and then out to a film recorder. The first option ranges from incredibly simple to fairly sophisticated. Most films you see in theater or that are over 2 minutes in length that originated on video are done using a variation of the CRT to Film process. DuArt in NYC, FilmCraft Labs in Detroit, and 4MC in Burbank are the better known, DuArt being the cheapest and 4MC being the more expensive. A new company in Switzerland is offering a combination approach which looks fantastic but is even more expensive than 4MC.

For smaller projects like Music Videos and Commericals that will be shown in theaters use the uprez/computer method. This is very expensive, 2 to 4 dollars per frame! It also looks kick ass. I used to work at E-Film in Hollywood and while I was there, the Madonna video which was shown in theaters came through. They had shot on film, telecined to D1 PAL, and then after effects and on-line when from D1 PAL back to film. It looked fucking awesome. They also spent big money making it happen. Technically, the video is digitized and uprezed. Using PAL, the frames are printed out 1 to 1 which causes the program to be 4% longer. (24frames vs 25frames) Color correction is already done in the on-line or color-correction session before the process. The image is then uprezed to either 1k or 2k, depending on how much money you want to spend. Film grain is **not** added as it will acquire grain when you print it out to film naturally. Answer print is created and any minor timing changes are made, resulting in your final print.

Last year I transfered my film, "Circus Redickuless" from video to film using Film Craft in Detroit, going out to 16mm. I was very happy with the results. However, because I shot it on NTSC, it drops every 5th frame to create 24 fps which causes a strobing on fast pans or zooms. Had I done a high quality NTSC to PAL conversion, this could have been avoided, but I decided that the quality you lose doing NTSC to PAL is greater than the strobe effect. Since last year, Swiss Effects has come into the business and I've seen a film they transferred call "On the Ropes" which looked great (it was sourced on Hi-8 and BetaSP). I haven't seen it, but "The Saltmen of Tibet" was sourced on PAL DV and transferred at Swiss Effects and it is supposed to look awesome.


-- phil glau (, March 21, 1999.

1. Using the best senario, video is shot digitally. Compression is not a factor this way, and there are may good cameras. If you already have a BetaSP camera then use it. But if you are going to get one, get the Canon XL-1. Get one that has PROGRESSIVE SCAN mode. Very important. But if you have an analog source then you can select the compression that works best for you.

2./3. If you have a camera purched in the USA then it is most likely NTSC, unless you bought one in New York or San Francisco, in which case it is very easy to get PAL. If you buy NTSC it divides each minute of tape into 60 parts called fields. It then interpolates every two fields into one, ultimately leaving 30 frames per second. Without explanation, this is bad. PAL divides each minute into 50 parts, then combines every two fields into 25 remaining frames. Since this is very close to film's 24 frames per second there is a way to speed up the film slightly to match speeds perfectly and therefore not drop any frames. (no dropframe is good) But the best solution is to buy a progressive scan PAL camera. It shoots 25 full frames per second. No feilds, no dividing and joining, no motion blur and no kooky artifacts. This is the best. PAL also has 100 extra lines of resolution so the image is way better. However be careful due to the fact that there are about 10 different kinds of PAL standards since the whole rest of the world uses it except for us. Europe used D1 PAL wich is a good one. Then if you want a video copy, just use a NTSC/PAL VCR that can record either end result from either source.

4. Film has its own grain. If you want to make video look like film you can render grain and other things into it with software programs.

5. You then can have as good a copy made as money can buy.

Brian Meade

-- Brian Meade (, June 05, 1999.

Sony Pictures Hi-Def Center in Culver City is also doing tape to film transfers now.... and has a terrific seminar on it every other Monday.

They also have a brochure with everything spelled out. Reach them at:

Sony Pictures HD Center 10202 W. Washington Boulevard Capra 209 Culver City, CA 90232 (310)244-7433

They use the same Electron Beam Recorder transfer that 4MC uses, but, in addition, they run a program that blurs and smooths the 30 frame NTSC format with exceptional results. They advise against using the Progressive Scan feature of the XL-1, as it's not a true progressive scan and can be more trouble than help. Those cameras are due to market early next year.

They do, however, think that shooting PAL is a wonderful thing, if it makes sense for you. My advice is to give these guys a call and read all that they send you.

Their simple advice, in a nutshell: If your budget is tight, shoot video clean - no prog.scan, no 16:9 - and frame according to the format you think you'll wind up on (you'll lose top and bottom if your dream is output on film at 1:1.85). Post in video. Cut a trailer in video. TRANSFER the TRAILER to film using the process you will eventually use -- this to show investors, festivals, studios what the final product will look like. Show your film in video.... and if the content is there and people get excited about it -- let THEM pay for the big buck transfer when they buy it for release.

Never forget that the content is far more important than what a story is shot in. No one calls The Celebration a wannabe movie. It is a movie - a wonderful one. And it was shot, unapologetically, with a VX- 1000. These are wonderful times.

-- Jim Parriott

-- Jim Parriott (, July 06, 1999.

uhhmm. the celibration was shot on the pc1, not vx-1000.....

-- jo (, August 07, 1999.

Uhhh, yeah. I stand embarrassed and corrected. A single chip. Whodathunk?

-- Jim Parriott (, October 30, 1999.

Royal Garden Post offers PAL DV to 35mm or 16mm transfer via a Solitaire Cine II film recorder for $0.25 frame plus stock and processing. This comes to $427 a minute for anything long enough to exceed lab minimums. I have also put a fair amount of effort into figuring out a better way to do the frame rate conversion from NTSC to 24fps and am currently using a method which looks for motion by detecing differences between interpolated fields and blends fields together in the frames only in the areas where there is motion. This leaves the full resolution of the original video frames wherever there is no motion in the frame. I hope to have a demo reel available soon. Please check out my website at Has anyone seen any video which was frame rate converted using the ReTimer software from RealViz? It may be able to do something comparable to a Snell & Wilcox motion compensated frame rate converter. I am trying to do a test with it and will post

-- Richard Patterson (, November 07, 1999.

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