Flex File 35mm help

Posted by aritta 
Flex File 35mm help
June 20, 2006 07:16PM

Cutting 35mm project with FCP5, dual G5 MAC.
I was told to ask for Flex Files and miniDV with keycode burn from telecine.
The project will go back to film as well as to video for festivals.
Can someone suggest the best method for cutting this project.
Original music will be added as well. Should I cut in native 24fps or 29.97?
Thanks all!
Re: Flex File 35mm help
June 20, 2006 10:53PM
I am just finishing a feature shot on 35mm cut with FCP, and hopefully with a film finish. Here's my 2 cents:

1) Spend the money now and get telecine's done to DigiBeta or HD or even direct to a drive with uncompressed QT movies. The reason being - we wnt to DVcam, and since we are "waiting for finishing funds" we are left submitting DV resolution DigiBeta clones to festivals. It is depressing knowing that our beatiful 35mm film is only at DV resolution.

2) We cut at 24fps not 23.98fps. Working in 24fps makes syncing sound and sound mixing much easier. BUT - only 23.98 will show up on an NTSC monitor. Major pain in the butt. We had to export FCP files and conform them in CT to make files that would play out for screenings.

3) Check the flex files BEFORE you digitize. We had some sloppy naming conveentions from our telecine opperator, which caused problems. And on the same note - keep your database up to date and "clean".

4) If you have the budget, hire an editor or Assistant editor that has done this before! Hind sight is 20/20!
Re: Flex File 35mm help
June 21, 2006 12:54AM

We are starting a film next week. I have no intention of screening directly to Analog/NTSC since we are using firewire and it never really works without dropping frames. We'll screen on our 30" Cinema Display and if we need anything larger, just burn a dvd and take it to a nice short-throw screening room.

Given the above, do you recommend cutting at 24 rather than 23.98? If I am correct in what I've been reading, 23.98 only relates to what something coming out of fcp needs to be at in order to play back NTSC, right?
Re: Flex File 35mm help
June 21, 2006 07:05AM
i cant answer the NTSC / frame-rate questions,

but i;ll second a lot of what rick said:

check your flex files for naming errors

and dont just get flex files.
we tested flex, ATN, and ALE files, and i think ALE were the best.
the other 2 both had problems, like the feet & frames not showing in the Cinema Tools database.
get al 3 after your frst telecine and check for yourself.

a question, though:
do you NEED flex files or Cinema Tools?
you only need those if you are doing a pos conform yourself,
or are using a neg matcher who wants Cut Lists.
you may be doing a DI, or film scan of some sort.
or you may be using a neg matcher who likes to make their own Cut Lists based on EDLs.

not having to create the Cinema Tools databases makes things a fair bit easier.
(this is my experience in PAL land, i think it would hold for NTSC?)

you should determine if you need Cut Lists, or if EDLs are enough for you.


our DV res was fine for us.
we used DVCAM, not miniDV
next time i;d like to use DVCProHD,
but that;s next time.

we did our playouts direct from QT.
super simple.
-export from FCP to our laptop's internal drive.
-plug laptop into data projector,
-detect displays in the displays preferences
-open your film in QT & set to high quality playback (Apple J to get info, go to the Video Track, visual settings, look at bottom right of window)
-Present Movie (under view menu, or Shift Apple F) and tell it to play out the second monitor, which is the projector.

you don't have to worry about sticking to video frame rates when you use this system,
and you don't have to play to tape, or wait for a DVD encode.


Re: Flex File 35mm help
June 21, 2006 12:52PM
Do any telecine houses transfer the edge numbers from the 35mm negative? Or is there any way to easily conform 35mm edge numbers to tc after editing on FCP? How do you create a negative cutting list?
Re: Flex File 35mm help
June 21, 2006 02:27PM
DEFINETLY get the edge code burned into your dailies! Without it you are BLIND!

Cinema Tools is the program that keeps edge numbers and timecode speaking the same language. That is why CT is a necesity if you are going back to film and need a cut list.

Re: Flex File 35mm help
June 21, 2006 05:43PM
1st Thanks to the community for writing.
Now if I have FLEX FILES and miniDV @ 29.97 with key code burn.
I can reverse telecine with CT, cut in native 24p and go back to film no probs, right?
Re: Flex File 35mm help
June 21, 2006 06:24PM
"No Problems" is always open for interpretation!
Re: Flex File 35mm help
June 21, 2006 07:34PM
Hi aritta,

Even though you have several responses, I'm going back to your original post because it doesn't look like it was completly answered.

> Cutting 35mm project with FCP5, dual G5 MAC.

That should be more than adequate.

> I was told to ask for Flex Files and miniDV with keycode burn
> from telecine.

Importing telecine logs directly into FCP is a new feature of FCP5. You might want to ask your lab which type of log they are most comfortable using and try a "dry run" first to see if it plays nicely with FCP/Cinema Tools. FLEX is a fairly common format, but so is ALE and ALE is a little easier to decipher in case you need to make some "manual adjustments" to fix some errors. (Hopefully you won't have to get into that.) Oh yeah, and key numbers burned into the video is highly desirable for film projects.

> The project will go back to film as well as to video for
> festivals.

If you have the funds to finish in film you could cut some expense by going to a simple one-light telecine using an inexpensive video format like miniDV. Once you have a cut negative you can telecine to a high quality, HD, format.

If you want to do some large venue screenings before cutting negative, consider spending some more on the telecine for your dailies.

> Can someone suggest the best method for cutting this project.
> Original music will be added as well. Should I cut in native
> 24fps or 29.97?

Ahh, the never ending debate. I've seen projects successfully finished at 29.97, 24 and 23.98. There are advantages and disadvantages to each working method.

Personally, I'd like to ditch videotape altogether for film projects and get dailies as 24fps QuickTime files on data DVD disks. You can play 24fps projects on NTSC monitors, though they do have a very slight jitter.

Of course there is a difference between an ideal film workflow and what is practical and cost effective. The easiest workflow is to simply cut at 29.97 and make a "matchback" film cut list. Just make sure you give yourself some extra handles for the negative cutter.

Going miniDV to 23.98? You will have to use Cinema Tools to do the reverse telecine because FCP can only do 29.97 to 23.98 using "advanced pulldown" which is common on digital video cameras but rare (I've never seen it) in telecine. It has been a while since I did a film project on FCP so please correct me if I am behind the times with the latest FCP5 features.

Sorry for offering lots of choices instead of giving you a single workflow that you should follow, but I don't know enough about your project to recommend which one is right for you.

Re: Flex File 35mm help
June 21, 2006 08:33PM
I would recommend a telecine to D5, HDCAM or HDCAM-SR. Then have your post house capture through a Kona card to DVCPRO HD 720p 24. Have them give you an ALE too (ALE because not all flex files will have TC24).

Now you're editing with compressed HD for the offline (and it will look GREAT), you're cutting at the correct aspect ratio, your TC matches film edge or keycode 1:1, and you can do it on either a desktop or portable.

If you're in LA, Technicolor Creative Services will do the transfer for you and deliver your dailies with telecine log files to you on FireWire hard drives. Saves you about 6 hours a day logging and capturing too!!!

Go to [www.apple.com] and click on the DAVID FINCHER profile video. Watch it... it's awesome. He's using a similar workflow to cut his new feature film, Zodiac.

Paul from Apple
Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.

Click here to login


  Web lafcpug.org

Web Hosting by HermosawaveHermosawave Internet

Recycle computers and electronics