Super 8 Film 2K Workflow

Super 8 and the 2K Workflow at www.pro8mm.com. This is the 2K Workflow I use for doing Super 8 & 8mm . I have scanned the images in 2K using a Cintel Millennium 2 scanner and using Davinci 2K color…

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Super 8 and the 2K Workflow at www.pro8mm.com. This is the 2K Workflow I use for doing Super 8 & 8mm . I have scanned the images in 2K using a Cintel Millennium 2 scanner and using Davinci 2K color correction .This is done in full aperture 2K or a frame that is 2048 X 1556. The data rate and format is 444 RGB 10 Bit uncompressed DPX format . Because Super 8 is a 4:3 format it uses the complete digital space of 2K without the need for matting or pillar boxing. The editing was done in the full 2K uncompressed form using Final Cut Pro X . The final was than compress down for internet uploading.
Before editing in Final Cut you need a software program to convert DPX frames to a Quicktime MOV. I use the one from AJA its free and listed under software. You will also need there Quicktime Codec’s which is also available which must be put into your Quicktime library or your files will not play. You also need to download Quicktime 7.6 as these files will also not play in Quicktime 10.
To work in 2K resolution you need modern tools and most importantly modern speed. For 2K uncompressed Super 8 film the file sizes are huge, 12.7 megabytes per frame approximately 20 gigabytes per minute . Than mean a 400’ roll of Super 8 film will be a file that is over 300 gigabytes. Just to move that file onto a hard drive at USB 2 speeds would take over 8 hours. You could cut that down to a about two hours at Firewire 800 but to work in this environment you really need the new Thunderbolt 2 which can get that job done in less than 30 minutes.
The next key element is to have a computer with the power to handle this. For years I have been very satisfied with the MacBook Pro I got back in 2009 . Together with Final Cut Pro 7 it has been my trusted media servant. But experimenting with 2K with this system has been frustrating. My older FCP7 is not that friendly to 444 media and I do not have the processing power to handle uncompressed data , the firewire system is too slow and lets face facts a lot has changed in 5 years. My MacBook pro from 2009 with Firewire 800 and FCP7 works great with the data sizes Prorez provides. This same Super 8 400’ reel would be about 30 gigabytes of data in Prorez which I have found to be very manageable on this system. So to jump up to 300 Gigabytes of Data takes a bit more horsepower.
I got a 13” Macbook Pro with 2.8 Ghz Intel Core ,16 Gig of Ram running the new Maverick OS about $2500.00 . For Editing software I got FCPX $300.00 with Compressor $75.00. My first bonus was that I had already purchased FCPX and Compressor for an I-Mac system I have at the office under my name so Mac now tracks the fact that I have purchased this and prompted me when I set up the computer if I wanted to download for free that and any other software I have purchased onto my new system. Very cool.
The AJA DPX to Quicktime program has a viewer option so you can check out your DPX files before converting them. One little trick you need to know is that when you import the file to be translated you can only import files not folder so just go to the first frame in the folder and double click . It takes the program a little time to register what is happening so give it a minute and then the next window will open so you can direct the output. Its always faster to go from one device to another so I usually translate from my hard drive to my computer.
Believe it our not it is that simple. With new processing power you can edit directly with the 10 Bit Uncompressed files with no need to convert them into ProRez because your system can now manage the data. I won’t lie I have had some frustration with learning the new FCPX program. When you are familiar doing things one way and your forced to change it can be a little aggravating . Its kind of like having the T on a keyboard moved to where the W is and then try and type. Most of this gets forgotten quickly when you experience the speed and efficiency of this new system. I have already started to use color tools to tweak some shots and starting to learn new tools like the stabilization systems. There was even a little more icing on my cake in that my new laptop came with an HDMI output so I could directly plug it into my projection system and flat screen Tv. I can easily display what is on my Laptop on a larger screen. No more of those adapter and then going into the settings to adjust the display for the correct output. Seeing something big and blown up is really key to evaluating the quality you have achieve. I have never seen Super 8 look so good.
Vimeo and You Tube just started supporting full aperture 2K but they call it 4K . The spec is listed as 2048 X1556 which is the spec for 2K. Not sure what I’m missing but the pictures look fantastic no mater what you call it.

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