NEGATIVE
CUTTING

Andy compares digital to workprint

cutting on workprint

cutting on a
digitial system


preparing your edit

EDITORIAL
SERVICES

PRESERVATION
AND
RESTORATION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cutting on a Digital System

Some digital editing systems are able to produce a 24-frames-per-second edit list, while some can only output a 30-frames-per-second list. If you are able to produce a 24-fps list with KeyKode˘ information, we can cut directly from that list. If you can only produce a 30-fps time code Edit Decision List (EDL) without KeyKode˘ information, we can still help you. We have a computer known as the Excalibur˘. The Excalibur˘ is capable of converting your 30-frames-per-second EDL to a 24-frames-per-second KeyKode˘ Decision List (KDL).

In preparing for the negative cut it is essential to create a negative log that shows the relationship between the latent edge numbers on your negative (also known as key numbers or KeyKode˘) and the time code lines on the video dailies tapes. This relationship is often stored in a form known as a Flex file.

You will need to provide us with a 24-frames-per-second cut list or a 30-frames-per-second EDL, which are output by the digital editing system. This is a list providing essential information about every cut in your film.

If your system can only provide you with a time code EDL, we can convert this list using our Excalibur˘. With your Flex files and your time code EDL we can create a KDL (KeyKode˘ Decision List) that will get you a frame-accurate negative cut.

If for any reason no Flex files exist (for example, if you never intended to finish on film), we can create the Flex files using your video dailies tapes.

While these tools are highly effective for resolving most situations, we are always able to work with whatever you have. An important step in the post-production process is the film-to-video transfer. If possible, communication between the editor, sound editor, and the negative cutter should be established before your telecine session.

The Telecine Transfer

The following are some considerations in planning a film-to-video transfer for editing and negative cutting. Generally, you should master your film on the best quality tape format possible (D-1, Digital Betacam˘, or Betacam SP˘ are best). Film runs at 24 fps, but must be transferred to NTSC video at 30 fps. To maintain the correct speed every four film frames are transferred to five video frames. This conversion is known as the 3/2 Pulldown since film frames are scanned alternately two and three times.

NTSC video actually runs at 29.97 fps. In order to match the video speed differential between 30 fps and 29.97 fps, the telecine transfers film at a rate of 23.976 fps. Non-linear editing systems, such as the AVID Film Composer, convert this back to 24fps.

Your negative must be properly prepared for your transfer to video. The head of each camera roll must be punched on the "zero frame" of the first key number. For your transfer it is important to request a zero frame/'A' frame transfer with field '1' dominance and NTSC non-drop-frame time code (NDF). NDF time code counts 30 fps and is preferable to drop-frame time code for editing. Have the time code encoded on both the video signal (Vertical Interval Time Code or VITC) and an audio track (Longitudinal Time Code or LTC). Your negative will be transferred to a video tape with windows containing the running time code for that tape, the KeyKode˘ of the negative, pull down cycle identifier (for example, 'A' frame) following the key number, and production time code. Reel names usually match hour codes if there are fewer than 24 tapes (for example, VTR 001 should have an 01 hour code). Each lab roll should run in continuous time code.

Following the session ask the colorist for a telecine log. This contains the KeyKode˘ and time code information from the transfer saved on a floppy disk in the Flex file format.

Cutting on a 24 fps system
Cutting on a 30fps system

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