Leave a 2 frame gap (16mm) or a 1 frame gap (35mm) between
cut backs, for splicing purposes.
The key number is latent in the negative and made visible
in the processing. In 16mm the numbers run in ascending order
every 20 frames from the head of the roll. In 35mm the numbers
run in ascending order every 16 frames from the head of the
If your negative was rewound before exposure (for example
if you are using short ends), the key numbers will be on the
opposite side of the negative and they will run in descending
order. Under this circumstance, if you are cutting workprint,
be sure to ask for the key light to be used on both sides
when the workprint is made. If working with a video, the bar
code reader on the telecine cannot read the bar code backwards,
so you will get no key number information. You can solve this
problem by rewinding the film again before exposure.
Always account for the overlap footage for dissolves in your
trims. If it's not in the trims, it won't be in the negative.
A camera is usually running slow just as it starts and just
as it stops. This can create flash frames. These could be
used unintentionally in the workprint. It's safer to avoid
using the first and last 2 or 3 frames of a shot.
If both black & white and color negative are being used, it
is normal to create additional rolls to accommodate this situation.
Almost all labs require that black & white and color negative
be separated onto different rolls.
To eliminate confusion always communicate both verbally and
in writing to both the lab and the negative cutter. Make note
of anything out of the ordinary. For example, intentional
use of flash frames, fogged frames, jump cuts, etc. Give a
foot and frame reference where these occur.
The foot and frame counter should be zeroed out at the "Picture
Start" frame on the Head Academy leader.
Have ten feet of blank mag or leader at the head of each mag
roll. Be sure your mixed mag has a 1K cycle tone at the head
end and a pop (beep) which corresponds exactly to the "2"
in the leader of the cut workprint.
Be available for questions while your negative is being cut.
All contact printers have standard-length effects built into
the machine operation: 16 frames (2/3 sec.), 24 frames (1
sec.), 32 frames (1 1/3 sec.), 48 frames (2 sec.), 64 frames
(2 2/3 sec.), and 96 frames (4 sec.) Any variation on these
numbers will require that the effect be done optically, an
additional expense in money and time. Note: there are some
labs now capable of contact printing 128 frame (5.33 sec.)
When using one effect immediately after another effect, (i.e.
a fade out and a fade in, or two dissolves), a pause must
occur between the effects to allow the printing machine to
recycle. You must allow between 4 and 8 frames between these
effects, depending upon your lab. Call the timer at the lab
of your choice to determine what their printing machine requires.
There must be 24 frames between a straight cut and an effect,
and vice-versa. For example, if you are fading to black, and
then cutting to the next shot, you must have 24 frames of
black before you can make the cut. Conversely, if you are
beginning with a straight cut, that shot must run for 24 frames,
before you can fade out, or dissolve into another shot. Contact
printers require a certain number of frames between cues for
light (timing) changes.
If there are a number of short shots in a row, it maybe be
necessary for the negative cutter to create a "C" roll for
some of the shots, or have some run on the same lights.
For proper color correction, a continuity sheet should be
sent. This sheet should make note of particular needs (day
for night, sunset, night sequences, etc.), and include footage
information, to alert the timer.
PREPARING YOUR WORKPRINT
It is standard to "zero out" the foot and frame counter on
your synch block (0 feet + 0 frames) on the Academy leader
frame labeled "PICTURE START". In 16mm this will set the first
frame of picture of your film at 4 feet + 32 frames. In 35mm
this will set the first frame of picture of your film at 12
feet + 0 frames. It's important to use standard SMPTE head
and tail leaders, but if you don't have SMPTE leader, use
white leader, setting your "2" Pop on the 48th frame before
first frame of picture (counting the first frame of picture
as 0 and working back). The accepted placement for the head
and tail edit sync marks are 12 feet + 0 frames before and
after your "PICTURE START" (head) and "FINISH" (tail) frames
Make sure each shot has a key number reference. If a shot
in the workprint does not have a readable key number, give
the negative cutter a written reference frame.
For the safety of your negative, try to keep your edited workprint
rolls under 1200'. This will keep the "A" and "B" negative
rolls under 1200', and therefore stable. If there are plans
to blow up from 16mm to 35mm, the 16mm rolls should be no
longer than 400'.
sure your marks are on one side of the workprint.
For dissolves, cut the workprint in the center of the effect.
NOTES FOR VIDEO TRANSFER
Always transfer with the key numbers burned in, to allow for
a visual check of each shot. It is very important to create
flex files when doing your telecine transfer. Notify the lab
that the film is to be hole-punched on the zero frame of the
first key number of each camera roll for an "A" frame transfer.
If using short ends, be sure to alert the telecine operator,
so that they will reset the bar code reader for each short
If you use a digital editing system which produces a time
code EDL (edit decision list), and no key number cut list,
a key number cut list can be generated using our software
program. If you use a video editing system which does not
produce an EDL or key number cut list, it will be necessary
to generate a hand written cut list. We use a key number cut
list and a VHS output tape with the key numbers burned in
to conform your negative. (In a 30 fps editing system there
will be discrepancies between the video and the negative,
but with our software program we are able to convert a 30
fps edit to a 24 fps edit.)
In order to achieve synch sound on the married release print,
have the negative cut first, and then strike a silent answer
print. This can help you in three ways: 1) You can use the
print to transfer to video, then use the timecode on the video
as your master to layback your sound 2) By screening the print
you can make timing changes for your first composite release
print 3) Once your sound is mixed, it can be tranferred to
mag stock and screened in interlock with the silent print
to verify synch. Although there are off-line digital editing
systems claiming frame accuracy, it is always extremely advisable
to strike a silent print and check synch in interlock, before
producing the final optical sound transfer.
on a 24 fps System | Cutting
on a 30 fps System