Mastering a film in high definition - Page 2 - Home Theater Forum and Systems -

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post #11 of 13 Old 01-21-09, 06:11 PM Thread Starter
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Richard W. Haines
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Croton-on-Hudson, NY
Posts: 792
Re: Mastering a film in high definition

Thank you. I guess my only problem...if you want to call it I'm very opinionated
about almost everything which I include along with the technical data. But I think I try
to qualify my arguements like my insistence of having a cut negative rather than having
all the shots remain in separate rolls and tape each shot one at a time when mastering
a movie. I believe shows like "Law and Order" were shot in 35mm but they never cut
the negative and just used the individual shots as required on video. They will have a very difficult and expensive time remastering the film in the future much less keeping track of all those small rolls of negative dailies. Each hour episode of "Law and Order" should've been
edited to three 20 minute cut negative rolls. Instead each shot is on about 50 or more negative rolls. I doubt that they will be able to keep track of them all in the long run
and you'll hear not about 'lost' shows but shows that are missing specific shots from a lost
camera negative reel.

The HD SR 422 looks like a regular large videocassette. The same as a Beta Sp or Digibeta tape. You can get different types. I bought a 90 minute tape but I know there are two
hour ones too. Not sure whether there are three hour plus tapes since my movies
aren't that long. all videotape it will one day degrade but is probably good for about ten
years. Providing the current high definition 4K standard remains for a while, I'll
make copies every year as a precaution. Of course for digital formats you don't
lose any quality when making dubs. In analog formats you lost quality making a

The HD SR 422 is pretty expensive at about $240 for a 90 minute running time
compared to previous tapes but at least you can have all the video and audio
elements on the same tape instead of synched up to a separate CD-ROM with
the 5.1 sound. I have two back up CDs of the mix as well. I'm a big advocate
of having multiple copies of everything for preservation. I even store the original
pre-mixed elements and negative out-takes in my vault in case I need them again.
I literally save everything from my movies. I have recycled some footage of NYC
and other establishing shots in various movies to save money during the shoot.
On this particular movie I didn't need to go into the negative outs of my other movies.
One problem I have is you see the Trade Towers in most of my early NYC establishing
shots so I cannot use them again unless it's supposed to be a period film. I do have
the only 3-D footage of the trade towers both in "Run for Cover" and in out-takes
which is a curio.

Last edited by Richard W. Haines; 01-21-09 at 06:16 PM.
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post #12 of 13 Old 01-23-09, 10:35 PM
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Re: Mastering a film in high definition

Well,... I don't understand why it would be output to HD Tape? I had always assumed magnetic tape was far inferior to digital. I guess I associate tape with VHS/Beta.

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post #13 of 13 Old 01-24-09, 03:04 AM Thread Starter
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Richard W. Haines
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Location: Croton-on-Hudson, NY
Posts: 792
Re: Mastering a film in high definition

It's digital magnetic tape. The hard drive belongs to the facility you're
mastering at. Unless the distributor happens to be using that place for
authoring and DVD release copies, you need to supply them with something.

When you make a deal you have a category called "Delivery" in the contract.
For video distribution the "Delivery" requirements today are a HD video master
with 5.1, LT/RT (2 channel mix down) audio and an M&E (5.1, LT/RT without the
center dialogue track). From that they make their domestic and foreign blu ray
and standard definition DVD mass produced copies for the consumer. Now
in some cases you make separate domestic and foreign deals for video
distribution. In those cases they might specify the region code when
giving them the video master.

If you find a distributor that wants to go theatrical too you need to supply
them with a 35mm internegative and 35mm digital and/or stereo optical
track negative and one 35mm release print.

Some filmmakers run out of money or don't budget in Delivery requirements
which is a major mistake. If the distributor has to make all these materials
they might not allow you to supervise them and you won't end up with the
audio/vidsual quality you intended. It already happened to me with a
previous film. The DVD release did not look the way I wanted it to because
they mastered it in LA without my supervision. The best and smartest way
to ensure your movie is released the way you want it to be is to make the
Delivery requirements yourself and then supply them to the company that
will release it. Of course I always have back up of everything and retain
my camera negative. Any filmmaker that just gives their masters to a
distributor or lab is in danger of losing everything if the releasing
company or facility fold. And both are folding like dominoes in our
Recession and things will probably get much worse in the future.

Retaining back up of digital data is a good policy to follow with everything.
Make back up photo CDs of your digital pictures and back up DVDs of everything
you shoot with your digital camcorder. Make DVD copies of old VHS video footage
you shot years ago. Don't assume that a single digital copy of something is permanent
or will last forever. Also make back up CD-ROMs of any file you created on your computer
that you might need later. I've had two computers crash on me. One literally blew up
with smoke coming out of the hard drive when there was a major power surge from
Con Ed. The surge protector didn't work. I suppose some of you may think I'm a bit
paranoid but I've had so many bad experiences in these areas I always make back
up copies of everything I do or might need automatically. The rule of three seems
to be best. One copy on your computer, two back up CD-ROMs or DVDs stored in
two different areas or locations.

Last edited by Richard W. Haines; 01-24-09 at 03:19 AM.
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