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Ben B

Arriflex 416 and Timecode

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Hi all,

 

I will be starting a feature in a couple month where we'll be using the Arriflex 416. The production wants to use the timecode input. I have never used that camera and never worked with TC on a film camera. I am planning on using my tentacle sync constantly plugged into the cam, they will be using the special film to be able to record the TC. Beside reading the manual i have no experience with this setup and wondered if anyone here had already done this with success and what would the ropes be to make this work.

I will be doing a camera test soon but i wanted to know if you guys had experience to share.

Thanks,

Ben

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I worked with this camera a couple of years ago in the uk. We initially thought about using the timecode feature, but the telecine place (Kodak UK) didn’t have the equipment to read the recorded timecode. We went with a timecode slate instead. 

 

So so I would check with the telecine place to see if they support it first. 

 

J

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The Arri TC worked fine (as I recall) but the issue was always whether or not the telecine facility had the proprietary reader to read it (and the facility then also had to have the infrastructure to USE that TC).    I think I recall it all being part of some sort of auto-syncing scheme, like Aaton's Origine C deal.  If the telecine folks have this together and can make the telecine device talk to a computer playing your files etc then cool.  It seems like an extra oddball hassle to do compared with just doing an MOS film transfer and then syncing up in an NLE like everyone else does anymore.  I'd be idly curious to know why they want to do this or what the film-TC is about here...?

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They want to avoid using a clap... The whole film will be half improvised half scripted and they think that the clap brakes the authenticity. I understand their thought process but i think shooting film without clap is risky. No backup solution in case the TC ended up being out of sync for any reason, TC being the only syncing possibility since i can't send audio to the cam. Anyway we are still in discussion on if it is at all possible thus my question.

But you mean that, in theorie, my workflow of leaving a Tentacle on the Arriflex 416 should work? I can't see why not but i just wanted to make sure.

 

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24 minutes ago, Ben B said:

They want to avoid using a clap... The whole film will be half improvised half scripted and they think that the clap brakes the authenticity. I understand their thought process but i think shooting film without clap is risky. No backup solution in case the TC ended up being out of sync for any reason, TC being the only syncing possibility since i can't send audio to the cam. Anyway we are still in discussion on if it is at all possible thus my question.

But you mean that, in theorie, my workflow of leaving a Tentacle on the Arriflex 416 should work? I can't see why not but i just wanted to make sure.

 

Tail slating isn’t an option?

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Tailslating could be an option. I'll bring it up at the meeting. I generally find tailslating dangerous because the will be times where either the camera or the sound will cut before but it could be a option to backup the TC.

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There are lots of other ways to slate a film camera silently, incl the camera shooting an "open" slate or other TC display, a bloop light, or even old-school "pilot-suppression" type bloops.  If these folks have the back end of the project together--like they have way to get the film TC into a form that will let them have the TC metadata of the picture files they make in transfer have that TC then it should be able to be treated like any video camera file and autosynced in Resolve or etc.  The Tentacle on the camera isn't an issue as long as the camera is happy with the format and volume level of the code.  Do a test....all the way thru telecine....of course!

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I was thinking using an ipad with the Tentacle TC display app (or something, i cant remember the exact name) which displays the TC of the tentacle connected via bluetooth. I'll bring up all these solutions at the meeting i have next week but mostly make sure the telecine will be able to handle the TC on film. Thanks for all the precious infos.

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I agree to have an open slate on set.   We've done this with an intimate performance that didn't want distractions.

 

(As if, having someone shooting the performance from many angles isn't a distraction <g>). 

 

The camera just grabs a quick shot of the slate either at the beginning or end each time they roll.  The slate's there running the entire time so people barely notice it -- unless, of course, the performance is so boring that everyone is looking for something... anything... to divert their attention. If that's the case, the production has worse issues than illuminated incrementing sequential numbers. 

 

 

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In support of the recommendations for opening the sticks on a slate to keep it running throughout the scene, it’s worth mentioning that Denecke skates can be remotely powered. (Probably others as well but I’m not as familiar)

 

The multi-pin connection of the side, a 4-pin XLR on the TS-1, TS-2 slates and a lemo on the TS-3, has power-in pins. The slate typically accepts from 8 to 16-volts DC. Hooking up an external power supply permits running the display all day without concern about depleting batteries. 

 

One of the CH-12 power adapters that Lectrosonics routinely packages with portable receivers could be repurposed to interface with the slate. (But please do double check my figures on allowable voltage before plugging anything in.)

 

David

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On 7/28/2018 at 9:43 PM, Philip Perkins said:

What's the Ipad for?  The point of connecting TC to the camera is to avoid slates or any TC display, right?   And an Ipad is a terrible slate, believe me.

I thought to have it as a backup solution in case anything would happen to the camera TC. Noted for the ipad, if TC display then open slate it will be.

I have the discussion with the production this afternoon so we will see what we will end up doing.

Thanks all for your inputs!

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I think Philip meant that if you want to film the TC as backup, you'll be better off to use a proper TC slate then an iPad for this.

 

As others have mentioned, the critical thing is to check if the transfer house has the proper TC reader in the telecine and do a full workflow test. Otherwise tail slating or open slate in picture it is...

 

Btw, who is still processing 16mm film in Zürich?

 

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So just to follow on what happened after discussions with the production. 

We will use the TC input of the Arriflex since the facility they have contact with have the back end to work with this. I insisted they would make sure it was true and my answer was we did this 3 years ago and it worked. We will also be tailslating to be safe. We will also do a full test shoot (all the way to the telecine facility) before the start to make sure it all works perfectly.

To answer chrismedr they are sending the films to Germany. Can't remember exactly where but i think there is no such places in Switzerland anymore.

Thanks everybody for chiming in.

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On 8/2/2018 at 4:07 PM, Ben B said:

To answer chrismedr they are sending the films to Germany. Can't remember exactly where but i think there is no such places in Switzerland anymore.

Thanks everybody for chiming in.

 

Interesting, the only place I know of in Germany that still processes film is Andec. I'm pretty sure they don't have an Arri TC reader but they might cooperate with a post house that does. Last two films I worked on were processed and transferred in London (no TC though, just old school slating).

 

Thanks for the feedback and sorry for going off topic. 

Let us know how the test goes.

chris

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On 8/2/2018 at 7:07 AM, Ben B said:

We will use the TC input of the Arriflex since the facility they have contact with have the back end to work with this. I insisted they would make sure it was true and my answer was we did this 3 years ago and it worked. We will also be tailslating to be safe. We will also do a full test shoot (all the way to the telecine facility) before the start to make sure it all works perfectly.

 

Note that the Aaton timecode system is not necessary -- there is also a competing system from Evertz (from Canada) that works very well. However, quite a few companies doing telecine dailies these days convert all the film to data, then they sync the sound to the data files as a second step. Tail sticks are no problem in cases like this. I would use caution and do tests to make sure this works. I have seen film timecode systems fail in post about as often as they work (maybe 50% of the time), due to alignment problems, developing problems, and mainly because the camera crew is not paying attention to the timecode cable. When it works, it's flawless and perfect and pretty amazing.

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On 7/31/2018 at 1:59 PM, chrismedr said:

 

Btw, who is still processing 16mm film in Zürich?

I just got the infos that Cinegrell are still processing film in Zürich. I am on my way to do a workflow test this afternoon.

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To follow up on what happened after the test, i tried with the first AC for a couple hours to get the TC to go through. I managed to sync the cam with my Tentacle but i was still having an error. After a long search we discovered that the LED module in the magazin, what is actually writing the TC on the film, was missing. It seems to be some sort of add on to the normal magazin. So the problem was quickly solved and we'll end up using a TC slate..... All that fuss for nothing.

Beside that it seemed to work pretty well. If the magasin had the LED i'm sure i would have had no problem getting the TC through. The only problem i couldn't solved was to find the info on what intensity of exposure i was suppose to set the LED to for each film stock we are going to use. There is a non exhaustive list in the user guide of 416 but of course non of the film we are going to use were on it and it differs from the ASA number of every film stock (two film stock with the same asa would not have the same intensity of exposure of the LED).

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4 hours ago, Ben B said:

The only problem i couldn't solved was to find the info on what intensity of exposure i was suppose to set the LED to for each film stock we are going to use. There is a non exhaustive list in the user guide of 416 but of course non of the film we are going to use were on it and it differs from the ASA number of every film stock (two film stock with the same asa would not have the same intensity of exposure of the LED).

 

that would probably have been the least of your worries, as stock got finer grained and has more latitude the timecode reader likely gets a cleaner reading then before. from the manual:

 

LED intensity - kodak stock id - film sensitivity

7 - 7201 - 50D

6 - 7205 - 250D

6 - 7212 - 100T

6 - 7217 - 200T

5 - 7212 - 500T

5 - 7229 - 500T

 

so generally generally speaking put 50 ASA daylight stock on 7, 200 ASA tungsten and 250 ASA daylight stock on 6, and 500 tungsten stock on 5.

but as mentioned you'd need to do a A to Z workflow test anyway since there are so many hidden places where things can get screwed up.

 

 

so slating is a good idea anyway, if only as a backup (since there isn't even a camera audio scratch track to line things up if something goes wrong)

chris

 

  

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Kodak 7219 is pretty standard for Super 16mm shooting (at least, I know of a couple of TV series shooting on that stock), and I would put that right in the middle of that list. As Mr. Perkins says above, the automatic timecode syncing systems are not that reliable. Was the o.p. ever able to find out from the post people how syncing was going to be handled? When we were using Aaton (and the competing Evertz) system in the 1990s for telecine, it could work in real-time in telecine, but the problem is that most film dailies systems these days are all done with non-real-time scanning and data files. In other words, the whole "timecode-on-film" thing is like a 1993 idea, not one that is necessarily practical for 2018.

 

I think this is a solution in search of a problem. Just tail slate it and don't worry about the film timecode. That would be the easiest solution. (But I also think a lot of producers and directors overreact to the idea of a slate at the head -- good actors disregard it and don't necessarily get upset or let the slate throw off their performance.)

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I did not get the info on how the post would have handled that since we found out that the magasines were missing the LED module before i got to ask the question to post. So me and my 1st AC friend didn't look further and went with a TC Slate instead. 

I just got back from 3 days of test on location and we did a normal head slate. Nobody was put off by it, it all went smooth as it usually does! So for me it's one less thing to worry about and for the 2 AC's as well.

Shooting starts in 3 weeks and the workflow we tested ran pretty smoothly.

 

Thanks again to everyone for their input. Even if i ended up working like i usually do i at least learnt some stuff!

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