Viva la Revolucion DV!

The Celebration

(1998), 105 min., color
Director: Thomas Vinterberg []
Original Format: Mini DV (PAL)
Transferred to: 35mm

Synopsis: The story of a family celebration which explores the explosions that occur when family tensions reach critical mass.

Camera used: Sony PC 7 (palm-sized mini DV camera; predecessor to the PC10 and PC1).
Sound: Mixed to 2-track DAT on location. A timecode slate with the DAT recorder as master was used. Sound was synchronized to picture on Digital Beta. Mastered to: Digital Beta

Transfer House: Lukkien Digital Film Facilities, P.O. Box 466, 6710 BL EDE, The Netherlands; contact: Marco Fredriksen; tel: 011 31 318 622103; fax: 011 31 318 638041;
Process: Proprietary Film Recorders. Can transfer to 16mm and 35mm negative in many different aspect ratios: 1.66, 1.85, and even 2.35 anamorphic. But these can be customized as well.
Formats: Can transfer from PAL, Digital Beta, D1, DVC Pro, Beta SP, and DV

Sound: Preferably on DAT 44.1 or 48 khz.
Do they do tests: Yes, length of one minute or 1500 frames.
Cost of a test: Contact for quotes.
Rates: Contact for quotes.
What’s included in the price: Transfer, negative costs, and first rush print; audio not included.
Lukkien recommends: "The loss in quality after the NTSC-PAL conversion is considerable. We always have to correct the shift in color balance and in most if not all cases we have to merge the separate video fields into single frames. We recommend shooting in PAL."

The Cruise

(1998), 75 min., B&W
Director: Bennett Miller []
Original format: Mini DV

Transferred to: 35mm

Synopsis: "Witty and profound portrait of Timothy ‘Speed’ Levitch, a Manhattan double-decker tour guide who cruises through life, thriving on chaos and waxing hilarious bits of history and philosophy to unsuspecting people from all around the world."
— Anthony Kaufman, IndieWire

Camera used: Sony VX 1000
Sound: Used a split XLR adapter that enabled the camera to record two separate balanced signals from professional mics: a wireless lav that the subject wore at all times, and a shotgun that was mounted on the camera. Rode the levels on the adaptor box. There was no sound person.

Posted with: Avid offline and linear online.
Mastered to: Beta SP

Transfer House: Sony Pictures HD Center, 10202 W. Washington Blvd., Capra 209, Culver City, CA 90232; contact: Don Miskowich or Michael Schwartz; (310) 244-7433; fax: 244-3014;;
Process: Electron Beam Recorder (EBR) of HD master to 35mm fine grain positive stock. Can transfer to: 35mm @ 1:85, 2:35.
Formats: Transfer from most formats.
Sound: Call for details.

Do they do tests: Yes; contact for more info.
Cost of a test: Call or email for quotes.
Rates: Over 48 min.: $585/min for electronic beam recorder (EBR) services only
What’s included in the price: Transfer and NTSC up conversion (electronically interpolating the 720×480 standard definition into an HD 1920×1035 signal), film stock, and some lab costs.
Recommends: Transfer house has detailed material on shooting tape for film transfers, which can be requested along with info package.


(1998), 103 min., color
Director: Doug Block
Original format: Hi8
Transferred to: 16mm

Synopsis: Documentary filmmaker Doug Block’s fascination with the tell-all world of web diarists triggers a revealing and unexpectedly personal look at relationships in the cyber era.

Cameras used: Sony VX3, Hi 8
Sound: Sennheisser ME63 on camera to external input, split audio going to lavalier on Block, so when questions needed to be heard, they could be.
Special note: The filmmaker said this was a pain in the butt.
Posted with: At first a JVC VHS linear system (10 years old!); eventually with a Media 100 XS online system.
Mastered to: Beta SP

Transfer House: Film Craft, 23815 Industrial Park Drive, Farmington Hills, MI 48335; contact: Dominic Troia; (248) 474-3900; fax: 474-1577.
Process: Teledyne-CTR3 Tri-optical Tele Film Recorder.
Can transfer to: 16mm @ 1:33 and 35mm @ 1:33 or 1:85.
Formats: They can transfer from Beta SP, Digital Beta, and 1".
Sound: Do all adjustments prior to transfer, such as sound levels and fidelity.
Do they do tests? Yes.

Cost of a test: Call for quotes.
Rates: For a one-light composite: 16mm: $105/min.; 35mm: $240/min.
What’s included in the price: Sound and print. Film Craft holds the negatives, but if you’d like to purchase negative or sound tracks, add $.40/ft each for 16mm and $.70/ft each for 35mm.
Film Craft recommends: Maximizing video camera resolution. Properly setting back focus. Good lighting is especially important. Use higher resolution formats. Dominic feels that transfers from Beta SP look more filmic than from a Digital Beta source. Consider a tape-to-film test before final mastering.

The Last Broadcast

(1998), 87 min., color/b&w
Directors : Stefan Avalos and Lance Weiler [
Original format: Mini DV, Hi8, 8mm video, VHS, direct to drive, and a tiny amount of 16mm.
Transferred to: MPEG 2 (transferred at 9 mbps constant bit rate).

Synopsis: A smart whodunit that details a filmmaker’s search for the killer of three television personalities murdered in a remote forest during a live broadcast. Hours of seemingly revealing videotape and Internet logs obscure the truth more than reveal it. "Reality Television" itself becomes a character, revealing that we live in a world in which seeing should never be believing.

Cameras used: Sony VX 1000, JVC GRDV1, Canon L1 (Hi8), Olympus (8mm video), Tyco Videocam, Bolex Rex 5 (16mm).
Sound: Recorded directly to the camera. In the case of the VX 1000, this provided for good stereo, digital sound.
Posted with: PC platform; Adobe Premiere 4.2, Photoshop, After Effects, Sonic Foundry Sound Forge, Truespace 3. The hardware used for the online was the DPS Perception. Mastered to: Beta SP and Digital Beta.

Transfer House: Pacific Video Resources, 2331 3rd St., San Francisco, CA 94107; contact: Tony Ruffo; (415) 864-5679; fax: 864-2059; or ruffo@;

Process: Serial digital pathway. Proprietary real-time preprocessing with Optivase MPEG 2 Encoder.
Can transfer to: MPEG 2 up to 12 mbps.
Formats: Transfer from Digital Beta, Beta SP, D1.
Sound: Real time processed through the encoder hardware.
Do they do tests: Yes.
Cost of a test: $300 set up and $75/min.

Rates: $300 set up and $75/min. for 30 min.; call for price break after that.
What’s included in the price: Multiplex MPEG 2 transport or program streams (includes audio and video in sync).
Filmmakers recommend: Be aware that encoding artifacts can occur when trying to encode scenes that are not MPEG-friendly. Well-lit scenes will encode better than dark scenes. Random motion such as static, explosions, or waves tend not to encode as well as static or slow-moving images. White flashes and rapid single-frame edits will not make for the best encoded stream.

On the Ropes

(1999), 90 min., color

Director: Nanette Burstein and Brett Morgen
Original format: Beta SP and Hi8 (NTSC)
Transferred to: 35mm from a PAL source

Synopsis: Gripping documentary that explores the lives and ambitions of three rising boxers in a Brooklyn neighborhood gym.

Cameras used: Sony Beta SP 537 and a Sony VX3 Hi8.
Sound: "We almost always had a boom mic and two electrosonic wireless mics going into a mixer. On occasion we would just use a boom. The mic we boomed was extremely directional because the gym had a lot of echo."

Posted with: Off-lined on an Avid. On-lined at Broadway Video and sound mixed our film Dolby SR at Soundtracks in NYC.
Mastered to: Digital Beta Component.

Transfer House: Swiss Effects, Thurgauerstrasse 40, CH-8050 Zurich; tel: 011 41 1 307 10 10; fax: 011 41 1 307 10 19;; contact: Jerry Poynton, New York (212) 727-3695;
Process: CRT-based system, designed by Swiss Effects, from 2K images (interpolated from video resolution) to fine grain 16mm, S-16mm or 35mm negative stock.
Can transfer to: 16mm, S-16mm, and 35mm @ 1:85, 1:66.
Formats: Transfer from most formats.

Sound: Call or email for details.
Do they do tests: Yes; 1-2 min. test transfer (16mm/S-16mm/35mm rush print).
Cost of a test: $460 (If corresponding transfer will be longer than 40 min., the $460 will be credited).
Rates: 16mm/S-16mm 60 min.: $17,226.50; 90 min.: $22,842.50.
35mm: 60 min.: $25,205.80; 90 min $35,784.80.
What’s included in the price: Transfer NTSC to PAL, tape to film transfer, developed negative, shipment costs. (1st print, call for price.)

Swiss Effects recommends: Detailed material on shooting tape for film transfers and detailed quotes can be requested.


(1999), 115 min., color/b&w.
Director: Jem Cohen and Fugazi
Original format: 16mm, super 8, Hi8, VHS, 3/4", Beta SP

Transferred to: Beta SP

Synopsis: A collaboration between filmmaker Jem Cohen and the band Fugazi, the project covers the 10-year period from the band’s inception in 1987. Like Cohen’s previous work (and the band’s music), Instrument sits in the gray area between readily identifiable genres. Far from a traditional documentary, the project is a musical document: a multi-faceted portrait of musicians at work. Mixing sync-sound 16mm, super 8, video, and a wide range of archival formats, the piece includes concert footage, studio sessions, practice, touring, interviews, and portraits of audience members from around the country.

Cameras used: 16mm (Gizmo, Arri SR, Bolex Rex 5), super 8 (Canon 1014, Elmo c56, many more), Hi8 (Canon L1 and Palm camcorder), VHS, 3/4", Beta SP (archival footage).
Sound: Many different approaches, from direct camera mics to shotgun mics. Posted with: Avid AVR 77.
Mastered to: D2.

Cohen recommends: "Editing digitally on the Avid gave me tremendous control. We had sources that ranged from 3/4" and VHS to 16mm transfers on Betacam. We had hundreds of different source tapes and formats, each with a different look and quality level; in addition, the film ended up having over 1,000 edits. This combination would have made a traditional on-line tape edit very costly. By going to Tapehouse (212-213-1353) and using their SDI (serial digital interface) Avid with a timebase corrector (DPS 465), we had a level of control that made a big difference in time and thus cost. If you have a project with many different sources and quality levels, I’d highly recommend going this route."

About :

Esther Robinson is a producer who specializes in convergence projects that combine traditional production and delivery with new technology ideas and solutions. She is also the program director for media and performance arts at the newly founded Creative Capital Foundation.