Magazine article American Cinematographer

How to Do a Digital Intermediate

Magazine article American Cinematographer

How to Do a Digital Intermediate

Article excerpt

Digital Intermediates are the magical cauldrons in the newly renovated kitchens of film and digital production. Iron chefs blend film, video and digital ingredients, mix in secret sauces, and serve the platters of film, tape, DVD and hard drives. The following is based on a job we're doing at Goldcrest Post Productions. Almost every job is different, and your mileage may vary.

We're using an Arriscan on this 90 minute 35mm feature. The Arriscan can record 2K or 4K, linear or log DPX files from 3K or 6K scans. We've chosen to work in 2K, recording at 1 frame per second to 10-bit log DPX files. The scanner flashes each frame of film 3 times, with a red, blue and green light source, and the image is captured onto a custom CMOS sensor.

Once set up, using an EDL, the scanner records selects from each roll of film pretty much unattended. Conforming and color correcting happens later. On the other hand, a telecine, like the Spirit 4K, transfers film to tape or digital file with the colorist adjusting for exposure and color as needed.

DI is actually a 3-step process:

1. Scan or telecine the film, digitize the tapes, or copy your digital files onto hard drive.

2. Conform and color correct.

3. Record the finished show to film, tape or digital.

It starts with many boxes containing all the elements. Film, video dailies and EDL elements must be matched to each other and double checked.

For this project, Tim Spitzer, above, makes a C Sort EDL from the Avid timeline sequence. The EDL is adjusted to provide an individual EDL for each flat of film to be scanned.

He loads the first EDL into the scanner. We use separate EDLs for each flat to minimize the negative handling; we only want to put each roll up once.

Cesar Mylo Hernandez threads up the scanner.

Next, he'll calibrate for the film stock being used. We shot with Kodak Vision2 camera negative: 20OT and 25OD.

The gate is pin-registered for steadiness, just like most film cameras.

Use a Palm Pilot stylus to poke the input touch screen with information like A or B wind, size of cores, number of perforations per frame, and then close the gate. Touch "SCAN" to begin.

The Arriscan records the full dynamic range of the film-Dmin to Dmax. It's like a "raw" file and uncorrected. …

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