I’ve got a rare treasure for you this week – a previously lost wartime cartoon by Ted Eshbaugh. But first, I thought it would be kind-of cool to show how a typical telecine transfer is done – and happily, Mary (my other half) came along and did some photos for this week’s post. Thanks Mary!
I always look forward to the telecine transfer sessions, though always with trepidation. The exciting thing is you often don’t know exactly what you’re going to see, and moreover, how good it will or won’t look. Most of my local
transfer sessions are done by Motion Picture Transfer, a company run by expert Telecine operator and colorist Pat Mathews. When you see good results on some of the Thunderbean material, Pat gets the first credit for his excellent eye (and for putting up with my fussiness in trying to make them look as good as possible). He’s similar to me in that he always wants it to look better… and can often do wonders.
When you step into the studio, you know you’re spending money (billed for the time it takes rather than the actual footage) so that’s the part I’m really trepidatious about. It isn’t that I’m a cheapskate- I love great results, but I never have am endless Dreamworks budget of course- in fact, more has been spent on Madagascar 3‘s font types than the budget for a typical Thunderbean DVD, but things are looking up! They’re mostly funded by the DVD sales. Gulliver is doing ok (and I think Technicolor Dreams will too) so there will be more Blu-rays. Sometimes I can spend the time in Telecine to make it look great there; often I end up having to do a straight transfer and Pat has to sit on his hands a little. Still, we end up with great results.
It was hard to schedule this week, and I ended up having to finish the first batch of prepping in the morning just before the transfer. There was a whole series of cool things to do this week, from silent cartoons to outtakes from Lou Bunin’s Bury the Axis (more on this and the Bunin project in the coming weeks). I’ve been soaking two 16mm silent films in cleaner to soften them, but those two still are not ready sadly.
Here is the Shadow Telecine, a great machine to do HD transfers with. This is a line array scanner that captures 35mm and 16mm film.
Two of my animation students from The College for Creative Studies, Lauren Schmidt and Sammi Kerwin, are helping with the Lou Bunin project. They came along to see the first glimpse of some footage shot 70 years ago and likely not seen since. Here we’re looking at some Nitrate that we decided not to run in this session.
Winding a film onto a core so the tension is good for the Telecine….
..and showing how to identify IB Technicolor film…
Pat threads up the Telecine….
…..you sometimes don’t know if a print is wound correctly, or backwards!
Pat zooms up on the picture to get the best possible focus…
The edit room is a hike down the hall from the Telecine. It’s close quarters, but usually only occupied by a few people.
When everything is finally all set up and color adjusted, it’s finally layed out to a digital file. We used to always run everything to tape, but these days it’s a digital quicktime. All sorts of things were transferred for all different projects.
This was a particularly great session with lots of rare material. One of the great finds is this week’s cartoon, Sammy Salvage, made by Ted Eshbaugh for the Conservation Division of the War Production Board. I had wanted to see this for almost 30 years. Here it is, transferred on Tuesday from a 35mm IB Techncolor Nitrate print. I hope to have this on a future release sometime soon! Have a good week everyone!