Promonews - 26th June 2019

VFX studio Electric Theatre Collective has installed a new film scanner in their Colour Department in London, to support the increasing use of film in the making of visual content, particularly music videos - and give their colourists greater control over the image to achieve better results for all.

ETC now have a Black Magic Cintel Scanner, which scans 16mm and 35mm film in real time at 4K resolution. The scanner is not much bigger than a large desktop computer, and with its minimal running costs, it offers creatives the chance to get the ultimate results from shooting on film.

Luke Morrison, Head of Colour at Electric Theatre Collective in London describes the new Cintel scanner as a game-changer. Having returned to London last year, after working in the US for a few years, he says he quickly noticed how many projects, including low budget music videos, were being shot on film. But budget limitations meant that many filmmakers have been limited to getting the scan of the film from the lab - often not at 2K or HD resolution - and then colourists having to work from that.

“When there's so much more information in that film that we’re not getting, it just felt like we should invest in what people are actually shooting,” says Morrison (above).

All film projects are scanned at 4K resolution on the new scanner, when the film is also balanced and focussed. “You always want to scan it so that you're not losing any information that's in the calibration process," adds Morrison. Due to the minimal running costs of the scanner, and its complete integration in the ETC colour department, this process can also be repeated, to get different results.

There's so much information in film, so it felt we should invest in what people are actually shooting 

In the pre-digital age, when everything was shot on film, all the footage was transferred to tape in the ‘telecine’ process. “Now, it's almost like a new thing again," says Morrison, adding that if anything the process is more simple than previously, making shooting on film potentially more fruitful than ever, with the studio as the one-stop shop for delivering the look of the final film from processed film to grade. 

Once scanned at 4K, and then files copied for editing purposes. "The editor and the director can look through the rushes. Then,
they give us an EDL back, and this tells us: ‘we want these bits for our music video’, and then we just physically pull that out as data for grading," Morrison explains

The first project music video project to employ the new scanner was Duncan Loudon's music video for MorMor's Outside, earlier this year. Other projects, include a new film directed by Amy Becker Burnett for the Home Office's Knife Free campaign - both graded by Luke Morrison - as well as several longform projects.

ETC are also offering directors and DoPs the chance to come in to talk and test any scans with the Colour team. Contact ETC's colour producer Olly Whitworth for more information and an appointment.

• Contact Electric Theatre Collective's Colour department here 

Promonews - 26th June 2019

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