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A Fish Out Of Water



Hi Folks! 
 
     As a "new guy" to the list, it's hard to know what threads have been
covered recently, but heck, I might as well jump in and see what happens! 
     It seems most of you lucky people are using some mighty fancy (read
"up-to-date") hardware.  I'm down in the trenches of Philadelphia, working
on an original Mark III (upgraded to digi-4 and the latest front end kit,
no festival or enhanced shading) with a basic analog Renaissance (no
kilovectors, just like the original DaVinci).  Most of our work is
local/regional spots and promos, and amazingly, the old Rank looks pretty
decent thanks to the tireless (and continual) efforts of our C.E. 
     I notice from reading some archival material that most of you are
running your telecines at 300 microamps, as Rank suggests (unless your
DaVinci mysteriously switches it to 150!).  For years, I've been running at
200.  Supposedly, my signal should be a little noisier, but if it is, it's
buried in the analog system noise (sigh!).  On the other hand, the lower
beam current provides a measurably sharper picture as well as extends the
life of the tube.  Does anyone else do this? (Does anyone else here run a
Mk. III?) 
     On another topic (see, I jump right in!), after some local DPs bought
in some wonderful results with Kodak's new 87 film, I enthusiastically
recommended it to clients for situations where reduced contrast and the
ability to see into the darker areas was important.  It didn't take long to
have a client submit what had to be the grainiest piece of film ever to
grace our facility!  It turns out he read the proper exposure index was
200, then overexposed a little for that dense negative of which so many DPs
are fond.  After some frantic calls to Kodak, they sent me a few hundred
information sheets to distribute to all the DPs in town about rating the
film at 320 and not overexposing it.  I guess a few folks are still scared
of it, but since then I've seen some wonderful results with that stock.  
Do any of you have some other insights into getting the most from 87? 
     Well, there's my first serious post to the list.  As most of you get
to work daily on equipment the likes of which I can barely imagine, please
forgive these relatively minor questions.  I can only dream of having
equipment like I've seen described, yet I still have the same basic
problems - the art directors who can't make a decision,  last minute
scheduling changes, and the occasional glitch.  Then again, I have many
rewarding moments, as even this old equipment is capable of putting out
pictures that really stand out on the air.   
     It's nice to join a forum with my fellow colorists, so in closing, any
time any of you might have any reason to travel to or near Philadelphia, my
door is always open to you.  While I'm a little late on the Sprocket Club
thread, I extend my deepest respect to all of you who share this most
unusual of jobs (isn't it fun to try to explain what we do to a lay person?
 "You mean you put the color in them black & white movies!!!??")... 
     Thanks for the bandwidth -  
 
Robert Lovejoy