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Lasergraphics film recorder


By Sam Molineaux
Film recorder company Lasergraphics, Inc., has announced the integration of QuickTime into its CineProducer film recorder software. Its Producer series of cine film recorders are the world’s first and only film recorders to output 35mm film directly from a QuickTime movie file, marking a significant streamlining of the postproduction process.
According to Steve Klenk, Lasergraphics’ vice president of marketing and sales, more and more post production professionals are utilizing Apple’s QuickTime because it’s the native file format of the most popular editing tools and it simplifies image file management. QuickTime is fast becoming the movie file format standard for uncompressed HD and SD.
Projects that normally would be converted to individual digital files before being recorded onto film (around 130,000 image files per typical 90-minute feature) are unnecessarily complex and delay filmout by as much as 100 hours of processing, wasting enormous amounts of disk space, says Klenk. By recording directly from QuickTime, Lasergraphics has eliminated this step, dramatically speeding up the post production process.
Because QuickTime is resolution independent and features an open and extensible file format which allows digital media to be moved seamlessly across multiple applications, it has become a popular multimedia content creation and delivery platform among film professionals. Lasergraphics’ CineProducer user interface allows a QuickTime movie to be easily inserted into a project, after which sequential frames, time codes, image previews and intensity histograms are immediately displayed. Users can adjust color correction, black level, white level, gamma, color saturation, and sharpening prior to final filmout. It comes bundled with PrintView, which allows customers to fully preview the final print before they even start exposing the negative film.
Says Klenk: “With CineProducer we eliminated the need for our customers to hire film recording experts. Then with PrintView, we took the guesswork out of film recording with the industry’s first integrated color management system for film recorders. Now with QuickTime integration, we have reengineered the filmout process.”
The possibilities opened up by this streamlined film transfer process are particularly relevant to the independent filmmaking community, says John Smallcombe of HD post facility E3 Media. With the Lasergraphics film recorder, the facility is now able to offer a cost-effective DI for the independent producer that cuts days off the transfer process and is a fraction of the cost. E3 Media’s Indie DI service offers a menu of digital intermediary services for less than a quarter what most post houses charge.
“The Lasergraphics machine gives a leg-up to the indie filmmaker,” says Smallcombe. “It’s a relatively inexpensive film recorder and we’ve found with ours we can work very quickly, which allows us to offer this lower priced service. With the QuickTime element it takes away any rendering time—we can literally filmout using an ethernet connection straight from our on-line suites and into the film recorder.”
The facility recently completed its first feature film, Brian Austin Green’s Fish Without a Bicycle. It was shot on HD in 17 days, edited and on-lined in Final Cut Pro, and directly filmed out from Final Cut Pro to the Lasergraphics film recorder. “It was almost surreal it was so smooth,” says E3 Media’s John Ryan. “We got our filmout machine on the Monday and the film’s premiere was on the Friday. We did film out in a day and a half, and had the entire film with synced sound by Thursday. Everything worked perfectly.”

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