Workprint vs. video dailies
When you send in your exposed camera negative, the first thing the lab always does is process it. You need to tell us what you want done after the film is processed. Do you want workprints (film dailies) or video dailies to use for editing? Which way you go is your choice, and will depend on the scope of your project and the editing facilities available to you.
After making your dailies, we will return your negative to you. You should store it, in the boxes provided, in a safe location, until you are finished editing.
Workprint timing: One-Light Workprints
Timing refers to the process of determining the light level and color balance to be used in printing your workprint. Colorlab offers two levels of color timing: one-light and fully-timed. In one-light color timing, the timer quickly reviews each roll and visually estimates a single, best light level to be used for the entire roll. For properly exposed negative, this is a perfectly adequate and cost-effective method of making workprints.
What if your exposures aren't all perfect? We will quickly time each scene to make the workprint as presentable as possible. This is known as a "best-lite" or partially timed workprint at other labs, but Colorlab will provide this timing at no extra cost to you... it's still the cost of a one-lite!
** If for any reason you want us NOT to provide best-light timing (for instance, if you are experimenting with special lighting effects, and want to see the raw uninterpreted results), or if you want your prints timed to a chip-chart or gray card or have other special instructions about timing, just LET US KNOW at the time of your order.
Along with your workprint, we will provide you with a copy of the timing report, which lists the light values we used according to foot/frame cues. Zeroing your workprint (to the head 'X' sync mark) on the table while screening, and reading your RGB light values against the footage counts will show you what light value was used to print a specific scene. With some practice, you can use this system to see where and by how much your exposure was off (if at all). It can also let you know whether or not a specific color effect can be acheived, dependent on how many more light levels (printer points) are left.
Workprint timing: Fully-Timed Workprints
The more expensive option of fully-timed workprints is generally necessary only when a roll contains extremely varied or unconventional exposure levels, or when a Director of Photography desires particularly true-to-intent color representation in the workprint. When making a fully-timed workprint, the color timer will carefully review and print each scene on the roll at its own particular light level. He arrives at these color decisions from his experience as a color film-timer, and often from conversations he's had with the director or DP before timing the dailies.
In many situations, one-light workprints are fine, since a workprint is really only a rough copy to be used for editing purposes. More detailed color timing and correction are usually done just before making the answer prints, after the negative has been cut together. However, fully-timed workprints enable the editor to work with good-looking footage that he or she knows has been paid attention to by a timer, and therefore there are fewer surprises when screening the first answer print.
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