Film-out is the process in the computer graphics , video production and filmmaking disciplines of transferring images or animation from videotape or digital files to a traditional film print . “Film-out” is a broad term that encompasses the conversion of frame rates, color correction, and also called scanning or recording .

The film-out process is different depending on the regional standard of the master videotape in question – NTSC , PAL , or SECAM – or likewise on the several emerging regions-independent formats of high definition video (HD video); Thus, each type is covered separately, taking into account regional film-out industries, methods and technical considerations.

Movie-out of live action video

Many modern documentaries and low-budget movies are shot on videotape or other digital video media, instead of film stock , and completed as digital video. Video production substantially less than 16 mm or 35 mm film production on all levels. Until recently, the relatively low cost of video has been produced, which required a print for film projection . With the growing presence of digital projection, this is becoming less of a factor.

Standard definition (SD) video

Film-out of standard-definition video – or any source that has an incompatible frame rate – is the up-conversion of video to film for theatrical viewing. The video-to-film conversion process consists of two major steps: first, the conversion of video to digital “movie frames” which are then stored on a computer or on HD videotape; and secondly, the printing of these digital “film frames” on actual film. To understand these two steps, it is important to understand how video and film differ.

Film (sound movie, at least) has remained unchanged for almost a century and has the illusion of moving images through the rapid projection of still images, “frames”, upon a screen, typically 24 per second. Traditional interlaced SD videohas no real frame rate, (though the term “frame” is applied to video, it has a different meaning). Instead, video, streaming, video, streaming, video, streaming, streaming, streaming, streaming for NTSC, or exactly 50 such screen-fulls for second for PAL and SECAM. Since this is not a case of discrete image or real “frame” that can be identified at any one time. Therefore, when transferring video to film, it is necessary to “invent” individual film frames, 24 for every second of elapsed time. The bulk of the work done by a film-out company is this first step,

Each company employs its own (often proprietary) technology for turning video into high-resolution digital video files of 24 discrete images every second, called 24 progressive video or 24p. The technology must filter out all the visually unappealing artifacting that results from the inherent mismatch between video and movie movement. Moreover, the conversion process usually requires a complete description of a video program, so that each type of scene can be calibrated for maximum visual quality. The use of archival footage in video especially calls for extra attention.

Step two, the scanning to film, is the rote part of the process. This is the mechanical step where the videotape, onto rolls of film.

Most companies do film-out, do all the stages of the process themselves for a lump sum. The job includes converting interlaced video into 24p and Often has color correction session – ( calibrating the image for theatrical projection ) before scanning to physical film (Possibly Followed by color correction of the movie print made from the digital intermediary ) – is offered. At the very least, film-out can be understood as the process of converting interlaced video to 24p and then scanning it to film.

NTSC video

NTSC is the most challenging of the formats when it comes to standard conversion and, specifically, converting to film prints. NTSC runs the 29.97 video “frames” (resulting from two interlaced screen-fulls of scan lines, called fields, per frame) per second. In this way, NTSC resolves actual live action at almost-but not quite – 60 alternating half-resolution images every second. Because of this 29.97 rate, no direct correlation to 24 frames per second can be achieved. NTSC is hardest to reconcile with movie, thus motivates its own unique processes .

PAL and SECAM video

PAL and SECAM run at 25 interlaced video “frames” for second, which can be slowed down or frame-dropped, then deinterlaced , to correlate “frame” for frame with movie running at 24 actual frames per second. PAL and SECAM are more complex and demanding than NTSC for film-out. PAL and SECAM conversions do agitate, though, with the unpleasant choice between slowing down video (and audio pitch, noticeably) by four percent, from 25 to 24 frames per second, in order to maintain a 1: 1 frame match, slightly changing the rhythm and feel of the program; or maintaining original speed by periodically dropping frames, thereby creating a possible loss of vitality in fast-moving action or precise edits.

High definition (HD) digital video

High definition digital video can be shot at 29.97 interlaced (like NTSC) progressive gold ; gold 25 interlaced (like PAL) progressive gold; or even 24-progressive (just like film). HD, if shot in 24-progressive, scans almost perfectly to film without the need for a frame or field conversion process. Other issues, based on the different resolutions, color spaces , and compression schemes that exist in the high-definition video world.

Movie-out of the computer graphics and animation

Artists working with CGI- Computer-generated imagery animation computers create pictures frame by frame. Once the finished product is done, the frames are outputted, usually in a DPX file. These picture data files can be used to film a film recorder for film out. SGI computers started the high-end CGI- Computer-generated imagery animation stystems, but with faster computers and the growth of Linux -based systems, many others are on the market now. Toy Story , and Tarzan are two samples of movies that were made in CGI and then film-out. The most CGI work is done in 2KDisplay resolution files (about the size of QXGA ), 4K Display resolution is on the rise. A 2K movie requires a Storage Area Network storage several terabytes in size to be stored and played.

Computer graphics files are handled the same way DPX , TIFF or other file formats .

Film-out of digital intermediate

Film-out- recording is the last step of digital intermediate workflow. DPX files that have been scanned on a motion picture are stored on a storage area network (often abbreviated as “SAN”). The scanned DPX footage is edited and composited- FX on workstations , then mastered back on film. Film restoration is also done this way.

Film-out of images for the graphic design and printing industries

The days of newspapers and magazines shooting 35mm film are almost gone. Digital cameras can now shoot all the pictures needed, Storing Them as files (eg JPEG , DPX gold Reviews another size ) That are Readily editedprior to use. Once the final copy is approved, it can be filmed out for publishing . Digital stills are not the only way to get pictures used in the graphic design and print industries. Film scanners and computer graphics programs are also common sources for graphic design and print industries.

Types of Film Out Devices

  • CRT recorder. Camera and a special TV display
    • Kinescope – early type
  • Electronic Video Recording or EVR – early type
  • EBR Electron Beam Film Recorder 16mm by 3M
  • Laser Film Recorder, like Kodak ‘s high-end Lightning II recorder and Arri ‘s ARRILASER .
  • DLP Movie recorder, like Cinevation’s real-time Cinevator .


Laminated film at a high resolution, back to film stocks by making a digital intermediate , which can then be recorded to fine-grain film with a laser film printer. The first major live-action film to use this process was O Brother Where Art Thou , done by Kodak’s Cinesite division in Hollywood in the spring of 2000. Prior to this, the video master was one of several methods : CRT recorder, laser film printer, Kinescope , or electron beam recorder (EBR). Theater performances have been preserved with Kinescope for many years – 1964 New York production of Hamletwith Richard Burton , for example, was shot on video and printed on a film that was released in movie theaters using this process. Fernando Arrabal was the first to use the technique of video-to-film for aesthetic purposes, for the 1971 film Viva the muerte , which used heavily color-adjusted video footage only for the fantasy sequences. [1]Experimental filmmaker Scott Bartlett also used footage and effects for portions of his 1972 film OffOn , by filming such as a 16mm film camera off of a video monitor.

Technicolor also experimented in the early 1970s with the use of video gear and videotape to make feature-length motion pictures, with the film videotape for final release and distribution. Movies made with this process were the 1973 film Why , the 1971 film The Resurrection of Zachary Wheeler , and the most famous film using this process, Frank Zappa’s 1971 film 200 Motels , which was originally shot on 2 inch Quadruplex videotape , and then to film by Technicolor, being the first independent film originally released on videotape and distributed theatrically in 35 mm.

Also, countless educational, medical, industrial, and promotional videotapes produced from the late 1950s up to the mid-1980s were also transferred to stock footage (usually 16 mm film) for widespread distribution, using either an EBR or CRT recorder. This was done due to VCRs and VTRsthen not being commonplace in most schools, hospitals, boardrooms, and other institutional settings, open source and open-reel, cartridge, videotape formats in the early years of industrial-market videotape recorders starting in the mid-to-late 1960s. But 16 mm projectors were widely available at the time in such settings, making 16 mm film more practical. One company that specialized in the transfer of videotape-originated programming to 16mm film in the 1970s and 1980s was Image Transform, a company that specializes in its own technologies for video-to-film transfer. Such transfers were the case until the mid-1980s, when the VCR became affordable enough (and much more standardized in the form of VHS and Betamax ) to be adopted in such institutional settings.

Digital video equipment has made this approach easier; theatrical-release documentaries and features originated on video. High Definition video became popular in the early 2000s by pioneering filmmakers like George Lucas and Robert Rodriguez , who used HD video cameras (such as the Sony HDW-F900 ) to capture images for popular movies like Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones and Spy Kids 2 , respectively, both released in 2002.

Independent filmmakers , especially those participating in the Dogma movement of filmmaking, also shot their films on MiniDV videotape, to be transferred to 35mm film stock for theatrical release. Some examples of independent movies shot on videotape being white are Lone Scherfig ‘s Italian For Beginners (a Dogme film), Steven Soderbergh ‘s Full Frontal (qui Was shot on PAL -standard MiniDV gear in the Normally NTSC -prevalent US, more closely matching film ‘s 24 frame / s), and Mike Figgis ‘ Timecode . Filmmaker Rob Nilsson shot his feature drama “Signal 7” in 1984 using Sony portable U-matic format videocassette decks paired with Ikegami HL-79 3-tube broadcast video cameras (a comparable setup to ENGsystems used by broadcast television stations at the time). The video hardware & taped footage took the place of the traditional cinema and it’s negative, which were edited in post-production and transferred to 35mm film for theatrical release & exhibition. Nilsson liked the visual look of video-to-film transfer, and shot several other of his movies the same way.

Arrilaser film recorders are also used for film-out.

See also

  • 3D LUT
  • digital intermediate
  • Movie recorder
  • Scanner film
  • Hard disk recorder
  • post production
  • Tape-out
  • telecine
  • Virtual telecine


  1. Jump up^’s compilation of the movie Viva la muerte .