For those of you that are somewhat unfamiliar with what Telecine is, it's actually quite simple. A Telecine machine scans each frame of film, and converts it to a digital video signal to be put onto tape or hard drive in order to edit on a computer. Most telecines are now HD capable, but there are very few that are capable of doing Super 8 in HD. After having called this handful of places and talking to folks at each one, and getting transfer rates and attempting to talk people down (quite unsuccessfully), I realized that the dream of doing this project, with the money available, was over.
The breakdown was simple - The industry standard rate for Super 8 transfer seems to be 3:1, which means for every hour of film you have, you are charged for three hours of Telecine. Now, most places that run standard definition (SD) Telecine's, will give you a 1.5:1 transfer, especially if they just throw it up on the machine and let it go (no color correction at all), but I couldn't get any of the places I called to give me a break, except one - Frame Discreet, in Canada. Unfortunately, though, the break they ultimately were willing to give me was still a little too expensive for the budget. Can you imagine if my only choice was some of these other guys? Figure, roughly, eight hours of footage, at 3:1, and a rate of 300 dollars an hour. Got your number? Needless to say, that's more than the whole budget of my film.
It was a tough decision to make, but, in the end, I had to go HD. We just don't have enough money, or time to go back and reshoot anything that might get messed up, to shoot on film. It's unfortunate, and I hate it, but, it's what's best for the project. Maybe if this one does good, we can do film for the next one.