I don't see the point of having pulldown inserted to 29.97 if you're just going to take it back out again and edit at 18fps--and I don't think Premiere would do this anyway, so you'd have to look at some external application to accomplish this. Premiere is capable of creating an 18fps sequence--not manually, but by dragging an 18fps video clip to the New Item button, you'll get an 18fps sequence:
(By the way, I confirmed this by creating an 18fps comp in After Effects and rendering out an 18fps uncompressed AVI.)
Assuming the telecine company can create an AVI or MOV at 18fps, or even an image sequence of discrete frames, I'd go that route. The image sequence could be interpreted to 18fps--or maybe even 17.982fps. If you were going create a DVD from the edited film, you could edit in a 23.976 progressive sequence with the 17.982fps footage, and every third frame would be duplicated--basically doing pulldown insertion. The cadence would be smooth (this is how 24p on 29.97 works), and would create a nice 24p DVD.
I think the bottom line is that unless you're going to edit at 29.97, don't have pulldown inserted; you'll be far more limited if you do.
If you intend to watch this on a TV, I'd recommend having them add the pulldown and just editing in a normal DV sequence.
Thanks for your feedback Colin and Jim.
We are having it transferred to an HD file (1080p). Would that make any difference in your suggestions? The intended output for the project is film festivals and, later, likely web and DVD.
My thought in having it transferred as 18fps is to edit it natively and then convert it to any necessary frame down the line.
I still don't think it makes any sense to put in pulldown only to remove it again, if you don't have to; that said, maybe the telecine has to introduce pulldown. I'm not well-versed enough in the telecine process to know how that works, but I did do 8mm and Super 8 transfers using a different frame-by-frame process that then interlaced the captured footage to 29.97. It worked OK, but knowing what I know now, I wouldn't have done it that way. Since you said that you're:
...having it transferred to an HD file (1080p).
...a 29.97 interlaced video isn't even an option. Another option--if they can't provide an 18fps file--would be to go 24fps. A quick search on this subject seems to indicate that is an accepted method, and would be very easy to work with and generate your intended outputs.
My feeling is that it's always possible to put stuff back in--it's not always easy or even possible to take stuff out.
We are having it transferred to an HD file (1080p).
I'd still have them put in the necessary pulldown, but at 24p.
You basically have two main options that will serve your purpose:
A: You can have the film transferred to either 24fps or 30 fps (with no dropped frame) where you have one unique video frame for each film frame. When you playback this footage either on your timeline or in a media player it will run fast, but there will not be any pulldown. You can then apply a speed change to get the footage to playback how you like.
B: You can request to receive sequential image files (TIFF or JPG) - each film frame will be a unique file.
Keep in mind that if you are creating a NTSC Blu-ray or DVD, you have to work in a timeline 23.976 or 29.97, so pulldown is inevitable if you want the footage to play at normal speed.
Hope that hepls.
The producers want to see about having it transferred at 23.976 fps. This way, it will be suitable for DVD/Blu-ray and web distribution. It also seems like it has to be edited on a 23.976 sequence. Does this seem like a good idea?
I really appreciate everyone's feedback.
It's probably what I'd do.