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S16 "Heavy Light 3K" DI to 35mm


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#1 steve hyde

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Posted 03 January 2006 - 07:31 PM

...I searched a bit in the archives to no avail. The film "Station Agent" from Tom McCarthy was a sleeper indy hit back in 2003. This remarkably beautiful film was shot on S16 and then DI to 35mm via "Heavy Light 3K" at Technicolor. (see interview posted below)

http://www.filmmaker...eat_railway.php

My question:

What does "Heavy Light 3K" mean?.

Thanks in advance,

Steve
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#2 Mitch Gross

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Posted 03 January 2006 - 09:01 PM

Heavy Light is a facility here in NYC. They have a video-to-film scanning system that has a 3k resolution and is essentially a glorified film camera pointed a a monitor. But it is really a lot more than that, DIY-ers.

FYI, the excellent look is in the cinematography. The film was originally going through a traditional optical blowup but there were technical problems involving the negative cut and the finishing had to be effectively rescued by going to a DI instead. Lots of hand-wringing and insurance companies involved. The footage looked just as great when optically finished and yes, it is a nice little movie.
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#3 steve hyde

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Posted 04 January 2006 - 10:18 AM

...Thanks Mitch. I'm curious - what kind of problems were encountered with the negative cut?

Steve
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#4 Ian Marks

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Posted 04 January 2006 - 02:42 PM

I thought it was a great little movie too, and lost nothing for having been shot super 16 (Aaton and Zeiss Superspeeds, I think I read somewhere).

A passing thought, possibly a dumb question...

Mitch described a S16 to 35mm path as "essentially a glorified film camera pointed at a monitor." Is it crazy to think that you could hook up an old Mitchell with an animation motor and very sharp, flat-field lens to shoot frame by frame off one of the gigantic 30" Apple Cinema HD computer displays? Maybe someone's even tried it? The native resolution is 2560 x 1600 pixels.
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#5 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 04 January 2006 - 04:36 PM

Hi,

This has been much talked about, but what you really want is a monochrome medical CRT.

There are plenty of HD-plus LCDs around, and most of them are now better than the ones Apple make. An LCD would be a poor choice; the contrast ratio is low.

Phil
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#6 Sam Wells

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Posted 04 January 2006 - 06:10 PM

In the August AC Harris Savides talked about shooting some tests for "Last Days" on DV and then filming them off a "big Apple Cinema display" with his Arri 2C. "The results were amazing" but that it was "too dense and layered"

FWIW.

-Sam
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#7 Tenolian Bell

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Posted 06 January 2006 - 01:51 PM

There are plenty of HD-plus LCDs around, and most of them are now better than the ones Apple make.


LCD specs are barely this side of useless every manufacturer will skew the results in their favor.

Really it comes down to personal taste. Some people like Dell for the price, some people swear Apple has better color reproduction.

It comes down to your preference.
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#8 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 06 January 2006 - 02:53 PM

Hi,

It's difficult to cheat luminance figures, and in the average retail lineup, contrast is very obvious.

The only major players in TFT matrices are Hitachi, Fujitsu, and possibly Epson. What I'm really trying to get at here is that (once again) there's nothing particularly special about Apple.

Samsung have a cinema-display-alike TFT that's about to hit market. Expect it to be significantly cheaper than anything with Apple written on it.

Phil
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#9 Sam Wells

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Posted 06 January 2006 - 03:34 PM

I don't care, in that so far I like the LOOK of Apple displays better than others I've seen.

Maybe it's the combination of the display and the Mac's default 1.8 gamma ?

It's like preffering one print stock over another.

(If someone can suggest / show me an alternative to the Cinema Displays I could use, I'm open to it don't get me wrong)


-Sam
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#10 Mitch Gross

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Posted 06 January 2006 - 03:34 PM

...Thanks Mitch. I'm curious - what kind of problems were encountered with the negative cut?

Steve



Nothing that I could go into on a public forum. I so happen to know a number of people involved from various sides of the issue. To say more would not be prudent or fair to those involved. What is important is that the problems were solved and the finished work looks great, as can be attested to by this very discussion.

poop happens, we deal with it. Fix a problem and move on, sometimes at great cost. This is what insurance is for, both for a production and for a company. 'nuff said.
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#11 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 06 January 2006 - 04:05 PM

Hi,

> But it is really a lot more than that, DIY-ers.

Like what more.

A lot of software, I would imagine.

Phil
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#12 Tenolian Bell

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Posted 06 January 2006 - 05:36 PM

It's difficult to cheat luminance figures, and in the average retail lineup, contrast is very obvious.


This would be true if LCD monitors were set up with similar color profiles and some standard technique of measurement. Any variation in measuring equipment or technique can easily skew the results in favor.

The only major players in TFT matrices are Hitachi, Fujitsu, and possibly Epson. What I'm really trying to get at here is that (once again) there's nothing particularly special about Apple.


From what I've read every TFT matrice does not come out perfect. Some will not reproduce a color quite correctly, but is fine for basic consumer use. That Apple will only accept TFT matrices that meet their requirements for color accuracy. Because error does affect the monitors ability to accurately reporduce color profiles.

I've seen Photography shops that will only use Apple Cinema Display LCD.

Samsung have a cinema-display-alike TFT that's about to hit market. Expect it to be significantly cheaper than anything with Apple written on it.


Well Dell has just introduced a 30" monitor for $2199 vs Apple $2499. That's not much cheaper.
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#13 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 06 January 2006 - 09:05 PM

Hi,

> From what I've read every TFT matrice does not come out perfect.

This is certainly true. Mainly a "bad batch" will include more displays with duff pixels and possibly slightly varying contrast ratio.

> Some will not reproduce a color quite correctly

Not really feasible, if you consider how they work. The colour of the backlight is known; the absorbtion of the silkscreened filter dye is known; the colorimitery of the display is largely hardwired. You could contend that poor contrast will affect colour by desaturating it, but I'd say that was a contrast issue, which would usually be considered separately.

> That Apple will only accept TFT matrices that meet their requirements for color accuracy.

Any LCD monitor manufacturer (that is, an outfit packaging the TFT panel with drive electronics and backlight into a spiffy plastic box) will order a batch of displays of given maximum absorbtion, dynamic range, temporal reactivity, average duff pel count, etc. Good ones are expensive; bad ones are cheap; Apple are still not special. Some of the glass-fronted Sony stuff out-contrasts a Cinema Display enormously, at least by my eye.

> I've seen Photography shops that will only use Apple Cinema Display LCD.

I think you'll find they do that for these reasons:

- They like Apple Macs (fine)
- The white box looked spiffy (I fully appreciate this often matters)
- Someone told them Apple make special LCDs that nobody else can get (which is utter piffle)

The LaCie 321 monitor, a rather expensive type intended for exactly this sort of work, outperforms the Cinema Displays, both by numbers and by my eye. Many Samsung and Sony devices are as good or better, too. They are not doing anything special other than telling you they are doing something special in a loud voice.

Having said that, if it were possible for a 30" cinema display to have my babies, it would be more than welcome to do so.

> Well Dell has just introduced a 30" monitor for $2199 vs Apple $2499. That's not much cheaper.

My bad, that's the one. I'm in the market within the next week for either a couple of Samsung 19", or possibly one of those Dell beasties. We'll have to see what it's done to the price of serioulsy big Sony "X-black" displays.

Phil
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#14 Tenolian Bell

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Posted 06 January 2006 - 09:53 PM

Some of the glass-fronted Sony stuff out-contrasts a Cinema Display enormously, at least by my eye.


Which goes back to what I said originally, its mostly your personal taste.

For persective Apple's current line of LCD's were introduced 18 months ago. At that time they were unique because the technology they were using was so expensive.

Of course over time the cost of the technology has come down and others can match or surpass it.

Apple is due for a refresh on its monitors. What will they come up with next?
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#15 Paul Bruening

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Posted 13 January 2006 - 08:07 PM

Hey Phil,

I've been over this issue of LCD to film recordation with few conclusions. What's the bottom line with this approach? Can any computer color monitor deliver the kinds of results even close to professional transfer houses? If not, what are the short comings?

What does Lasergraphics use in it's transfer rigs for a video imager? If they can get a super monitor, then why can't we?

I don't know why there is so little info on this topic here. Are folks keeping secrets? What gives?
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#16 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 13 January 2006 - 10:14 PM

Hi,

I'm responding because I was asked, but I really know no more about this than I've already said.

"real" CRT recorders tend to have a custom CRT tube which is extremely simple; rather like an oscilliscope tube, it's very long, so the angular deflection of the electron beam is very small. This helps with scan linearity (squishing or stretching of the picture), focus (the length of the beam changes very little as it is sweeping a narrow arc) and geometry (the picture is almost exactly square, again because you're not waving the beam around a lot.) They flash the tube two or three times for each colour exposure of each frame; with a nearly zero-dark-luminance device like a CRT, you can improve contrast this way. The image on examples I've seen is about 2" diagonal.

Short of building something like this by repurposing a scope tube (which would be tricksy), your best bet is certainly a monochrome CRT, often sold for "medical imaging," that is displaying the monochrome output of CT and MRI scanners. This is good, because you can guarantee identical registration for the R, G and B passes, and they're available in resolutions high enough for film-res work. You could emulate the multi-pass scanning functionality in software; most standard graphics cards are capable of performing vertically-blanked buffer flipping. You do not want an LCD monitor as they do not have sufficient contrast and they are spatially-distributed RGB.

On the basis of really very little experience in the area, my impression is that it would be very hard to avoid optical aberrations from creeping in, but beyond that it ought to be possible to create "something reasonable." You would certainly be passing all your frames through a curves process to sort out the colour and you would be doing a lot of test prints to confirm how it was all working. You'd probably never achieve "accurate", but you might achieve "looks OK" colour-wise. I'd be worried about sharpness.

Phil
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#17 Dirk DeJonghe

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Posted 15 January 2006 - 11:44 AM

Paul,

Lasergraphics uses a monochrome CRT tube, not LCD monitor.

On another subject, I am comparing a Panasonic BT-LH1700WE broadcasst LCD SD/HD monitor with my current CRT based Barco grade 1 monitor.
The feature set is nice, even a built-in waveform monitor, automatic switching from SDI to HD-SDI etc.

But completely unusable for serious work: no blacks, they look cut-off.
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