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Arri Laser focus discrepancies


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#1 bengordon

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Posted 15 February 2006 - 05:47 PM

I recently DPd a feature with the DVX100. I've timed it in a good suite and they've transferred it to 35 with an Arri Laser system, with all its drawbacks which I knew about and could work with.
But one characteristic of the transfer I'm having trouble swallowing. Certain shots lose proportionately way too much focus. Yes, typically the wides, though sometimes certain close-ups! What the lab says is that if the camera is ever so slightly out of focus, the defect is magnified. I understand that, but for the defect to be exagerated on shots that truely look focused doesn't make sense. Certain shots seen on a 28" monitor are definitely in focus, even though you could argue that they are not spot on, but seem to get blown way out of focus with the Arri Laser. The lab tells me that it is definitely not a technical error in the transfer, that the focus is set ONCE during the transfer and that's that. I'll swallow it, though my question is the following: is there anything in the Arri Laser process that could account for a focus discrepancy between shots, that they wouldn't be telling me?
I'm not used to forums, so if anyone who wishes to reply can send me an email direct, I'd appreciate it.
Thanks,
Ben
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 15 February 2006 - 09:32 PM

The more likely culprit is the DV original. You're now talking about an image enlargement to fill a 25' or 50' screen instead of a monitor -- of course you're going to see every optical defect in the original now. Odds are low that the Arrilaser is randomly throwing shots out-of-focus in the film recording. Also remember that monitors have edge enhancement (aperture) to add sharpness.

You're basically seeing a lack of resolution in the wide shots and misfocus in the occasional close-ups. I'm not sure what you expected to see when blowing DV up to 35mm. Even a typical 35mm feature has its share of soft close-ups.
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