Jump to content


Photo

prints vs. transfers


  • Please log in to reply
12 replies to this topic

#1 Filip Plesha

Filip Plesha
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1267 posts
  • Other
  • Croatia

Posted 06 March 2006 - 06:37 PM

I've always been wondering why is there always a difference between the way filmmakers print their films and telecine them.

Video transfers are usually soft in contrast compared to prints, as if filmmakers can't wait to get rid of that look that film prints have.
Print film renders a film image in a certain way which is designed by the film manufacturer, something the film manufacturer sees as "normal" .
Now judging by the look of video transfers (where filmmakers have more freedom in terms of looks),
authors prefer a lower contrast look, so why don't film manufacturers grant their wish and make print film look more like a telecine technicians and supervisors "see" negative film?

Now I know the technical side of it, I know "how", what I want to know is "why"

Personally I prefer the look of film prints, as I see most transfers as flat and washed out, but
that's just me. But obviously filmmakers prefer a soft linear look, otherwise they would make their transfers look like prints do. So why don't they opt for lower contrast print film from Kodak?
  • 0

#2 Dominic Case

Dominic Case
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1357 posts
  • Other
  • Sydney Australia

Posted 06 March 2006 - 08:53 PM

Isn't this just the result of video monitors having a lower brightness range than a projected film print? To accomodate the tonal range, the contrast has to be lower for video.
  • 0

#3 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 19759 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 06 March 2006 - 09:08 PM

Low-con prints and IP's are better suited for video transfers than projection-contrast prints. A image projected onto a white reflective surface has to have incredibly deep blacks and higher contrast to maintain a feeling of true black on the screen, but this is overkill for a video transfer.

We've had this discussion before and all I can say is that that's just the way things are. Projection-gamma prints just don't make good transfers -- they look unnaturally blocked-up in terms of shadow detail. Even a low-con print is barely acceptable for telecine transfers.

You can match the subjective "look" of the movie for home video as it did in the theaters, but you find that a slightly flatter image plays better on TV sets.

Why? Well, for one thing, hardly anyone watches their TV in a dark room, so there is a lot of ambient light spilling on the TV, so dim and dark areas are washed out, and secondly, the image is much smaller than on a giant theater screen which affects your "need" to see into the shadows more clearly. On a larger screen, a dark image is still the largest, brightest thing in your field of vision so it's not competing with anything for your attention (other than the exit signs.)

Very dark and contrastry transfers tend to look best when viewed on TV in a very dark room (like a movie theater).
  • 0

#4 Filip Plesha

Filip Plesha
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1267 posts
  • Other
  • Croatia

Posted 07 March 2006 - 07:53 AM

I didn't ask why they don't use prints for thansfers, we have been over that before, I'm just asking
why they don't make transfers from negatives to look punchier like prints do.
But I think your answer makes sense.

Now I ask you, as a filmmaker, which do you prefer for your films? The low contrast look on DVD or
the way prints look?




Isn't this just the result of video monitors having a lower brightness range than a projected film print? To accomodate the tonal range, the contrast has to be lower for video.



While in reality it is true, the latest technology seems to make that a thing of the past.

The new plasma TV's I've seen from Sony, have much higher brightness range than
anything I've ever seen, including film projection.
Now I can't judge film projection because I've never seen professional film projection (like lab projectors, screening rooms etc.) all I've seen is just how it looks in avarage cinema's (which I consider "consumer" film projection).
But I assume in high quality projection evnironments film looks much like slide projection in terms of brightness range. In that case new display technologies probably don't beat it, but come close.

But my point here is that a TV you can buy for $5000 can outperform avarage film projection in terms of brightness and dark keeping.
  • 0

#5 Keith Mottram

Keith Mottram
  • Sustaining Members
  • 824 posts
  • Other

Posted 07 March 2006 - 09:55 AM

But my point here is that a TV you can buy for $5000 can outperform avarage film projection in terms of brightness and dark keeping.


if only this was true, my pioneer plasma hits about 80% in terms of true black and it is probably one of the better screens out there, certainly better than the hitachi i had last year, but still completely rubbish compared to a pro crt. unfortunately, due to the type of technology, i'm not sure plasmas can get any better. LCD's can probably hit 90%, but currently at the expense of a decent range of contrast. however the lack of true black doesn't negate the fact that i get more information overall from my setup than i do when i normally to the cinema. this is due to the fact that most cinemas are designed to sell popcorn, rather than give you the best experience possible.

keith
  • 0

#6 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 19759 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 07 March 2006 - 10:16 AM

I prefer contrastier transfers myself, but many of the directors I work for don't, so I have to follow their tastes. But I try to keep an eye on the waveform monitor to make sure that the blacks are black.

Most of my directors in general always like the image lighter and brighter than I do, except Michael Polish -- we share the same taste in that regards.
  • 0

#7 John Pytlak RIP

John Pytlak RIP

    (deceased)

  • Sustaining Members
  • 3499 posts
  • Industry Rep
  • Rochester, NY 14650-1922

Posted 07 March 2006 - 12:33 PM

The density range available on a print film like Kodak VISION Color Print Film 2383 approaches 4.0 (10,000:1 contrast range), and Kodak VISION Premier Color Print Film 2393 approaches 5.0 density (100,000:1 contrast range). When projected in a darkened theatre with low flare or stray light, film has a much greater contrast range than any digital projection system.


Posted Image

To take full advantage of the full range of density available on a print, avoid underexposure, as it tends to bring the density of the black areas down.
  • 0

#8 Hal Smith

Hal Smith
  • Sustaining Members
  • 2280 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • OKC area

Posted 07 March 2006 - 01:46 PM

The density range available on a print film like Kodak VISION Color Print Film 2383 approaches 4.0 (10,000:1 contrast range), and Kodak VISION Premier Color Print Film 2393 approaches 5.0 density (100,000:1 contrast range). When projected in a darkened theatre with low flare or stray light, film has a much greater contrast range than any digital projection system.
Posted Image

To take full advantage of the full range of density available on a print, avoid underexposure, as it tends to bring the density of the black areas down.

John,

If I shoot 5285 under the daylight color temperature it's balanced for, I get a pretty faithful rendition of the original scene's colors. How does one get that sort of control for negative/print film combinations and possibly through more steps involving IP/IN's etc.? I'm getting the feeling that in truth modern films are just as difficult to handle as three strip Technicolor was, it's just that the scientific, technical, artistic, and craft aspects of modern film systems are understood by more people.

Edmond, OK
  • 0

#9 John Pytlak RIP

John Pytlak RIP

    (deceased)

  • Sustaining Members
  • 3499 posts
  • Industry Rep
  • Rochester, NY 14650-1922

Posted 07 March 2006 - 02:28 PM

John,

If I shoot 5285 under the daylight color temperature it's balanced for, I get a pretty faithful rendition of the original scene's colors. How does one get that sort of control for negative/print film combinations and possibly through more steps involving IP/IN's etc.? I'm getting the feeling that in truth modern films are just as difficult to handle as three strip Technicolor was, it's just that the scientific, technical, artistic, and craft aspects of modern film systems are understood by more people.

Edmond, OK


The procedures required for good color duplication have been well established for years, and the labs are very skilled in implementing them. Kodak has developed tools and techniques to help labs achieve very consistent results:

http://www.kodak.com....1.4.15.8&lc=en

http://www.kodak.com....1.4.15.4&lc=en

http://www.kodak.com....1.4.15.6&lc=en

You need to work with your lab and colorist/grader/timer to let them know the "look" you want, and they take it from there. If you need to change something (e.g., better exposure), their skilled people will work with you to get what you want.
  • 0

#10 Filip Plesha

Filip Plesha
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1267 posts
  • Other
  • Croatia

Posted 07 March 2006 - 09:44 PM

if only this was true, my pioneer plasma hits about 80% in terms of true black and it is probably one of the better screens out there, certainly better than the hitachi i had last year, but still completely rubbish compared to a pro crt. unfortunately, due to the type of technology, i'm not sure plasmas can get any better. LCD's can probably hit 90%, but currently at the expense of a decent range of contrast. however the lack of true black doesn't negate the fact that i get more information overall from my setup than i do when i normally to the cinema. this is due to the fact that most cinemas are designed to sell popcorn, rather than give you the best experience possible.

keith


Well that plasma screens I'm talking about have 10,000:1 contrast, which accoarding to John is about the contrast of Vision print film.
  • 0

#11 Scott Fritzshall

Scott Fritzshall
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 584 posts
  • Other
  • Los Angeles

Posted 07 March 2006 - 10:44 PM

Well that plasma screens I'm talking about have 10,000:1 contrast, which accoarding to John is about the contrast of Vision print film.

But does the material they're showing actually take advantage of that, or is it just a theoretical number?
  • 0

#12 Dominic Case

Dominic Case
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1357 posts
  • Other
  • Sydney Australia

Posted 08 March 2006 - 12:56 AM

But does the material they're showing actually take advantage of that, or is it just a theoretical number?

Be very careful when you look at contrast specs either for cinemas (film or digital) or for plasma, LCD or CRT screens.

There is a world of difference between the theoretical contrast (comparing the brightness of a black screen with a white screen) and the actual contrast (comparing the blacks and whites that are on screen at the same time.

In a darkened cinema, the projected light in a clear white area of an image on 2283 (normal con) stock, is, as John says, about 10,000 times that of a deep black area.

If half the screen is white and half is black, then the amount of light that reflects from the white area, off the audience's faces and anything else not black, and back into the black areas of the screeen image, is enough to raise the black brightness by a factor of several times, reducing the actiual contrast to a few hundred to one.

I don't see that there is much you can do to improve that factor regardless of the display technology (except have no audience faces to reflect off!). Looking at a monitor in room lighting, you have a much lower contrast again.
  • 0

#13 John Pytlak RIP

John Pytlak RIP

    (deceased)

  • Sustaining Members
  • 3499 posts
  • Industry Rep
  • Rochester, NY 14650-1922

Posted 08 March 2006 - 07:00 AM

One way to see the difference in contrast ratio is to "cast shadow puppets" on the screen in an area of the image that is supposed to be black. A distinct shadow means there is still quite a bit of light where there should be none. Usually digital projection is lacking compared to a film print.

It takes care to utilize the full contrast ratio available on 2383 or 2393 print film, but it has been done with good effect. An extreme case was "Minority Report", where a silver retention process was used for 2393 release prints --- on the Film-Tech user group, projectionists reported that the blacks were so rich in some fade outs, they thought the xenon lamp had failed.
  • 0


Ritter Battery

Abel Cine

The Slider

Tai Audio

Visual Products

Rig Wheels Passport

Technodolly

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Paralinx LLC

Wooden Camera

FJS International, LLC

Aerial Filmworks

CineTape

Opal

Metropolis Post

Glidecam

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

CineLab

rebotnix Technologies

Willys Widgets

FJS International, LLC

Technodolly

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Ritter Battery

CineLab

Glidecam

CineTape

Paralinx LLC

The Slider

Rig Wheels Passport

Abel Cine

Wooden Camera

Opal

Visual Products

Metropolis Post

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Willys Widgets

Aerial Filmworks

Tai Audio

rebotnix Technologies