We just completed shooting a feature on Super16mm. Our plan is to do a poor-man?s DI by telecine-ing to HDCAM-SR 4:4:4 RGB 10-bit log, 1920 x1080, 24p fps.
You cannot do a dual link, log format transfer on any Spirit machine other than the 2K and 4K. At least not natively.
[*]I hear a lot about new vs. old Spirit scanners and how the new ones are so much better. What do I go by? What question can I ask to know if the Spirit is ?new? or ?old??
The original Spirit, commonly referred to as the Spirit 1, was limited in both resolution and color depth. The second generation, commonly referred to as the Spirit 2, was less limited. The current generation, known as the 2K and 4K, is not resolution limited and has far less color depth limitations. It is by far a superior machine to either of the first two models.
[*]When people say a Spirit DataCine. Is that a system older than 2k and 4k? Or is that the full name that?s rarely used and they just haven?t specified what "k"? Ie Spirit DataCine 4k.
Spirit DataCine has always been the name by which the Spirit line has been called. It was a term coined by Philips to differentiate the machine when it was first released from telecines that could not and would not offer data output, such as the Rank Cintel Ursa line.
[*]I?ve read Marc Wielage say in these forums that Spirit 2k is 12bit linear, Spirit 4k is 16bit linear. Is there a mathematical difference (as opposed to debatable visible difference) between the two once they?re collapsed into 10-bit log?
No. A 10 bit log image is a 10 bit log image. However, the results in terms of the detail and color depth information retained from the original linear image are different. "How" different is debatable.
[*]Since we?re working with 16mm, grain reduction is going to be important. The Spirit 2k has a built in grain reduction system. (correct me if i?m wrong) There?s also ?software? grain reduction in the color correction systems. What is the best way to deal with grain reduction? Is it good to use the Spirit grain reduction or wait for the end to deal with that. Or just a combination of Spirit and grading software?
You don't want to use any grain reduction during a scanning process. You also don't want to do it prior to color correction, because color correction itself is inevitably going to add noise. Any noise reduction processing should be done at the end of the processing path, although I would not recommend using it unless the grain is really objectionable. And even then, only very lightly.
[*]My post supervisor says we?re going to telecine/scan for ?full information?. It is my understanding that film negative has 15 stops of latitude from whitest white to blackest black. A film print is something like 9 stops. An Arriscan (thanks to its 2-light system) supposedly captures ALL the information (ie. All 15 stops). What range of that does a Spirit 2k capture if it's set up to scan for ?full information?.
You "compress" the amount of information you're capturing by setting the telecine to hold everything between Dmin and Dmax. This means you're not throwing away any information, but it also means you're going to have a "flatter" image as a result. How much of that "flat" image you keep is determined in final color correction.
[*]If I do final color correction tape-tape in a daVinci...I?ve heard that?s not as good as a ?real? DI box. In what way?
Some of the top DI facilities in the world - including Technicolor, Company 3, Modern Videofilm, and a number of others - use DaVinci 2K Plus units to color correct digital intermediates. So I'm not exactly sure what you're talking about. If you're referring to "tape to tape" correction vs. a "DI" type correction, you're probably referring more to the source material than the color corrector, in other words, a telecine transfer vs. a true film scan. In that case, the scan is going to have a lot - and I mean a lot - more information in it than a telecine transfer. Going to a dual link, RGB transfer mitigates this somewhat, making it somewhat equivalent to a 2K scan, but today many true 2K scans are done by actually scanning 3K or 4K and downsampling to 2K - providing an element with more detail and better color fidelity due to numerous factors. If you're referring to color correction flexibility, or the quality of the result, that's often determined far more by the human being operating the color correction device than it is by the device itself.