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DI vs Telecine


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#1 James Mann

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Posted 18 May 2006 - 10:12 PM

So...

I will be shooting a short film that warrents a very strong look. I think the best way to achieve what we are after may be on a bleach bypass somewhere in the printing stage (IP, IN). However, this film has no plans to be printed. It will probably live and die on dvd.

So, that being said, what is my best option? I had considered trying to achieve this photochemically but I don't like the idea of not having the abilty to scale the intensity of the effect...Also, the money involved is pretty intense (and no matter what we will be paying to transfer the thing). Will a DI enable us to do much more specific corrections/modifications than telecine (yes, it all depends on the post houses and the machines that they are running; but let's pretend that we were at a top notch place with the best of both).

What do we think?

James
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 18 May 2006 - 10:51 PM

You can certainly emulate a number of aspects of silver retention using digital color-correction tools -- you can pull down the chroma, increase the contrast, crush the blacks, etc. You won't get quite the look of the silver grain left in the colors, that grittier look to the colors. I suppose pushing a high-speed film stock can get you more grain if that's an important aspect of skip-bleaching that you're trying to fake.

Of course, you could skip-bleach the negative, but that can get expensive.

Faking a skip-bleach look digitally is done all the time -- as to whether it is successful at faking the effect exactly, that's like the issue of turning a color image into b&w in post. Some people will say that it can never look like "real b&w" while others say it is close enough for their purposes, if not better in some ways. Depends on how much you want real silver grains in the image.
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#3 David Cox

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Posted 19 May 2006 - 03:54 AM

If your are using a very well powered DI solution, then there can be greater look-creation possibilities than telecine, because telecines effectively only change colours. A powerful DI solution can also add texture, have better control over the application of effects to selected areas using matting etc. However, this only works if you get on a DI solution that combines grading and compositing.

If you do go the DI route, for the most control either scan your film with a good bit depth (16 bits) or telecine your film to a good tape format such as HD CAM SR in 4:4:4 mode or HD CAM SR / HD D5 in 4:2:2 mode, and get the contrast range roughly right in the telecine from the outset. This will make all of bits of the limited bit depth of the tape formats carry useful information about your pictures, rather than have some of them just carry milky blacks that you plan on crushing later anyway.

David Cox
Baraka Post Production
www.baraka.co.uk
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