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65mm music video - post workflow??


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#1 Evan Winter

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Posted 30 June 2006 - 04:19 PM

hey everyone,

i have a question that i hope someone will know the answer to.

i'm currently pitching on a music video and as part of my pitch to the label i want to suggest that we shoot on 65mm film (it's a beauty video, with some heavy concept, shot 2.35).

i don't believe too many music videos have been shot on 65mm (cost, lack of 'perceived' benefit in terms of image quality when finally aired on tv, etc)

my question is this:

given that most music video stations in north america air their product from digibeta tapes how can i best maintain image quality?

option 1:
a) shoot 65mm
b ) tranfer to hdcam sr with mini dv dub for offline editing
c) conform hdcam sr raw footage to hdcam sr master
d) dub down from hdcam sr master to digibeta and
e) deliver digibeta master to video stations.

option 2:
a) shoot 65mm
b ) transfer to digibeta with mini dv dub for offline editing
c) conform digibeta raw footage to digibeta master and
d) deliver digibeta master to video stations.

option 3:
the actual best way that you guys are going to tell me about that i completely overlooked or didn't even realize existed.

final thought:
i know that shooting a music video on 65mm film that will end up on digibeta broadcast on tv might seem misguided but i do believe that the difference between originating on 65mm vs. 35mm will be noticeable and appreciable and i believe there's enough of a difference to take the project from being an interesting idea with pretty pictures to an interesting idea with astounding images (i absolutely adore the look of branaugh's 'hamlet' and i think that it looks fabulous even on dvd)

thanks for any and all help,

evan

Edited by Evan Winter, 30 June 2006 - 04:21 PM.

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#2 Dan Goulder

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Posted 30 June 2006 - 04:59 PM

option 1:
a) shoot 65mm
b ) tranfer to hdcam sr with mini dv dub for offline editing
c) conform hdcam sr raw footage to hdcam sr master
d) dub down from hdcam sr master to digibeta and
e) deliver digibeta master to video stations.

If you're going with the extra effort and expense to shoot in 65mm, then you should absolutely master it in either HDCAM SR or even 2K log files. (HDCAM SR should be sufficient.) You'll not only retain the highest quality, but will also have a high-end HD master for present and/or future HD broadcast use. FWIW, the native aspect ratio for this format is around 2.2/1, although you can crop it for 2.35/1 if desired.
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#3 Evan Winter

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Posted 30 June 2006 - 07:22 PM

thanks for the response dgoulder. the information is very much appreciated.

now, i wonder whether people think it's even worth shooting a music video on 65mm?

*devil's advocate*: after all it'll end up being broadcast on standard definition tvs!

:)

evan
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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 30 June 2006 - 07:51 PM

The trouble you'll have with 65mm is the video transfer -- very recently FotoKem put a 65mm gate onto a Millenium TK and got amazing results (they were just setting it up a few weeks ago) but before that, you basically had a two facilities in town that transferred 65mm on older Ranks, and the sharpness was not that good.

So unless you are sure of getting FotoKem to do the transfer on this new set-up, I don't think it's worth it. I'm sure that 35mm anamorphic would look good enough.
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#5 K Borowski

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Posted 30 June 2006 - 09:32 PM

final thought:
i know that shooting a music video on 65mm film that will end up on digibeta broadcast on tv might seem misguided but i do believe that the difference between originating on 65mm vs. 35mm will be noticeable and appreciable and i believe there's enough of a difference to take the project from being an interesting idea with pretty pictures to an interesting idea with astounding images (i absolutely adore the look of branaugh's 'hamlet' and i think that it looks fabulous even on dvd)

thanks for any and all help,

evan


Personally, I have no experience with television broadcasting. However, I can tell you that, in HD, you can definitely see a difference between 35mm and 65mm, especially on the high-speed stocks. I'd highly recommend having some sort of HD transfer done. In SD, the differences are less pronounced, but I'm sure you could see in a side-by-side comparison. Maybe you could try to show something to that effect when you make your pitch to sell the concept. Good luck!

Regards,

~Karl Borowski
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#6 Jamie Metzger

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Posted 30 June 2006 - 09:41 PM

I have always felt, that unless it's going to be projected, or is a high end commercial, 35 is overkill. The vision2 16mm stock is the same as the 35, obviously not as much resolution.

Shooting 65mm, is insane for a host of different reasons. Think about the trouble your 1st is going to go through moving that camera and pulling focus. I think you should stick to anamorphic 35mm, like mr Mullen said, or shoot 16mm, and save a ton on your budget for much better things (lenses, camera, cranes...)
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#7 Michael Nash

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Posted 01 July 2006 - 01:38 AM

I think there's a lot of quality you could squeak out of anamorphic 35mm, by scanning and posting at as high a resolution as possible. I'd be willing to bet that if you kept it 2K all the way before downconverting to digibeta you'd see a difference.
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#8 Rik Andino

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Posted 01 July 2006 - 02:00 AM

Now, i wonder whether people think it's even worth shooting a music video on 65mm?

*devil's advocate*: after all it'll end up being broadcast on standard definition tvs!


Well if you can get the record label to okay the budget...go for it...
At worst it'll be an interesting experience.

However I must say 65mm is overkill.
You will also find that it'll be harder to keep things in focus...
You'll have to restrict your movements since the cameras are bigger...
It probably will be hard to do handheld or Steadycam shots...
Which are very necessary for vids.
You're workflow will be much slower...not a good thing on vids...
And the budget might drastically ballon--which the label might not like.
The post-process could be long and expensive--also not a good thing...
There are dozens of reasons why you shouldn't shoot 65mm...
And the best one is that no-one else does it...(including feature films for theatrical release)
Maybe the other productions know something about shooting 65mm.

For vids I say that sometimes even 35mm is too much...
I've shot a few vids on S16 and they look pretty amazing...
It's not 35mm but on your standard SD TV sets it looks alright.
And with the money saved on the budget we could get better locations
And more equipment like cranes...more takes and more shots...
So it's not always about the format there are other issues to consider.

I recommend you shoot it in the standard 35mm
And you'll still have a very good vid with less hassles.
Heck you could just shoot 35mm and say to them it's 65mm--it could work. :)

Well at least it's nice to know the Vids world still loves film.


Good Luck

Edited by Rik Andino, 01 July 2006 - 02:01 AM.

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#9 Max Jacoby

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Posted 01 July 2006 - 08:31 AM

You will also find that it'll be harder to keep things in focus...
You'll have to restrict your movements since the cameras are bigger...
It probably will be hard to do handheld or Steadycam shots...
Which are very necessary for vids.

The depth of field is similar to 35mm anamorphic, but you are right about the maneuverabilty of the cameras.

-The Arri 765 is too heavy for reasonable handheld/steadicam and they do not offer a lightweight camera.

-Panavision have sync sound cameras and lighter, non sync ones for handheld/steadicam.

-There is a Russian 65mm camera called Starcam that's apparently quite light (not meant for sync)

I have been looking into 65mm as well and in my opinion it's not something you should do on a whim. You need to seriously test these cameras and find out about their capabilities and limitations. Weight and size are the main considerations, as the close-focus on the lenses is generally quite good.
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#10 Chris Burke

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Posted 01 July 2006 - 12:43 PM

The depth of field is similar to 35mm anamorphic, but you are right about the maneuverabilty of the cameras.

-The Arri 765 is too heavy for reasonable handheld/steadicam and they do not offer a lightweight camera.

-Panavision have sync sound cameras and lighter, non sync ones for handheld/steadicam.

-There is a Russian 65mm camera called Starcam that's apparently quite light (not meant for sync)

I have been looking into 65mm as well and in my opinion it's not something you should do on a whim. You need to seriously test these cameras and find out about their capabilities and limitations. Weight and size are the main considerations, as the close-focus on the lenses is generally quite good.


Please forgive the pun, I am totally serious. Would a 65mm camera crew or crew in general big larger?
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#11 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 01 July 2006 - 12:55 PM

Please forgive the pun, I am totally serious. Would a 65mm camera crew or crew in general big larger?


---At an AFI screening of 'Ice Station Zebra', Daniel Fapp said working in 65mm was not really different than working in 'Scope.

---LV
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#12 Michael Nash

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Posted 01 July 2006 - 12:58 PM

Please forgive the pun, I am totally serious. Would a 65mm camera crew or crew in general big larger?


I've only played around with the cameras themselves and never worked on a 65mm job, so this is theory. But I don't see why the crew would need to be any bigger than a 35mm show EXCEPT for the fact that you'll be loading more often. You could mount up a camera and dolly with the same size crew as 35mm. If you're going to be doing crane shots or something you might need a more substantial crane than you could get away with in 35mm, and therefore more people and/or longer time for that setup.

People sometimes shoot IMAX with small crews.
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#13 Chris Keth

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Posted 01 July 2006 - 01:49 PM

Personally, I have no experience with television broadcasting. However, I can tell you that, in HD, you can definitely see a difference between 35mm and 65mm, especially on the high-speed stocks. I'd highly recommend having some sort of HD transfer done. In SD, the differences are less pronounced, but I'm sure you could see in a side-by-side comparison. Maybe you could try to show something to that effect when you make your pitch to sell the concept. Good luck!

Regards,

~Karl Borowski



C'mon. You know you can't see a significant difference between 65mm and 35mm when transferred to video. <_< With all respect, I think you're full of it. It simply doesn't make any sense that downrezzing it to video would make any kind of sense when weighed vs. the cost.
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#14 K Borowski

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Posted 01 July 2006 - 04:01 PM

C'mon. You know you can't see a significant difference between 65mm and 35mm when transferred to video. <_< With all respect, I think you're full of it. It simply doesn't make any sense that downrezzing it to video would make any kind of sense when weighed vs. the cost.


IDK how you can say I'm full of [sh]it with any due respect, but thanks for trying to be respectful while insulting me :-) Read my post more closely and you will see that I am referring to HDTV, not SD. The primetime shows that I see on the five or six channels of HD that I get show some grain in 35mm. For instance, CSI shows some grain. IDK if shooting on very low-speed stock like 5245 would be completely grainless in HD, but I'd assume that even if this music video is shooting 65, they'll probably shoot conventional stocks rather than ultra-slow film. Scope has much finer grain on HDTV, but it is still noticeable. Anything goes on SD. Even 16mm looks relatively grainless there.

Regards,

~Karl
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#15 Dan Goulder

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Posted 01 July 2006 - 09:25 PM

C'mon. You know you can't see a significant difference between 65mm and 35mm when transferred to video.

I might have agreed with you at the time you posted this, but having seen 2001 in HD several hours later, I would have to respectfully disagree. Wow.
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#16 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 01 July 2006 - 11:38 PM

I might have agreed with you at the time you posted this, but having seen 2001 in HD several hours later, I would have to respectfully disagree. Wow.


Yes, but that's because you saw it in HD, not SD.
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#17 Chris Keth

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Posted 02 July 2006 - 02:06 AM

I might have agreed with you at the time you posted this, but having seen 2001 in HD several hours later, I would have to respectfully disagree. Wow.



This video is airing on digibeta, he said, which is NOT HD.
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#18 Evan Winter

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Posted 02 July 2006 - 10:35 AM

everyone,

thank you very much for the input and discussion. it's given me a lot to think about.

it seems the general consensus is that shooting on 65mm film is likely not worth the trouble given the 'low' potential for apparent increased image quality on the digibeta master when aired.

i'm not going to lie, i'm still considering pitching that we shoot on 65mm. although, now i feel very much more aware of some of the likely pitfalls i'll encounter and now i'm walking into this with a lesser level of naivety than i was before this discussion.

however, one more thing:

currently, the average label music video is shot on super 35mm film and it ends up downconverted to digibeta. most will claim they can see the difference. in fact, most will claim they can see the difference (on digibeta) between 35, hd, super 16, 16, and mini dv.

i believe i can generally tell the difference between 35, hd, 16, and of course mini dv.

so, are we then declaring the limit, the ceiling, to this difference to be super 35?

so, although somehow, elements of the greater origination format can be captured on a digibeta to the extent that we can see a marked difference in origination formats we are arguing that beyond super 35mm there is no real difference?

why do we believe this is? why is super 35 the cut off?

i ask because i remember how 'you'll never need more than 3 mega pixels for stills, you can't see the difference', it wasn't so long ago that 2k was deemed 'enough for digital projection' and now we're at, '4k should be the standard, more than 4k and you can't really notice'.

i distinctly recall, 'no one will ever need more than a gigabyte of harddrive space. what would you do with it?'

i know we're dealing with a digibeta master but digibeta is a lower quality format than 16, hd, or 35, so how come, within those 3 formats, it makes a difference on what you shoot but we're arguing that it won't make a difference if the film is originated on 65?

evan

Edited by Evan Winter, 02 July 2006 - 10:37 AM.

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#19 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 02 July 2006 - 11:06 AM

You're asking for some hard demarkation line and there isn't one. Besides the camera format and the recording format, the telecine itself will affect quality, the type of film stock, the lenses, and the monitor it is viewed on.

So let's say you shoot 65mm but transfer it on an older Rank -- it will look softer probably than Super-35 transferred on a new Spirit.

There are too many factors at work here to draw any hard line. Some people say that on TV you can't tell the difference between 200T and 500T, or an old Cooke versus a new Zeiss, etc.

Having seen some tests of 65mm transferred to HD on a new telecine at FotoKem, I'd say that you can see a difference, although these were day shots made on slow-speed film and I didn't see any direct comparisons to 35mm, but the resolution was amazing.

65mm for SD may be worth it, for example, if you have to shoot on fast film pushed one or two stops, where the larger negative will counteract the increase in graininess. On the other hand, the lenses for 65mm tend to be older and slower, so you may be better off in 35mm using the new Zeiss Master Primes for a low-light shoot.

Cinematography is often about maximizing results in a practical manner. In other words, you are looking to get the most for your dollar and do it in a practical way. So you have to weigh the quality of the format with how it fits into your shooting needs, budget, and post.
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#20 Sam Wells

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Posted 02 July 2006 - 11:38 AM

Well one simple question to ask is if this piece will ever have a HD existence ?

If it's never gonna be seen on anything but D-beta, I don't see the point of 65 at all.

Otherwise I don't know. It would be insane to shoot 65 and transfer to an SD format, as has been noted.

Personally I _would_ be on the phone to FotoKem Tue AM however, doesn't hurt to investigate.

Or maybe it does, do you like to be seduced - even hypothetically ? :)

This is an indie label ???

-Sam
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