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Bad Telecine?


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#1 claire_griffiths

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Posted 29 July 2006 - 04:52 AM

I've just had my first ever telecine service done, it was super-8 film three vision 2 films and one ektachrome, the first tape I got back from them (mini-dv) looked awful, it seemed as if it was all soft focus (perhaps because of the camera I captured with?) but the image really looked just like bad video! Like I had gone back and used some 80's home video camera to shoot with!

I told them I was not happy with the condition of the image, and they sent another lot of telecined footage, this time as files on a dvd, I'm still not happy with the images, although the soft focus issue has gone there is still much aliasing and movement and funny coloured pixels in the darker areas of footage (not just the blacks) but nothing in the whites and again it looks allot like bad video.

I have a friend who's telecined super-8 footage from the same place looked good to me.

Whats going on? Do I have too high expectations of telecined super-8? is there anything I can do to make it look better (in final cut pro)?

I'm not sure whether to ask for another one as I feel it could just be my expectations of telecine that are wrong!

Any help/suggestions would be appreciated,

Thanks,

Claire x

-cross posted to super-8 section also
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#2 Chayse Irvin

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Posted 29 July 2006 - 07:11 PM

I've just had my first ever telecine service done, it was super-8 film three vision 2 films and one ektachrome, the first tape I got back from them (mini-dv) looked awful, it seemed as if it was all soft focus (perhaps because of the camera I captured with?) but the image really looked just like bad video! Like I had gone back and used some 80's home video camera to shoot with!

I told them I was not happy with the condition of the image, and they sent another lot of telecined footage, this time as files on a dvd, I'm still not happy with the images, although the soft focus issue has gone there is still much aliasing and movement and funny coloured pixels in the darker areas of footage (not just the blacks) but nothing in the whites and again it looks allot like bad video.

I have a friend who's telecined super-8 footage from the same place looked good to me.

Whats going on? Do I have too high expectations of telecined super-8? is there anything I can do to make it look better (in final cut pro)?

I'm not sure whether to ask for another one as I feel it could just be my expectations of telecine that are wrong!

Any help/suggestions would be appreciated,

Thanks,

Claire x

-cross posted to super-8 section also


You need to transfer to a format with low compression. MiniDV is like 5:1, Dvd is MPEG-2 (not sure compression ratio). Digibeta is your best bet if you wanna go to tape. It has a 2:1 compression at 4:2:2. Capture that off a Digibeta deck using its SD-SDI output into a capture card that has SD-SDI in. (Kona Or BlackMagic) Then capture your digibeta tape uncompressed to your cpu and do what ya want. For the best quality you could capture right off the telecine mechine SD-SDI uncompressed into your computer... but you would need a Hard drive system that could store this massive amount of info and stream it... probably need a RAID tower. Digibeta is your best bet... its important that you capture it uncompressed tho. Dont go doing a digibeta transfer and then captureing DVCPRO(25) NTSC.

Edited by Chayse Irvin, 29 July 2006 - 07:14 PM.

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#3 Ari Krepostman

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Posted 14 August 2006 - 02:38 AM

You need to transfer to a format with low compression. MiniDV is like 5:1, Dvd is MPEG-2 (not sure compression ratio). Digibeta is your best bet if you wanna go to tape. It has a 2:1 compression at 4:2:2. Capture that off a Digibeta deck using its SD-SDI output into a capture card that has SD-SDI in. (Kona Or BlackMagic) Then capture your digibeta tape uncompressed to your cpu and do what ya want. For the best quality you could capture right off the telecine mechine SD-SDI uncompressed into your computer... but you would need a Hard drive system that could store this massive amount of info and stream it... probably need a RAID tower. Digibeta is your best bet... its important that you capture it uncompressed tho. Dont go doing a digibeta transfer and then captureing DVCPRO(25) NTSC.


You absolutely do not need a RAID tower, that is ridiculous. Nor do you need to transfer to digibeta. I'm sure that you don't have the budget for either, and its not necessary. While its true that digibeta offers more colorspace and less compression, miniDV is more than sufficient for most purposes. I wouldn't trust miniDV as an archival medium, nor would I trust it for heavy editing - especially if you are not using super premium miniDV tapes, in fact, even with those I wouldn't shuttle around too much. Thankfully with todays higher-performing consumer-accessible firewire drives (like WiebeTech's, my fave), you can get enough storage space and transfer speed to do most kinds of things (including edditing, CG, etc). You would only need a RAID array if you had tons of data that required a high transfer rate (like in the case of HD). RAID arrays are like, $2-$3 per gig. Only buy it when you have an HD editing gig, or a big editing job where time is a serious factor. where the client will end up paying for the first 25% to 50% of the purchase.

Below are a few REAL reasons why your footage might look terrible:

1. Monitor
If you're looking at the footage on a computer monitor at full scale, you may not be giving it a decent shot at looking good.

2. Import settings
If you've imported it and its not looking good, check your import settings on your NLE program (i.e. Final Cut Pro).

3. Bad transfer
Fact of the matter is that unless your using one of the best, most reputable houses, transfer quality will be spotty, because you never know who is operating the equipment. If your paying student rates, you might be getting the overnight shift, which means some new kid, likely just smoked a bowl, trying to eat chips, and not paying attention to what (s)he is supposed to be doing.

Your best bet with transfers is to actually be there when they are doing the transfer, so you can supervise and see what it's going to look like. The next best thing is called a "Best Light". I wouldn't be surprised if you got a "One Light", which is the bottom barrell. If you don't know better and/or you don't have money to pay for the regular rate, they'll give you the "One Light".

4. Bad footage & Bad practices
If you underexposed, and the machines are on automatic, they will try to compensate for your underexposed image, meaning lots of gain (not grain, gain) in the video. This is also evident when you take your 35mm film to the pharmacy for developing -- they think you want to be able to see stuff, but you'd probably rather sese what you actually captured -- not simply as much as possible of what can be seen.

Funny colors in your blacks is often a result of too much gain. I've also seen odd color "megapixels" (as I call them) on DVDs with large areas of black, or dark colors in the picture. I don't know what causes that, I assume a high compression ratio, or a relatively poor encode.

Soft focus is soft focus. I've never seen a telecine come back softer than the focus achieved by the 1st AC (or Camera Operator, depending on who is pulling focus). Nevertheless, if they really fu**ed things up, that could happen, I suppose. Maybe they didn't put the 8mm gate on properly. Again, this comes down to the quality and reliability of your telecine facility and its employees.

The aliasing could be the result of the fact that they gave you the footage on a DVD. If they gave the footage to you as a DVD file (meaning a VIDEO_TS folder) this place is retarded. Unless of course you asked for a DVD of your footage, in which case you need to learn more about post production, specifically file and compression formats.

Chase mentions some of this above, but its all tech speak, and actually, it's clear that he doesn't really understand your needs - as far as I can tell you are a student, pretty new to all this (at least I hope so) and you are basically experimenting, which is cool. Its a learning process.
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#4 Chris Pritzlaff

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Posted 14 August 2006 - 03:11 AM

Gotta really stress to you that you should go supervise the telecine process, especially as a student, because you will see the images on a properly calibrated monitor viewing your footage at the highest resolution it will be. If it looks good there, then you know that at least your negative is good. Any degrade from there is a result of poor telecine or a resolution capture issue.
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#5 EricUlbrich

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Posted 23 August 2006 - 05:46 AM

word to the assisted telecine!!
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