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Frameline generator features


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#1 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 26 September 2006 - 04:28 PM

Hi,

Easy question - what features should a frameline generator have?

Here's what I've got so far, which includes some more fanciful things but may still be lacking in the fundamentals:

- Infinitely variable frame line (move any edge, zoom, move horizontally or vertically)
- More lightly-inscribed safety zone, variable, with percentage-of-frameline display
- Optional centre cross
- Horizontal and vertical thirds
- 2.35 and 1.85 inside selected area
- 14:9 inside selected area
- Optionally display aspect ratio readout as a factor of 1 and 9; optionally display safety zone percentage
- Everything is variable weight (thickness), colour, and can be displayed in a variety of dots and dashes

I fear I may be missing some of the "common top" stuff which is more often used in the US and with which I don't have a lot of contact.

Any thoughts gratefully received.

Phil
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#2 Michael Collier

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Posted 26 September 2006 - 04:35 PM

What is this for? A post solution or an on-set deal? If its post, I typically generate framelines with photoshop and/or illustrator.

For an on-set type thing, it may be cool to toggle thirds on/off in any given frame window (ie if you have the 2.35, it shows the thirds of that, not the 4:3 monitor) May be useful in setting up composition quickly (or match talking heads location better for interview type work)

Are you building a new solution, or just trying to find one with all the features?
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#3 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 26 September 2006 - 04:53 PM

Hi,

I'm messing about with ideas for a video assist recorder.

Probably one of those things that'll come to nothing, you know...

Phil
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#4 Jonathan Benny

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Posted 26 September 2006 - 05:27 PM

Hi,

Easy question - what features should a frameline generator have?


Any thoughts gratefully received.

Phil


Different opacity for a given area within the largest frame. For example, the option to have the 1.85 area at full and the surrounding picture element at 50%. It might also be interesting to have it be capable of generating basic grid patterns.

For Super 35: the option to create common headroom between 1.85 and 2.4 (2.35)

Programmable settings for custom framelines and positions would be nice.

Good luck with it.

AJB
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#5 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 26 September 2006 - 05:59 PM

Hi,

Thanks for the input.

Doing transparency is tricky because the implementation I'm considering is based on hardware similar in capability to a desktop PC, and I'm drawing the graphics in a similar way to what you get if you play a DVD, then drag another window over the video display. This makes it tough (well, impossible) to do variable transparency effects, at least without relying on tricks like checkerboarding at a very high resolution and relying on the PAL/NTSC output encoders to render the result as a semitransparency. It's something I'm going to test once I have some test hardware available (this week).

> For Super 35: the option to create common headroom between 1.85 and 2.4 (2.35)

Fine. What it does at the moment is to allow you to indicate where the frame is, then you can put preset items like this inside it, and it'll calculate the proper aspects. Or, you can add random lines to your heart's content if you just want to match the groundglass.

What is the theoretically correct aspect ratio for all-of-super35 anyway?

It's all programmable and storable (every take can have a frameline setup associated with it).

Phil
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#6 Jonathan Benny

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Posted 26 September 2006 - 06:28 PM

What is the theoretically correct aspect ratio for all-of-super35 anyway?

It's all programmable and storable (every take can have a frameline setup associated with it).

Phil


Sounds great.

4-perf Super 35 full aperture is 1.33 (divide .980 by .735) All 4-perf super 35 formats fall within those dimensions. And the cropping is both vertical and horizontal.

AJB
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#7 Michael Collier

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Posted 26 September 2006 - 07:28 PM

Is it possible to put a 24/96 sound card on the hardware and build a quality mixer into the face? Then you would have video assist that also handles sync sound needs. Its a bit of a crossover in markets, but it could be useful to indies (and who says the sound recordist can't also run the video assist record? esp. if there is only one button to start recording both)
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#8 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 26 September 2006 - 07:38 PM

Hi,

> Is it possible to put a 24/96 sound card on the hardware

Probably.

> and build a quality mixer into the face?

Not terribly.

It's already a DTE firewire recorder. It would make a certain amount of sense hardware wise to centralise these tasks (the way it's designed, you'd look like a soundie, with a shoulder pack sprouting antennae!) but I suspect that logistically it could be a bit of a cow.

Nothing stopping you using it as a stereo audio recorder but I hesitate to start adding things to push it in that direction.

Phil
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#9 Michael Collier

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Posted 26 September 2006 - 08:38 PM

Thats cool. I just know in the past sometimes it has come down to having a clamshell to record video assist, and having a DAT to record sound (you can imagine what I chose) It doesn't need much more than two tracks (if your in a financial jam and your compromising already, who needs 8 tracks? I have never in my life recorded more than two tracks for a movie at any one time)

At very least an option for two XLR inputs (even without EQ, just the bare recording), if there are only RCA inputs I would hesitate to use those at all. or maybe an SPDIF input, since a good mixer can sometimes output that as well All these can be built into the soundcard and bought off the shelf. Might be a bit more expensive. Think 'delux model'


I think you got all the matte lines options down. Any possibility to add simple color correction (even if it has to be during playback) could be useful. There are tons of features that can be crammed in that would mostly be software options. What about a line or wireless line to sync the video assist record to the cameras operation. I am full of ideas, but no desire to consider the logistics of building it.

I do like the idea of a PC based system (could it theoretically be used to cut an EDL and then put together a cutlist for the neg cutter. It would be very hard to impliment since keycode isn't availible until after proccessing, but I suppose the key would be to match the keycode to the audio TC after the fact, not the otherway around. or use aatons timecode output. lots of options but bottom line: if an indie can shoot film, but not telecine until after a rough cut, a HUGE portion of the cost would be alleviated from the production (the only problem then would be selecting a shot that is out of focus in print, but sharp in the VA.)
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#10 Mitch Gross

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Posted 26 September 2006 - 11:10 PM

In some gear the same device that generates the frame lines also can be used to superimpose other data on the screen, such as timecode/u-bit, date, roll, take, etc., and even company logos. Some of this info can also be inserted into the video signal as metadata like VITC.
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#11 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 27 September 2006 - 08:56 AM

Hi,

> In some gear the same device that generates the frame lines also can be used to superimpose other data on
> the screen, such as timecode/u-bit, date, roll, take, etc., and even company logos.

It already does all that, based on my experience of playing back a playlist of takes for people to look at, and having them go "..which one's this?"

It should also have the ability to display a little timeline with keyframe markers on it, which it should eventually use to do speed ramps.

> Some of this info can also be inserted into the video signal as metadata like VITC.

VITC is tricky as I'm entirely reliant on the SD video encoder on the PC graphics hardware. It would depend how much control I get over non-picture areas; if it's sufficient to allow me to write graphics into the VITC lines, then it's doable. If not, it's a brick wall. I suspect it won't be possible.

Input and display are somewhat easier; it's a firewire DV recording device, so it really just depends which firewire encoder I choose and whether it supports timecode insertion. I can see there being a situation where the soundie doesn't have another lockit to give me, though.

Phil

Hi,

> At very least an option for two XLR inputs (even without EQ, just the bare recording)

The audio input has to be in parallel with the video as it's a firewire/DV recorder, so again it would depend which firewire input device I choose. I suspect that any such device which has timecode inputs would probably have balanced XLR audio inputs, and I need that anyway, so you're going to get that ability more or less by default. You'd have to marry this up with a suitable external mixer but it sounds like what I'm planning will fulfil what you're after in any case.

> I think you got all the matte lines options down. Any possibility to add simple color correction (even if it
>has to be during playback) could be useful

It'll depend entirely on what ability the graphics hardware has to do colour correction on its directdraw overlays. Many of them don't do anything; some of them offer a full set of curves. I suspect the somewhat basic (and therefore battery-powerable!) one I'm looking at is probably pretty basic in this regard.

If it's a feature that's there and the API to control it is easily available, it's certainly something I'd consider for a version 2.

> What about a line or wireless line to sync the video assist record to the cameras operation.

Doable. Probably use a 418MHz garage-door-opener style module.

> I do like the idea of a PC based system (could it theoretically be used to cut an EDL and then put together
> a cutlist for the neg cutter.

As you have correctly surmised it is not possible to do this unless you are using AatonCode or something. What it could do is give you a list of use takes, either in plain language or as a CMX EDL. This is something I'm often asked for. Something along these lines is certainly intended.

The downside of it being PC based of course is that it takes at the very least 45 seconds to start up!

Phil
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#12 Rob van Gelder

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Posted 28 September 2006 - 07:27 AM

Hi Phil, I found that with most of the camera's nowaday (Arri's 16 and 35mm) the build-in generator is used which means I have no use for the one in my Steadicams anymore.
And Arri supplies much more data like status, feet, TC if needed etc.

Only older cameras with video assist might benefit from it.
I still have a Transvideo generator, which can make up to 3 frames, positioned anywhere, with crosses etc. to place anywhere and i never ever used more then one frame and cross.

Now you could find special projects that need more, but they are rare.

for video work, there might be some use, though i don't know for sure how much this is appreciated.
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