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16mm VFX compositing. Best DI route?


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#1 Elliot Rudmann

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Posted 12 October 2006 - 05:24 PM

I will be shooting a short (standard 16mm) film in early November which requires some visual effects compositing (bombs going off in background). Right now, I plan to get the film telecined at Cinelab and put on a hard drive as uncompressed quick time files. However, Cinelab only creates files that are 720x480. Would I be better off going with a 2k transfer? Would that make the compositing easier? Please let me know. Thank you!
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#2 David Cox

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Posted 12 October 2006 - 05:47 PM

I will be shooting a short (standard 16mm) film in early November which requires some visual effects compositing (bombs going off in background). Right now, I plan to get the film telecined at Cinelab and put on a hard drive as uncompressed quick time files. However, Cinelab only creates files that are 720x480. Would I be better off going with a 2k transfer? Would that make the compositing easier? Please let me know. Thank you!


Going the 2K route wouldn't make the VFX work easier or harder, but it would preserve more original picture quality, assuming you are distributing on film.

16mm film is very hard to work with for VFX. The grain is a lot more prominent and that upsets tracking and keying. Film weave (movement in the gate) is much more significant and so there is no such thing as a 16mm "locked off" shot - the frame will always be moving and any additions you make will also need to move in the same way.

So not shooting your VFX shots on 16mm would make the VFX easier, rather than how many pixels you turn its images into.

David Cox
Baraka Post Production
www.baraka.co.uk
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#3 Keith Mottram

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Posted 13 October 2006 - 11:07 AM

quite simply it is daft to do effects shots with 16mm footage. you will get better results shooting HD then mapping grain onto the whole image than trying to do a seemless composite with 16mm. 2k will not kill the grain it will just make it sharper.

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#4 John Mastrogiacomo

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Posted 13 October 2006 - 11:43 AM

quite simply it is daft to do effects shots with 16mm footage. you will get better results shooting HD then mapping grain onto the whole image than trying to do a seemless composite with 16mm. 2k will not kill the grain it will just make it sharper.

keith

I use Fusion 5 and smoke for stabilizing and adding grain for effects shots with 16mm and S16mm. Using slow speed Vision 2 stock I have very few problems. You do have to remove the 3:2 pulldown before doing effects and then add it back when you are done. :) :)
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#5 Chris Burke

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Posted 13 October 2006 - 01:08 PM

I will be shooting a short (standard 16mm) film in early November which requires some visual effects compositing (bombs going off in background). Right now, I plan to get the film telecined at Cinelab and put on a hard drive as uncompressed quick time files. However, Cinelab only creates files that are 720x480. Would I be better off going with a 2k transfer? Would that make the compositing easier? Please let me know. Thank you!




Can you shoot Super 16 or 35? You will save your self a lot of headache if you can. How will the film be finished? 16mm print, video,HD?? Use a better aquision format for the FX stuff and ask Rob at Cinelab to get you a 2k scan of those shots. Although they are not set up for 2k currently, they will be very soon, perhaps by your shoot. They can also get deals with some business partners that can deliver a 2k scan. Tell them what you intend to do and they can advise you best. Ask for Rob. Good luck.


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#6 Elliot Rudmann

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Posted 13 October 2006 - 06:41 PM

First of all, thank you for all of your response. I have been informed on the difficulties of compositing on 16mm film because of grain issues. Ultimately, the final output for the film will be on DVD. The final shots in the film (the one with the FX shots) will be filmed on Kodak's low speed 7201 stock, with maybe a 1/3 stop of overexposure (if light permits) in order to reduce grain even further (i've heard good things about the stock so hopefully this will make my VFX artist's job easier). Since this will be a student production, we cannot shoot on S16 because we do not have access to any S16 cameras (I believe my school has two that are reserved for the "advanced" classes).

Perhaps getting a 2k scan of just the 7201 footage would be a good idea, but if the final output is DVD, is it really worth it?
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#7 Michael Collier

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Posted 13 October 2006 - 07:58 PM

I am actually in the same boat. Standard 16 and I need an insert shot that lays graphics over a piece of paper, so I can create a note that changes words. One thing I am planning on doing that may or may not help you is to set 4 points that are in frame (the 4:3 frame) but outside the 1.85 I will mask it to. That way I can start a rough pass of composite by stablizing the frame. Once I do have a 'locked down' shot, the tracking would be easier.

May help you with what your doing. I will just have 4 neon colored shperes held in place with grip arms. the key is to make sure they are square to eachother and all 'co-planar' (fancy word to say that they would lay flat if put on the ground.)

I am using a Spirit telecine to a D5HD. When I actually do the composite, it will be at 1080p with pulldown frames removed (they throw major wrenches into the gears of compositing.)
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#8 David Cox

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Posted 13 October 2006 - 08:49 PM

Perhaps getting a 2k scan of just the 7201 footage would be a good idea, but if the final output is DVD, is it really worth it?


Actually if you know you are delivering to SD DVD, then most likely all 2K will do is multiply your processing time by a factor of 8 and not really give you much of a quality increase.

16mm does move around in the gate and the temptation is to stabilize it before VFX work. Whilst this does make compositing easier, if you stabilize in a "domestic" post production device this will most likely lead to softness in your image. A better practise is to make any addition to the frame move in sympathy. In any case, if you stabilize prior to effects, it is best practise to store the moves that stabilise the image, reverse them and re-apply them to the image after VFX work otherwise your VFX shots will look different because they don't have weave on them.

Best of luck.


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