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Recent Short Film and Stills


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#1 Chris Keth

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Posted 29 January 2007 - 08:40 PM

Good evening. I'm working on a website and since I have a quick temp site up, I figured I'd post it. The URL is www.rit.edu/~cdk8380

The film titled "A Short History" is up on the recent films page and there are some stills from recent work and films I am working on right now for my thesis.

A quick link to the film is here.

Edited by Christopher D. Keth, 29 January 2007 - 08:42 PM.

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#2 ljoski johnsen

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Posted 29 January 2007 - 11:36 PM

You may want to set the black level consistent. Or at least set the letterbox black level consistent. It drew my attention away from the story whenever black level shifts cut to cut, and especially it's bad when black level on the letterbox changes.

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#3 Chris Keth

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Posted 30 January 2007 - 01:33 AM

You may want to set the black level consistent. Or at least set the letterbox black level consistent. It drew my attention away from the story whenever black level shifts cut to cut, and especially it's bad when black level on the letterbox changes.

Ljoski


I obviously have to try this out on some other peoples' monitors. I have mine calibrated well and it is consistent throughout. I guess I can only go for an average good picture for web stuff, right?

Is anyone else having that problem? I posted this in great part to weed out problems.

Edited by Christopher D. Keth, 30 January 2007 - 01:34 AM.

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#4 Chris Keth

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Posted 30 January 2007 - 01:46 AM

I investigated this a bit more and I think your monitor is badly out of calibration, Ljoski. Either that or the shifting black levels is just an optical illusion caused b some of the harsh cuts from a very dark frame to a very light one.

I tried several other monitors and the picture is different on each one (no surprise there) but it is acceptable on every one, too.
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#5 Troy Warr

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Posted 30 January 2007 - 03:32 AM

I investigated this a bit more and I think your monitor is badly out of calibration, Ljoski. Either that or the shifting black levels is just an optical illusion caused b some of the harsh cuts from a very dark frame to a very light one.

I tried several other monitors and the picture is different on each one (no surprise there) but it is acceptable on every one, too.


Hi Christopher,

Great work here. Unfortunately, I'm seeing the same problem with black levels - my monitor is not precisely calibrated but it was quite apparent to me. I read through this thread before watching the film, so I can't say how much it would have distracted me if I hadn't known about it going in.

If it helps, I posted a screenshot here that shows some distinct contrasts between cuts, visible at least on my monitor. The top left and bottom right images appear washed out or lower contrast on my monitor, with the letterbox bars also being distinctly brighter than throughout the majority of the film. These are just a couple of examples, but it happens several times. I confirmed the color levels in Photoshop and they're definitely considerably different.

Keep in mind that for the web, it's wise to make some concessions for viewers with uncalibrated monitors. Obviously you can't provide an optimal experience for everyone, but since this issue is very apparent to at least a couple of us, it's likely to arise with others, as well. I'm also viewing the video on a PC, which has a different default gamma correction setting than a Mac, so these problems will almost certainly be exacerbated in a Mac browser.

The cinematography is solid, though, and I think if you're able to hammer this out, you'll be in great shape.
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#6 Chris Keth

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Posted 30 January 2007 - 11:44 AM

Wow. thanks a bunch, Troy. I've been viewing these on mac monitors, mostly calibrated ones. I haven't been seeing any of these problems that you guys have. Thanks for posting those stills, that will help me figure out the problem.

I'm thinking that I can just apply the appropriate widescreen matte in fcp and the letterbox won't change from cut to cut. There is definately some color correction I should do to make it, on average, a good pciture on everybody's monitor.

Edited by Christopher D. Keth, 30 January 2007 - 11:45 AM.

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#7 Chris Keth

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Posted 30 January 2007 - 12:07 PM

OK, so I looked at my monitor calibration and macs use a much lower native gamma than windows machines (1.8 for macs and 2.2 for windows). That would explain you guys seeing the changing black levels and me not seeing any of them. Since most people will be using fairly standard settings I think I should make a monitor profile for myself and make correction with a monitor gamma of 2 and split the difference. Does this sound reasonable?
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#8 Jeremy Hughes

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Posted 30 January 2007 - 01:49 PM

OK, so I looked at my monitor calibration and macs use a much lower native gamma than windows machines (1.8 for macs and 2.2 for windows). That would explain you guys seeing the changing black levels and me not seeing any of them. Since most people will be using fairly standard settings I think I should make a monitor profile for myself and make correction with a monitor gamma of 2 and split the difference. Does this sound reasonable?



Also, either add a psd layer of black bars overtop of your timeline or use a filter like crop or letterbox that is one long cut overtop of the rest of your film. That way you wont run into that issue.
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#9 Jamey Johnson

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Posted 30 January 2007 - 02:28 PM

The actual size of the letterbox is changing also. The aspect ratio of the video is changing slightly when the color of the letterbox is changing. It's not apparant on those frame grabs , but it is on the actual embedded video.
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#10 Jan Weis

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Posted 30 January 2007 - 02:49 PM

Great short, I liked it a lot, intersting story and beautiful cinematography. It over looked like 16mm to me, but some of the shots were a bit videoish.. Tell me, What was it shot on?

/Jan
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#11 ljoski johnsen

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Posted 30 January 2007 - 02:52 PM

Christopher,

Thanks for letting me know that my monitor is messed up. I'm pretty sure that my computer isn't NTSC standard monitor but I tried to set the black level properly with SMPTE color bars although it's still wrong since computer monitor is RGB color space anyways. I wonder how many people will be able to check this film in the properly calibrated NTSC monitor. Do you have such monitor used for your computer? It's pretty obvious that a lot of people don't have nice minitors as you do.
I thought I gave you a constructive criticism for your improving the website, but you told me that my computer is messed up? Oh well... :(
Here is what you or your editor should do in case you haven't figure it out. Set your black level at 7.5 IRE (of course I imagine you have properly calibrated monitor and waveform monitor to set this.) and chop off whatever below the level that way your black level is consistent. Also it's good idea to chop off the white level at 100 IRE. The black level that I'm talking about here is within the image. Now set your letterbox however you like (1.66:1, 1.78:1, 1.85:1 etc) and it shouldn't have any more problem like this.
By the way, I think it's a very nice piece with beautiful cinematography.

Ljoski
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#12 Martin Yernazian

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Posted 30 January 2007 - 04:36 PM

Yeah kinda pretty, what did you shot it with?
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#13 Chris Keth

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Posted 30 January 2007 - 06:22 PM

I'm working on the letterbox problem right now. The whole short was shot on Super 16. The director specified that each location should look significantly different, so it was shot on 4 different stocks: 7222, 100T ektachrome, 7205 (I think this is the number for vision 2 50D), and 7218.
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#14 Troy Warr

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Posted 30 January 2007 - 08:06 PM

I'm thinking that I can just apply the appropriate widescreen matte in fcp and the letterbox won't change from cut to cut. There is definately some color correction I should do to make it, on average, a good pciture on everybody's monitor.


I think that's definitely a good start. The picture itself did seem to vary in contrast/brightness along with the changing letterbox bars, but I think that the changes to the picture itself would actually be less visually jarring if the letterbox bars were consistently a deep black.

Another option - and it's been quite a while since I exported a Quicktime file (and I've never used FCP), so I may be wrong - aren't you able to export the video at the appropriate aspect ratio for the film, sans letterbox? That would both eliminate the letterbox problem (at least for the web) and save you a significant amount of bandwidth, as the frame will be smaller. You could either keep that saved bandwidth or perhaps reuse it to increase the frame size slightly, or lower the compression.

OK, so I looked at my monitor calibration and macs use a much lower native gamma than windows machines (1.8 for macs and 2.2 for windows). That would explain you guys seeing the changing black levels and me not seeing any of them. Since most people will be using fairly standard settings I think I should make a monitor profile for myself and make correction with a monitor gamma of 2 and split the difference. Does this sound reasonable?


It's a tough call what the best approach would be; I'm a web designer by day so I'm forced to make these considerations all the time. In my opinion, you should definitely continue to consider the alternative profile that you mentioned, but I would think you might want to favor the PC display slightly over the Mac, since the vast majority of web browsing is done on PCs. But, be sure to consider your audience - if you're mainly targeting industry professionals with your website, then the Mac audience will likely be much larger than average. If you want to get really technical, you might even consider using web statistics (Google Analytics is free and very good) to monitor your visitors' browsing setups and configure based on that.

That's probably all a bit too in-depth, though, and I've heard quite a lot of people advocate just splitting the difference as you mentioned. This article in particular takes just that approach. If you are able to flatten the black level of the letterbox bars, and average the gamma for a reasonably accurate display on most computers, I think you'll be fine.

Best of luck! Again, the cinematography is great - just the issue of cross-browser/platform differences that's present here, and I know from experience what a *major* headache that can be. ;)
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#15 ljoski johnsen

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Posted 30 January 2007 - 08:45 PM

Troy,

Incidentaly, I'm trying to get rid of letterbox black from 4x3 letterboxed project. Could you explain a bit more on the procedure? I'm working with Avid Media Composer. Unfortunately, Avid doesn't seem to do this without softening the image. Or at least as far as I tried. If I resize the image area to fit to 4x3 and de-resize it when I export or in the other application such as DVDstudioPro, it'll soften the image quite a bit. My original is Super16 telecined to Betasp in 1.66:1 letterbox. So I inheritedly have letterbox in the image which I wanna to get rid of for multiple reasons such as DVD export, HD upgrade, etc.

Christopher,

Computer monitor cannot be a reference for color correction. Make sure you have a properly calibrated NTSC standard monitor for that matter. If you don't have one, you should rather watch the waveform than the actual footage. And my computer is Macintosh as well, just in case you're thinking difference btw PC and Mac is the problem. I don't think it's only that.
Also, I think you're confused about the stock number.
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#16 Chris Keth

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Posted 30 January 2007 - 09:35 PM

Christopher,

Computer monitor cannot be a reference for color correction. Make sure you have a properly calibrated NTSC standard monitor for that matter. If you don't have one, you should rather watch the waveform than the actual footage. And my computer is Macintosh as well, just in case you're thinking difference btw PC and Mac is the problem. I don't think it's only that.
Also, I think you're confused about the stock number.


Thank you for the tips, but I know how to coor correct. In fact, this film has been through a color correction on a calibrated NTSC monitor. Unfortunately, I then had to capture the corrected version off of DVCam tape to get it on my computer. I hate working on student stuff sometimes. There are stupid hoops to jump through.


The stock number I wanted is 7201. 7205 is the 250D version.

Edited by Christopher D. Keth, 30 January 2007 - 09:36 PM.

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#17 Troy Warr

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Posted 01 February 2007 - 04:50 PM

Incidentaly, I'm trying to get rid of letterbox black from 4x3 letterboxed project. Could you explain a bit more on the procedure? I'm working with Avid Media Composer. Unfortunately, Avid doesn't seem to do this without softening the image. Or at least as far as I tried. If I resize the image area to fit to 4x3 and de-resize it when I export or in the other application such as DVDstudioPro, it'll soften the image quite a bit. My original is Super16 telecined to Betasp in 1.66:1 letterbox. So I inheritedly have letterbox in the image which I wanna to get rid of for multiple reasons such as DVD export, HD upgrade, etc.


Hi Ljoski,

I'm not sure that I can give much specific advice since I haven't worked with Avid before (only Premiere and After Effects). After Effects, as I recall, allows you to set an arbitrary resolution for a project and import different resolution images or footage pixel-for-pixel onto the stage, so there is no resampling and the resultant loss of quality.

For example, if you had 640x480 NTSC footage that was letterboxed at a 1.66 ratio, you would have an actual image area (e.g. cropping off the black bars) of 640x385. You could create a new project with dimensions of 640x385, import the 640x480 NTSC footage, and add it to the stage aligned in such a way that the black bars are just outside of the project's visible area. When you export the footage, you'll only see the image area. Of course, you may still lose some image quality due to the recompression of the project at export, but I don't know that there is any way around this.

Unfortunately, I could be confusing this all with Adobe/Macromedia Flash, since I haven't worked with After Effects substantially in a few years; but I seem to remember that this is the case - someone please let me know if I'm wrong about that.

Hope that helps, and best of luck.
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#18 Howard Phillips

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Posted 03 February 2007 - 10:23 AM

Good evening. I'm working on a website and since I have a quick temp site up, I figured I'd post it. The URL is www.rit.edu/~cdk8380

The film titled "A Short History" is up on the recent films page and there are some stills from recent work and films I am working on right now for my thesis.

A quick link to the film is here.

The site is clean and pleasing - you should make the images link to clips though, it's just natural to click on the images. Great looking stuff by the way, love the stills! WIll comment on the film once it downloads...

hp

Edited by Howard Phillips, 03 February 2007 - 10:26 AM.

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