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VHS Big Screen Blow-up


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#1 adrianmpruett

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Posted 20 February 2007 - 04:30 PM

My name is Adrian and I am a reality based DP working out of LA and Vegas. I am currently on pre-production on a $250,000 feature film, my third feature film to date.
I'm looking for a little advice as to what VHS does when you attempt to blow it up to the big screen. Sections of the film I'm working on require flashback sequences and I want to really create a unique look that will play against the HD format we are shooting on.
If anyone has any experience with VHS blow-up or any ideas how to create a unique look on a similar format, I would love to hear them.
Thank you for your time!
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#2 K Borowski

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 09:07 AM

VHS isn't the word you're looking for. That format is synonymous with all bad aspects of video, lwo-resolution being one of them.
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#3 David W Scott

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 09:46 AM

Why not shoot some Super 8 instead?

Rather than bland, low resolution video with washed-out colours, you get a lovely film look with a number of aesthetic choices to explore:

-- Bright, poppy colours and high contrast from reversal stocks like Ektachrome 64T (available directly from Kodak), Fuji Velvia or Kodak E100D (available from a custom loader like Spectra Film & Video).
-- Lovely modern colours and great lattitude from Kodak's Vision2 200T or 500T stocks (available directly from Kodak).
-- In the telecine (i.e. film-to-video transfer) you will have a lot of control, and can modify the look a thousand different ways.

Decent Super 8 cameras offer the ability to shoot in ways that might be perfectly appropriate for flashback sequences -- off speed, like shooting 9 fps and then transferring to HD at 9 fps to get a dreamy quality. Or shoot slowmo -- many cameras offer slowmo between 32 and 60 fps. You could also modify a camera to shoot shutterless -- which gives a very dreamlike effect.

Even if you simply shoot clean 24 fps Super 8 with a modern Vision 2 stock, Super 8 will give you a distinct texture and unique quality. It won't simply look like bad video.

The other benefit to shooting Super 8 is that it will cut into 24p HD easily, because you can shoot 24 fps and have it transferred direct to harddrive in the video or HD format of your choice.
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#4 Sam Wells

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 11:06 AM

I would just use miniDV/DVCam instead. It can look grungy enough if you like.

If you really need the reds smearing 3/4 inch Umatic without time base correction could work.

I don't know if there's a "NTSC Low Band Color Under Look" plug-in for post software, I'm afraid to ask :D

-Sam Wells
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#5 Stuart McCammon

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 12:53 PM

In general, it is a lot more productive to add grunge and filter an image that was high-quality to begin with, so I would originate your flashback footage on B&W 16mm and then degrade it in post - something that looks like a turd from the get-go is much harder to manipulate in post if it doesn't have the precise amount of turdiness you had in mind)

All the best,

Stu
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#6 Will Earl

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 05:41 PM

If you need reference, check out the film 'Without a Paddle', the opening titles were shot to look like old home-movie footage. Can't remember what they shot the footage on, but memory tells me it was more video-ish than film-ish. It still looked decent on a 35mm print - well looked good for the effect they were aiming for.

Edited by Will Earl, 21 February 2007 - 05:42 PM.

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#7 Stuart McCammon

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 06:52 PM

When I read the original post, for some reason the first thing that popped into my mind was the footage that was playing in the windows in "Natural Born Killers" - which may be interesting - certainly have never seen anybody else do anything like that)
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#8 Dan Goulder

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 07:20 PM

When I read the original post, for some reason the first thing that popped into my mind was the footage that was playing in the windows in "Natural Born Killers" - which may be interesting - certainly have never seen anybody else do anything like that)

I don't recall the format that was used for the window inserts, but I believe the home color segments with Rodney Dangerfield were shot on Betacam, which may be a good choice for this project.
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#9 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 21 March 2007 - 11:34 PM

My name is Adrian and I am a reality based DP working out of LA and Vegas. I am currently on pre-production on a $250,000 feature film, my third feature film to date.
I'm looking for a little advice as to what VHS does when you attempt to blow it up to the big screen. Sections of the film I'm working on require flashback sequences and I want to really create a unique look that will play against the HD format we are shooting on.
If anyone has any experience with VHS blow-up or any ideas how to create a unique look on a similar format, I would love to hear them.
Thank you for your time!


Whether you decide to shoot with an original VHS camcorder or E.N.G. dockable with an S-VHS / VHS back, or shoot in another format, make an edit master and then copy it down to VHS, you'll probably then want to bump it back to betacam sp so it can more easily be fit into the overall workflow of the project.

If you get as far as having a VHS final version I'll gladly do the bump up for you if it's a matter of taking a five or 10 minute sequence from VHS and bumping it back onto betacam sp. I can create a lot of different looks from the VHS. I would recommend however that you do your overall video corrections on the NLE master prior to making the VHS copy.
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Visual Products

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Glidecam

Metropolis Post

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

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Rig Wheels Passport

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rebotnix Technologies

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS