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What's "Next" from Genesis?


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#1 Michael Nash

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Posted 05 April 2007 - 12:19 AM

http://www.apple.com...paramount/next/

Of course I already knew this was shot with the Genesis, but catching the commercial on broadcast TV last night I spotted it as digital right away. And not just because of all the CGI. Maybe it's the color correction, but this one looks very "plasticy"...
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#2 James Brown

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Posted 05 April 2007 - 01:52 AM

> "plasticy"

I agree.

I just don't think it looks at noticeably digital as other genesis projects. Superman, Click and Scary Movie (these last two i only saw previews) look "digital". Apoclyto, at times not as much. Do you see any major benefits that would push you towards it for your next project?
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#3 Michael Nash

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Posted 05 April 2007 - 03:33 AM

Do you see any major benefits that would push you towards it for your next project?


Me personally? I work mostly on lower-budgeted projects so there would be less advantage. It makes more sense for an effects-heavy feature like Next that would otherwise spend a lot on stock, lab, and scanning. Beyond that, the ability to use 35mm optics natively (not adapters) and familiar film support gear would seem the main draw. That seems really the main distinction between it and any other digital acquisition system that's currently up and running in the marketplace.

What's interesting to me is that all the finished projects I've seen from the Genesis (test footage not withstanding) have a similar plasticy or artificial look, that I don't usually see from the F900/950, Viper, or Varicam. Those other cameras also have a look that's digital and not film, but the Genesis look seems distinct somehow.
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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 05 April 2007 - 09:24 AM

Have you seen "The Lookout"? I thought it looked very natural. It helped probably that they timed the Genesis photography for a wintery, slightly desaturated look and the lighting was soft.

Sometimes film-shot material going through a D.I. can develop some skintone problems too. I find that when timing digitally, the problem is that there is no "default" skintone, unlike with printing -- you're in this color-correction D.I. suite basically shifting colors around on a face until you arrive at something you all agree is "skintone color". Half the time, you're scratching your chin, going "still looks off for some reason -- maybe it needs some magenta? Maybe less chroma would help?" I mean, you can have problems in photochemical printing too, of course, biases that can't be removed, etc. but generally it seems a simpler path to achieving a realistic skintone. Part of the problem is that digital color-correction tools are sometimes too powerful.

One of the oddest things I've noticed about HD-shot features is that they can look fine on the big screen, more or less, not too soft -- but when I see the clips on "Ebert and Roper" across the room on my TV set, the HD-shot features stick out, look soft, the blacks are not great, etc. compared to the clips from the 35mm movies. I can't explain it. Doesn't make sense that on a TV broadcast, HD-origination might look more obvious than on a big theater screen. I mean, I can usually spot F900 / Varicam photography even when just skipping through channels.
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#5 Zakaree Sandberg

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Posted 05 April 2007 - 09:40 AM

i like the "plasticy" although i call it more "glossy". its a whole new look to cinema.. grain for film was larger than life.. gloss for HD is larger than life aka cinema..imo
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#6 Andy_Alderslade

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Posted 05 April 2007 - 10:52 AM

One of the oddest things I've noticed about HD-shot features is that they can look fine on the big screen, more or less, not too soft -- but when I see the clips on "Ebert and Roper" across the room on my TV set, the HD-shot features stick out, look soft, the blacks are not great, etc. compared to the clips from the 35mm movies. I can't explain it. Doesn't make sense that on a TV broadcast, HD-origination might look more obvious than on a big theater screen. I mean, I can usually spot F900 / Varicam photography even when just skipping through channels.


This reminds me of an experience I had recently, I was testing a camera (Sony DSR-570) for a personal shoot, the tape I was recording on was an old tape with some faulty super16mm rushes on. I was taping over them, but would take the tape out every now and again to view them on a TV.

This left several seconds of the super16 showing inbetween the digital tests, so it was flashing from one to the other every 20 or 30 seconds or so.

When i hooked it up to the TV in my little digital handy cam, i watched it first on the small filp out screen, which depite being only a few inches wide is very good quality considering. When the footage flipped back from super16 to the DSR570 there wasn't a tremendous difference in quality - though they obviously looked different.

Now when I watched them on my Mum's 24' widescreen JVC tv, the difference in quality was astounding - the Super16 blew the digital out the water. I tried it on several other TVs and I found the lower the quality of the TV the bigger the difference.
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#7 Dan Goulder

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Posted 05 April 2007 - 10:55 AM

One of the oddest things I've noticed about HD-shot features is that they can look fine on the big screen, more or less, not too soft -- but when I see the clips on "Ebert and Roper" across the room on my TV set, the HD-shot features stick out, look soft, the blacks are not great, etc. compared to the clips from the 35mm movies. I can't explain it. Doesn't make sense that on a TV broadcast, HD-origination might look more obvious than on a big theater screen. I mean, I can usually spot F900 / Varicam photography even when just skipping through channels.

The clips you're seeing on "Ebert and Roeper" are most likely taken from the digital master, whereas you're typically seeing a 35mm film out in a theater. That extra step allows for additional image manipulation, in addition to imparting more of a "film look" to the project.
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#8 Michael Nash

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Posted 05 April 2007 - 05:05 PM

i like the "plasticy" although i call it more "glossy". its a whole new look to cinema.. grain for film was larger than life.. gloss for HD is larger than life aka cinema..imo


It's not the grain, it's the skin tones I'm responding to. And for whatever reason the look is unique with the Genesis, unlike the looks you usually see from the other digital cameras. I do think the color depth and rendering of the skin tones is the culprit, although I'm not sure why it sticks out as "plasticy" more with the Genesis.

I'll have to see The Lookout on the big screen. The online trailer looks really nice.

I too think that the all-digital pipeline has a lot to do with the look of digital material on TV (as opposed to the way it looks in a film print, or film material that's gone through digital post). I've been saying for a long time there seems to be something wrong with the downconversion and/or distribution that frequently oversaturates color, making questionable skin tones look even worse. Added detail and softening are another problem. I don't know why it should be any different for HD-shot material than it would be for HD-mastered film material, yet there it is...
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#9 jan von krogh

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Posted 10 April 2007 - 04:50 PM

Part of the problem is that digital color-correction tools are sometimes too powerful.

Hello Mr. Mullen,

i can really confirm what you say. my experience with directors and dops who use di & highend-cc for the first time, is that, especially for genre, aim at heavy styling, ofte much to heavy styling and forget about skintones or shades of natural green within days - pandoras box.

another aspect is that many dops meanwhile shoot quite flat images, because they do know that they will add full black & white and saturation later on in di/cc - with this style of shooting of course then it is quite more tempting to go for a more extreme style.

One of the oddest things I've noticed about HD-shot features is that they can look fine on the big screen, more or less, not too soft -- but when I see the clips on "Ebert and Roper" across the room on my TV set, the HD-shot features stick out, look soft, the blacks are not great, etc. compared to the clips from the 35mm movies. I can't explain it. Doesn't make sense that on a TV broadcast, HD-origination might look more obvious than on a big theater screen. I mean, I can usually spot F900 / Varicam photography even when just skipping through channels.

i might offer svereal explanations for this phenomen. naturally it seems bizarre that you are happy with a digitally produced on the large screen but then suddenly find it underwhelming on a small ntsc-tv.

reason a) -wrong colorspace conversion at different stages of the pipeline-

typically in fullfeature digital, people aim at the filmout. typically, we have a cc/di. digital can originate in YUV or RGB.
now, a experienced colorist anticipates the testscreening, the filmrecorder, the used stock and the colorconversion.

when the testscreening makes dop & director happy, the film is reorded and printed.
....meanwhile...

in the background the tv/dvd masters are done, and yes, often enough in the wrong ore simply legalized colorspace - i have often gotten material for trailers which didnt have any black but startet at 16 instead of 0 - clear case of legalised footage, done one step to early, while the filmoutmaster where correct.

this is -not- the correct procedure, but still i often see it done that way - which could explain in your case the absence of real dark black.

the level of confusion is still pretty high in this area, even among industy veterans, especially where people from broadcast and cinema, distribution and mastering have to cooperate hand in hand, instead one after the other.

and many people dont even know if they are in rgb, 709 or 601 at that particualr stage of the pipeline, when doing their tv or dvd out, which nor requires different standards for different norms for different resolutions and so on and so furth.

often, the faulty colorconversion is done at the broadcaster, as they get a 601 basing legalized copy but do expect a 709 as it is HD, or vice versa get 709 non legalised and expect 601 as its SD - or even worse, add a third wrong conversion.

reason b) -scaling & distribution-
i recently had a typical experience with these problems. i know our productions in 1080p, 2k, 4k digital and on film.
the last one (1080p@yuv) was recorded on fuji @ 2k rgb. all conversion were done, testout was fine.

then i saw it at a presentation on a digital 4k - it looked wrong, not as good as in 2k, not as good as the 35mm filmprint.(the noise was blocky and thin lines sudenly had aliasing as well as the blacklevel was a little bit to high)

after checking the sony srx 4k projector and the dvs clipster ddr we found the reason in the scaler, which was set wrong and -added sharpening and did pal->601 conversion, even as the source was rgb.

now, in every tv-station you usually have a plenthora of up/down/cross-converters in the signalpath, and they are often autoswitching. just think about what can go wrong in a series of autosensing 720/1080/ntsc distribution amps when someone didnĀ“t turn off sharpening in one of the many different crossconversions...

closing, let me say that these reasons might or might not explain your observations - but these problems do exist and can go wrong.
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#10 jan von krogh

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Posted 10 April 2007 - 08:24 PM

i like the "plasticy" although i call it more "glossy". its a whole new look to cinema.. grain for film was larger than life.. gloss for HD is larger than life aka cinema..imo


also, commercials and clips have influenced many people - ultrastyled look ala renaissance, sin city or 300 is now accepted and often praised by audiences. also the numberous adaptions of comics... errr graphic novels have had thei influence for sure.

i did notice that many of our clients & coproducers begun going for a more stylish look in the recent years, independent of photochemical or digital.

i am still undecided if i do like or dislike this new trend, but it seems the audiences prefer it at the moment.

and i think your wording is on the point - i did understand at once what several people wanted to describe with the term "plasticy", but thought to myself that this sounded just not right.... glossy fits better imho.

btw, as we used that certain look in recent prokects, i can give a 101 how this look is archieved in DI in a few steps-
a) use some mild grainremoval (this basicly reduces fine differences in contrast and leaves stronger ones alone)
b) if you go for skins, pull a key of the faces before adding and blurr the resulting mask
c) invert this mask and increase shadow & highlight contrast
d) add colorcorrection of choice.

i saw this look emerging in the, irrc, mid/late 90, back then mainly to "autobeautificate" elder talents in commercial and clips and we have used it meanwhile on several fullfeatures.
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#11 K Borowski

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Posted 10 April 2007 - 08:31 PM

also, commercials and clips have influenced many people - ultrastyled look ala renaissance, sin city or 300 is now accepted and often praised by audiences. also the numberous adaptions of comics... errr graphic novels have had thei influence for sure.


Excuse me, but what does the "300" look have anything to do with the Genesis? The forum's very own Mr. Fong says he shot Vision Expression 500T for the majority of the film.
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#12 jan von krogh

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Posted 10 April 2007 - 09:26 PM

Excuse me, but what does the "300" look have anything to do with the Genesis? The forum's very own Mr. Fong says he shot Vision Expression 500T for the majority of the film.


i was not referring to a camera or digital or photochemical production in general.

i remarked that extreme styling in CC & DI have became quite popular, no matter what camera has been used, no matter if shot on negative or sensor.

i additionally mentioned renaissance btw, as there were no cameras involved directly in producing the final images of the movie.

if one is looking for naturalistic skin & fleshtones, i suppose that neither 300 nor next aimed for them, as surpringsly numberous movies in the recent years did as well.

by the way: the speculation that a heavy colorcorrected and styled movie shows the underlying colorrendition of the used stock or even camera is probably wrong in most cases.

we own & operate 2 DI/CC systems and we are seing this trend becoming more and more popular for many clients.
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#13 DS Williams

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 02:03 AM

I think the look of the genesis has it's place. Much like film has it's place. The genesis does look a bit plasticy, but incredible none the less. But the question is, how does the Red hold up against the genesis on the big screen.. I wonder. Those two cameras in particular have a more plastic look. So far the most beautiful digital I have ever seen in my entire life was Benjamin Button. Astounding. Beautiful skin tones, tons of depth, great blacks. I do not see that in the genesis.
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