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#1 Curtis Bouvier

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Posted 09 April 2007 - 12:11 AM

has any one here ever had 16mm or super 16mm scanned in at 1080p?

I'd love to see some high resolution scans of 16mm if anybody has anything, Even if its a single frame.

I want to see whats the absolute maximum resolution you can get away with for 16mm Film.
I hear from some people that 1280x720 can be had if you were shooting with super 16mm. I'd like to see this formyself tho.

1920x1080 might be pushing it.
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 09 April 2007 - 12:38 AM

Super-16 is transferred to 1080/24P all the time, especially for HD television work, and scanned at 2K as well.

You could transfer it at 15K if you could find a scanner to do so -- it's not that it "doesn't hold up", it's just that above a certain point, there is no extra information being captured by the scan. How well something "holds up" is a matter of image enlargement, the most extreme being projection on a large theatrical screen. Super-16 has been used for theatrical releases; most recently, that movie "Venus" starring Peter O'Toole.

The issue with Super-16 compared to 1080P video is not really resolution, it's that Super-16 has a visible grain structure at times.

I'm loathe to post this comparison test because the Super-16 footage was transferred badly at some place in Texas that the UT Austin film school sent it to for transfer to HD -- it's way too noisy. But it was a test shot at UT Austin that I did between a Super-16 7218 versus an F900 of the same thing, side-by-side (hence the difference in angle). I'm reducing the shots just for this web page; the test is not accurate enough to post the full frames and I should redo it someday here in L.A. so I can supervise the transfer myself. I cropped these down, but what you should notice if you can look beyond the noise/grain is that the resolution is similar:

Posted Image

Posted Image

When I look at the full-sized frames, the fine print is only slightly more readible in the F900 version.
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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 09 April 2007 - 01:20 AM

Here's the full-frame file but cropped to just the fine-print area on the side of the color chart. You can see in this case, the F900 version is slightly more readible but this test is far from definitive. I had Zeiss zoom, I believe, on the Super-16 camera and a Fujinon zoom on the HD camera; I should redo them with the best prime lenses and a real line resolution chart.

Posted Image

Posted Image
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#4 Andy_Alderslade

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Posted 09 April 2007 - 04:05 AM

Just slightly deviating from the resolution aspects of the test, the girls skin tones are far more complimentary in the super16 - there the F900 is fairly unflatering.
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#5 Tim Carroll

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Posted 09 April 2007 - 07:41 AM

has any one here ever had 16mm or super 16mm scanned in at 1080p?

I'd love to see some high resolution scans of 16mm if anybody has anything, Even if its a single frame.

I want to see whats the absolute maximum resolution you can get away with for 16mm Film.
I hear from some people that 1280x720 can be had if you were shooting with super 16mm. I'd like to see this formyself tho.

1920x1080 might be pushing it.


Regular 16 scanned at 1920x1080

Here's a frame grab of a test I did a couple of years ago. It is Kodak Black & White reversal (Plus X), shot with an Arriflex 16SR and a Zeiss 10-100 T2 Mk1 zoom, scanned at 1920x1080. Now this is regular 16, not even Super 16. You may have to click on the image and download it or open it in a new window because it may get shrunk when it gets fit onto this page.

Posted Image

Here is a link to the image:
Regular 16 scanned at 1920x1080

-Tim
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#6 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 09 April 2007 - 10:20 AM

Just slightly deviating from the resolution aspects of the test, the girls skin tones are far more
complimentary in the super16 - there the F900 is fairly unflatering.


Well, in defense of the F900 camera, the film went through a colorist and the HD
didn't so don't judge the color.

In an ideal test, the charts would be timed to match. But I've always found that
the F900/HDCAM doesn't handle "shiny" skin very well.
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#7 Curtis Bouvier

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Posted 09 April 2007 - 10:52 AM

Tim. That was incredible, all I did was add a very small level of grain reduction with photoshop pro cs2, and it looks as good if not better than anything on quicktime.com/trailers.

Even with the grain it looks great. So 1280x720 is certainly possible even with standard 16mm Film.

As long as I can have 1280x640 (I love 2:1 ratio widescreen) and variable frame rates from 1-60 I am more than happy. And knowing I can have 1920x960 as well is a bonus. I don't think I will EVER shoot with anything digital or interlaced now that I know this.

I was looking at some super 16mm cameras on Visual Products and it seems the SRII's are around the same price regardless of super 16mm or standard. They have a pretty fancy BL going (has that bad ass movie camera look)

Posted Image

I'm not sure I'd use a BL tho, not that there bad cameras, But it would probably be safer to go with something a little newer.

Any more Full Rres screen grabs / footage of any kind would be great.

thanks
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#8 Chance Shirley

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Posted 09 April 2007 - 12:06 PM

I'm currently in production on a Super 16mm feature (I'm directing, my pal Jim Roberson is the DP). We're transferring direct-to-disk 1080p/23.98fps QuickTime using the DVCPro HD codec. You can see some grabs on my blog:

http://interplanetar.../03/frames.html

http://interplanetar...wing-in-hd.html

(Click any of the pics on these pages to see the full-size 1920x1080 frame.)

We're shooting on an Aaton LTR 54 with Optimar Illumina primes (16mm, 25mm, and 50mm for the most part).

As for the 16BL -- I owned one before I got the Aaton. I love the BL, but, be warned, it's a heavy camera, and not as easy to load as an Aaton or Arri SR. The BL probably costs a lot less, though.
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#9 Sam Wells

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Posted 09 April 2007 - 12:51 PM

We're transferring direct-to-disk 1080p/23.98fps QuickTime using the DVCPro HD codec.


I'm curious, how are you getting the DVCProHD codec to give you 1080p ?

-Sam
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#10 Chance Shirley

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Posted 09 April 2007 - 01:01 PM

Honestly, I'm not sure about the nuts and bolts of the codec. I originally assumed I'd be getting 60i files with 3:2 pulldown, but the files are actually 23.976 progressive frames per second. Actual resolution is 1080 x 1280, and the 1280 is stretched to 1920 for playback.
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#11 Sam Wells

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Posted 09 April 2007 - 01:14 PM

The issue with Super-16 compared to 1080P video is not really resolution, it's that Super-16 has a visible grain structure at times.


David your comparison frames are reminicsent of Peter Swinson's "stochastic" AB comparison, albeit a different purpose, hmm..

But similarly the skin surface texture (in this case from film) - medium frequency "detail" is deeper even if the fine edged print is not.....

-Sam

Honestly, I'm not sure about the nuts and bolts of the codec. I originally assumed I'd be getting 60i files with 3:2 pulldown, but the files are actually 23.976 progressive frames per second. Actual resolution is 1080 x 1280, and the 1280 is stretched to 1920 for playback.


Did you transfer at 29.97 ? (Giving "i" but with identical fields ?)

I know this codec can do 1080p but I don't know what the hack is.

-Sam
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#12 Chance Shirley

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Posted 09 April 2007 - 01:21 PM

> Did you transfer at 29.97 ? (Giving "i" but with identical fields ?)

Again, I'm not sure. I do know that the transfer is direct-to-disk. Maybe the "hack" is the fact that no tape is involved in the process?

CineFilm in Atlanta ( http://www.cinefilmlab.com ) is doing our transfer. I imagine if you call them or write them and ask about their direct-to-disk techniques, they'd gladly fill you in.
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#13 K Borowski

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Posted 10 April 2007 - 04:43 PM

I'm not at all surprised that the fastest ECN-2 16mm stock is going to be grainier than HD. Woudn't it be more fair to shoot with Vision 2 200T or even 100T? After all, I keep haering that the actual speed of an F900 is around 200-320. It's only fair to shoot at a speed which gives optimum detail before becoming excessively difficult to light for. After all, you should have had enough light for exposing the F900 at its native ASA. Even if you shot them both at higher ASAs using faster film and gain on the digital sensor, it's pretty obviousl from just about everyone BUT Michael Mann's work that film gets noisier quicker at higher speeds than digital does. Frankly, I'd probably retire 500T from my arsenal except for night shots where grain isn't going to be noticeable anyway if I were shooting for 720P, especially 1080i. Plus, you folks have to understand that it's not just the BBC that has horrible amounts of compression on their stations to fit all the new bandwidth. Cable TV here in the states can't even handle a sudden cut from a daylight to nighttime scene. It'll just turn ugly when MPEG compression interacts with coarse grain.

Regards,

~Karl
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#14 Michael Nash

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Posted 10 April 2007 - 06:19 PM

I don't think I will EVER shoot with anything digital or interlaced now that I know this.

I was looking at some super 16mm cameras on Visual Products and it seems the SRII's are around the same price regardless of super 16mm or standard. They have a pretty fancy BL going (has that bad ass movie camera look)


Beware that lens, though. To make the most of 16mm resolution you need good glass. These lenses were designed as the workhorses of the day -- not thoroughbreds, and not by today's standards. IMO the ubiquitous Ang. 12-120 is what has given 16mm a bad name! :P

And it's not the age of the BL that's a problem. They're built like tanks and perform well. It's the lens housing BS you have to deal with -- not at all friendly to accessories like follow focus, and puting other lenses on often means foregoing the lens blimp (necessary for synch sound work).
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#15 Michael Nash

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Posted 10 April 2007 - 06:39 PM

I'm not at all surprised that the fastest ECN-2 16mm stock is going to be grainier than HD. Woudn't it be more fair to shoot with Vision 2 200T or even 100T? After all, I keep haering that the actual speed of an F900 is around 200-320. It's only fair to shoot at a speed which gives optimum detail before becoming excessively difficult to light for.



Honestly, all this stuff is a moving target because the two technologies are so different. There's no way you can directly compare HD and 16mm across all variables and come up with a definitive comparison. All you can do is compare a couple "constants" at a time, and figure which set of variables is most important to your project.

Functionally, the F-900 is often used closer to 400 ASA for night and interior work, so a comparison to 500 ASA film stock tells you what to expect for that type of use. But if you're shooting outdoors with 50D film, you might also raise the F-900's gamma and go to -3db gain, which would change its look.

These tests are of course important and necessary because they give us some information to compare, but no single test can give all the information someone needs to choose between Super 16 or 1080P for all projects. You have to take it on a case-by-case basis.
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#16 Kar Wai Ng

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Posted 10 April 2007 - 07:11 PM

DVCPRO HD in 1080 is only limited to 60i when it comes to the tape transport. But when you're going to disk you're really just creating a Quicktime .mov, and you're just doing the compression using the DVCPRO HD codec. So 23.976 is entirely possible...heck, you could even specify it to any frame speed you want. (Not sure if they would do a wacky speed for you but Quicktime would support it).
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#17 Sam Wells

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Posted 10 April 2007 - 10:23 PM

Thanks !

-Sam
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