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Santos? who is this guy and where is he?


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#1 kevin jackman

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Posted 28 September 2007 - 01:24 PM

ive been reading up on his lens tests etc. he has an interesting set of mannerisms but i am curious about his lens testing. does anybody know where he hangs out or how to reach him? where is he from?
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#2 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 28 September 2007 - 01:52 PM

His identity is shrouded in mystery, like with Jack the Ripper... only with Leicinas instead of ...ehm... Victorian escort people...

There are rumored sightings of him mostly in Canada. Toronto, if I remember. I would start there, geographically ;) .

Actually, in "Smallformat 2/2006" ( downloadable at smallformat.de for some bucks), an article by someone called Trevor Markwart appeared. The title was the rather ironic "Eight the hard way". Mr Markwart propagated various arguments identical to the one's Santo made here. Mr Markwart even used the same images that Santo posted here. Might these two be identical?

Contact editor J├╝rgen Lossau at Smallformat. If you can establish contact (expect some time delay), he might be helpful in giving out a postal address or e-mail contact.

If someone suggests you go to Mexico to meet a turtle-saving masked wrestler on a beach, then discard that advice. It's a dead end. Been there, done that.

If you find him, give him my best wishes.


_______________
(this post is written in heavily ironic sub-tones, picking up where Alessandro Machi and I left in the "ciny.com vs filmsht.com" thread. please read it like that.)
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#3 Matthew W. Phillips

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Posted 28 September 2007 - 06:59 PM

If someone suggests you go to Mexico to meet a turtle-saving masked wrestler on a beach, then discard that advice. It's a dead end. Been there, done that.


Completely masterful!

Yeah, Santos was a one of a kind character...he is to Super8 (w/primes) what Jan Van Kogh is to Red. No doubt about that one. Santos would try to mount a $45,000 Cooke lens to a Leicina Special. I would pay to see it also. He would also make a case for 8k scans of Super8 reversal film delivered in uncompressed 32-bits per pixel streaming at 1TB/sec.
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#4 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 29 September 2007 - 03:50 AM

Completely masterful!

Yeah, Santos was a one of a kind character...he is to Super8 (w/primes) what Jan Van Kogh is to Red. No doubt about that one. Santos would try to mount a $45,000 Cooke lens to a Leicina Special. I would pay to see it also. He would also make a case for 8k scans of Super8 reversal film delivered in uncompressed 32-bits per pixel streaming at 1TB/sec.


Actually those ideas make a lot of sense. You probably would need ultra high bits and streaming for contrastier stocks.

Back in the mid 90's I purchased an aftermarket Fuji lens for my 3-chip 1/2 inch E.N.G. dockable video camera and it actually made a big difference in low light situations. When the first Sony mini-dv/DV-CAM 3 chip low cost plasticky video camera came out I did a side by side with my video camera and neither camera was actually better than the other. However, since I was the only one who bothered to buy an aftermarket lens and use a tiny bit of Digital Noise Reduction and was editing directly to betcam sp from S-VHS (only for longer low budget projects, normally I used betacam sp), I was pretty much on my own. I couldn't find anyone else doing it my way so no one could replicate my results.

-----------------------------------------------------

However, wouldn't you agree that more people shoot Super 8 with the intention to get the maximum out of every part and aspect of the production chain now than then? I mean, Santo argued for using Betacam over miniDV for post. Now, people choose Beta or uncompressed-to-HD without much utter, let alone 2K'ing their film with apparently overwhelming visual results. Maybe all that would have come naturally with technical progress. But maybe all those battlefield threads (not least between you and him) dented the S8 universe in a way that made the unthinkable more thinkable...


I thought Santo was strictly an uncompressed to HD kind of a guy, lol, I don't recall the topic where he advocated betacam sp over mini-dv.

I sometimes get knowing acknowledgements from people I run in to who think Betcam SP outputted in component format via a kona or black magic card at DVC-Pro 50 codec is an excellent and data efficient method for editing on Non-Linear.
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#5 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 29 September 2007 - 09:45 AM

I thought Santo was strictly an uncompressed to HD kind of a guy, lol, I don't recall the topic where he advocated betacam sp over mini-dv.


If my memory does not betray me - and it does so occassionally, especially since I met that Wrestler on the beach - he originally promote using BetaSP, then DigiBeta over miniDV or other "consumer crap meat grinders" as he put it. That was his stance on filmsht.com and also part of his argumentation for higher detail resolution in his SM article.

The 10-bit 4:2:2 uncompressed HiDef direct-to-HD phase came later in his "newbie primer" thread (IIRC) here on ciny.com when a Canadian Lab (Bono?) offered that service. He then outputted that onto Beta for festival submissions. He also talks about that method in his SM article - can't doublecheck now because I am on the run, but if you want me to, Alex, I can try to establish a chronology of Santo arguments... :P

I think the problem with Santo's legacy and the various phases of his "oeuvre" is, that it is scattered around filmsht.com, then ciny.com, and finally that SM article - and then his "revolucion" disappears into oblivion (sort of).

I sometimes get knowing acknowledgements from people I run in to who think Betcam SP outputted in component format via a kona or black magic card at DVC-Pro 50 codec is an excellent and data efficient method for editing on Non-Linear.


Have these knowing acknowledgers been "primed" as "newbies" by that Man of Mystery? ;)
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#6 Matthew W. Phillips

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Posted 29 September 2007 - 12:54 PM

Actually those ideas make a lot of sense. You probably would need ultra high bits and streaming for contrastier stocks.


My sarcastic tone about Santos' viewpoint is not that he didn't have SOME good ideas. What made me laugh about the guy is that he would advocate putting ridiclous amounts of money into Super 8 to increase image quality when you could spend far less and just move up to a larger gauge. I'm sorry, but it it doesn't matter what lens you use, Super 8 will never have the sharpness and resolution of Super 16, for instance. I could easily buy a cheap Super 16 camera, however, for the cost of a $10,000 Zeiss Prime.

As far as the 2k,4k,8k, etc scanning of Super 8, and I know I'll get flamed for this, it doesn't matter what res you scan it at. Super8 has resolving power that doesn't seem to be any higher than mini-DV and that is still being somewhat generous. I used to have a single frame film scanner for stills but I decided to be funny and snip a small piece of Super 8 celluloid and decided to scan it with a modified piece for 8mm. It's resolution once scanned was somewhere around 1024 x 768. At this point, the only difference between my frame and a mini-DV frame was that the dust particles were larger on the film and it's grain looked larger too. I can't imagine how HD scans look.

The issue of compression is a bit more of a valid one IMHO. I do like as much color depth as possible. However, the time comes when even that might be a waste of money...reason? What is your destination for the data? If you are going to output it to a DVD anyway then you have wasted your money as it is going to get super compressed and there goes the nice and rich color depth. Maybe you want to DI to a higher film gauge? If so then it might be worth it. Otherwise, it's not practical.

Just being realistic.
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#7 Matthew Buick

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Posted 29 September 2007 - 02:19 PM

A Super-8B conversion will vertainly go someway toward higher quality. A camera with a nice lens, Super-8B gate and Plus X running through it will look absolutely amazing.
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#8 Matthew W. Phillips

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Posted 29 September 2007 - 02:36 PM

A Super-8B conversion will vertainly go someway toward higher quality. A camera with a nice lens, Super-8B gate and Plus X running through it will look absolutely amazing.


By "Super-8B" I assume you're referring to the so called "Super-Duper 8?" I don't really have too much of an opinion of that, as the only thing I've seen with that is some framegrabs from Sleep Always. I didn't personally see anything from those grabs that makes me believe it's even in the ballpark with Super 16 or worth the effort of even modifying my camera gate. I personally thought that certain clips from "The Westsiders (Charles Doran's film)", namely the Vision2 200T clip, was far more impressive than SD8 in Sleep Always. No disrespect to Rick when I say this either. When you have such a miniscule difference in area, such as between Super 8 and Super-8B, it really comes down to what stock you use, how well you shoot it, and how you light for it. A Super-8B frame might be higher quality if all other things are equal, but they seldom are. It all depends on what a person wants, I suppose.
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#9 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 29 September 2007 - 04:33 PM

........... No disrespect to Rick when I say this either. When you have such a miniscule difference in area, such as between Super 8 and Super-8B, it really comes down to what stock you use, how well you shoot it, and how you light for it. A Super-8B frame might be higher quality if all other things are equal, but they seldom are. It all depends on what a person wants, I suppose.


I don't think that Rick rank cintel'd his film whereas the other guy did.
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#10 Rick Palidwor

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Posted 29 September 2007 - 06:55 PM

No disrespect to Rick when I say this either. When you have such a miniscule difference in area, such as between Super 8 and Super-8B, it really comes down to what stock you use, how well you shoot it, and how you light for it. A Super-8B frame might be higher quality if all other things are equal, but they seldom are. It all depends on what a person wants, I suppose.


No disrespect taken. First of all, Mitch Perkins was the technical "genius/idiot" behind the SD8 in Sleep Always, so I'll let him voice his opinion. But speaking for the both of us (I think) our idea was to get the best image we could, for the least amount of money, so we did (Mitch did) the telecine because it cost us nothing, and that was part of the fun, having total control without any third party involvement. Having used an "old-fashioned" film chain telecine to miniDV I think it looks pretty good, especially for 7240 reversal stock. It could obviously be better with some high-end telecine/transfer/scan, whatever, but that was never our concern.

In general, that 13% additional frame area in SD 8 CAN make a big difference, but like Matthew says, only in conjunction with other variables. Poor lighting is poor lighting, on any format. At the end of the day I am not that concerned with how good an image can theoretically get and more interested in what was actually achieved, and more importantly, good direction, editing, sound and story. If those elements are not there nothing else matters. What I found humourous about Santo was his obsession with minor technical improvements when there was no indication he knew what to do with it.

Rick
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#11 jason duncan

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Posted 29 September 2007 - 07:41 PM

Watch the 16mm film "Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter" and you will find Santos!
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#12 Matthew W. Phillips

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Posted 29 September 2007 - 10:25 PM

What I found humourous about Santo was his obsession with minor technical improvements when there was no indication he knew what to do with it.

Rick


Rick, you said a mouthful there, my friend. Nonetheless, it doesn't seem the same without Santo around to make these hilarious claims.
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#13 Terry Mester

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Posted 29 September 2007 - 11:39 PM

At this point, the only difference between my frame and a mini-DV frame was that the dust particles were larger on the film and it's grain looked larger too.

Indeed. I find dust on the Film to be very irritating as well, and there is no excuse for it. I'll have to assume that this was caused by poor quality standards at the former French Factory which packed Super8 Cartridges, and I guess that's why Kodak closed it down.
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#14 Mitch Perkins

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Posted 30 September 2007 - 02:51 PM

Indeed. I find dust on the Film to be very irritating as well, and there is no excuse for it.


That's why for SA we used the poor man's wetgate - two pads soaked in Isopropylene, placed just in front of #1 sprocket. The Iso stays on the film through the gate, filling in (therefore "removing") scratches, and eliminating 99% of dust. Dust is everywhere - even if the cart were the culprit, processing would remove that dust.

HD transfer of S8 looks much better than SD, as one would expect - we have mounted a friend's HD cam on the telecine a couple of times with superb results. Now we are using a Pinnacle (now Avid) Liquid Edition Pro breakout box, going out from the S-video on the Sony VX2000, bypassing the 5:1 MiniDV compression. Again, vastly superior results.

Mitch
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#15 Mitch Perkins

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Posted 30 September 2007 - 02:58 PM

By "Super-8B" I assume you're referring to the so called "Super-Duper 8?" I don't really have too much of an opinion of that, as the only thing I've seen with that is some framegrabs from Sleep Always. I didn't personally see anything from those grabs that makes me believe it's even in the ballpark with Super 16 or worth the effort of even modifying my camera gate.


Ech, I widened my gates because I could, knowing that it was empirically impossible for it not to make *some* positive difference. I never thought it looked like Super 16, though others, some of them in the film industry, thought the film was shot on Super 16...probably due more to the absence of any scratches, (and about 3 specks of dust in total), in the movie.

Hmm, since I can't seem to edit my previous post, I'll just note here that the Pinnacle box and the Iso pads really come into play with the negs. Huge difference...

Mitch

Edited by Mitch Perkins, 30 September 2007 - 03:00 PM.

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#16 Charles Doran

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Posted 01 October 2007 - 12:43 PM

a.) I think you guys did a great job with "Sleep Always" -- I left my copy at Spectra to give them an example of how good the 7240 stock can look.

b.) I have a copy of a short film Trevor/Santo made and it's complete and utter shite.

No disrespect taken. First of all, Mitch Perkins was the technical "genius/idiot" behind the SD8 in Sleep Always, so I'll let him voice his opinion. But speaking for the both of us (I think) our idea was to get the best image we could, for the least amount of money, so we did (Mitch did) the telecine because it cost us nothing, and that was part of the fun, having total control without any third party involvement. Having used an "old-fashioned" film chain telecine to miniDV I think it looks pretty good, especially for 7240 reversal stock. It could obviously be better with some high-end telecine/transfer/scan, whatever, but that was never our concern.

In general, that 13% additional frame area in SD 8 CAN make a big difference, but like Matthew says, only in conjunction with other variables. Poor lighting is poor lighting, on any format. At the end of the day I am not that concerned with how good an image can theoretically get and more interested in what was actually achieved, and more importantly, good direction, editing, sound and story. If those elements are not there nothing else matters. What I found humourous about Santo was his obsession with minor technical improvements when there was no indication he knew what to do with it.

Rick


Edited by Charles Doran, 01 October 2007 - 12:44 PM.

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#17 Mitch Perkins

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Posted 01 October 2007 - 12:54 PM

a.) I think you guys did a great job with "Sleep Always" -- I left my copy at Spectra to give them an example of how good the 7240 stock can look.


Wow! Thanks for that. I never had a problem with the old 7240 (R.I.P.), thought it quite beautiful in fact.

SA would've been so much more ~sparkly~ if we had been able to go back to the original MiniDV xfer, right out of the box, so to speak, and conformed that to the excellent soundtrack. As it stands it went through a number of format changes, and lost a bit of itself each time...~:?(

Mitch
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#18 Charles Doran

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Posted 01 October 2007 - 01:10 PM

Wow! Thanks for that. I never had a problem with the old 7240 (R.I.P.), thought it quite beautiful in fact.

SA would've been so much more ~sparkly~ if we had been able to go back to the original MiniDV xfer, right out of the box, so to speak, and conformed that to the excellent soundtrack. As it stands it went through a number of format changes, and lost a bit of itself each time...~:?(

Mitch


No problem -- btw, maybe we went over this already, my memory is awful -- but did you see the 7240 clips I posted on my site? -- I tried to show the opposite -- 7240 at its absolute worst!
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