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S8mm HD Transfer Options II


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#1 David Grove

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Posted 14 January 2008 - 10:41 PM

Folks,

I hope that, as a new forum member, I am not being too presumptious in starting this new thread. I'd just like to break out the original topic from the original thread, which has changed direction to be a critique of some sample frames from a member's efforts. No disrespect intended.

I repeat immediately below my last post from the previous thread.




...in general dpx files are RGB not YUV (like mov video files) which is better color fidelity so if fsft can do a data transfer to dpx files that would be the best quality...

IF color sampling is at full bandwidth (4:4:4), THEN aren't RGB and YUV mathematically equivalent? I was thinking that (again, at full color bandwidth) RGB vs. YUV didn't matter with full color bandwidth. But, I welcome being set straight, if I am misunderstanding this stuff.



...Transferring to DPX results in log files that will need conversion to linear color space, in most cases a plug in or addon app to your NLE. Transferring to TIFF might be a good alternative, as most NLEs can assemble a sequence from numbered files...

For the same bit depth, would I more accurately preserve the dynamic range by using log?

I guess it would be easier to work with linear-- if only to save the LU step. I was looking at the Thomson Shadow manual (I found it online), and I think I see in it that the Shadow can produce 16 bit linear RGBK (total of 64 bits per pixel) (by the way, what is "K"? "K" seemed also to be referred to as "Key"). Maybe 16 bit linear is sufficient for dynamic range of S8 film stock from 1975. It probably would be a litle more convenient. The only downside might be disk space. But, I have only 3 minutes of film, and disk space is cheap.



I think the Shadow (which i feel lags in image quality compared to other HD telecine's for 16mm and 35mm) is a near ideal match for Super-8 HD transfers (I think the shadow is 1440X1080 native imagers) such that a transfer from FSFT will be about as good as you can get out of the medium...

Rob, might you expand a little, please? What is it about the Shadow that might "edge out" other more high-end telecines? Is it the resolution or something else? I got the impression that the Shadow used a single line CCD array. I could easily be way off the mark, here.

Do you know if the Shadow can capture all the way to the sprocket holes, or does the gate block off some of the frame image?

By casual inspection of the manual (found online), I also got the impression that, if one operates in data mode, one could specify the resolution. Thus, I could specify a resolution consistent with the actual aspect ratio of the S8 medium. Perhaps, that is what you were getting at in you remark above. Unless I am totally missing it here.

Thank you for any further comments.

DG
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#2 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 15 January 2008 - 01:30 AM

Rob, might you expand a little, please? What is it about the Shadow that might "edge out" other more high-end telecines? Is it the resolution or something else? I got the impression that the Shadow used a single line CCD array. I could easily be way off the mark, here.

Do you know if the Shadow can capture all the way to the sprocket holes, or does the gate block off some of the frame image?

By casual inspection of the manual (found online), I also got the impression that, if one operates in data mode, one could specify the resolution.



I do not think it "edges out" a Spirit or Millenium, etc I was just trying to say that the shadow is a great Super8 telecine and a less than optimal machine (Compared to a Spirit 2K or HD, etc) for 16mm or 35mm. The shadow was sold as a lower cost alternative to a spirit and designated as a video only machine.

As far as i understand the shadow will not resolve mare than 1440 pixels and that anything higher is interpolated on output to SDI. All thompson telecine's are line array devices, i.e. there are 4 linear ccd's (one for luma and three for R,G,B ) with the Shadow and Spirit-1 the luma is sampled at full res and each color is sampled at half i.e. if luma is 1920 R,G,B are 960 I have always considered the older Spirit to be a 4:2:2 machine even if it produces 4:4:4 at the output. The new 2K and 4K Spirit is a true 4:4:4 capable machine (and actually the three HD,2K,4K all use the same CCD and optical system with capabilities turned on or off depending on what model you buy) as the Luma and the R,G,B linear arrays are full res (2048 or 4096) and can be sampled as such.

All Flying spot telecines are 4:4:4 at the front end (tube and photomultipliers) and all newer ones can produce 4:4:4 at 10bits.

I am not sure about full edge to edge on the Shadow for Super-8 I know from operating the Spirit that it cannot capture into the sprocket area in Super-16 and I assume this is the same with Super-8 in fact I do not know of any telecine that can capture into the sprocket area without a heavily modified gate.

As stated above you can run a Shadow in data mode to get 444 1920 HD but it cannot resolve that on the front end so some of that performance is "made up" like a HVX "makes up" some of it's resolution or a bayer mask cam "makes up" 444... Your mileage may vary.

I have seen some very nice Super-8 from the shadow, to get "real" 444 you would need to scan on a Northlight or a Arriscan (both of which do not offer a Super8 gate) or a machine like a Millenium or Nova...

-Rob -
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#3 David Grove

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Posted 15 January 2008 - 09:49 PM

As far as i understand the shadow will not resolve mare than 1440 pixels... with the Shadow and Spirit-1 the luma is sampled at full res and each color is sampled at half i.e. if luma is 1920 R,G,B are 960...

Now I understand a little better how the Shadow works, thank you. 1440 should be almost perfect for S8 because that makes for a 4:3 aspect ratio, like the S8 film medium, rught?

Actually, I'm not certain that 1080p is really ideal for S8. I really have absolutely no experience in this, but speculating just from general film medium properties... I think film might resolve 80 - 90 line pairs per millimeter, so maybe 720p is just about right. Higher res sampling would make for better imaging of grain, though, wouldn't it? :)


I am not sure about full edge to edge on the Shadow for Super-8 I know from operating the Spirit that it cannot capture into the sprocket area in Super-16 and I assume this is the same with Super-8 in fact I do not know of any telecine that can capture into the sprocket area without a heavily modified gate.

I was just wondering if I could capture more of the complete frame. I don't think it is really critical, just sort of, "Why lose data, if I don't have to?" kind of thinking.


All Flying spot telecines are 4:4:4 at the front end (tube and photomultipliers) and all newer ones can produce 4:4:4 at 10bits... As stated above you can run a Shadow in data mode to get 444 1920 HD but it cannot resolve that on the front end so some of that performance is "made up" like a HVX "makes up" some of it's resolution or a bayer mask cam "makes up" 444... Your mileage may vary.

I think Flying Spot (the company, not the technology) has flying spot scanners, but I guess they don't use them for S8, huh?


I have seen some very nice Super-8 from the shadow, to get "real" 444 you would need to scan on a Northlight or a Arriscan (both of which do not offer a Super8 gate)...

Which means, effectively, that those particular pieces of equipment are not available for S8, right?


... or a machine like a Millenium or Nova...

Where do I find this kind of equipment? Do you know of any firms that might use them for S8 transfers?


I have checked with several firms mentioned favorably on the board, but, so far, I have found only two saying they offer 4:4:4 color sampling for S8 film. That would be Flying Spot in Seattle, and ColorLab in the DC area. And, it would appear now, that since Flying Spot uses the Shadow for S8, their data may be interpolated. Hey, I don't dismiss that out of hand-- interpolation techniques can be pretty sophisticated, Still, at the end of the day, it is sort of like "creation ex nihilo". :)

Are there any other known firms to offer 4:4:4 sampling for S8?

Thank you.

DG
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#4 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 15 January 2008 - 09:58 PM

I have checked with several firms mentioned favorably on the board, but, so far, I have found only two saying they offer 4:4:4 color sampling for S8 film. That would be Flying Spot in Seattle, and ColorLab in the DC area. And, it would appear now, that since Flying Spot uses the Shadow for S8, their data may be interpolated. Hey, I don't dismiss that out of hand-- interpolation techniques can be pretty sophisticated, Still, at the end of the day, it is sort of like "creation ex nihilo". :)

Are there any other known firms to offer 4:4:4 sampling for S8?

Thank you.

DG



Colorlab bought a Nova telecine and Pro8 is installing a Millenium, both will do 444 as they are both flying spot (CRT) machines, as with most film scanning oversampling will yield better results (nyquist) this is why a 2K scan made on a machine that scans 4k and down-samples will look better than a scan made on a "straight" 2k scanner....

-Rob-
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#5 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 15 January 2008 - 10:06 PM

So is this thread a sequel, a remake, a reboot or a re-imagining?

:lol: :rolleyes:

(terribly sorry folks, but I just couldn't resist making this joke.
anyway, thanks for bringing this topic back on track. I am an avid reader as this deals with the US-side of the "real" HD telecine market for S8. Europe is more easily overseeable in that respect: Todd-AO & On Line 48.)
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#6 David Grove

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Posted 07 November 2008 - 11:03 PM

It's been a while, and I haven't followed through, but want to now.

Th"is board has been a great source of information, and I thank everyone.

Let me summarize my situation. I have a single 3" reel of S8 film, dating from 1975. It has 4 taped splices (from original editing), and aside from being projected maybe half dozen times in 1975, hasn't been shown or retensioned since then. It is of no commercial value, but priceless to me-- and, as may be expected, irreplaceable. I would like to get it scanned at a high definition (but I'm not necessarily wanting "HD video"), and then work with it myself with tools such as Virtualdub , AVISynth , etc. For maximum flexibility, both to create stills, as well as to be able to derive any form of video, I would like to have the scan as data (just a sequence of frames, such as dpx) files. Naturally, I want to avoid damage or loss.

Specifically, I want data files as 10 bit, uncompressed (remember, only a single 50' reel), genuine (prefer not interpolated, although I acknowledge the difference is probably very, very slight) 4:4:4 color space, RGB, log files, delivered on a USB 2.0 drive that I will supply. I'd like resolution close to 1024 x 768, but subject to whatever may be required by the film medium itself, or the gate on the scanning equipment to permit I also want square pixels.

Fling Spot in Seattle is probably the closest to me, but based on previous comments, I gather that their Thomson Shadow probably doesn't do uninterpolated 4:4:4.

So, I contacted Pro8 (for their Millenium) and Colorlab (for their Nova). (I haven't found any actual, literal scanners that offer service for 8mm.)

Pro8 estimates the job at $370. Colorlab at $511. Both include film preparation.

This is a one time project, and I am happy to go with either facility.

Are there any likely relative advantages or disadvantages that might guide my choice, other than price?

Are there any other firms I should consult for quote?

Any comments welcome.

Thank you.

Regards,

DG
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#7 Justin Lovell

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Posted 08 November 2008 - 09:43 AM

Did you call cinelicious yet?
http://www.cinelicious.tv/

They seem to be doing some cool work. I'm not sure if they're upressing their SD transfers with a Kona card or if they are doing it with an HD scanner.

I'm working on a solution right now as well at 1920x1080 10 bit HD, but I won't be releasing it to the public until it is good enough for my own personal cinematography in super 8/super 16.
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#8 Justin Lovell

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Posted 08 November 2008 - 11:10 AM

Just spoke with Paul at Cinelicious, and they're doing a much more advanced HD process than what the rumors were.. I don't think I'm at liberty to give out their secrets, nor do I think he gave away all his secrets to me, but it is quite impressive what they have setup.
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#9 David Grove

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Posted 08 November 2008 - 07:32 PM

Thank you, Mr. Lovell.

Regarding Cinelicious... it appears to me from their web site that they don't do native 4:4:4 color sampling. Maybe I'm being too anal about it, but that's what I have been shooting for. However, your comments about them sound tantalizing. I will make inquiry.

Regarding your own facility.. that also sounds interesting. Do you expect to have new capability, soon? The higher resolution sounds nice, but I'm wondering whether going as high as 1080p for circa 1975 S8 might result in better resolution... of the grain. (Or would it be more accurate to use a phrase such as "dye clusters" rather than "grain"? Whatever the term, I'm thinking that 720 - 768 is the ballpark of optimum for my situation. If I'm wrong, I welcome being set straight.)


DG
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#10 Paul Bruening

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Posted 08 November 2008 - 08:45 PM

Or would it be more accurate to use a phrase such as "dye clusters" rather than "grain"?


Yes it would. I have heard and prefer using the terms grain, grain clusters, dye sites and dye clusters. If you can find an ordinary microscope or have a frame from your rolls scanned at a high enough resolution, you'll see that a pretty small amount of actual grain is present in an average frame. It's mostly splotches of dyes on three layers (four for Fuji).

In common conversation, everyone just refers to these sites as "grain" since they are small enough to the naked eye to seem "grainy".

I enjoy scrutinizing 8K and 12K scans in Photoshop to see the actual structure of a 35mm negative image. To me, it's really fascinating.
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#11 Justin Lovell

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Posted 09 November 2008 - 08:17 AM

Thank you, Mr. Lovell.

Regarding Cinelicious... it appears to me from their web site that they don't do native 4:4:4 color sampling. Maybe I'm being too anal about it, but that's what I have been shooting for. However, your comments about them sound tantalizing. I will make inquiry.

Regarding your own facility.. that also sounds interesting. Do you expect to have new capability, soon? The higher resolution sounds nice, but I'm wondering whether going as high as 1080p for circa 1975 S8 might result in better resolution... of the grain. (Or would it be more accurate to use a phrase such as "dye clusters" rather than "grain"? Whatever the term, I'm thinking that 720 - 768 is the ballpark of optimum for my situation. If I'm wrong, I welcome being set straight.)


Hey David, give Paul at cinelicious a call, he'll expain it to you.
From what i've been told, there isn't a huge benefit in resolution when scanning super 8 at 1080p because the 'grain' size is larger than the increased size in resolution. So you _could_ essentially be introducing sharpness artifacts that aren't actually on the film itself.

I don't necessarily agree with this idea, and will come to my own conclusions from my tests. I have done some very sharp tests so far with the 7217 neg stock and an HD imaging sensor. A major problem is the amount of noise in some of these sensors when underexposed.
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#12 David Grove

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Posted 09 November 2008 - 12:54 PM

Hey David, give Paul at cinelicious a call, he'll expain it to you.
From what i've been told, there isn't a huge benefit in resolution when scanning super 8 at 1080p because the 'grain' size is larger than the increased size in resolution. So you _could_ essentially be introducing sharpness artifacts that aren't actually on the film itself.

Oooopps. I see that I expressed myself poorly. I meant to convey precisely what you state. By the (poor) use of "wondering", I meant to convey that I questioned the value of 1080p for my situation (33 yr old S8 film that was produced by hobbyist).


I don't necessarily agree with this idea, and will come to my own conclusions from my tests. I have done some very sharp tests so far with the 7217 neg stock and an HD imaging sensor. A major problem is the amount of noise in some of these sensors when underexposed.

I'm not clear then whether you are affirming significant benefit or not, regarding 1080p for the stock on which y0u experimented.


Thank you, again, for your comments.


DG
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#13 Justin Lovell

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Posted 09 November 2008 - 01:00 PM

Sorry, more tests to run before I can give a conclusive answer.

I know for newer stock Super 16, an HD imaging sensor WILL yield better results. The increased resolution does help to pull more information out of the tight grain. For super 8, the differences may be negligible depending on the resolution/size of the grain in the original film.
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#14 David Grove

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Posted 11 November 2008 - 02:55 AM

Hey David, give Paul at cinelicious a call, he'll expain it to you.

I checked with Cinelicious. They offer 4:4:4, but only at SD. If I "bag it" on the higher resolution, I will check back with them.

As of now, the options for 4:4:4 at higher than SD for S8 seem limited.

Thank you, all.

DG
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#15 Justin Lovell

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Posted 11 November 2008 - 08:28 AM

One thing to keep in mind is what your final output format will be.
In many cases, while it is nice to go 4:4:4 HD, it may be leading to more resolution than you would ever need to have. (ie, are you planing a film out, or digital projection on a theater screen?)
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#16 David Grove

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Posted 11 November 2008 - 12:46 PM

One thing to keep in mind is what your final output format will be.
In many cases, while it is nice to go 4:4:4 HD, it may be leading to more resolution than you would ever need to have. (ie, are you planing a film out, or digital projection on a theater screen?)

Not planning on film out, but he primary display will be in our home theater, which uses a digital projector. Also:

1) I want to be able to create still prints of any frame. Consider that 1024x768 (S8 is approx. 4:3, right?) is less than 2 megapixels. How many folks today would consider still photography with <2 megapixels or limited color bandwidth? (Since there is only a single 50' reel, I am willing to get the whole thing done at high resolution.)

2) For viewing as a projected "film", I am willing to pay for the increased quality of the viewing experience of HD over SD.

Regards,

DG

Edited by David Grove, 11 November 2008 - 12:48 PM.

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#17 David Grove

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 02:41 PM

This is frustrating

I thought I was very clear when making inquiry about getting data files at 4:4:4, etc.

I received a quote from Pro8mm (see earlier post), and decided to go with them.

Just because I am paranoid, I asked them to confirm that the data was captured at 4:4:4, and not 4:2:2. They responded that the data I would be receiving would be 4:2:2.

What do I have to do, how do I have to frame my inquiry, to make sure that a vendor is quoting what I am trying to buy?

It makes me wonder. If a mainstream house like Pro8 is ambiguous in what they can supply, how do I know that any firm really means what they would seem, at first, to be saying? For instance, now I am wondering about whether I need to similarly double-check with Colorlab, which also represented that they could provide 444 data from S8.

Is there any firm that I can be confident to supply 444 uncompressed data files from S8 (at approx. 1024x768)?

Thank you.

DG

Edited by David Grove, 17 November 2008 - 02:42 PM.

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#18 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 06:10 PM

Sorry, have been out of the internet's reach for some weeks (not sure how Stephen Fry achieves use twitter on his iPhone in the jungle's of Madagascar?!) and just catching up with what went on at cinematography.com over the past weeks (please turn a blind eye if I havn't read this thread in its entirety...)

What does not seem to have changed in my absence is Pro8mm's fundamentally bad approach to do business and how to treat customers. I'm afraid this forum is full with people complaining about the bad service and ill-informing customer communications of Phil, wife & company. How they achieved to built the image of a "pro house" getting studio jobs is a myth to me (apart from their hardware investment and Burbank base, of course).

If you ordered a 4:4:4 transfer, and have that placed order and recourse acknowledgement in writing from you and from them as well, then you should insist on compensation or them doing this job (if they could, that is - they peak at 4:2:2).

Always doublecheck and put in words orders in this industry, even when dealing with established companies in bigger formats. Golden rule. Always overcommunicate. After all, it's your film and your reels that you have to show and live with in your filmography.

Keep us posted about how this continues. Very annoying.

Cheers,

-Michael
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#19 David Grove

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Posted 18 November 2008 - 03:29 PM

Sorry, I guess I wasn't clear, again.

I did not actually order services from Pro8. I meant to say that, after trying to identify options, I selected Pro8. However, just to verify, I asked them again to confirm that they would be delivering 444 data files. That's when they said it would be 422 (after initially saying they could deliver 444).

No money changed hands, and no services were provided. I was just bemoaning the fact that, had I not asked them a second time (after the initial quote), I would have sent them my film, and not received what they had initally quoted on.

It would appear that Colorlab is the only house that can do 444 data files (at approximately 1024x768) for S8.

If there are others, I would welcome the info.

Thank you all, for your helpful comments.

Regards,

DG
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#20 Rick Palidwor

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Posted 18 November 2008 - 08:57 PM

There are probably thousands of people who will suggest you do not use ANY of Pro8's services. They have a horrible reputation and it's well-deserved. The only reason they are still in business is there are a lot of people out there who, for some unknown reason, think that there are no alternatives. Someone I know here in Toronto recently shot a bit of super 8 as part of a larger professional production and they bought a film/process/transfer package from Pro 8. I asked why. They said "who else is there?" And they are otherwise knowledgeable industry people. The real shame is that they could have done everything they needed - obtained stock, processing, transfer, even blow-up to a larger format within a several-block radius of where they were shooting.

Another friend of mine recently had to shoot some super 8 to be used within a documentary for the Discovery Channel. I told him to avoid Pro8 but sure enough, the company behind it, located in the UK, had already purchased a Pro8 package. Half the rolls came back black. They sell re-canned film of questionable history, and/or after questionable recanning. Disgusting.

Can we vote Pro8 off the island?

Rick
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