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RED vs. 35mm shoot-out


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#1 Charles Haine

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 06:31 PM

With my LACC advanced cinematography class, I just completed a RED vs. 35mm shoot-out and figured I would post my results.

I've attached some links to some behind the scenes photo's below for people to get a sense of our set-up. I personally think it's tricky to learn from someone else's test if you weren't there when they were shot, but I also figure this footage might be of interest to some people.

RED camera use was donated by Shawn Booth, an owner/operator from Hawaii with http://www.r3dguerilla.com/. We used Shawn's RED len's, a 300mm and an 18-50 zoom.

35mm camera's (Kinor with Lomo spherical and anamorphic glass) were donated by Bruce Taylor from http://www.indi35.com/.

Transfer we donated by Paul Korver at cinelicious. Transfer was done on an SD Ursa Diamond with Diamondclear then upresed to AppleProRes (HQ) 1080p. You can read more info on their upressing system at http://http://www.cinelicious.tv/.

35mm footage was shot on 5219 (the over/under tests), 5229 (the key-fill ratio tests), and Fuji Real 8593 for the daylight shots. Processed at Deluxe.

Maura Milan brought in her HVX with the Letus set up for OCT-19 mount. http://mauramilan.net/

RED footage was processed in REDcine. The over/under footage was output in the 709 color space to ProRes HQ, then the rest of the footage output in the LOG space.

When watching the clips, you'll notice the timing change in the middle of a clip section. For the 35mm footage, this was done in the Da Vinci to show you a "flat pass" (the base mem for the session, created for the "normal" exposure) then a corrected version of a shot side by side. With the RED footage, this was done using Final Cut Color.

I am reluctant to summarize my thoughts on the footage, since that might bias how people are able to respond to it, but I might write a later post with thoughts.

This is obviously a very limited test; REDlog gives us a bigger space than 709, and projection in 4K would of course be different than watching the SD or HD files on your home system. This is just meant to be a test of one workflow, and since I did it in a class, the focus is on a workflow I expect my students to probably use if they do shoot the RED (Apple ProRes HQ is quite popular with my students, since they mostly don't own machines capable of dealing with Uncompressed HD). This is by no means intended to be a definitive case for or against the RED.

The files are uploaded in H.264, which of course is yet another problem with this test. Basically, what we are left with is a test comparing 35mm and RED footage for Blu-Ray/SD-DVD/web distribution. This is useful in some cases, of course, but a very limited test. However, I think especially in area's such as dynamic range this test is very interesting.

I'm happy to share with anyone the original AppleProRes(HQ) files, or even the .r3d files (REDcine is a free download for anyone, so if you are curious about red footage and want to see what it can do, I'm happy to share). I will put up the .r3d files to redrelay; if anyone would be willing to host the AppleProRes(HQ) files, let me know. They are large.

My sincere thanks to Shawn, Paul, Bruce, Maura and Steve Restivo at Deluxe for making this test possible.

SD h.264 (39MB) http://www.mediafire.com/?cymm9gneepj

HD h.264 to follow


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#2 John Sprung

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 07:04 PM

This step alone makes the entire "shootout" moot and pointless.

Well, actually, they just need to get a freebie on some HD telecine or maybe even a 4K scan. They have the film and the RED data. Maybe the week after next when pilots are all done that'll be easier to find. To do a really accurate shootout, it would be better to get a PL mount film camera and use the same lenses on both. The better the lenses, the more clearly we'd see the difference between the cameras.



-- J.S.
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#3 Richard Boddington

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 07:16 PM

Is that still from "Revenge Of The Nerds?"

Oh gosh, sorry sorry, some times I just can't help my self :blink:

R,
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#4 Mike Brennan

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 08:56 PM

Thanks for posting the footage and even though, not 4k res it does not make it a pointless exercise!

What ASA did you rate the RED at?

I take it that the RED is the wider shot of the two:)



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#5 Charles Haine

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 12:30 AM

I would actually argue that not posting in 4k doesn't make the whole test moot. It limits it, sure, but for a test that was free, I still think we learned a tremendous amount.

I think, and others on this forum have made the point, that measuring a medium only in it's resolution (not counting its latitude, for instance) is a bit of an error. Large number of jobs are shot on film and finished HD, or even plain old SD (even some commercials for large agencies still have 4x3 SD deliverables, though I imagine that will stop next year). They still shoot a higher resolution medium in order to get a higher quality original.

I would love to do a full 35mm vs. RED 4k to film-out test; like I said in my post, what we were testing was one workflow for the RED, which is shooting with a finish in Blu-Ray or some other home format.

To me, I learned a tremendous amount about the latitude and color rendition of the RED, even though I was only comparing the footage at HD resolution.

I guess it was kind of nerdy.

We rated the RED at 320 up through 3 over; above 3 over we increased the ASA in 1 stop increments, since the lens could not open any wider. Again, not ideal, but we had the RED zoom instead of Super-speeds, which I would've liked.

I don't mean to give the impression that this is a definitive, final test; I personally think the only real way to know a format is to do the test yourself, and see what happens on set. I just did a little test and figured I would share it.

Ch:H
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#6 Charles Haine

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 03:10 AM

SD: http://www.mediafire.com/?uybtgnfw8fz

HD: http://www.mediafire.com/?imdfbr5ddof
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#7 Glen Alexander

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 03:24 AM

Where's the audio?

I wanted to see the guy walking in and everyone else saying, " NORM!! "
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#8 Patrizio De Sica

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 09:19 AM

Is that still from "Revenge Of The Nerds?"

Oh gosh, sorry sorry, some times I just can't help my self :blink:

R,

:D :rolleyes: Bad boy :)
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#9 Nate Downes

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 09:53 AM

I would actually argue that not posting in 4k doesn't make the whole test moot. It limits it, sure, but for a test that was free, I still think we learned a tremendous amount.
*snip*
To me, I learned a tremendous amount about the latitude and color rendition of the RED, even though I was only comparing the footage at HD resolution.

*snip*

That we did, unfortunately what we learned is that the RED is a video camera, retaining video camera limits for latitude and color. What I expected. But I did learn that RED did handle things a lot better than I am used to for video, which I must give credit. I did notice that the 35mm used was a russian rig, not the best quality glass but decent enough for a HD test. A true 4k test I'd recommend using the same lens on both, something like a Zeiss or Cooke.
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#10 Paul Bruening

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 11:06 AM

Who's who in the above still?
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#11 Max Jacoby

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 11:21 AM

Yeah, ideally you'd use the same lens on both cameras to take the glass out of the equation.

But even though this is standard definition and you cannot judge sharpness, it still tells you volumes about the color rendition where film simply wins hands down.
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#12 Stephen Williams

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 01:06 PM

it still tells you volumes about the color rendition where film simply wins hands down.


Hi Max,

Most of my money comes from making people look good, hopefully all my competitors will shoot on Red.

Stephen
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#13 Shawn Booth

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 02:03 PM

Thanks Chuck for posting the results.

The RED is just a tool folks. Stop hating on it. You are not accomplishing anything positive replying to this thread with your comments about Revenge of the Nerds/ hope my competitors all use REDs...

But thanks for stopping by none-the-less.
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#14 Glen Alexander

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 02:24 PM

Thanks Chuck for posting the results.

The RED is just a tool folks. Stop hating on it. You are not accomplishing anything positive replying to this thread with your comments about Revenge of the Nerds/ hope my competitors all use REDs...

But thanks for stopping by none-the-less.


These comments seems harmless and actually funny, wait until the 'heavies' respond. Where is Carl? Keith? JJ?
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#15 Stephen Williams

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 02:28 PM

Stop hating on it. ....... hope my competitors all use REDs...


Hi,

I don't hate it at all, I am very happy that everybody around me is so happy with its performance.

Stephen
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#16 Shawn Booth

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 02:44 PM

The RED footage looks like it's still in the RAW format.
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#17 DJ Joofa

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 03:00 PM

it still tells you volumes about the color rendition where film simply wins hands down.


Do you have an explanation for this fact?
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#18 Charles Haine

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 03:15 PM

I agree totally on the lens issue, when LACC wants to pay for a full 4k test, I'll rent matching Master Primes.

However, for something put together on an LACC budget (it's the best film school secret in LA, but they have very limited resources), I think the lens's are a close enough in quality for an HD test (or, more likely, an H.264 SD test, since I imagine that is most of what you are looking at). But I deliberately avoided shooting any lens or sharpness charts, since the lens quality difference seemed to be to make those tests moot.

The footage is in AppleProRes (HQ) Rec. 709 from REDcine. After talking to some RED owners, it seems like I should expect a little more latitude if I export in REDlog, so I will attempt to re-export in that. All timing down in COLOR or DA VINCI was aiming for a neutral (blacks balanced and whites balanced) grade with blacks around 7 and whites around 100 with a good stretch to the gamma.

The workflow chosen was the workflow recommended by RED at RED DAY as being what they would like to call a "common" one; they were careful not to recommend any specific workflow (one of their pluses is that there is so much flexiblity), but they also said that they expected Rec. 709 to be a common workflow.

My students have asked me to play with the RED footage to see if I can get it to saturate without noise the way the film does; I will work on it and post.

thanks for the thoughts.

Ch:H
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#19 Charles Haine

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 03:18 PM

Who's who in the above still?


The blonde in shorts with the RED T-shirt is Shawn Booth, the brunette with bangs is Maura Milan, and the dude in the black shirt with the long hair and beard is me, Charles Haine.

We're on Stage C at LACC.
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#20 Stephen Williams

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 03:29 PM

Do you have an explanation for this fact?


Hi,

FWIW I think the same can be said for any digital camera, I also personally prefer skin tones on Fuji film, some will call me a Kodak hater :lol:

Stephen
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