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"Step Printing" Effect


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#1 Frank Barrera

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Posted 14 September 2008 - 09:10 PM

crazy. want to do step printing effect tomorrow morning with out a test. we are on build 16 and have been shooting feature for three weeks now.(full report to follow when I come up for air).

question is can we shoot 6 fps and play back at 6 fps?

the desired effect is step printing. or what i call "poor man's step printing" where you shoot film at 6 fps and transfer at 6fps and you get a nice smear to all action. like Doyle's early work with Wong Kar Wai

i'm thinking this would be straight forward in post to make it happen if we capture at 6 fps but would like to show the director something on set.

any thoughts would be most welcomed.

thanks in advance

f
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#2 Mike Simpson

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Posted 15 September 2008 - 12:22 AM

its actually really easy to get a good idea of what it would look like since when you are recording or watching in real time you are essentially watching step printing (which is also why everything looks video-y when you are shooting high frame rates before playback). Its only when you play back that the footage is basically dropped into a 24 frame timeline and you see fast motion. So just set to 6 frames and take a look =p

If youre wanting playback you would need to download and jump through all of those hoops though.
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#3 John Sprung

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Posted 15 September 2008 - 01:07 PM

Another idea: If you shoot with a 360 degree shutter, you could pile up groups of frames with no interruption in the smear, and pick your effective frame rate in post. Say you shoot 24 fps, if you make six groups of four frames combined, that's equivalent to 6 fps. Or you could do four groups of six for 4 fps, or whatever you want to try.





-- J.S.
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#4 Frank Barrera

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Posted 15 September 2008 - 07:00 PM

thanks for the response. what we wound up doing was shooting two cameras side by side for a lot of action (gun fight). one camera was 24fps (to cover our selves) and the other was 6 fps and sometimes 12 fps. we ingesting the off speed material into FCP and time stretched it by about 24% and it worked beautifully. the final effect will have to be done in post.
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#5 Simon Wyss

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Posted 26 September 2008 - 08:38 AM

Excuse me, Frank, for interfering but you hit a nerve with me. Step printing seems to be something odd with you video people. I want to be absolutely polite. The term step printing says nothing about frame rate. It is simply one of the two mechanical approaches to the process of copying a film's content onto another. Step printers can be run slowly, as you suppose, but also at faster rates like 30, 40 or more.

Again, in all courtesy, we film folks never use video terms to speak about something in the trade. Is it possible to avoid step printing when you talk about, let's say: a hiccup effect ?
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#6 K Borowski

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Posted 26 September 2008 - 09:18 AM

Again, in all courtesy, we film folks never use video terms to speak about something in the trade. Is it possible to avoid step printing when you talk about, let's say: a hiccup effect ?


To paraphrase what a RED guy told me when arguing that it made more sense to shoot 35mm background plates for "Dark Knight". . .

Forget it Simon, it's Jannard-town :-(
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#7 Sam Wells

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Posted 26 September 2008 - 02:49 PM

Again, in all courtesy, we film folks never use video terms to speak about something in the trade. Is it possible to avoid step printing when you talk about, let's say: a hiccup effect ?


In all due respect Simon, if he'd said "hiccup effect" I'd have little idea what he was talking about; "step printing" in the context he used it told me what he meant by analogy.

-Sam
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#8 Frank Barrera

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Posted 26 September 2008 - 03:28 PM

Excuse me, Frank, for interfering but you hit a nerve with me. Step printing seems to be something odd with you video people. I want to be absolutely polite. The term step printing says nothing about frame rate. It is simply one of the two mechanical approaches to the process of copying a film's content onto another. Step printers can be run slowly, as you suppose, but also at faster rates like 30, 40 or more.

Again, in all courtesy, we film folks never use video terms to speak about something in the trade. Is it possible to avoid step printing when you talk about, let's say: a hiccup effect ?


really not sure how to respond to your post. um, yes step printing is in reference to a process involving an optical printer. obviously there is no need for an optical printer when shooting HD. there is a way to emulate that effect however. this is why i put "step printing" in quotes and called it an effect. you can also emulate this effect without an optical printer when shooting film. you shoot at a certain frame rate (ie: 6fps) then transfer it at that same frame rate to video. i call it "poor man's step printing". looks very nice.

as for being called "video people", i guess you got me there. i shoot a hell of a lot of video. sometimes i shoot film too. but by far i shoot a hell of a lot of video.

btw what's a "hiccup effect" anyway?
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#9 Simon Wyss

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Posted 27 September 2008 - 05:27 AM

really not sure how to respond to your post. um, yes step printing is in reference to a process involving an optical printer. obviously there is no need for an optical printer when shooting HD. there is a way to emulate that effect however. this is why i put "step printing" in quotes and called it an effect. you can also emulate this effect without an optical printer when shooting film. you shoot at a certain frame rate (ie: 6fps) then transfer it at that same frame rate to video. i call it "poor man's step printing". looks very nice.

as for being called "video people", i guess you got me there. i shoot a hell of a lot of video. sometimes i shoot film too. but by far i shoot a hell of a lot of video.

btw what's a "hiccup effect" anyway?


I think I got it now. The term is skip printing. That's what the step printer operator would be asked to execute. Nirvana at last !
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#10 John Sprung

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Posted 29 September 2008 - 12:44 PM

I think I got it now. The term is skip printing. That's what the step printer operator would be asked to execute. Nirvana at last !

As I understand them, the terms are:

Step Printing: Printing some frames of the original to more than one frame of the print. This produces a sort of slow motion, but with a stepping look, because you don't have enough frames per second to get the illusion of motion.

Skip Printing: Printing some frames of the original to one frame of the print and omitting ones in between. This produces a sort of fast motion, but with the same kind of skipping effect that you get from using too small a shutter angle.

The printer itself is called an optical printer. It can do both step and skip and usually a lot of other stuff.




-- J.S.
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#11 Lucas Smith

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Posted 08 November 2009 - 11:06 PM

As I understand them, the terms are:

Step Printing: Printing some frames of the original to more than one frame of the print. This produces a sort of slow motion, but with a stepping look, because you don't have enough frames per second to get the illusion of motion.

Skip Printing: Printing some frames of the original to one frame of the print and omitting ones in between. This produces a sort of fast motion, but with the same kind of skipping effect that you get from using too small a shutter angle.

The printer itself is called an optical printer. It can do both step and skip and usually a lot of other stuff.




-- J.S.


In Final Cut, this effect can be achieved via "Strobe" –which, as you say, lengthens the duration of some frames and eliminates others, but otherwise leaves the moment intact, neither slowing the film down or speeding it up.

The original "Chungking Express" style effect was created by shooting at a lower frame rate. Doyle and Wong Kar-Wai claim they did this because they were dealing with a low light situation (it is a practical solution) but they obviously maximized its aesthetic potential. Forgive me for not knowing the film terms. I've shot exclusively in video so far.
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#12 Dominic Cochran

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Posted 14 November 2009 - 01:35 AM

Again, in all courtesy, we film folks never use video terms to speak about something in the trade. Is it possible to avoid step printing when you talk about, let's say: a hiccup effect ?


Referring to these effects as step and skip printing is the best way to communicate their video equivalent, as opposed to randomly inventing a term that doesn't communicate anything in the interest of appeasing those who have no interest in the answer.

From a fellow film"folk" who also loves shooting digital when the project calls for it.
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