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Why is this so grainy?


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#1 Rodrigo Silvestri

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 03:02 PM

Hi. I got my DPX scans yesterday.
(coming from this topic:
http://www.cinematog...showtopic=32035 )

I filmed 400ft of 16mm with a Bolex H16-RX camera.
200ft of Kodak 7222 and 200ft of Fuji F-400T.
Processed it in the best lab in Argentina (there are 2, the biggest one is Cinecolor, and all the movies and commercials produced here are processed there, like the last one of F. F. Coppola, so it's not a bad place).
Scanned in Che Revolution Post (in an Arriscan, 2K DPXs).
Here I post 2 DPXs and their JPEG version. Color film scanned using the double flash option and B&W single flash. Double flash is used to increase latitude.
B&W:
http://www.keewee.co.../R2.0182405.jpg
http://rapidshare.co...182405.dpx.html (10MB)
Color:
http://www.keewee.co.../R3.0273072.jpg
http://rapidshare.co...273072.dpx.html (10MB)

So the problem is: I expected to have a clean color image and a very grainy B&W, but that was not the result. As you can see, the color image is too grainy, mainly in the blacks (I suppose that would be called "velo de fondo" in spanish, I think it's just veil in English). The B&W is grainy too, but doesn't look bad.

So... I am still learning, and I won't want to kill Mr. Fuji or Mr. Cinecolor, maybe just hate myself, but I think that it was not something that I could anticipate.
I just want to know what it is, if you can think of some cause just by viewing it here. Or if it is normal, and I have to do something to view it better. If it is because of the double flash, I can go and make a single flash copy, but I want to be sure before bothering the people from the post production house, since they did this for free.

Thank you,
Rodrigo
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#2 Mike Simpson

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 03:24 PM

well 16 is grainy, and stills always look grainier than when its playing. Have you seen any of the actual footage?

Is it maybe underexposed? What kind of lenses were you using?
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#3 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 03:47 PM

The group in front of the green screen looks underexposed. But the grain is extremely fine for the level of underexposure. That is a really good transfer. There are ways to bring the image up in FCP/ Color, sort of video HDR, I would try that.

The picture of the hand looks fine to me.

Welcome to shooting film. It is not video, what you see through the viewfinder is not necessarily what you get. That is why some people refer to film as the what separates men from children. One's gotta know what is going on, or things can go seriously awry.

As to the grain, there will always be more grain than when using video, which if anything gets noisy. Again, this transfer looks really good in terms of grain.

I have been there before, frustrated and pissed off. But if you stay with it and learn it, you will know in the future what to do and not to do to get acceptable results.

Hang in there!

Edited by Saul Rodgar, 17 September 2008 - 03:51 PM.

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#4 Rodrigo Silvestri

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 04:05 PM

well 16 is grainy, and stills always look grainier than when its playing. Have you seen any of the actual footage?

Is it maybe underexposed? What kind of lenses were you using?


I've seen the footage (converted to ProRes), and yes, it looks grainier.
These are DPX files from an Arriscan, a "digital negative", they just put the film and scan it, there's no kind of "adjustments" (color correction, gain, etc) made to this footage. The JPEGs are exported from the DPX without corrections too.
I even called them to be sure and they confirmed this. So the exposure is OK (well, I don't see it under or overexposed).

Thanks,
Rodrigo

Edited by Rodrigo Silvestri, 17 September 2008 - 04:07 PM.

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#5 Rodrigo Silvestri

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 04:22 PM

The group in front of the green screen looks underexposed. But the grain is extremely fine for the level of underexposure. That is a really good transfer. There are ways to bring the image up in FCP/ Color, sort of video HDR, I would try that.


I am using Color, and yes, I made it look better. But the grain in the blacks is too ugly for me. Keying will be sort of a pain.

It's strange, I used 2 light meters, one for incident light and one spot meter. The spot was of a friend who always uses it and has good results, and the other is from my school, which was not callibrated (-1/2 stop).

Where should the medium grey be in the Waveform monitor (in Color)? 50?

Thanks,
Rodrigo
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#6 Rodrigo Silvestri

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 04:26 PM

What kind of lenses were you using?


Used the ones for the Bolex (C mount), like Angenieux and Switar. I think the set was 10-16-25-75mm.

Rodrigo
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#7 Fran Kuhn

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 05:04 PM

Hi Rodrigo,

The color frame looks undereposed.

If you print the edge of the film to yield true black, then you can see your actual exposure. The example you posted has the film edge printed "up" a bit--it is not true black. I have attached an example adjusted in photoshop to a true black point on the edge of the film. I'd say it's about 1 1/2 stops under. Underexosure will yield more apparent grain.

-Fran

Attached Images

  • R3.0273072_sm.jpg
  • R3.0273072_sm_adj.jpg

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#8 Bruce Greene

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 09:49 PM

Hi Rodrigo,

The color frame looks undereposed.

If you print the edge of the film to yield true black, then you can see your actual exposure. The example you posted has the film edge printed "up" a bit--it is not true black. I have attached an example adjusted in photoshop to a true black point on the edge of the film. I'd say it's about 1 1/2 stops under. Underexosure will yield more apparent grain.

-Fran


I agree. I downloaded the color dpx and viewed it on a dpx scan viewer software. The image is quite under exposed, maybe 1 stop.

Rodrigo,

When you exposed your film did you compensate for the viewfinder mirror on the bolex? You might have to adjust 1/2 stop just for that. Also, your lenses may be marked in f-stops and not "T" stops and may not be as accurate as professional movie camera lenses regarding the iris. If you were using a zoom lens, this would be a significant effect along with the viewfinder compensation.

You can try to adjust as best you can in post, but it will look grainy I think.

Best of luck to you.
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#9 Bruce Greene

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 09:57 PM

Here's a screen shot of the frame preview. Notice the histogram on the bottom left. All your detail is far to the left indication under exposure. I've adjusted the preview to make the image as presentable as possible...
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#10 Rodrigo Silvestri

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 10:47 PM

Thank you so much guys!!

I did use all RX lenses, which I understand are made for the Reflex Bolex and their F scale is compensated (is actually a T scale). And I haven't used a zoom.

So... All the short will be finished in B&W. Which are the best steps to follow?
One of the ways I think is:
in Color: correct all in order to achieve the best green without grain. Export ProRes.
in FCP: edit. Export EDLs.
in Shake: using EDL from FCP, apply keying & backgrounds. Export DPXs.
in Color: desaturate, try to match the B&W part, edit contrast, etc. Export ProRes.
in FCP: finish editing and render.

The other way would be:
in Color: correct all in order to achieve the final look (contrast mainly). Export ProRes.
in FCP: edit. Send to Shake.
in Shake: Apply keying & backgrounds. Desaturate. Back to FCP.
in FCP: finish editing and render.

I suppose the best way is the 1st option. Anything you can tell me to improve that?

Thanks again,
Rodrigo
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#11 Mike Simpson

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Posted 18 September 2008 - 02:31 AM

Yeah im pretty sure those lenses require light compensation too. I know most switar lenses do.

If you want to get rid of the grain overexposing a bit would help.

And the difference between 16 and s16 is pretty noticeable too.
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#12 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 18 September 2008 - 05:53 AM

A small tip for the future is to always overexpose 16mm a bit (unless you're def going for a thin or grainy look). This gives a rich and dense neg that
can be pushed around and handled more in post. In 35mm this is less important, but still a good practice for direct to telecine projects.

I regularly overexpose 16mm by at least half a stop or a stop.
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#13 Andy_Alderslade

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Posted 18 September 2008 - 07:08 AM

I regularly overexpose 16mm by at least half a stop or a stop.


Hi Adam,

How does a Spirit handle a whole stop of overexposure? Have you experimented with overexposing more than a stop and seeing when noise in the telecine becomes apparent?

Cheers,
Andy
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#14 Rodrigo Silvestri

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Posted 18 September 2008 - 12:42 PM

Thinking of a way to reduce the grain... Mainly in the black, which is the part that really matters to me (I don't want washed blacks, want something with contrast).
Do you think it'd be a good option to make a luma key to the blacks, then blur it and apply it over the original image?
Any recommendation?

Thanks,
Rodrigo
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#15 Rodrigo Silvestri

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Posted 19 September 2008 - 01:21 AM

(Sorry, hadn't read your replies).. Thank you guys.
I'll do a sensitometry test to the rest of film I have at home, to see if the problem was there or with the lenses and that.

Yes, I am thinking of overexposing a bit in my next works. I might also do some test footages soon (I should have done that before, LOL... anyway I didn't have time).

Oh, Adam, I liked the Dragonette music video (viewed it after reading your post about that). Great job!

Any good tool for correcting DPX's timecode? Or I think I'll have to go back to the post house, they gave me 24fps and it should be 25.

Thanks again,
Rodrigo
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#16 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 19 September 2008 - 08:07 AM

Here's a screen shot of the frame preview. Notice the histogram on the bottom left. All your detail is far to the left indication under exposure. I've adjusted the preview to make the image as presentable as possible...


Hey Bruce, what app is this window grab from? I have histogram view on FCP, but I like this one a lot! Fancy!
Thanks!
S
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#17 Bruce Greene

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Posted 19 September 2008 - 09:37 AM

Hey Bruce, what app is this window grab from? I have histogram view on FCP, but I like this one a lot! Fancy!
Thanks!
S


Saul,

It's from an application written by a friend of mine that built his own motion picture film scanner. He had sent me the app so that I could check on some sample Spirit scans from a foreign lab. I don't know if he wants to publicize the application or not, I'll have to ask...

I do think that in the histogram display, the two vertical lines are supposed to be the most useful part of the exposure range with everything below, near or at black in the print and everything to the right of the right hand line, virtually white in the print.

The software has a basic LUT built in for preview whose curve seems to respond correctly to film scans, unlike photoshop where an unusual curve needs to be drawn.
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#18 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 19 September 2008 - 10:38 AM

Saul,

It's from an application written by a friend of mine that built his own motion picture film scanner. He had sent me the app so that I could check on some sample Spirit scans from a foreign lab. I don't know if he wants to publicize the application or not, I'll have to ask...

I do think that in the histogram display, the two vertical lines are supposed to be the most useful part of the exposure range with everything below, near or at black in the print and everything to the right of the right hand line, virtually white in the print.

The software has a basic LUT built in for preview whose curve seems to respond correctly to film scans, unlike photoshop where an unusual curve needs to be drawn.


Bruce: Awesome, I love it! The way it displays the red, green and blue and (what appears to be) luminance curves separately is top notch. My compliments to your friend. If he ever makes it available I would love a copy. What it is he calling it? Thanks.

S
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#19 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 19 September 2008 - 04:56 PM

Hi Adam,

How does a Spirit handle a whole stop of overexposure? Have you experimented with overexposing more than a stop and seeing when noise in the telecine becomes apparent?

Cheers,
Andy


I have and the Spirit seems to handle it fine. I can't recall exactly at what stage whites became noisy in overexposure, but it's above 3 stops in whites. I've overexposed white cycs by 2 stops over my shooting stop (which can be 3 stops with my built in overexposure) for that requested blown out white look (which I hate, btw) and no visible increase in grain could be detected by my eye. I do have bad eyesight, though.
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#20 Mike Simpson

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Posted 19 September 2008 - 06:39 PM

I do have bad eyesight, though.



lol
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