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I'm sorry but I would have never though 4:4:4 would look this bad. Why?


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#1 Adam Paul

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Posted 15 November 2008 - 08:13 PM

I just watched a movie called "The Mutant Chronicles" on DVD and in the end of the credits it said the movie was fully shot on digital with the Viper in 4:4:4 and additional footage shot with the SI-2K and F23 and high speed shot on the Phatom HD.
Although it's pretty obvious it must have been a very cheap show judging from the obvious in your face fake looking effects like fake gun shots, fake explosions, fake rain and the horrible fake blood and wound effects, what really caught my attention was the green screen work. It's easy to see they had a lot of green screen shots because thez are just so bad. Again since the whole movie looks cheap it's not hard to accept the very cheesy and obvious background plates and overall lack of moving shots and obvious rotoscoping locked shots. What's hard to understand is why the green screen job is so obvious? I thought 4:4:4 was supposed to be the holz grail for kezing and color correction? Wasn?t the keying supposed to loom impecable and basically perfect? So why was all the green shots so on your face? It looked fake and the background and foreground never matched. The actors always looked faded and greenish and the edges and separation was obvious. I had people watching the movie with me who know nothing about production who couldn?t stop complaining how fake and cheesy it all looked. The compositing was so bad that I have to say the last time I saw such bad compositing effects was with old Simbad movies using rear projection. Anybody knows what happened?
It had Thomas Jane, Ron Pearlman and John Malkovich in it, so I?m surprised it was that bad quality wise. Those aren?t exactly cheap actors.
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#2 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 15 November 2008 - 10:01 PM

I was the recording engineer on most of that show.

Yes it was extremely cheap and nasty. The original intention was to shoot it on F900 which would have been even worse, but there you go. They couldn't really afford to do the Viper/S2 thing properly and it caused, to put it mildly, a few problems.

I suspect the keying problem was a matter of time available in post as there wasn't a lot wrong with the screens themselves. They weren't perfect - the screen material itself had a sort of repetitive pile change in it and it was secondhand - but I've seen better from worse.

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#3 Scott Fritzshall

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Posted 16 November 2008 - 01:22 PM

Just because you have high-quality source material doesn't mean you're going to get a high quality result. 4:4:4 provides you with more color information which helps in keying and color correcting, but it doesn't automatically make your compositing look good.
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#4 Adam Paul

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Posted 16 November 2008 - 02:00 PM

So you worked on that show Phil? Somehow you don?t seem like you had a lot of fun. :unsure:
About the movie, although there doesn?t seem to be a lot of reviews on it the ones I found seem to share the cheap effects opinion:

No to mention the silly story and script which I chose to leave out the first time around since this is a technical forum. But it makes you wonder what Malkovich was doing there.

Attack of the Clones was shot on the F900 and the green screen work looked miles better than this. So did Sky Captain and Sin City, although Sin City was a F950 shot. If they could not really afford shooting 4:4:4 and the S2 they should have stuck with the F900 and invested the extra cash in post-production. The F900 would have looked way better than that with proper post-production.
I heard it was a 25 million show. This is not as low budget as I had thought. When I saw it I thought it was a 5 million indepent project where somebody called in some favors to get name actors in it. That was before I knew it was based on a game. But 25 million is not even that little. There are a lot of sci-fi movies made for around that much that look great. Pan?s labirinth was made for less and looked fantastic. Although I?m sure the name actors must have eaten a huge chunk of that budget. All together it seems just bad business judgement. If you can?t afford 4:4:4 why shoot it? And why hire expensive acotrs when you can?t even afford decent post? By the way, although surely not the problem, any idea of what compositing package they used in post?
I?m wondering what sort of problems they were having with the S2?
It would be great to hear your experiences in that show if you would be allowed or willing to talk about it in detail here. There seems to be a lot to be learned from this experience for independent film makers.
Thanks.
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#5 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 16 November 2008 - 04:25 PM

It would be somewhat boorish of me to comment, and in terms of budget I have no real information, but in general terms I think you're seeing it for what it is.

If you can?t afford 4:4:4 why shoot it?


DP's ego.

I?m wondering what sort of problems they were having with the S2?


Reliability. Any moderately competent individual can easily build a Windows PC system in a rack case that's vastly cheaper, more reliable, and more featureful than anything S2 have ever dreamed of. Unfortunately they have convinced the filmmaking world that they're the only system that's good enough, when in fact there's some absolutely myopic engineering decisions in the thing. Unfortunately my stock in this area is somewhat worthless after Mutant Chronicles and I say this in the full knowledge that it won't be taken on board by anyone who matters.

That said I would entirely encourage independent filmmakers - both in the sense of 5-mill indie producers, and microbudget students - to look at data-based workflows. You can get a lot for a little in return for only a little computer ingenuity and you can avoid paying the Sony Tax entirely.

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#6 Paul Bruening

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 12:58 PM

Reliability. Any moderately competent individual can easily build a Windows PC system in a rack case that's vastly cheaper, more reliable, and more featureful than anything S2 have ever dreamed of. Unfortunately they have convinced the filmmaking world that they're the only system that's good enough, when in fact there's some absolutely myopic engineering decisions in the thing. Unfortunately my stock in this area is somewhat worthless after Mutant Chronicles and I say this in the full knowledge that it won't be taken on board by anyone who matters.

That said I would entirely encourage independent filmmakers - both in the sense of 5-mill indie producers, and microbudget students - to look at data-based workflows. You can get a lot for a little in return for only a little computer ingenuity and you can avoid paying the Sony Tax entirely.

P


Nobody listens to me either when I tell them just how much processing power you get for your penny going PC. I guess I'm a leper for going PC. Hey, that works, "le-Pre-C.

I really like your term, "featureful", by the way.
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#7 John Sprung

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 02:31 PM

I thought 4:4:4 was supposed to be the holz grail for kezing and color correction? Wasn?t the keying supposed to loom impecable and basically perfect? So why was all the green shots so on your face? It looked fake and the background and foreground never matched. .

4:4:4 just gets you sharper vertical matte lines than 4:2:2. It doesn't make the pieces match each other. They have to be lit and color timed to match before you put them together.




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#8 Adam Paul

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 10:01 PM

No problem Phil. Thanks for sharing what you could. by the way, I tried PM you but it seems your inbox is full.


Yep J.S.
They sure did a bad job matching the foreground and background here. 4:4:4 did nothing to them.
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