Jump to content


Photo

Librarian 3 out on DVD (in Australia at least)


  • Please log in to reply
16 replies to this topic

#1 Keith Walters

Keith Walters
  • Sustaining Members
  • 2219 posts
  • Other
  • Sydney Australia

Posted 20 January 2009 - 08:59 PM

(That anybody will admit to at any rate :lol: )

This is a bit of a surprise.

I vaguely remember hearing early last year that The Librarian 3 - The Curse of the Judas Chalice was being shot with Red cameras. However there were so many "Shot on RED" announcements that appear to have sunk without a trace, I thought that when something finally became mainstream accessible, I'd be sure to hear about it.

The Librarian franchise is a set of TV movies made for TNT, and Librarian 3 was shown on TNT in December last year, to no apparent comment on Reduser.

The DVD release of Librarian 3 is slated for February 2009 in the US, but for reasons unexplained it was released in Australia in Early January. One of my family members rented it and although it's very much a sort of Maxwell Smart meets Indiana Jones "Family" TV movie it is still perfectly watchable.

After discovering I had actually watched a RED film and didn't know it, I got all three out again for a closer look (taking advantage of the $2 Tuesday overnite special). Librarian 3 is supposed to be also available on Blu-Ray but not from any video library I know about.

I don't know what cameras were used for the the first two films, but the credits say "Panavision Digital" Imaging, so I would say it was CineAltas, judging by the depth of field.

Generally the images on the first two were quite acceptable, but with the usual highlight blowouts we've come to expect from video cameras. Contrary to what is routinely claimed, the low-light performance wasn't all that good, and (also contrary to what is routinely claimed) there is a complete lack of shadow detail.

The small-format HD cameras were very evident on Librarian 2, as the depth of field was virtually infinite on some shots, like something shot with a Frazier lens! This produced the usual (sometimes hilarious) DOF artifacts, such as the "six inch" elephant in the background on one of the African location shots. A combination of extreme depth of field and over enthusiastic edge correction erased all the focus-related visual cues that indicate to the viewer that it is a full-sized elephant a hundred yards away. (Either that, or it was a particularly inept piece of Post Production).

Some of the green-screen work looked like it was straight out of the 1960s, so obviously fake that I was left wondering if that was the intention!

As I said, I actually watched Librarian 3 without knowing it was shot on the RED. I could tell it was shot on some sort of large-format video camera, and I assumed it was the Genesis since the first two used PV Digital cameras. Generally I didn't think the image quality was quite up to the standard I know the Genesis is capable of, but I put that down to the fact that this was only a TV movie, which are generally not renowned for attracting the highest shelf crews. The same may apply to the RED, time will tell.

There was no mistaking that 35mm depth of field. The images were sharp and clean, but only where the DOP wanted them to be sharp and clean! There were a few tragic focus pulls, easily visible even on DVD, but this is a TV movie. It does illustrate that people who have spent their career shooting operator-focussed 2/3" video are going to find the transition to large format video somewhat more difficult than they may have imagined.

One rather strange thing I noticed (on the DVD anyway) was that while a lot of close-up shots looked somewhat soft, cuts to wide shots sometimes seemed excessively sharp.

Highlight handling was nothing special, compared to other HD cameras at any rate. In anything but perfect lighting conditions, the actors tended to have that characteristic "Santa Snow" encrustation from highlights reflected from their hair and the edges of their faces. Some of the exterior daylight shots in N'yawlins were pretty bad, with the sky burned out like a nuclear explosion. Similarly, any interiors with natural light coming in got the same soot and whitewash effect.

I don't think the rendition of flesh tones was generally as good as you get with either film or 3-chip cameras. In lower light situations, the faces took on a bluish tinge, looking rather like film shot in the early 1980s that has been carelessly stored.

As far as the dreaded "rolling Shutter" effect is concerned, I couldn't see any sign of that on any of the action sequences, and I was actively looking for it.

I didn't think the low-light performance was all that good. The shadow areas tended to take on that "peeling skin" effect you get when there aren't enough bits to adequately define the level variations.

Overall, the result is more than acceptable, at least for DVD and SD Digital TV, can't comment on HD.

I definitely think a lower budget TV movie is a better test bed for a new camera than the "hothouse flowers" environment of a nine-digit blockbuster.

More work is probably needed on the workflow....
  • 0

#2 Hans Engstrom

Hans Engstrom
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 195 posts
  • 1st Assistant Camera
  • Sweden

Posted 21 January 2009 - 12:39 AM

Thanks for the review but I´m guessing that what you call "low-light performance" is actually compression artifacts introduced somewhere in post, as it´s a DVD movie. The low light capability of the camera is impossible to judge from a DVD as you don´t know how it was lit and what was done in post.
  • 0

#3 Keith Walters

Keith Walters
  • Sustaining Members
  • 2219 posts
  • Other
  • Sydney Australia

Posted 21 January 2009 - 01:23 AM

Thanks for the review but I´m guessing that what you call "low-light performance" is actually compression artifacts introduced somewhere in post, as it´s a DVD movie. The low light capability of the camera is impossible to judge from a DVD as you don´t know how it was lit and what was done in post.

I've been hearing that argument from digital apologists for at least ten years, and it doesn't really hold up. I never see the same effect with film-sourced material, no matter how cheap the production. I tend to thnik on a production of that size, you're going to see it as good as it is going to get.

For every major technological defect of digital cameras, it seems there is somebody wanting to blame it on "compression". Or a "bad transfer". Or a (ha, ha) "Creative choice". Which to me suggests somebody was satisfied with lousy equipment, minimum wage post production personnel, or they're barking mad...

The problem is not so much lack of low-light sensitivity but what happens when you simultaneously try to capture dark areas and bright areas in the one frame. If you close the iris down so that it doesn't overload on highlights, the darker areas wind up being captured on the bottom few steps of the 1000-2000 step (or so) grayscale. You can compress the whites easily enough, but when you try to stretch the blacks to fill in the gap, you get the skin peeling effect.

I don't care, anyway. Like it or not, most of the decision makers are going to be evaluating the results exactly the same way I am. In this industry you don't get any prizes for trying, only for succeeding.
  • 0

#4 Neil Duffy

Neil Duffy
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 36 posts
  • Other
  • USA

Posted 21 January 2009 - 03:10 AM

Thanks for the review.
  • 0

#5 Michel Hafner

Michel Hafner
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 300 posts
  • Other

Posted 21 January 2009 - 05:40 AM

If you live in US you can see a RED shot film right now at the cinema: My Bloody Valentine 3-D
At Sundance several are playing as well.
I see, you are in Australia. At the latest "Knowing" should do the trick for you. From 'your' Alex Proyas.

Edited by Michel Hafner, 21 January 2009 - 05:43 AM.

  • 0

#6 Keith Walters

Keith Walters
  • Sustaining Members
  • 2219 posts
  • Other
  • Sydney Australia

Posted 21 January 2009 - 06:15 AM

If you live in US you can see a RED shot film right now at the cinema: My Bloody Valentine 3-D
At Sundance several are playing as well.
I see, you are in Australia. At the latest "Knowing" should do the trick for you. From 'your' Alex Proyas.

I'm really only interested in movies or TV shows that everybody can access in the normal manner. I'm sure there's any amount of RED footage out there, but most of it seems to be local ads or music videos for artists who nobody has heard of.

Sundance or similar festivals are of no interest to me, and most of the mainstream movies that appear in US cinemas come out here at exactly or almost exactly the same time.

For what it's worth, what I saw on Librarian 3 would be plenty good enough for prime time, as long as the resolution holds up, and I can't seen why it wouldn't.
There's nothing particularly wrong with the pictures, the main reason the RED hasn't gained much traction so far can be put down to workflow, reliability issues and people being put off by excessively evangelistic Fanboys (and some outright loonies) :lol:

The proper marketing approach would have been to make something that fits the existing 2K/1920 workflow the way PV/Sony did with the F23/Genesis, but with 4K Redcode as a option and the additional possibility of 4K archival for future use. That way the angle would have been that for not too much money you can use the same tools the big boys are using, rather than having a lot of airheads going round telling the industry that it must change to suit them.

'Cause it won't...
  • 0

#7 Matthew Rogers

Matthew Rogers
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 175 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Knoxville, TN

Posted 21 January 2009 - 09:53 AM

I saw L3 when it was broadcasted here in the US and I didn't think it looked all that great. I've seen much better RED footage on TV than from it. I think Knowing will be a good example. You can see it in a high rez digital print, or a film print.

Matthew
  • 0

#8 John Sprung

John Sprung
  • Sustaining Members
  • 4635 posts
  • Other

Posted 21 January 2009 - 03:08 PM

I saw L3 when it was broadcasted here in the US ...

I saw clips from it on a 30 ft. screen from an NEC 1600 projector at their post facility open house. They also had a reel of other Red stuff, including a couple shots from "Manure". Every movie has shots that are better than average, and shots that the DP wishes were better than they are. What they put in their selects reel all holds up fine on a big screen.



-- J.S.
  • 0

#9 Keith Walters

Keith Walters
  • Sustaining Members
  • 2219 posts
  • Other
  • Sydney Australia

Posted 21 January 2009 - 03:33 PM

What they put in their selects reel all holds up fine on a big screen.
-- J.S.

Exactly. The real test is to demonstrate a complete a complete show or movie where you have to shoot and display everything it says in the script, not just Cherry-Pick the bits that happen to look particularly good ro you.

The whole thing about Librarian 3 is that is was done on a modest budget, with (I would presume) only limited "Fix it in Post" resources, and it scrubbed up quite well.
  • 0

#10 John Sprung

John Sprung
  • Sustaining Members
  • 4635 posts
  • Other

Posted 21 January 2009 - 04:09 PM

The whole thing about Librarian 3 is that is was done on a modest budget, with (I would presume) only limited "Fix it in Post" resources, and it scrubbed up quite well.


Here's their post facility:

http://www.electric-...x.php?page=post

It's all under one roof, all in the Final Cut/Pro-Res framework with other software such as Maya, Shake, Nuendo, etc., all on one big server.



-- J.S.
  • 0

#11 Keith Walters

Keith Walters
  • Sustaining Members
  • 2219 posts
  • Other
  • Sydney Australia

Posted 21 January 2009 - 07:25 PM

Here's their post facility:

http://www.electric-...x.php?page=post

It's all under one roof, all in the Final Cut/Pro-Res framework with other software such as Maya, Shake, Nuendo, etc., all on one big server.

-- J.S.

Regardless, you still have to pay per hour to have people fix your errors, and the budget for a TV movie will normally only allow for so much.
Wading through dozens of almost identical and identically-inept takes will soon have the numbers whirring and rattling in the meter box....

Does Electric Entertainment handle Redcode RAW directly?
  • 0

#12 John Sprung

John Sprung
  • Sustaining Members
  • 4635 posts
  • Other

Posted 21 January 2009 - 08:19 PM

Does Electric Entertainment handle Redcode RAW directly?

My understanding is that they convert .R3D to Apple's Pro-Res and work that way throughout post.



-- J.S.
  • 0

#13 Keith Walters

Keith Walters
  • Sustaining Members
  • 2219 posts
  • Other
  • Sydney Australia

Posted 21 January 2009 - 09:29 PM

My understanding is that they convert .R3D to Apple's Pro-Res and work that way throughout post.
-- J.S.

Their website is still somewhat "under construction"

Do you know if it is a fully "One Stop Shop" or does that only apply to R3ED and the like?

They talk about their "Tapeless Workflow", but they don't mention what facilities they have for importing footage from outside the tapeless universe

You can actually get a free @electric-entertainment.net email address, although mine appears to have a few bugs in it!
  • 0

#14 John Sprung

John Sprung
  • Sustaining Members
  • 4635 posts
  • Other

Posted 22 January 2009 - 02:30 PM

Well, they don't have a wet lab or telecine, and they send tape transfer and duplication jobs out to the older houses that have row after row of rack after rack of machines. There's so much of that capacity in town that it would make no sense at all to duplicate it. I think they have a few HDV machines, but no D-5 or HDcam SR. They physically move drives or LTO's back and forth a few blocks to Laser-Pacific, Encore, Post Group, etc. For short items like trailers, it's more convenient to go by wire.

For their shows, everything that requires a creative decision is under their roof. That's the beauty of it all.





-- J.S.
  • 0

#15 Patrizio De Sica

Patrizio De Sica
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 185 posts
  • Director

Posted 25 January 2009 - 09:00 AM

As far as the dreaded "rolling Shutter" effect is concerned, I couldn't see any sign of that on any of the action sequences, and I was actively looking for it.


Sure you were... :lol:

:P
  • 0

#16 jan von krogh

jan von krogh
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 454 posts
  • Producer

Posted 27 January 2009 - 12:27 AM

In this industry you don't get any prizes for trying, only for succeeding.


This might be one of the reasons why so many folks, which are paid way better than you, are are using red.
  • 0

#17 Keith Walters

Keith Walters
  • Sustaining Members
  • 2219 posts
  • Other
  • Sydney Australia

Posted 27 January 2009 - 12:58 AM

This might be one of the reasons why so many folks, which are paid way better than you, are are using red.

????
I start a thread to point out that I was actually impressed with the RED (after having spent 2 years listening to people raving about the image quality, but never until now once encountering any examples myself!) and this is your response....

Oh that's right; weren't you the one trying to pass off obvious chromatic aberration of a RED zoom as compression artefacts some time back?

I think I said something else in this thread that pretty well wraps up the situation.
  • 0


rebotnix Technologies

Abel Cine

Opal

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Rig Wheels Passport

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Metropolis Post

Paralinx LLC

CineLab

Visual Products

Aerial Filmworks

FJS International, LLC

Glidecam

CineTape

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Wooden Camera

The Slider

Tai Audio

Ritter Battery

Willys Widgets

Technodolly

Opal

Visual Products

Willys Widgets

Tai Audio

Metropolis Post

Paralinx LLC

Ritter Battery

Technodolly

Rig Wheels Passport

Wooden Camera

CineTape

rebotnix Technologies

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Abel Cine

The Slider

FJS International, LLC

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Aerial Filmworks

Glidecam

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

CineLab