Jump to content


Photo

Producer Dean Devlin pursues a digital future--


  • Please log in to reply
9 replies to this topic

#1 Keith Walters

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

Posted 08 February 2009 - 05:36 PM

Producer Dean Devlin pursues a digital future

This is really about Electric Pictures, best known for the TNT "Librarian" series, and well, not all that much actually.

The reporter does seem a tad confused.

Like so many others, he seems to be under the impression that all-digital Post-Production is somehow exclusively "owned" by footage captured by digital cameras, even though film scanning is mentioned eg:

"For example, two weeks' worth of film color correction, costing $20,000 to $40,000, could be around 17 percent less done digitally."

???
Why is colour correction cheaper for digitally captured footage than film captured footage? Or is he talking about traditional film processing? Is that relevant to an all-digital Post chain?

In any case, if you're not bothered by the fact that at the end of the day you still have something that was shot on video, and you remain unshakeably convinced that you will somehow be valued more for that, I could think of a whole lot of mundane yet more compelling reasons to shoot video instead of film.
(Don't get me wrong, while Electric Pictures did a perfectly acceptable job on the three Librarian movies, it still would have looked better shot on film).

"And digital footage allows images to be blown up as much as 200 percent with no loss of quality, compared to 10 to 15 percent with film."

Say whaa...?
  • 0

#2 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 19759 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 08 February 2009 - 07:47 PM

"For example, two weeks' worth of film color correction, costing $20,000 to $40,000, could be around 17 percent less done digitally."

"And digital footage allows images to be blown up as much as 200 percent with no loss of quality, compared to 10 to 15 percent with film."


This is the problem when a producer with some technical knowledge talks to a reporter with no technical knowledge...

Most film is color-corrected digitally, and always for television. Maybe he's referring to the costs of stock, processing, and telecine transfer, not color-correction. If you are shooting 7,000' of 35mm per day on a 2-camera show, then after ten days (2 weeks), that's about 70,000' to buy, process, and transfer to HD. In fact, the stock alone may come to $30,000.

Of course, he said "17% less than film" so maybe he is referring to color-correction costs, in that he can eliminate a dailies colorist when he shoots in HD or on the RED. I don't know, it's rather vague. But it's sort of a no-brainer (and not really newsworthy) that TV shows are cheaper to shoot digitally. The real news is more that you can get away with it more and more these days as the quality rises for digital camera imagery.

You can get away with enlarging digital images a little more for TV than with film images because there is no grain being magnified, creating a mismatch. I question anyone, however, who makes claims that you can blow up for 200% without any loss of quality. If that were true, why not just shoot on a 2/3" SD camera for these shows even for HD broadcast? If a 100% blow-up of a 35mm sensor image makes it a defacto 16mm sensor image, would 200% mean that he was getting away with just using an 8mm area of the sensor?
  • 0

#3 Keith Walters

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

Posted 08 February 2009 - 08:43 PM

The real news is more that you can get away with it more and more these days as the quality rises for digital camera imagery.

Just so. There is a vast difference, though between "getting away with it" and having a perceptibly better product.
We can all admire people who, by the application of ingenuity and hard work, manage to slip something through the system that looks like it was made with much more expensive equipment and resources.
But as soon as that happens, we seem to get inundated by any number of talentless clods, unshakeably convinced that they are going to produce something of equivalent quality, with the same cheap equipment but with zero ingenuity and hard work.

By the way, (for the benefit of the significant percentage of visitors who are apparently only capable of reading every third line, word or paragraph:) your post above indicates you're quoting me, when those are actually quotes from the article.

If a 100% blow-up of a 35mm sensor image makes it a defacto 16mm sensor image, would 200% mean that he was getting away with just using an 8mm area of the sensor?

Algorithms my boy! It's all done with Algorithms. If you have the right algorithms you can do anything:-)
Where you actually GET them from is another question....

Edited by Keith Walters, 08 February 2009 - 08:47 PM.

  • 0

#4 DJ Joofa

DJ Joofa
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 149 posts
  • Other

Posted 08 February 2009 - 10:38 PM

Algorithms my boy! It's all done with Algorithms. If you have the right algorithms you can do anything:-)


Nope, David is right. A 200% blowup would suffer in sharpness and would appear blurry.
  • 0

#5 Keith Walters

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

Posted 09 February 2009 - 07:42 AM

Nope, David is right. A 200% blowup would suffer in sharpness and would appear blurry.

What?!! Are you implying that it's NOT possible to put back what wasn't there in the first place?!! :lol:

Look, I was joking. The same basic discussion has take place here over and over again.
It starts when somebody claims to have made some sort of signal processing breakthrough which is simply impossible.
When asked to explain how it is possible, they inevitably respond with a weasel statement to the effect of: "If you have the right algorithms, you can do it."
The response to that is to the effect of: "Oh, yeah, and you've developed these algorithms have you?"
The response to that is inavariably dead silence.

Certain people here have made and continue to make claims which, not to put too fine a point on it, are utterly absurd. I am not going to start up another ridiculous argument trying to refute them, but if anybody asks me personally they will get a full and detailed description of why these statements are arrant nonsense, with diagrams!
  • 0

#6 Adrian Sierkowski

Adrian Sierkowski
  • Sustaining Members
  • 7115 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles, Ca

Posted 09 February 2009 - 08:30 AM

Diagrams you say... That's heresy!
Producers are beginning to frighten me more and more, as it seems these days it's more about the bottom line than the finished product. Granted, this my be due to my own naive beliefs, not having been around too much so in the pre-digital days, but still-- you'd think a producer would want to produce the best possible product as opposed to the prettiest looking budget.
  • 0

#7 John Sprung

John Sprung
  • Sustaining Members
  • 4635 posts
  • Other

Posted 09 February 2009 - 03:28 PM

... -- you'd think a producer would want to produce the best possible product as opposed to the prettiest looking budget.


It's not as simple as maximize quality, no matter the price, nor is it minimize cost, no matter the quality. What a producer wants to do is compare the available price/performance points, and select the one that best fits the project. For any given project, there's a budget bottom line above which it won't get a green light. Some other show, with a better return on investment, will get the green light instead.





-- J.S.
  • 0

#8 Adrian Sierkowski

Adrian Sierkowski
  • Sustaining Members
  • 7115 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles, Ca

Posted 09 February 2009 - 03:30 PM

Quite true John, quite true.
  • 0

#9 John Sprung

John Sprung
  • Sustaining Members
  • 4635 posts
  • Other

Posted 09 February 2009 - 03:36 PM

Algorithms my boy! It's all done with Algorithms. If you have the right algorithms you can do anything:-)


That reminds me of some commercials that ran here a while back. They were done with some process that took live action footage, and converted it in a sort of automated rotoscope into extremely sharp but simple and crude cartoon like images. So, yes you can have all the sharpness you want -- even from the equivalent of an 8mm size sensor -- provided you're willing to give up a few other things such as dynamic range, color gamut, and any sembalance of real world objects. ;-)





-- J.S.
  • 0

#10 John Sprung

John Sprung
  • Sustaining Members
  • 4635 posts
  • Other

Posted 09 February 2009 - 03:49 PM

This is really about Electric Pictures, best known for the TNT "Librarian" series, and well, not all that much actually.


They have another TNT show, "Leverage", and a few music videos and other stuff. They haven't been at it all that long, and they've done quite a lot in that short time. I went to their post facility open house. It's very nicely set up for their style of working. Devlin himself is an interesting character, tremendous energy and enthusiasm.




-- J.S.
  • 0


Paralinx LLC

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Rig Wheels Passport

Metropolis Post

Opal

Willys Widgets

Tai Audio

Abel Cine

Aerial Filmworks

FJS International, LLC

Visual Products

rebotnix Technologies

Wooden Camera

Ritter Battery

Glidecam

Technodolly

CineLab

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

The Slider

CineTape

CineLab

Abel Cine

Visual Products

Paralinx LLC

Aerial Filmworks

Wooden Camera

Glidecam

Rig Wheels Passport

CineTape

Technodolly

Tai Audio

FJS International, LLC

rebotnix Technologies

Metropolis Post

The Slider

Willys Widgets

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Ritter Battery

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Opal

Gamma Ray Digital Inc