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16mm and VFX


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#1 Jeremy M Lundborg

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Posted 23 February 2009 - 04:04 PM

Curious as to whether using 16mm for VFX composite work is realistic. How would one rate 7218 in order to get a dense enough negative for a cleaner image, clean enough for post-work?

35mm would be fantastic, but the budget isn't present as the VFX are being done as a favor. We are also shooting some high speed so 16mm is obviously more reasonable.


Thank you.
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#2 Scott Fritzshall

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Posted 23 February 2009 - 05:00 PM

Super16 frankly kind of sucks for VFX. It's significantly lower in resolution, much more grainy, more difficult to key, and has significant problems with stability. It's not impossible to do effects with it, but it is significantly more difficult, and it probably increases the likeliness that you'll get results that you're not satisfied with.
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#3 K Borowski

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Posted 23 February 2009 - 05:03 PM

Curious as to whether using 16mm for VFX composite work is realistic. How would one rate 7218 in order to get a dense enough negative for a cleaner image, clean enough for post-work?

35mm would be fantastic, but the budget isn't present as the VFX are being done as a favor. We are also shooting some high speed so 16mm is obviously more reasonable.


Thank you.


With Scott all the way on this one.

HD might even be a better choice than 16mm for this. Have you the money to do a comparison test, even a short one?

Maybe you could scrimp up the money for ends of 35mm?

If 16mm is a must, then I'd recommend shooting the slowest stock you can get away with, NOT '18. Even 35mm shows are/were tending towards 200T. The now defunct SFX stock was a 200 stock. Also, try to find the steadiest 16mm camera to minimize gate weave. Forget which is best in this arena. . .
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#4 David Rakoczy

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Posted 23 February 2009 - 05:07 PM

I have done a lot of VFX work on S16... using both 100t and 200t. Roto-Scoping, Flares, Lens Flares, Morphs, Skin fixes and on and on. Never had an issue. Look forward to doing some more!
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#5 K Borowski

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Posted 23 February 2009 - 05:10 PM

I have done a lot of VFX work on S16... using both 100t and 200t. Roto-Scoping, Flares, Lens Flares, Morphs, Skin fixes and on and on. Never had an issue. Look forward to doing some more!


David, what do you find to be the best 16mm camera for steadiness? What is the best stock for roto work?
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#6 John Brawley

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Posted 23 February 2009 - 05:19 PM

Curious as to whether using 16mm for VFX composite work is realistic. How would one rate 7218 in order to get a dense enough negative for a cleaner image, clean enough for post-work?

35mm would be fantastic, but the budget isn't present as the VFX are being done as a favor. We are also shooting some high speed so 16mm is obviously more reasonable.


Thank you.



Although Super 16 has a bad rep, it depends on how you shoot it.

Historically, a lot of Super 16 hasn't always been very steady, which is primary importance to a VFX artist. This was due to design of both cameras and older telecines.

These days, with the right cameras and a 2k Arri scan then you should be in at least as good a shape as with HD.

Super 16 of course gives you much better colour space to work with, and although it's not done as much these days, it can be very effective to do two passes in the grade, one for FG and one for BG which you use to generate the matte.

So, stick to steadier modern cameras (most of the Aaton's and the later Arri's, the SR3 ADVANCE and the 416) and get a modern transfer then you'll can get great results. Unfortunately, many skimp in these areas. Lots of people think of Super 16 as a cheap option, and then go cheap all the way. For high speed the problem will be that there are different flange depth tolences for the film with the most common high speed cameras, the HS SR's.

Do you need to shoot faster than 75 FPS ?

this spot was done several years ago, shot Super 16 (probably 7217) and lots of 75FPS and 50 FPS slow mo.

The pollen in this spot at the end was composited (shot 7205)

jb

Edited by John Brawley, 23 February 2009 - 05:24 PM.

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#7 David Rakoczy

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Posted 23 February 2009 - 05:20 PM

.. removing Street lights.. removing directional arrows on roads.. replacing skies... etc. etc... I pretty much shoot only S16 since leaving Hollywood and every job uses VFX in one form or another. I own a SR2 and it isn't the most steady S16 camera built but it does fine. In some cases we just steadied the frame in post during the VFX session and bam.. done.. fast & cheap. I never hesitate to involve VFX with S16 work on my Sr2. I encourage it and am grateful whenever it is as it (always) makes the image zing all the more. You know the stocks I use, 100t and 200t. I used Flying Cam and all that needs to be steadied in post.. it really is no big deal and easy to do on the Inferno.. that is (if) it even needs to be done.

Your example of S16 and VFX tells you all you need to know. Nice work John!

Go do it Jeremy.
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#8 John Brawley

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Posted 23 February 2009 - 05:36 PM

David, what do you find to be the best 16mm camera for steadiness? What is the best stock for roto work?



Hope you don't mind me jumping on this David.

The more modern 16 cameras have lateral (side to side) film support IN THE GATE. Although many obsess about registration pins, these are not as important as many think for image steadiness. Many of the steadier 16mm cameras don't actually even have registration pins.

Arri's later camera designs addressed their reputations for image instability and it's even possible to get lateral support fitted to your older arri's. As a general rule, the Arri SR ADVANCE (not the regular SR3) and the 416 are the best.

Most Aaton's have the lateral film support.

It's not very practical, but the Aaton a-minima is the steadiest and sharpest camera I've ever tested. Every time I've used it, telecine operator's and colourists comment on how sharp the images are. I had the chance to ask JPB from Aaton about this and he told me it was an accidental byproduct of their distant eye viewfinder. This feature was built into the camera so you didn't have to keep your eye on the viewfinder to stop light leaking back through the viewfinder optics. He had to totally redesign the gate and shutter area to allow a second shutter that works out of phase to the regular shutter.

Now when you look at the area between the shutter and gate, you'll notice it 's quite peculiar. There's almost no room, and a very severe cone shape funneling into the gate. This has the effect of reducing stray light bouncing around the shutter area during pulldown. JPB says this almost eliminates very slight base fogging during pulldown.

It's a bit of an impractical camera for many reasons, but it's definitely sharp !!!!


jb
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#9 David Rakoczy

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Posted 23 February 2009 - 05:45 PM

Very informative John! Thanks I did not know that. I always have my head buried in the viewfinder so fogging is not an issue and even when I do pull up to glance around (to see what can be wrapped or where craft service is.. just kidding..) I haven't seen any fogging... yes, I am a Sr2 apologist :rolleyes:
The only thing I can offer is that a SR2 is just fine for VFX.. I imagine a SR1 and Bolexes will work just fine.. heck Super 8.. because once in the Inferno, steadiness is cured.
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#10 K Borowski

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Posted 23 February 2009 - 06:09 PM

Thanks to both David and John for the further expert advice. I never would have thought it would be the A-Minima that was the steadiest S16!
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#11 John Brawley

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Posted 23 February 2009 - 06:34 PM

Thanks to both David and John for the further expert advice. I never would have thought it would be the A-Minima that was the steadiest S16!



Well Karl I rush to add, that's only in my experience, but Im sure other's will think differently.

I think Super 16 gets a bad rap, but shot well it's actually a fantastic format. Wrestler anyone ??

jb
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#12 Hunter Hampton

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Posted 23 February 2009 - 08:17 PM

Thanks to both David and John for the further expert advice. I never would have thought it would be the A-Minima that was the steadiest S16!


Score! :lol:
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#13 David Rakoczy

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Posted 23 February 2009 - 08:42 PM

Well.. that was a pretty 'loose' explanation/ description. The Camera does not deliver or hinder 'sharpness'... flange aside... it only transports Film. The Lens and Film Stock denotes sharpness. The A-minima simply won't fog if you want to see what is behind you while rolling.. big difference Hunter. :P
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#14 Hunter Hampton

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Posted 23 February 2009 - 10:03 PM

I thought I won something! ; )
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#15 John Brawley

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Posted 23 February 2009 - 10:07 PM

Well.. that was a pretty 'loose' explanation/ description. The Camera does not deliver or hinder 'sharpness'... flange aside... it only transports Film. The Lens and Film Stock denotes sharpness. The A-minima simply won't fog if you want to see what is behind you while rolling.. big difference Hunter. :P


Actually no that IS the point I was making.

if the film is moving and there's a very slight amount of activation of the grains then it will affect the overall sharpness. This is what JPB at Aaton was arguing.

Remeber the shutter isn't light proof. That's why you get flash frames. Depending on ambient light, most cameras can't shoot more than 5 seoncds a frame without a capping shutter.

I only know from the end results that it's a remarkably sharp image (lenses aside)

Have you found that Hunter ??

jb
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#16 John Brawley

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Posted 23 February 2009 - 10:10 PM

double post
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#17 David Rakoczy

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Posted 23 February 2009 - 10:26 PM

mmmmmm splitting hairs I believe John. I own a Capping Shutter and use it when shooting Time Lapse but when I first received my Norris Intervalometer I tested it without the Shutter doing 3 minute intervals pointed at the sky... no fogging. That was on my SR2. That's a frame every 3 minutes... not 24fps. Light leak at 24fps affecting sharpness.. I don't think so. Now, I use the Capping Shutter because it is recommended.. and it looks really cool!... but I believe what you heard is an Aaton "selling point". I also look up while rolling and will remember ooops better cover the eyepiece with my hand.. then go back in.. and I have never seen any fogging/ softness.
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#18 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 23 February 2009 - 10:40 PM

Thanks to both David and John for the further expert advice. I never would have thought it would be the A-Minima that was the steadiest S16!


In fact, the Eclair ACL, which predates the A-Minima by a good 30 years is also counted among the steadiest 16 mm (and by conversion) S16 mm cameras out there. Also, its shutter is separate from the mirror and it is the closest to the film plane of any camera out there that I know off, adding to the razor sharpness. I have been able to intercut ACL, Aaton LTR and A-Minima footage very seamlessly.

I love Eclair / Aaton equipment.
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#19 David Rakoczy

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Posted 23 February 2009 - 10:43 PM

Also, its shutter is separate from the mirror and it is the closest to the film plane of any camera out there that I know off, adding to the razor sharpness. I have been able to intercut ACL, Aaton LTR and A-Minima footage very seamlessly.


You could also intercut that with an Arriflex Sr1, Sr2, Sr3, 416 and Panavision Elaine...
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#20 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 23 February 2009 - 11:47 PM

You could also intercut that with an Arriflex Sr1, Sr2, Sr3, 416 and Panavision Elaine...


Right, I meant the colorist mentioned the similarities of gate steadiness among the all camera's footage.

But sure I could have intercut it with any of the cameras you mention and (properly maintained) Bolexes, CP's and Beaulieus, etc as well and no one outside of the colorist would have noticed.

I personally like equipment that works as intended. Arri is a fine manufacturer and so is PV, obviously. I just happen to own Aaton and Eclair, so I get carried away a bit.

Edited by Saul Rodgar, 23 February 2009 - 11:48 PM.

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