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Cinelicious Diamond Clear HD?


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#1 Joe Riggs

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 03:46 PM

Anyone tried Cinelicious Diamond Clear HD? experiences? thoughts?

http://www.cinelicious.tv/?page_id=18
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#2 Tom Hepburn

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 03:55 PM

Anyone tried Cinelicious Diamond Clear HD? experiences? thoughts?

http://www.cinelicious.tv/?page_id=18



Are you sure you've got the right link there Joe?

Says, "can't be found"

Tom
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#3 Joe Riggs

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 04:04 PM

Are you sure you've got the right link there Joe?

Says, "can't be found"

Tom


My apologies, try http://www.cinelicious.tv/?page_id=6
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#4 Bruce Taylor

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 04:23 PM

Hi Joe,

Yes, I've seen it, and I like it. A friend was doing a personal project with my 35mm gear, 4 perf both sperical and anamorphic. He did the HD flavor at cinelicious, and sent me a dvd copy of the raw transfered footage.

I will preface this by saying I am far from a post workflow expert, but my eyes work okay. I played it through my home system (42" Sony Brevia) and it had, for my eyes, about the same clarity and freedom from noise of commercially transfered big budget movie dvd's. Especially if the final deliverable is a dvd, it works well.

Paul, the owner of cinelicious, showed me some side by side comparisons of his "diamond clear HD" and 1080p HD on an Apple monitor. The 1080p was a little clearer. I only shoot personal projects, so for me- given the fact that he charges about a third of regular transfer houses and it goes straight to harddrive- that makes it a no brainer.

I rent my 35mm gear to a number of student productions who transfer at Cinelicious and I have heard back that they have all been pleased with the work.

My .02!

If you are local you should try to get over and have someone there provide a demo or dvd, you should see it for yourself.

Bruce Taylor
www.indi35.com
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#5 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 04:42 PM

I was a bit dissapointed the time I used it until I realized it certainly has its place in the cinematographer's tools (and post services) arsenal.

Since the Diamond Clear scanner is a Rank Cintel machine originally not intended for HD resolution and it is tube based, it has limitations as to what one can achieve with it. It can handle properly exposed and over exposed footage like a champ. Some of the footage I sent them I had underexposed up to 2 stops (night shots, tunnels, etc) and came out noisy and muddy in the low light areas. The limitations of the tube based technology clearly showed there. Also, most scenery _such as some wide angle shots of the Pacific coast_ didn't benefit from the Diamond HD lower resolution.

So I have learned what footage to send them to accomodae for the Diamond scanner's limitations. I have an upcoming ultra low budget feature on 16mm that will be sent to them for transfering, except _you guessed it_ night (or creatively underexposed) shots and wide-angle scenery. The bulk of the movie will though, so we will save a bundle by not transfering everyhing on a Spirit _which is what I normally use_ and making the best of both technologies.
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#6 Hunter Hampton

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 08:14 PM

Im a bit biased because Paul is a friend of mine but here is my honest opinion about the Diamond clear HD:

Its not as sharp as you would get with a spirit transfer but it does have a certain "vibe" from the tubes that I really like.

I did a transfer of some super 16mm at cinelicious and then transfered the same roll on a spirit (both to 1080p Prores). The spirit was of course super clean and sharp and look VERY modern, but lacked the "vibe" that I saw from Ursa Diamond. I prefer the look of the tubes and love what it does for color on the Ursa Diamond, but its not as sharp as the spirit.

If you were shooting for broadcast and wanted the "vibe", I would suggest transferring with the Diamond clear HD set-up at cinelicous, but if it were going to a large screen venue or if you wanted a super clean image, a spirit transfer may be a better option for the sharpness factor. Just remember, this is a service that is about 1/2 the cost of transferring on a spirit, dont expect it to be apples to apples.

However, I did just transfer some 35mm at cinelicious and it was as sharp as the super 16mm stuff I had transfered on the spirit, I dont think you would notice a huge difference with 35mm between the two unless you were going to be showing the work on a very large screen.

Paul is a great guy and if you call him and ask him your questions, you can trust him to give you an honest answer.

Edited by hunter richards, 24 March 2009 - 08:16 PM.

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#7 Roger Richards

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 11:10 PM

Hunter, I have watched your A-Minima footage and it looks pretty good, even raw. If for a documentary, would 'the vibe' of the Diamond Clear HD for Super 16, in your opinion, be acceptable?

Im a bit biased because Paul is a friend of mine but here is my honest opinion about the Diamond clear HD:

Its not as sharp as you would get with a spirit transfer but it does have a certain "vibe" from the tubes that I really like.

I did a transfer of some super 16mm at cinelicious and then transfered the same roll on a spirit (both to 1080p Prores). The spirit was of course super clean and sharp and look VERY modern, but lacked the "vibe" that I saw from Ursa Diamond. I prefer the look of the tubes and love what it does for color on the Ursa Diamond, but its not as sharp as the spirit.

If you were shooting for broadcast and wanted the "vibe", I would suggest transferring with the Diamond clear HD set-up at cinelicous, but if it were going to a large screen venue or if you wanted a super clean image, a spirit transfer may be a better option for the sharpness factor. Just remember, this is a service that is about 1/2 the cost of transferring on a spirit, dont expect it to be apples to apples.

However, I did just transfer some 35mm at cinelicious and it was as sharp as the super 16mm stuff I had transfered on the spirit, I dont think you would notice a huge difference with 35mm between the two unless you were going to be showing the work on a very large screen.

Paul is a great guy and if you call him and ask him your questions, you can trust him to give you an honest answer.


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#8 Hunter Hampton

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Posted 25 March 2009 - 01:17 AM

If you consider the footage I shot acceptable for a doc, then I think that answers your question. ; )

Edited by hunter richards, 25 March 2009 - 01:18 AM.

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#9 Roger Richards

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Posted 25 March 2009 - 08:48 AM

Touché ;-) great answer. I watched your '600 feet' short on Vimeo and was just wondering how it looked on a larger screen, although great small you can't judge how it will hold up. My benchmark is a 42" widescreen. If it looks good that size it works for my purposes. I have been in touch with Paul and have some footage that will be sent to him so I can eyeball it for myself. He seems like a really nice and straight-forward guy. Cinelicious could make a big difference for the indie doc I am working on, being shot with an Aaton XTR Plus and Zeiss/Optex 12-120.


If you consider the footage I shot acceptable for a doc, then I think that answers your question. ; )


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#10 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 27 March 2009 - 01:35 AM

Im a bit biased because Paul is a friend of mine but here is my honest opinion about the Diamond clear HD:
Its not as sharp as you would get with a spirit transfer but it does have a certain "vibe" from the tubes that I really like.

Since the Diamond Clear scanner is a Rank Cintel machine originally not intended for HD resolution and it is tube based, it has limitations as to what one can achieve with it. The limitations of the tube based technology clearly showed there.



A couple of things one should realize about these machines are that both technologies can make quality pictures and each has it's limitations.

The Spirit-1 is fast becoming passe in the world of high end commercial post due to it's limitations. The Spirit-1 actually only samples color (physically at the CCD line array at half resolution making it a 4:2:2 machine) also the Spirit uses allot of electronic processing to make up color and especially to do sharpening. I have never been entirely happy with the way the Spirit looks and I think this is due to the heavy sharpening.

I have used several newer Tube based machines like the successor to the URSA Diamond the Cintel DSX that was sitting next to a Spirit and it did not lack for sharpness or color and it is ultimately capable of 4K scans which is much more actual resolution than the Spirit. I felt the DSX (and Millenium or Nova) had nicer color and was a little less buzzy than the Spirit but if you saw a national spot transfered on a DSX followed by another transfered on the Spirit you might not be able to tell them apart.

CRT based machines are naturally full bandwidth color (4:4:4) or RGB and require far less processing of that side of the informaton. Sharpness in a newer machine is a combination of how well controlled the flying spot is and digital aperture correction in the signal chain. Newer Spirit machines do full bandwidth sampling (Spirit HD,2k,4K) but are tremendously expensive and still don't match scans from a Arriscan or Northlight, Imagica, etc.

So to get back to the SD Cintel machine.. it still retains it's color bandwith and pleasing natural light processing. As long as the tube is good and the scan system is maximizing the sharpness of the 10bit SDI data it makes one of the best quality sources to drive into a Teranex box for up-res. It is amazing how close to a full HD scan you can get the SD feed to look.

Rob
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#11 Roger Richards

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Posted 27 March 2009 - 05:24 PM

Robert, thanks very much for the detailed overview, quite informative.



A couple of things one should realize about these machines are that both technologies can make quality pictures and each has it's limitations.

The Spirit-1 is fast becoming passe in the world of high end commercial post due to it's limitations. The Spirit-1 actually only samples color (physically at the CCD line array at half resolution making it a 4:2:2 machine) also the Spirit uses allot of electronic processing to make up color and especially to do sharpening. I have never been entirely happy with the way the Spirit looks and I think this is due to the heavy sharpening.

I have used several newer Tube based machines like the successor to the URSA Diamond the Cintel DSX that was sitting next to a Spirit and it did not lack for sharpness or color and it is ultimately capable of 4K scans which is much more actual resolution than the Spirit. I felt the DSX (and Millenium or Nova) had nicer color and was a little less buzzy than the Spirit but if you saw a national spot transfered on a DSX followed by another transfered on the Spirit you might not be able to tell them apart.

CRT based machines are naturally full bandwidth color (4:4:4) or RGB and require far less processing of that side of the informaton. Sharpness in a newer machine is a combination of how well controlled the flying spot is and digital aperture correction in the signal chain. Newer Spirit machines do full bandwidth sampling (Spirit HD,2k,4K) but are tremendously expensive and still don't match scans from a Arriscan or Northlight, Imagica, etc.

So to get back to the SD Cintel machine.. it still retains it's color bandwith and pleasing natural light processing. As long as the tube is good and the scan system is maximizing the sharpness of the 10bit SDI data it makes one of the best quality sources to drive into a Teranex box for up-res. It is amazing how close to a full HD scan you can get the SD feed to look.

Rob


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#12 Paul Korver

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Posted 28 March 2009 - 09:49 AM

Thanks for the kind words Bruce and Hunter. And your tech expertise Rob. And your sincere feedback Saul.

I appreciate the honest discussion about what we're up to with our "Diamond Clear HD". After a year of being in business it definitely has it's place in the market and we've been getting great feedback from a lot of people who appreciate access to a good-looking, progressive, 1080p HD picture at SD prices. We feel like it's a great option for people shooting projects that are either meant for small-screen where budget is a concern (music videos, commercial reels, docs, PSAs, industrials), or for indie features that have yet to get a distribution deal. Our ProRes 422 HQ workflow allows them to transfer ALL their film at a dailies price, but what their left with after editorial is a no-hassle, no-offline, conform-free HD final timeline that stays above HDCAM resolution (Pro Res 422 HQ is 10-bit lossless 1920x1080 vs. HDCAM which is 8-bit lossy 1440x1080). Because we also deliver frame-accurate quicktime files with embedded timecode that matches the "punch" on each reel... indie filmmakers who are lucky enough to get a distribution deal preserve their ability to go back and do a 2K or 4K DI by exporting a C-mode EDL (ascending timecode based edl) from their editing timeline. Because seriously... who wants to keep track of keycode on a floppy disc they got from telecine? Some post houses still do this! Its so 1995. Does anyone out there even have a floppy drive anymore? That's hilarious and bass-akwards if you ask me.

This workflow also allows us to really excel at mixed media projects as we're very "direct-to-drive" savvy and can output any flavor of video to drag-and-drop film footage allowing render-free mixed media timelines when mixing film with footage from the HVX, EX1/3 etc., at any format, framerate or compression codec.

In terms of the picture quality those who have the money to be concerned with 444 or SR should look elsewhere. It's a 422 HD signal that's being uprezzed with pull-down removed on-the-fly and is generally 90-95% as sharp as a true HD scan from a Spirit or other HD scanner. I will say that I got completely obsessed with finding the best possible uprez scenario before putting together this system.

First there was the source signal. Tests uprezzing from 422 2.3:1 compressed D-Beta looked like garbage and were full of artifacts. In fact even 422 uncompressed signals showed compression artifacts that made it unusable (as an end product) to my eye. I knew I wanted to find a 444 signal that was oversampled if possible. That's when I discovered the Diamond Clear card and specifically sought out an URSA Diamond that actually had a Diamond Clear card in it which was difficult. (Saul, you may be interested to know that not all URSA Diamonds are created equal) Strangely, not all URSA Diamonds have the oversampling "Diamond Clear" (aka "DAV") processing card that oversamples the image to help with moire. In fact most do not. Most have have Scandal instead which does not oversample the image but twists it instead. When RIOT was selling their last 2 Diamonds one had the Diamond Clear card and the other did not. I bought the one with Diamond Clear card and Spectra got the other.

Second was the uprez processing. (Rob, you may be interested to know we're not using Teranex) Being nearly broke I tested all the lower-end uprez solutions from KONA, Blackmagic, the Teranex Mini, and Cobalt Digital and found them all lacking either in picture quality or their inability to identify A-frames on the fly and remove pull-down during transfer. Some had subpar picture quality, and they all were limited in that they could only get from 525i to 1080i (not 1080p) due to the complicated task of a-frame buffering & identification. Finally with a lot of trial and error, a better uprez card, and a complicated combination of SD and tri-level sync generators, I was able to find a more expensive uprez solution (about $15K) that got me a 1080p (or 720p) signal that my conscience would allow me to charge money for... A signal I would be happy with for the price.... and "Diamond Clear HD" was born.

I hope this wasn't TMI... Just wanted you to know that more thought went into developing this than sticking a Teranex Mini or KONA card on the end of any old SD telecine machine.

Looking forward to working with you guys in the future... which by the way won't always be an uprez out of my converted garage :) . We're just getting started. I expect we'll offering a higher-end 2k & 4K data-based workflow in a "real" facility the coming year... but we'll be keeping our Diamond Clear to continue to support people who like that workflow and price point.

Best,

Paul

Edited by Paul Korver, 28 March 2009 - 09:53 AM.

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#13 Paul Korver

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Posted 03 April 2009 - 09:48 AM

First there was the source signal. Tests uprezzing from 422 2.3:1 compressed D-Beta looked like garbage and were full of artifacts. In fact even 422 uncompressed signals showed compression artifacts that made it unusable (as an end product) to my eye. I knew I wanted to find a 444 signal that was oversampled if possible. That's when I discovered the Diamond Clear card and specifically sought out an URSA Diamond that actually had a Diamond Clear card in it which was difficult. (Saul, you may be interested to know that not all URSA Diamonds are created equal) Strangely, not all URSA Diamonds have the oversampling "Diamond Clear" (aka "DAV") processing card that oversamples the image to help with moire. In fact most do not. Most have have Scandal instead which does not oversample the image but twists it instead. When RIOT was selling their last 2 Diamonds one had the Diamond Clear card and the other did not. I bought the one with Diamond Clear card and Spectra got the other.

Second was the uprez processing. (Rob, you may be interested to know we're not using Teranex) Being nearly broke I tested all the lower-end uprez solutions from KONA, Blackmagic, the Teranex Mini, and Cobalt Digital and found them all lacking either in picture quality or their inability to identify A-frames on the fly and remove pull-down during transfer. Some had subpar picture quality, and they all were limited in that they could only get from 525i to 1080i (not 1080p) due to the complicated task of a-frame buffering & identification. Finally with a lot of trial and error, a better uprez card, and a complicated combination of SD and tri-level sync generators, I was able to find a more expensive uprez solution (about $15K) that got me a 1080p (or 720p) signal that my conscience would allow me to charge money for... A signal I would be happy with for the price.... and "Diamond Clear HD" was born.

I hope this wasn't TMI... Just wanted you to know that more thought went into developing this than sticking a Teranex Mini or KONA card on the end of any old SD telecine machine.


Any thoughts Rob? I noticed in some other post that you were offering 1080 Pro Res dailies which I can only assume is an uprez from your Capernicus. I know you're a smart guy. What has been your take on the quality of your uprez? Is it 422 or 444 to start? And were you able to get from 525i to 1080 23.98psf on the fly?
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#14 Michael Kubaszak

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Posted 03 April 2009 - 10:48 PM

I think I might be sold on cinelicious for my short. Am going to call around monday morning.
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#15 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 03 April 2009 - 11:33 PM

Any thoughts Rob? I noticed in some other post that you were offering 1080 Pro Res dailies which I can only assume is an uprez from your Capernicus. I know you're a smart guy. What has been your take on the quality of your uprez? Is it 422 or 444 to start? And were you able to get from 525i to 1080 23.98psf on the fly?



We have two machines running right now both have all the Dave Walker mods plus 10 bit framestores. We have the Copernicus 4X4 on one and a DaVinci 888DUI. I just got a Teranex Mini to try out HD Up-Rez from these machines. I am pretty impressed with just that and we have done a few S8 to HD jobs and everyone was happy. We are just doing 525i to 1080i or 625i PAL to 1080i50 which is not a sophisticated as what Cinelicious is doing. I may get the more sophisticated Teranex processor in the future (the mini is $3K and the Processor is $14K) With a telecine that is in top shape the HD output is very good and for Broadcast or Blueray presentation you might not see a huge difference from a much more expensive Spirit transfer.

Keep in mind that the Spirit-1 is a subsampled machine in many ways and has allot of video processing which leaves me a little flat compared to other scans (Millenium/DSX in tube land or Arri, etc. in scanners) We are probably not going to try to do interlaced to 23.98PsF from our legacy telecine any time soon as we will be installing at least two scanners fairly soon (a fast 2K and a 4K+) but I would say that Cinelicious has probably worked out the bugs and has a method that I would go with if I did not own a lab of my own :rolleyes:

-Rob-
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