Jump to content


Photo

The BBC and 35mm film


  • Please log in to reply
16 replies to this topic

#1 Freya Black

Freya Black
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 4161 posts
  • Other
  • Went over the edge... Central Europe

Posted 14 June 2009 - 10:31 AM

More strangeness from the BBC regarding film formats:

2.2. 35mm Film for high definition acquisition
The following 35mm film types and stock are acceptable for high definition acquisition providing the original negative is clean and transferred directly to a high definition video format;

o 3 perf - any exposure index although an exposure index of 250 or less is preferred.
o 2 perf – only if a stock with an exposure index of 250 or less is used


Hmmm, I'm guessing this means that if you shoot normal 4perf 1.185 then they don't mind at all, just be careful with all this scary 3 perf and 2 perf stuff, I mean it uses less film right, so it's almost like that awful S16 stuff that we only allow for standard def...

Elsewhere in their document they also seem to be confusing lines and pixels. The other major broadcaster here did this recently on a submission directly to the national regulator who very politely ignored them and pretended they hadn't done it. I might expect this kind of stuff if I go into Dixons or Currys or something but not from the technical departments of the leading broadcasters. *sigh*

Oh well.

love

Freya
  • 0

#2 K Borowski

K Borowski
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 3905 posts
  • Camera Operator
  • I.A.T.S.E. Local # 600 Eastern Region

Posted 14 June 2009 - 01:01 PM

No prints allowed too!

Hope they aren't planning on playing any "Star Trek" or "Murder, She Wrote" reruns! ;-)
  • 0

#3 David Auner aac

David Auner aac
  • Sustaining Members
  • 1117 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 15 June 2009 - 01:37 AM

2.2. 35mm Film for high definition acquisition
The following 35mm film types and stock are acceptable for high definition acquisition providing the original negative is clean and transferred directly to a high definition video format;

o 3 perf - any exposure index although an exposure index of 250 or less is preferred.
o 2 perf – only if a stock with an exposure index of 250 or less is used


Did this really originate from the tech department? Maybe it's some tight-rear-end-bureaucrat higher up the food chain? Or are they trying to drive someone out of business?

Cheers, Dave
  • 0

#4 Paul Bruening

Paul Bruening

    (deceased)

  • Sustaining Members
  • 2858 posts
  • Producer
  • Oxford, Mississippi

Posted 15 June 2009 - 08:53 AM

I don't mind seeing 2-perf getting the rubber stamp, though.
  • 0

#5 Phil Rhodes

Phil Rhodes
  • Sustaining Members
  • 11939 posts
  • Other

Posted 15 June 2009 - 09:21 AM

Since when did Auntie shoot anything on 35, in any case?

I'm sure it'd probably look good, and that'd be against some edict from the BBC Department of Mediocrity.

Well come on, there must be something in that big circular building that ensures nothing they do ever passes above a sort of crippling averageness.

P
  • 0

#6 David Mullen ASC

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

Posted 15 June 2009 - 09:30 AM

These sorts of edicts from engineers telling filmmakers how to shoot something makes me wish some powerful person would force them to air a series shot in Super-8... and have it become a hit.
  • 0

#7 rob spence

rob spence
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 409 posts
  • Other
  • Beaconsfield

Posted 15 June 2009 - 09:43 AM

Presumably this statement is for content made for the BBC HD channel only?
  • 0

#8 John Sprung

John Sprung
  • Sustaining Members
  • 4635 posts
  • Other

Posted 15 June 2009 - 01:49 PM

These sorts of edicts from engineers telling filmmakers how to shoot something makes me wish some powerful person would force them to air a series shot in Super-8... and have it become a hit.


This comes from the broadcast engineers at the networks -- here too, not just the BBC. What they're concerned about is grain. Film grain, if it's big enough, looks like detail to an HDTV encoder. And it's completely different in every frame. What the engineers are worried about is the encoders choking on the grain. When that happens, the picture goes all blocky, you even get those bright green squares sometimes. That super-8 show might not make it thru the pipe. The majority of engineers don't want to make trouble, they want to avoid it.

Arri's new Relativity software, if the price is reasonable, may shift this issue around a little. Instead of saying no to grainy film, it'll be OK, but they're going to de-grain it for broadcast.




-- J.S.
  • 0

#9 Brian Drysdale

Brian Drysdale
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 5070 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 15 June 2009 - 02:09 PM

Since when did Auntie shoot anything on 35, in any case?


"Small Island" was shot 3 perf for the BBC
  • 0

#10 Robert Houllahan

Robert Houllahan
  • Sustaining Members
  • 1584 posts
  • Industry Rep
  • Providence R.I.

Posted 15 June 2009 - 04:03 PM

This comes from the broadcast engineers at the networks -- here too, not just the BBC. What they're concerned about is grain. Film grain, if it's big enough, looks like detail to an HDTV encoder. And it's completely different in every frame. What the engineers are worried about is the encoders choking on the grain. When that happens, the picture goes all blocky, you even get those bright green squares sometimes. That super-8 show might not make it thru the pipe. The majority of engineers don't want to make trouble, they want to avoid it.
-- J.S.



There are over the air compressors which work fine with grain watch some hbo on satellite or digital cable (neither are super high bitrate) and clean original HD sports gets blockey all the time. So this is just BS from a also ran network of pencil pushers. I agree with David that someone should make a hit Super-8 show and shove it up the ass of the titewad BBC infrastructure.

As far as engineering goes they should get or have built better encoders not limit the already declining standards even more with a crap bottleneck at the end of the chain.

BBC suck it.

-Rob-
  • 0

#11 John Sprung

John Sprung
  • Sustaining Members
  • 4635 posts
  • Other

Posted 15 June 2009 - 05:02 PM

There are over the air compressors which work fine with grain watch some hbo on satellite or digital cable ....


How about ones that work with the ATSC broadcast standard? Is there a make/model I should tell the engineers to check out?




-- J.S.
  • 0

#12 Phil Rhodes

Phil Rhodes
  • Sustaining Members
  • 11939 posts
  • Other

Posted 15 June 2009 - 06:18 PM

[/quote]you even get those bright green squares sometimes.[/quote]

If that happens, that's a fault, not an overwhelmed encoder.

As to "ATSC standards", what we should be doing is using h.264 for these sorts of applications, and some people do. Regardless of what transmission standards it's wrapped in or how it's delivered, h.264 is by far the best technology that's in widespread use for this sort of thing.

The problem, as previously intimated, is the encoders. Most modern codecs use mathematics with optional precision, and even entire optional encoding processes that you can simply choose not to use if you so wish. Naturally, encoders are built to a price like anythnig else, and equally naturally, their manufacturers all too frequently do wish.

The solution for things like features is an offline encode - that is, do it in software, prior to broadcast, so that the software can take a very long time over it, on very low-cost equipment (a desktop computer equivalent), and produce results that are usually much better than monstrously expensive hardware encoders.

To make this really useful, there'd need to be widespread agreement on what sort of encoding parameters and bitrates should be used, so that it could be done as part of the film's delivery package. Even without that, though, broadcasters could encode ahead of time, and keep the encoded versions on their own servers.

Either of those options would require changes to broadcast infrastructure, but it shouldn't be beyond the wit of man to allow it to happen. I worked for several months on the launch of a standard-def, digitally broadcast music video carousel channel here in the UK, and because we did this and pre-encoded all our stuff, it looked far better than people who were using two or three times the bitrate.

It'd be worth the hassle. You can get much better, perceivably better, obviously better quality, a difference that anyone can perceive, using not-very-expensive equipment and no more bandwidth.

Thing is, it's just easier to produce the channel as SDI and stick it into a $20k 1U rackmount.

Courtesy the Daily WTF:

Posted Image

P
  • 0

#13 John Brawley

John Brawley
  • Sustaining Members
  • 834 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Atlanta Georgia

Posted 15 June 2009 - 09:43 PM

. The majority of engineers don't want to make trouble, they want to avoid it.


-- J.S.


Yes but aren't they making trouble by designing broadcast systems that can't cope with THE MAJORITY origination format for the last 100 years of cinema and television ?

My recollection too, is that Super 35mm 3 perf for 16x9 is in fact LARGER than 16x9 from 1:85 4 perf so there rule about 250 ASA seems dumb to me.....

jb
  • 0

#14 John Sprung

John Sprung
  • Sustaining Members
  • 4635 posts
  • Other

Posted 16 June 2009 - 07:12 PM

As to "ATSC standards", what we should be doing is using h.264 for these sorts of applications,


That would be lovely. But it's ATSC 2.0 that would include h.264. We have 1.0 carved in stone in all the new TV's and set top boxes, and at the TV stations. Therefore, the problem is to come up with something that works with ATSC 1.0 as-is.

The solution for things like features is an offline encode - that is, do it in software, prior to broadcast, so that the software can take a very long time over it, on very low-cost equipment (a desktop computer equivalent), and produce results that are usually much better than monstrously expensive hardware encoders.


Enabling that is another benefit of the MPEG splicing idea that Jim DeFillippis pioneered at Fox.




-- J.S.
  • 0

#15 John Sprung

John Sprung
  • Sustaining Members
  • 4635 posts
  • Other

Posted 16 June 2009 - 07:15 PM

My recollection too, is that Super 35mm 3 perf for 16x9 is in fact LARGER than 16x9 from 1:85 4 perf


Very true for Academy 4 perf. Full silent/Super 35 4 perf has a 1.78 extraction just a tad bit larger than 3 perf. Nobody could see the difference back when we did tests on that.





-- J.S.
  • 0

#16 David Auner aac

David Auner aac
  • Sustaining Members
  • 1117 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 17 June 2009 - 01:46 AM

Courtesy the Daily WTF:


Hi Phil, what does the tiny print say after the asterisk? Do you know?

Cheers, Dave
  • 0

#17 Antti Näyhä

Antti Näyhä
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 153 posts
  • Other
  • Belgium/Finland

Posted 17 June 2009 - 02:11 AM

To my eyes, it seems to say: "In a matter of minutes. Probably"

That's hilarious.
  • 0


FJS International, LLC

Visual Products

Willys Widgets

The Slider

Opal

rebotnix Technologies

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Metropolis Post

CineTape

CineLab

Wooden Camera

Technodolly

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Aerial Filmworks

Tai Audio

Rig Wheels Passport

Ritter Battery

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Glidecam

Paralinx LLC

Abel Cine

Aerial Filmworks

Paralinx LLC

Opal

The Slider

Tai Audio

Glidecam

Willys Widgets

Metropolis Post

Wooden Camera

Visual Products

CineTape

Rig Wheels Passport

Ritter Battery

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Abel Cine

Technodolly

CineLab

Broadcast Solutions Inc

FJS International, LLC

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

rebotnix Technologies