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#1 Ramesh C Gupta

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Posted 03 July 2009 - 10:13 PM

Is it possible to transfer HD footage directly to Film without a DI? If it is possible, how does not getting a DI effect the final output when projected onto a big screen?
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 03 July 2009 - 11:47 PM

Is it possible to transfer HD footage directly to Film without a DI? If it is possible, how does not getting a DI effect the final output when projected onto a big screen?



Sure, if the HD is a finished, color-corrected final product and all it needs is a possible LIN-to-LOG conversion for recording to film. At that point, it's debatable whether to call that a D.I. since it's only a small part of the overall D.I. process.

But that's making the assumption that the final HD project looks exactly like you want it to look.
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#3 K Borowski

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Posted 04 July 2009 - 04:08 AM

Is it possible to transfer HD footage directly to Film without a DI? If it is possible, how does not getting a DI effect the final output when projected onto a big screen?


Well technically a D.I. is a digital step between two analog steps (like neg. film and print film).


It's pretty much always been standard to either use a dedicated film recorder or film off of a high-resolution monitor to get digital footage onto film. You could contact-print, with a small, high-res. enough digital screen, or use a laser, or use some other high-tech. technique as well, but they are all basically variants on the same thing, either optically photographing or "digitally contact printing" for lack of better terminology onto film.

As to what to call this, D.I. or D.O., it's pretty irrelevant.

It almost sounds from your post as if you don't want to take advantages of digital methods with digital footage. Why? That's like printing neg. film onto print stock without a starting filter pack or any color correction.

While, technically, you lose information with color correction, there is probably sharpness loss due to printing through red, green, and blue filters of light too.


So your original question is difficult to answer without further clarification as to what you are talking about doing.
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#4 Ramesh C Gupta

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Posted 04 July 2009 - 01:24 PM

Sorry for being vague. Doing away with the DI is purely due to budget constraints. We are going to shoot on Panasonic HD varicam . Does it make a huge difference to the viewing experience of a common audience if the HD tapes are directly transferred to 35mm film (without a DI) and projected onto the big screen?
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#5 K Borowski

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Posted 04 July 2009 - 01:30 PM

Sorry for being vague. Doing away with the DI is purely due to budget constraints. We are going to shoot on Panasonic HD varicam . Does it make a huge difference to the viewing experience of a common audience if the HD tapes are directly transferred to 35mm film (without a DI) and projected onto the big screen?


Quite alright Ramesh. I have the advantage of being taught English as my first language. I couldn't hold a technical conversation in, say, Russian, without being vague myself.

You could, theoretically, film off of a high-resolution monitor with either 5201 or maybe master positive stock if you are able to invert the colors.

You can do a very low-tech solution and actually manually adjust color on the monitor screen, or just deal with color-balancing in printing.

If a colorist has to time (grade) colors from shot to shot when making either a master positive or internegatives, though, that is quite expensive too.
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#6 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 04 July 2009 - 05:19 PM

Obviously there still has to be a conforming / online step and a color-correction step... the issues really are just whether you do this in a D.I. suite with a large screen or a telecine suite with an HD monitor, and the other issue is whether you are going to shoot and color-correct in Rec 709 broadcast gamma and color for viewing on an HD monitor, and then ask the people doing the transfer to 35mm to do their own LIN-to-LOG conversion. Not that the Varicam has a LOG output option, though you can shoot everything in Film Rec.

At that point, the difference between calling this an HD post versus a D.I. is almost purely semantic. It's still the same steps, i.e. conform, add title & efx, digitally color-correct, and record out to 35mm.

The difference would probably just be in terms of price, doing the work at a smaller HD post house versus a larger D.I. facility with 2K projection, etc.

But yes, you can do a traditional broadcast video post, create an edited, color-corrected HD tape master in Rec 709, and have this transferred to 35mm. Just make sure the final HD product is in 24P or 25P, not 1080i. Make sure the editor works in 24P or 25P, not the original 60P or 50P recording.

I find, though, that Rec 709 broadcast HD video transferred to film has a slightly more video-ish look to the colors and contrast than shooting and working in a LOG format.
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#7 Neil B Sadwelkar

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Posted 30 July 2009 - 06:38 AM

Sorry for being vague. Doing away with the DI is purely due to budget constraints. We are going to shoot on Panasonic HD varicam . Does it make a huge difference to the viewing experience of a common audience if the HD tapes are directly transferred to 35mm film (without a DI) and projected onto the big screen?


We've done two movies shot on Varicam and output to film. For reasons of giving a look and/or integrating VFX, we passed the movie through a grading system and did a full grade on it. But if your HD master is fully corrected, then it can be output to film without a DI per se. Meaning if you're on a budget and don't want to grade it on a shot-by-shot basis, a 'straight transfer' is possible.

In fact there's also a 24fps film recorder - Cinevator - that can play HD and record to film in real time!. What's more, you can go from HD to film print if you don't need many prints. That saves you the cost of intermediate stock.

Neil Sadwelkar
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