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Super 16 to HD or SD


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#1 Charles Boileau

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 11:44 AM

Hi,

I just posted in another part of this forum about Ground Glass, I asked a quick question about transfer and found an answer that made me ask myself if we are going in the right direction.

So I'm shooting a 10 min short in august. We'll be using 7219 on a SR2 with a 1.85 extraction. Mostly, zeiss lenses at T 1.3 we might change to schneider. The film is set in an old house, the lighting is very moody and warm. Basically everything must look like it's fire lit. The more the story evolves the deeper the shadows (as the levels go down).

I'd like to do an HD transfer. So far the prices I got are a little bit too expensive for the producer. It's 3600$ for processing, cleaning and HD cam transfer of 4400 foot of super 16.

But Jon Rosenbloom (member here) told me that I might just be better off with a spirit digi beta transfer (obviously for budget reasons). he also pointed out that the HD transfer tends to accentuate the grain.

Any other opinions on this? I'm sure it's been discussed several times, but I didn't find anything useful on the forum.

My opinion is that it would be a waste of resolution to shoot 16 and go to SD. I was always, very disappointed with the SD transfer we did when I shot ski films. We did a tech light on digi beta and finished the colors digitally. The colors would always look desaturated and flat.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you!

Edited by Charles Boileau, 07 July 2009 - 11:45 AM.

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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 01:00 PM

What is the final delivery format?
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#3 Charles Boileau

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 01:30 PM

What is the final delivery format?


Hard to say for now. But if he submits to festivals then it would be DVD (at first). Once chosen I'm guessing he'll need to submit a minimum of HD for projection.

Generally, I'm guessing it's going to be viewed either on DVD or on the web. But the ultimate goal is festivals.
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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 01:37 PM

Hard to say for now. But if he submits to festivals then it would be DVD (at first). Once chosen I'm guessing he'll need to submit a minimum of HD for projection.

Generally, I'm guessing it's going to be viewed either on DVD or on the web. But the ultimate goal is festivals.


Well, you can't plan a post properly without answering that question. What if you master to SD and suddenly need an HD version for festival projection? Is the SD version just a low-rez offline cut? Is it your final master? Do you want to master in HD and make a final SD master from that?
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#5 Jon Rosenbloom

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 02:17 PM

I wonder about judging SD transfer by the ski film footage only because bright snow is really challenging to shoot in an format. Also, what machine was that transferred on? If you were on an older machine with an old tube and the night guy did it unsupervised, I can see why you'd get disappointing results.

We went through the exact same discussion on "Mister Material," (student film, tight budget) trying to figure out all the permutations of post formats and costs and it really sucked a lot of energy out of the project. We shot over a couple of weekends and I went down to Technicolor, and they were kind enough to put me in a room with a colorist and we looked at the footage on the Spirit in SD and I was very happy to go that route.

More later ...
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#6 Charles Boileau

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 03:29 PM

What we figured is that SD is called to disappear (soon enough). And if ever he's required to submit in HD, well... He's going to have to go thru that whole process again (with a dirtier negative possibly). So we said HD would enable his movie to have a longer life.

But what I was curious about was the fact that you (Jon) told me you thought that your footage was very grainy in HD. Would it be less in 2K? Or in SD?

I don't think this will be a factor as we want to go to thru the HD process, but I'm curious to know what I should expect.

Thanks!
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#7 John Sprung

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 03:34 PM

It's a little surprising that you can still find a facility that transfers to SD. Everything here has either been upgraded or junked.

The only reasonable use for SD would be to save money on offline. So, take the cost of transferring all your dailies to SD, add the cost of transferring your selects to HD, and compare that with the cost of transferring all your dailies to HD. At some shooting ratio, there'll be a break-even point. For a really high ratio, the SD offline would save significant money. For a low enough ratio, the savings won't be worth the hassle.

Today it makes no sense at all not to have HD. If the project is worth doing, it's worth HD. The only question is whether you do the HD now, or later.




-- J.S.
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#8 Scott Fritzshall

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 03:49 PM

Super16, because it is a smaller format, is naturally kind of grainy. An HD transfer preserves more of the image, and more of the grain, so it will look closer to the original. SD is much lower resolution, obviously, and whichever method you use to squish your footage down onto it, you're going to lose fine detail, which in this case means grain. HD does not accentuate the grain; it should look fairly similar in resolution to what you'd get if you made a print of your negative and projected it.

Find a grainy or noisy image of decent resolution online, bring it into Photoshop or any image manipulation program, and reduce its dimensions to 1/3. You'll see that while you can still tell that it had been grainy/noisy, it is much reduced, along with the rest of the high-frequency detail.
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#9 Charles Boileau

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 03:54 PM

Super16, because it is a smaller format, is naturally kind of grainy. An HD transfer preserves more of the image, and more of the grain, so it will look closer to the original. SD is much lower resolution, obviously, and whichever method you use to squish your footage down onto it, you're going to lose fine detail, which in this case means grain. HD does not accentuate the grain; it should look fairly similar in resolution to what you'd get if you made a print of your negative and projected it.

Find a grainy or noisy image of decent resolution online, bring it into Photoshop or any image manipulation program, and reduce its dimensions to 1/3. You'll see that while you can still tell that it had been grainy/noisy, it is much reduced, along with the rest of the high-frequency detail.


Makes sense! I forgot to mention we'll be shooting on 7219.

Thanks for your input.
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#10 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 04:30 PM

Makes sense! I forgot to mention we'll be shooting on 7219.

Thanks for your input.



"The Wrestler" and now "The Hurt Locker" are both extensively 7219 originated pictures. Wrestler was a 2.40 scope projected picture that was a 2k scan on a Arriscan. I saw Wrestler in a big new multiplex and thought it looked great on a 70' screen. You might want to think about 2K DPX files a newer Mac-Pro or even a beefed up G5 will be able to work with this material and it will allow for more room to work than a HD transfer.

-Rob-
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#11 Paul Korver

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Posted 08 July 2009 - 03:34 AM

I'd like to do an HD transfer. So far the prices I got are a little bit too expensive for the producer. It's 3600$ for processing, cleaning and HD cam transfer of 4400 foot of super 16.

But Jon Rosenbloom (member here) told me that I might just be better off with a spirit digi beta transfer (obviously for budget reasons). he also pointed out that the HD transfer tends to accentuate the grain.

Any other opinions on this? I'm sure it's been discussed several times, but I didn't find anything useful on the forum.


Hi Charles,
I'd definitely go HD or 2K. Interlaced formats like SD barely look good today and are hardly future proof. You're correct that S16mm can be a bit grainy which some people like... others don't... typically a Spirit HD telecine has quite a bit of noise reduction processing in the video boards to reduce grain. But and 2k or 4K DPX scan from a Spirit bypasses the video boards so you see a lot more grain. We have a great software based grain reduction solution that does an amazing job with grain reduction which I'll post below. We have two options you might want to consider. Our budget conscious clients really love Diamond Clear HD telecine direct to 1080p ProRes HQ which for your project would be about $2,400 including processing & prep.

Here's a frame from a recent Diamond Clear HD transfer of Super 16mm (matted to 1.85):

Diamond Clear HD Native
http://www.cinelicio...DCHD_Native.jpg

As I mentioned above we've got great results using our software based noise reduction if you want a cleaner (almost 35mm) look:

Diamond Clear HD Noise Reduced
http://www.cinelicio...ads/DCHD_NR.jpg

We also offer a higher end 2K DPX scan from a Spirit 4k with color correction. Deliverables can be anything from ProRes HQ to 444 RGB Quicktime to the actual DPX frames on drive or LTO-4 data tape so you wouldn't have to re-scan for a DI. Here's some samples of a from a recent Super 16mm job we did to 2K. This would cost between $4,500-6,000 depending on required deliverables.

S16mm DPX Scan from a Spirit 4K Native (pulled from HD RGB Quicktime):
http://www.cinelicio...t_2K_Native.jpg

And here's the same Spirit Data Scan after Noise Reduction:
http://www.cinelicio...pirit_2K_NR.jpg

Low budget, medium budget, full grain, less grain... you've got options. Hope that helps.

Best,

Paul

Edited by Paul Korver, 08 July 2009 - 03:36 AM.

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#12 Charles Boileau

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Posted 08 July 2009 - 10:25 AM

"The Wrestler" and now "The Hurt Locker" are both extensively 7219 originated pictures. Wrestler was a 2.40 scope projected picture that was a 2k scan on a Arriscan. I saw Wrestler in a big new multiplex and thought it looked great on a 70' screen. You might want to think about 2K DPX files a newer Mac-Pro or even a beefed up G5 will be able to work with this material and it will allow for more room to work than a HD transfer.

-Rob-



How did they frame for 2.40? I'm using an SR2 and it's a bitch to find a 2.40 GG. Plus most people are telling me that it's not worth it, that it cuts to much of the negative. Anyways the more I think about it the more I feel it doesn't fit the story. But it's very subjective, the story has allot of dialogue, and The Wrestler has allot of dialogue. Quite confusing all of the creative choices....
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#13 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 08 July 2009 - 11:32 AM

How did they frame for 2.40? I'm using an SR2 and it's a bitch to find a 2.40 GG. Plus most people are telling me that it's not worth it, that it cuts to much of the negative. Anyways the more I think about it the more I feel it doesn't fit the story. But it's very subjective, the story has allot of dialogue, and The Wrestler has allot of dialogue. Quite confusing all of the creative choices....



They shot on the Arri 416 primarily with a new Zeiss 12mm superspeed I think they had CSC in NY make a 2.40 GG for the camera. I agree that 2.40 extract from a S16 neg is a strange choice (maybe 2-perf would be better) but I was surprised at how good it looked on a very big screen. I feel that 2.40 S16 clearly outperformed the SI-2K in Slumdog by a fair margin. Plus shooting with a light S16 cam has many many advantages.

That said a 2k S16 scan for 1.85 is just about perfect I have been scanning a feature film that I shot on my Aaton and just scanned a clients short (10K ft of S16 250t fuji) on a P+S 2k scanner we have at Cinelab and I'm impressed. I think that at 1.85 and a little post work many people will not know it was 35 and it has a added texture that sorely lacks in much of the clean digital imagery clogging up screens these days.

-Rob-
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#14 Tim Carroll

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Posted 24 October 2009 - 09:14 PM

Hi Charles,
I'd definitely go HD or 2K. Interlaced formats like SD barely look good today and are hardly future proof. You're correct that S16mm can be a bit grainy which some people like... others don't... typically a Spirit HD telecine has quite a bit of noise reduction processing in the video boards to reduce grain. But and 2k or 4K DPX scan from a Spirit bypasses the video boards so you see a lot more grain. We have a great software based grain reduction solution that does an amazing job with grain reduction which I'll post below. We have two options you might want to consider. Our budget conscious clients really love Diamond Clear HD telecine direct to 1080p ProRes HQ which for your project would be about $2,400 including processing & prep.

Here's a frame from a recent Diamond Clear HD transfer of Super 16mm (matted to 1.85):

Diamond Clear HD Native
http://www.cinelicio...DCHD_Native.jpg

As I mentioned above we've got great results using our software based noise reduction if you want a cleaner (almost 35mm) look:

Diamond Clear HD Noise Reduced
http://www.cinelicio...ads/DCHD_NR.jpg

We also offer a higher end 2K DPX scan from a Spirit 4k with color correction. Deliverables can be anything from ProRes HQ to 444 RGB Quicktime to the actual DPX frames on drive or LTO-4 data tape so you wouldn't have to re-scan for a DI. Here's some samples of a from a recent Super 16mm job we did to 2K. This would cost between $4,500-6,000 depending on required deliverables.

S16mm DPX Scan from a Spirit 4K Native (pulled from HD RGB Quicktime):
http://www.cinelicio...t_2K_Native.jpg

And here's the same Spirit Data Scan after Noise Reduction:
http://www.cinelicio...pirit_2K_NR.jpg

Low budget, medium budget, full grain, less grain... you've got options. Hope that helps.

Best,

Paul


Paul,

None of the links from your post work anymore. I would love to see images of what you describe above. Any chance of reposting them?

Thanks,
-Tim
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#15 John Brawley

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Posted 26 October 2009 - 04:07 AM

Hi Charles,
I'. typically a Spirit HD telecine has quite a bit of noise reduction processing in the video boards to reduce grain. But and 2k or 4K DPX scan from a Spirit bypasses the video boards so you see a lot more grain.



Actually more significant than the spirit's electronic processing is the light source.

The reason Spirits' appear to have less grain is more to do with the softer diffuse light source that the spirit uses (and which was designed by Kodak)

Digital noise reduction is certainly available with most grading setups and can help more, but often have their own problems. I think they should be more of a last resort in the whole imaging chain.

I think 16mm gets a pretty bad rap as far as grain, but it depends a little on how you shoot it.

The SR2 would also not be my first choice for a theatrical finish because of it's well known issues with image stability. The SR3 Advance or a 416 is a much better choice. Or an Aaton. (Sorry Tim)

You won't see much difference between 2k and HD in Super 16mm in terms of resolution. I'd suggest a really good colourist in a facility with best practice 16mm workflows would produce a near identical result.

I've had GREAT results using the arri scanner scanning for HD. UN-compressed conform and grade means you don't loose too much.

This is such a hard question to answer because there will be so many variables.

Can I suggest you test with your prospective facilities. ON a recent film I did, i was able to get 60 seconds of the same footage *processed* by three facilities for free, all the way to 35mm. I was able to project and compare. Amazing what you'll learn. You are also auditioning the people you're going to be working with, the colourists etc. Great way to test...

jb
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#16 Tim Carroll

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Posted 26 October 2009 - 12:10 PM

The SR2 would also not be my first choice for a theatrical finish because of it's well known issues with image stability. The SR3 Advance or a 416 is a much better choice. Or an Aaton. (Sorry Tim)

jb


Posted Image

That would be my bench in the background there. Oh yeah, and that would be my camera too. ;)

After much research and testing, I can see how an Arriflex 16SR, 16SRII and the original SR3 (but not the Advanced model) that had not been serviced recently could develop a weave issue because of the design of the rails/film path.

Best,
-Tim
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#17 John Holland

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Posted 26 October 2009 - 01:30 PM

"The Wrestler" and now "The Hurt Locker" are both extensively 7219 originated pictures. Wrestler was a 2.40 scope projected picture that was a 2k scan on a Arriscan. I saw Wrestler in a big new multiplex and thought it looked great on a 70' screen. You might want to think about 2K DPX files a newer Mac-Pro or even a beefed up G5 will be able to work with this material and it will allow for more room to work than a HD transfer.

-Rob-

The Hurt Locker was shot on Fuji Eterna stocks !!!
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#18 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 27 October 2009 - 12:52 PM

The Hurt Locker was shot on Fuji Eterna stocks !!!



Right you are!!! Wrestler was Kodak I really loved the look of the Hurt Locker I thought I had read that it was kodak.... My Wrong..

-Rob-
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#19 Chris Burke

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Posted 15 November 2009 - 12:09 PM

Right you are!!! Wrestler was Kodak I really loved the look of the Hurt Locker I thought I had read that it was kodak.... My Wrong..

-Rob-



looks like they really went for the grainy look. I wouldn't be suprised if the stock was pushed one stop.
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#20 Bert Smith

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Posted 03 March 2010 - 11:21 PM

Paul,

None of the links from your post work anymore. I would love to see images of what you describe above. Any chance of reposting them?

Thanks,
-Tim





I was really looking forward to seeing those images also, can you repost?
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