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Color Correction w/HDSLR vs. 35mm film


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#1 Tim Carroll

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Posted 07 January 2010 - 12:22 PM

In a post comparing digital SLR cameras shooting video, to 35mm film, a comment that David Mullen made (see below) got me to thinking:

Most of the problems of different digital cameras show up when you attempt any aggressive color-corrections in post. Just straight from the camera, many of them seem to shoot fine footage.


I understand that 35mm film capture gives you ALOT of latitude for color correction in post, from your processing of the raw film stock, to color grading in the transfer stage, to final color correction in its digital form.

My question is this. If you take footage shot with a HDSLR like a Canon 7D and have it in a ProRes format/codec, and you take footage shot in 35mm and transfer it so it too is in a ProRes format/codec, at this stage, is there an advantage with color-correcting the files that originally came from the 35mm film, or at this stage, is it a wash? In other words, once the 35mm film footage has been processed, and transferred, and you have the resultant ProRes files in the computer, will these ProRes files fall apart as easily as the ProRes files from an HDSLR, or to they somehow hold up better to color correction?

Any and all info is appreciated.

Thanks,
-Tim
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#2 Hunter Hampton

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Posted 07 January 2010 - 12:40 PM

Hey Tim-

Its been my expeirence that because film has more to start with, as long as you get a decent scan you will have more to work with in a digital format aquired from film. For isntance, I just did some 2K data scans to dpx (log gamma)- almost everything the film saw was in that scan- it also has much thicker tonality and saturation than any digital file I have seen. On the other hand, I happend to use a 5d mark 2 on the same project and I cannot push around the files that much, especially the shots where i messed up on exposure by a stop, with the film, I can fix most of my exposure mistakes without lowering the image quality too much.

Then again, if you were shooting 100% uncompressed from a genesis or d21, you may have a more comparable range to work with as dpx scans from film- just not from these thin codecs on the dslrs.

So short answer, Yes- prores dirived from film will hold up better than prores from an hdslr.
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#3 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 07 January 2010 - 01:18 PM

As Hunter mentions, you'll get more out of more. As said, because film captures more to begin with more, in theory, should be retained going to a digital file than would/could be from another, lesser, format. I am on the fence about whether a fully uncompressed camera will give you as much to work with as film in the digital realm only because of the limitations of electronic capture -v- that of photochemical capture, but that's just me.
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#4 John Sprung

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Posted 07 January 2010 - 03:48 PM

My question is this. If you take footage shot with a HDSLR like a Canon 7D and have it in a ProRes format/codec, and you take footage shot in 35mm and transfer it so it too is in a ProRes format/codec, at this stage, is there an advantage with color-correcting the files that originally came from the 35mm film, or at this stage, is it a wash?



It all depends on quantization. With a digital camera, you have whatever quantization happened in the camera. You could shoot film and digital side by side, and force it to be a wash by matching the telecine quantization to the digital camera. Or, you could telecine closer to the final look you want, which gives you more room to adjust things later, in final digital color timing.

Just take care not to tie your hands in telecine by crushing blacks or blowing out whites, etc. With telecine, you could make it a wash, you could do a lot better, but you can also eff it up.




-- J.S.
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#5 Bruce Greene

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Posted 07 January 2010 - 11:23 PM

In a post comparing digital SLR cameras shooting video, to 35mm film, a comment that David Mullen made (see below) got me to thinking:



I understand that 35mm film capture gives you ALOT of latitude for color correction in post, from your processing of the raw film stock, to color grading in the transfer stage, to final color correction in its digital form.

My question is this. If you take footage shot with a HDSLR like a Canon 7D and have it in a ProRes format/codec, and you take footage shot in 35mm and transfer it so it too is in a ProRes format/codec, at this stage, is there an advantage with color-correcting the files that originally came from the 35mm film, or at this stage, is it a wash? In other words, once the 35mm film footage has been processed, and transferred, and you have the resultant ProRes files in the computer, will these ProRes files fall apart as easily as the ProRes files from an HDSLR, or to they somehow hold up better to color correction?

Any and all info is appreciated.

Thanks,
-Tim


Tim,

A simple way to see the difference would be to shoot a still photo with the DSLR in JPG mode. Also take the same photograph with 35mm color negative and have a low contrast scan made in 16 bit which holds almost all the info from the negative.

You can convert each to ProRes HQ and color correct in Apple color...Or just do the color correction in photoshop and compare.

I know from my film still photography / scanning experience that the film scan will enable one to make some very radical changes in the image, especially if there is an over-bright sky in the image. Also, color temperature adjustment, within reason is easy in the film scan, but almost impossible in a JPG.
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#6 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 05:57 AM

A simple way to see the difference would be to shoot a still photo with the DSLR in JPG mod


You can do that, but it won't be in any way comparable to a still from the h.264 video, either from the perspective of aliasing or compression.

P
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