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General grain reduction tips on s16


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#1 Martin Solvang

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 11:30 AM

So, lets assume you´re on a low budget production and your option is s16.

There are many tips on how to tighten grain structure, get sharper renderings and get
those rich blacks (and much more). I´ve been trying to collect all the info i can on how to make s16 resemble 35mm or rather get the most out of s16.
This is an atempt to get all those tips and hints into one thread.

I assume most of you are overexposing a bit (2/3 stop) and then printing down or correcting in the DI, but there are so many other experiences out there.
Are you correcting the K-factor in your meter to measure 18% grey?
Are you using HMI´s only for a different quality in light?
Are you considering the color reproduction of the film and communicating this to production design?

I would rather start this discussion, then ask questions in ten other threads.
Please contribute with your take on theese issues.

Hopefully they´ll all be excessible in this thread.
I hope the technical level in this thread can be kept on a high level.

Let´s discuss!

Edited by Martin Solvang, 25 January 2010 - 11:33 AM.

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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 12:42 PM

I'd say your best best bet is to use a slower film stock and over-expose. Also, the better the lenses the better the image IMHO. Also keeping contrast in the frame, to my eye, helps hid grain; by that I mean since our eyes are looking for contrast, and grain created a type of contrast, the higher the contrast in the frame (to an extent) the less grain I at least perceive.
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#3 timHealy

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 01:19 PM

I agree with Adrian. Slow film, 50 or 100 ASA film especially. Sharp lenses. Overexpose negative. Stay away from lens diffusion. Also stay away from "if we use faster film we'll have to light less" mentality. Nothing degrades quality like the fastest 16mm film. Unless you are interested in a look.



Best

Tim

Edited by timHealy, 25 January 2010 - 01:20 PM.

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#4 Gregory Middleton

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 03:26 PM

My first feature was shot in Regular 16mm in 1994. Most of the same ideas still apply with a few exceptions.
Film stock- Use as slow as possible. I shot most of the film on 50asa film and some 100asa. A slight overexposure can be good, but not too much.
Processing - Normal. Avoid push processing. Pull Processing can further reduce grain but that should be tested properly before hand to determine the new asa and black and color levels.
Lenses - Use as sharp as possible.Use fixed focal length Primes over the Zoom as they should be sharper. Don't shoot wide open as some lenses perform much more poorly then. Even 1/2 stop closed (T2.5 on a T2 lens for example, can make a difference) Also don't shoot at T16 either as the lens will also perform poorly.
Filtration - Less in front of the lens the better for sharpness. Use diffusion for effect if you like but avoid it for anything you want to be 'normal'
Color Balance. - Film stocks behave best when properly exposed in the color range you intend. More grain and image artifacts result in trying more radically 'push' the color of a scene in color correction. Get the photography right first in the color range you intend. Make it look good to your eye and expose properly.

Color Correction/ Blow up. - Here there are a couple of differences than the photochemical blow ups of the past. Firstly overall quality will depend of the Lab doing the work. The quality of their 'Scan' of the negative really matters. Some facilities will do a muliti pass scan to dig all the possible information out of the shadows and highlights. Modern grain reduction technology is finally getting to the point of being useful without just making the whole image softer. Be very careful about overexposure if you are doing your blow up digitally. Highly overexposed areas can induce some electronic noise. This is the opposite of what would happen in an all photochemical process. I'm not talking about brightness, have all the highlights you want, but if you have a white sky or very hot area AND your whole scene need to be brought down 2 stops you will end up with some grainy stuff in those highlights. So be careful.

On my website under "more Clips" you can see some stuff from 'Kissed' and read the asc article.
Visit My Website

good luck on your shoot.
g

Testing will tell you that.

So, lets assume you´re on a low budget production and your option is s16.

There are many tips on how to tighten grain structure, get sharper renderings and get
those rich blacks (and much more). I´ve been trying to collect all the info i can on how to make s16 resemble 35mm or rather get the most out of s16.
This is an atempt to get all those tips and hints into one thread.

I assume most of you are overexposing a bit (2/3 stop) and then printing down or correcting in the DI, but there are so many other experiences out there.
Are you correcting the K-factor in your meter to measure 18% grey?
Are you using HMI´s only for a different quality in light?
Are you considering the color reproduction of the film and communicating this to production design?

I would rather start this discussion, then ask questions in ten other threads.
Please contribute with your take on theese issues.

Hopefully they´ll all be excessible in this thread.
I hope the technical level in this thread can be kept on a high level.

Let´s discuss!


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#5 Paul Bruening

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 04:12 PM

I´ve been trying to collect all the info i can on how to make s16 resemble 35mm or rather get the most out of s16.


Techniscope's cheaper than 16mm. It's cheaper than Super 8.

S16 cost per frame= $0.01325

2-perf, 35mm cost per frame= $0.00625

Techniscope is half the cost of S16 and has much more real estate.
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#6 Chris Burke

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 10:16 PM

Techniscope's cheaper than 16mm. It's cheaper than Super 8.

S16 cost per frame= $0.01325

2-perf, 35mm cost per frame= $0.00625

Techniscope is half the cost of S16 and has much more real estate.



especially since you will be doing a DI anyway with Super 16. but maybe he doesn't want scope and likes the light weight mobility of S16.
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#7 David Rakoczy

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 10:53 PM

Shoot 100t (even for daylight) as it is Kodak's sharpest Stock. Overexpose everything 2/3s to 1 stop. Use Super Speed Lenses (use great glass) ;)
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#8 Paul Korver

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 04:13 AM

I'm wondering if anyone's here is an avid S16mm shooter and has compared the new(ish) Vision 3 250D 7207 stock to some of the slower older stocks? I'm absolutely blown away by how fine-grain the 07 stock is. Definitely worth a test. Something Gregory mentioned is grain reduction. Some of the latest Digital Vision grain reduction algorithms (AGR4 ME) are far superior to what they used to be and can definitely decrease/eliminate grain while maintaining sharpness. We just upgraded our post facility and bought a Spirit HD/2K datacine and brand new DVNR 2K that has the latest AGR4 ME grain management tools (as well as dust/scratch)... it's fairly shocking how much better the grain reduction works on this new box in comparison to our old DVNR 1000 we have hanging off our URSA. I just saw some 07 stock up on the Spirit with the tiniest touch of the DVNR AGR4 ME and everyone in the room thought is was 35mm.

-Paul

(for the record I'm not a huge fan of DVNR as I love me some film grain... but it's good to have options... we've even used in on underexposed blue-channel noise in RED footage with good results)
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#9 Martin Solvang

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 04:17 AM

Techniscope's cheaper than 16mm. It's cheaper than Super 8.

S16 cost per frame= $0.01325

2-perf, 35mm cost per frame= $0.00625

Techniscope is half the cost of S16 and has much more real estate.


Here in Norway 2-perf is not cheaper than 16mm. I did the math on that earlier and found it to be about 20% more expencive..
Considering the fact that we are ending up in 1:1,85 it would also be quite a waste of film. There are certainly many aspects on shooting 2-perf
that way up for that increase in price though.
I find the increase in resolution presents a huge difference. Seems the step up from 16 to 2-perf brings you into another world.

Tested it on a Aaton Penelope a couple of months ago, was hugely impressed.

The only way I can see it becoming cheaper is if I was to go higher on the ASA and using less light. That could have been a posibility,
but was not the thing I was looking for on this project.

m
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