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Frame-by-Frame HD Transfer vs. Flying Spot (Rank/Ursa Type) Uncompressed Transfer


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#1 Chris Fernando

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Posted 04 May 2010 - 05:01 PM

I'm trying to find a way to decide between going with a local transfer house that can do uncompressed 10 bit SD transfers via a Rank telecine for slightly less money than sending a drive and the footage out of the country to a transfer house that can output Cinefom HD files via a frame-by-frame machine.

I'm not sure how much of a difference the transfer method would make, I'm thinking resolution (SD vs. HD) probably makes more of a difference than what the film is running through.

I would eventually like to end up on Blu-Ray, but that seems like it would be a moot point if taking the uncompressed SD route - not sure but wouldn't that technically be uprezzing if you tried to end up on Blu-Ray from an uncompressed SD workflow; is that even possible?

Editability is another concern as I'm running a Pentium PC that isn't exactly state-of-the-art, but I've been told the Cineform codec is pretty well-behaved. How does it compare to working with uncompressed SD files, though.

As always your experience and generosity in sharing it are most appreciated.

Edited by Chris Fernando, 04 May 2010 - 05:03 PM.

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#2 Kent Kumpula

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Posted 06 May 2010 - 01:06 PM

If you are going to end up on Blu-ray you should get a HD transfer, instead of doing a uprez on a SD transfer. But just labeling the transfers as "One SD transfer with a Rank and one HD transfer frame by frame" doesen´t say much...

Do both give custom colorcorrection? What is the frame by frame transfer based on, a old projector and and a 8 bit videocamera? What resolution is the HD transfer, is it square pixels or not, is it transferred with a single chip camera or not, 10 bit or 8 bit, and so on.

You should ask for reference material from both companies so you can compare the results. Or better yet, send them one reel to transfer (the same reel to both companies) and then judge the difference from the transfers they provide.
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#3 Chris Fernando

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Posted 06 May 2010 - 02:42 PM

If you are going to end up on Blu-ray you should get a HD transfer, instead of doing a uprez on a SD transfer. But just labeling the transfers as "One SD transfer with a Rank and one HD transfer frame by frame" doesen´t say much...

Do both give custom colorcorrection? What is the frame by frame transfer based on, a old projector and and a 8 bit videocamera? What resolution is the HD transfer, is it square pixels or not, is it transferred with a single chip camera or not, 10 bit or 8 bit, and so on.

You should ask for reference material from both companies so you can compare the results. Or better yet, send them one reel to transfer (the same reel to both companies) and then judge the difference from the transfers they provide.


Thanks for the response Kent. This is a favor for a friend - shot 4 rolls of his wedding in Super 8 for him, so there isn't much room in the non-existent budget for comparison tests, but I understand the importance.

Both places offer custom color and exposure correction.

To put it bluntly I've narrowed the transfer down to Spectra's uncompressed (Rank) SD transfer and Justin Lovell and Frame Discreet's Frame-by-Frame HD/Cineform out.

I know Justin is a regular contributor here - so perhaps he can jump in with tech specs on his frame-by-frame method and equipment (sorry to put you on the spot, Justin).

From what I can get off their website, Spectra is outputing uncompressed; via Black Magic SDI, I would imagine?

The need to finish on Blu-Ray might be the clincher, but I guess the question is based on Frame Discreet's equipment and whether their frame-by-frame HD out betters Spectra's Rank/V3 uncompressed SD out. What will give me the most information regardless of deliverable (Blu-Ray/DVD)?

For discussion's sake is the HD route even necessary if I am ending up on DVD? I would imagine it would be beneficial if it gives me more info to start out with, right?
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#4 Chris Burke

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Posted 06 May 2010 - 03:41 PM

I would go the HD route, since you are going for Blu Ray and oversampling isn't a bad idea when it comes to transfer. four rolls is about 10 minutes. There are many places out there that can do an HD transfer straight to drive for a very good price. The two you mentioned aren't the only one around. Pro8mm, Cinelab, Cinelicious, Light Press, to name a few...I have used Cinelab and have been very pleased.
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#5 Justin Lovell

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Posted 06 May 2010 - 09:15 PM

Cinelicious does great work, I'm chatting with Paul about his methods and my methods so we can always improve the way we do things.

My custom built scanner uses a the 2k sensor of the SI2K camera and has a custom controlled interface for flashing the film and scanning. It all speaks back and forth sending commands to control the projector and camera systems.
Great results can be had from many different methods, and I've been developing and engineering this method with a team for the past year and a half.

It is finally reaching a point where I am comfortable releasing our 2k/HD scans to the public.
Keep in mind that when doing test transfers at different studios, you really have to decide what the look is that you are after. Many different places can provide the same look (color/sharpness/saturation) or totally different looks, based on not only their equipment, but also the technician/colorist running the equipment.

That said, the equipment that Roger Evans makes at MOVIE STUFF, is way better than it has any right to be. .. in the right hands.

Our new BELLADONNA scanner is a big step forward for us supporting the small format filmmakers. It is also being used in house by the Frame Discreet Cinematographer Collective - as a means to keep shooting film at affordable rates :)

RE CODECS:
I've thrown up some cineform RAW files side by side with some Blackmagic 10 bit HD files, and pushed the color around hard, they both hold up really well, with virtually no difference.

The new technology that cineform has developed is amazing. Especially if you want to do realtime color correction on your own, their NEO4k, prospeck4k and NEOHD packages that come with FIRST LIGHT (for color correction) are well worth the investment.

Keeping in mind that you need an INTEL based mac to run the files.

ProRes is also another good option, however PC users can only read PRORES, they cannot render to prores.
Same goes for cineform, it is free to READ the files, but to render out to Cineform, you must buy the codec. ($130 without first light color correction.. not too bad.) Or just render out to uncompressed/prores instead.

best of luck!
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#6 Justin Lovell

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Posted 06 May 2010 - 09:17 PM

..

Edited by Justin Lovell, 06 May 2010 - 09:17 PM.

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#7 Paul Korver

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Posted 07 May 2010 - 01:55 AM

Congrats Justin on getting the SI2K to scan film!! That's a huge accomplishment. I'm looking forward to seeing some scans.

Chris... If you want to end up on Blu-Ray I would definitely try out the Justin's kit instead of doing a softward based SD uprez from Premiere or whatever editing software you're using on your PC. Software-based uprezzing tends to look pretty bad in my experience.

-Paul
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#8 Chris Fernando

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Posted 07 May 2010 - 10:47 AM

Congrats Justin on getting the SI2K to scan film!! That's a huge accomplishment. I'm looking forward to seeing some scans.

Chris... If you want to end up on Blu-Ray I would definitely try out the Justin's kit instead of doing a softward based SD uprez from Premiere or whatever editing software you're using on your PC. Software-based uprezzing tends to look pretty bad in my experience.

-Paul


Keep in mind that when doing test transfers at different studios, you really have to decide what the look is that you are after. Many different places can provide the same look (color/sharpness/saturation) or totally different looks, based on not only their equipment, but also the technician/colorist running the equipment.



Thanks for the info, guys.

I completely understand the "no-uprezz" school of thought.

Forget Blu-Ray versus DVD deliverable for a second, what I am also hearing is that it is not as cut and dry as a SD vs HD decision when considering transfers. Which is what my original post was looking to uncover - ideally someone that has done a side-by-side comparison of Spectra's uncompressed SD out versus (say) Frame Discreet's HD/SI2K/Cineform output, who can offer what differences they noticed (all things other than transfer equipment and colorist being equal); but am I right in saying it is not as simple as saying, "Well it's in HD, its better."?

Justin are all your HD scans done with the MovieStuff/SI2k combo? Is everything output as 2048x1556 and then dumbed down to 1920x1080 if that is what the customer wants?

Hope my questions haven't led to complete handfuls of hair being pulled out - but this is all very fascinating and (obviously) quite new to me.

Edited by Chris Fernando, 07 May 2010 - 10:49 AM.

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#9 Kent Kumpula

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Posted 07 May 2010 - 12:03 PM

Which is what my original post was looking to uncover - ideally someone that has done a side-by-side comparison of...


I made split screen clips from SMPTE testfilm, from regular 8, super 8 and 16mm film. SD transfers uprezzed to 720p, compares with the native 720p transfers. Comparing the SD transfer both with and without de-interlacing. With de-interlacing is more correct if you ask me, because that is what you will get if you feed a HDTV with a DVD. (The 16mm film is transferred to 1080p, not 720p).

You can find the split-screen clips here: http://www.uppsalabi...glish/?page=136
And you can find other HD transfer testclips here: http://www.uppsalabi...glish/?page=137 , check the dog and the butterfly.

All the above transfers are 720p transfers. I don´t believe that there is any point in transferring 8mm film to 1080p or higher, I believe that the optics on the super8 cameras have a "quality-roof" somewhere between SD and 720p (probably pretty close to 720p). IMHO, I don´t believe that there are any image details to gain from higher resolutions than 720p, only more (and sharper) grain.
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#10 Justin Lovell

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Posted 07 May 2010 - 08:37 PM

Thanks for the info, guys.

I completely understand the "no-uprezz" school of thought.

Forget Blu-Ray versus DVD deliverable for a second, what I am also hearing is that it is not as cut and dry as a SD vs HD decision when considering transfers. Which is what my original post was looking to uncover - ideally someone that has done a side-by-side comparison of Spectra's uncompressed SD out versus (say) Frame Discreet's HD/SI2K/Cineform output, who can offer what differences they noticed (all things other than transfer equipment and colorist being equal); but am I right in saying it is not as simple as saying, "Well it's in HD, its better."?

Justin are all your HD scans done with the MovieStuff/SI2k combo? Is everything output as 2048x1556 and then dumbed down to 1920x1080 if that is what the customer wants?

Hope my questions haven't led to complete handfuls of hair being pulled out - but this is all very fascinating and (obviously) quite new to me.


I'm using Roger's (Movie Stuff)'s Sniper scanners for SD transfers.
My HD xfers are with our custom built BELLADONNA 2k scanner. I can bring in the footage as 2k, 1080, 720. Normally outputting to 1080 for people.

Hope that helps!

Glad to see you're keepin busy kent.
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