Jump to content


Photo

Digital to film?


  • Please log in to reply
4 replies to this topic

#1 Jad Beyrouthy

Jad Beyrouthy
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 33 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Beirut, Lebanon

Posted 16 February 2011 - 04:19 AM

Hi,

I'm in pre-production for a short movie and i was discussing with the director the overall look of the final output.
The director wanted the texture and feel of film but we have to shoot on RED one because of budget reasons (they rented it for free and got a solid workflow in post) and have a lot of tricky shots that have to be shot multiple times so they cannot afford 16mm.

Other than using old Lenses (probably Cooke) and softening filters, we were thinking about printing the final edit on film and then scanning back to digital 2K (the output should be digital for production reasons also).

We thought that we might win a certain film texture by printing then scanning back to 2K. Can this be done?

Does anyone have other ideas to help?

What kind of positive should we print on?

Thank you.

JB
Cinematographer
  • 0

#2 Robert Houllahan

Robert Houllahan
  • Sustaining Members
  • 1582 posts
  • Industry Rep
  • Providence R.I.

Posted 16 February 2011 - 01:50 PM

You could shoot to a 35mm camera stock like 250D to add texture and then rescan to 2K for finishing. If you could not afford to shoot film you might find that this process will break you budget. I would figure that the range for the whole shoot out and scan process would range from $18K to $50K depending on the recorder, stock and scanner and what facility you were having the work done at....

-Rob-
  • 0

#3 Adrian Sierkowski

Adrian Sierkowski
  • Sustaining Members
  • 7115 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles, Ca

Posted 16 February 2011 - 01:53 PM

There is the ability to add digital grain in post....Depends on how you like it, but I'd talk to your post house about seeing some examples, maybe it'll pass for your needs. I personally don't like it, but it is an option.
  • 0

#4 Will Montgomery

Will Montgomery
  • Sustaining Members
  • 2030 posts
  • Producer
  • Dallas, TX

Posted 16 February 2011 - 03:34 PM

We thought that we might win a certain film texture by printing then scanning back to 2K. Can this be done?

It can be done but won't achieve what you're looking for.

Save those steps and invest in a good colorist to achieve whatever look you need. Keep in mind when shooting that the most important thing is to capture as much information as possible rather than what looks like a perfect exposure with the RED. Make sure highlights aren't blown out especially. Then the colorist can get it as close as possible to a "film look" but make sure you understand what that really means in contrast and tone.
  • 0

#5 Otis Grapsas

Otis Grapsas
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 44 posts
  • Digital Image Technician
  • Athens, Greece

Posted 18 February 2011 - 02:47 AM

I have designed a film look process that can do the job.

It processes linear digital images in 16bit format without matrix or gamma curves applied. One can get from Red footage to this requirement. The process operates ideally on uncompressed linear raw. Compressed raw is OK for Red although it has already lost some texture. Any processing applied by the camera software is damaging if you want to emulate film. The process skips all Red processing, it operates on the photon count of what the R,G,B bayer pixels actually captured (but compression loss is still there of course). The entire look is custom processing.

Optical filtering is critical for a good film look. The Red footage is polluted by infrared so many lighting situations will suffer without well designed optical filtering. Even if you don't see obvious problems, the infrared has creeped into the skin tones, making them cold and their tonality very compressed and flat. Once the infrared light is in, it cannot be removed and the film emulation will be compromised in terms of skin tone and saturation. If you use complex optical filtering for working around Red issues, the process takes these into account as long as you shoot the tests used to build the film stock emulation presets using the same filtering. The processing is customised to the optical chain, even lens color issues will be corrected.

I can emulate a number of film stocks and looks. The ideal way to do it is to shoot a colorchecker chart with the film stock you want to emulate and provide the image as reference. Based on the reference and a series of portrait or other subject shots, I can provide sample processed images similar to those of a color timing test and a decision has to be made only once for each type of light. Decisions can be discussed on contrast and saturation. Tonality can also be changed for getting the required skin tone for the project using a custom system that only manipulates color without changing white or grey balance. If you like the result we can make a deal and I can send all the footage through the presets we decided on.

White balance is critital. It must be adjusted in linear domain before the processing is applied, shot by shot. Exposure level deviations can be adjusted before the process to achieve a uniform tonal quality in all shots shot in the same light. This is done according to the zone system guidelines and in the actual film model, so highlights are compressed to a smooth whiteout and not lost. Large exposure deviations will sacrifice tonality and add digital noise but the tones will still match. Mixed light is OK, as long as it is consistent. The process takes care of it. The process does not produce false color or digital overexposure artifacts, even if the output contrast is decided to be very high, similar to that of a film print.

Low ISO setting is also critical. Even if the image looks clean, the tonality loss is severe. 1/8th the tonality for every 2x ISO. If you are after a rich filmic image try to not use the digital gain Red provides in post. It doesn't take much ISO boost to get the damage in the domain of an 8bit YCbCr distribution.

I do not emulate grain. The purpose of the process is filmic color, rich skin tones, filmic highlights and shadows. The look of a film print for digital video or digital projection release. If going for a film print with video gamma images is not acceptable, LOG can be used without losses, but depending on how you handle the LOG in color correction it could be inferior. Video gamma provides total predictability for digital distribution and digital projection.

An advantage of this process is that you can practically skip corrective color correction if you use this process because the color will already be where you need it and exposure will be almost ideal. You can get ideal scene matching with this method. You will only need color correction to deviate entire scenes creatively, not to correct or match between shots.

The process does not sacrifice any shadows or highlights, the information is still there if you want to pull it back in post.

The process was designed for my digital cinema camera project, but since it only requires linear RAW input it can be used by any camera that stores bayer images and all will produce identical results.

If you are not interested in going for custom film look processing, still note these technical issues. You will save time in the color correction stage. Good color takes some planning, digital is not as easy as film.
  • 0


rebotnix Technologies

Visual Products

Wooden Camera

Willys Widgets

Technodolly

Opal

Abel Cine

FJS International, LLC

The Slider

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Ritter Battery

Aerial Filmworks

Metropolis Post

CineTape

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Glidecam

Tai Audio

Rig Wheels Passport

CineLab

Paralinx LLC

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Glidecam

FJS International, LLC

rebotnix Technologies

Aerial Filmworks

Opal

CineLab

Visual Products

The Slider

Tai Audio

Rig Wheels Passport

Wooden Camera

Abel Cine

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Paralinx LLC

Technodolly

Metropolis Post

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Ritter Battery

Willys Widgets

CineTape