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HDCAM SR 444 versus 422 for DI


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#1 Eric Lin

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Posted 08 January 2012 - 04:35 PM

Hello all. I'm hoping you can help me with some real world experience.
I shot a low budget project that is going to a festival soon, so post, as always, will be a little rushed.
Our original workflow was this:
Shoot Super-16mm, transfer flat pass to HDCAM SR and use the SR tapes as our masters. Edited Pro Res 422.
Re-digitize the HDCAM SR selects from the picture lock final EDL and bring into the DI for final color correct.

It seemed the most cost effective and best way to maintain image quality in the final film.

We are confronting the possibility that the original HDCAM SR dailies were recorded at 422 instead of 444 because a lot of miscommunication that we are trying to sort out. Ugh.

Thinking ahead, because of budget constraints and our time constraints, we may not be able to re-transfer the film to HDCAM SR 444 and may have to go forward and use the HDCAM SR 422 material as our masters for the DI. Have folks out there done DIs with Super 16mm material transferred to HDCAM SR 422 for theatrical projection? Has anyone done real world comparisons of 444 versus 422 in terms of doing a final DI (I know the technical difference)? Our material is a road trip so there are a lot of extreme exposures (hot highlights outside the car, etc.). I haven't had a chance to look at any differences between 444 and 422 in HDCAM SR in post before and would love any input you could provide to arm myself with information as we try to figure out how to go forward.

Thanks so much!

Best,
Eric Lin
NYC
DP
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#2 Will Montgomery

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 12:08 PM

I think most of the issues will revolve around color correction; the 444 will simply give more information to work with. It sounds like the nature of your production might benefit from that.

On a side by side comparison however, you might hard pressed to see a difference.

Have you considered going directly to hard drive? Generally there wouldn't be a a difference between going to 444 vs. 422 except in time copying files around so why not get the most info you can and down-res if you need to edit in a lower format.
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#3 Eric Lin

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 03:12 PM

Thanks Will. That's reassuring to hear though loosing the flexibility I think we'll need is a painful prospect.

Going straight to hard drive was something we considered. But, since they didn't have a post supervisor, or anyone really to manage the post end of things (drive, conversions, etc.) along with a very tight deadline (no time doing the down-ressing format conversions), we thought it was best to go to tape. But, it is something I had done in the past.

Thanks!

Best,
Eric Lin
NYC
DP
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#4 Kevin W Wilson

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 03:56 PM

Is there a difference between the two? Yes. Is it noticeable? From the sound of your project, doubtful. I think you're going to be fine. The difference should be pretty negligible. It's hard to say 100% for sure not having seen screen grabs or any of the material, but I work with HDCAM and SR all day long and I see no reason it shouldn't work for your situation. I've seen several projects handled this same way with no ill effects.

Will is correct. The only major benefit your going to gain from going to 444 is the extra little bit of wiggle room you'll get in color correction. And that will largely be determined by how well your material was shot in the first place. Again, hard to judge having not seen it.

I just mastered a 16mm short to HDCAM for a client and it looks great. As long as the transfer to the tape is handled by a decent engineer you should have no issues.
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#5 Eric Lin

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 05:09 PM

Thanks for the reassurance Kevin. That's great to hear that your thoughts. I wish I had screen grabs to post but unfortunately I don't.

I did send timed photos to the dailies timer so they did a good job of getting the dailies close to the final look we are going for. We aren't doing anything too crazy so my thinking is even if it is 422, we won't be bending the colors or the images too far and thus won't exacerbate the lower color sampling of the masters. Hopefully, it's well shot (hee hee).

Thanks!

Best,
Eric Lin
NYC
DP

Is there a difference between the two? Yes. Is it noticeable? From the sound of your project, doubtful. I think you're going to be fine. The difference should be pretty negligible. It's hard to say 100% for sure not having seen screen grabs or any of the material, but I work with HDCAM and SR all day long and I see no reason it shouldn't work for your situation. I've seen several projects handled this same way with no ill effects.

Will is correct. The only major benefit your going to gain from going to 444 is the extra little bit of wiggle room you'll get in color correction. And that will largely be determined by how well your material was shot in the first place. Again, hard to judge having not seen it.

I just mastered a 16mm short to HDCAM for a client and it looks great. As long as the transfer to the tape is handled by a decent engineer you should have no issues.


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Tai Audio

Willys Widgets

rebotnix Technologies

Glidecam

CineTape

Abel Cine

Paralinx LLC

Visual Products

FJS International, LLC

Wooden Camera

Technodolly

The Slider

Opal

Metropolis Post

CineLab

Ritter Battery

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Rig Wheels Passport

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Aerial Filmworks