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More on the HD DI proccess


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#1 Frank Barrera

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Posted 30 May 2005 - 10:27 PM

I'm prepping a feature and I'd like to jump off from a previous thread. The previous thread discussing this topic got side tracked into 3 perf and blow up issues.

We are looking to shoot 4 perf 35MM for 1:85. We would like to have a DI but we can't afford it. So our idea is to get a best light transfer to HD CAM. Edit this in FCP. Lay the picture lock back to HD CAM and then work off that in our color correction. Then strike an IP from the HD CAM master.

David Mullen suggests that this HD DI would be close in quality to a 2K scan into a DI. Am I missing something here or is this a viable way to go? Aside from shooting tests for both a film out and a video release what might we also be concerned with?

Thanks for any suggestions. We're sort of swimming unchartered waters here...

Any movie out there that have done this?

Frank Barrera

Edited by Frank Barrera, 30 May 2005 - 10:32 PM.

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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 31 May 2005 - 12:36 AM

I never said an HDCAM transfer would be similar to a 2K D.I. -- I said a 4:4:4 HDCAM-SR transfer might.

HDCAM is 3:1:1 and highly compressed, and only 1440 pixels across as well. HDCAM-to-35mm picks-up a lot of digital artifacts (aliasing, chroma noise, edge enhancement) that tend to make your photography look like you shot it in HDCAM to begin with. It would be a shame to shoot in 35mm and use HDCAM as an intermediate for a film-out.

4:4:4 HDCAM-SR has a very low compression, full color information, and tends to pick up less artifacts, creating a smoother-looking master for a D.I., closer to 2K quality.

Trouble is, I doubt you'd be able to afford to work with HDCAM-SR directly in your editing system, color-correct in 4:4:4, etc. HDCAM is 150 Mb/sec while HDCAM-SR is usually 440 Mb/sec.

Big difference. Please don't go around telling people that David Mullen said an HDCAM D.I. is like a 2K D.I.

You'd be better off transferring to NTSC, cutting offline, generating an EDL, then going back and re-transferring selects off of the camera rolls to HDCAM-SR (or 2K), doing a conform session to create an edited master, then doing a color-correction session, etc.

"City of God" used HDCAM for their D.I. and it had a slight video-ish quality as a result, at least in my opinion. You want to see a bad HD D.I., go see "Dominion: The Prequel to the Exorcist".
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#3 Frank Barrera

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Posted 31 May 2005 - 02:57 AM

David

Thanks for the clarification.


"Please don't go around telling people that David Mullen said an HDCAM D.I. is like a 2K D.I."

I certainly will not.


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#4 Michael Most

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Posted 31 May 2005 - 10:32 AM

You'd be better off transferring to NTSC, cutting offline, generating an EDL, then going back and re-transferring selects off of the camera rolls to HDCAM-SR (or 2K), doing a conform session to create an edited master, then doing a color-correction session, etc.


You might be even better off doing the unthinkable - actually cutting the negative and going through the "traditional" film post path. You've already got a better original element than any of the scenarios you're contemplating can produce. If you can't afford to do it "right," you really shouldn't do a DI path at all, unless there's something you need to get out of that process in order to tell your story. If not, I would say to forget the hype and do what produces the best product.
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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 31 May 2005 - 10:39 AM

You might be even better off doing the unthinkable - actually cutting the negative and going through the "traditional" film post path.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Yes, especially if they shooting in standard 4-perf 35mm 1.85 as it appears they are.
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#6 Frank Barrera

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Posted 31 May 2005 - 10:43 AM

yes yes of course:

never overlook the obvious...

truth is I haven't even read the script yet but the director wanted me to do some homework.


thanks again folks

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#7 Frank Barrera

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Posted 31 May 2005 - 05:00 PM

okay okay more info:

director says he wants to shoot 3 perf for savings and the DI would be useful for the "look" he desires. again, I'm waiting on the final draft of script so the "look" is a bit vague to me right now. he also wants to save on neg cutting cost by going DI.

so the question is if we go with a best light HDCAM SR master do we save money and is the best light sufficient enough for a proper color correct?


thanks again. you guys rock.


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#8 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 31 May 2005 - 06:15 PM

okay okay more info:

director says he wants to shoot 3 perf for savings and the DI would be useful for the "look" he desires. again, I'm waiting on the final draft of script so the "look" is a bit vague to me right now. he also wants to save on neg cutting cost by going DI.

so the question is if we go with a best light HDCAM SR master do we save money and is the best light sufficient enough for a proper color correct?
thanks again. you guys rock.
frank b

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Well, neg cutting costs are MINISCULE compared to the costs of a D.I. so I have no idea what he's thinking of. Even the savings by shooting 3-perf won't cover it. The big question is have you got the money for the D.I.? We're talking around a $100,000 probably, approx. half that to transfer to HD and the other half to laser record back to 35mm (not to mention a week minimum for color-correction, dust removal, digital conforming, etc.) I can't imagine the savings by shooting in 3-perf to be more than $15,000 to $25,000 (i.e. 25% savings on stock & processing) unless you have a huge shooting ratio.

Would make more sense if you were shooting for cropping to make a 2.39 anamorphic I.N. and needed to do an optical or digital blow-up anyway, but for a 1.85 film, you have to decide how much you really need to digitally color-correct.

If a film post is really out of thr question, I still think you'd be better off transferring to NTSC, cutting offline, then transferring selects off of the camera rolls to HDCAM-SR or 2K and doing a digital comform session, unless you manage a killer deal on transferring everything to HDCAM-SR from the start, but then you still have to factor in the costs of a standard def version (simultaneous or downconversion later) for offline editing.
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#9 tylerhawes

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Posted 03 August 2005 - 03:55 PM

...I still think you'd be better off transferring to NTSC, cutting offline, then transferring selects off of the camera rolls to HDCAM-SR or 2K and doing a digital comform session, unless you manage a killer deal on transferring everything to HDCAM-SR from the start, but then you still have to factor in the costs of a standard def version (simultaneous or downconversion later) for offline editing.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>



I agree with David's recommendation: transfer to NTSC, selects to SR for finish. The results can rival a true 2k workflow. Transferring everything to SR could add $40K or so to the budget, and it is a luxury (though there are real tangible benefits in terms of the creative process and decision making during editorial).

Assuming a 120-minute picture shot 20:1, I'd estimate about $150,000 would be a realistic budget if you were working with us. That would include NTSC transfers for edit, Spirit Datacine of selects to HDCAM-SR, conform, our 'DI Advanced' color workflow, and sound/picture internegs with a single positive print.
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#10 tylerhawes

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Posted 03 August 2005 - 03:56 PM

...Transferring everything to SR could add $40K or so to the budget, and it is a luxury (though there are real tangible benefits in terms of the creative process and decision making during editorial)...

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>



Just to clarify, I mean add $40K vs. transferring everything to NTSC and just the selects to SR...
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