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HD SR?


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#1 Richard Boddington

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Posted 04 July 2005 - 05:23 PM

I was just talking with the HD boss at Deluxe in Toronto. Apparently there is a new HD format out now from Sony that is better quality than D5, called HD SR.

Any one transfered 35mm to this tape format yet, how does it compare to HD CAM and D5? Is there a noticeable on screen difference?

Raw tape costs are of course higher than the other HD formats, $370.00 CDN/one hour tape I am told.

I'm about to do a big HD transfer and I wonder if this HD SR is worth the money?

On a side note: proof once again of the benefits of shooting film, these tape formats are changing, adding, and being subtracted, as fast as I change my socks. Will it ever end? I guess not. I'll transfer to HD SR only to see some thing better come out next year.

HD SR users please let me hear your thoughts.

Ta
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 04 July 2005 - 05:36 PM

I was just talking with the HD boss at Deluxe in Toronto.  Apparently there is a new HD format out now from Sony that is better quality than D5, called HD SR.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


You really have been living under a rock...

Yes, there is the Sony HDCAM-SR videotape format, which can record either 4:2:2 or 4:4:4 10-bit with a fairly mild compression rate. It's still 1920 x 1080 pixels.

4:4:4 has better color than Panasonic HD-D5's 4:2:2. This has certain benefits for color-correction, chromakeying, etc.

I used 4:4:4 HDCAM-SR for a low-cost D.I. instead of 2K RGB data -- you can think of HDCAM-SR as being slightly cheaper, slightly worse version of 2K, but better than any of the other HD tapes formats (except maybe HD-D6 Voodoo, but no one really uses this.)

Other than for D.I.'s and for post work that normally would be done at 2K, and for recording images from the newest HD cameras like the Genesis, I haven't heard of many people bothering to spend the money to master 35mm to HDCAM-SR if the end result is just for HDTV broadcasting or downconversions to standard-def.

Maybe it's starting to happen these days, I don't know, but I suspect that most companies feel that HD-D5 is adequate for HD mastering. HDCAM-SR is used more if the end result will be transferred to film or needs the benefits of 4:4:4 for post applications. But who knows, maybe HDCAM-SR will end up being a common mastering format.

Certainly HDCAM-SR is probably the best HD tape format now to store film images if you don't know what the end application is for. However, for theatrical cinema applications, I would think people would rather get a 2K or 4K scan of your stock footage. And for HDTV purposes, probably HD-D5 is fine.

As you said, video formats keep changing so it's best just to transfer to whatever format people ask for rather than try and guess what formats people will want in the long term. If you really want to convert 35mm images for long-term digital storage that won't be compromizing the information, you're talking about a 4K or even 6K scan. But you're safer just storing the film properly and waiting to retransfer it to new formats as they come along.
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#3 David Cox

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Posted 04 July 2005 - 06:38 PM

hmmm - HDCAM SR was released in November 2003. Do try to keep up :-)

As David correctly outlined, HD CAM SR is better placed as an acquisition or post format for projects destined to be returned to film. Since HD TV transmission is 4:2:2 (at best), given the number of HD-D5 installations I think it's unlikely that HD CAM SR will get a stronghold in this part of the market. But history says "never bet against Sony in a format war".

Sony said 5 years ago that they would never create a new tape format. Since then there has been HD-CAM, HD-CAM SR, HD-CAM SR-double speed (used in the field recorder and not playable in the original studio decks) and of course HDV.

You mentioned that this is proof about film something-or-other. Of course that's ignoring the improvements in film stock over the last 10 years (let alone Telecine) so I guess the full extent of your argument is don't shoot anything until next year just in case the shooting format improves? Or perhaps we should just stop developing better things ? that would also help.
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#4 Richard Boddington

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Posted 04 July 2005 - 06:55 PM

Yeah, yeah, ok guys, thanks. (I think)

Ask a stupid question, and.......

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#5 Dan Goulder

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Posted 05 July 2005 - 09:44 AM

Does anyone know of a film originated theatrical release that has used HDCAM SR as a digital intermediate?
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#6 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 05 July 2005 - 11:28 AM

Does anyone know of a film originated theatrical release that has used HDCAM SR as a digital intermediate?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


It's still a bit new in the post houses, so I haven't heard of any yet. I did it at Shooters in Philadelphia with Technique NYC providing the final film recording, but they never finished the final film recording because the film is still looking for distribution.
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#7 David Cox

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Posted 05 July 2005 - 11:56 AM

With a DI, often the film scans are transferred to disk rather than a tape format, because quite often the film scan and / or the film-out is done in a different place to the actual DI. The scanning / printing houses are sometimes smallish specialist companies that do not have a HD-D5 or HD-CAM SR, so disk transfer is more convenient for them (while the DI itself will most likely happen in a non linear system anyway).

Technically, disk transfers are uncompressed and so are theoretically better - although it would take a very keen eye indeed to see the difference. I would have thought that HD-CAM SR would perfectly suit a DI application if the film in question were otherwise to have a 2k DI at an aspect ratio of 1.85:1. If 2:35 anamorphic, then 2K would provide better resolution.

I think the most likely niche for HD CAM SR is for the recording of digital cinema images from cameras such as the F950, Viper or Genesis. The advantage here is that the SR format can record in RGB and this gives a better result for blue / green screen work especially. The very small Sony HD CAM SR SRW1 field recorder has the ability to record at double speed (so the tape duration is halved), but the recording is only compressed by a very small amount. I think this gives a very realstic and practical alternative to shooting uncompressed to disks. Also, the SRW1 has the neat trick of being able to record two "normal" 4:2:2 (YUV) HD streams on a single tape - possibly useful for two camera sync shots?
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#8 Elhanan Matos

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Posted 05 July 2005 - 02:01 PM

I think this gives a very realstic and practical alternative to shooting uncompressed to disks.


Not so practical when you find out that the post house only carries the studio decks and can't play back your material.

It's only practical to shoot in HQ mode if you plan on renting it out during post as well.
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#9 David Cox

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Posted 05 July 2005 - 03:09 PM

Not so practical when you find out that the post house only carries the studio decks and can't play back your material.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Yes, I mentioned that in my first post in this thread. Of course, shooting to disk requires that your post facility can handle and back up the data on the disks. For most places, the rental of an SRW1 for the duration of the conform would be more efficient than the time taken to copy, store and backup 20Tb of data (20:1 shooting ratio for a 90 min film)
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#10 Michael Most

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Posted 05 July 2005 - 05:44 PM

I would have thought that HD-CAM SR would perfectly suit a DI application if the film in question were otherwise to have a 2k DI at an aspect ratio of 1.85:1. If 2:35 anamorphic, then 2K would provide better resolution.


A 2K approach is also superior if you have to deliver a 1.33 "full frame" version, provided you don't have the mic boom right on the 1.85 topline all the time, and provided you're not working with hand puppets (the puppeteers' arms would likely be in the 1.85 bottom matte area). The full frame version is still required by almost every major studio, at least for the moment.

Also, the SRW1 has the neat trick of being able to record two "normal" 4:2:2 (YUV) HD streams on a single tape - possibly useful for two camera sync shots?


The main purpose for the dual recording mode is 3D work, or so I've been led to believe.
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