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16mm vs. Super16mm for offline telecine


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#1 John Atala

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Posted 20 July 2005 - 06:42 PM

Okay, so im working on this low budget project which can be shot either on S16mm or on 16mm. My decision will be made taking quality into consideration (w/ a offline film to tape transfer in mind)-obviously, the S16mm features a larger area of frame, thus its of better quality. But keeping in mind that a offline telecine will be used, does the S16mm differ from the normal 16mm?

Im not sure im being clear here, i guess that can its basically a question of wether i can shoot it on s16 and still use of the plus features of s16 with the offline telecine.

Ive been told that the extra section of the s16mm frame can only be used of if a HD telecine is used.

thanks for your time guys :D

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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 20 July 2005 - 07:15 PM

Super-16 is only "bigger" horizontally, not overall.

If the end goal is a transfer to 4x3 full-frame video, then you'd end up cropping the sides of Super-16 to a normal 16mm area.

If the end goal is a transfer to 4x3 letterboxed, 16x9 full-frame (SD or HD), or to 35mm (which is projected in widescreen), then the wider shape of the Super-16 frames means that you'd not only have a larger piece of film to use, but you also waste less film because you'd have to crop regular 16mm top & bottom to make it widescreen.

Super-16 is only about 10% wider than regular 16mm, but if you compare a 1.85 shaped area on both, for example, Super-16 gives you more like 40% more negative area.
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#3 John Atala

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Posted 20 July 2005 - 09:11 PM

If im using a dv tape on the Offline telecine, and my goal is to have a final 1.85 image on video (by cropping), will it make the difference to shoot it on 16mm or s16mm?
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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 20 July 2005 - 11:04 PM

If im using a dv tape on the Offline telecine, and my goal is to have a final 1.85 image on video (by cropping), will it make the difference to shoot it on 16mm or s16mm?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Standard def video is either 4x3 or 16x9 and either can be letterboxed to other aspect ratios.

If you're saying that your final product will be a 4x3 video with a 1.85 letterbox, then Super-16 would look marginally sharper and less grainy because it will be a widescreen image reduced to fit into 4x3 (with black borders) rather than a squarer image cropped to widescreen by using black mattes.

But I can't say that it would be a significant improvement.

If your 16mm camera can't be set up for 1.85 framelines in the viewfinder, you may find it easier to compose with a Super-16 camera.
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#5 J Costantini

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Posted 21 July 2005 - 02:17 AM

miniDV is originally 4:3, isn't it?
Can it hold a widescreen format such as super 16mm without losing information? Will I be able to have the whole information coming from the super16mm negative area on my miniDV tape? Don't I need an HDCAM tape in order to hold such information due to the fact the HD is already a widescreen format??

What do you mean when you say "WITH BLACK BORDERS", please ?

Thanks

Edited by nillo, 21 July 2005 - 02:25 AM.

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#6 Stephen Williams

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Posted 21 July 2005 - 02:26 AM

miniDV is originally 4:3, isn't it?
Can it hold a widescreen format such as super 16mm without losing information? Will I

Thanks

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Hi,

You can transfer a 16x9 'anamorphic' to mini DV.

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#7 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 21 July 2005 - 02:32 AM

You've never heard of 16x9 standard def video or of letterboxing before???

Standard def video (NTSC or PAL) can be either 4x3 or 16x9. Mini-DV is just a tape format. It can record either. Most Mini-DV consumer cameras have 4x3 CCD's although, but the tape format is not limited to 4x3.

In standard def video, 4x3 and 16x9 use the same pixel ratio. For example, NTSC is 720 x 480 pixels. In 16x9, the pixels are skinny so that a 16x9 image (i.e. 1.78 : 1) can fit onto 720 x 480.

If you show a 16x9 recording on a 4x3 monitor, the image will be full-frame but everything will look skinny, stretched vertically. On a 16x9 monitor, it would look normal. DVD players are designed though to convert a 16x9 recording on the disk to appear on a 4x3 monitor as a letterboxed image (instead of skinny, the image is normal and widescreen but smaller to fit horizontally on the monitor with black borders above and below to fill the rest of the 4x3 screen.

In fact, most Hollywood movies are widescreen and put 16x9 recordings on DVD. You sometimes see on the box either "16x9" or "Enhanced for Widescreen."

In HD, the pixel ratio is naturally 16x9 with square pixels.

A 4x3 or 16x9 recording can be letterboxed (black borders appear top & bottom.)

You could transfer Super-16 to 16x9 NTSC or PAL Mini-DV. You could dub the edited 16x9 master to a DVD so that when it gets played, the player converts the image to 4x3 with a letterbox for those with 4x3 monitors. You'd have to make a separate Mini-DV master that was converted by your editing software from 16x9 to 4x3 letterboxed if you wanted to make VHS dubs, since VHS players cannot convert 16x9 to look correct on a 4x3 monitor.

Super-16 Full Aperture is 1.68 : 1.

16x9 video is 1.78 : 1. So if you transferred to 16x9 full-frame, you'd almost fit all of the Super-16 frame to video, but you'd have to slightly trim the top & bottom in the transfer to change 1.68 to 1.78.
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#8 Chris Burke

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Posted 21 July 2005 - 05:38 PM

If im using a dv tape on the Offline telecine, and my goal is to have a final 1.85 image on video (by cropping), will it make the difference to shoot it on 16mm or s16mm?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>



What flavor of video are you going to master to? Keep in mind that film stock, processing, prep and telecine cost the same in either regular or super 16. Where you will save money is with a regular 16 camera package. My recommendation is that if you have a small budget and the final product will live in SD 4:3 world, that you shoot with regular 16, compose for 1.85 and telcine to DVCPro 50. This will give you a very affordable production path. Check the prices, and see if a Super 16 package is in the picture or not. It will give you a better image. Chekc out Vera Drake by Mike Leigh, shot on Super 16, looks like 35.

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#9 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 21 July 2005 - 05:58 PM

If you're renting a modern 16mm package, then the costs of Super-16 or regular 16mm Arri-SR or Aaton are usually the same. Regular 16mm would only be cheaper if you were buying an old camera or had some rental deal with a regular 16mm owner or small rental house.
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#10 J Costantini

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Posted 23 July 2005 - 12:55 AM

Ok. Now I understand that a DV format can hold either a 4:3 or 16x9 image, letterboxed or not.

BUT

for these goals (having a final video with 1.85:1 crops and offline telecine it to minidv), will it make the difference, in terms of image quality (grain and resolution), to shoot regular 16 or super 16mm???


One more question: do I need new considerations in terms of depth of field??? What circle of confusion should I consider when shooting super 16?? Same as 16?

Edited by nillo, 23 July 2005 - 12:56 AM.

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#11 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 23 July 2005 - 01:29 AM

for these goals (having a final video with 1.85:1 crops and offline telecine it to minidv), will it make the difference, in terms of image quality (grain and resolution), to shoot regular 16 or super 16mm???

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I already answered that question seven posts back.
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#12 J Costantini

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Posted 23 July 2005 - 11:32 AM

I know, thanks.
I just wanted to understand better the "But I can't say that it would be a significant improvement." part.
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#13 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 23 July 2005 - 11:35 AM

I know, thanks.
I just wanted to understand better the "But I can't say that it would be a significant improvement." part.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


What, do you want a number? The amount of improvement is "2.4"? There's no way to quantify that except by percentages of overall enlargement or reduction. This is where testing comes in. It's like asking if something is "too grainy" or if there is too much salt in the soup. One person's eye is going to see significant improvement and someone else won't see any. It also depends on the size of the TV screen and how sharp it is.

TEST, TEST, TEST.

You reach a point with all image technology issues where you simply have to use your own eyes and judgement rather than rely on figures and other people's opinions.

All I can say that Super-16 IS an improvement over regular 16mm for any widescreen uses, even if just letterboxing it on a small 4x3 screen compared to cropping 16mm to achieve widescreen. HOW MUCH of an improvement is up to you to decide, and whether that improvement, if very small, justifies any extra costs. All I can say for certain is that there is some level of improvement just because you are using a slightly wider negative AND you're cropping it less to achieve 1.85. THAT'S not debatable. What's debatable is how significant that improvement is on a small screen.
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