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#1 Sol Train Saihati

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Posted 08 August 2005 - 11:50 AM

I've got a short film shoot coming up in a couple of weeks and been given the option of shooting on either S16 or HD, all costs included the prices are quite similar. I've got quite a bit of S16 stuff under my belt and am considering the move across for this one, although the director is quite adamant upon a "film look", he's been burned by HDV before and is very sceptical of HD as a whole.

Now, condsidering the budget we've got, the best transfer we can get is almost certainly S16 to DigiBeta however we can get a deal on a supervised grading. Supposing you did an AB with with a HD master, both lit the same way, how would the look compare?

Also, considering the best we can do as far as HD lenses is the Canon J17 x 7.7B IRSD Standard , would we be wasting our time with second rate glass? The Zeiss Digi Primes are well outside our budget, but if we go Super 16 at least we'll get a distagon set.

His ultimate goal is the festival circuit, with the idea of having the best format for big screen projection. Do many festivals have the facilities to project HD or even Digibeta? My gut tells me that with this one, HD is the way to go, but I'm still torn as we may have to convert it to a lossy format anyway.

Thoughts?
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 08 August 2005 - 11:09 PM

If a film look is the primary concern, then why risk it? Just shoot film.

If you want to project in HD at a festival, you'd have the same issues of posting in HD if you shot in HD versus transferred Super-16 to HD.

You can also transfer to SD, create an EDL, and then transfer selects to HD and do an HD online to create an HD master. Or just work on getting a good deal on a transfer to HD initially.
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#3 Tristan Nieto

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Posted 09 August 2005 - 07:54 PM

Just a suggestion, which is more about budget, but may influence your decision.

Depending on what country you're in, and your experience with grants, if you can get your film into a festival, especially an internation one, it's usually all you need to get a government grant or a company to sponsor you for the cost of a high quality master (either print or HD). I did a project recently on s16 that mastered to Digitbeta that then went on to some fesitvals, and the director got an arts grant to get a neg cut and print. We didn't really look at HD, but only because the director had free access to a pretty decent SR2 kit.

This may or may not help your decision.
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#4 Sol Train Saihati

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Posted 13 August 2005 - 10:38 AM

I think the main complication in the issue was a director who was not technically well versed! The producer and myself had made the mistake of telling him too much! After a lengthy meeting yesterday we finally made the decision to shoot on film with a transfer to DigiBeta, as you mentioned:

If a film look is the primary concern, then why risk it? Just shoot film.

So it's a return to my first love. Perhaps one day the money may come a long for a HD master to be made but I doubt it. Theoretically, supposing we were to transfer the selects, what would the average cost of a 10 minute S16 film to be transferred to HD? Ballpark... I have yet to DP a 16mm short which had the budget to even think about it! :lol:

Surely the overall costs are considerably less than making a 35mm print, especially considering the possiblity of rolling off multiple HD copies?

Edited by djdumpy, 13 August 2005 - 10:40 AM.

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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 13 August 2005 - 12:58 PM

Well, considering it can cost about $50,000 to master a feature length movie from film to HD (about a week of telecine time), my guess would be that a 10-minute short transferred to HD would be $5000.

Truth is that probably an optical blow-up to 35mm would be similar in costs to making an HD master, but remember these are two different things. An HD master can be used to make HD, NTSC, PAL, and digital projection versions, whereas a 35mm print is just for print projection. You still may need all those digital versions anyway.

However, if you are limiting your short film's distribution to NTSC (DVD, broadcast, etc.) there's not much reason to go beyond NTSC Digi-Beta as a mastering format.

I shot a 35mm anamorphic short film called "Stuck" that went to Sundance and then was shown on TV. For the TV version, they just used the AVID cut from the dailies (4x3 letterboxed NTSC Beta-SP) rather than re-telecine the film, which annoyed me but they didn't have any money.

But then they sold the short to the BBC or some U.K. channel and they tried sending a PAL conversion of this 4x3 NTSC letterbox analog beta-SP AVID cut and the BBC rejected it (which I warned them would happen.) So we spent the money to strike a low-con print and I transferred that to 16x9 NTSC and PAL Digi-Beta and we sent a 16x9 Digi-Beta PAL dub to the U.K., which was accepted.

So there may be a good reason to master to 24P HD so you can make high-quality Digi-Beta NTSC and PAL versions from the same master.
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#6 Tomas Koolhaas

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Posted 13 August 2005 - 01:47 PM

Hello,
I really don't understand the big deal being made about the cost of transfering film to HD instead of Digi-Beta, I have done both in the past and the main difference in price is the stock (around $30 for D-Beta and $50 if you get a good deal on HDCAM). This means that per 50 mins (roughly) of footage you are having telecined you spend around $20 dollars more, therefor lets assume you shoot a 10:1 ratio you may have a total of 100mins of footage, this would fit on two HDCAM tapes (assuming you shoot 24frames) which would cost around $40 dollars more.
My experience with telecine is that it is charged by the hour regardless of what format you are transferring to, then the only additional cost is the tape stock, which some telecine facilities will allow you to bring your own if you want, as opposed to buying from them at a higher price (Edgewise media in LA sell HDCAM for around $50 for 50 minute tapes, whereas most telecine places will charge you around $80 for the same tape).
You should, in my opinion, definately spend the extra money to finish on HD, if for no other reason than (as David has said in different threads) it seems the quality of Digi-Beta projection at festivals is infinitly inferior to that of HD. Plus the ability to strike PAL/NTSC downconversions from one HD master is invaluable if you plan to submit internationaly.
Cheers,
Tomas.
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#7 Riku Naskali

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Posted 14 August 2005 - 07:10 PM

It really depends on the facility/country/etc, at least around here in Finland they charge a lot more for hd transfers.
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