Yesterday I found out that instead of being in a Spirit or Ursa Diamond
bay, a certain LA post house has decided to put our S16mm shoot into a
Quadra bay. Unfortunately its not the first time I've had them say "yeah,
we can probably fit you in there" and then in the week prior to shooting
7218 and 7245 but in the past I've had lesser results on a Quadra, and
the same roll of film hung on a Spirit or Diamond was far better. Depressing
to see us using state-of-the-art cameras and film, then bottleneck that
through a telecine bay that may not have seen improvements in the last
I'll be looking at some brief tests I shot, but they're already talking
about dialling in DVNR in dailies-telecine to disguise any TK noise/weaknesses
(I prefer to wait until tape-to-tape to dial in subtle NR).
I'm really hoping somebody will post some good experiences with the Quadra
so I can feel like I'm wrong about my hunch.
Anybody hung film on a Quadra lately. Super16 ? Anyone ?
LA based DP
Last year I shot 2 videos back to back in super-16, Aaton
XTR prod, variable primes, Zeiss 12mm, Optar 8mm. The stock
was a mixture of Kodak and Fuji - 7274, 7246, Fuji 250T and
64D. I remember we had pulled the 250T 2 stops, and pushed
the 64D 2 stops.
We asked for the spirit with the 2K color corrector. We got the Quadra
with the daVinci 4:4:4. At that point I had used the machine once before
with 35mm, which yielded good results.
But the images held really well for the most part, and I think that part
of the reason is that we had a reasonably thick negative and a good colourist.
The other part of the reason I suspect is the additional hardware and
tweaks that each company makes to a machine, and I recall the colourist
mentioning that this Quadra was souped up as much as it could be.
They're like Ursas - some of the same models vary widely from tk house
But beyond twiggies I can't imagine what else the Quadra could handle
in terms of hardware that can improve image quality.
But the transfer was good for the most part. Some of the medium speed
stock that wasn't pulled started showing a little grain during some of
the performance shots. There were a couple of other shots were the grain
was dancing and there wasn't much the colourist could pull out.
Speaking of which, I recently had a colourist insisting to me that there
was no rotation function on his telecine machine - this was on a Spirit
with 2k color corrector. I wanted to reach over and press the button for
So I'd take a good colourist on a medium machine than a bad colourist
on a good machine, but I think that's the general consensus...
Duraid CML wrote :
>We asked for the spirit with
the 2K color corrector. We got the Quadra >with the daVinci
I'd like to add that I have seen a very impressive demo reel from the
facility (there is only one, but the name I don't remember) in Lima, Peru,
that has only a Quadra.
colorist, unix admin, tig
Duraid CML wrote :
>Speaking of which, I recently
had a colourist insisting to me that there >was no rotation
function on his telecine machine
I believe rotation is an option on Spirits, so not all of them have it.
Mark Doering-Powell wrote :
> 7218 and 7245 but in the past
I've had lesser results on a Quadra
Define "better." If you're talking about "look," flying
spot telecines have always had a different look than CCD telecines, the
difference being more pronounced prior to Spirit, but different nonetheless.
The downside of flying spot machines with 16mm sources has always been
a tendency of those machines to reveal the grain more, partly because
of the spectral light used, but also due to some other factors. The Quadra
(and before that, the FDL90, its predecessor) tended to hide the grain
far more, and thus give a more "35mm-like" look to 16mm sources
than the flying spot machines. That's one of the reasons shows such as
My So-Called Life, Byrds of Paradise, and Picket Fences (in its last season,
shot on 16mm) were put on them. I still feel that CCD machines, be they
Spirits or Quadras, are far "kinder " to 16mm than flying spot
machines as a general rule.
BTW, those "state of the art" SR3's you're talking about are,
by my recollection, older than the telecines we're discussing.
IATSE Local 600
> I believe rotation is an option
on Spirits, so not all of them have it.
Is it not an option through the daVinci? When he pressed the 'mode switch'
(?) button, right next to PAN and ZOOM was the ROTATE title.
Could it be that turning that knob affects nothing? And why is it that
there is a zoom and pan but not a rotate? Seems very strange...
And what exactly is a twiggie anyway? All I know is it's an electronic
Speaking of which, I recently had a colourist insisting to
me that - there -was -no rotation function on his telecine
machine - this was on a -Spirit with -2k -color corrector.
I wanted to reach over and press the button for -him...
Rotation is an option that has to be purchased. That particular machine
may not have had that option enabled.
Technicolor Creative Services
>Rotation is an option that has
to be purchased. That particular machine >may not have
had that option enabled.
I imagined that if it had zoom and pan, then rotation would be with it.
Perhaps I spoke too soon. But the same colourist could not get the 16:9
image squeezed to digibeta. And all he could give me on the image was
a full frame image of the neg. And then ... he told me he couldn't rotate.
Ergo the scepticism.
Duraid CML wrote:
> Is it not an option through
the daVinci? When he pressed the 'mode >switch'
The daVinci is both a color corrector and a controller for the telecine
-- but the telecine being controlled has to have the option or the knob
would indeed do nothing.
>And what exactly is a twiggie
anyway? All I know is it's an electronic >noise reducer.
Wouldn't be on a Quadra, obviously, as it's a Cintel-specific thing. A
Quadra would have an MNR-11 or a DVNR or something similar....
>BTW, those "state of the
art" SR3's you're talking about are, by my >recollection,
older than the telecines we're discussing.
They're still pretty state of the art - "SR3 Advanced" models.
Believe me, they're not the problem. Today I sat with one of my favourite
Colorists, Ted Brady, trying to peg the gate weave, and I showed him our
reg tests. rock solid even at 48 fps. He was amazed. Same cameras I had
on previous series provided by Keslow Camera (shameless plug).
Quadra still has some up/down bobbing in the gate. Its subtle, but its
there. I asked if 800 ft platters would help, but being that these were
short test loads the difference in tension probably is not the cause of
the Quadra's vertical reg problems. Well, the Colorists said the telecine
weave can come from any number of places in the Quadra, whether tension
roller arms or "capstans" or what have you.
In the end, the only way to make the Quadra look remotely acceptable was
to add about 7.5Db of DVNR (in both Y & C) and a #4 setting in the
Aperture Correction (both H & V) and the "Extra" NR setting.
If we're stuck with the Quadra well try that and see if its too artifacty
for VFX. I really only worry about the fine hair mattes sizzling on green
screen. That an moire. We just need to be careful.
Where's a Spirit when ya need one. Well, where's the money for it really.
LA based DP
Mark Doering-Powell wrote:
> They're still pretty state
of the art - "SR3 Advanced" models.
Wasn't implying that they were a problem, I was just commenting on our
current concept of age in the technical world. Once upon a time "old"
meant something that has been around for, say, 10 years or more. These
days it means 10 minutes or more.
>Quadra still has some up/down
bobbing in the gate. Its subtle, but it’s >there.
It also has some horizontal weave. Registration was always the Quadra's
Achilles heel. Philips really improved the mechanical design when they
did the Spirit.
>If we're stuck with the Quadra
well try that and see if its too artifacty for >VFX.
Oooo, didn't know you were trying to do "fine" matte work. With
16mm. On a Quadra. Hmmmm…
IATSE Local 600
Mike Most wrote:
> Philips really improved the
mechanical design when they did the Spirit.
Kodak makes the CCD-based advanced imaging head for the Spirit:
EI Customer Technical Services
Research Labs, Building 69
Eastman Kodak Company
Rochester, New York 14650-1922 USA
John P. Pytlak wrote :
> Kodak makes the CCD-based advanced
imaging head for the Spirit:
Forgot about that.
So John, let's all try to understand this. Kodak makes the imaging head
for the Spirit, which is manufactured and sold by Thomson, which owns
Technicolor, which operates Technicolor Creative Services, which among
many other facilities owns Complete Post, Complete Sound, Miles O Fun
Sound, Echo Sound Services, Weddington Sound, Technique, and Vidfilm,
all of which compete with Laser Pacific, which is now owned by Kodak,
and is a major customer of Thomson for telecine and other equipment.
And to think I once believed that cheaper and more available equipment
would ensure the continuation of competition and business opportunities
in the film/tv post business. Boy was I an idiot.
IATSE Local 600