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Super16 To 35mm Optical Blowup vs Super16 To HD To 35mm

>Published : 10th February 2006

>I'm shooting a Super 16mm project for which we will be making 35mm release prints. We can't quite afford a 2K D.I., but I was curious about the differences between a standard optical S16-35 blowup and S16-HD-35mm film out. My feeling is the digital option is more advantageous as we have a video master and can strike prints directly from the filmed-out intermediate. With the optical blowup, we'd need to cut neg, and do an IP/IN before release printing, which will increase contrast and grain.

>For the HD route, we would probably make HD dailies on a Sprit/DaVinci 2K, and then do a tape-to-tape colour correction.

>Andrew Huebscher
L.A. based D.P.


class="style13">>I'm shooting a Super 16mm project for which we will be making 35mm >release prints.

>Having gone through some tests for projects comparing the two paths, I feel that an optical S16 blowup yields a deeper, richer image than an HD DI. There was something a little "video" and flat in the HD DI route to my eye. You will definitely pick up contrast and grain on the optical route -- but the Vision 2 stocks, esp. 7212, '17' and '05, are so flat that they would seem ideal for that purpose. There were no Vision 2 stocks when I last tested.

>A few things you might consider :

>1) fast or slow stocks, slower holding up better through an optical process;

>2) if your look requires heavy colour correction or timing, then go with DI which is so flexible;

>3) do you have time on set to achieve your look, because it may be easier and quicker to achieve it in a colour correction suite than on set.

>The best thing to do would be to test for yourself. Labs should run a 1-2 min test it for "free," crediting the cost back to production when you develop and transfer.

>Rick Lopez
www.lopezfilm.com


>Andrew Huebscher wrote:

class="style13">>For the HD route, we would probably make HD dailies on a >Sprit/DaVinci 2K, and then do a tape-to-tape colour correction.

>Andrew,

>I'm not going to argue against making an optical blow-up, but..

>You might want to look into this as another option :

>http://www.bonolabs.com/tapeless.htm

>Has anyone used this service (or similar ones offered by other labs)? What are the disadvantages of using the 10 bit uncompressed QuickTime approach? I haven't tried it, but it sure sounds good in theory!

>Thanks

>David Mallin


class="style13">>I was curious about the differences between a standard optical S16-35 >blowup and S16-HD-35mm film out.

>Andrew,

>I have done several projects and have been involved in two features recently that have gone optical and I have been thrilled with the results. Assuming good fat exposures, top notch glass and a good lab using a 35mm interpositive for the blow up you will be amazed how good that tiny S16 negative can look and how little grain.

>I have also been down the S16-HD-35mm route and it can be a real disappointment. The 8 bit nature of HD is fatal IMHO. Certainly grading power is there if you require it but the cost is high. I suspect this route at very best practice can be reasonable but especially in lower budgets somewhere along the line somebody is going to f#$%k your pictures by compression, wrong LUT, RGB to YUV conversion, cheap film out, etc. It will be a world of pain if the post people are not right on top of it at every stage. The results in my films and others that I have seen is dead colour, loss of image richness and strangely an increase in grain.

>Presently I am finishing a film via DI with 4K 10 bit log scans so I am not DI adverse when done the right way. Frankly I would rather shoot HD original than S16 improperly transferred and digitally processed for blow up.

>Many Thanks

>Tom 'butt has been bit" Gleeson DP
Sydney


>Tom Gleeson wrote :

class="style13">> The 8 bit nature of HD is fatal IMHO.

>You really need to differentiate between HDCam and other HD formats. HDCam with its 3:1:1 colour space and 8 bit depth and 1440 pixel res isn't the same as a proper HD scan to a 4:4:4 10 bit uncompressed storage medium (disk) or perhaps even HDCam SR. D5 HD isn't so bad either.

>But, yes, it can get screwed up in many ways. Optical blowups can be lovely, but I will bet that DI blowups will replace them in under 5 years.

>Jeff "recently bought some wet gates for my optical printer, not that I have time to use them" Kreines


class="style13">>You really need to differentiate between HDCam and other HD formats.

>Jeff,

>Absolutely correct but one of the HD jobs I did was straight to disk full bandwidth HD although still 8 bit and it was a disappointment but I have not tried the 10 bit HDCAM SR format and I suspect that it is a step up in the world.

class="style13">>Optical blowups can be lovely, but I will bet that DI blowups will replace >them in under 5 years.

>I agree but I hope that its not via HD but proper 10 bit log 4K scanned negative and this seems to get cheaper by the month.

>Many Thanks

>Tom Gleeson


class="style13">>Optical blowups can be lovely, but I will bet that DI blowups will replace >them in under 5 years.

>This is not objectionable to me in the slightest; I presented the anecdotal evidence of the feature I saw recently not as a filmmaker or DP (however that surely informs my perceptions) but as a good old "paid 8 bucks for my seat viewer:" I simply didn't hear the "this is a blowup voice". 40' screen I dunno..... but 22' in a theatre in which I've watched everything from DV to 35mm EK's...........

>Again this was 7248 rated probably 64, so with V2........

>Sam Wells
film/digits & analogies/usa


class="style13">> The 8 bit nature of HD is fatal IMHO.

>Not all HD formats are 8 bit. Of the recording formats, only HDCam and DVCPro HD are 8 bit. D5 is 10 bit, as is HDCam SR.

>Mike Most
VFX Supervisor
IATSE Local 600
Los Angeles


>As I recall the Vision 2 presentations mixing S-16 and 35mm had the S-16 optically blown(please correct me if I'm wrong). I saw it projected in a theatre and now on DVD- it's amazing- in fact, the whole Kodak V2 demo DVD is something to aim for, absolutely beautiful.

John Babl
Miami


class="style13">>I agree but I hope that its not via HD but proper 10 bit log 4K scanned >negative

>No argument from here, Tom ...

>Every time comparisons are made between optical blow-up and digital blow-up, people tend to overlook the details: what sort of digital, who does it, how much does it have to be graded, or what optical route (35mm IP or 16mm IP, who does it, how good is the lens, etc).

>So your point about HD is well made. I believe the reputation of DI's is being sullied by poor results from inferior processes. So also your point about going via 35mm IP on the optical pathway (although the 16mm IP pathway is considerably cheaper, and some producers are always happy to take the compromise!).

>Both optical and digital results can be very very good. The convenience of the digital pathway, in terms of colour correction, and of assembling material from other sources (titles, effects, credit rolls, stock or library shots, fades, dissolves etc)is a big factor in favour of digital though.

>Dominic Case
Atlab Australia