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class="style5" Using Super16 For Slow Motion In HD

>Published : 30th Sept. 2005

>Hi,

>I've been asked to DP a short film that the funders insist should be shot on HD for a 35mm film output. However, having discussed it with the director quite a few shots require slow motion. Most of these involve heroic soccer tackles etc and he doesn't want it to look like a sports programme.

>I suspect we'll be shooting the HD on a Sony HDW F900. I'm considering the idea of shooting the slow motion on Super 16 and transferring it to HD using a 2k Spirit. Does anyone know if this can be matched in post so that can be intercut with the HD (Or the HD made to match the film)? I've worked on commercials where they've managed a good match with Super 16 and SD video, but the 35 mm output from HD is the new factor for me. The film itself has a stylish approach and the director doesn't mind changing the look of the film so that it does stand out as different to the HD material.

>However, it would be good to have the option.

>Unfortunately, there's also quite a lot of tight Steadicam material and the 5 frame delay using a Miranda doesn't sound much fun.

>Regards

>Brian Drysdale
D.P. Steadicam Op
Belfast


class="Paragraph">>I've been asked to DP a short film that the funders insist should be shot >on HD for a 35mm film output. However, having discussed it with the >director quite a few shots require slow motion.

>Brian,

>Sounds like a convincing argument to shoot the whole project on Panasonic's Varicam.

>Sorry if that's too obvious an answer but you don't mention if you've considered it, and if so, why not?

>Cheers,

>Clive Woodward
Perth, Western Australia.


class="Paragraph">>Sounds like a convincing argument to shoot the whole project on >Panasonic's Varicam

>I had considered it. However, the camera kit is going to be hired from the local VFG rental house which only has a F900. Also I assume, since it's a short, there'll be a deal of some kind on the camera & lighting package that'll limit the suppliers. Ideally the director would prefer to shoot it all on film; the HD comes from the funders.

>Given the action we'd like to go at a higher FPS than the Panasonic can go. Besides, the resolution drops when using the higher frame rate on the Panasonic, so it's not going to look so hot on 35mm.

>Regards

>Brian Drysdale
D.P. Steadicam Op
Belfast


>This sounds like a job that film would do better than video. Politics is great, but at the end of the day I suggest using the equipment that will get the job done best.

>Walter Graff
BlueSky Media, Inc.
www.bluesky-web.com
Offices in NYC and Amherst Mass.


>Let me assure you at the resolution of the Varicam does not change with frame rate. You will get the same resolution at 60 fps that you get at 1 fps.

Dave Satin
Video Engineer


Brian,


Take a look at Robert Rodriguez's Once Upon A Time in Mexico. It is out on DVD. The slow motion sequences as well as the whole movie was shot many years ago on the F900. This technique kept them at 1920 x 1080 for a very nice film out to 35mm.They had considered mixing film and HD like you because of concern about the slow motion sequences but after testing they went exclusively with the 900. See page 14 in this article from 2 years ago regarding their workflow

>http://www.highdef.org/magazine/archive/HighDef_JanMar_2002L.pdf

>With the /3 available now he would have had more freedom to work with the highlights but I think this movie is a testament to what is available when clever people fully utilize their gear.

>Regards

>Michael Bravin
Chief Technology Officer
Band Pro Film & Digital
www.digizoom.com


class="Paragraph">>Given the action we'd like to go at a higher FPS than the Panasonic can >go.

>If it's any help, one can fairly easily double a given frame rate in post with ReTimer, Twixtor, etc. if there's sufficient visual continuity in the original.

>Tim Sassoon
Sassoon Film Design


It will work Fine …


But you should also test shooting 59.94i and depending on the amount of slow motion you want to achieve you can do it using the F-900

Quick Tip :::


Shoot 59.94i
Put tape in Deck at 23.98
Hit VAR button over the jog knob
Dial up to .50%
This will give you an idea of what it will look like.
Record that onto another HDCAM deck running realtime at 23.98 or put it into an inferno and build the slow motion out of that.

>Your director should educate himself before condemning something he doesn’t know how to use.
Be advised that when you shoot 59.94i it will "Look like Video" but when it gets Slow-Moed to 23.98 it will have the same look of everything else you shot that way.

>But test it for yourself

>B. Sean Fairburn SOC
Director of Photography
Castaic Ca


>Thanks everybody, there are a number of good ideas that I can take on board.

>Having had a look at the "Once Upon A Time in Mexico" article I can see that the direction of the action could be an issue. A number of the storyboarded shots have fast horizontal action. In others the action comes from all directions, so I suspect there'll be a matter of finding out what works best.

>Unfortunately, I suspect there'll be very little time for testing. We are working in a PAL region, so I suspect 24 or 25 will work better for us than 23.98. Again this is an issue that will have to be discussed with the post production people.

>Regards

>Brian Drysdale
D.P. Steadicam Op
Belfast


>[Brian]

>I suspect we'll be shooting the HD on a Sony HDW F900. I'm considering the idea of shooting the slow motion on Super 16 and transferring it to HD using a 2k Spirit. Does anyone know if this can be matched in post so that can be intercut with the HD (Or the HD made to match the film)?

>[Lucas]

>Brian,

>A couple of things to keep in mind:

>1) Grain structure.

>Film's got it. HD doesn't. Depending on the shot, it can stick out like a sore thumb when you're intercutting. Lots of ways to deal with this in post -- just something to keep in mind when selecting stocks and during TK.

>2) Style

>The one thing that will save you is your freedom to play with different and varied stylistic elements in a post treatment. Cutting back and forth between film and HD and trying to maintain as unaffected a look as possible is hard. But if you can stylistically treat the film or the HD material so they match more evenly, then the colourist’s job is much easier.

>3) Motion Blur

>Especially with sports cinematography, be aware of how film and HD deal with fast moving images. You can always add motion blur in post, but very rarely can you remove it and make it look good. If you're cutting back and forth between HD and film with material as fast-moving as football and they have different temporal response to imagery, that's another thing that can kill you in the edit.

>Lucas Wilson
--------------------
HD/2K Online
Los Angeles


class="Paragraph">>1) Grain structure.

>Film's got it. HD doesn't. Depending on the shot, it can stick out like a sore thumb when you're intercutting

>Given how clean HD looks, the film grain was my first concern. I'd imagine you could use only use 7212 or 7245.

>Regards

>Brian Drysdale
D.P. Steadicam Op
Belfast


class="Paragraph">>I think it depends on the kind of action you want to twist from 24p to >some slow motion like 48p for instance.

>The classic example for success/failure with software is water splashing towards camera. Because they work by using "optical flow" (pixel tracking) techniques, the middle of the frame, where the water's coming right at you, works extremely well. Out to the side, where the water is shooting rapidly off-screen, the software usually reverts to frame blending. Another problem example would be a bicyclist side view, where objects are occluded/revealed by the action.

class="Paragraph">>I guess this might be because they make the DVD compressing the HD >material instead of doing a transfer of the 35mm print

>I'm in the middle of a thing with a nationally-known mid-Atlantic post house where I sent a pristine 23.976 fps 720x480 uncompressed 4:4:4 QT movie of a show (1.66 letterboxed) for them to MPEG-2 encode for a DVD, and they did a lousy stinking job of it, then told the client that if I'd sent them a BetaSP of it, it would look perfect. Ack!

>Tim Sassoon
Sassoon Film Design

>(why if that's the case they couldn't have put it on an SP themselves is another question unanswered...)


>Rodrigo Lizana wrote:

class="Paragraph">>The truth is that I haven’t seen any decent DVD yet made from a HD >compressed footage...

>Even HDV downsampled to anamorphic 16:9 720x480 is going to look great. Couple that with a nice variable bit rate MPEG-2 encoder (Apple's is fine), and you have a beautiful DVD image.

>Has anyone seen Matthew Barney's DVD "The Order?" It's an excerpt from his latest film, Cremaster 3, which was shot on the 900. I saw Cremaster 3 in the theatre (transferred to 35mm), and it was the best looking 35mm print I have ever seen, and it wasn't even shot on 35! I think it hadn't gone through as many intermediate dupes as most 35mm films go through.

>I still haven't checked out The Order (waiting for the Cremaster Cycle box set), but my guess is that's an extremely good-looking DVD.

>- Ben Syverson:
* Artist!
* Programmer!
* Chicago!


>I think it depends on the kind of action you want to twist from 24p to some slow motion like 48p for instance.

>If there’s no lateral action like but instead a subject coming to the camera (or walking away from the camera) software like Twixtor can do an acceptable job but not a great one and, for sure, not even close to shooting truly 48fps.

>One time, I took a 60fps Varicam SlowMo footage and slowed it to 120fps using Twixtor (circular dolly shot) and results where acceptable. Most of the people didn’t notice any artefacts on the 20" HD monitor while taking a fast look at it. With more observation they found some blur zones between the arms of the subject and his ribs. I noticed them right away. Also render was quite slow.

>Shooting Super16 gives you a lot of grain compared to your HD original.

>Also a very different look in depth of field, color reproduction and resolution.

>Very hard to match.

>I saw Once upon a time in Mexico (DVD version) and while there’s a lot of good things in there I didn’t like the slow motion at all neither the skins tonal reproduction (poor latitude) but that’s is quite common on all the DVD

>I’ve seen so far...Once Upon a Time in Mexico, Vidoq, Lucia y el Sexo, Star Wars, etc.

>I guess this might be because they make the DVD compressing the HD material instead of doing a transfer of the 35mm print....don’t know for sure.

>Rodrigo Lizana Lamarca
Pixine, Cine Digital
www.pixine.cl


class="Paragraph">> The truth is that I haven’t seen any decent DVD yet made from a HD >compressed footage...

>Worse, I haven't really seen much of anything HD that looks good at all anywhere. Watched 48 hours tonight which is shot in 24p.

>Looks like bad 16 with a strobing pulse anywhere there is vertical detail.

>Once again we've taken a step back in quality for the sake of convenience.

>Is anyone going to wake up and see the truth here or has the package been wrapped so nice that no one dare looks in the box?

>Watching some of these network shows and really see a setback in overall quality.

>Walter Graff
BlueSky Media, Inc.
www.bluesky-web.com


>Ben Syverson wrote:

class="Paragraph">>Even HDV downsampled to anamorphic 16:9 720x480 is going to look >great. Couple that with a nice variable bit rate MPEG-2 encoder >(Apple's is fine), and you have a beautiful DVD image.

>This is, what, based on all the HDV material you've worked with???

>Isn't the only HDV camera that's out there that mediocre JVC one that everyone dislikes?

>Jeff Kreines


>Jeff Kreines wrote:

class="Paragraph">> This is, what, based on all the HDV material you've worked with???
>Isn't the only HDV camera that's out there that mediocre JVC one that >everyone dislikes?

>Yeah -- although there are two models, the HD1 and the HD10. The 10 has way less edge-enhancement and better exposure control. It may look mediocre at native resolution, but the stuff I've downsized to 720x480 looks really nice. You're basically downsizing it by a factor of two, so a lot of the image problems become much less prominent.

>Anyway, the point was: if you can get a really clean SD image from the crappiest of all HD formats, HDV, there's no reason why you should have trouble producing a good-looking DVD from any HD material.

>I just disagree with Rodrigo on this: "I haven’t seen any decent DVD yet made from a HD compressed footage..."

>Any minor compression artefacts present in HDCAM, DVPROHD or whatever will absolutely drop away once you're down to 720x480... There's absolutely NO reason for compressed HD to look bad on DVD.

>- Ben Syverson:
* Artist!
* Programmer!
* Chicago!


class="Paragraph">>Given how clean HD looks, the film grain was my first concern. I'd >imagine you could use only use 7212 or 7245.

>You also have the option of Grain reduction for the Film.

>But you gotta ask yourself How much Slow Mo will really be used and how do you intend to shoot it. Make the decisions that will best serve the picture as a whole. If its just a few shots for a few seconds it wont be as painful as it might be if there is lots of Slow Mo.

>I would recommend that if you go the HDCAM Slow mo route try to keep the action coming toward camera or pan with the action you will be able to create a better slow motion. If the Speed of motion of Camera and Axes of Motion and Shutter are working together it will be able to create the illusion of a higher framerate.

59.94i Shutter at 125th sec is 180s once you turn the fields back into frames. 1/250th is equal to 90s and will be more effective if you are going long lens or building interstitial frames as Lucas Wilson mentioned. But if you want to do Bullet Proof Slow mo Shoot it on Film.


I have done Film and HD Slow mo together for 3D and it looks Fine I shot 5218 500 ASA but could have used 5217 200 ASA for less Grain but if your doing higher framerates you may need the Stop.

>Have Fun

>B. Sean Fairburn SOC
Director of Photography
Castaic Ca


class="Paragraph">>I would recommend that if you go the HDCAM Slow mo route try to keep >the action coming toward camera or pan with the action you will be >able to create a better slow motion

>Looking at the storyboards a number of the slow motion shots will involve tracking along side the action with a Steadicam hard mounted on a Quad.

>These are mostly tight shots on the player's legs and feet. Also, just to make it interesting, the director is hoping to do some speed ramps at critical moments. However, if he goes ahead with this idea, I'll be trying to persuade him to do this in post, otherwise we'll run out of time with the tight schedule regardless of shooting on film or HD.

>Regards

>Brian Drysdale
D.P. Steadicam Op
Belfast


class="Paragraph">> These are mostly tight shots on the player's legs and feet. Also, just to >make it interesting, the director is hoping to do some speed ramps at >critical moments.

>Give some thought to shooting high speed on 35mm with a fine grain stock. It can be matched to your HD in post if you do testing now to determine an overall "look".

>Dave Stump ASC
VFX Sup/DP
LA, Calif.


>Maybe I missed something, but what about using a Cine SpeedCAM for the high speed work?

>1000fps should be enough, and it's HD.

>Ask Michael Bravin if it's available.

>Dale Launer
writer.filmmaker
Santa Monica


class="Paragraph">>Give some thought to shooting high speed on 35mm with a fine grain >stock.

>I'd love to use 35mm, I would be a lot less concerned about matching with the HD. However, as usual with shorts, the budget is tight.

class="Paragraph">>what about using a Cine SpeedCAM for the highspeed work? 1000fps >should be enough, and it's HD.

>It looks an extremely impressive piece of kit and I'm sure it could do the job.

>Unfortunately, I suspect it would be well beyond our budget, even if there was one available in the UK or Ireland.

>Regards

>Brian Drysdale
D.P. & Steadicam Op
Belfast


>Ben Syverson writes:

class="Paragraph">>the point was: if you can get a really clean SD image from the crappiest >of all HD formats, HDV...

>To be fair, we don't know what the HDV tape format is capable of, do we?

>Has anyone here seen any clean, high-quality material transferred to HDV (as opposed to having been shot with JVC’ s miserable excuse for a camera) and played back?

>Dan Drasin
Producer/DP
Marin County, CA


>Jeff Kreines writes:

class="Paragraph">>Isn't the only HDV camera that's out there that mediocre JVC one that >everyone dislikes?

>They don't make a mediocre one, Jeff. You must mean the disgraceful one.

>Dan "feeling charitable today" Drasin
Producer/DP
Marin County, CA


>The Super-16 demo produced by NFL Films and shown by Kodak at NAB 2004 had a set of scenes of a soccer game, including slow motion sequences, that clearly showed the advantages of film in such situations:

http://www.kodak.com/country/US/en/motion/news/

nab2004breakthroughsP.shtml

>"Part of the demonstration includes a test produced by NFL FILMS that compares Super 16 film and digital images displayed on HD monitors. The demonstration includes side-by-side comparisons that run the gamut of production situations captured with film and high-definition, NTSC and PAL format video cameras. The test scenarios include interior and exterior dramas, nature and action sequences."

John Pytlak
Eastman Kodak Company
http://www.kodak.com/go/motion