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Weave, Half Wipe & Hologram Effect With S16mm

Published : 15th September 2003


Got a S16mm short coming up with one actor playing two characters that the director wants to see in the same shot by means of a half wipe and the actors not crossing out of their half of the frame. Is weave an issue herewith S16mm? (it will be a SR3).

There is also a visual effect required of seeing a hologram person sitting on a table (it's set in the future so it's the next generation on from video phones, don't worry about the architecture, there's been a big retro movement ... apparently) Are there any clever in camera ways of creating this.

So far I have suggested shooting it two ways :

1. greenscreen or
2. shooting a lock off plate without the actor and then shooting the same
shot with the actor in and doing a half dissolve between them.

Again is weave an issue here? I know this won't look as good as a post effect and will look like a ghost-ish image, but beggars can't be choosers with the lack of budget on this one.

Any other suggestions?

Crighton Bone
London



Crighton Bone wrote :

>Is weave an issue here with S16mm? (it will be a SR3).

Yes and no. Weave (and bounce) is always an issue. That's why we use stabilization in post. However, stabilizing inevitably softens the image. If this is intended for television, rest easy, you'll be fine. If it's intended for the big screen, you're taking some chances by not being on 35mm for this sequence.

>I know this won't look as good as a post effect and will look like a ghost->ish image, but beggars can't be choosers with the lack of budget on this >one.

I hear that said all the time, but the likelihood is that someone, somewhere along the line, will expect a "hologram" to look like a "hologram" -- that is, with some electrical interference, break-up, an ethereal glow, etc., etc. Use a green screen/set piece and by doing so, prevent them from blaming you for having a lack of choices.

Mike Most
VFX Supervisor
IATSE Local 600
Los Angeles



Michael Most wrote :

>the likelihood is that someone, somewhere along the line, will expect a > "hologram" to look like a "hologram"

True - and if Minority Report is any representation of the near future we'll happily watch our home movies with poor VHS style tracking, rubbishy colour
rendition and about 300 lines of resolution, just as long as it's a 3D holographic projection.

Perhaps Crighton could try using the 45 degree glass plate effect that was being discussed here a while back. Creating the effect in camera with the subject against a black drape, sitting on an apple box draped with black velvet would get around the registration problems. It would also allow the subject to be lit independently from the rest of the scene, possibly with a flicker effect/dodgy reception.

By increasing the distance between the 'hologram' and the camera relative to the camera/desk distance they would appear to be smaller then life size (and possibly slightly off the plane of focus. A fine white/mid-grey gauze or net hung between the 'hologram' and the camera might give a glow effect without affecting the 'real' scene and a sheet of glass with horizontal black lines drawn on it could simulate a 'low res' look. A simple spinning blade (a desk fan painted matte black) on an inline dimmer between the hologram and the glass plate could create 'choppiness'.

Tom Townend,
Cinematographer/London.



Tom Townend wrote :

>Perhaps Crighton could try using the 45 degree glass plate effect that >was being discussed here a while back.

I have to say that I'm as much a fan of in camera shots and tricks as anyone, but a lot of those techniques came about because at the time, there was simply no other way to do some of those things, or in some cases, no affordable way. However, the expectations for perfection are so high today with the demands for changes after the fact so prevalent, that to lock oneself into only what can be achieved as a "live" effect, especially for something relatively simple as Crighton is asking for, is to me limiting to the production and the director's vision. Not to mention the additional time a live glass effect would require during production, time that most low budget productions simply don't have.

What happens when the director says, "can I move the camera?"

In this case, I really do think that a post effect is what's called for, and quite frankly, today this is a simple and reasonably inexpensive effect, one that can be done by just about any post house, be it large or garage based.

Mike Most
VFX Supervisor
IATSE Local 600
Los Angeles



>Is weave an issue here with S16mm? (it will be a SR3).

SR 3 Advance with the rollers on the side of the gate would be your best bet I think.

My personal camera has that gate and it has been rock solid even with HS footage.

Mark Smith DP
Oh Seven Films Inc.



You "might" get away with shooting your actor twice by alternately shielding half the frame and letting the post take care of it. Stay away from any effort to expose the film twice yourself. No S16 camera is steady enough and even an SR3 might possibly scratch.

Double exposure on 16mm would only be possible with an old B&H camera, the one that uses 4 teeth on both sides to lock the picture after pulldown But then S16 would be out of the question, n'est ce pas?

In the first Star Wars movie there was a hologram shot of Princess Leah. Not knowing how it was done, I created my own effect, again with the 45 degree glass in front of the camera lens. But this time I first shot the hologram person on video, against a black background and placed the playback TV at the appropriate distance. As the person was (on purpose) small on the TV, the lines were enlarged too, making a convincing holographic effect when he appeared on the pedestal I shot on, yes, 16mm film. And as my BL was the only one that (at the time) could shoot without the TV bar appearing (in Canada, hence NTSC country) it came out perfect. However, the director saw the test that was shot on a Beaulieu, preferred the NTSC bar, made the halo more believable, he said.

Using a modern LCD screen would create many opportunities of manipulating the picture : weaving, color changes etc. as the NTSC bar would be absent and you can shoot this with any camera.

Robert Rouveroy csc
The Hague, Holland

I plan to live forever. So far, so good.



>In the first Star Wars movie there was a hologram shot of Princess Leah

I hope all ye esteemed boffins realize that this was by no stretch of the imagination a hologram -- at least such as we're capable of generating today.

We simply don't have the ability to project an aerial or focused image into open space without interposing a screen, smoke, concave mirror or some such. Until we do, a "hologram" means an interference pattern recorded on film emulsion that can produce a virtual image in space, but only when viewed through, or reflected from, the physical film.

Dan "picky, picky..." Drasin
Producer/DP
Marin County, CA



Robert Rouveroy csc wrote:

>Double exposure on 16mm would only be possible with an old B&H >camera, the one that uses 4 teeth on both sides to lock the picture after >pulldown....

Or an old Maurer 16, single claw, no pilot pins, rock solid double exposures.

Wade K. Ramsey, DP
Dept. of Cinema & Video Production
Bob Jones University
Greenville, SC 29614



Mike Most writes :

>Yes and no. Weave (and bounce) is always an issue. That's why we use >stabilization in post. However, stabilizing inevitably softens the image

Stabilization does not have to "inevitably soften the image". We have used stabilization on most of the 66 major films that we have restored during the past 3 years with no softening whatsoever. Softening is a function of the algorithm employed. We normally do a fully automatic stabilization of motion pictures from end to end with an accuracy of well under one pixel.

John Lowry
Lowry Digital Images
Burbank CA



John Lowry wrote:

>Softening is a function of the algorithm employed…

I assume you are using proprietary software for this? I tried a few times to stabilize 16mm stuff with Combustion, but it always looks soft, even on a 20" monitor.

Martin Heffels

filmmaker/DP/editor,
Sydney, Australia



Dan Drasin wrote :

>We simply don't have the ability to project an aerial or focused image >into open space without interposing a screen, smoke, concave mirror or >some such.

Correct of course.

We were discussing an approximation of a faux 'Holographic" appearance extremely cheaply done. I did see a truly holographic movie of 23 seconds in Russia but could not find out very much how it was made.

Dan, any views???

Robert Rouveroy csc
The Hague, Holland

I plan to live forever. So far, so good.



Robert Rouveroy wrote:

>I did see a truly holographic movie of 23 seconds in Russia but could >not find out very much how it was made.

I saw a Moving Holograph, years ago, at the museum of Holography in Manhattan. It was a Tube of Holographic Film, and as you walked around it, the image moved (I think it was a persons face opening their mouth.).

Very short duration.

Holograms are interesting stuff.

The question seems to be about projecting an aerial image, that is viewable from many different directions. For that I think we go to Jean Luc Picard for advice.

Steven Gladstone
Cinematographer - Gladstone Films
Cinematography Mailing List - East Coast List Administrator
Better off Broadcast (B.O.B.)
New York, U.S.A.



Robert Rouveroy wrote :

>did see a truly holographic movie of 23 seconds in Russia but could not >find out very much how it was made."

In the mid '70's I began working with holograms, especially in the manner of mass production through an embossing technique that was a precursor to the security images on our credit cards today. With my friend and colleague, Jody Burns, who assisted in founding the NY Museum of Holography (unfortunately now defunct- its collection is at MIT) with Rosemary (Posy) Jackson, we also developed injection moulded holograms, as well as what was for many years the largest (to my knowledge) mass-produced (we made a few thousand of them) embossed hologram, an 8" x 10" image which we used for a while as a Tiffen trade show display.

Lloyd Cross invented the basic concept of what you saw in Russia, the integral hologram, or integram. It used black and white film footage to create the illusion of a complete object cantered within a cylindrical strip of film. Typically, if done of an object or a person, the subject was positioned on a rotating turntable in view of a movie camera. The images recorded were then, frame by frame, rendered as two dimensional objects in three dimensional space onto a wide film strip using laser-based holographic techniques so as to render each frame visible only through a vertical slot about a mm wide running the full height of the horizontally cylindrical film (which typically could be several inches high and maybe a foot in diameter - the Russian movie, which the NY Museum had once had on display used wider film in a much longer strip, but still, roughly, a cylinder). The image then would appear to be positioned a few inches within the filmstrip surface, making the object seem to float inside the cylinder, yet each frame was only visible through its individual mm-wide strip and from any one viewing angle the continuous appearance of a three-dimensional, often moving subject was made complete by the fact that each adjacent frame of original movie film was rendered in a similarly adjacent mm-wide strip so that they blended together to form the illusion.

While not producing a true 3-D like in a laser-based hologram, this technique had the benefit of being able to capture motion, allow a complete 360 degree "walk around" of the subject, and could be displayed using a standard incandescent bulb (thanks to the work of Dr. Stephen Benton, who invented the white-light-viewable "rainbow" transmission hologram, similar to the images on credit cards.)

One of Cross' most important images was made in 1974, an image of a woman entitled "The Kiss." This was the first time I had seen the process myself, and helped to kindle my (and many other's) interest in such techniques.

Ira Tiffen
The Tiffen Company
Hauppauge, NY 11788



Robert Rouveroy wrote :

>I did see a truly holographic movie of 23 seconds in Russia but could >not find out very much how it was made"

I meant to add that there was an integral hologram 'on camera' in a sci-fi film from the '70's, "Logan's Run," with Michael York and Jenny Agutter. Taking place in an apocalyptic (aren't they all?) future, 'holographic' faces were talking in one scene, as I recall, to the protagonist. These were made in the manner of my earlier post, and positioned to be viewed "in motion" as they rotated on their displays. Got some nice press at the time.

Ira Tiffen
The Tiffen Company
Hauppauge, NY 11788



For image steadiness, any Aaton or an Arri SR3-Advanced has a lateral pressure plate which dramatically reduces image weave. No other Super-16 cameras have this, although there are some Super-16 upgrades for older Arri SR cameras that offer this (I believe by Slow Motion in Burbank). It took about 25 years for Arri to finally admit that JP et al got it right when they included the lateral plate in the Aaton.

Mitch Gross
NYC DP



Martin Heffels writes :

>I assume you are using proprietary software for this? I tried a few times >to stabilize 16mm stuff with Combustion, but it always looks soft, even >on a 20" monitor.

Yes, our image processing system is proprietary throughout. We are currently operating a service bureau focused primarily on the extraction of information and improvement of motion picture images.

John Lowry
Lowry Digital Images
Burbank CA



>Correct of course. We were discussing an approximation of a faux >'Holographic" appearance extremely cheaply done.

Howdy...

I do recall reading an article about a Russian holographic technique that involved using computer generated imagery through a type of LCD prism..?

Normally a hologram is *photographed* by taking a coherent light source (laser) and splitting it into two beams. Laser light is so intense because the light is coherent...the light waves are all travelling with their waveforms synchronised.

An interference pattern of the light waves that were previously coherent when it was a single beam is created when you split the beams and point it at a 3d object. As the light reflects from the object it mixes with the light from the other beam. Where the light waves intermingle a pattern is created that can be recorded on Holographic film.

When creating a holograph, you have to use very stable tables, because if their is any movement of the subject then a blurry image results. Holographs are literally the recordings of intermingling of individual light waves. If the subject moves more than about half the wavelength of light in the laser then you won't get a useable image. Most holographic benches are marble or concrete sitting on pneumatic suspension systems to try and isolate them from potential vibrations. Once the film is exposed, the hologram is created by shining a laser back through the film.

I believe the Russian motion system uses a computer to render or calculate the interference pattern to create a holographic interference pattern, which was displayed through an LCD screen and a prism of some kind.

I was half keen on trying to create some holograms a while ago, but there is a lot of work involved is getting a setup that can be stable enough.

cheers...

John Brawley
Melbourne Australia
www.viciousmedia.com



Mitch Gross wrote :

It took about 25 years for Arri to finally admit that JP et al got it right when they included the lateral plate in the Aaton.

Which, of course, goes way back before JP. The lowly Auricon movement had spring-loaded edge guides -- tho hardly as elegant as those in the Aaton. Didn't the NPR have them too? (Been a long time since I've used one. I know the registration pin in the NPR is there purely to fulfil specs on government bids -- it doesn't actually do anything!)

Amazing how long it took telecine people to realize that one fixed edge guide and one spring-loaded guide was the way to go. Look at the weave in early telecines -- outrageous.

Jeff "laterally guided through much of his life" Kreines



Laterally guided Jeff Kreines wrote :

>Amazing how long it took telecine people to realize that one fixed edge >guide and one spring-loaded guide was the way to go. Look at the >weave in early telecines -- outrageous.

…And how long did it take them to stop trying to pass off TK weave as poor camera registration

Brian "registering a grievance" Heller
IA 600 DP



Brian "registering a grievance" Heller wrote :

>And how long did it take them to stop trying to pass off TK weave as poor >camera registration

Well, take Arri 16SR footage (pre-lateral guide) and put it on an old Rank, and you've got twice the fun!

So, yes, they could put half the blame on the camera…

Jeff "pinning Brian down" Kreines



Brian Heller wrote :

>And how long did it take them to stop trying to pass off TK weave as poor >camera registration

A long time. But in fairness, that was almost always either the sales people or some of the "I can fix anything electronic but I really don't know anything about film or film cameras because I've never even seen one, let alone touched one" engineers. It was very rare that any even modestly enlightened telecine operator (modern day translation : colorist) would claim such a thing.

Of course, we'd also use rubber bands to pull out the edge guide.............

Mike Most
(former telecine operator AND colorist)
VFX Supervisor
IATSE Local 600
Los Angeles



Hi,

How did the advent of scanning line-array telecines affect weave? I'd have thought that all aspects of registration would be markedly improved without an intermittent to worry about. My father reminisces about working on an early line-array type at Marconi, which was apparently fantastic for its time.

Phil Rhodes
Video camera/edit
London



It's an SR3 Advanced I'm using. I did think of the glass 45 degree reflection but not to the level Tom described. It's a good idea, thanks Tom for the in depth pointers. I think I am swerving towards the greenscreen route. Thanks for all your advice about weave Mike etc.

Crighton Bone
London



Jeff "pinning Brian down" Kreines wrote:

>Well, take Arri 16SR footage (pre-lateral guide) and put it on an old >Rank, and you've got twice the fun!

Nice try, but you take the old SR footage. I'm no fan of early SR's. I was referring to comments made about 35mm cameras from Oxberrys, to Panaflexes, to Arris, even to your beloved standard of registration -- Mitchell NCs.

> So, yes, they could put half the blame on the camera...

Actually, they tried to put all the blame on the camera , but not without a brawl. Disclaimer -- not every TK operator -- just a significant few, who knew enough about film camera registration to bamboozle more than a few producers.

Brian " It must have been that loose pin in the Oxberry." Heller
IA 600 DP



>And how long did it take them to stop trying to pass off TK weave as poor >camera registration

I think to this day 90% of the weave is usually from Telecine. Test your basic SR3 or Aaton or what have you and they're often amazingly steady on a double-exposure test. But the telecine weave's what does most of it.

I wasn't aware however that the stabilization software incurred softness to the image - that's interesting. Not sure why it would have to do that as long as it sampled at 2x to 3x the target resolution - but perhaps that's the problem.

Mark Doering-Powell
LA based DP



One of the most mind-blowing things about holograms is that a holographic representation of a lens will actually function as a lens! For example, if you make a hologram of a magnifying glass with a specimen behind it, the hologram will read as if there were a real lens there, as you move your point of view around it.

Dan Drasin
Producer/DP
Marin County, CA



>I was referring to comments made about 35mm cameras from >Oxberrys, to Panaflexes, to Arris, even to your beloved standard of >registration --

Little attention is paid to the film manufacturers causing weaving (and chatter) by delivering substandard sprocket holes in 35mm film. For a while this problem was so prevalent in Canada that Bert Dunk, csc. ASC had a registration pin hung around his neck. If the pin fitted firmly in the sprocket hole, he accepted the film. He checked every new roll of a certain batch number. Otherwise, no dice.

And once I encountered a roll of 5247 that was slit so poorly that there was a recurrent variation in the width. That we found out after the (rented) Arri camera was blamed for the weaving. The variation was less than 0.1 millimetre and was discovered about 7 month later.

The rental house sustained quite a large loss as you can imagine. So did I for a while. After all, the buck stops at the DP. But NO excuses from the film supplier.

Robert Rouveroy csc
The Hague, Holland

I plan to live forever. So far, so good.



Dan Drasin wrote :

>One of the most mind-blowing things about holograms is that a >holographic representation of a lens will actually function as a lens!"

The Tiffen display hologram I referred to yesterday has just such an element in it. The circle above the "I" in our logo was a close-up lens, which magnified the word "Filters" that was in view behind it. Other graphic elements of this image included a full size 3-D 35mm still camera which had on the end of its lens a round color field representing a filter that changed color as you moved your angle of view horizontally; an animated repeating logo that changed color, size, and that leaped out toward the viewer as you changed vertical viewing angle; and various two dimensional graphics aligned in three dimensional space in registration with actual three dimensional objects.

We had a lot of fun with the technology. It was just too expensive for most applications to see wider use back then. There is still much being developed and we may yet have more halos in our lives. I'd like that.

Ira Tiffen
The Tiffen Company
Hauppauge, NY 11788



>I wasn't aware however that the stabilization software incurred softness >to the image that's interesting.

The Stabilization often occurs at sub-pixel increments. When rendered out, a sub pixel shift will often be represented as some sort of average of the surrounding pixels. This softens the image. This is true for any sub-pixel transform.

This is far more visible at video resolutions than film resolutions because there are fewer pixels, but video presentation is also far more forgiving.

If you were to transform in whole pixel increments, there would be no loss of quality, but it would not be accurate enough to smooth out the motion of the plate.

Thanks,

Rachel Dunn
http://www.racheldunn.com
Cinematographer Los Angeles



Mark Doering-Powell wrote :

>I think to this day 90% of the weave is usually from Telecine. Test your >basic SR3 or Aaton or what have you and they're often amazingly .steady on a double-exposure test.

Modern TK's are absolutely amazing machines, but registration has always seems to be an afterthought. The amount of film wasted in unnecessary double exposure registration tests made to prove to panicked producers that the camera is fine probably represents he difference between profit and loss for Kodak and Fuji.

and speaking of film…

Robert Rouveroy wrote :

>Little attention is paid to the film manufacturers causing weaving (and .chatter) by delivering substandard sprocket holes in 35mm film.

True, but we were talking about cameras versus TK.

>For a while this problem was so prevalent in Canada that Bert Dunk, >csc. ASC had a registration pin hung around his neck.

I believe there are still a few cgi and post camera people who still check the perfs.

Back to TK: Most TK operations have no facilities for checking the neg, and no one experienced in diagnosing film problems. What's more, at that point in the process the DP is often off the job and the producer has little interest in running down the problem on his own.

RR : And once I encountered a roll of 5247 that was slit so poorly that there was a recurrent variation in the width. That we found out after the (rented) Arri camera was blamed for the weaving.

BH : Modern film manufacturing techniques are like wise amazing technologically, so film problems are very rare. But every producer seems to have a notion without full understanding that camera registration can have something to do with the issue. So the camera is the obvious scapegoat.

RR : The variation was less than 0.1 millimetre and was discovered about 7 month later. The rental house sustained quite a large loss as you can imagine. So did I for a while. After all, the buck stops at the DP. But NO excuses from the film supplier.

BH : A 0.1mm "variation" in a film camera's registration would mean the camera would be making new perfs ;o). Moreover, the camera often gets blamed simply because there's no one from the camera company at the transfer session to explain how camera registration works.

It took the threat of a lawsuit to get one outfit to stop trying to shift the blame to camera registration when it was obviously TK weave -- and they knew it.

End of mini rant.

Brian "camera guy" Heller
IA 600 DP



The variation was in the width of the film, not in sprocket width or distance. It simply caused a 'weave', the subject of this topic, be it in 35mm, not 16.

RR : And once I encountered a roll of 5247 that was slit so poorly that there was a recurrent variation in the width. The variation was less than 0.1 millimetre

BH : A 0.1mm "variation" in a film camera's registration would mean
the camera would be making new perfs ;o

Robert Rouveroy csc
The Hague, Holland

I plan to live forever. So far, so good.



Robert Rouveroy wrote :

>The variation was in the width of the film, not in sprocket width or >distance.

I understand. I was not suggesting otherwise. I was merely alluding to the fact that a similar 0.10mm "variation" in a camera movement would mean a lot of confetti at the end of the roll.

Brian Heller
IA 600 DP



Rachel Dunn writes :

>The Stabilization often occurs at sub-pixel increments. When rendered >out, a sub pixel shift will often be represented as some sort of average >of the surrounding pixels.

Stabilization to 1/8 pixel accuracy is necessary for most images and in particular for standard definition video where a full pixel shift is most visible. The algorithms used to create the in-between pixel values are quite complex and go far beyond an "average of the surrounding pixels". I can not speak to the issue of how other people do stabilization but there is no need whatsoever to soften the image in the stabilization process.

John Lowry
Lowry Digital Images
Burbank CA



We traced the occurrence to the slitting process during manufacturing. As I was told, film is made on a big roll, something akin to a paper roll in a newspaper press, only smaller. After coating it is slit in the appropriate widths and the sprocket holes are punched in. This is all done in the dark. The weave occurred on one spot in the circumference of the roll, probably because a knife? circular blade? was a little off. The pull-down was normal but during a series of exposures, say, 6 to 12 frames long every 10 to 15 seconds(???) the width varies so that a steady recurring weave occurred.

And no confetti…

Robert Rouveroy csc
The Hague, Holland

I plan to live forever. So far, so good.