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Telecines Ranked


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It's impossible to do since certain telecines are better suited for certain tasks. There seems to be a general consensus that the Spirit is outstanding on 16mm (I agree), but otherwise it's more of a mixup.

 

Some directors, cameramen and graders don't like CCD machines like the Spirit, because they feel the image is less organic and looks to harsh. I can't ay I see a difference, really. But then I don't sit in a bay day in day out either. It's a bit like the talk about Cooke vs. Zeiss.

 

All I know is that the traditional telecine is going away - in 10 years time we will all be grading from hard drives where the images have been stored from a film data scanner. The Northlight and similar systems have already made huge inroads. It makes sense, too: why spool a negative back and forth and risk damaging it when you can grade from a hard drive and get instant access?

 

Not only that, the grading systems of the future will be an amalgamation of a DaVinci-type color corrector and a Flame for effects. It makes sense to do everything at once; color correction, comps and effects.

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Hey Adam,

 

Have you checked out Dalsa's high-rez 3CCD cam? It seems to me that in ten years everyone will be shooting 5K res directly onto hard drive. Software will pregrade and fully adjust the data before landing on disk. Takes all the fun out of it, but there it is. Adapt or die. That's life.

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Hi,

 

> Not only that, the grading systems of the future will be an amalgamation of a

> DaVinci-type color corrector and a Flame for effects. It makes sense to do everything

> at once; color correction, comps and effects.

 

I agree, but you should know that this concept is being vociferously resisted by the industry. Ccolour corrector manufacturers and even more so the operators are fiercely resisting this kind of efficient and appropriate amalgamation of tasks.

 

I suggest that this is down to two factors: colour corrector functionality is inherently simpler than most other postproduction tools; it is nothing more than a faster subset of much more competent effects and edt software and as the two converge this will become unavoidably apparent. Secondly, running a colour corrector is, and I'm sorry but this is rather an unavoidable fact, orders of magnitude less technically and artistically difficult than running a desktop After Effects suite.

 

Therefore I can see fierce resistance continuing to to the kind of convergence we're discussing, if only because it's going to cost some rather narrowly-focussed companies and individuals to lose a lot of money.

 

Phil

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Hi,

 

> Not only that, the grading systems of the future will be an amalgamation of a

> DaVinci-type color corrector and a Flame for effects. It makes sense to do everything

> at once; color correction, comps and effects.

 

I agree, but you should know that this concept is being vociferously resisted by the industry. Ccolour corrector manufacturers and even more so the operators are fiercely resisting this kind of efficient and appropriate amalgamation of tasks.

 

I suggest that this is down to two factors: colour corrector functionality is inherently simpler than most other postproduction tools; it is nothing more than a faster subset of much more competent effects and edt software and as the two converge this will become unavoidably apparent. 

 

Secondly, running a colour corrector is, and I'm sorry but this is rather an unavoidable fact, orders of magnitude less technically and artistically difficult than running a desktop After Effects suite.

 

I've got to cut you off here. I probably spend more of my life in VFX/compositing than in a color correction suite, but this ranking you claim between the capabilities of an After Effects workstation and DaVinci/Poggle. etc is simply false.

 

Certainly there has been a convergence of functionality between compositing/VFX and color-correction per se. Among the loudest proponents of this extended functionality have been the colorists themselves. And there is indeed a great deal of interaction between color and FX work. This has historically required a back-and-forth collaboration between the timer and the FX crew: it would be great if that could be achieved without as much delay & frustration, maybe even with a single tool or a common interface.

 

But to claim that there are "orders of magnitude" of technical and artistic difficulty between the task of the colorist and that of the FX artist is a specious. Your view implies either an exaggerated estimate of the VFX problem or a naively simplistic estimate of the timing problem.

 

If AfterEffects were, as you claim, even as much as 10 times more "competent" than a modern color-correction suite, the world would be a far, far better place.

 

(And AE is great, mind you.)

 

In the end, this dichotomy is a false one anyway. The depth of specialization that a person in our industry can sustain is pretty deep: that does not imply that they contribute less or that their

skills are less estimable, technically or aesthetically. Some tools are similarly specialized. That can work too.

 

But if I had to give up one tool in filmmaking, I would give up the entire field of digital effects before I gave up color timing.

 

Joe Beirne, New York

 

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Hey Joe,

 

I got Maya 6.5 on my educational discount for under $400.00. I am so in love with it! I do agree that most of screen time happens without digital effects. Color timing is far more important. Learn that first, then add the digital gimmicks.

 

Just a thought.

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Guest tylerhawes
...colour corrector functionality is inherently simpler than most other postproduction tools; it is nothing more than a faster subset of much more competent effects and edt software and as the two converge this will become unavoidably apparent. Secondly, running a colour corrector is, and I'm sorry but this is rather an unavoidable fact, orders of magnitude less technically and artistically difficult than running a desktop After Effects suite.

 

I'll admit that learning a color grading tool to the level of knowing what knob does what thing to the picture is not that steep a job. But you're grossly underestimating how much more goes into it both creatively and technically. Beyond knowing each "knob" or how to make a power window and what-not, it's knowing color theory and how to apply that to the image in front of you, understanding how color is interdependent, knowing precisely what is needed to get rid of or add just the right tone to the right part of the picture, how to paint with color to evoke the right emotion or tone to the scene without being heavy-handed, etc.

 

On the technical level there is the color science, understanding what color actually is and how to measure it, manage it and maintain it consistantly through the whole workflow. This is a huge subject in its own that can and does fill volumes. There's also the data management, reading scopes, knowing when it's OK to crush or push, etc.

 

On top of that is communicating with the director and/or DP, being able to translate abstract and often imprecise verbal directions into results quickly, knowing how to support their vision while also giving guidance or input when needed or desired. Doing all this on expensive time and needing to establish a repoir with the client only adds more to the challenge.

 

I'd be the last to minimize the difficulty and artistry that goes into compositing and motion graphics, but to call color work simple is naive.

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It's impossible to do since certain telecines are better suited for certain tasks. There seems to be a general consensus that the Spirit is outstanding on 16mm (I agree), but otherwise it's more of a mixup.

 

Some directors, cameramen and graders don't like CCD machines like the Spirit, because they feel the image is less organic and looks to harsh. I can't ay I see a difference, really. But then I don't sit in a bay day in day out either. It's a bit like the talk about Cooke vs. Zeiss.

 

All I know is that the traditional telecine is going away - in 10 years time we will all be grading from hard drives where the images have been stored from a film data scanner. The Northlight and similar systems have already made huge inroads. It makes sense, too: why spool a negative back and forth and risk damaging it when you can grade from a hard drive and get instant access?

 

Not only that, the grading systems of the future will be an amalgamation of a DaVinci-type color corrector and a Flame for effects. It makes sense to do everything at once; color correction, comps and effects.

 

 

 

Where does the cineglyph fall into this?? I have heard great things about Bonolabs tking straight to hard drive as uncompressed 10-bit HD 4:4:4 color.

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In my experience, the best telecine machine can make a peice of properly exposed Super 35 look like piss-poor Super 8 if the wrong person is at the controls. I won't name any companies, but I've gotten some transfers back from nice Spirit systems that made me think my light meter had broken... I ended up getting them redone on an old Rank turbo and they looked fabulous.

 

In my experience, finding a trusted colorist, going somewhere with a great rep, and ALWAYS doing a supervised transfer will mean as much to your image as the machine.

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Hey Adam,

 

Have you checked out Dalsa's high-rez 3CCD cam? It seems to me that in ten years everyone will be shooting 5K res directly onto hard drive. Software will pregrade and fully adjust the data before landing on disk. Takes all the fun out of it, but there it is. Adapt or die. That's life.

 

I wish I were a clairvoyant like you Paul. 5K huh? George Lucas said something similar about 90% of projectors being digital in 5 years. Oh poop! That would have meant we'd be 90% digital THIS YEAR, wouldn't it? Let's not discount the staying power of film before the cards are truly on the table.

 

~Karl

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