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Brandon Robinson

Effects short, 35mm or HD?

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I will be doing a special effects driven short in may, there is loads of green screen and matchmoving work to do. Our production team is of 2 thoughts right now:

shoot with the F950--->SRW-1--->HD ingest--->QT or DPX--->export DV dailies---->edit---->final conform

shoot in 35mm film---->telecine dailies---->edit----->telecine edited film to DPX or QT---->final conform

This is a 5 day shoot, and many shots will have entire greenscreen backdrops for digital environments.

The cost seem to be comparable unless there is a deal we do not know about out there.

The F950 is hard to come by and expensive, so the cost of renting the F950 and the SRW-1 deck

and the cost of a HD ingest or HD ingest system purchase really start to add up.

Ultimately I want true 10bit DPX files (4:4:4 colorspace) with sharp detail.

 

So what do you guys think HD or 35mm film?

If 35mm, what film stock is best for greenscreen work?

 

Thanks

-Brandon

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Will all your 35mm dailies be to HD and will that be the basis of a film-out to 35mm again? Or will you retransfer the final shots used to 2K for a D.I.? I have a hard time believing that a D.I. and shooting HD would come out to be the same, price-wise.

 

Vision-2 200T 5217 is the current favorite for chroma key shooting in 35mm.

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I have a hard time believing that a D.I. and shooting HD would come out to be the same, price-wise.

 

David,

 

it depends on the definition of a DI is I suppose? if you consider a DI to be a top gradist da vinci'in away on five minutes of conformed footage could do the whole film in an hour- output that from the spirit as a '2K' dpx file...and final conform in the computer the footage and effects. depending on the amount of footage shot and the deal on the 35 gear it could be close to an SR based pacage. but i cant see the advantage of shooting film, especially taking in the needs of post, if you're shooting a lot of green screen. if you really want 10bit DPX files why not shoot 4:4:4 to Stwo recorder?

 

keith

Edited by keith mottram

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I will be doing a special effects driven short in may, there is loads of green screen and matchmoving work to do. Our production team is of 2 thoughts right now:

shoot with the F950--->SRW-1--->HD ingest--->QT or DPX--->export DV dailies---->edit---->final conform

shoot in 35mm film---->telecine dailies---->edit----->telecine edited film to DPX or QT---->final conform

This is a 5 day shoot, and many shots will have entire greenscreen backdrops for digital environments.

The cost seem to be comparable unless there is a deal we do not know about out there.

The F950 is hard to come by and expensive, so the cost of renting the F950 and the SRW-1 deck

and the cost of a HD ingest or HD ingest system purchase really start to add up.

Ultimately I want true 10bit DPX files (4:4:4 colorspace) with sharp detail.

 

So what do you guys think HD or 35mm film?

If 35mm, what film stock is best for greenscreen work?

 

Thanks

-Brandon

 

What will the final product live on? Film, video? If video, consider Super 16. With the quality of lenses these days and a stock like 7217 or 7212, you can get excellent results. The cost of shooting on S16 will also help to offset the cost of a DI.

 

Chris

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Hi,

 

Mutter, super 16, effects shots, grumble, grain, instability, mutter...

 

Phil

 

Hi,

 

With 7212, and an Aaton I think the grain and instability would not be an issue.

 

Stephen

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Hi,

 

With 7212, and an Aaton I think the grain and instability would not be an issue.

 

Stephen

 

For a chroma key heavy project, I'd say it would be between 35mm and 4:4:4 HD, depending on the aesthetic look of the project, with Super-16 below those two choices in preference.

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I shot a short two years ago and every single shot in the film had special effects. Post created a look somewhat inbetween Waking Life and Sky Captain. We thought since all the footage would be animated over anyway in the end that video was the sure route. We shot on DVC-Pro (which could have been our problem, I don't know), but certainly not HD of any kind. Now two years later they are just finishing with their effects and they have told me repeatedly how they wished they would have shot 35mm. They say it would have been much easier to key out. I don't know many details about the post they were doing so I couldn't say, but I was surprised to hear CG guys wishing for 35mm. Anyone, know why DVC-Pro would be so terrible or is it just video in general?

 

Travis

Edited by travisclinedp

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I shot a short two years ago and every single shot in the film had special effects. Post created a look somewhat inbetween Waking Life and Sky Captain. We thought since all the footage would be animated over anyway in the end that video was the sure route. We shot on DVC-Pro (which could have been our problem, I don't know), but certainly not HD of any kind. Now two years later they are just finishing with their effects and they have told me repeatedly how they wished they would have shot 35mm. They say it would have been much easier to key out. I don't know many details about the post they were doing so I couldn't say, but I was surprised to hear CG guys wishing for 35mm. Anyone, know why DVC-Pro would be so terrible or is it just video in general?

 

Travis

 

DVCPRO uses the same DV25 codec as Mini-DV & DVCAM -- it's only 4:1:1, which is poor color information for chroma keying. If you had shot DVCPRO50, at least you'd have 4:2:2 color subsampling, close to Digital Betacam.

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How about shooting 35mm 3 perf, then telecine to D5 or HDCAM SR? This will also give you the possibility of doing a 2k or 4k D.I. if necessary. Kodak 5217 and 5212 are great stocks. I've also shot a few green screen commercials super 16 (for standard def only) on Fuji 250T 8652 with great results. Super 16 for NTSC, PAL and 720P is fine, but for a 1080P master, its a bit of a stretch. Best of luck

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How about shooting 35mm 3 perf, then telecine to D5 or HDCAM SR? This will also give you the possibility of doing a 2k or 4k D.I. if necessary. Kodak 5217 and 5212 are great stocks. I've also shot a few green screen commercials super 16 (for standard def only) on Fuji 250T 8652 with great results. Super 16 for NTSC, PAL and 720P is fine, but for a 1080P master, its a bit of a stretch. Best of luck

 

 

Isn't Super 16 slightly higher res than HD? And with say a 2K or 4K downsampled to 2k DI, you are already in a better color space and resolution than HD. So I don't agree that S16 is a bit a a stretch mastering to 1080p. Check out the action short Prey Alone. Shot entirely on green screen, much the same way Sky Captain was, and it was shot on Super 16. The filmmakers said they chose Super 16 A.) because they couldn't afford 35 and B.) they needed to maintain all the color resolution possible. Vera Drake also comes to mind, where they shot the entire film on 7218 and did a 2k DI. Admittedly, not a green screen heavy movie, probably no green screen, but the S16 held up very well. I could have thought it was 35 if I didn't already know it wasn't going into the theatre. The original post said that the F950 route was budgetting out too high and he was looking for alternatives for ending up with 10 bit 4:4:4 files. I still think S16 is a viable alternative, especially if other routes are proving too expensive.

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Hi,

 

> Isn't Super 16 slightly higher res than HD?

 

Higher than really good, 10-bit 4:4:4 uncompressed HD? Mnnnngh.... I would go so far as to say "not often." Especially considering factors like noise, sorry, grain, and steadiness for FX work.

 

Really good scans (not a telecine masquerading as a scanner) of 16mm are extremely expensive.

 

Phil

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Hi,

 

 

Really good scans (not a telecine masquerading as a scanner) of 16mm are extremely expensive.

 

Phil

 

Hi,

 

I am not sure there is 'that' much advantage where S16 is used, bearing in mind the extra cost. Shooting with an Aaton, transfering on a Spirit is very steady. With the possibility of recording to HDCAM SR .

 

If you have the money for real scans then you should shoot 35mm IMHO.

 

Stephen

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As big a fan as I am of all things film, I have to say I was surprised how grainy that the shows broadcast in S16 HD looked. Particulary, I saw "The O.C." and another 16mm show on UPN, and they were quite grainy. I don't know what transfers those shows use, or what stocks, lighting, and filtration is common for them, but they didn't have sharp grain either. They looked very muddy and very "noisy", as if the HD compression made it worse. I like sharp, tight grain, but those shows didn't have it. They looked "mushy". Broadcast HD, for the most part, is very sharp. Now that I've had a chance to watch the Olympics in HD, I do notice a bit of noise in HD as well, but I'd say that HD newsfootage had no more noise than dramatic TV shot on S16, in my opinion. I think a good judge of S16 as compared to in-the-field HD would be some NFL-films footage, as they look as if they really care about the quality of their work. I don't have ESPN HD though, so I couldn't say how that looks in HD.

 

Regards.

 

Karl Borowski

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Hi,

 

> as if the HD compression made it worse

 

It will. The final cruel irony of the situation is that compressed video and film really are the worst of enemies - noise, sorry, grain in the film will cause the codec to apply disproportionate amounts of bandwidth to areas of the frame it perceives as "moving", as well as areas of the frame it perceives as filled with high frequency detail, both of which can be either video noise or more commonly film grain.

 

Phil

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Hey,

 

If u need help with some of those shots and the footage is juicy... I could help u out if u want.

Im a compositor... I dont do 3D though, just compositing and color grading

 

Ben

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Thanks for the offer Ben, I'll know how juicy the footage is after we shoot, but it looks to be good,

 

Thanks for all the advise, it is coming down to the line and we are all still scrambling to decide

35mm film or HD

all the comments have been great, I will be doing a more accurate cost comparison, as of now I'm leaning towards the F950 route, but cost will ultimately choose for us

And though it is risky, I am considering a direct to disk digitize from the F950 where we could see the footage instantly and even begin working on the green screen during the shoot, just a thought

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