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Chuck Hartsell

Varicam for feature?

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Thanks for the clarification David. I was not sure which way you were going with that hence my thoughts but agree with your last post.

 

 

 

It becomes clear on many of these boards when I read posts such as some of the ones in this thread and others talking numbers and the like which suggest as fact that its always about 'better', when in reality the difference in 720 and 1080 is not so simple and depending on the situation and use can be quite different than some of these folks who read posts on the web and spit the info back as first person fail to understand. I am working on some major efforts to put all these silly discussions to bed, which I will. It's taking me a lot of my own time and some money to do it, but if it stops these regurgitated discussions of tech specs, than it's worth it. I?m about half way through and might take it as far as renting a theater and inviting anyone that wants to see with their own eyes what reading regurgitated specs can?t.

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It's the same problem with getting overly-focused on the 4K issue -- is 35mm negative "4K" or higher? Is a 4K Bayer-filted sensor really "4K"? People on both sides of the aisle use these numbers to beat-up on the other side, from the pro-digital folks who like to say that 35mm is less than 1K by the time you see it projected, to the pro-film people who say that even a 6K digital camera will never match film resolution.

 

On the other hand, numbers are as good as any place to start as a set of generally accepted parameters.

 

But ultimately everyone has to recognize that perceptions play heavily into this, for better or worse. This can be used for ill or good of course, from the "good enough" crowd that is willing to accept lower technical standards by arguing that most people can't see the difference, to the opposite side, the nitpickers for whom some types of technology will never be good enough for them, who can always spot "unacceptable" flaws.

 

In the end, all we have to go on is our own personal standards, tastes, and perceptions -- as long as we recognize that these are personal, not universal.

 

Whenever, though, I get tempted to think that some new technology is "good enough" even by my standards, I have to think back to the past when I thought something earlier was "good enough" only for it to be generally recognized a few years later as being inadequate once we all looked at the material enough (I'm thinking of HDCAM...) ;) We all need time to adequately judge some things, put them through the wringer of the real world, etc.

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I have recently shot tests on the Varicam for a movie that is currently in production in South Africa. The Movie is destined for cinema release and will be blown up to 35mm. I was surprisingly impressed with the blow up tests and expected there to be a lot more noise, especially in the blue channel, than what I saw on Big screen.

I still regard the Panavision HDW F900/3, HDW F900R and HDC 950 as better options for 35mm projection.

I have found that the Latitude on the Varicam is not at all comparable to the Sony 900 series cameras, but it does have a different look to the 900's, whether it is better is a matter of opinion. I have found that the best camera to use for blowing to 35mm is obviously the Genesis and following that I have had great success with the Panavision HDW F900/3 using Digital Primos and zooms. Especially the versions with the Hyper Gamma extention Boards as can now be found in the 900R.

 

All that said whichever camera you decide to use, I would recommend shooting extensive tests to predetermine your parameters and post workflow.

 

Good luck with your movie

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I'm really getting to the conclusion that the whole sharpness crazy is really not that important. People splitting hairs over numbers and technical specifications, going to the ridiculous length of arbitrarily labeling what they think is HD and calling 720p ?extended definition? (stupidest term I ever heard about HD). After seeing Soldier of God for the third time now, this time projected, I think 720p is as good of a choice for the bigger screen as 1080 or 35mm. It gives me the impression of being sharper than 16mm actually, most likely because of the lack of grain, and I was watching a projection from a DVD. On the top of that the movie was shot with a Pro35, which also softens the image. I would believe 720p shot with sharp lenses and or without a 35mm adapter and digitally projected at 720p would look amazingly better. It all depends on what you are after I guess. Just like with lenses where some people would prefer sharper Master prime lenses and others softer K35's or S3's lenses or some projects would benefit from a finer grain stock and others from a grainer one.

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Hello to all forum members

 

I have been tracking your discussions the last months about various HD cameras.

Being the only owner of a Varicam in Greece I didn?t have a chance to take info from local Panasonic in order to operate correctly the camera.

 

We at Motion FX have a Lesergraphics Film printer and a Final Touch system for color grading and we using RSP Cinespace for colour management. All our films are being developed by Kodak Cinelab?s Greece.

 

My background is Electronic engineering.

 

I?ve done a research around my Varicam (note that it?s an F model not an H) and I found few thinks.

 

First, the camera has a latitude of 10,5 stops and this is measured by www.imatest.com software with the Denis Picta latitude step chart. The highest white for Varicam is 850 Cineon code value equivalent to a 1,52 density on a camera negative, very close to the D-MAX value of 1,59. Also I can reproduce an adobe colourspace with my Varicam which is wider than Sony?s sRGB, again tested with imatest and Macbeth Chart on a reference 3200K/5600K light (measured with X-rite eye-one pro spectrophotometer along with www.babelcolor.com software).

 

Second, in order to correctly expose with Varicam you NEED a grey card and a SPECIAL exposure chart from Panasonic.

 

Third, when you colour grading you need to apply a special cineon curve (again sourced from Panasonic) in order to do on the fly the reverse Telecine transform in the LOG colour space (YES Varicam records images in a LOG way).

 

If all the above it?s being done then the result is stunning.

 

All this ARE NOT DESCRIBED IN THE GOODMAN?S VARICAM GUIDE!!!

 

When we did all this it was like we shoot features with another camera.

I can compare only with RGB cameras and above not with F900R since it doesn?t render colour the same way as Varicam filmrec mode did. And resulotion is not the issue. Resolution alone doesn?t make stunning images on the other hand colour rendition does. It would be nice if I add a PRO 35 converter since the only think I miss is the 35mm bokeh (or quality of blur).

 

I will prepare a post on how Varicam should be handled since the machine its being designed to write images as it was negative on tape.

 

Regards to everyone

Lakis@motionfx.gr

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On a final note if you are going to make a movie for HD-DVD or Blu-Ray home theatre distribution then the Varicams ability to shoot at full high definition 60 frames per second can be exploited whereas for film distribution you are limited to the lower resolution of 24 frames per second which is inadequate for a fast paced action movie.

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On a final note if you are going to make a movie for HD-DVD or Blu-Ray home theatre distribution then the Varicams ability to shoot at full high definition 60 frames per second can be exploited whereas for film distribution you are limited to the lower resolution of 24 frames per second which is inadequate for a fast paced action movie.

 

What do you mean? All mainstream fast paced action movies are shot in 24fps.

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When someone goes to a Broadway theatre to see a live theatrical performance do people complain that it looks like a soap opera because it is a live performance rather than a film shot at 24p? So with 60p you will end up with a look that matches a live performance which is what high definition is all about. Some people say that 60p looks like video because they associate anything shot over 30 frames a second with interlaced 480i video or 1080i super video. But 60p is not interlaced video but rather a full progressive format that shoots 60 complete photographs per second just like 24p which is also a progressive format that shoots 24 photographs per second. So if anything 60p will not give you a video look but rather a super film look for a very pristine image completely free of artifacts found in interlace video. Rather than looking like video 60p aproximates what the human eyes see in real life. So rather than saying 720p is only extended definition the truth is that only 720p is real high definition because the 1080p format fails to give adequate temporal resolution to meet any real high definition standard.

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There is no spit of difference between shooting 1080/60i and 720/60P.

 

Both are HDTV broadcast formats, so 1080/60i when broadcast on a 720P station just gets converted to 540/60P (fields turned into frames), 1920 horizontal gets downrezzed to 1280 and 540 vertical gets uprezzed to 720.

 

And 720/60P when broadcast at 1080/60i just gets the P frames split into fields, and 1280 horizontal is uprezzed to 1920 and 720 vertical is downrezzed to 540.

 

And there is NO difference either way in motion reproduction, and the net resolution is about the same. Either way, 1080/60i and 720/60P, motion is sampled 60 times per second. 60 images captured per second. Once 1080/60i is converted to 720/60P, it looks the same basically -- there are no interlaced-scan artifacts. And once 720/60P is converted to 1080/60i, it also looks the exactly same, as if you had shot at 60i in the first place. Not "sort of", but exactly the same. 60 motion samples per second -- the only difference is the display format.

 

As for 24P, that's used for its unique film-like motion characteristics, since 24 fps is the standard for film production. If 60 fps were the standard for film, then digital would also have to shoot at 60 to match that look. But it isn't. Has nothing to do with right or wrong, or best or worst, it's just about the look you want to achieve and audience expectations.

 

Trying to compare resolution between 1080/24P and 720/60P is pointless because they aren't used for the same types of projects. And you can't make a clear connection between pixel resolution and temporal resolution, which is not even accepted by everyone as a type of real resolution anyway. Not to mention that the majority of 720P production is shot at 24P and only recorded to 60P with redundant frames.

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There is no spit of difference between shooting 1080/60i and 720/60P.

 

Both are HDTV broadcast formats, so 1080/60i when broadcast on a 720P station just gets converted to 540/60P (fields turned into frames), 1920 horizontal gets downrezzed to 1280 and 540 vertical gets uprezzed to 720.

 

And 720/60P when broadcast at 1080/60i just gets the P frames split into fields, and 1280 horizontal is uprezzed to 1920 and 720 vertical is downrezzed to 540.

 

And there is NO difference either way in motion reproduction, and the net resolution is about the same. Either way, 1080/60i and 720/60P, motion is sampled 60 times per second. 60 images captured per second. Once 1080/60i is converted to 720/60P, it looks the same basically -- there are no interlaced-scan artifacts. And once 720/60P is converted to 1080/60i, it also looks the exactly same, as if you had shot at 60i in the first place. Not "sort of", but exactly the same. 60 motion samples per second -- the only difference is the display format.

 

As for 24P, that's used for its unique film-like motion characteristics, since 24 fps is the standard for film production. If 60 fps were the standard for film, then digital would also have to shoot at 60 to match that look. But it isn't. Has nothing to do with right or wrong, or best or worst, it's just about the look you want to achieve and audience expectations.

 

Trying to compare resolution between 1080/24P and 720/60P is pointless because they aren't used for the same types of projects. And you can't make a clear connection between pixel resolution and temporal resolution, which is not even accepted by everyone as a type of real resolution anyway. Not to mention that the majority of 720P production is shot at 24P and only recorded to 60P with redundant frames.

 

Many Super 8 cameras shoot 18 f.p.s. and are projected at the same rate. A Nizo that I used

had variable speeds but it's 24 f.p.s. option gave a less skittery look when played back at 24

f.p.s. than did 18 f.p.s. projected at 18 f.p.s. The other variable speed options were to

overcrank or undercrank and have it look that way because the projection speeds would still

be the 18 or 24 f.p.s..

 

So, just for kicks, say you have a high speed camera and can shoot 300 f.p.s.. That's going to

give you great slow motion when projected at 24 f.p.s..

 

However, if somebody invented equipment so that you could shoot at 300 f.p.s., record sync

sound and play back at 300 f.p.s., wouldn't you have an incredible picture?

 

Of course there are exposure issues, film costs, etc.. Hypothetically though, what do you think?

What about a 60 or 96 f.p.s. sync sound camera that could be projected at those respective

speeds?

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Maybe this should be in a different thread but it seems pertinent. Why is it that 720 gets to do progressive while 1080 is interlaced? David you mentioned that we should start seeing cameras that will do 1080p, why has it taken so long? Is it really that big of a deal?

 

Correct me if I am wrong, but this is how I understand it.

 

720 can do P or I

 

1080 is I only at this point.

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However, if somebody invented equipment so that you could shoot at 300 f.p.s., record sync

sound and play back at 300 f.p.s., wouldn't you have an incredible picture?

 

Douglas Trumbull tested the concept when developing "Showscan," and arrived at 60fps as the most practical frame rate for lifelike motion sampling and projection. Anything faster seemed to hit a point of diminishing returns...

 

As for other comments here, we've gone round and round before about 24P vs. 60P and "true high def" and whatnot, to no avail. It always seems to come back with the same mantra...

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When someone goes to a Broadway theatre to see a live theatrical performance do people complain that it looks like a soap opera because it is a live performance rather than a film shot at 24p? So with 60p you will end up with a look that matches a live performance which is what high definition is all about. Some people say that 60p looks like video because they associate anything shot over 30 frames a second with interlaced 480i video or 1080i super video. But 60p is not interlaced video but rather a full progressive format that shoots 60 complete photographs per second just like 24p which is also a progressive format that shoots 24 photographs per second. So if anything 60p will not give you a video look but rather a super film look for a very pristine image completely free of artifacts found in interlace video. Rather than looking like video 60p aproximates what the human eyes see in real life. So rather than saying 720p is only extended definition the truth is that only 720p is real high definition because the 1080p format fails to give adequate temporal resolution to meet any real high definition standard.

 

Please stop spouting this crap. It spreads misinformation, and makes you sound like an idiot.

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Please stop spouting this crap. It spreads misinformation, and makes you sound like an idiot.

 

Aye. Lots of misinformation.

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First of all if you want me to quote real world production the only film that might have been shot at 60 frames per second was the 1983 science fiction movie Brainstorm starring Natalie Wood. And even then it was a hybrid production where most of the movie was shot at 24 frames per second where the 60 frames was reserved as a proposed special effect for the virtual reality footage. The problem at that time was that the 70mm projectors in movie theatres would have had to have been modified to run at 60 frames per second and it would have been cost prohibitive to distribute the showscan format.

 

Today however it is a different story. Most home theatres have high definition televisions that can display 720p at 60 frames per second and we have 2 high definition distribution formats called Blu-Ray and HD-DVD that can display 720p at 60 frames per second as well as network television. 60 fps is still a problem for film distribution but the new digital projectors are fully capable of displaying 60fps.

 

Initially I suppose that 60p will be reserved for special effects parts of the film where 24p just cannot keep up with the fast action needed for the total immersive effect but the bulk of the film will be shot in 24p. This makes the Varicam an excellent choice for features because of its 720p60 capability either for slow motion overcranked 24p or 60p displayed action shots.

 

Interestingly 24p never had a complete monopoly over movie production because it was found that 24p lacked the temporal resolution necessary for big screen 65mm productions many of which were shot with the 30p format.

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Initially I suppose that 60p will be reserved for special effects parts of the film where 24p just cannot keep up with the fast action needed for the total immersive effect but the bulk of the film will be shot in 24p.

 

Initially? How about historically? Filmmakers have been trying out different frame rates and formats for a long time, and 60fps (i or p) HD just looks like... video. People intercut frame rates all the time in the video world. You just don't see it in theaters that much because projection usually doesn't accommodate 60fps.

 

720x1280 is nowhere near the resolution of 65mm, and won't offer the immersive experience of Showscan, 65mm, or Imax. And 720/60P is simply not that dramatic a difference in motion rendering or resolution from 1080/60i.

 

You seem to dismiss the fact that the vast majority of filmmakers and filmgoers associate a 60fps look with video, at least within the limits of HD resolution. I suppose if the shooting and projecting format was 4K 60fps, that may start to change. But the Varicam is simply not that camera. It's a great tool, but don't kid yourself that its footage displayed at 60fps will magically transform filmmaking beyond what's already possible with 1080 60i display.

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All 60 fps will really do for you is eliminated picket fencing.

 

"Temporal resolution" is dubious term IMO.

 

I'm for going back to 16/18 fps myself; really 20fps would be my ideal :)

 

I *like* the "emergence" of discrete frames forming a moving image; in my current digital work I'm bending over backwards to avoid the static "unwinking eye" of video, which I liken to a violin played without vibrato.

 

(Sony's 4K SXRD seems frame rate agnostic, cool !)

 

-Sam

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Some people say that 60p looks like video because they associate anything shot over 30 frames a second with interlaced 480i video or 1080i super video. But 60p is not interlaced video but rather a full progressive format that shoots 60 complete photographs per second just like 24p which is also a progressive format that shoots 24 photographs per second. So if anything 60p will not give you a video look but rather a super film look for a very pristine image completely free of artifacts found in interlace video.

 

60p looks like video imo. What makes it look like video has little to do with whether its progressive or interlaced. It has to do with the frequency at which the images have been sampled combined with the frequency at which they are played back.

 

 

AJB

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People shoot progressive-scan 1080P all the time. I've shot eight features at 24P/1080 on the F900 myself.

 

The 720 line HDTV format is always progressive-scan. The 1080 line format can be either progressive or interlaced.

 

24P/1080, which is progressive, has been available ever since the F900 came out in 2000, predating the 720P Varicam by a year. Thomas is talking about 60P/1080, which has only recently been possible due to the high data rates, so if you wanted to shoot at 60P, generally you would have used the 720P format.

 

It's only 1080 line HDTV broadcast which is interlaced-scan 60i. So 24P/1080 material is shown with a 3:2 pulldown just like 24 fps film material when shown at 60i.

 

Trumbull had to shoot the 65mm sequences at 24 fps in "Brainstorm" in order to release the movie in standard 24 fps 70mm prints. I mean, there may have been some 60 fps 65mm Showscan material just cut in as slo-mo and played at 24 fps, but the movie never switched to the 60 fps Showscan format during the "brainstorm" sequences. I saw the 70mm release in Westwood at the Mann National. He intended to make the movie a showcase for Showscan but wasn't able to.

 

And only the first two 65mm features were shot at 30 fps -- "Oklahoma!" and "Around the World in Eighty Days". And "Oklahoma!" had to shoot a separate 35mm CinemaScope version at 24 fps for the 35mm prints, and "Around the World in Eighty Days" shot a separate 65mm version at 24 fps. After that mess, they switched the frame rate to 24 fps for 65mm.

 

Same goes for Cinerama, which was originally 26 fps but switched to 24 fps for the narrative features like "How the West Was Won" due to the need to make 35mm versions.

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I guess my point is only that any format that samples at 60 images per second (regardless of progressive or interlaced) and displays at 60 frames per second, looks like video to my eye simply by virtue of the motion characteristics.

 

AJB

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