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Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
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Old November 4th, 2004, 05:57 PM   #16
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I would limit Barry's claim only to his own specific experience with the mini35 - which so far does not seem to be many ;)

Shortly after the mini35 was introduced to the market there was an article on the mini35 in the Cinematography magazine that stated the mini35 system using 35mm Ultra Zeiss primes on the Canon XL1 looked sharper and better than footage generated out of cameras using 2/3" CCD's.

I was also told by Mizell fom ZGC last year when I bought my mini35 that the mini35 system depending on the quality of lens will resolve more lines of resolution to the CCD block of the Canon because you are not shooting through the stock lens - as you would be with the DVX or Sony cams.

There really are several factors that will influence the quality and look of the final image. The lenses used, the dv camera used, whether or not the mini35 was calibrated properly - those are just a few.
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Old November 5th, 2004, 08:57 AM   #17
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As with anything, different people have varying opinions. I'm glad to hear that about Cinematography magazine. That's certainly a good comment of the mini35's look.

On the other hand, during my talks with different film transfer houses, all the people who had experienced transfering mini35 footage did say that the footage looked softer (than miniDV without the mini35). I'm 100% sure I want to shoot with it anyway, though. I was looking at my past movies yesterday and noticed that my favourite scenes, the ones I was most happy with, had that wonderful look of shallow depth of field and dimensionality, that regular video just does not offer.

So that's where PAL comes in. If it'll make a movie that I've been trying to get made for 7 years that 20% sharper, if it'll give it that slight edge where it counts (because resolution is what miniDV has against it when it comes to distribution), then I'm willing to go for PAL regardless of inconvenience, peripherals, import taxes, and lack of product support. I just want to make sure that it'll be worth that hassle. From what I've heard, I think it is.

I'm going to check on the post-production workflow of 25p further with the transfer houses, which might have a different requirement for how they receive the footage. I only had the chance to talk to DVFilm very briefly late yesterday, but they did say to edit it as 25p and deliver that way... That would mean to edit in 25p all the way for film transfer purposes, and if for whatever reason I can't get a film transfer, THEN transfer to the 24p timeline/resize image for DVD? Would that be the way? So I would have to watch out for music and the like... Hmmm

Alex
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Old November 5th, 2004, 09:52 AM   #18
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The mini35 may definitely introduce a certain softness to the image due to the ground glass and prism's that flip the image up to the CCD, I just don't agree with Barry's claim that the "softness" translates into a 20% resolution loss. I'd like to see some facts from anyone making such a bold statement.

Anyway I think if you take the time to properly setup the relay back focus using the rez chart as suggested by PS Technik in their manual, and use high quality glass you may get better than expected results. How many that have shot with the mini35 go through that trouble? I don't when I shoot with mine : )

Transfer houses like 25p because it's easy for them to transfer, and easy for you to deliver (ie. miniDV tape in PAL format as opposed to a hard drive with a 24p video file) but when you get your transfer back it will be 4% longer in duration. If they did the 4% speed/pitch change on your sound track, it will be noticeable where there is music. I don't like that option.

I would bring your 25p PAL footage on a 24fps timeline making it 4% longer in duration automatically. Then adjust your dialog sound track by 4% and bring it onto the timeline. Complete your edit, add your music. You now have a 24fps version of your film in digital native form! Yahoo! This is great... but sadly your camera is PAL and you lose the option of going back to miniDV (PAL in your case).

The advantage TO YOU of this workflow though is that now your soundtrack is in sync with a 24fps timeline. If you go 35mm film, the sound is in sync. If you need NTSC, do a 3:2 pulldown on your footage and your sound is still in sync.

The only problem with this workflow is will the transfer house take the sound separately? Because although your native digital footage is now 24p you could actually render it out as 25p PAL without sound and put it on miniDV tape. Realize this will squish it by 4% while your images are being stored in the PAL format, but the process is reversed after going to 35mm film so it does not matter. The big question is can they take the sound separately, or can you just give them a hard disk with the 24p native file on it?
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Old November 5th, 2004, 12:17 PM   #19
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I spoke to David at Swiss Effects, he confirmed that FOR FILM TRANSFER PURPOSES, they want the film edited in 25p-- regarding sound he said that they have a way to minimize that pitch so its not noticiable to most people (ie the public). Dennis, definitely your way seems much easier, and better in terms of sound. I left a message for Mark in DVFilm to see if he can tell us if they prefer 25p because of picture quality, or just for easier workflow.

Now, here's the thing about 25p. Say that that's the way to transfer to film for better visual results, if you have shot in PAL. Say that you CAN transfer to film directly that way without any noticiable sound issues. Even then, I need to have an NTSC DVD copy BEFORE I can finance a transfer, in order to submit to festivals. Would it be possible to edit in 25p (which supposedly I can do with Final Cut Pro here without a problem, I don't know if maybe David has done this), then keep that as the timeline to use for a film print, THEN remove the sound/music track in some way (I couldn't tell you how, I've never done this before, I've only worked on a Moviola!), convert the finished film into the 24p timeline, then adjust the dialogue track 4%, bring it into said 24p timeline, and use that file for a DVD transfer?

Am I just tying myself into knots here, for no good reason? Is this simpler than I'm making it up to be?

Alex
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Old November 5th, 2004, 01:06 PM   #20
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Giving them 24p or 25p will not at all affect picture quality. It is strictly a work flow issue for them. They don't want any hassles syncing the audio for you, so they prefer to strech it. I'm sure if they say the quality is good, then it is - but I'd love to hear it for myself.

As for keeping your project in a 25p timeline, you would have two options for converting to NTSC:

Option 1.) Use software on your PC to perform the contortion and manipulation to convert both the frame size and frame rate to NTSC. Depending on the methods used, results really do vary - most people would say the quality is not great but fail to understand the magical bag of tricks (and luck) that is involved. If you send me some of your footage, I can do a few test conversions for you for you to check out.

Option 2.) Do exactly what you said in your last reply. From your 25p timeline export your sound track to a separate file. Then change your timeline to 24p (your project length instantly grows by 4%). Using a good audio editing program perform a 4% stretch with pitch shift and save. Bring this back into your 24p timeline and line it up. You can re-add any music you've used, but if there were queue points realize they will all be off now. It's up to you if you wanted to try strechting your sound track with or without the music - but some experimentation will probably help you figure out what is best.

Now that you have a 24p version of your project with 24p sound, export it to one huge AVI file (uncompressed would be my preference but for a feature you will likely need 200GB) and then process it using After Effects to a new timebase of 29.97 using the 3:2 pull down. Done.

The second option will look a lot better when viewing it because each PAL frame got its own NTSC frame with a few repeats here and there - but the sound stretching and syncing hassles may very well drive you to drink if you haven't started already....

Alex, when can we go for a beer?
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Old November 5th, 2004, 01:29 PM   #21
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One more thing I forgot to point out about those two options above:

50i PAL converted to 60i NTSC using conversion software processes simply looks like British TV on a NTSC set. In the case of 25p PAL, converting it to NTSC kind of gives you that frame mode look of the Canon XL1. It's not exactly video, but its not exactly film like.

25p PAL converted to 24p on your timeline, converted to NTSC using the 3:2 pulldown will contain the exact same motion artifacts you would expect to see when shooting 24p on either the DVX or XL2.
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Old November 5th, 2004, 06:38 PM   #22
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<<<--
Alex, when can we go for a beer? -->>>

Man, I hear you brother! I know some great dives here in Miami.

(Hey you noticed how we're the only ones on this thread? You can almost hear the crickets singing. No one is interested in this subject? I think its an important conversation!)

Alex
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Old November 5th, 2004, 07:32 PM   #23
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<<<-- Originally posted by Alex Cano : (Hey you noticed how we're the only ones on this thread? You can almost hear the crickets singing. No one is interested in this subject? I think its an important conversation!)

Alex -->>>

Hey Alex, it's just that I've had this conversation with myself for 2 months before settling, so I'm kind of taking a break from the whole matter, but would be happy to answer specific questions if I have something that can help. But ultimatelly, the power is in your hand, you have 2 valid options, both with cons and pros, and only you can make the balance tilt one way or the other based on your needs and preferences.

May I suggest something, if you are really stuck and are concerned with the image quality when blown up to film. Call DVFilm or any other transfer house. Send the one of your choosing a couple of frame grabs from a subject shot both with a PAL XL2 and with an NTSC XL2 (of course finding such footage or the cameras to do the comparative will be the tricky part).

They will then provide some slides for you to see how it looks like upresed to film and blown up on screen. You won't be able to analyse movement, but you'll see with your own eyes the real difference between choice A and choice B as far as resolution is concerned. This will cost you a few bucks, but might be the only way for you at this point to make a final decision, one that you won't regret.
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Old November 7th, 2004, 06:15 PM   #24
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David, thank you for your help and thoughts, very much. I think that I'll go for the PAL after all. Maybe I can bother you sometime later on for some post tips?

You can always reach me at florlindafilms@hotmail.com.

Alex
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Old January 14th, 2005, 12:12 PM   #25
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Long delay in replying here. Having done a 35mm blowup from XL-2 footage (stock lens) I can say that it works great. We did a bit of a film-out test a few weeks back to make sure that our workflow was going to hold together. It looked great. It would have looked even better if I had written out sequential TIFF files from my grading instead of going back to DV and *then* writing out seqeutial TIFFs. The colour moved all over the place, but then that was the purpose of the test and the lab in question (Weta Digital) was not about to really be offering advice on getting our camera to look good - just to get it out and done so we could see it on the big screen in Miramar.
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Old January 17th, 2005, 10:32 AM   #26
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If for transfer they want a 25p final edit then you could compensate for the pitch change by doing the opposite pitch change to the music before you add it to your project. It might sound funny during editing but then during the transfer with the 4% pitch change it should sound normal. You should only loose a very little in audio quality.
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