Superbowl commercial shot using the Nanoflash at DVinfo.net

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Old February 8th, 2010, 09:44 PM   #1
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Superbowl commercial shot using the Nanoflash

The NFL "Thank you" Superbowl ad was shot using Inertia Unlimited's X-Mo camera. The system uses a Vision Research v640 camera acquiring images at 960fps 1080p and outputted at psf23.98, recorded to a Convergent Design NanoFlash. The settings in the NanoFlash were QT 100Mbs, Long-GOP.

The lens was a Angenieux Optimo 24-290 set to T4 and no gain was used in the camera. The primary shot is an actual game shot recorded earlier this season under existing stadium lighting by camera operator Brad Smith of NFL Films.

YouTube - NFL - Best Fans on the Planet

Jeff

Disclaimer: I own Inertia Unlimited and sell XDR's and Nanoflashes but I think the result speaks for itself.
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Old February 8th, 2010, 11:10 PM   #2
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so cool!

Thanks for posting.
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Old February 9th, 2010, 12:11 AM   #3
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I See Grain

I watched the spot on YouTube @ the 1080 resolution, but I wasn't crazy about the look of it. The slow mo shot itself was indeed the most dramatic and dynamic, but I can clearly see pulsating grain all the way through the crowd shots, and frankly, that's not very impressive at all. You don't want see grain like that on a network national spot. At least i don't. Perhaps there were some encoding issues with the YouTube Flash Video ? The producer may have deliberately added some grain to the shots to give the spot a more gritty look ? Nice slow m.o..
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Old February 9th, 2010, 02:38 AM   #4
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I like it. I don't see any grit that shouldn't be there, it's football no? sweaty guys running around on grass tossing around a sewn together piece of animal skin.

I remember the days when shooting slomo meant hiring a guy from far away, who would come with a camera and special magazines. you could do one burst of about 20 seconds or so and then he had to change mags. then reload...
spending tons of money on special 16mm filmstock with (I think) a polyester base? because the normal filmstock would get shredded at these speeds. Then miles of processing and rushes. And yes 16mm high speed stock was grainy. lower speeds required lighting with the intensity of a small star.

I don't see any inacceptable grain here. almost too clean for old people like me... you shure it is not all done in CG??? :-)
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Old February 9th, 2010, 06:11 AM   #5
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Mark,

You are right there are several flaws in the acquisition of the footage. The camera at the time was a hand-built prototype and the firmware of the camera introduced several flaws into the footage (certain users here are familiar with the troubles with early versions of firmware). There are a few black sparkles mainly in the whites and noise in the lower gamma areas (but interestingly when looking at the original footage not in the true blacks). That may not be what you see in this posted clip, I am only referring to the footage off of the Nano.

There has been limited digital alteration in post applied to the spot, most notably to take care of the LED ribbon board's strobing (in the background). I am not sure if they added "grain" but I would doubt it.

Some of the fan shots do show quite a bit of noise, in many of those stadiums the light drops off dramatically at the sideline. The directive was to capture the footage at 960fps.

Incidentally the 6 "Supervision" cameras used during the game are also v640's we also supplied to CBS. We saw minor problems with them as well but that seemed to be due with the interaction of EVS's compression and the footage. The video looked very good going into EVS and a but less so coming out.

Jeff
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Old February 9th, 2010, 09:05 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oliver Neubert View Post
I like it. I don't see any grit that shouldn't be there, it's football no? sweaty guys running around on grass tossing around a sewn together piece of animal skin.
....I do see much pulsating grain and it detracts from he subject matter. BTW, CD's Long GOP 100 Mbps codec is *Not* grainy in any way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oliver Neubert View Post
remember the days when shooting slomo meant hiring a guy from far away, who would come with a camera and special magazines. you could do one burst of about 20 seconds or so and then he had to change mags. then reload...
spending tons of money on special 16mm filmstock with (I think) a polyester base? because the normal filmstock would get shredded at these speeds. Then miles of processing and rushes. And yes 16mm high speed stock was grainy. lower speeds required lighting with the intensity of a small star.
...Yeah, I remember the Ultra High Quality which film always brang to the table. We can say allot of wonderful things about the new digital clip based media, but film still is better looking to my eye.

NFL Films usually shot in 35 MM, not 16 MMM, and for the Super Bowl one year they shot in Super Panavision 70 MM !!! (5 per 65 mm in the camera) Boy did that look fantastic !

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oliver Neubert View Post
don't see any inacceptable grain here.
....I do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Silverman View Post
There has been limited digital alteration in post applied to the spot, most notably to take care of the LED ribbon board's strobing (in the background). I am not sure if they added "grain" but I would doubt it.
....I think the the alterations in post were to get rid of some of the noise, which clearly looks like a camera issue, since the CD Long GOP 100 is not grainy. The problem with web formats is they're crippled video formats, and they can *reveal* whatever originating imperfections are present.
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Old February 9th, 2010, 09:15 AM   #7
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Dear Jeff,

Thank you very much!

Personally, I feel that these are some of the greatest commercials ever.

They really show the intensity, skill, and effort put in by the NFL players.

These are commercials that I am happy to see over and over again.
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Old February 9th, 2010, 09:51 AM   #8
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Mark,

I don't think that the noise is overwhelming. I would bet if you asked 100 viewers what they saw in the ad, none would mention that the noise. The point of the post is that a shot was accomplished at an actual game in marginal existing lighting, using recording equipment (the NanoFlash) which we discuss in this forum. Using more traditional methods, it probably would not have been able to be captured. Incidentally, unlike 3 years ago when we shot the Superbowl, no temporary supplemental lighting was brought in this year and it certainly wasn't there months ago when we shot the commercial.

Although it is true that NFL Films has shot limited prior Superbowls with 35mm film, this year they used 16mm film for the entire season, post season and Superbowl. They shot no 35mm film at this year's Superbowl. NFL Films is among the top 3 users of 16mm film in the world and has been for many years. The vast majority of their equipment comprises of SRII's, III's and Aatons.

We feel that compression can have some undesirable effects with noise, and saw that using the compression that EVS uses. It was very similar to what you see in the commercial. Sorry if I am wrong, I am only reporting on what I and the V1 were seeing Sunday night.

I am also not sure of the source of the Youtube footage but know it was not distributed to anyone in 1080p.

Dan, I am glad you got the point of what these commercials are all about.

Jeff
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Old February 9th, 2010, 11:28 AM   #9
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Great Commercial with Noise

Hi Jeff:
I got the point of the commercial too. I also appreciate the dynamic slow mo shot in the beginning. However what I saw on YouTube was very grainy, and I don't like the visual artifact of video noise in the signal, and how that noise impacts the overall quality of the presentation. If I understood you well, your are claiming the "noise" is not so visible in the original footage. The thing is, this commercial will be viewed on millions of large screen TV's world wide, and many of those will be 1080p capable, so if I see big grain on my 24 inch iMAC screen, then this noise will look like a snow storm on a 52 inch HD flat screen.

I suspect the image on YouTube is fooling me, and the actual spot is much less grainy than what I'm seeing there, but based on the example provided, it just doesn't make it for me.
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Old February 9th, 2010, 01:40 PM   #10
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Fantastic Commerical

Hi Jeff-
That's a fantastic commerical. Just look at the ratings - 4.5 stars from 494 reviewers. The minor issues with grains and other imperfections are unimportant, IMO. The commerical communicates a great message using some incredible footage.

Excellent Work-
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Old February 9th, 2010, 01:57 PM   #11
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Great job Jeff,

First class work as always.
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Old February 9th, 2010, 02:31 PM   #12
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It looked stunning. Congrats.
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Old February 9th, 2010, 03:50 PM   #13
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Here is a frame grab from a game a couple weeks ago in Indianapolis. I found a frame where the background LED ribbon was "illuminated", hit pause on a Nano, captured the frame as a BMP on a Leader 5330 waveform/vectorscope, saved it to a thumb drive, and cropped the picture in Windows Paint.

Yes there is noise here too and it is a little soft (shot with a 22x Fujinon) , but it's cool.

Jeff
Attached Thumbnails
Superbowl commercial shot using the Nanoflash-cap20100124160717.bmp  
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Old February 9th, 2010, 04:46 PM   #14
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I watched the commercial before reading this thread, and couldn't remember being distracted by noise. Just to be sure, I watched it again, and I didn't notice any. I'm not saying there isn't any, but I didn't notice it.
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Old February 9th, 2010, 07:12 PM   #15
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I think it's the web encode

Jeff:
The noise jumped up at me the first time I watched it *After* the slow mo fade to black and the fade up of the crowd. There's a few second shot of a boy which is *really* video granular. The man holding up the Saints flag looks plain horrible ! You wanna call that good video ? It must be the web encode Jeff, because you can't tell me the Network HDCAM SR master looks like that ! I don't care how much light was in that stadium. I think I've also seen dusk shots of charging cheetahs in slow m.o. from that kind of camera, and it didn't look that bad at all. If you say yes, then I won't believe you, because there's no way you could deliver this commercial as seen on YouTube and expect future employment from NBC ! - Unless the producer was going for the gritty sports look thingy, which would also make sense. Come on guys ! -Anything after the dynamic slow m.o. shot doesn't look good ! It just doesn't !
Jeff, is there anyway to see a dub off of the master ? Can you take an I-frame 280 Mbps Nano or XDR dub off an NBC HDCAM SR deck and FTP me a few seconds of the boy in slow m.o. or the man holding the golden Saints flag. The *content* is absolutely brilliant, but the look *as seen on YouTube* is yuk.
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