DVX100 transfer to 35mm film at DVinfo.net

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Old March 20th, 2003, 09:41 AM   #1
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DVX100 transfer to 35mm film

I heard that Du Art in NYC does a screening of DVX100 footage transferred to 35mm film, so Iím going to see their demo tomorrow. Iíll let the board know my impressions after I have seen it.
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Old March 20th, 2003, 12:45 PM   #2
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When you go to DuArt, make sure you ask them to show you the DVX100 footage with the turtle and the remote controlled car. It's the best example of DVX100 footage they had, at least a month ago. The footage of the guy surfing is ok, and the footage of the guy walking on the beach is not very good, but it gives you an idea of what it looks like if you DON'T control the image to make it look nice. Anyways, I think you'll find it very informative, and the folks there are extremely nice. Let us know what you think of the DVX100 footage.

In case you hadn't seen it yet, here's my first impression of the footage I saw, copied from a different thread:

"Well, I went to DuArt's weekly demo of Video footage transfered to 35mm film. I saw a bunch of footage of many different sources: XL1, XL1s, PD-150, DSR 500, a lot of HD footage (not sure which camera models, but pretty high end stuff), some 16mm film, and some Panasonic DVX100 24p footage. All of which was projected onto a 20 foot screen (diagonally) I believe.

"They didn't show any footage originating in 35mm film, so I can't make a completely objective comparison between something shot on 35mm and something on video. HOWEVER, a lot of the footage that I saw was VERY, VERY GOOD QUALITY. Certainly, the HD stuff looked great. So did the DSR 500. Only in the very long shots (of busy city streets and such) would it show slight detail loss. Closeups and medium shots looked, dare I say it, just like film.

"I wasn't interested in the HD footage, though. I wanted to look at MiniDV blown up to 35mm, since that is all my budget will allow. The XL1/s footage they showed was from the movie "PiŮero", with Benjamin Bratt. It was so-so. You could tell it was a blow-up of video right off the bat. Very poor detail in the long shots. Very jagged edges, and it almost looked out of focus. Closeups were ok.

"The PD-150 was better. They showed footage from "Tadpole", and frankly, it didn't look too good. Full of noise, since a lot of it was very poorly lit. However, there were some shots that were promising, and looked like it originated in 16mm. They also had footage from the movie "13 Moons", with Steve Buscemi. It looked REALLY good. They showed the intro sequence, which had a closeup of a clown juggling balls, and it was beautiful. Everyone was very impressed. The folks at DuArt complemented the makers of that film for understanding the limitations of DV and working around them. The average viewer would probably sit through that movie not knowing it was originally video.

"Then they showed the footage from the DVX100. I'm serious when I say that nobody in the room (there were about 20 people there), NOBODY could believe that the footage was MiniDV. There were these shots of this 8 year old kid playing with a remote control car, and this turtle walking about, staring at the kid. People asked which HiDef camera had shot that footage. When they said "It's not HD, it's the DVX100", there was an audible gasp from the audience. The footage looked spectacular! Very rich colors, and very high detail. The very fast motion shots looked like 16mm at worst, and the locked closeups were like something out of a high-budget Hollywood movie. I'm not kidding. I should also add that the DVX100 footage of the turtle and the toy car was shot by somebody's son, with no lighting setup (it was outdoors in a backyard) and no planning of anything. He just grabbed the camera, turned it on, and started recording in 24p. I can't imagine what this camera can do if properly set up and used under professional conditions!

"So, basically, the DVX100 has produced the most filmic, detailed picture of any of the MiniDV cameras out there that they showed, and it even rivaled some of the HiDef footage taken by cameras that cost 4X as much. If you live in New York, go see DuArt's demo reel.

"For independent filmmakers, this is the best MiniDV camera you can get, period."
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Old March 20th, 2003, 12:50 PM   #3
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Ahh, I thought I saw someone's post about going to DuArt, but I couldn't find it. Thanks for the refresher.
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Old March 22nd, 2003, 09:59 AM   #4
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Ok, I went to Du Art yesterday. After getting out of the train station that had armed guards with M16s, I headed uptown. My first reaction to the screening room (before the demo reel started) was that the screen was unusually small. The screen was somewhere between ten and fifteen feet wide, and so I asked the manager (the man in charge of the Tape-to-Film transfers at Du Art) if the image would degrade on a standard size theatrical screen. The manager said that the image wouldnít degrade to a noticeable degree with a larger screen. According to the manager, a much larger screen might have a slight increase in grain, but given the fact that the audience is further away from the screen, the additional grain wouldnít be too noticeable. On to the footage. The first images I saw were from the DVX100. Listen up people, the DVX100 blown up to 35mm is excellent! The demo reel actually compared DVX100 60I footage and DVX100 24p footage, all with some man walking out on a beach (on a bright sunny day.) The 60I DVX100 footage appeared like common DV to 35mm transfer footage, that is to say, it had that tell tell motion blur along, with a substantial softening of finite details. The 24p DVX100 footage looked like 16mm transferred to 35mm. I kid you not. The cine gamma function also seemed to really make a difference as it pulled out details in the highlights that non-cine gamma cams canít (the details it pulled from the highlights looked more like film.) Now, I did see the Turtle and the RC car footage shot with the DVX100, and I wasnít too happy with it. The reason is this: The rapid motion from the RC car, and the fact that the shot was handheld, really looked blurry to me. I asked the manager about this and he said something about the guy working in 30 frames per second. Now Iím not sure if he said the guy shot the RC car footage at 30p, or if the guy simply edited in 30p. Nonetheless, my conclusion about the DVX100 is that if the lighting is controlled properly, it can pass for 16mm that has been blown up to 35mm. The DVX100 didnít look like HD to 35mm to me, but the image it did produce was good enough for my future project (a low budget comedy.) Now, on to the big surprise. What DID look like HD material to me was the new Sony IMX MPEG camera. The footage blown up from this camera looked spectacular to me. Not so much spectacular in terms of looking like Lawrence of Arabia, but spectacular in terms of passing for 35mm. But I have to say, the footage from the IMX camera was night exteriors and night interiors, so I donít know how this camera would handle the DV-grim-reaper of bright exterior panoramic shots. Ahh yes, I also saw footage from the Panasonc VariCam, that looked great, and it was actually comparable to the Sony IMX camera, based on the footage that I saw (which was some kind of musical inside of a studio.) The mother of all cameras, the F900, was displayed as well, and that looked like 35mm to me. BUT, it was a type of 35mm look that was just barely above the 16mm look (hope Iím not being confusing.) Finally, I saw DSR500 and PD150 footage and I was not impressed. I was not impressed because these were INTERLACE cameras, and the motion blur and softening of the details (due to the combining of interlace fields) made it look like video to me. The manager recommended, and I agree with him, that shooting on a progressive 25p or 24p camera is the best way to go for film transfers. However, if you are going to shoot with a prosumer interlace camera, the manager recommended the PDX10 over all other interlace prosumer cams. Oh yeah, they showed Tadpole also and I gave off a sigh of relief. I felt relieved because I once wondered if Tadpole was the best that DV to 35mm had to offer (after seeing it in a theater), and it actually is the worse that DV to 35mm has to offer. It appeared to me that the DP of Tadpole shot it as if it was 16mm, that is, he didnít control the light, or the camera properly. The result? The motion blur in Tadpole had me on the verge of sea sickness, the video noise was way too much, and the image had a type of fuzziness that made me wonder if my glasses were getting outdated. Interesting enough, when I first saw Tadpole it was on a fairly large screen, and like the manager said, it was very comparable to the image on the smaller screen. It seems to me that whatever venue you end up on (theater, cable, or DVD), 25p and 24p is the safest way to go for Fiction work.
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Old March 24th, 2003, 06:25 PM   #5
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" It appeared to me that the DP of Tadpole shot it as if it was 16mm, that is, he didnít control the light, or the camera properly"

i don't get this statement about 16mm at all ?? sounds more like home video instead of 16mm ?

all the persons i know shooting 16mm light very carefully and control the camera. they rehearse camera moves several times before a take because of the expense of film.

now most persons i know shooting consumer/pro consumer dv projects either have no lights or 3 lights from home depot with no controls to shape it ... ?? or perhaps the bottom line on all this comes down to $$$ and you do the best you can with what you have at the moment.
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Old March 24th, 2003, 09:13 PM   #6
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What I meant by the 16mm statement was that 16mm, without lighting manipulation, can actually handle high contrast situations better then DV can. For example, 50 ASA 16mm raw stock can handle a bright exterior scene better then any DV cam. If Tadpole were shot with 16mm, under the same lighting conditions, and if it used the appropriate raw stock, then it would have yielded a better image then the PD150. This is what I meant by "they shot it as if it was 16mm." Itís a big time myth that 16mm requires truckloads of lights and meticulous lighting technique. Use the appropriate ASA raw stock, and 16mm can yield some beautiful images with natural light, be it night or day.
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