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Old April 1st, 2005, 09:37 AM   #1
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where/how does high-def fit into all this

Im sure that I am misunderstanding things still, but when I hear a term like high definition, it seems like it leans more towards the video side than the film side. I read other threads talking about the "grain" and "softer focus" of film (both desired looks). So if we are doing things like this to give a film look to our video footage, (if thats indeed what you want) then it seems like you would be starting farther than ever from your desired outcome if shooting in hi-def. It is very possible that I am confused about what high definition really is. I guess my question really might be, What is High Definition?
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Old April 1st, 2005, 09:51 AM   #2
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Personally, I don't think film (35mm at least) is soft at all. It's quite sharp. If we really wanted soft we would all just use VHS =D. I think the impression of softness comes from:

1) The way film handles highlights
2) DOF - not everything is in sharp focus, only parts are sharp
3) Lack of artificial looking edge enhancement

HD will allow people to shoot without having to crank up the edge enhancement to get a sharp enough picture for film out. I see it as a major step in the right direction for us low budget folks.
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Old April 1st, 2005, 10:05 AM   #3
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Steve: yes, I think you may be misinterpreting things. When people talk about "soft" I think that's a reaction against the overuse of edge enhancement (eg: the sharpness control) on video cameras. By reducing that setting you generally get a more pleasing image where the individual pixels blend together instead of a hard, phony outline around areas of differing contrast.

As far as "grain" goes, personally I think that's just a gimmick, or at best and effect you can use with video to make some sort of statement. It is only going to degrade the quality of your video, and in fact most of us work hard to avoid video noise, which appears like grain, by not boosting the camera's gain too much.

HD will be a huge step forward in acheiving "film look" - whatever that is... personally I really dislike the term. This is why Hollywood is starting to shoot some films on HD (Star Wars, Collateral, etc); the cameras are starting to provide many of the things they need. The increased resolution is a big improvement in and of itself.
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Old April 1st, 2005, 10:25 AM   #4
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I agree with you Boyd. I believe it is another choice a story-teller has at the beginning of a project. Almost as much of a choice as, "Do I want this to be in Black & White or Color?". And for a movie like Star Wars, Iwould think High Def is the way to go (and I do Love me some Star Wars.) However, if the flavor or mood of the story calls for some of these gimmicks and effects (ie. grain, etc.) to make it look like traditional movie film, I wonder if shooting in hi-def would be starting off on the wrong foot.
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Old April 1st, 2005, 10:32 AM   #5
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Why would that be? Film is much, much higher resolution that 720x480, so any attempt to simulate grain is going to result in big "chunks" in your video and further reduce the effective resolution. If you want to fake film grain then you're off to a much better start at 1920x1080...
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Old April 1st, 2005, 12:14 PM   #6
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well, I don't know. That is why I asked, and I think maybe you just answered my question. If 1920x1080 is hi-def, and doing whatever everyone does to give a film-look to their video footage further reduces resolution, then it is indeed a good place to start.
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Old April 1st, 2005, 05:58 PM   #7
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I don't think 720x480 is a bad resolution to simulate fine film grain, if you're going to watch your film on TV. The main problem comes from having to convert DV to MPEG.

Personally I don't like the clean look of 'Attack of the Clones'. I didn't even know it was shot with a F900 when I went to watch it, but thought the look was just to crisp. If you have decent DVD player, and play it in 2x speed it will look like a news broadcast!

I think HD is great, and it could help considerably to reach the classic 'film look' in post due to higher pixel resolution.
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Old April 3rd, 2005, 11:52 AM   #8
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I don't think resolution has anything to do with "film look". An SD DVD transfer of a 35mm film still looks like film, does it not??

Contrast ratios and the handling of highlights (plus, of course an infinitely bigger colouspace, at least if you compare to anything other than the *very* top-end of HD cameras) are the key lackings of video as an aquisition format. You can simulate these to a certain extent, and of course having that higher resolution will help to allow for more compensation, so it's not irrelevant, but make a camera with current CCD technology at 16,000x12,000 and it'll stil look like video - just bloody nice video!!!

As regards grain, the effect of grain on PQ in the cinema is to spread the "pixels" (as grain is effectively film's pixels) across different areas, which blurs the distinction due to the persistence of perception of the human eye, thus resulting in increased PERCEIVED resolution. This does not happen on TV's or digital projections, as the grain has been scanned to a pixel raster. Try looking for grain on a well TK'ed 35mm source DVD - there's very little, if any. It's a mistake to say that adding grain increases the "filmic look" of video - unless you're going for a Super-8 style of footage...

Oh, BTW - I think HD is great too! I'm not knocking the medium, but the resolution does not inherently increase the filmicness (sic) of the medium. The CineAlta produces footage which is much more filmic than a PD-150, but that is largely due to (A) it's having a much wider exposure latitude, allowing for far more detail in highlights and lowlights, ala film and (B) the fact that they're so expensive to buy or hire that they're usually coupled with a much more experienced and/or talented DP and post-production dept...
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Old April 3rd, 2005, 02:11 PM   #9
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let me ask you this Dominic, If you transfer a finished project (shot on DV) to film, what kind of results could one expect. Is it going to look anywhere close to an original film production, or will it simply look like a DV project transferred to film? Maybe silly question.
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Old April 4th, 2005, 08:23 PM   #10
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Well, first off I have never transferred from DV to film (although it looks like this may happen in the near future, and if it does I'll let you know what I think again after that), so please be aware that (a) this is (hopefully fairly well informed) conjecture and (b) there are almost certainly those more qualified than myself to answer that on this forum - hopefully a couple will!

In answer though, I think it's going to look like DV tranferred to film. That's not to say it's going to look like DV projected digitally, as some of the characteristics of the print film will be involved in the final image (the grain will take away *some* of the pixelization of the source video, and if shot and graded well for the transfer you should be able to "fake" a wider latitude look).

Of course, there's an element of skill involved (a large one!) and a well shot and graded DV transfer to film could certainly look better than a poorly shot and graded film originated projection, but personally I think that that's an unimportant point. In a hypothetical situation where you have identical source (shot well and correctly) on both formats then the film originated copy will look more like film, which is of course what you'd expect. Whether or not that will inherently make it look better is a topic of discussion beyond this post!!!

As regards HD, a project shot under the same (or similar) lighting conditions with an F-900 and transfered to film is going to look (a) far better due to the higher resolution [not necessarily more filmic, just less obvious pixelization] and (b) probably more filmic in look for the reasons mentioned before.
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