View Full Version : Film Resolution With Canon GL1 and LW7.5

Paul Orwig
07-31-2004, 08:35 PM
I was told by my LW and CanonGL1 dealer, that the GL1 Canon can produce FILM resolution. I take this as film resolution of 3656X1976 in the camera properties in LW7.5. Here is an image on where I load these RTV's up and how to render them with my LW objects. My problem is, when I beef up my resolution the RTV looks pixelated, inother words it doesn't look like good video. When I mean film I'm talking about 16X9 Theatrical widescreen. My dealer said there is someway of bringing in the RTV without doing the method shown in the image that I have provided, he said that compresses it.
Please anyone.....


Paul Orwig

07-31-2004, 11:04 PM
Ummm I am not too sure about this but I have been looking into buying a new video camera for personal use and I believe the GL1 doesn't do film resolution but film speed (ie 24 frames per second progressive). I believe the GL1 is a miniDV format so it will max out at something like DVD resolution (720x486 ?).

08-01-2004, 06:05 AM
No, GL1 can't do film res, it can't even do HD. I'm also not sure about 24 p. I think it can record in progressive mode, but only in PAL or NTSC compliant frame rates. And lastly, you are also wrong about film resolution. Anamorphic resolutions in cinema aren't really 16:9 (only for TV it is, and this only requires the standard TV resolutions) and there ain't such a thing as one universal film gate. There are Academic, Vistavision etc. and those come in different flavors (or pixel sizes if you want). There is no unified workflow for doing film and every production house uses its own variation.


Richard Culver
08-05-2004, 11:24 PM
OK I owned a GL1 briefly but returned it in favor of the XL1 which I have used extensively. Mostly to shoot a feature length "film".

Yes you have been misguided. Both the GL1 and the XL1 are standard DV format which is 720 x 480.

The only camera that ups this potential resolution in so far as at the prosumer level is JVC's HD camcorder which maxes out at 720 (1280 by 720 or some such.) It will up convert to 1080i (1960 by 1080 give or take by my memory) but it is originaly the lower resolution.

A good idea would be to do some research on the web about resolutions and aspect ratios.

A basic rundown is that originaly the film aspect ratio was what it is on the actual 35 mil negative. Something very close to the aspect ratio of a TV. It was projected that way. Think of standard 16mil film, similar ratio. Then came the idea to use a wider screen. This meant that rather than make the negative a different shape, they decided to crop the image in the projector at the movie house. They would crop the top and bottom and zoom in making the image appear wider on the screen. Get it? Then all they had to do was compesate while shooting. Eventualy they scribed guidelines into the view finder of the camera. Even today you look into a camera, you are seeing the entire image that will be imprinted on the negatve with the various scribed guidelines then visable in the view finder.

There were many variations that have been used but the most common today is 1:85 the next wider is 2:35. There are of course many more. To get the wider images, one method was to use a special lense to squeze the image while filming and another to stretch it out durring projection. This is still used today. It is called an anamorphic lense. I believe you will find a setting in Lightwave for lenseflares still with this lable. Used of course to simulate the lense flare in an anamophic lense i.e. a wider aspect ratio. See?

16:9 is very close to 1:85 it is the home TV version of a standard "film ratio". It is also the one adapted by most HD systems you see today.

The closest realistic approach to "film resolution" would be a professional HD camera that shoots at the highest res standard in HD. I don't know what that is exactly of hand but somebody does.

So as far as video goes, today it's either DV (or Betacam etc) that is 720x480 then of course the 2 standard resolutions of HD that are most popular and then I believe there is a resulution above 1960 by 1080 but I don't know what it is.

Good Luck.

Paul Orwig
08-06-2004, 02:21 PM
Yeah I know all of that. I do have a $800.00 animorphic wide screen lens for my GL1. I've been told or I've read that you can up the resolution of the RTV from the GL1 to fit on a theatrical screen. My only question was to blow up the captured image from the CANON GL1 to fit on a theatrical screen without pixelating it. And I've used Aura2.5 to blow up the RTV image to 4K and the quality worked. I'm not trying to get FILM res in the sense of the highest quality, just blow up to match the film res. Not the image res but the size res. That's what I was saying, I mean if the Blair Witch Project can get into theaters using a lower res of a camera than a GL1 then surely I can.

Thanks to all,


Richard Culver
08-06-2004, 07:46 PM
OK. Different animal.

But really the same discussion. You have been mislead about film size, res whatever.

I have screened my feature length "film" on four screens. Once at the Chaplin Theater on the Raleigh Studios Lot. Once at the Cinerama Dome one Sunset in Hollywood and once at a Theater in Santa Monica and then at a theater in Duluth, the last two were festivals.

My movie was shot and edited on DV(Cannon XL1) and we mastered on DVCAM for screenings.

I know there is alot of techno-bable out there about up conversion, but you really have to ignore it. 720 x 480 is all you are going to get in so far as your res if that is what you shoot in. Period. It is a waste of time, money and effort to "up convert" to anything.

People who attended our screening at the Cinerama Dome including the distributor who bought our film thought we had transfered it to film. Of course, we didn't. So what I am about to say here is what I believe to be real-world advice.

The people at what used to be called 4 Media in Burbank ask you for a Betacam master when transfering to film, that's all. What they do with it on there end may be a different story. They may have a way to mess with the pixels, but they can't add resolution. Nobody can. Period. End of story. The size is whatever you bow it up to be or how you crop it to fit the screen - whatever size that is. We had our own ratio I picked because I liked it. Then I just had the projectionist blow it up just right on the screen. Simple. Same would apply to mastering a DVD. You can crop it however you like and it will be letterboxed or you can do it exactly 16:9. All monitors deal with both signals and some automatically detect the size and you can "zoom to fit" the screen.

There is such a cloud of mystery out there about theatrical projection like it has to be some hi-tech magic to be able to project. You hear people like Mike Figis talk about "Well we up converted the pixels..." I saw his film "Timecode" (transefered from DV) in the theater. I have seen "Anaversary Party" (also transfered from DV) and I have seen "Hoop Dreams" (transfered from video) all in the theater.

I had been making it my business to keep a tabs on this... and of course Blair Witch too.

The point here is a very positive one. Of course you can do it.

I studied it for years and I did it. It's nothing new and you don't need a bunch of high tech equiptment.

The only thing depending on the lengh of your project is whether or not you will need a deck that will do DVCAM or whether to go back out to your camera. And depending on how far you go with it weather you will have a budget to blow up to 35 or not.

The rest of the battle lies in these three factors.

1) The quality of your Lenses

2) How you shoot and light your subject.

3) The quality of the projector at the theater.

They are all equally important and are listed in order of sequencial importance.

2) The Lenses on the XLI are far superior than any on the market in that range of camera. The GL1 is OK but I would not put anything in front of it. Leave the Anamorphic lense at home and DON'T SHOOT IN ANYTHING BUT NATIVE 16:9 other wise just shoot 4:33 and crop it on post. The artifacts you will get from anyother method out-weigh the potential greater resulotion.

3) If you shoot a lot of wide shots on don't expect to get alot of great looking footage blown up. I could go on about this and have. If you want I will email a full rundown on this I wrote up.

4) This is a big one. The same people who saw our film at the first screening at Raleigh who came to the Cinerama Dome also thought we had done something like blow it up to film since the last screening.

The only difference was the quality of the projector. At a cost of nearly 3 grand for the night to rent it - aside from the theater.

You are budget-concious or you would not be considering doing this on a GL1. It can be done. It has been done it is being done.

You can do it.

Skip all the other techno bable. Concentrate on getting great footage. With a great projector - or blown up on film it will loook as good as you film it. It is really that simple.

We shot in 4:33 by the way an cropped.

Good luck.

Richard Culver

Richard Culver
08-06-2004, 08:18 PM
Oh, by the way if you want to check out a trailer of my film and stills go to www.thelastkennedy.com Other information is also available at www.artistmoonfilms.com

I hope you understand the tone of my message being a helpful one. Having sifted through the mire myself my angst is directed at those who wittingly or unwittingly mislead others with inapplicable or even flat out wasteful technical mis-information.

I like to see people suceed at what they do.

It's just me.


Paul Orwig
08-06-2004, 10:13 PM
That was really helpful, I really do appreciate it. Yes that was all I wanted to know, if the quality of my images look on theatrical screen as good as they were captured. That is what I meant by saying film res. Blowing up my captured images to fit the screen without being pixelated. I would like to see your report too. Anything at all that you would think to help me. Our film however is set to last about 3hrs but of coarse there is the editing. We planned to to most of the shots with the GL1 and then add CGI stuff with LW. But if quality is what we are looking for then we might just do the whole film in CGI. I know its a daunting task and yes I know it'll take years, but I would spend the time doing it in years and have it succeed then doing it pratical and not making it at all. I would love to tell you what film we are talking about, but until we get our story, script and movie title copy righted I can't say. People would try to beat us to it before ours is even done. I haven't seen the sights you gave yet, but I'll look into them sometime in the near future.

Again, thank you.


Richard Culver
08-07-2004, 04:01 AM
This is great.

I'm glad you guys are DOING IT.

So, I guess you know that the DVCAM maxes out at 3 hrs. 180 min tapes. So assuming it comes in at or under that you can master on DV in that formatt.

Also I had gone through the process of preparing our film for the distributor which was daunting. I know you might not be thinking that far ahead but there are a lot of thinngs you can plan for at this stage that will save you much effort later.

It's cool you are planning to use Lightwave. I actually did that on my first short film in 1991-94 rendering on an Amiga 2000!!!

I am planning somthing now with Lightwave. (Three films and 10 years later)


Here's my email:

[email protected]

Email me and I will dig it up and send that write up to you.

I had posted this on a forum related to editing and it was a great string about shooting digital to look like film.

Ironicaly some months later an article showed up in a video mag that covered pretty much most of the points I had deliniated.

Coincidence, or who knows? The good thing is the information is getting out there.

Looking forward to hearing from you.


Paul Orwig
08-07-2004, 10:55 AM
I know I'm opening myself up to spamers, but here's my email address. [email protected]

I've got yours.

What stuff do you have to give us?


Richard Culver
08-09-2004, 01:21 AM
Anything you need help with. I have hands on practical experience with all aspects of the filmmaking process.

However, staying somewhat within the scope of this forum. I have a write up that I did mostly about digital photography which definately relates to what you are doing and especially if you are going to shoot stuff as imags sequences in LW - wich I have also done.

I will dig it up and email it to you. I might get brave and start a thread on it.

Richard Culver

08-20-2004, 12:23 AM
If you're buying a new cam, look at a Panasonic DVX-100a or a Canon XL2. Your dealer is probably trying to dump that XL1 because the model has been replaced by the XL2. The difference? The XL2 does 24p and has a true 16:9 CCD. The aforementioned Panasonic does 24p, but not true 16:9 but takes an anamorphic adapter. (and is about $2000 cheaper than the XL2, but the same price at the XL1)

Advantage of the DVX-100A over the XL1? 24p.

Advantage of the XL1/XL1 over the DVX-100A? interchangeable lenses

Richard Culver
08-20-2004, 01:22 AM
Thanks for the tip on those cam specs!

I don't think either of us are buying anything. I've had my XL1 for, oh, 3 years. I think he already has a GL1

I was merely comparing the two choices based on the lenses.

But you are on the ball with those comparisons.

I was actually hoping Canon would try to compete with the new HD mini DV format.

Have you heard of any cameras competing with the poor contrast of the JVC with only one chip?

If Canon would realease an HD cam with some good lenses and 3 chips that would be cool.

I think that will be the future of camcorders...


08-20-2004, 02:45 AM
Canon has stated that the XL2 may be their last SD camcorder, and Sony has shown a prototype of a 3-chip HDV camcorder.

Richard Culver
08-20-2004, 12:11 PM



Paul Orwig
08-23-2004, 05:26 PM
Forgive me for asking this, what is a SD Camcorder?

Will Canon produce higher quality cameras like a DV and not a miniDV?

Someone let me know, I would love to continue to purchase Canon's cameras, they are nice looking. The XL1 and now the XL2 look almost motion picture type just the fact that they do not have DV quality only MiniDV.

Thanks to all,


Richard Culver
08-23-2004, 06:56 PM
Hey, Paul.

Still working on getting you that paper by the way. About a week.

The DV verses MiniDV is really only the tape format, not the quality of what goes on it.

The thicker tapes such as DVCAM tapes are designed for the rigors of analog editing - tape to tape and for other professional uses such as lots of dubbing etc.

However they are otherwise the same format of signal.

The only difference would be the camera itself as far as whether it is 1 chip 2 chip etc and how it handles color. But the DV formatt is a standard across the boards.

SD stands for Standard Definition as opposed to High Definition.

There are plenty of websites that educate on the many HD formats - of which MPEG 2 is a standard!

There is a lot of controversy over HD standards but what I think some people may not understand is that when the major media companies and manufactures got together to standardize it, they could not just settle on one frame size or resolution. There are probably many reasons for this. I can only think of a few off the bat. But practially speaking HD as it is brodcast by a cable provider has to be compressed so the signal bandwidth is small enough to make it practical to use existing cable technology and I think this is the genisis of many of the standards - practicallity for broadcast.

Believe it or not I am to understand that the actual brodcast standards for HD go all the way down as far as 720x480 (same as DV) up to 1960 X 1080. This is the 1080i you often see referenced.

All of the resolutions in MPEG 2 are also supported as HD standards.

So when the JVC came out there were a lot ot people chiming in and saying it's not actually HD.

Well the fact of the matter it IS HD. It records in 720 p or 720 i wich is 1280 x 720. MPEG 2 which is an HD standard. Quite a bit more resolution than 720X480. However it is compressed to fit on mini DV tapes using a special type of MPEG 2 compression. It then upcoverts to 1080i via it's own interface, so you can dub tapes to professional broadcast HD equipment if you like or stay in the native MPEG 2 via firewire and edit on your computer.

The argument is that if it will be compressed for broadcast then whay not just capture and edit in this formatt?

The argument against it is that you are getting some artifacting and you will after editing have some degradation of the signal by the time you get to DVD or broadcast.

I think that this is a valid argument.

However, I think the stronger one is that the JVC only has 1 chip and the quality of the lenses are not up to par with say a Canon.

Also if you are planning to transfer to film the MPEG format will probably not be satisfactory compared to HD uncomporessed.

But you throw all of that out the window if you just concentrate on making good art. Use nice camea angles choice lighting and all of the various tools for making a quality product - not to mention the script, acting and directing.

I think if we would concentrate on that as more of a roadblock to getting our stuff out there rather than the technology, we truly will have a revolution in this feild.

Remember, Lightwave without an artist behind it is just a disc in a case.

There are so many success stories in this business that have broke conventional technical boundries based on just plain good art that in my humble opinion, that it the best place to start.

All of the DV cameras (SD) that exist today have in some form or another the ability to capture great broadcast quality art at 720 X 480 resolution, which is plenty if you do it right.

But that's my opinion.