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fabmedia
09-01-2005, 09:40 PM
I'm in a conundrum right now. I'm in the middle of creating my demo reel and an animated short, but I'm not too sure what format to choose: 720p or 1080p? I'm not too sure if it's better to use 1K or 2K. I need a bit of help to figure out what would be best for both the short and long term. Can 720p be used for film on the animated short circuit?

AND PSD w/layers & alpha, JPG, PNG or what?

T-Light
09-01-2005, 10:35 PM
Can 720p be used for film on the animated short circuit?

Suppose so, there's independant American film makers using PAL video gear to transfer to 16mm, that's at 576p so 720p should be fine, suppose it depends on your final audience. If it were me and it 'had' to be Hi Def, I'd be looking at 720p for the time being simply because of the render times.

fabmedia
09-01-2005, 11:49 PM
That's quite interesting. I've been doing research on this and I've not really been able to find anything on it except that 720p is better than 1080i and that 2k is manditory for 35 mm film, but there are options for up-rez. My question is whether 720p is enough.

Thanks!

T-Light
09-02-2005, 12:18 AM
Just been looking for a UK company that handles HD to film transfers as they had a lot of info as to which resolutions to use etc, can't find it anywhere unfortunately.

Here's another one that covers some of the stuff that came to mind, it raises a good point on progressive footage ie "Never record in 30p for transfer to film", you probably know the ins and outs to this but here you go.

http://www.swisseffects.ch/HDVto35mm_1.pdf

EDIT: found that site :) , know this isn't directly relevant but it's solid info on conversion. Found it some time ago when looking at the ins and outs of the new Sony HDV cameras. Have fun and best of luck.

http://www.dvfilm.com/faq.htm#FX1

Surrealist.
09-02-2005, 11:09 PM
That's quite interesting. I've been doing research on this and I've not really been able to find anything on it except that 720p is better than 1080i and that 2k is manditory for 35 mm film, but there are options for up-rez. My question is whether 720p is enough.

Thanks!

Diddn't see this thread so let me ritterate. Only a few years ago, 4 Media in Burbank Ca, was asking for betacam masters at standard def resolution. This is one of the biggest transfer houses around.

There is no "is this good enough" for transfer to film. It's what do you have?

If you are "printing to film". That is entirely different. That's a sequernce of images printed to film frame by frame. It is far too expensive to even think about. That is the only situation where you have to worry about the actual resolution.

What I am saying is. Forget about upconversion tehno-speak and trust me on this one. I have researched this. Let the facility worry about what pixels are doing what. All you do is present to them a brodcast master on tape and the transfer machine and engineers do the rest.

If you can only give them a standard def master, they'll take it. 720, no prob. 1080i, bring it on. Some faciliies will have their preference as to format and if it is a small facility they may only have one or two kinds of decks.

The quality of your film transfer is going to be regulated by the quality of the facility and equipment more than anything. End of story.

The difference between spending 135 bucks per minute and 500 bucks perminute is going to be in the equipment they use and there is a wide variable of difference no matter what the guy in Ohio for 110 bucks a minute tells you.


Make your film as well as you can within buget.

Transfered at the right facility it will look georgeous:)

fabmedia
09-03-2005, 03:40 AM
Diddn't see this thread so let me ritterate. Only a few years ago, 4 Media in Burbank Ca, was asking for betacam masters at standard def resolution. This is one of the biggest transfer houses around.

There is no "is this good enough" for transfer to film. It's what do you have?

If you are "printing to film". That is entirely different. That's a sequernce of images printed to film frame by frame. It is far too expensive to even think about. That is the only situation where you have to worry about the actual resolution.

What I am saying is. Forget about upconversion tehno-speak and trust me on this one. I have researched this. Let the facility worry about what pixels are doing what. All you do is present to them a brodcast master on tape and the transfer machine and engineers do the rest.

If you can only give them a standard def master, they'll take it. 720, no prob. 1080i, bring it on. Some faciliies will have their preference as to format and if it is a small facility they may only have one or two kinds of decks.

The quality of your film transfer is going to be regulated by the quality of the facility and equipment more than anything. End of story.

The difference between spending 135 bucks per minute and 500 bucks perminute is going to be in the equipment they use and there is a wide variable of difference no matter what the guy in Ohio for 110 bucks a minute tells you.


Make your film as well as you can within buget.

Transfered at the right facility it will look georgeous:)
WOW!!! That's the best news that I've heard yet. THANK YOU!

Well I guess I'm set for 720p. Good for HDTV, DVD, and film if needed.

Cheers mate!

Surrealist.
09-03-2005, 04:03 AM
You are quite welcome. Good luck on your project. :)

Edit: I should add that of course today with progressive scan and 24 frame video it changes things a little as far as what they are prepared to accept but really, once you pick a facility, just target your end recording media to what they are prepared to accept and you are good to go.

Intuition
09-03-2005, 11:57 AM
1080 is higher quality then 720. I mean its just more pixels.

1080 is actually 1920x1080
720 is 1280x720

The differences in image quality are huge but only if you have the right monitor. I notice many HDTVs being sold right now are the 1280x720 and often they are pumping ntsc broadcast or HD broadcast that has been compressed. You'll see these monitors in ntsc action and to watch them will give you a blurry headache.

If you ever see an uncompressed 1920x1080 video signal played through the same resolution monitor you will think your looking through a really clean window. Its really super crisp. But since these monitors often cost like $10,000 you never see them. Mostly you'll see the 1280x720 and even then see a compressed HD signal. Like at Best buy or similar.

http://www.adelphia.com/cable_entertainment/hdtv_details.cfm

There is a chart here showing the different ratios and frame rates. They don't list the official names like 1080i or 720p so it is still confusing.

Even though 1080 has more lines it is an interlaced image so even though the images is more detailed then the 720p it does not handle motion as well. It is more strobed then the progressive scan 720 which is alot more crisp in framerate. Only the highest cost 1920x1080 monitors can actually resolve all 2millionpixels where as most 720p monitors with progressive scan will be crisp with even the most fast camera movement due to having a better frame fill rate.

I think a 1080 progressive is not far off though. Seems to be the next step. But for now if your looking for crisp and clarity go with 720p.

fabmedia
09-03-2005, 12:30 PM
Hey that's perfect.

Another quick question, should I render in 8 bit or 16bit? I know it's a bit off topic, but does it really make that much of a difference to an inhouse production?

Surrealist.
09-03-2005, 01:57 PM
Hey that's perfect.

Another quick question, should I render in 8 bit or 16bit? I know it's a bit off topic, but does it really make that much of a difference to an inhouse production?


Do you mean sound?

It should be 16 bit which is the standard for most video streams/codecs such as broadcast NTSC, Mpeg2, etc.

Iintuition:

Hope my ranting did not disguise the obvious fact that 1080 is higher res. Don't mean to knock it or anything like that, quite the opposite, I love it.

It is just that there is so much misinformation and thus confusion about transfer to film as well as digital projection.

These things are propagated by people in the industry who feel their job security depends on making things seem mysterious, or unreachable, by throwing qround buzwords that mean very little. This creates the effect that a person must not understand this and they had better hand it over to a "professional"

My whole beef is there is nothing to understand. A pixel is a pixel. You can't make one pixel, magicaly split into two and become more sharp through some special process.

You can however, design a peice of equipment through use of such technologies and call it what you want. Technically it's doing something with these pixels better than the next peice of gear.

Who cares?

It's better.

My point is that I have been around this stuff for a while and I have seen projection on two different projectors as an example with digital footage. One looked like crappy video, the other, like film. The difference? The Pojector.
Simple. Not 1080 or 720 either. I am talking about standard def, 4:1:1 Digital video. Not even 4:2:2

The same goes for transfer to film. One will look like you tranfered video to film, the other - depending on the footage of course - you would not know the difference.

The key is in creating content that will transfer well.

Example. Taking a video camera out in the middle of the day and filmming a softball match under the afternoon sun. Well, you're are never going to make that look like anything other than video no matter what camera you have or process you use to tranfer it or what resolution.

Take the same camera, wait for the sun to start going down and at the right moment, with a long lens and a backlit subject you can create the look and feel of film with plenty of depth and character.

Same goes for indoor shooting. It's all in the planning of and use of natural light, shot choises and lens settings and so on.

I shot an entire feature film with this technique, shoting to avoid the look of video.

I was vindicated in this belief when a filmmaker friend of mine called me after a screening in a large theater saying he thought we had transfered to film. Nope, a projector at the cost of 3 grand for the night! And of course my research and forsight into the technique I partly described.

The same goes for 3D footage. You are going to get more bang for your buck with lighting and other techniques that will give you the look and feel of film than you will with the differnce betweenm 720 and 1080. That is a simple and hard to swallow fact. Humbling in fact.

On the other side of all of that the same goes for the tranfer equipment you use to tansfer to film. More bang for the buck there than at any other stage of the process other than the first which is in the creation.

So, my point? Better to spend time and money on a quality product, a product that looks great at any resolution that worry about these differences.

Will a film look different if transfered from footage at different resolutions? Yes of course it will.

It is just about economics. If going 1080 or even 720 bogs you down and you don't get a product at all then, what is the point in that?

If you spend more effort creating an amazing product and render at 720 by 480, then go to DV footage and transfer to a deck that costs 1,100. So what? If it looks great it will transfer beautiful to film.

Noiw you have a few more bucks and you take that same amazing product and up the res to 720p why, great you've just made an improvement.

So my opinion about this all is that the scale of importance is as follows

1) source footage
2) transfer equipment
3) resolution

No great resolution will make bad footage look good.
No great tranfer equipment will make bad footage look good

But great footage will look great at every stage and only be enhanced by the other two. However even great footage can be destoyed by either horrible resolution or bad transfer equipment. But horrible resolution is not a problem today. SD broadcast is adequate and hi def all the better.

It's just about economics is all.

Other than that there are no absolutes. This comes from hard won personal experience and research.


Rant over.

fabmedia
09-03-2005, 03:31 PM
I didn't see a rant, so not to worry. I think it's important for people to understand this though. A lot of people are "confused" like me because there are so many variations of what is acceptable and what is really used. I think what I really am hearing is that it's the quality of the art, not how you do it, that counts.

Surrealist.
09-03-2005, 05:25 PM
I didn't see a rant, so not to worry. I think it's important for people to understand this though. A lot of people are "confused" like me because there are so many variations of what is acceptable and what is really used. I think what I really am hearing is that it's the quality of the art, not how you do it, that counts.

Thanks man. You got it. That is the dealio. Also, did you get your question answered about sound?

fabmedia
09-03-2005, 07:03 PM
Naw, I have sound covered. After I left the Canadian Armed Forces as an Infantryman, I went into a new media design program which covered everything from video production, audio production using protools and digidesign, as well as some animation. Back in 1995, it was a BIG deal. So foley work is right up my alley as well. I'm using Final Cut for editing and Soundtrack for music and background audio. I've been looking forward to my own project for ages, but I've not had enough time to sit down and do it. I'm really just trying to jump from graphic design into the world of 3d. I already to modeling and illustration, I just want to go one step further now. I'm getting up there in age, but I think I have a lot to bring to the table considering I've been self-employed for 10 years and have managed projects with design studios and ad companies (5-15 people with budgets up to $150K). So I think that makes an added value sell.

Surrealist.
09-04-2005, 12:40 AM
Ok, I was just not sure what you were talking about - 8 or 16 bit.

Verlon
09-04-2005, 07:20 PM
Surrealist:

That is very useful information. In fact, I would love to se a tutorial on this if you could spare the time. If you have a LOT of time, I would even buy a book on the matter.

Making a) you video look more like film and b)making your 3D looking more like film.

Now it may be that I am the only one on the entire forum that hasn't figured it all out, but I would bet otherwise....

Surrealist.
09-06-2005, 12:29 AM
Surrealist:

That is very useful information. In fact, I would love to se a tutorial on this if you could spare the time. If you have a LOT of time, I would even buy a book on the matter.

Making a) you video look more like film and b)making your 3D looking more like film.

Now it may be that I am the only one on the entire forum that hasn't figured it all out, but I would bet otherwise....

Well, part b) is something I am hopping to figure out based on my experiences with a).

I am not looking at my post right now so I hope it wasn't worded in such a way as to sound as if I had figured it out in 3D yet. But that the concepts are the same.

All I really need to do is figure out all of the technical aspects of these LW lights that don't really operate exactly as they should and I am good to go.

But that being said, I think it is a wash really because even if you have all that figured out there is still the question of what do you do with them and then you are back to a)

But it is not just the lights, it is the entire cinematic process.

I always recomend the book, "the five c's of cinematography". It went into reprint a few years ago and is a classic handbook that most any old time cinematographer would recomend.

This book, as it happens, is written in such a way that you could apply it to 3D as well.

I actually did start writting a book on this and it partly started from a forum for the video program I use where someone had asked some technical question about making video look like film.

I have notes on the book but will not likely write it anytime soon. A few months after my post appeared on this forum, an article came out in a video mag outlining most of my points - quite poorly I might add - but it did serve to bolster what I had been saying and seem to validate the need for a comprehenseive book on the subject.

However I don't know if you would need anything more than the Five C's and the outline that I give below as a place to start and then grab a camera and do it yourslelf.

Here is the exerpt from the thread where I lay out the main points needed. (I believe I wrote this while we were still filming the last shots):

Surrealist.
09-06-2005, 12:31 AM
(Sorry had to split this up. Didn't realize it was too long)


I have to put in my 2 cents, for what it's worth. I plan on actually transferring to film in the end, but in the interim I have been looking for a way to get a "film look" for DVD and tape output etc. so this string has been helpful.

My 2C is in regarding shooting. I think this has been stressed plenty in between the technical "babble" - which is ALL GOOD but let's not get lost in it. I'm not sure if the originator of this string has footage already, but I tend to agree with those who point out you can’t do it in post.

What - aside from technicality - is a "film look"? What are you trying to achieve? Who is your audience and what are they looking at or for?

I went and saw "Hoop Dreams" when it came out because I wanted to see a movie that was transferred to film from video. Some of the footage was shot on high 8 and some of it was shot even on VHS then other stuff on Beta I believe but I know that they edited the finished product on Beta. Then it was transferred to film at 4 Media in Burbank.

If I did not have a vested interest in this process I would not have been looking so close. The film was so entertaining I had to go see part of it again just to watch it from a technical point of view. Honestly, I don't think that audience could have cared less what it looked like. Since then I have seen at least two other films that were shot on DV and transferred to film. Spike Lee's "Bamboozled" and recently "Anniversary Party".

In the case of Bamboozled he was intending it to look like TV and almost documentary-ish. Very little was done to make it "look like film" and this was intentional. "Anniversary Party" was shot so quickly - 19 days that they really did not have the time to shoot it for a "film look". The advantage in this case was the speed and low budget factors even though there were major actors such as Kevin Kline and Gwenyth Paltrow. I actually cringed during some of the shots where Kevin’s face was a digital-pixilated blur because they were shooting a lot of master shots - something you just cant do in DV and expect it to blow up good.

Now once again, I don't think the bulk of audience was looking at that. Just a few film buffs like myself perhaps. They were looking at the actors and the performances. They were there to be entertained not "impressed"

What is your audience? That is the key question.

And on this note, I would say that if your audience is looking at the film grain, perhaps you have lost them and I don't care who you are intending it for, it must be entertaining at least even if merely to be informative and if you have lost sight of that then you have lost your audience already.

Now that having been said, within that framework you could - if you are planning it to look like film - shoot in a manor that would be in the "style" of film. These are two different things. To take something shot from a "video perspective" and try to make it "look" like film is a loosing battle. Film has an attitude and if you loose that you've lost already.

I directed my fist short film in 3/4 video primarily with a 3 tube camera back in 1991. I manned up my crew from the art department down to grip and lighting from the perspective that we were shooting this to "look" like film. There would be no compromise. So, the film was framed, and the sets dressed, lighting schemes done all from the perspective as if I was shooting film. This was all from a point of view. I can remember telling the cinematographer. "Don't give me flat lighting. Give me lots of shadows, highlights etc." We even shot some stuff in silhouette. I was very particular about camera set-ups and framing. I was adamant about it looking like film.

I had the experience of having to shoot additional footage with another cinematographer and with another camera- a 3 chip 3/4 inch camera and a whole new crew. The difference was stark, not just in the camera's footage but in the way it was approached. I learned from these two crews that shooting for a film look was a point of view from the top down. The amount of work that went into preparing the first crew I failed to do in the second and it showed in the footage.

I have had a number of people look at this "film" - even with the bad footage - and ask me if it was shot on film. Nothing was done to it technically. It was 30i all the way.

In contrast, my first feature - which was shot on 16mm and on a tight schedule - looks more like video than the short video “film”.

From my experiences I have learned lots about this "attitude" or point of view. On my second feature, I am using an XL1 and am shooting most of it myself. I have had to use two other people to shoot some of the scenes that I also acted in. In doing this I have had to analyze what makes my shooting style different from a technical standpoint. What I have finally concluded is that the technical stuff follows the point of view not the other way around. You have to be looking for certain things that you then find technical ways to achieve.

Now, I have seen my share of films and TV shows that were shot on film that in my opinion looked like they were shot on video. Once again, I don't think the audiences are looking at that. I have seen a close friend obsess over some "technique" he developed to make footage look like film. I could not tell the difference on the monitor really. He was looking very close at a particular technical characteristic. He is a very accomplished and award winning 3d animator for film and TV and I respect his technical expertise but I don't think the average audience member is going to be looking at those small pixels and how they act on the screen. Sure the overall feel might change subjectively but if you miss on all of the big points you will loose your audience anyway.

From my experience the big points for shooting to look like film on video from a cinematographer's point of view are these:

Surrealist.
09-06-2005, 12:32 AM
1) use natural light.

If you are going to use a light package be prepared to use lots of large HMI, soft lights, and a mile-long grip truck to carefully flag and defuse the entire set to make it look like it is being lit by the natural ambience of the sun. But the whole idea is to be on a budget or you would not be shooting video. My advice is, skip it.

Be willing to let windows blow out from over exposure - a common "film look" these days - which has come from low budget filmmaking.

2) bring your subject to the light not the other way around.

Position your subject and shoot from an angle that achieves the best lighting scheme based on what light is available in the room or outside.

3) Back light everything.

Shoot with the strongest light source behind or to the side of your subject, expose for the strongest highlight hitting the subject. Make sure that that highlight is not "blown out" (unless you want that effect) otherwise it will look like video. Let the natural ambience of the room be your "fill light"

4) Underexpose.

Never, never, never fall for exposing the frame "properly". This is the largest problem I have run into with people used to shooting video. Shoot artistically not "properly". Be willing to let certain areas of the frame go dark. Watch those highlights, if they are blown out, chances are you are trying to make the subject's face look too "normal" or "properly" exposed. Just darken it a tad and let it look more "natural".

5) Separate the background.

Use whatever technique you can to give separation to the background. If the lighting is more or less even in your situation, use a long lens and zoom it in. This will keep the subject in focus and blur the background, plus little subtle light highlights will now be apparent.

6) Frame your shots cinematically.

This is obviously a potentially subjective area given your style, but if you shoot everything from sticks, first of all consider not. Never, never, never fall into the habit of framing everything from the point of view that you get from putting down the sticks so that they allow you to soot standing comfortably straight up - unless you are a midget.

Get away from such boring angles. Shoot your subjects from a lower position, perhaps from table level looking up if they are sitting - as an example - rather than level with their head. Use extreme low angles, high angles, Dutch angles, at your descresion - don't be afraid to experiment. Get creative. Leave the sticks in the car. Lay on the ground, climb a ladder, sit on a chair with the camera in your lap - throw convention out the window.

7) use good composition.

Never frame the subject in the center - unless you want this for effect. Always frame in the left or right third of the frame. This is a large subject but as a general rule always fill the frame with something interesting. Things in the foreground that frame your subject or in the background that help tell your story. Never leave the frame blank and uninteresting unless that is what you intend.

NEVER NEVER NEVER position your subject against a blank white wall - unless that is for a particular desired effect.

Be willing to break every rule.

8) Shoot lots of close ups.

Video looks best blown up if your subject is in a close up. It also will look more like a film-style shoot if you do - considering you are not going to blow it up. Don't be afraid to get tight. Shoot lots of tight close-up cutaways of action. Hands fiddling with a pen etc. - don't forget to backlight it. Any particular thing that needs emphasis - shoot it close but don't forget to backlight it and keep separation from the BG and good composition in mind.

Shoot long shots and master shots sparingly and only to establish or if you can create a particular interesting composition. It must have a purpose. Otherwise stay close.

And last but not least, do not forget sound. Use a standard film production mike like a Senhizer shot gun. Remember it should sound like film too.

There are a host of things to be said, but these are the basic ideas. These are the types of things when missing - particularly if you expose and light for video THE BIGEST MISTAKE that will give the audience a video look and feel. From here, what you do with it technically in post will be the icing on the cake.

But remember the bottom line is the communication. The story and the way it is told and presented. This is 99% of the "film look"

There is prehaps more to add to this but you know the rest of the story. We projected it digitaly and it looked like film. But one thing to add with HD, it makes it possible to do more long shots. Back then I was using standard def and long shots just did not blow up well from my observation.

Hope this is enough to get you going.

Surrealist.
09-06-2005, 12:54 AM
Some examples of the last feauture that illustrate some of these points above.

Now the entire feature was not shot this close. There were other longer shots but these are just good picks for illustrating clearly these concepts of back lighting, separation of the background and composition. All but the BW image were natural light. The BW image was shot in a hotel at night with two or three small lights from a hardware store. BW was done in post of course.

Surrealist.
09-06-2005, 01:30 AM
Here's some more. All natural/available lighting.