New camcorders beating film?

Technically-oriented discussion of classic films on everything from 35mm to Blu-Ray
  • Author
  • Message
Offline
User avatar

boblipton

  • Posts: 5181
  • Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2008 8:01 pm
  • Location: Clement Clarke Moore's Farm

New camcorders beating film?

PostWed Jan 20, 2010 5:23 pm

We knew the day was going to come, when the computerized cameras would have a greater definition than film, but a recent BARRON'S had a short piece on a new camcorder withmore than 18 megapixels per frame. Any of the technically alert able to say if that is better than 35mm panchromatic?

Bob
He was deeply moved, for the whisky had been generously measured.

-- Dorothy Sayers
Offline

fwtep

  • Posts: 500
  • Joined: Fri Feb 29, 2008 9:55 pm

PostThu Jan 21, 2010 1:49 pm

I don't know about a comparison to panchro, but when I worked at Digital Domain in the late 90's (Titanic) I was told of tests that were done with then-modern stocks that showed that scanning 35mm film at higher than 4k (roughly 9 megapixels, depending on the aspect ratio) wasn't worth it for practical purposes. They said that 35mm topped out at around 5 to 6k. The latter is roughly 24 megapixels.

As an example that even 2k can look good up on the big screen, Titanic's effects were done at 2k --2048x1556, though that included at TV safe area, so the vertical resolution in theaters was more like 872. These days effects are done at 4k and sometimes higher.

18 megapixels may seem like overkill, but it's useful to have a larger image to work with. A larger image lets you reframe the image if you want, or stabilize it (assuming you've shot slightly wider than you intend the final image to be). It also lets camera tracking be more exact, so if you're, say, changing the color of someone's eyes in post-production it'll work better and be easier.
Offline

pookybear

  • Posts: 136
  • Joined: Mon Feb 01, 2010 5:49 am

Re: New camcorders beating film?

PostSun Jul 04, 2010 6:05 pm

boblipton wrote:We knew the day was going to come, when the computerized cameras would have a greater definition than film, but a recent BARRON'S had a short piece on a new camcorder withmore than 18 megapixels per frame. Any of the technically alert able to say if that is better than 35mm panchromatic?

Bob


A study was done in the last couple of year of how far down you can
scan a 35mm frame and not double up any information. I do recall
that a single frame was scanned to a depth of 100 mb. Here is the
article, it is older information but still film can only be scanned down
so far.

link

Pookybear
Online
User avatar

Penfold

  • Posts: 1313
  • Joined: Mon May 26, 2008 2:03 pm
  • Location: Bwistol, England.

PostMon Jul 05, 2010 1:45 am

When experiments are done with scanning 35mm they always use single frames; and say the grain on the original being of a certain size that 2K or 4K resolution is sufficient. For a single frame it is; but we don't watch a still image. When a digital title is created - or a single image is scanned and repeated at those same resolutions - you get horrible jagged edges to the letters, sawtooths on the curves, because the persistence of vision that would have rendered those differing jagged edges in a grainy 35mm print into a nice smooth curve over the 24fps has been taken out of the equation. The microscopic-level variation between each original image has been replaced by exact clones of the same image - the "Averaging out" that reproduces the originally photographed curve when seen on 35mm can't take place.
I could use some digital restoration myself...
Offline
User avatar

Jack Theakston

  • Posts: 1827
  • Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2007 3:25 pm
  • Location: New York, USA

PostTue Jul 06, 2010 11:30 am

There are way more factors in film that limits its resolution, not the least of which are:

-the stock it's shot on
-the amount of light being put on it
-the f-stop of the lens
-Processing of neg
-Any DI (2k? 4k? 8k?)-- this is the biggest limiter in film today.
-Type of printing (step, continuous contact, high speed, optical)
-Amount of gate shock in printing
-Processing of print
-Optics of projection
-Mechanics of projection (intermittent wear, shutter angle)
-Gate shock (the first flash on screen is usually not focus because of the lamp heat)

Whereas a video source usually never has anything other than compression that affects its resolution. As of right now, most consumer camcorders have about the same amount of image resolution as your average print (1080 vs. 2k), although the former is compressed in certain respects and the latter is not.
J. Theakston
"You get more out of life when you go out to a movie!"

Return to Tech Talk

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests