Re: [Frameworks] Letter to other Filmmaker Artists

From: Anna Biller (email suppressed)
Date: Fri Jul 23 2010 - 13:35:40 PDT

It's true, I was timing on Spirit machines, which were the only
machines available at my lab. Now that I know, maybe next time I'll
try using another lab that has those other machines. It's also true
that the techs don't always know how to work with those tools. They
found my project challenging, as it was so contrasty and saturated. HD
handles low light and dark colors beautifully, but not the reverse. I
had to time it twice actually. The first tech did such a bad job that
I complained to the lab. I was grilling this guy endlessly on why he
couldn't get it to look better, but he'd just shrug his shoulders and
turn all the knobs up so that it was distorting. Either that, or it
would have no color at all and almost look like a black and white
movie. At the end, he made me sign a waiver that I had agreed to have
all the levels go off the charts so that they were not spec for
broadcasting, but I had never agreed to that during the timing. When I
complained, the head tech came and took a look and apologized and
another guy came in and redid it.

Seeing that it was three days of work at $400 an hour, you know that
it must have looked pretty bad for them to not charge me the second
time. Four timers came in and squinted at it, and they all agreed that
it was unacceptable. It was better the second time, but still not
good. The improved transfer is the one I was referring to in my
earlier post. Maybe the Millenium machine would do better, but it's
never going to be anything like the film. All of those guys had had
years and years of experience timing with those machines, but I wanted
a look they weren't used to achieving. I really dislike the limited
contrast of HD, for my own work at least. I've had similar issues
watching film prints of classic movies that have been digitally
remastered and spit back to film. I can always tell, because the
whites are so dark and the blacks are so soft.

On Jul 23, 2010, at 12:43 PM, Sam Wells wrote:

> Sorry that was a draft reply to Anna's post and a bit unfair.
> I meant to delete not send because a reasonable answer would have
> addressed the issue raised but I got impatient because: it had little
> to do with origination on digital but rather translation to video;
> because I'm not intererested in teaching a course online in Frameworks
> (ask the question on CML-Basics),
> There are limitations is translating images with the high dynamic
> range of film to most video formats (data formats are much better)
> ....
> Millenium Machine used by someone who really knows it can do a very
> nice job with "hot" images, Arriscanners can use a dual-pass mode to
> accomadate....
> Telecine colorists don't all know how to use the color grading tools
> with equal finesse
> etc.
> Some stuff does not transfer well... expectations need to be
> reasonable.
> -Sam
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