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Transcoding issue with the RED

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Andrew Kasch
Transcoding issue with the RED
on Feb 22, 2012 at 5:28:13 am

So I'm working a gig and I've been transcoding footage shot on the RED through RedCine. The footage was shot at 2K, 60 fps... so I'm making Pro-Res 4444 Quicktimes to match.

The problem is, the video has a slightly soft look to it. The director insists that it's supposed to be sharper and that something must be going wrong in the transcoding process, but I'm thinking this might have to do with how the cinematographer shot it. How can I tell if this is the sharpest, highest quality image I'm getting from the transcode?


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Joseph Hutson
Re: Transcoding issue with the RED
on Feb 22, 2012 at 11:39:07 am

The reason why it looks soft is because by shooting at 2K, you have cropped into the sensor by more than 4x. You can sometimes get away with this, but in doing so, the image will always look softer than the original 4K or 5K image.

"Why is a 2K image softer than my HD camera?" you may ask. HD cameras are built with various algorithms which include artificial sharpening to achieve what we believe is a sharp image. For the most part, they do a fair job at giving a nice image. Where RED differs on this point is they have decided to give more native resolution to speak for the clarity of the image instead of reverting to the older methods of artificial sharpening.

Lack of the artificial sharpening plays a big part in why RED images look different than a lot of comparable cameras.

It is for this reason why the EPIC has become such a hit. It can record 120 frames per second at Full 5K. 5K is 50% more resolution than 4K, which means a naturally sharp master at 4K and of course lower resolutions (i.e. 2K, 1080p, 720p).

Lesson to be learned? Shoot RED 2K at last resort.


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Andrew Kasch
Re: Transcoding issue with the RED
on Feb 22, 2012 at 4:44:54 pm

This is what I suspected. Thanks so much for your help, Joseph.

I take it there's not much we can do on the post side of things to help sharpen the image?


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Noah Kadner
Re: Transcoding issue with the RED
on Feb 22, 2012 at 11:44:08 pm

You can always add a sharpening filter- but it's a law of diminishing returns. I.e. at some point it will start to look phony from too much sharpening. But a little goes a long way.

Noah

Call Box Training.
Featuring the Panasonic GH2 and Panasonic AC160/130.


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