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Upconvert from Beta SP or DVCAM to HD versus S16 to HD

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Nancy Kiang
Upconvert from Beta SP or DVCAM to HD versus S16 to HD
on Jan 19, 2010 at 12:48:46 am

Hi, I have a 10-minute short film that was originally shot in Super-16 and the final conform I did back in 2005 gave me versions on DVD, DVCAM, and Beta SP. I did not cut the film. I would like to make an HD version, so I have the choice of either doing the telecining and color correction again from the film footage for ~$2000, or doing an upconvert from my existing media for as little as $300. If I were to go the latter route, would it better to go from DVCAM to upconvert to HD, or would it be better to use the Beta SP version? This is just a short film, so as long as there are no unpleasant artifacts from an upconvert and the picture still looks like film, I would be satisfied with the cheaper route. I guess HD is higher resolution than 16 mm grain, so is it that much better to do a telecine from the film directly to HD?

Thanks for sharing any insights.


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Shane Ross
Re: Upconvert from Beta SP or DVCAM to HD versus S16 to HD
on Jan 19, 2010 at 1:05:22 am

An upconvert from BetaSP (better than from DV) will not look nearly as good as a re-telecine of the 16mm film. If you did it via a Terranex, then you will have better results than any software option, or even the Kona or Matrox hardware upconverts. But that costs more that $300 I'd think.



Shane



GETTING ORGANIZED WITH FINAL CUT PRO DVD...don't miss it.
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Arnie Schlissel
Re: Upconvert from Beta SP or DVCAM to HD versus S16 to HD
on Jan 19, 2010 at 1:12:23 am

There's no real advantage to upconverting your SD to HD. It will not have any more detail or any better contrast or color than the tape you upconvert from.

If you telecine from the original camera negative, you will be able to recover all of the original detail in that negative. Plus, it's an opportunity for you to color correct the show in HD color space.

IOW, you have an opportunity to make it look much better than it looks now. Why not take it?

Arnie

Post production is not an afterthought!
http://www.arniepix.com/


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Steven Gladstone
Re: Upconvert from Beta SP or DVCAM to HD versus S16 to HD
on Jan 19, 2010 at 1:47:14 am

Depending on how your footage was originally transferred, you may be able to have the selects pulled (cut the neg flash to flash) and just transfer those shots, then conform those. That may save you some money.

Steven Gladstone
http://www.gladstonefilms.com


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Nancy Kiang
Re: Upconvert from Beta SP or DVCAM to HD versus S16 to HD
on Jan 20, 2010 at 7:34:27 pm

Thanks, everybody, for sharing your insights.
I just need an HD format for screening, since now a lot of festivals are going with HD. I understand an upconvert won't be as good as a direct telecine to HD from the film. However, the DVCAM and BetaSP versions have already screened at festivals, and people ooh-ed and aah-ed at the color in just those versions (since it was originally film and not video), so I was thinking the simple upconvert would be a fast, cheap solution to get the HD format. Anyway, here's a trailer, if that helps decide in terms of color quality:
http://www.earthpins.com/Solidarity

Good to know that BetaSP is at least better than DVCAM -- I wasn't sure if BetaSP is vulnerable to more upconvert artifacts than DVCAM. So long as I don't get jaggies or weird bubbles in an upconvert, maybe it'll be okay.

Okay, guess I'll make a decision how much time and money are worth spending.

Thanks, again.


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Steven Gladstone
Re: Upconvert from Beta SP or DVCAM to HD versus S16 to HD
on Jan 21, 2010 at 12:45:05 am

DV Cam is 4:1:1 or 4:2:0 depending Pal or NTSC, and the data rate is 3.5 meg/sec. The chief difference between DvCam and mini DVis that the DvCam tape runs faster (an hour tape lasts about 40 minutes), which can help minimize frame drop outs. BetaSp (short for Betacam SP - not Betamax.) is an analog format, and I believe the digital equivalent would be 4:2:2- pretty much what that means is that for every 4 pixels across you have four samples (every pixel) of green, and only 2 samples (every other pixel) or red and blue. In the old days, Uncompressed video (Beta SP) was considered/digitized at 20 MB/sec. However compression algorithms have changed, so those numbers may not apply. On my old edit system (DPS Velocity) I could digitize Beta SP at 6 meg per second and although the image was not exactly the same, it still was the same quality.

I did a test once, comparing super 16 lenses for blow up to HD. The test was transferred to Mini DV and to HD (tiff frames), the difference between the two was startling. Lenses that appeared close in quality on the Mini DV transfer, were obviously vastly different when viewed at HD resolution. Something to consider.

Originally published in Show Reel magazine in 2007, You can read the article online at http://www.showreel.org/article.php?290

Or download it (with additional diagrams) at http://www.gladstonefilms.com/article.html

Hope this helps.

Steven Gladstone
http://www.gladstonefilms.com


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Nancy Kiang
Re: Upconvert from Beta SP or DVCAM to HD versus S16 to HD
on Jan 22, 2010 at 12:52:32 am

Thanks, Steven.
Hm, we actually made the mistake of using different lenses between shoots -- one was an old lens with warmer tones, the other was a new one that was sharper, cooler. So, maybe it might actually be good not to show clearly the differences between the two.

Okay, it's a matter of how vain I am now...

Cheers,
Nancy


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