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16mm Film to HD

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Doug Weiner
16mm Film to HD
on Aug 11, 2011 at 12:11:56 pm

I have old 16mm archival sports footage that I transferring to HD. The way we have approached this is to add a simple black pillar box on the sides to keep the image pristine. However, of course, now I am getting broadcast vendors requesting that I fill the 16:9. I am not willing to blow the image up (zoom in). My preference is to add a blow up of the same image as the pillar box. I have seen this done and it usually seems to me to have some excess blur and the luminance (opacity) is lower. Just wondering if someone out there has some experience with the esthetic who might have some method and hard numbers I can start experimenting with - all in order to shorten my learning curve.

Thanks
Doug


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Dave LaRonde
Re: 16mm Film to HD
on Aug 11, 2011 at 2:47:21 pm

That'll be a tough one: FCP right out of the box doesn't scale video past 100% very well.

You should look at a plugin from Red Giant Software called Instant HD. It's designed to help make SD video look like HD, so I think it would work well for you. I'm pretty sure it works in FCP, and I'm pretty sure there's a tryout version.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Doug Weiner
Re: 16mm Film to HD
on Aug 11, 2011 at 3:16:09 pm

Thanks for the lead, but its not exactly what I am looking for.

I have transferred 16mm already in HD, 1920x1080, 23.98. The problem is that because the original source material is 4:3 16mm, the HD footage has a black pillar box. My vendors do not want the pillar box. The two solutions are to blow up the image to fill the 16:9 screen which as a result cuts off the top and bottom. The other is to replace the black pillar bars with moving image. Neither solution is good, but the latter is the lesser of the two evils.

I am hoping to find someone who has some experience in the aesthetic of making these 'moving' pillar boxes. I have done it in FCP, and its not bad.


My method.
Two video tracks with identical video. On upper track (track 2), crop the image left and right so that I have a video picture of 1440x1080. Then on track 1, blow up the image, 130%. Add a gaussian blur and drop the video opacity to about 70%.

The result, is not bad - for what it is, but I was hoping someone might have a suggestion to improve my results.

Thanks
Doug


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Dave LaRonde
Re: 16mm Film to HD
on Aug 11, 2011 at 3:21:10 pm

Ah. Well, at least when you double-check your intentions with the vendors and it doesn't prove to be acceptable, you'll have an option.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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David Roth Weiss
Re: 16mm Film to HD
on Aug 11, 2011 at 3:31:00 pm

[Doug Weiner] "The result, is not bad - for what it is, but I was hoping someone might have a suggestion to improve my results."

If you go the 4x3 route it's not going to get any better that what you've done already.

Frankly, I prefer blowing up and going full-frame 16x9. Yes, it's a tad soft, but it is archival footage after all, and it's done full-frame in major motion pictures all the time.


David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles
http://www.drwfilms.com

Don't miss my new tutorial: Prepare for a seamless transition to FCP X and OS X Lion
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Creative COW contributing editor and a forum host of the Business & Marketing and Apple Final Cut Pro forums.


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Doug Weiner
Re: 16mm Film to HD
on Aug 11, 2011 at 3:53:21 pm

Perhaps I will be forced to go down the route of blowing up the picture. However, my concern is not making the image soft so much as framing. These are completed 16mm films that I have already preserved in HD. As they are not just a shot or two, I am not going to reframe thousands of shots. If other people want to blow them up for later use, that is fine. My intention is to preserve them as they were presented in a movie theater or on TV long ago, but in True HD. My preference is to leave the black pillar boxes. I understand that this might create a problem with some viewers, so distributors insist on being full 16:9. If that is the case, then I am going down the 'fake' moving pillar bar route. If the distributing vendor wants to modify it further so be it.

I do thank you all for the discussion and encourage it as it might turn up some new answers, but before this post gets too sidetracked into a discussion of merits of how to best deal with 4:3 footage to 16:9, my primary reason for posting was to find someone more experienced than myself with designing these moving pillar boxes.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: 16mm Film to HD
on Aug 11, 2011 at 4:10:58 pm

[Doug Weiner] "My intention is to preserve them as they were presented in a movie theater or on TV long ago, but in True HD. My preference is to leave the black pillar boxes."

I appreciate your stance on this issue, but let me ask a pretty fundamental question:
In a year or two, will there be a market HD footage of 4x3 sports on an animated background?

And perhaps an even more fundamental question:
Is there a market RIGHT NOW for HD footage of 4x3 sports on an animated background?

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Jeremy Doyle
Re: 16mm Film to HD
on Aug 11, 2011 at 4:16:39 pm

I've done this hundreds of times when using archival footage on TV. There is no magic formula that I have found. In fact, the brightness of the scene can change just how much opacity or blur I use.

I say you're on the right track and adjust to taste.

On the opposite side of this subject, I can't tell you how many shots that look great in an HD frame get screwed up by a networks center cut SD version.

As far as I'm concerned, there are no standards anymore. Just give people the specs they ask for.



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Jeff Meyer
Re: 16mm Film to HD
on Aug 11, 2011 at 4:42:41 pm

I usually do what everyone else is doing, original video on V2, blurred, lower opacity copy on V1. On the layer on V1 I play with the DISTORT and SCALE sliders on the Motion tab in the Viewer until I have a frame-filling image. Since it's blurred out I don't find the need for arbitrary precision - eyeballing it seems to be sufficient.


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John Pale
Re: 16mm Film to HD
on Aug 11, 2011 at 7:05:36 pm

I know I am in the minority, but I really despise the "blurry moving background" look.

If I can't do pillarbox, I actually prefer a stock background that's not too busy (very simple grids or particle fields), and pull the opacity way down, so that it is just visible enough to register without distracting from the footage. I find that it's tasteful and respects the original framing best.


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Bob Tomlinson
Re: 16mm Film to HD
on Aug 11, 2011 at 8:13:48 pm

Hello,
I've used the TMTS Free plug-ins with good results.
The filter you would need is the "Smart Anamorphic".
It stretches the sides and leaves the center as is.

I also do not like that blurry fill, yes, a simple texture would be better if needed.


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