HD and special effects

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Eric_Connelly, Jan 25, 2006.

  1. Eric_Connelly

    Eric_Connelly Second Unit

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    What effect do you think HD on DVD will have on special effects.

    I'm watching Spiderman 2 on HBO HD which is a very good HD broadcast of the movie.

    The stunning special effects in the movie theater, and even on DVD are of good quality.

    But in HD...its so easy to tell and they lose all of their effectiveness. Its almost like they look like cardboard cutouts.

    Even some very good DVD transfers still are 'bad' enough to hide all the little stuff but not a good HD transfer.

    How much better will the technology get to fool people in HD?
     
  2. Sean Bryan

    Sean Bryan Sean Bryan
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    I've always found this type of observation a bit odd. I haven't been able to view any Hi-def movies at home yet, but I would think that they would still have to have less image information than the film it was transfered from.

    Typical home HD movies should have a resolution that is less than film. The original film should always have more detail than something in only 1080p (unless "filmed" in HD at only 1080p, and even then the home format will have some detail lost due to compression).

    Of course, I know that many film presentations are lousy because the film becomes worn and dirty, etc... and many find that even regular DVDs look "better" on their set-ups than what they saw at the theater because of this.

    Still, on home Hi-def movies, we should be getting less resolution and detail than what the director saw when cutting/making the film and the effects people saw when they were doing their thing.

    There may be some other kinds of "subjective" issues that affect the way some think effects look, but I just don't buy the concern that at high resolution the effects are gonna fall appart since they were made for a format with higer resolution (film).

    Sure if effects are bad, that may be kinda masked by a low quality picture. Then at high quality the bad effects would be more apparent. But if effects were good in the original film, then we shouldn't have anything to worry about when seeing them in lower resolution (HD home video).

    But these are just my thoughts on it. I'm not an expert by any means.
     
  3. Don Solosan

    Don Solosan Supporting Actor

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    Sean's right. 35mm film has more image information. This is one of my pet peeves about the transition to HD, people thinking that HD has more resolution than film, and there's no point in going back to retransfer older movies. It really should be called "Medium" Definition.

    If it looked good in the theaters (even digitally projected, it would have a resolution of about 2k, I think), and it looks good on DVD, but doesn't look right on an HD broadcast, then something's wrong -- but it's not the limitations of the source.

    It's also troublesome that "HD" gets bandied about when discussing a whole range of resolutions.
     
  4. Eric_Connelly

    Eric_Connelly Second Unit

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    I know film has more detail but the special effects are inserted into the film so you have two different mediums. One is 'infinite' resolution in film where the effects must be mapped to a specific resolution and integrated into the film.

    Regardless the point is on HD broadcasts it is very easy to see the difference between the digital elements and the film elements compared with in the theater.

    You also don't take into consideration the graininess of movies show in theaters, even on first run.

    The HD Transfer of Spiderman 2 was excellent, best I've seen since Tears of the Sun.

    I wonder if this is part of the reason why movies like WOTW were shot so grainy, the effects there seem pretty seamless.

    If you had seen the movie in a good HD broadcast it would be easy to pick out what I am talking about.
     
  5. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    [​IMG]
    Could you eloberate?
     
  6. Chad R

    Chad R Cinematographer

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    I have a High-Def display and I've not found this to be true at all. If a film was bady composited, then it's easy to tell as such in whichever medium the film's playing on. But, I've never been able to tell a difference seeing the same film on DVD or HD or film.
     
  7. ChristopherDAC

    ChristopherDAC Producer

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    Fact: High Definition as a production medium was meant to displace 35mm film, having at least as good picture quality and superior convenience.
    Fact: For years and years, special effects rendering and compositing for theatrical motion pictures has been done in High Definition via something called the "HD Ultimatte" system.
    Fact: For many recent theatrical movies, the High Definition version does not represent a "transfer": it is the original, which was then printed out to 35mm film for exhibition.
    Fact: According to NHK, developers of High Definition, 35mm film does not have enough resolution to be suitable for storage [capture and reproduction] of High Definition images. 65/70mm film is required for a satisfactory quality level.

    Conclusion? What you see in HD is what the director saw. If it looks a little cheesy, that's because it hasn't been softened around the edges by the low MTFs associated with Standard Definition video, or with the theatrical reproduction chain [which is lucky to reach the equivalent of 800 lines, most of the time].
     
  8. Michael Boyd

    Michael Boyd Second Unit

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    Didn't the 2001 version of Star Trek The Motion Picture have the new special effects rendered in low res for standard DVD only? What's that going to look like in HD with that movie supposedly being an early Paramount offering.
     
  9. Mark Kalzer

    Mark Kalzer Second Unit

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    What I usually find is that on VHS the special effects look less realistic. Of course I had limited exposure to this now, but even 480i looks less convincing them 480p. Cgi just doesn't dilute well onto the lower format. I would think that this would mean that more resolution makes for better looking effects.
     
  10. Don Solosan

    Don Solosan Supporting Actor

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    ChristopherDAC,

    High Definition, but at what resolution?

    If you're talking about 4k resolution, okay. 2k, and I'm doubtful. And isn't that what most digital cinemas are projecting at?

    And home HD is on average 1080, which is half "what the director saw" and a quarter of what film can hold.

    Again, the problem with HD encompassing a whole slew of resolutions...
     
  11. Kyle_D

    Kyle_D Second Unit

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    2K = 2048x1080, which is only a 6% increase over 1920x1080 HD. Most of the big blockbuster films you see in theaters nowadays are completely scanned in at 2K for editing, color correction, special effects, etc. and then scanned out digitally. A 1080p transfer of a recent film, hence, will be more or less identical in resolution to the original finished elements.

    Interestingly, Spider-man 2 was the first movie completely scanned and color corrected at 4K resolution (4096x2160), though I'm not sure at what resolution the effects were rendered.
     
  12. Michel_Hafner

    Michel_Hafner Screenwriter

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    2K. 4K and 2K from 35mm negative are not very different anyway. 4K from 70mm negative on the other hand is a big jump in detail and sharpness.
     
  13. Leo Kerr

    Leo Kerr Screenwriter

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    Curious. Kodak has stated that a good 35mm negative stock can generate useful information out to 6K.

    Now, by the time it's been through several generations, a high speed contact printer, and then projected in a piece of crap, yes, what you see in the theater has very little to do with the quality found in the camera negatives, or even the master negative - that is, assuming a conventionally graded film. Digital grading, of course, will generally be at 2K.

    Leo
     
  14. Eric_Connelly

    Eric_Connelly Second Unit

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    So you are saying that HD will present new challenges to special effects producers by the fact you say if it was badly composited then there may be problems. Problems that they may never had to deal with via film or regular DVD which was the original intent of the post.

    As far as my graininess statement. Spiderman2 had zero grain, nada, on HD, as did Tears of the Sun. While not a direct comparison, War of the Worlds had alot of grain and I assume it was intentional. The graininess of WOTW, were it present in Spiderman 2 would have most likely hidden the flaws.

    The best scene to describe is when Octo grabs the 2 people from inside the subway and shakes them around. It literally looks like they are placed on TOP of the film image and not part of it.

    As far as the statements that film looks better than HD, well while the purists and science may say so I'd much rather watch a movie on my TV at home than I would at a theater. I prefer clarity over everything else and find too big a disparity in the quality of films at the theaters.

    Have any of you seen Tears of the Sun on HD, especially on Voom when it was around? Spiderman 2, at least on HBO HD is close in caliber, its not as good but pretty close.

    The short of it is, the special effects look poor, they look placed ontop of the images and almost as a seperate layer. Something that is not evident in the theatrical film release or on the DVD copy, but shows easily in HD. Since this is the case, and I'm sure the directory did not intend it, having the forthought of a movies eventual release onto HD DVD might start to come into consideration for film makers which is the entire point of this thread.
     
  15. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    Your preference for clarity is your own of course Eric. But that does not mean that grain is a bad thing. For example it is pretty hard to imagine most film noir without significant grain. Many transfers from film to 35mm have been either degraded or ruined simply because removal of grain that was present. For example, for me (and many others) the Citizen Kane SE could have been better with more grain. Ditto (and in spades) for Singin’ in the Rain.

    Overall I believe that you are confusing the merits of specific transfers with the overall differentiation of the delivery media.

    I note that you have not clarified your infinite resolution statement.
     
  16. Don Solosan

    Don Solosan Supporting Actor

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    I thought 2k referred to horizontal lines. My mistake.
     
  17. Zack Gibbs

    Zack Gibbs Screenwriter

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    Actually "2k" res isn't a specific size. Some sources may site 2048x1080, but the most common res for special effects, etc. over the last 15 years has been 2048x1556, which is usually the res. in question regarding 2k.
     
  18. Chad R

    Chad R Cinematographer

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    So, if the film is badly composited, it will look poorly no matter where you see it. It will look bad on film, in HD, on DVD, everywhere. Consumer grade HD is no better than film, so it cannot bring out flaws that weren't visible in the film version, which was the original claim.
     
  19. Kyle_D

    Kyle_D Second Unit

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    Since most effects films are shot flat/super-35 nowadays though, won't some of those lines be lost in the matteing, bringing the theatrical resolution closer to 2048x1080? I know theatrical 2K projectors are 2048x1080.
     
  20. Tony Stark

    Tony Stark Stunt Coordinator

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    Digital cinema is moving in the direction of capturing 2kx4k for partly for this reason. After adding special effects and resampling the data, the final blended product will look more realistic.
     

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