[Tig] Digital Intermediate, film & HD

digital.praxis at virgin.net digital.praxis
Tue Jul 16 18:01:28 BST 2002

Some very interesting discussions at the moment regarding digital
intermediate, film and HD. There does at last seem to be some understanding
that the use of formats can and should be independent of the three prime
areas of operation, shooting, post and projection (in simplified form). As
previous said, Cinecitta Digital has built a full DI setup and processes
material from various sources including 35mm and 16mm film (in 4 and 2 perf
form - 2 perf for some cinemascope finals), Video HD (Sony/Panasonic HD
cameras), Tompson Viper FilmStream data camera (10bit RGB LOG data) and a
lot of SD material. All DI processing is via iQ at what ever native format
the material is presented in (10bit log/Lin RGB for film, scanned via
DataCine or scanner, depending on project duration and full DI or neg
intercut). Output formats vary per job, with a lot of multiple format
outputs including back to film, HD, SD, etc.

As Cinecitta has a film lab too we are obviously in a good position to
judge the differences between DI and a chemical lab and as the various
threads suggest these can be as obvious as flexibility, stability and
cleanness for film sourced material. Cost is less an issue as price per
frame is now at a point where the additional flexibility outweighs the
small cost overhead. Quality is also an interesting point as with
'carefull' data transfers from film even datacine systems (regardless of
manufacturer) can produce great results with a new intermediate film output
equal to or better than a chemically produced equavalent. That is not to
say DI is better than a chemical lab or that HD cameras are inferior to
film. They are different, offering different benefits and techniques. We
have worked on HD projects that film would not have beed ideal for and film
project that HD would have failed on. Being able to use our DI environment
for any project is one of the obvious benefits to us. Being able to offer a
client the alternatives is a benefit to them. However, from what we have
seen so far DI is going to make serious waves in the 'film' post market.
The benefits it offers, regardless of source or destination, are just too
great to be ignored.

But DI is independant of digital cameras and digital projection. We have
had every digital camera through Cinecitta and most digital projectors.
Projectors have a lot of obvious benefit for mass distribution and
projection (back to the 4 week old print vs a digital projection) while the
Tompson Viper camera shows what digital cameras will become. I like film a
lot and when used and managed correctly it is fantastic. But the benefits
of digital are too numerous to simply ignore. Will film be replaces? Who
knows? Will digital become a major format for all 3 applications? Yes! 

As said previously I do have a sort of 'white paper' on what we have setup
at Cinecitta. I say white papewr but it is a little too commercial for a
real white paper but it describes well the methodology we employ. Mailo me
if you would like a copy. I am also very to hear feedback on what we are
doing to see what alternative methodologies people are using.

Obviously, my thoughts, etc, etc, and I do work for Cinecitta and Quantel
as a consultant for the digital film environment so, blah, blah, blah...

Steve Shaw
Digital Praxis Consulting

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