[tig] Fw: 4K for DI - Unappealing image quality

Marc Wielage mfw
Tue Apr 13 00:42:52 BST 2004

On 4/12/04 11:43 AM, "Steve Shaw" <digital.praxis at virgin.net> commented on
the TIG:

> The 2K images were more 'pleasant' to view than the 4K scans!

Well, I'd say "pleasant" is in the eye of the beholder.

We did extensive tests of 2K, 4K, and various down-res schemes at Cinesite
over the last few years.  In tests where the observers didn't know the
origin of the images, time after time, the pictures we usually picked as
"best" were the 4K -> 2K downres scans that were *sharpened* as a secondary

There was no question in my mind that 2K Spirit scans totally fell apart
compared to scans made from the Lightning or Genesis scanners, when we A-B'd
the prints.  When our first Northlight-scanned project happened last summer,
I was convinced that it looked better than anything we had seen so far.
Again, that was 4K -> 2K downres.

I'd also add to your comment that one can always do grain-reduction
processes after the fact.  For example, in the case of OPEN RANGE, I chose
to just isolate certain groups of scenes, rather than noise-reduce the
entire picture, both for the sake of time and also to avoid the risk of
artifacts.  I think this worked to the point where I don't think that grain
is really an issue any more with DI.  And I think the detail in any DI is
only as good as the principal photography.  So much of the time, DP's
deliberately add in all kinds of diffusion to cut down on sharpness.  While
I think 2K does look "good enough" for many features, I'd be more
comfortable if everything we did was at 4K, just to head off any client

BTW, for any of you wanting to see a dynamite-looking new DI feature now in
theaters, take a look at HELLBOY (the #2 movie in the states right now).
Really fantastic looking pictures, very clean, virtually grain-free, sharp
as a tack.  The work was done by eFilm here in LA using Imagica scanners,
their own proprietary software and image servers, and Arrilaser recorders.

--Marc Wielage
  LA colorist-at-large

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