[Tig] Digital Negatives [was HIGH DEFINITION]

Peter Webb tjebi
Wed Jul 17 14:51:57 BST 2002

> Subject: Re: [Tig] Digital Negatives
> From: Marc Wielage <mfw at musictrax.com>
> "Sure, the studios would like to get rid of the "vision thing"
> and see it all done by a computer program, but it ain't gonna happen
> without a big loss of quality."
> >--------------------------------<snip>-------------------------------<
> What I think could eventually happen
> is that the director will only have to color-time the film ONCE, and then
> that material will yield the film prints, D-cinema projection, and home
> video masters.

yes Marc - I also think that will happen / is happening. It does make a lot of sense
to master at the highest required resolution and use that data for all purposes.

> From: Chris Schwarze <chris.schwarze at completepost.com.au>
> Subject: Re: [Tig] Digital Negatives [was HIGH DEFINITION]
> .... DP's seem to be appreciative of the
> control they can have over their images in a data grading environment. The
> interesting point I think is whether we are enhancing the grade from the
> lab process in the digital realm.

I think that is true beyond question - directors love to direct and if labs had the
colour grading range of telecine suites, then directors would have been using all that
range for cinema releases for many years.

> We have been grading film resolution
> images in a Telecine grading room for many years now (proprietary system)
> and we find that the results when recorded back to film are quite stunning
> because of the ability to selectively grade the image rather than being
> limited to RGB lights, and the images have been more consistent.

For sure - grading images for cinema on a standard definition telecine does give the
director access to a much greater range of tools and that value will end up on the big

> The resolution and color space questions will be of ongoing discussion
> because someone will always have a better system and will use it for
> promotion and maybe to denigrate a 'lesser' system.

I don't think that better systems are useful only for promotional reasons. The thing
that has impressed me most in recent months was sitting in E-Film's digital grading
theatre and watching the colourist demo grading a feature. The psychological and
emotional impact of images projected at near movie theatre scale is a whole different
experience to watching a monitor. Allowing the director to make creative decisions in
that environment is a huge advance and I would go so far as to say that it is far and
above the most valid way to grade for cinema.

> The cost structure will change over time, when that happens will we get
> 'better' results from DI?

very true Chris - gear and facilities will become cheaper but the very nature of the
Digital Intermediate process already changes the cost structure of feature film post.
It avoids several expensive lab processes and folds the "mastering for video releases"
back into the core grade so - though i haven't done the sums - i have been told this
goes a long way to funding the DI.

As for better results - ignoring for a moment any argument about film delivery vs.
digital projection - just avoiding three or four photochemical processes at the lab
means less generational loss so the moviegoers will be seeing more detail on the
screen. Telecine grading tools will allow the director to get much closer to their
ideal result so one could argue that this will mean better results creatively as well.
I think that is a resounding YES !

best regards,

Peter Webb
VFX designer / supervisor.
Phenomena at Digital Pictures.
Melbourne, Australia.

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