[Tig] archival workflows

Paul Korver paul at cinelicious.tv
Fri Dec 13 17:07:28 GMT 2013

Hi Lou and all,
I share many of your sentiments about the fiscal realities of restoration and preservation.  We were recently asked to flat bid an HD scan, grade and restoration of a film for $5K.  Because one of our goals is staying in business we passed.  I recently saw the film on Blu-Ray and it looked like ass.  And this was a fairly important 1950's noir film.  It's very sad when you know "what's possible" to see that when these decisions are driven by distributors (who's only goal is the fiscal bottom line), that they are willing to risk precious film elements just to make a buck.  It seems like whomever is in charge of caring for the elements themselves should have a certain mandate about the level of preservation that is going to happen before they let them out of the vault. 

And Lou… I know you and I have some disagreement about this but regarding film scanners it seems strange you are "bullish" on resolution but not on dynamic range?  I know that your illustrious remastering career included a lot of A-Title studio work which I presume was from original camera negatives (which certainly wouldn't exceed the dmin-dmax film density dynamic range of a north light).  But when it comes to IPs or original camera positives our experience is that high dynamic range is of greater impact on final picture quality than meeting nyquist's oversampling recommendation.

And since "Archival Workfows" is the topic of this email… we dig into this quite a bit in the most recent Post Magazine article on film restoration where they featured our work on the TV Series Death Valley Days.  Post Magazine's features are available only in print but we created an online version that has a lot more interactive higher resolution image detail to illustrate the discussion points:  http://cinelicious.tv/news/post-magazine-death-valley-days

There is no way we would be able to scan the 16mm ECO original camera positives other than with a high dynamic range scanner to 16-bits (we also use a 16-bit alpha channel making 2K come in at 24.6MB/frame, and 4K at a whopping 100MB/frame!)

Happy scanning and Viva Celluloid!


On Dec 13, 2013, at 8:10 AM, Lou Levinson <joe.beats at yahoo.com> wrote:

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> all,
> first you have to decide what you mean by archival.
> sadly, the first question asked these days is, how much can we make/spend?
> this comment speaks for itself.
> do you want to get the most off the film possible?
>       getting the most off the film is fairly straightforward: nyquist points the way. by this measure, using a north light 2 with an 8k array making 4k files is as good 
> as it gets except under very special circumstances. 4k will get you what you want off the 35mm frames from the real world. only prime lens, no filter, locked down camera frames may push this. not all 4k is created equal, or even 4k, really. hdr is one of the current red herrings. most movies shot from edison till now don't have it on the film. only with vision 3 stocks will you find that 10bit dpx
> may not be enough,so use 16 and watch what happens to your memory budget.
> what do you want to do with it once you have it?
> so now you've got 4k 10bit dpx frames of 50+mb a frames. this makes
> about 1.5 tb per 20 minute reel. are you playing games with a souped up desktop running what appears to be professional software, or do you need to be working on 4 projects at a time day in and day out and find ways to make money on the pittance the studios want to pay for this ? and remember, the movies that will command the lowest revenues will require the most restoration work, 9 out of 10 times.
> how are you going to protect what you've done against the ravages of time?
> you're not. not yet, even writing back to new neg will only get you 100 years under lab perfect conditions, and the number of people who do this well is down to a handful.
> i think that all this pursuit of economic success will be the cause of many historical works being lost or compromised. one thing we seem to have lost across all sectors of business in our society is the idea that doing something
> right the first time is the least expensive thing to do in the long run
> lou
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