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This past saturday there was a comparison between the Ursa Diamond, and the
Spirit. It was hosted by Dave Satin of SMA, and got its start on the TIG. I
shot some footage, and went to see for myself. I shoot the images that get
transferred, so I know very little about the nuts and bolts of Telecine, so it
was a great experience.
Thanks go to SMA, Dave Satin, and his Crew, and Colorists. Also I would like
to thank Dominic Rom and Rick Anthony of Du-art for rushing my film through
the processing. Also thanks to Ricky Ricamonte (Manhattan Transfer), and Craig
Leffel (OPTIMUS) for answering my beginer questions about the Telecine
Process. If I forgot anyone, I am sorry.
The comparison was to be made between the Machines only, So no secondary
corrections were used, No DaVinci, no Scandal, No twiggi, no noise reducers.
RGB (Telecine Only ) corrections.
Compared footage included Some stuff from SMA which had no flesh tones, and no
real blacks, An I.P., Some Over exposed footage ( very overexposed), Some
Sunset ( shot on 5247 - mine) and then Dusk on 5246, and 5277. Some under
exposed and scratched Green screen tests, and a couple of scenes with Film
Noirish type lighting ( in color)
The scenes were timed on the Diamond, to a pleasing result, and captured to
D-1. then we took the same footage to the Spirit. There the scenes were
matched, as best as possible, and comparisons of the two images were observed.
This was really a day for the colorists, so that they could dispell some of
the myths about the machines, see for them selves, etc., etc. etc.
Personally I would have liked to have made the best image possible on each
machine, and compared, however that is a different test. The test we did was
The first thing I noticed, was that the "GEOMETRY" was different between the
two machines. One of the Machines had a decided thinning effect on the image
compared to the other. This leads me to wonder, is there a grid like leader I
can have the lab splice on for me, to check that?
Other results. It appears that the Spirit was less noisy, Although some
people felt that their own Diamonds were quieter. Something I only noticed by
split screening. Remember the noise reducers were not used. I actually felt in
one shot with a flat background that the noise gave the background more
texture, and I preffered it there.
The Spirit seemed to have more resolution, and less Aliasing, problems. The
diffused Light source made a huge difference in the Scratched Green Screen,
most of the scratches were un noticable on the Spirit.
Many of the rolls had the Taf film, that seemed to help, but adjusting to
the TAF didn't automatically make a good or even usable image ( In the case of
the Way verexposed stock). So the colorist is still integral to the process.
When the Sunset on the '47 came up, I really enjoyed the double take Eli the
Colorist did "What the?????". In my humble opinion, both are wonderful
machines, and I would be happy to have footage I shot transfered on either
one. The Spirit seemed to be able to draw out detail in the blacks a little
better without going Milky, while keeping the highlights the same. However it
was a subjective feeling, not an actual comparison. Also it did seem that the
spirit image was Flatter, until the colorist really decided, or was requested
to make it more: contrasty, Glowy, Ballsy ( pick one). These are just my
musings, and not a final word in any way. Really, I had to split see a split
screen to notice differences in the two images from the two machines.
It was interesting invading the colorists world for the day, and hearing
them talk about what they are looking for from a Telecine. Discussing, the
Gamma curve, and Color Bending, Blue highlights on this side of the face, Hair
going Green. Part of the day re-inforced the need for a good colorist to work
with in the transfer.
Okay, these are just my musings, hope that someone finds them interesting. I'd
write more, but this has already dissapeared once into Cyber space.
Steven Gladstone ( D.P. not a colorist, at large)