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Digital Lab and stuff.

Hi there.

I'd like to share with you are latest experiences and ideas and ask those of you who
are interested in this to comment.

The Digital Lab:
We have seen some interesting projects lately. One was a feature film where the
editor made a last minute decision to substitute dissolves with pushes. This
involved 60 scenes in the film. The DP graded the material conservatively on the
Spirit but found later, when color timing, that the shadows were softer and more
detailed in the digitized material. You'd normally think it would be the other way
around. Since no loss of resolution could be detected, his and the directors comment
was that they preferred the look of the digital route and would take the whole thing
through next time. Presently we are budgeting 8 feature films that want to go fully
digital. Cinecite has named this process the "Digital intermediate".  If you have
stocks in a traditional lab, my advice is to sell asap.

The Re-recording:
Latest test of the Arrilaser included a optical vs. digital production. At a blind
test session with the Danish DP's association everybody favored the laser version.
Philips will be projecting this one at NAB. One thing that we found is that the
precision of the laser will force us to run everything through the Inferno at 12
bit. We have been able to get away with 8 bit (with gamma) untill now, providing no
drastic grading or cromakeys were necessary. We did a series of tests involving a
Goethe color circle that looked fine and smooth on the CRT recorder. The laser
however showed banding that, upon closer inspection, actually was in the material.
Has anyone out there calibrated laser for IP? We plan to record 3 negs and 2 IP's
for the next feature for 1st and 2nd gen. prints.

The workstation:
12 bit is pretty hard to pull through when we are talking 130.000+ frames so we plan
to go 300mhz (8procc) Onyxes and 4 channel FC storage (1-1.5 tera using 36 gig's) at
the Inferno for real time 1920 playback. If any of you are working on something
similar please drop me a mail.

Spirit news:
The new data interface has solved a lot of problems. The gr_lev option does not work
as we had hoped but the log files are at last correct. We still use the tv_lev with
somewhat special LUT's and CRT on since we find this fills the 12 bits out finer.
The new "black pain" job around the array has actually improved detail in the blacks
and reduced flair. Has anyone done MTF measurements on the CR? We have done it
extensively on the Spirit. Would be interesting to compare providing calculation
methods are identical.

The Virtual Telecine:
Although some colorists are reluctant to accept disk to disk grading this is the way
it goes I think. In order not to tie up a Spirit (or whatever) for 50-100 hours but
only for 8 (90 min best light,- cut neg.), not to wear the neg. (especially archival
stuff) and for non-linear access this will be the way to go. The GSN will make it
even more interesting. Our plan is based on a rack Origin 2000, 8 procc, 2 chassis
Cray linked, 2 x 4 FC arrays,- read from one, write to the other and another 2K
DaVinci. Spatial processing at this stage is also an interesting issue. This should
reduce the cost for a second system to around 1/3 rd of the first. If anyone has
done bandwidth calculations as well, please drop me a mail.

Digital projections:
It was a very interesting piece Rob put on the net last week (The NYT article). We
are going for a hi-def (3 different systems) against print shoot-out next week in
Germany. Sony has now announced the 24p RGB tape format and SGI is going to
implement it in their new HD interface. Wouldn't this be right for distribution?

Best regards

Kris, The Warehouse & Destiny-601, Copenhagen.

Thanks to Bill Abbott for support in 1999.
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