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Scott Wilkinson 10-28-2016 09:56 AM

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk in Dolby Vision HDR, 3D, 120 fps, Atmos Sound
 
Ever since I saw an 11-minute clip from Ang Lee's new movie, Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, at the NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) convention last April, I've been itching to see the whole thing. Aside from the story itself, my main interest is in how Lee shot the movie—4K resolution, native 3D, high dynamic range (HDR), and 120 frames per second, a combination that is unprecedented in a major motion picture. (Douglas Trumbull shot his 10-minute short UFOTOG with these parameters a couple of years ago; in fact, he says that Lee was inspired to use them after seeing UFOTOG at Trumbull's studio.)

https://www.avsforum.com/forum/imageh...3827fa2881.jpg

I got to see the entire movie last night at a private screening in Dolby's prototype Dolby Cinema, which includes twin Dolby Vision HDR projectors and Atmos sound system; for more on that theater, click here. The movie will begin its theatrical run on November 11, so I was fortunate to see it well in advance.

The fictional story is based on a novel of the same name by Ben Fountain. In 2004, an Army squad known as Bravo engages insurgents in Iraq, and 19-year-old Specialist William Lynn (amazingly played by first-time actor Joe Alwyn) happens to be videotaped while trying to save his wounded sergeant, Vincent Breem, aka Shroom (Vin Diesel). The video goes viral back in the USA, and the eight surviving members of Bravo Squad are sent home for a two-week "victory tour," after which they will be shipped back to Iraq.

The tour culminates in Bravo's appearance during the halftime show at the Dallas Cowboys football game on Thanksgiving Day. Most of the movie is set during the game, with flashbacks to the war and Billy's arrival in his hometown of Stovall, Texas, where he spends some time with his family, especially his sister Kathryn (Kristen Stewart).

Other notable characters include Bravo's remaining sergeant, David Dime (Garrett Hedlund); Norm Oglesby (Steve Martin), owner of the Dallas Cowboys; Albert Ratner (Chris Tucker), a Hollywood producer trying to drum up support for making a movie about the squad; and Faison Zorn (Makenzie Leigh), a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader who makes a real—though brief—connection with Billy. Without exception, the acting is wonderful; the characters are all very genuine and entirely believable.

According to Lee, the actors had to bring a new mindset to their craft because the 4K resolution, 3D, and 120 fps frame rate are much more revealing than conventional movie specs—so much so that the actors couldn't wear normal makeup, which would look too obvious. Lee directed them to be more authentic and internalize their character's emotions more than usual, and in the shots from Billy's point of view, the actors look directly into the camera. The result is absolutely mesmerizing and deeply involving.

The movie was first shown earlier this month at the New York Film Festival in its full glory of 4K, 3D, and 120 fps (but not HDR) using two Christie Mirage RGB laser-illuminated projectors. Unfortunately, there will be only a handful of cinemas in the world specially—and temporarily—equipped with these projectors, which are not digital cinema-certified models because don't have the security measures required of DCI projectors.

The best DCI projectors can do 4K at 60 fps or 2K at 120 fps, and at those specs, two projectors are required for 3D. But many theaters are not equipped with such high-performance equipment, so the movie is being released with a variety of specs, including 4K and 2K, 3D and 2D, and 120, 60, and 24 fps, depending on the capabilities of each theater. At the screening last night, it was shown in 2K, 3D, 120 fps, and HDR with an Atmos soundtrack, which is how I expect it will be shown in commercial Dolby Cinemas.

You've probably read stories about the high frame rate and how many people don't like it, saying it's not "cinematic" or it's "hyper-real" and actually distracts from the story. I am not among them; I loved how it looked, and it pulled me much deeper into the story.

Granted, it does not look like a 24-fps movie, but Lee wants to push the boundaries of what movies can be. The frame rate of 24 fps was established nearly 100 years ago because it was the slowest rate that would support decent-sounding audio tracks imprinted on film. Now that digital capture and presentation are the norm, why must we stick with an outdated system? Lee is trying to develop a new cinematic language, so of course, it looks different.

In my view, the high frame rate enhances and deepens the experience, making it far more immersive, which is Lee's goal. Movement is sharp and crisp; for example, riding along with Bravo Squad in a Humvee racing across the desert, you can still see the expressions on their faces even as they bounce up and down. It puts you in the vehicle with them without the whole image becoming a blurry mess. I agree that it looks more real than 24 fps, but I didn't think it looked like a PBS special shot on video as some people describe HFR.

Part of the reason is that Lee used RealD TrueMotion and TrueImage technologies. Starting with 120 fps and a 360° shutter angle—that is, the camera shutter remained open during each entire frame—these technologies let him "synthesize" any shutter and other parameters in post-production to change the look of motion in the image. They also facilitate reduction of the frame rate by blending and processing groups of frames to yield a better result than shooting at a lower frame rate to being with.

Likewise, the 3D is very effective. In one shot when Bravo Squad is tossing some footballs around, one of them flies toward the audience, and I physically flinched to avoid being hit! Lee does not use 3D as a gimmick, but to enhance the story, and I found it to be completely successful in that regard.

However, Dolby Cinemas—and all cinemas with twin 6P (six-primary) laser-illuminated projectors, such as Imax Laser theaters—use spectrum-separation 3D. In this process, each projector outputs slightly different wavelengths of red, green, and blue, and the glasses filter out one set of RGB to one eye and the other set to the other eye. It works well except for the fact that the reflections between the inner surface of the 3D glasses and the outer surface of my prescription glasses causes multiple images under certain circumstances—e.g., white text on a black background—and a milky haze surrounding the image all the time. (Interestingly, the clip I saw at NAB used the same technique, but it was twice as bright as Dolby Cinema 3D, and the effect didn't bother me as much.)

The Dolby Atmos soundtrack is a wonder. I especially enjoyed how the soundstage opened up during transitions from a small, intimate scene with most of the sound near the screen to the football stadium or Iraq with sounds all around. At one point, the crowd in the stadium applauds Bravo Squad, and I felt the urge to clap along as if I was really there. And in Iraq, the sound of bullets flying from one side of the theater to the other was incredibly effective.

UPDATE: Starting on the evening of November 10, Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk will be shown in what Lee calls "the whole shebang" (4K, 3D, 120 fps, but not HDR) at the AMC Loews Lincoln Square 13 in New York City, the ArcLight Cinerama Dome in Los Angeles, and a few theaters in China and Taiwan. That run is expected to last only one week, and if you live in one of these areas, I strongly encourage you to experience it for yourself there. Then, starting Nov. 17, the movie will enter wide release, and three AMC theaters will present it at 120 fps in 2K: the Dolby Cinema at AMC Village on the Parkway 9 in Dallas (3D, HDR) as well as the AMC Loews Boston Common 19 in Boston and AMC Tysons Corner 16 in McLean, VA (both in 2D and not in the Dolby Cinema auditorium, so no HDR).

Even if you can't get to one of the special theaters, I encourage you to see this movie, even at 24 fps—which, as I mentioned earlier, should look better than a movie shot at 24 fps originally. I recommend seeing it in 3D, since Lee made it an integral part of the presentation, but if you don't enjoy 3D, I'm sure that 2D is fine. The most important thing is the movie's emotional complexity and impact, juxtaposing the adrenaline of war with the adrenaline of American football fever and jingoism. The novel has been called the Catch-22 of the Iraq war, which is entirely apt. It's a remarkable movie in every way, and a beautiful, exciting experiment in the future of cinema.

Please do not click on the Quick Reply button at the bottom of this article, which will quote the entire article in your comment without you knowing it. Wading through the entire article in the comments is quite annoying! If you want to quote a portion of the article, click on the Quote button and delete everything that does not pertain to your comment. Otherwise, use the Quick Reply comment editor at the bottom of each page, which does not quote the original post. Thanks!

javanpohl 10-28-2016 10:30 AM

Interesting. Does this mean we can expect to see 3d presentations at Dolby Cinemas any time soon? If they have already, I totally missed the boat on that one. My impression was that they were 2D only, at least in the U.S.

Scott Wilkinson 10-28-2016 10:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by javanpohl (Post 47789017)
Interesting. Does this mean we can expect to see 3d presentations at Dolby Cinemas any time soon? If they have already, I totally missed the boat on that one. My impression was that they were 2D only, at least in the U.S.

Normally, AMC has decided not to show 3D in its Dolby Cinemas, but they are fully capable of it. I'm guessing that they might make an exception in this case, since 3D is so important to Ang Lee's vision for the movie.

CosmoNut 10-28-2016 11:29 AM

I rarely go to the movies, but it looks like I will two weekends in a row. First Dr. Strange next weekend and then BLLHW the weekend after.

Scott Wilkinson 10-28-2016 11:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CosmoNut (Post 47790625)
I rarely go to the movies, but it looks like I will two weekends in a row. First Dr. Strange next weekend and then BLLHW the weekend after.

Yeah, I'm really looking forward to Dr. Strange!

wxman 10-28-2016 01:11 PM

It's time the movie and tv industry moves into the 21st century. 24 fps needs to die a quick death. The argument that anything doesn't look movie like at a higher frame rate is old and ridiculous. True HFR is not SOE, like when you see 24 fps being processed by your tv with all those motion enhancements. In the real world our eyes see more than "24 fps". I want to watch movies that look like I am in the real world. If 120 fps is too expensive, and our tv's can't handle that, at least get it to 60 fps.

reanimator 10-28-2016 03:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wxman (Post 47793241)
I want to watch movies that look like I am in the real world.

And then there's somebody like me: I want to watch movies that look like I am in a dream -- movies take me away from the real world, not duplicate it. That's why HOBBITS in HFR was such a disaster.

Scott Wilkinson 10-28-2016 05:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by reanimator (Post 47795793)
And then there's somebody like me: I want to watch movies that look like I am in a dream -- movies take me away from the real world, not duplicate it. That's why HOBBITS in HFR was such a disaster.

Interestingly, during the Q&A after the screening of BLLHW, Ang Lee said that frame rates up to 60 fps look artificial to him; obviously, this would include The Hobbit at 48 fps. He said that only at 120 fps does the image look natural. I maintain that HFR can, in fact, take the viewer away from the real world by greater immersion in the depicted world, and if Ang Lee is right, it takes 120 fps to do that. You may disagree, which is fine, but I encourage you to try to see this movie at 120 fps to discover if you feel the same about it as you did with The Hobbit.

Joe Bloggs 10-28-2016 11:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Scott Wilkinson (Post 47788153)
Part of the reason is that Lee used RealD TrueMotion and TrueImage technologies. Starting with 120 fps and a 360° shutter angle—that is, the camera shutter remained open during each entire frame—these technologies let him "synthesize" any shutter and other parameters in post-production to change the look of motion in the image. They also facilitate reduction of the frame rate by blending and processing groups of frames to yield a better result than shooting at a lower frame rate to being with.

Surely they were limited to 5 properly synthesised shutters at 24 fps (120/24=5). Another site said they used 72 degree slices (360/5=72) - I assume for the 24 fps version (ie. so they could only really synthesise shutters that were a 72 degree multiple). Ang Lee chose 216 degrees (I believe for the 24 fps version) - probably because 180 degrees couldn't be properly synthesised at 24 fps from 120 fps due to it not being a 72 degree multiple.
Quote:

Even if you can't get to one of the special full-spec theaters or a Dolby Cinema, I strongly encourage you to see this movie, even at 24 fps—which, as I mentioned earlier, should look better than a movie shot at 24 fps originally.
Though if the 24 fps version has a 216 degree shutter, it will surely look blurrier (20% more motion blur?) than a normal film shot at 24 fps (with 180 degree shutter).

Also, about shooting multiple frames - eg. 3, for a 216 degree shutter and blending - vs using the same camera at 24 fps with a 216 degree shutter. Are there demo frames showing the improvement? Is the one capturing 3 images slightly less noisy and with a bit more precision? Douglas Trumbull's Showscan Digital test video had a comparison but wasn't stated what shutter both used (was it 180 degree 24 fps vs 216 degree converted?) and there are different amounts of blur in the comparison images - and it looks like a different camera angle is used too.

Also, have they mentioned yet if it will be released in HFR on UHD Blu-ray and/or Blu-ray (eg. 3D in the latter) and if so when?

zim2411 10-29-2016 07:06 AM

Does anyone know if there's a 120 fps (or even 60 fps) trailer download posted somewhere?

Manu Delpech 10-29-2016 07:10 AM

You'd still be seeing it at 24 fps, so there's no point. No official version of that anyway.

jocedeg 10-29-2016 07:38 AM

30fps vs 24fps
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by reanimator (Post 47795793)
And then there's somebody like me: I want to watch movies that look like I am in a dream -- movies take me away from the real world, not duplicate it. That's why HOBBITS in HFR was such a disaster.

A good step forward would be to, at least, adopt 30fps (progressive) in cinemas. When 24p video cameras became popular, a lot of directors and cameramen "pushed" that format because it looked "cinematic", but a lot of clients (I work in tv and corporate promos) found camera movements to be jerky and unnatural.

I quickly adopted 30p. It combines the best of both worlds (cinema + tv): film motion with smoother movements.

Side-by-side, they look quite similar but 30p has the edge for fast motion.

Regardless, I'd love to see "Billy" in its intended format. But that may not be possible because of the obvious lack of venues presenting it in 120p.

JeffR1 10-29-2016 10:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Scott Wilkinson (Post 47788153)
Granted, it does not look like a 24-fps movie, but Lee wants to push the boundaries of what movies can be. The frame rate of 24 fps was established nearly 100 years ago because it was the slowest rate that would support decent-sounding audio tracks imprinted on film. Now that digital capture and presentation are the norm, why must we stick with an outdated system? Lee is trying to develop a new cinematic language, so of course, it looks different.

Exactly, I'd even be happy with 60fps.
And you want to make a bet that when this comes to Blu-ray, that it will be at 24fps.
They should give people a choice.

RLBURNSIDE 10-29-2016 12:22 PM

There was such an obviously click-bait-ey article about this one in Slate recently:

http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/m...watchable.html

The title says "It's also unwatchable" meanwhile the content of the article says this:

"A Japanese researcher, who published his work several months before the release of The Hobbit, found that people were better at perceiving depth cues in high-frame-rate 3-D films, where the moving images appeared more “natural.” Two years later, a team of Canadian researchers published an experiment in which they showed 3-D movies to volunteers at different frame rates, then asked them to rate the movies’ quality on a scale of 1 to 100. The HFR videos got the highest ratings by far, scoring 55 percent higher than standard clips.
The most effective scenes in Billy Lynn are the ones that seem the least movielike.

These two studies, and several others like them, show that people think HFR clips are pretty snazzy. But they don’t have much to say about whether anyone actually prefers them. (An experimental subject might conclude, for example, that HFR is at once “natural,” “high quality” and “a ****ing crime against cinema.”) Another vision researcher, Laurie Wilcox of York University, has recently addressed the latter question. In her study, titled “Evidence that Viewers Prefer Higher Frame-Rate Film,” viewers rated short movies on four technical attributes (realism, clarity, depth quality, and smoothness of motion) as well as on their overall likability. On every measure, including the all-important last one, her subjects said the HFR clips were superior. That preference has been remarkably consistent across her work, she says, and it applies to both 2-D and 3-D content."


So, in short, HFR isn't in fact unwatchable, because people prefer watching it, because they like watching it more ("likeability was superior").

What this all tells me is that anyone who claims that HFR is "unnatural" is using the term incorrectly, since higher frame rates naturally approximate reality better, hence are more natural. Ergo, they are claiming 24p is more natural when in fact it is less natural, and falsely too. This is dishonest.

The research data speaks for itself: people prefer HFR, when given the choice.

Tack 10-29-2016 07:26 PM

I have no opinion on HDR, but I have a 144 Hz monitor and a video card that can pump out that rate with no problems. Is there no demo that would take advantage of a situation like that?

As far as the movie, I just know the trailer makes me tear up every time. Anyone who's had children or loved ones shuffle off to Klendathu for no good ****ing reason knows what I'm saying. Also - THANK GOD Matt Damon is finally too old for a role like this.

Manu Delpech 10-30-2016 03:41 AM

A lot of movie theaters are capable of showing the movie at 2K 120 fps (no HDR), or 2K 3D 60 fps. All in all, there will be 7 versions in theaters: 4K 120 fps 3D, 2K 120 fps 3D Dolby Vision, 2K 120 fps 2D Dolby Vision, 2K 120 fps 2D, 2K 60 fps 3D, and 2K 2D 24 fps, 2K 3D 24 fps.

It's going to be very cool & interesting to see every version as they will all, like Ang said, feel very different. I wonder if we could possibly see in UHD a 4K HDR 60 fps version considering the format seems capable of supporting that, I'm hoping for that, I'd be surprised if they didn't do something special for the home release instead of just releasing it in 24 fps all across the board.


Ang talked about the movie at length at the NYFF in a director's dialogue, he kinda hoped he'd hit a home run but knows that the reception will be mixed because it's so overwhelming and new and our eyes aren't used to it, his are like he said, and he now finds it very comfortable & soothing, even having trouble watching regular films (but like he said, it's a phase), he just hopes that people think about it, and are interested in it, or that other filmmakers (and as James Cameron said yesterday after receiving an award: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/beh...gineers-942305 , he will use HFR on the Avatar sequels) will see it and will want to experiment with it. He just feels that it opens up a new world, and he wants to keep pushing it, as Billy Lynn is really baby steps as he puts it. Very exciting to see how this is going to shape up.


(Ang's director's dialogue)


ALSO, one thing that hasn't been discussed a lot (and is talked about by Ang in the video above) is that he actually varies the framerate and resolution (from 4K to 2K or 120 to 60, maybe lower at times, I'm not sure) throughout the movie to create a different emotional response but he says it's more like suggesting rather than something that is immediately perceptible.

Joe Bloggs 10-30-2016 06:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Manu Delpech (Post 47821993)
Ang talked about the movie at length at the NYFF in a director's dialogue, he kinda hoped he'd hit a home run but knows that the reception will be mixed because it's so overwhelming and new and our eyes aren't used to it, his are like he said, and he now finds it very comfortable & soothing, even having trouble watching regular films (but like he said, it's a phase), he just hopes that people think about it, and are interested in it, or that other filmmakers (and as James Cameron said yesterday after receiving an award: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/beh...gineers-942305 , he will use HFR on the Avatar sequels) will see it and will want to experiment with it. He just feels that it opens up a new world, and he wants to keep pushing it, as Billy Lynn is really baby steps as he puts it. Very exciting to see how this is going to shape up.

I think that Hollywood Report article basically confirms that James Cameron will be making the sequels partially at HFR (ie. some scenes - probably conversations in 24 fps, but pans and motion that needs it in HFR or higher frame rate(s)). Possibly deciding which to be which at the post production stage - like Ang Lee.
Quote:

ALSO, one thing that hasn't been discussed a lot (and is talked about by Ang in the video above) is that he actually varies the framerate and resolution (from 4K to 2K or 120 to 60, maybe lower at times, I'm not sure) throughout the movie to create a different emotional response but he says it's more like suggesting rather than something that is immediately perceptible.
Ang Lee said he created "three gears" (in http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/new...e-walks-938552) "120 fps in 4K, others as 60 fps in 4K and a few as 120 fps at 2K" so if he's correct it won't be lower than 60 fps (at least for the HFR versions of the film).

I don't really see much point in "2K within 4K". Yes it's lower resolution and he may have wanted it for whichever scenes he used it in, but isn't it really just like a lower quality soften/blur filter with less control (can't fine tune the amount it softens/blurs like with filters - which could be overtime), Also isn't 2K within 4K going to look a bit pixelated rather than softened (when viewed on a 4K display - especially LCD/OLED)? Surely a softening filter would have been better for where he wanted to make the scene less clear (less pixelation, more control over the effect).

Manu Delpech 10-30-2016 07:58 AM

No, Ang Lee said he lowered the resolution to create a different emotion, no idea how they did it, it's all really complex, the American Cinematographer article to come in December will tell us all we need to know.

Joe Bloggs 10-30-2016 09:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Manu Delpech (Post 47824353)
No, Ang Lee said he lowered the resolution to create a different emotion, no idea how they did it, it's all really complex, the American Cinematographer article to come in December will tell us all we need to know.

But if it was lowered to 2K (as he says) within a 4K video, why would that be any better than using a softening filter? Why would he be able to portray a particular emotion better by using more blocky/aliased/pixelated video (especially on a flat panel display) - sort of like 1080p upscaled to 2160p using nearest neighbour instead of a better upscaling method. Unless he just meant it had the effective resolution of 2K not that it actually was 2K within a 4K video (ie. if he wasn't saying each 2K pixel was doubled on the width and height).

I don't think it's that complex. We know they're using Dolby's True Motion program, and the basic method of converting to the different frame rates, shutters, etc. If he wanted to say they softened it using a filter (surely the better method) why didn't he say that?

Scott Wilkinson 10-30-2016 10:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Joe Bloggs (Post 47825553)
We know they're using Dolby's True Motion program, and the basic method of converting to the different frame rates, shutters, etc.

Actually, it's RealD's TrueMotion, not Dolby's.

RLBURNSIDE 10-30-2016 10:53 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Joe Bloggs (Post 47822777)
I don't really see much point in "2K within 4K". Yes it's lower resolution and he may have wanted it for whichever scenes he used it in, but isn't it really just like a lower quality soften/blur filter with less control (can't fine tune the amount it softens/blurs like with filters - which could be overtime), Also isn't 2K within 4K going to look a bit pixelated rather than softened (when viewed on a 4K display - especially LCD/OLED)? Surely a softening filter would have been better for where he wanted to make the scene less clear (less pixelation, more control over the effect).

Pixelation only happens if the TV doing the upscaling isn't filtering at all, in other words simply copying pixels over. Which is unheard of. Every TV basically does at least bilinear filtering, or better.

When you downscale you always apply a low-pass filter first to smear our high-frequency details, otherwise it will look terrible. If you didn't it would be undersampling the image, in other words, you would get aliasing. One way to see what this looks like is by toggling mipmapping on/off in a game. Not sure which games actually allow this to be toggled (there are very few cases in which mipmapping isn't mandatory), but trust me, texture aliasing is bad and very, very visible. There is no image or video downscaler that I know of that simply discards pixels (equivalent to rendering a game without mipmapping enabled), even when doing 2:1 downscaling. It's always using at least bilinear filtering. Always* (well, almost always).

*there are some rare exceptions: like playing old 8-bit or 16-bit sprite-based console games on an HD display, where you might want to simply double pixels instead of filtering them, to maintain that sharp, pixelated look, on purpose.

Joe Bloggs 10-30-2016 10:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Scott Wilkinson (Post 47827353)
Actually, it's RealD's TrueMotion, not Dolby's.

Yes, RealD's. my mistake :o. This page has info about it http://www.reald.com/#/truemotion - it also says things like "synthetic shutter software for any frame rate output (e.g., standard 24, or any high frame rate)" but surely if the output high frame rate is the same as the source hfr (eg. 120) it won't really be able to do anything about the shutter (not properly).

It seems quite similar to https://www.avsforum.com/forum/286-la...sentation.html - but in that thread there was more emphases on 240 fps origination - whereas, RealD's True Motion page, though it talks about "120 fps or higher" sources, mostly mentions 120 fps on the page rather than the better 240 fps.

Joe Bloggs 10-30-2016 11:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RLBURNSIDE (Post 47827593)
Pixelation only happens if the TV doing the upscaling isn't filtering at all, in other words simply copying pixels over. Which is unheard of. Every TV basically does at least bilinear filtering, or better.

But if the video container is 2160p (but there are scenes in it with "2K res" - according to Ang Lee) - but still the number of pixels in the video is 3840x2160, the TV won't do any scaling, and if it really was storing a lower res image (eg. 1920x1080 pixels) within a 3840x2160 bitmap, with pixel duplicating, it will look bad on display on a flat panel.
Quote:

...There is no image or video downscaler that I know of that simply discards pixels (equivalent to rendering a game without mipmapping enabled), even when doing 2:1 downscaling. It's always using at least bilinear filtering. Always* (well, almost always).
I'm not saying they're discarding pixels when "downscaling" - but say they averaged each of the 4x4 pixels into 1 for the "2K" version then stored that "2K" version full size in the 2160p frame. Are they doing something better than repeating every pixel of the 2K image once in each direction to make it 3840x2160? And even if they are doing something better than that, why just have 2 levels of image quality/res in the say 3840x2160 bitmap - why not just use a softening filter where you can fine tune the amount of softening/blurring much more?

RLBURNSIDE 10-30-2016 11:25 AM

I agree, I don't see the point in downscaling a 2160p image to 1080p then upscaling it back to 2160p and shipping that. There is literally no point in doing that. And nobody uses pixel doubling, outside of fringe 8-bit gamers. Nobody. I'm not sure that's what they're saying anyway, if they have a 2K 120 fps copy I'm not sure why they should ship that as a 4K DCI package. I'm actually fairly certain that they wouldn't, because it would be utterly moronic.

But don't worry about the pixel doubling, it just wouldn't happen. Upscaling always uses bilinear or bicubic (usually bilinear according to Technicolor because bicubic upscaling creates ringing artifacts which are visible).

Joe Bloggs 10-30-2016 11:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RLBURNSIDE (Post 47828353)
I agree, I don't see the point in downscaling a 2160p image to 1080p then upscaling it back to 2160p and shipping that. There is literally no point in doing that. And nobody uses pixel doubling, outside of fringe 8-bit gamers. Nobody. I'm not sure that's what they're saying anyway, if they have a 2K 120 fps copy I'm not sure why they should ship that as a 4K DCI package. I'm actually fairly certain that they wouldn't, because it would be utterly moronic.

It's not about the 2K version, it's that in the 4K 120 fps version he wants certain scenes to have different "emotion"/looks (or less clear/more like 60 fps look than 120 fps).Basically what he calls "3 gears", "[It’s similar to] the way you choose lenses, it doesn’t call [attention to it]" Lee is quoted saying in the above linked article. So for the 60 fps within 120 they can repeat each frame once. But for the "2K" look (for whatever "emotion" (or clarity?) he's trying to portray, it would still surely be better to vary it with more than 2 steps (unless by just having a "2K" and "4K" look it simplifies it/is faster to apply or something - or perhaps it's better quality in some way what ever it is he's actually doing when referring to "2K (within 4K)"?)). But if, as he says he doesn't want to call attention to it, having more fine tuning by using a filter rather than just two steps would be less likely to draw attention to the looks (in each different "gear" there's going to be quite a big change, whereas a softening filter would allow many smaller changes over time).

RLBURNSIDE 10-30-2016 12:02 PM

If the movie is shipped in 4K and a softening filter is used in some scenes, that's just artistic choice and there is very low likelihood of them using "pixel doubling" to achieve that. Framerates are another matter, they could simply show the same original frame twice but that would cut the effective shutter angle by half and effectively undersampling temporally instead of spatially. People are quite used to temporal undersampling.

I think he'd be better off by properly converting 120 fps to 60fps by accumulating motion blur based on the velocity vectors so that the appropriate size of motion trails would be seen, otherwise it will look choppy. Even worse would be a 24p version. If they did a simple discarding of 4/5ths of the original frames, hence temporally undersampling the original signal, to make the 24p version, it would look super choppy. So let's say the original 120fps footage had, say, 180 degree shutter angle, displaying only 1/5th of those frames and displaying them for 5x longer each would result in a final shutter angle of effectively 36. That would look super choppy.

So I doubt they'd make that a mistake that bad. I'm pretty sure digitally they'd add motion trails to downsample the 120p to 24p. Now if they're not doing that for 60p then that's a mistake. I asked some people I know worked on The Hobbit whether the 24p version was simply 1/2 the final frames of the 48p theatrical version, and didn't get an answer back. Frankly I would consider it unfortunate, bordering on incompetent, to not properly downsample temporally too. But going from 180 degree shutter to 90 degree shutter angle at (120p -> 60p version through simple frame discarding) might not be all that objectionable.

I'd like to see more motion blur controls on TVs added for high framerate material (including via interpolation). Because in theory 360 degree shutter angle is the ideal, it lets in the most light and smears the sensor the exact right amount every time. If you want to cut the light in half, use an ND filter. Of course I'm not a filmmaker myself but I do work with them, and often have very different opinions (even though largely we all agree that high frame rates are better).

There were some good presentations and papers at Siggraph 2016 on the topic of simulating varying framerates for various effects. The only thing I worry about in the Avatar sequels is the fact that I won't be able to have smooth motion all the time, since baking in the lower framerates into a mixed framerate source would probably prevent most frame interpolation engines from engaging. I'm sure it can be done but I think it'd be better to encode the videos with variable framerate explicitly, similar to VBR for music files. That way software based frame interpolation could still work for mixed FPS content.

Joe Bloggs 10-30-2016 12:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RLBURNSIDE (Post 47829089)
If the movie is shipped in 4K and a softening filter is used in some scenes, that's just artistic choice and there is very low likelihood of them using "pixel doubling" to achieve that. Framerates are another matter, they could simply show the same original frame twice but that would cut the effective shutter angle by half and effectively undersampling temporally instead of spatially. People are quite used to temporal undersampling.

I think he'd be better off by properly converting 120 fps to 60fps by accumulating motion blur based on the velocity vectors so that the appropriate size of motion trails would be seen, otherwise it will look choppy. Even worse would be a 24p version. If they did a simple discarding of 4/5ths of the original frames, hence temporally undersampling the original signal, to make the 24p version, it would look super choppy. So let's say the original 120fps footage had, say, 180 degree shutter angle, displaying only 1/5th of those frames and displaying them for 5x longer each would result in a final shutter angle of effectively 36. That would look super choppy.

The original 120 fps footage had a 360 degree shutter. For the 24 fps version they are blending 3 frames into 1 to create a "216 degree shutter" (note: the link below incorrectly says the 120 fps version will have the 216 degree shutter but it's obviously the 24 fps version). Basically they can't properly generate a 180 degree shutter from the 120 fps 360 degree footage for the 24 fps version so chose 216 degrees instead (360/5)*3. The same method shown by Douglas Trumbull. It also means the 24 fps version will have more motion blur than an average film.

http://www.displaydaily.com/display-...cinema-display
See also http://variety.com/2016/artisans/new...ow-1201752886/ where it talks about shooting with a 360 degree shutter.

RLBURNSIDE 10-30-2016 12:34 PM

Interesting, thanks for the links!

RLBURNSIDE 10-30-2016 12:58 PM

Even 60 fps in 2D as an interim step would represent a massive upgrade over what we have now, and we wouldn't even need a new UHD Bluray format or HDMI format to support it, since UHD Bluray supports 60 fps, and 2160p60 12-bit 420 can easily fit over HDMI 2.0a.

360 degree shutter angle, good catch, it's the ideal I agree. No physical or even digital shutter = no missing motion, at all. Means no possibility of judder of any kind whatsoever. Win.

I'm a bit less curious about the movie itself, since I'm not a football fan but if there is any decent critique of the Iraq war that could be interesting to watch.

Scott Wilkinson 10-30-2016 01:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RLBURNSIDE (Post 47830249)
I'm a bit less curious about the movie itself, since I'm not a football fan but if there is any decent critique of the Iraq war that could be interesting to watch.

I'm not a football fan, either. The movie is mostly a meditation about the Iraq war (and war in general) with very little actual football. Yes, it's mostly set at a football game, but that's only the stage on which larger issues play out.


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