|Originally posted by foundation|
Offtopic: So, if 16mm film stock has improved, does 35mm have roughly 4 times the resolution of 16mm? What I'm getting at is, would you start hitting film grain if you were transferring off 16mm at 1920x1080 or 1280x720?
I'm a photographer and I can usually get at least 6000x4000 off 35mm slide film. I'm just curious whether or not you could get true hidef on Dawson's Creek (one of my other favorite shows).
Interestingly though, Dawson's Creek (16mm) on SDTV on WB 20-1 (bay area, CA) is higher quality than Buffy (35mm) on SDTV on UPN 45-1 (bay area, CA). I'm sure that the quality is all on the video processing end and probably not on the film or transfer parts of the conversion process.
mmost, since you seem to be knowledgeable about these shows, are they edited in video? Do they go back and do a final transfer based on a cut list from the video editing?
Since a 35mm frame is roughly 4 times the area of a 16mm frame, given the same emulsion 35mm has approximately 4 times the resolution. That doesn't mean that 16mm is below common HD resolutions. You must understand that film grain is far smaller than pixels on a CCD pickup device, therefore you can't count the "number of grains" (which is somewhat random, since all individual silver halide grains are not the same size or shape, not to mention that there are 3 layers) the way you can number of pixels in a CCD, which is fixed. The resolution of 16mm still exceeds the resolution of HD video by a fair amount.
You state that "Dawson's Creek is higher quality than Buffy." This is not necessarily the case. What you really mean is that you happen to like what Dawsons looks like more than you happen to like what Buffy looks like. So many people here have opinions that they like to turn into technical judgments. I'm not saying that all broadcasts are transparent to the original masters, and I'm not saying that some shows aren't a bit more meticulous about their "look" than others. But network television programs are, in general, posted by the same facilities, using the same equipment, and the same personnel. The equipment used is the highest quality state of the art equipment available, and the personnel who run this equipment are highly skilled and take great pride in their work. The "looks" of different shows have far more to do with creative decisions on the part of producers and directors of photography than anything else. What you see on the air is almost always the creative intent of those who make the show. That's not to say there isn't a glitch in the broadcast chain occasionally, but particularly when dealing with digital broadcast, it doesn't happen often. What you see is what was delivered. If you don't happen to like it, that's up to you. But nearly everything that's mentioned here as pertaining to "picture quality" is a subjective judgment based on personal taste, and not a technical judgment of the material at all. "Picture quality" judgments here are usually referring to how much detail and sharpness there is in the image. Storytelling isn't always about detail and sharpness. Sometimes the story is told more effectively when you can't see everything and everything you see isn't in focus. Contrary to those who post here, producers of network television programs in general do not know or care about what their programs look like in HD. The vast, vast, vast majority of the viewing public is seeing the NTSC frame. That is what is concentrated on. I don't know of any show that concentrates on the HD image.
As for editing on video: EVERYTHING today is edited on video. Television, feature films, everything. There is practically no film editing left at the professional level today. There are a few shows that generate negative cut lists from a digital editing system (Avid is dominant in both TV and features), assemble the negative, and transfer from that. These include ER, Third Watch, West Wing, NYPD Blue, and Law and Order. Practically all other shows finish on tape using the daily transfers as a source, whether SD or HD. That would include the 2 shows you mentioned.