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Red Digital Cinema introduced its new Epic Dragon digital camera with 6K (6144x3160 or 19 megapixel) resolution. It's one of the highest-performance digital cameras available with 16 stops of dynamic range and frame rates up to 120 fps at 4K and 5K and over 80 fps at full-frame 6K. It records in Raw format with a 5:1 compression ratio, so the files can be rendered in just about anything you want, including up to 4:4:4 at 16-bit dynamic range.

 



The new Epic Dragon is a real overachiever in a surprisingly small housing.

 

Red shot a custom short subject on the Dragon, but noted that there is no 6K digital projector on which to show it. So Imax stepped in and transferred the movie to 15-perf 70mm film to show at NAB.

 



Red had some strips of Imax film from the custom short on a lightbox—in these frames, a car is speeding through a tunnel at night.

 

Preceding the Imax demo, Red showed some 2K content shot on the Epic camera and projected onto an MDI screen (38x16 feet, 1.0 gain) by a Sony T615 4K projector, followed by some 4K clips shot on a Dragon. Everything looked great, but when they switched from the Sony digital projector to the Imax film projector, the black level rose significantly—perhaps because the screen was so small compared with a full-sized Imax screen.

 

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Dream camera right there...

 

"when they switched from the Sony digital projector to the Imax film projector, the black level rose significantly—perhaps because the screen was so small compared with a full-sized Imax screen."

 

Another explanation is that black in motion picture film is not fully opaque—light leaks through. High-end digital projection is better at reproducing pure black.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic  /t/1527212/red-epic-dragon-6k-camera-footage-on-imax-15-70-film-at-nab-2014#post_24604468


Dream camera right there...

"when they switched from the Sony digital projector to the Imax film projector, the black level rose significantly—perhaps because the screen was so small compared with a full-sized Imax screen."


Another explanation is that black in motion picture film is not fully opaque—light leaks through. High-end digital projection is better at reproducing pure black.
Agreed. I've always experienced better black levels with digital projectors in cinemas than I have with film. That's just one of the reasons why I don't understand the somewhat commonly held opinion that film is the "holy grail" of movie viewing.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by javanpohl  /t/1527212/red-epic-dragon-6k-camera-footage-on-imax-15-70-film-at-nab-2014#post_24605341


Agreed. I've always experienced better black levels with digital projectors in cinemas than I have with film. That's just one of the reasons why I don't understand the somewhat commonly held opinion that film is the "holy grail" of movie viewing.

I don't get why people want to stick to inferior tech either, same goes with 24fps. I guess some people just don't like change or advancements in picture quality. I'm too young but were some people resistant to adding color as well?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by freemeat  /t/1527212/red-epic-dragon-6k-camera-footage-on-imax-15-70-film-at-nab-2014#post_24605418


I don't get why people want to stick to inferior tech either, same goes with 24fps. I guess some people just don't like change or advancements in picture quality. I'm too young but were some people resistant to adding color as well?

Some people hate change and will defend the status quo even when it appears, to some of us at least, to make no logical sense.

I am not that young being in my late forties but I prefer Digitally shot 48 frame over film 24 frame for 3D in particular. I like the absence of noise in night shots that digital provides and the smoothness of movement that higher frame rate achieves too.
 

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Originally Posted by cbcdesign  /t/1527212/red-epic-dragon-6k-camera-footage-on-imax-15-70-film-at-nab-2014#post_24605887


Some people hate change and will defend the status quo even when it appears, to some of us at least, to make no logical sense.

I am not that young being in my late forties but I prefer Digitally shot 48 frame over film 24 frame for 3D in particular. I like the absence of noise in night shots that digital provides and the smoothness of movement that higher frame rate achieves too.

Exactly. It boggles me that some want judder in panning shots, extra noise artifacts, etc. I can understand if for a certain type of look (add in artifacts, film scratches, burn marks to make it look like an old clip) you are going for but for all, no thanks. Give me the best sound and picture that technology provides
 

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For my money Skyfall is a great example of just how good digital can look. It has an added fine grain effect giving the images a bit of texture but is so clean in every other regard. Those night shots in China are absolutely stunning and I am doubtful that film could ever capture images that good with such low levels of light. Film has had its day in my opinion.
 

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Kodak went bankrupt a few years ago. Film labs are not exactly environmentally friendly and have been shutting down. Film itself is susceptible to many problems such as X-ray flash, scratches and stock problems, not to mention cost. Digital is improving much faster than film and should overtake it in every aspect. The funny thing is with DI film gets scanned to digital anyway. What remains to be seen is when the last diehard finally turns off the lights to exit the film production world. No one will remember how to "Check the gate".
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by freemeat  /t/1527212/red-epic-dragon-6k-camera-footage-on-imax-15-70-film-at-nab-2014#post_24605418

Quote:
Originally Posted by javanpohl  /t/1527212/red-epic-dragon-6k-camera-footage-on-imax-15-70-film-at-nab-2014#post_24605341


Agreed. I've always experienced better black levels with digital projectors in cinemas than I have with film. That's just one of the reasons why I don't understand the somewhat commonly held opinion that film is the "holy grail" of movie viewing.

I don't get why people want to stick to inferior tech either, same goes with 24fps. I guess some people just don't like change or advancements in picture quality. I'm too young but were some people resistant to adding color as well?

All of this upgrading tech and they are still ignoring THE major problem with movies, 24fps. I watched Godzilla in 3D Imax and the new X-Men movie, and both had visible stuttering and motion blur during fast scenes. Once you see it you can't un-see it.


The worst thing is, it's so easy for them to fix this problem. Really frustrating that all these movies are coming out and will be only ever been seen using a frame rate determined by celluloid film stock price over a century ago. /facepalm.


Sometimes I wonder if the whole world's gone insane. We talk about HDR and lumens and resolution and bit depth, and yet frame rate is the most obvious and huge boost to actual quality of any of those. A film-maker can always shoot in 60hz and then downgrade to 24hz for projection, can't they? Or would they have to artificially add in motion blur so that it doesn't look jumpy. I wonder how many shots in movies are artificially slowed down in terms of panning speed to avoid this blah-ness caused by 24hz.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by cbcdesign  /t/1527212/red-epic-dragon-6k-camera-footage-on-imax-15-70-film-at-nab-2014#post_24605920


For my money Skyfall is a great example of just how good digital can look. It has an added fine grain effect giving the images a bit of texture but is so clean in every other regard. Those night shots in China are absolutely stunning and I am doubtful that film could ever capture images that good with such low levels of light. Film has had its day in my opinion.

Oh yeah, that scene was stunning. Last year when I had a cable internet installer over, I happened to be watching this scene on my projector and the guy said wow, how much does that cost? I told him probably 1/2 the price of your puny TV. Very dramatic and impactful scene for a demo.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by cbcdesign  /t/1527212/red-epic-dragon-6k-camera-footage-on-imax-15-70-film-at-nab-2014/0_60#post_24605887

 
Quote:
Originally Posted by freemeat  /t/1527212/red-epic-dragon-6k-camera-footage-on-imax-15-70-film-at-nab-2014#post_24605418


I don't get why people want to stick to inferior tech either, same goes with 24fps. I guess some people just don't like change or advancements in picture quality. I'm too young but were some people resistant to adding color as well?

Some people hate change and will defend the status quo even when it appears, to some of us at least, to make no logical sense.
 

Three thoughts come immediately to mind:
  • The frame rate discussion here (of course), which covers a concept that has aggravated me no end.  There is *no* advantage to 24fps, I'm sorry.
  • The Vinyl records crowd (Oye!)
  • The industry sticks in the mud that actually preferred (briefly) analog mixing for CDs to the point where they used it even if gathered initially in digital (DAD).  Thankfully this nonsense seemed to be short lived.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by RLBURNSIDE  /t/1527212/red-epic-dragon-6k-camera-footage-on-imax-15-70-film-at-nab-2014#post_24772110


All of this upgrading tech and they are still ignoring THE major problem with movies, 24fps. I watched Godzilla in 3D Imax and the new X-Men movie, and both had visible stuttering and motion blur during fast scenes. Once you see it you can't un-see it. ...

True but why was there such strong objection to the Hobbit being shot and screened in 48fps? I watched both installments in 48fps 3D (and Dolby Atmos which is a different discussion) and marvelled at the the picture quality, image motion smoothness and realism.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by lchiu7  /t/1527212/red-epic-dragon-6k-camera-footage-on-imax-15-70-film-at-nab-2014#post_24804482


True but why was there such strong objection to the Hobbit being shot and screened in 48fps? I watched both installments in 48fps 3D (and Dolby Atmos which is a different discussion) and marvelled at the the picture quality, image motion smoothness and realism.
I can only comment as one who hasn't seen it. While 24 fps @ 180 degree shutter angle (1/48th second shutter exposure time) is not realistic, it may be that in itself a reason many prefer it. It adds a kind of distance which can aid storytelling for suspended belief. Perhaps it's a reason the term "Soap Opera Effect" is used. Those shows work better when the audience is made closer to the performance which a higher frame rate can do. Making an image as realistic as possible is not always conducive to the feeling being conveyed by the storytelling. Besides frame rate, grading and filtering are often utilized in a manner that departs from a realistic image.


As mentioned I haven't seen The Hobbit, but one thing I've wondered about is that it still had some intentional judder with a 270 degree shutter angle (1/64th sec shutter exposure time). Perhaps that was a compromise to remain more cinematic, or to reduce motion blur, but I wonder how if a ~360 degree angle (1/48th shutter time) would have looked. When a video camera with 60hz motion is set for a shorter shutter exposure time, I think the judder effect is more jarring than at lower frame rates. I suspect they tested various shutter angles for The Hobbit.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by TVOD  /t/1527212/red-epic-dragon-6k-camera-footage-on-imax-15-70-film-at-nab-2014/0_60#post_24807207

 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lchiu7  /t/1527212/red-epic-dragon-6k-camera-footage-on-imax-15-70-film-at-nab-2014#post_24804482


True but why was there such strong objection to the Hobbit being shot and screened in 48fps? I watched both installments in 48fps 3D (and Dolby Atmos which is a different discussion) and marvelled at the the picture quality, image motion smoothness and realism.
I can only comment as one who hasn't seen it. While 24 fps @ 180 degree shutter angle (1/48th second shutter exposure time) is not realistic, it may be that in itself a reason many prefer it. It adds a kind of distance which can aid storytelling for suspended belief. Perhaps it's a reason the term "Soap Opera Effect" is used.
 

I remember seeing how the shutter altered the perception of one viewer's impression of SOE (and motion blur), but I'm confused about what you're saying.

 

But in the case of the Hobbit, it was a true 48 frames per second and that is regardless of the exposure shutter angle.  Not 24 fps with 1/48th second shutter, but a real 48 frames every second.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by tgm1024  /t/1527212/red-epic-dragon-6k-camera-footage-on-imax-15-70-film-at-nab-2014#post_24807493


But in the case of the Hobbit, it was a true 48 frames per second and that is regardless of the exposure shutter angle.  Not 24 fps with 1/48th second shutter, but a real 48 frames every second.
That's true. But the smoothness of motion also depends on motion blur which is related to the exposure time. Even with 60hz motion reducing the shutter time will produce motion which is less smooth, something which most consumer camcorders can do. When the frame duration and the exposure time are equal (360 degree shutter angle), the leading edge of the blur on one frame will match the trailing edge on the next frame. Motion on 24fps would look smoother if the exposure time was also 1/24th second, but then there would be too much motion blur. On film cameras, the 180 degree shutter angle also allowed time for the film to be advanced to the next frame.


Judder is usually caused by gaps in time that are not recorded. This can cause aliasing, which is exemplified by the well known wagon wheel effect where it was common in westerns to see wagon wheels turning at the wrong speed and/or direction. This sort of effect is not nearly as prominent on live video cameras where the frame duration and the shutter time are nearly equal.
 
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