Is an HD Super 8 transfer overkill?

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Re: Is an HD Super 8 transfer overkill?

Post by Andreas Wideroe » Mon Jan 17, 2011 9:20 pm

Uppsala BildTeknik wrote:
carllooper wrote:Lets define an SD transfer as that done with bad optics.
Why should we? But surely you must agree that the optics and signal handling from a typical SD transfer are made "at SD quality level".

I am in no way a expert on optics, but I think that good HD optics are far better than good SD optics.
I think you're wrong here. Ie. our optics for our old SD FDL-60 scanner can (according to our tech-guy) easily resolve 2-3K. Hey, these are prime lenses from the prime age of lenses.

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Re: Is an HD Super 8 transfer overkill?

Post by Blue Audio Visual » Mon Jan 17, 2011 10:09 pm

Andreas,

To be fair when your Bosch was new it probably cost an awful lot of money, a lot more in real terms than the semi-pro rigs that we are talking about here, so no surprise that it had top-end optics.

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Re: Is an HD Super 8 transfer overkill?

Post by carllooper » Mon Jan 17, 2011 10:38 pm

Uppsala BildTeknik wrote:I totally fail to see why you won´t just order a SD transfer from whatever transfer shop that suits your wallet and use it as your SD reference.
The transfer shop that suits my wallet is my own transfer shop. Very cheap.

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Re: Is an HD Super 8 transfer overkill?

Post by carllooper » Mon Jan 17, 2011 11:17 pm

Uppsala BildTeknik wrote:
carllooper wrote:Lets define an SD transfer as that done with bad optics.
Why should we?
Well okay. Lets define it as one done with good optics.
But surely you must agree that the optics and signal handling from a typical SD transfer are made "at SD quality level". I am in no way a expert on optics, but I think that good HD optics are far better than good SD optics.
Fine. Lets define SD as one done with good SD optics that are worse than ones done with good HD optics.

The really STUPID thing here is that it doesn't actually matter. As long as the SD transfer is defined as WORSE than the HD transfer that will suffice for the purpose of the experiment.

The PURPOSE (Roger please note) is not to produce a McDonald's hamburger but the complete opposite - the best possible cuisine.

The SIMPLISTIC STUPID answer is to scan film at some ridiculously HIGH defintion (eg. 28 K). The equally SIMPLISTIC STUPID answer is to scan the the film at some ridiculously LOW DEFINITION (eg. 0.1 K)

BUT between these two extremes one should find the best possible transfer.

AND to find that point between one extreme and the other, you CAN'T start with a hamburger bought from McDonalds.

You have to sacrifice an expensive cow.

Carl
Last edited by carllooper on Mon Jan 17, 2011 11:38 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Is an HD Super 8 transfer overkill?

Post by Andreas Wideroe » Mon Jan 17, 2011 11:18 pm

Blue Audio Visual wrote:Andreas,

To be fair when your Bosch was new it probably cost an awful lot of money, a lot more in real terms than the semi-pro rigs that we are talking about here, so no surprise that it had top-end optics.
Sure, but the prime lenses on old Reg8 Bolex cameras for example were (are) really great lenses too that can resolve high resolutions in today's terms. They are cheap today. :wink:

/Andreas
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Re: Is an HD Super 8 transfer overkill?

Post by Blue Audio Visual » Tue Jan 18, 2011 12:12 pm

awand wrote:Sure, but the prime lenses on old Reg8 Bolex cameras for example were (are) really great lenses too that can resolve high resolutions in today's terms. They are cheap today. :wink:
I seem to remember looking (some 10-15 years ago or so) at some old 1950s adverts for Bolex Std8 cameras, and coming to the conclusion that some of them didn't cost that much less than the price of a small car at the time, so they were certainly never cheap in their day...

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Re: Is an HD Super 8 transfer overkill?

Post by christoph » Tue Jan 18, 2011 3:58 pm

Uppsala BildTeknik wrote:You should invite Chirstoph to this discussion, he is very good at details regarding image quality and resolution too. He transfers his super8 to HD, and at the same time he was arguing in another thread in this forum that HD for super8 was overkill. I can´t bent my head around that..
thanks for the invitation kent, but i have no intention to get back into the arguments and it appears mattias doesnt either ;)

the big problem with your assumtion is just because you can see a definite difference between a SD and HD transfer on your machine, that the resolution must be higher then SD (while the reality is that the SD output of the flashscan is pretty poor).

my point is that if we compare a SD transfer from my machine with a HD machine of your machine, mine will hold more detail and have better overall quality (which everybody can decide by themselves by looking at the samples).

btw, i completely agree with matt that the things need to be split up, and that throwing in bad TVs into the argument makes sense in a business way, but not to discover the fundementals behind things.

and carl, you raise some very good points in this thread, but you overestimate lens resolving power quite a bit.. also, personally i don't like the artifact introduced by "super-resolving" interpolation algorithms.

1K would be a pretty good container for a high-end super8 transfer, but again resolution is not the most important point with super8 transfers. i'd still take a spirit transfer in PAL over a DIY transfer with a HDV camera any day.

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Re: Is an HD Super 8 transfer overkill?

Post by MovieStuff » Tue Jan 18, 2011 5:55 pm

christoph wrote:
the big problem with your assumtion is just because you can see a definite difference between a SD and HD transfer on your machine, that the resolution must be higher then SD (while the reality is that the SD output of the flashscan is pretty poor).
Okay, but if that's true and the FlashScan is used so widely, then that's reason enough to get an HD scan instead of an SD scan, right? I mean, the question of this thread is pretty simple: "Is an HD Super 8 transfer overkill?" I think you will agree that the quality of SD scans will be varied from unit to unit, whether home built or professional, so a transfer to HD will certainly increase the odds of getting the most out of your super 8 image, unless someone wants to spend money constantly having SD transfers done over and over at different places, all the while comparing those SD transfers to what? An HD transfer? If you've already got the HD transfer for comparison, then you wouldn't need to keep getting more SD transfers!

christoph wrote: my point is that if we compare a SD transfer from my machine with a HD machine of your machine, mine will hold more detail and have better overall quality (which everybody can decide by themselves by looking at the samples).
Well we really can't effectively do on the internet. I'm sorry but I am in total agreement with Kent on this. Looking at individual still frames is NOT the same thing as taking an SD transfer from an SD transfer telecine and watching that SD transfer up-scaled to HD on a large HD monitor. Everyone here can talk theory until the cows come home but it just does not look the same and, in fact, will look totally different from one HD monitor to the next.
christoph wrote:btw, i completely agree with matt that the things need to be split up, and that throwing in bad TVs into the argument makes sense in a business way, but not to discover the fundementals behind things.
I don't think anyone suggested throwing "bad TVs" into the equation. But typical HD monitors do not do as good a job with SD up-scaling as they do with presenting original HD content. Whether that constitutes a "bad TV" or not, that's simply the fact of the matter and, therefore, has to be taken into account when discussing whether transferring to HD is worth it.

What defines "worth it"?

Well, again, if you get an SD transfer on an HD machine, then you will be paying HD prices, so why bother? And if you get an SD transfer on a dedicate SD machine, then it will not look as good up-scaled to HD on a typical HD monitor as an original HD scan. And if what you say about the FlashScan is true and it does not make as good an SD scan as your system does in HD, then that is all the more reason not to scan in SD!

But this is all kind of moot. If your system (which I know is very good) gives you as good a result in SD as it does in HD, then why are you transferring all your films in HD? Unless your system is even better in HD than a typical HD transfer needs to be. If that's the case, why bother transferring at that level when you are on record that a typical PAL SD video frame can handle everything that a super 8 frame has to offer?

Roger

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Re: Is an HD Super 8 transfer overkill?

Post by christoph » Tue Jan 18, 2011 6:30 pm

MovieStuff wrote:I don't think anyone suggested throwing "bad TVs" into the equation. But typical HD monitors do not do as good a job with SD up-scaling as they do with presenting original HD content. Whether that constitutes a "bad TV" or not, that's simply the fact of the matter and, therefore, has to be taken into account when discussing whether transferring to HD is worth it.
well, i understand that you have to deal with this but for me it's a complete non-issue, really.
if i have a good SD transfer and know my HD monitor has problem upscaling it, i'll just upscale in software (and even throw some grain on top if i feel like it) and it looks the same or better as a "native" HD transfer with a cheap system.

so matts point of seperating the telecine system, file format and display sounds like a good idea to me, while to your and kents daily life it doesnt... and since for you the fundementals behind it are not interesting, and to me the problems of your customers is of no concern, it's only natural that we disagree ;)

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Re: Is an HD Super 8 transfer overkill?

Post by Will2 » Tue Jan 18, 2011 10:17 pm

Sorry to jump in at this point but is the basic argument that a Super 8 SD transfer up-resed in software to HD is basically the same as a true HD scan?

or simply paying more isn't worth the incremental increase in quality?

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Re: Is an HD Super 8 transfer overkill?

Post by etimh » Tue Jan 18, 2011 11:23 pm

Will2 wrote:...is the basic argument...?
:lol:

Have you read this thread in its entirety? Your guess is as good as anybody's.

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Re: Is an HD Super 8 transfer overkill?

Post by carllooper » Tue Jan 18, 2011 11:42 pm

christoph wrote:and carl, you raise some very good points in this thread, but you overestimate lens resolving power quite a bit
Where have I overestimated lens resolving power?

My working assumption (based on experiments done by others) is that the resolving power of various reasonable lenses must be somewhere between 1K and 2K pixels (per frame width).

I'm not suggesting lenses can reach 2K. Or indeed they can reach 1K! And I'm not suggesting they can't!

I personally don't know - and being a suspicious type - I don't trust what others claim. I'm doing my own experiments to convince myself where the limits really are - and if anyone trusts me - they can use my results. And if they don't trust me they can do their own tests - or use someone elses results/claims.

I'm simply postulating a wide enough range (if indeed it is wide enough) to bracket the unknown (the lens res) - and then working in from both ends to establish the location of the unknown.

And if it's not wide enough then I'll increase it.

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Re: Is an HD Super 8 transfer overkill?

Post by christoph » Tue Jan 18, 2011 11:59 pm

Will2 wrote:Sorry to jump in at this point but is the basic argument that a Super 8 SD transfer up-resed in software to HD is basically the same as a true HD scan?
no, the argument (well at least mine) is that there is no such thing as *one* SD transfer and *one* HD transfer.

a SD transfer from a spirit, or from a millenium will be higher resolution then a SD transfer from a SD Flashscan, or a SD workprinter, or a SD "i point my DV camera at the wall" transfer.

and a HD transfer froma spirit HD will have higher resolution then a HD transfer from a "i point my HDV camera at the wall" transfer etc. and sometimes, a SD transfer of one system will have more resolution then a HD transfer from another. obviously and understandably, opinions disagree on where exactly this point is :)
or simply paying more isn't worth the incremental increase in quality?
that too at some point, but much more impotant:
quality is not equal to pixel count!

obviously you need *some* level of sharpness and detail or an image to look good, but at some point other factors, like color accuracy, skin tones, contrast range, etc become more important. and that point is probably just around (good) SD resolution for the average viewer, and maybe 1K if you're interested in a theatrical release.

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Re: Is an HD Super 8 transfer overkill?

Post by carllooper » Wed Jan 19, 2011 12:54 am

christoph wrote: quality is not equal to pixel count!
This is exactly right.

A large pixel count increases sharpness (which is desireable) but it also increases the visibility of the noise (which is typically undesireable).

Obviously reasonable looking transfers occur at some nominal pixel count. But increasing the pixel count, beyond some point, starts to make the transfer look noisy (but no more noisier than the original film). If you have a bad transfer due to too many pixels you can do a low pass filtering of the signal either by:

a. downsampling the transfer to a lower res
b. or doing another transfer at the same lower res.

As long as both produce equivalent results they are, by definition, equivalent.

There are alternatives to conventional low pass filtering (ie. alternatives to the above options) which seek to maintain sharpness of the signal while suppressing the noise. For example, the "Reduce Noise" filter in Photoshop CS5 (which is not a super-res algorithm by the way) uses an interesting application of wavelet theory to infer the signal and subtract the noise based on that inference. Not everyone's cup of tea. Some prefer the noise over such.

ALL approaches to noise reduction (including low pass filtering: such as lower res sampling) introduce "artifacts". The only question is which algorithm/physical process satisfys one's personal artistic judgement.

For some, it is not a question of reducing noise at all. It is a question of reproducing the original film (including it's noise), as best as possible. For those who prefer this then it is simply a matter of using the highest number of pixels (and highest resolving transfer lens).

Carl

And Roger - a technical test, using a high-def scan, is just a test. The argument you were maintaining, that because you've done a high-def scan there is no point doing a lower def scan misreads the test as if it were a recommendation for day-to-day activity. But a test is a one-off act. If the test suggests you could have used a lower def scan, then that is knowledge you can usefully apply to future scans. It is obviously too late to use that knowledge on the original test scan. You obviously can't go back in time and get your money back on the hi-def scan. But who, (apart from Kent perhaps) would argue otherwise?

However I know your argument(s) are probably better than I've charcaterised them here, and you've elaborated some better with Chris (eg. why does Chis do HD scans if he's on record as saying PAL SD is all you need).

I don't want to pre-empt Chris' reply too much but I'd argue that it is easier to get an optimum SD result downsampled from an HD scan than it is to get the same result from a physical "SD" scan. Downsampling allows you to tweak the filtering on a computer (which is a pleasant experience for many). But a physical SD scan requires you tweek the filtering through adjustment of lenses and sensors (which for me, at least, is often an unpleasant experience). Or if not using your own rig, then how much do you trust that an SD transfer house actually does a good SD transfer? It is more likely that an HD transfer house has put a bit of extra effort in to their setup if they want to maintain their claim as an HD house.

On the other hand I'm not actually aware of what, precisely, Chris said. There is a world of difference between a "typical" SD scan an "ideal" SD scan. And your argument could very well be a very good argument if "typical" is what Chris actually said/meant.

Hi Kent - did you manage to get to this sentence without interpreting everything else I've said here as "blah blah blah"?
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Re: Is an HD Super 8 transfer overkill?

Post by carllooper » Wed Jan 19, 2011 4:39 am

Here are some examples of various filters applied to a 2.8K scan of Super8.

http://members.iinet.net.au/~carllooper ... mpare.html

The filters include:

a. No filter
b. Super Resolution 1.73X
c. Photoshop Noise Reduction.
c. Downsampling to PAL SD (= ideal SD transfer)
d. Some combinations of the above.

Personally I prefer the Super Resolution process.

Carl
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