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Film contrast ratio?

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August 16, 2005 8:56:12 PM

Archived from groups: alt.tv.tech.hdtv (More info?)

Hello,

I'm not sure film even has a CR but I'm curious what it may have been in
the early days, say the thirties, forties and up to present day. I'd
presume it got better over the years.

Also, can one objectively compare film CR to CR of plasma and LCD tvs?

And finally, how would you rate the film to video transfer machines in
picture quality and the final result compared to, say, hdtv cameras?
Many of the older films I see on cable TV are washed out compared to
modern hdtv programs.

George

More about : film contrast ratio

August 17, 2005 7:23:44 PM

Archived from groups: alt.tv.tech.hdtv (More info?)

There are several parts to your question. Film projected onto a screen
vs film captured by a telecine camera or other device. In the first
case there is just one system but in the second, two schemes which can
interact,
In projection the apparent contrast is the result of the power of the
projector and the nature of the screen as well as the film stock and
processing. The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences has a
projection standard but it is rarely met in theaters. The brighter the
image the more obvious is the flicker. That is why digital light
projectors can have all their other faults excused just because they
throw a really bright image without flicker.
To really answer your question on film you'd have to consult white
papers by Eastman Kodak and others. A lot of work has been done on
improving contrast and minimizing grain.
If a film transfer to video is done by an expert, the results can be
really good. If the film just gets put on a machine and someone presses
the start button and walks away and prays the automatics work, you get
what you've seen.
One nasty thing about transfers is that if the end result is to be 4:3
but the film is a wide screen format, someone has to make pan and scan
decisions and they can get really ugly. That's why the 16:9 aspect
ratio is so important. It doesn't match all the various wide screen
formats but then it preserves what the cinematographer was trying to do
better than anything else we have.
I recall a musical from the 50s done in cinemascope that had a number
with three sets of dancers. In pan and scan you saw the middle pair and
one each to the two lateral pairs or two pairs. You never saw all 6
dancers.
Anonymous
August 22, 2005 10:05:45 PM

Archived from groups: alt.tv.tech.hdtv (More info?)

In <430260FC.D7B2E046@execpc.com> George <steber@execpc.com> writes:

>And finally, how would you rate the film to video transfer machines in
>picture quality and the final result compared to, say, hdtv cameras?

The vast majority of what you see on television, with the exception
of real time events such as sports and news, is shot on film. There's
good reason for this: film-originated material beats the pants off
video.

The current top dog in telecine is the Thomson Spirit:

http://www.thomsongrassvalley.com/products/film/spirit_...

Note that this machine has been superseded by the Spirit II:

http://www.thomsongrassvalley.com/products/film/spirit_...

While both modern telecines and video cameras use CCD imagers, telecine
can handily outperform a camera for two basic reasons. Telecines are
line-array devices, while cameras are, by necessity, area sensors. The
telecine does vertical scan by moving the film. Second, telecines can
control their light source much more closely than even the best studio
situation could hope to achieve. The Spirits use a xenon lamp that's
a near-perfect gray-body radiator.

>Many of the older films I see on cable TV are washed out compared to
>modern hdtv programs.

This could be from a variety of reasons. Poor transfer, faded
dye layers in old film, transfer of other than original negative.

--
Tim Mullen
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