cinema movies, HD edited 10 years ago?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by arjen92, May 15, 2009.

  1. arjen92 macrumors 65816

    arjen92

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    #1
    He,

    I heard that cinema movies have always been in HD (well, the resolution you can get out of the real film is equal to HD). I was wondering, when they added special effects to it (digital effects) in which format they did it (I presume HD formats weren't there yet).
    For example the Matrix.
     
  2. KeithPratt macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 6, 2007
    #2
    Film doesn't really have a resolution until it's scanned digitally. Some people will say it's worth scanning film at 4k (4096x3112 pixels, anamorphic), some say to scan it at 4k and sample down to 2k (2048x1556) is enough. Some will even tout 6k; but the higher you go it becomes a law of diminishing returns. What limits detail is grain, and film stocks continue to improve in granularity and contrast.

    CGI really kick-started high-quality scanning. Before that the high-quality part was done with the film negative and contact prints. But despite CGI being prevalent before, it wasn't until the turn of the millennium that films started to be digitally colour graded.

    Most films these days are scanned at 4k and immediately sampled down to 2k. Effects will be rendered at 2k, and grading and output will stay at that resolution. The movie will be lasered back onto film, and that will be duped for distribution prints. The effective resolution of these prints is reckoned to rarely be higher than the equivalent of 720p. The last couple of years have seen reasonably mainstream digital projection release, and these are most often at 2k, which is 2048x1080 in this instance. In the future, who knows?
     
  3. arjen92 thread starter macrumors 65816

    arjen92

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  4. huntercr macrumors 65816

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    #4
    Predigital movies used photographic processes for effects. There is a fascinating documentary on how the effects were done for Tron that really puts things in perspective. There's a short sample on youtube that highlights some of this. If you get a chance to see the whole thing I highly recommend it.

    Even with digital effects, the computers used were always capable of creating HD ( and higher ) resolutions. It was just done completely differently... the digital frame was rendered and printed to film. This was a very slow process. Take for instance Star Trek Wrath of Khan. The Genesis "terrain building" effect took so long to render that a major mistake occurred where a mountain was created in the path of the probe ( which the audience would realize it would collide with ), they decided to work around it rather than redo the footage. It was only a few seconds of screen time but to rerender would take days if not weeks.
     

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