35mm scan for HDR restoration

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Lucius Snow

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35mm scan for HDR restoration

PostThu Feb 02, 2023 3:56 pm

Hi all,

We have a 35mm film in a ratio 1.85 we'd like to restore in order to make a HDR digital master (3996x2160 - 16 bit - PQ curve - 1000 nits).

I thought about a TIFF or EXR files sequence but I'm not sure about what extra technical details to ask to the facility in order to get the best "raw" signal.

If the file sequence is in TIFF - 16 bit - RGB enough?

Thanks.
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Sven H

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Re: 35mm scan for HDR restoration

PostThu Feb 02, 2023 5:38 pm

Usually film scans are in .dpx but tiff should work the same.

Ask them what color space they will deliver. Some labs already deliver in ArriWG LogC, some do some Cineon-ish / random flat curve.
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Marc Wielage

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Re: 35mm scan for HDR restoration

PostFri Feb 03, 2023 8:42 am

Lucius Snow wrote:We have a 35mm film in a ratio 1.85 we'd like to restore in order to make a HDR digital master (3996x2160 - 16 bit - PQ curve - 1000 nits).

All the film scans I work with are just done according to the limits of the scanning gear -- there's nothing they do to differentiate SDR from HDR. They can generally do 16-bit EXR or DPX files.

The HDR (or Dolby Vision) comes in the color grade once the scanned files are delivered. I've done a half-dozen projects this way, and there are pros and cons with doing the SDR first or the HDR first. I tend to be conservative on how hard I push 35mm negative scans of a certain vintage (particularly before the Vision stocks were released), because they quickly turn into grain-city. I do let the specular highlights hit 1000 (or whatever limit the client requests), but the rest of it doesn't average more than 200-250. A lot of it is just a judgement call.

I know of a few major (very major) recent feature releases shot on film where the director requested an HDR pass that's essentially identical to the SDR, because he (or she) found the HDR a little too overwhelming. It's a completely subjective call as to "how bright should HDR be."
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Andrew Kolakowski

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Re: 35mm scan for HDR restoration

PostFri Feb 03, 2023 6:10 pm

Funny enough some HDR grades are actually "darker" then SDR version which is bit of nonsense.
People struggle to see details in SDR already as they don't have studio environment and now they get new (re-scanned/re-graded) masters which are even darker :D
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Marc Wielage

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Re: 35mm scan for HDR restoration

PostSun Feb 05, 2023 4:55 am

Andrew Kolakowski wrote:Funny enough some HDR grades are actually "darker" then SDR version which is bit of nonsense. People struggle to see details in SDR already as they don't have studio environment and now they get new (re-scanned/re-graded) masters which are even darker :D

I've never seen that, not ever. All the HDR versions I've seen are visibly brighter than the older SDR versions, some too much so.

Sometimes the orignal 1980s or 1990s home video release of famous films was done from Interpositives (IPs) or even low-contrast prints, so the results are widely variable. When I get in a brand-new camera negative scan and compare it to the last director-approved version, I'll sometimes make the judgement call to provide a little more detail in the toe of the signal, simply because the information is there in the OCN but not there in the IP. But I try to make it subtle, and I straddle the line between "too dark" and "too light" all the time. Getting a good contrast curve is mandatory, of course.

What specific HDR titles have you seen that are darker than the SDR? There's always the chance that the studio or the filmmakers will come in to sign off on the new version, and if they want it darker, it's hard to convince them otherwise. As colorists, we try to fight the good fight, but there's a point where we have to walk away and agree that "it's not our film."
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Sven H

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Re: 35mm scan for HDR restoration

PostSun Feb 05, 2023 10:30 am

Marc Wielage wrote:I know of a few major (very major) recent feature releases shot on film where the director requested an HDR pass that's essentially identical to the SDR, because he (or she) found the HDR a little too overwhelming. It's a completely subjective call as to "how bright should HDR be."

You lucky americans. In Germany there are broadcasters that expect the signal to reach certain values all the time. Not just the specular highlights (at least 600 nits, even if it blinds you in a dark scene) but also the diffuse white (at least 200 nits, because reasons..)
You have to develop some tricks to get around those technical limitations and still deliver a pleasing image the creatives are happy with
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Andrew Kolakowski

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Re: 35mm scan for HDR restoration

PostSun Feb 05, 2023 5:49 pm

Famous example is House of The Dragon which is crazy bad.
There are others less famous but same effect of average nits for scenes been below old SDR grades.
If directors want it then cool. They just have to realise there may be no audience, as it’s simply unwatchable. It’s like driving great formula 1 car in the city.
I watched HDR content on Netflix and had exactly same comment. Some are simply too dark for mid levels. Whole idea of mid point been fairly low and let bright bits stand out is great, but you can’t go too low.
You don’t have to be colorist to see it and most comment coming from film enthusiasts, eg. avsforum.
I don’t blame colorists, but comment on actual situation.
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Steve Fishwick

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Re: 35mm scan for HDR restoration

PostMon Feb 06, 2023 12:14 pm

Andrew Kolakowski wrote:I watched HDR content on Netflix and had exactly same comment. Some are simply too dark for mid levels. Whole idea of mid point been fairly low and let bright bits stand out is great, but you can’t go too low.
You don’t have to be colorist to see it and most comment coming from film enthusiasts, eg. avsforum.


The problem with Dolby Vision PQ, which Netflix favours, is it can be very dependent on the TV set used. There's, for example, DV 'Dark' and 'Light', which is meant to be used according to varying ambient settings but few consumers will be aware of the difference and merely assume Light is brighter HDR. On the whole I have seen more content graded much better in DV HDR and it can be very effective, if used not as a gimmick, but it is generally why terrestrial broadcasting here prefers HLG, which whilst often not so dramatic a HDR effect is backwards compatible and less device referred. Also there is an institutional aim to avoid Dolby's attempt to licence everything that acts, walks and talks in media technology.
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Andrew Kolakowski

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Re: 35mm scan for HDR restoration

PostMon Feb 06, 2023 12:24 pm

Dolby Dark on selected titles is almost a „black” screen. Good name :D
Dolby is very, very protective of their creations. It’s not normal that eg. AC3 plug-in encoder use to cost more than many hosting apps itself even if they offered tons of other functionality.
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Steve Fishwick

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Re: 35mm scan for HDR restoration

PostMon Feb 06, 2023 3:26 pm

Andrew Kolakowski wrote:Dolby Dark on selected titles is almost a „black” screen. Good name


:lol: It works mostly well for me, Andrew since my 'TV' is also my client monitor in the online suite and conditions are dark. Agree with the other things you say.
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mpetech

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Re: 35mm scan for HDR restoration

PostMon Feb 06, 2023 5:28 pm

Steve Fishwick wrote:
Andrew Kolakowski wrote:I watched HDR content on Netflix and had exactly same comment. Some are simply too dark for mid levels. Whole idea of mid point been fairly low and let bright bits stand out is great, but you can’t go too low.
You don’t have to be colorist to see it and most comment coming from film enthusiasts, eg. avsforum.


The problem with Dolby Vision PQ, which Netflix favours, is it can be very dependent on the TV set used. There's, for example, DV 'Dark' and 'Light', which is meant to be used according to varying ambient settings but few consumers will be aware of the difference and merely assume Light is brighter HDR. On the whole I have seen more content graded much better in DV HDR and it can be very effective, if used not as a gimmick, but it is generally why terrestrial broadcasting here prefers HLG, which whilst often not so dramatic a HDR effect is backwards compatible and less device referred. Also there is an institutional aim to avoid Dolby's attempt to licence everything that acts, walks and talks in media technology.


Regardless of the HDR format you apply, the whole point of using "nits" to measure brightness is to remove a certain amount of vagueness from the standard. Of course, we do not have control over the viewing environment or TV settings, but 600 nits are 600 nits in HLG or DV or HDR10.

DV Light and DV Dark are just preset like "Vivid", "Cinema", or "Standard".
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Steve Fishwick

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Re: 35mm scan for HDR restoration

PostMon Feb 06, 2023 7:05 pm

mpetech wrote:Regardless of the HDR format you apply, the whole point of using "nits" to measure brightness is to remove a certain amount of vagueness from the standard. Of course, we do not have control over the viewing environment or TV settings, but 600 nits are 600 nits in HLG or DV or HDR10.


The whole fallacy of what you imply Dom, is that PQ is display referred, which should never be. It is entirely contingent upon the consumers settings. I recently graded a long running TV series, where the exec would come in each week to review the grade and tell me his super duper really expensive TV at home told him this that or the other. I said after gently telling him to stop tapping the reference grade monitor in the suite, but is your wonderful TV at home calibrated like this one?
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mpetech

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Re: 35mm scan for HDR restoration

PostMon Feb 06, 2023 7:20 pm

Steve Fishwick wrote:
mpetech wrote:Regardless of the HDR format you apply, the whole point of using "nits" to measure brightness is to remove a certain amount of vagueness from the standard. Of course, we do not have control over the viewing environment or TV settings, but 600 nits are 600 nits in HLG or DV or HDR10.


The whole fallacy of what you imply Dom, is that PQ is display referred, which should never be. It is entirely contingent upon the consumers settings. I recently graded a long running TV series, where the exec would come in each week to review the grade and tell me his super duper really expensive TV at home told him this that or the other. I said after gently telling him to stop tapping the reference grade monitor in the suite, but is your wonderful TV at home calibrated like this one?


Added emphasis. I said no such thing.

My only point was that HDR removed some vagueness to the brightness measurement of a given image. With SDR, we never had to deal with it.

How we display that HDR image is a totally different discussion.
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Re: 35mm scan for HDR restoration

PostMon Feb 06, 2023 8:46 pm

mpetech wrote:My only point was that HDR removed some vagueness to the brightness measurement of a given image. With SDR, we never had to deal with it.


Sorry Dom, that is absolute nonsense, it was a solution fo a problem we never had - there was never 'HDR' in the grandest of cinema.
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mpetech

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Re: 35mm scan for HDR restoration

PostTue Feb 07, 2023 1:55 am

Steve Fishwick wrote:
mpetech wrote:My only point was that HDR removed some vagueness to the brightness measurement of a given image. With SDR, we never had to deal with it.


Sorry Dom, that is absolute nonsense, it was a solution fo a problem we never had - there was never 'HDR' in the grandest of cinema.


I’m sorrry but I don’t quite understand what you mean. Can you clarify?
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Marc Wielage

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Re: 35mm scan for HDR restoration

PostTue Feb 07, 2023 4:58 am

Andrew Kolakowski wrote:Famous example is House of The Dragon which is crazy bad.

I watched all the House of the Dragon shows via streaming on a calibrated LG OLED C9, and it looked fine to me. Zero problems. I wasn't in a position to compare the SDR version with the HDR, but the HDR was fine. How was your displayed calibrated?

I think a lot of people (particularly neophyte colorists) are quick to criticize a huge, blockbuster show when they don't consider that a) at least 6 or 7 people in the room (producers, director, post producers, the editor, HBO execs, etcl) all approved that look, b) the DP could well have carefully crafted every shot in terms of exposure to look exactly that way, and c) the display you're looking at has a gigantic effect on the final look. A show like House of the Dragon, which cost about $20 million per episode, was not done lightly, nor did they slough off any part of the post-production. Renowned UK colorist Asa Shoul did the final color on the series at Warner Bros. De Lane Lea in London, all on Baselight, and in general I think he does exceptional work.

Bear in mind I also watched the infamous episode of Game of Thrones, "The Long Night," which I didn't think was too dark (also in HDR on the same display). I think the problem there was: the episode took place at night; within the story, it was mostly illuminated by torches and fire; it was cut very quickly, so the viewers never got a good look at anything for more than a few seconds; and there were not a lot of wide shots, so you never got a sense of the "scope" of the setting and story. But they clearly made specific creative decisions for a reason. You can see the DP's explanation for Game of Thrones here:

https://www.cnet.com/culture/entertainm ... k-episode/

I've sometimes gotten into creative "discussions" with clients on brightness levels, and it's rare that any DP wants it brighter: they generally believe "drama = darker," and it's sometimes hard to talk them into going with a "movie dark" look where we can still see into the shadows. There are shows that did this very well: Lost and Walking Dead are two I can think of that frequently had exterior night scenes where you could still see everything (in SDR). You have to walk a fine line in terms of revealing too much vs. crushing the toe of the signal.

Andrew Kolakowski wrote:Dolby Dark on selected titles is almost a „black” screen. Good name. Dolby is very, very protective of their creations. It’s not normal that eg. AC3 plug-in encoder use to cost more than many hosting apps itself even if they offered tons of other functionality.

We ignore the presets and just have a technician calibrate our screens for SDR Rec709 and HDR Rec2020, with a decent probe and the right test signals. Every year or so, I take the older OLEDs from our color room home and just repurpose them in the living room or bedroom as "home sets." They haven't been calibrated in awhile, but they're close enough.
marc wielage, csi • VP/color & workflow • chroma | hollywood
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Andrew Kolakowski

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Re: 35mm scan for HDR restoration

PostTue Feb 07, 2023 7:38 am

And I watched it on Mac screen which tracks PQ with enough accuracy for home user and some shows are still dark and even in pure darkness they are not the best experience.
If you think that average home will have calibrated screen then you live in fantasy world. Fact is that most screens will actually be set brighter ( typical trend for TV manufactures and actual users preference ). Have you heard anyone complaining that it was too bright/washed out? Hardly ever you hear such a comment, it’s always other way around.
Those commenting on House of The Dragon quite often have calibrated screens as they are movie enthusiasts and calibrate their screens more often than studios :D They also know at least basics to be able to judge.

So you think DV Dark/Bright mode makes no sense and it makes no difference if you watch graded content at night or in bright sunny room? Well reality is so different than dimmed grading room.
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Marc Wielage

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Re: 35mm scan for HDR restoration

PostWed Feb 08, 2023 3:09 am

Andrew Kolakowski wrote:If you think that average home will have calibrated screen then you live in fantasy world.

I'm sad that there are "professional" Resolve users on this forum watching shows at home on uncalibrated displays, and then trying to make judgements on pictures. The problem is, they wind up judging their bad monitors, rather than have a real idea of what the picture is really like.
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Andrew Kolakowski

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Re: 35mm scan for HDR restoration

PostWed Feb 08, 2023 8:27 pm

Those who typically complain are enthusiasts who calibrate their TVs more often than studios (even if they have consumer screens). In this case it's about "gamma" response which calibrates way easier than colors.

There is a reason why Dolby is now trying to get new system which compensates for viewing conditions, so reference grade is more "true" to intention when watched at home. For the same reason Baselight has 'gamma compensation' which can be enabled in final export if destination is not dimmed environment.

Issue with House of the Dragon has nothing to do with screen accuracy. It's just the way how it was graded, which HBO admitted themselves.
Seating for many hours in dark room shifts eyes completely. No idea if long grading sessions are really good approach, but it's not my worry :) If I do see "well graded" show and then see other which looks "bad" then I can have an opinion. If I had huge issue with preview then I would complain about all content, wich is not the case at all as some titles look "nice". Yous seems to "suggest" that every professional grade is great only because it was done on 30K monitor - well faaaaar from truth. I don't care if it's director's or colorist's choice/fault, but as a client I have a right for an opinion (specially that I pay for the content to watch). Director/colorist chooses some way and audience doesn't like it. There is really no wrong or right, but it's audience which creates demand and pays for the content, so other side should think about it. There is always a crossing point and fact that people watch things at different conditions should also be taken into account. Grading approach seems to not change for decades, maybe it should or maybe new tech is needed to help home viewers. Today's TVs can do realtime adjustments as they're very powerful.
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Marc Wielage

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Re: 35mm scan for HDR restoration

PostFri Feb 24, 2023 8:42 am

Andrew Kolakowski wrote:Yous seems to "suggest" that every professional grade is great only because it was done on 30K monitor - well faaaaar from truth.

Not at all. We're using a $4000 LG 32EP950 OLED display, not a $30,000 monitor. (Note I have seen actual purchase orders for the BVM-X310, and they routinely sell for US$22,000. Granted, still expensive, but not as much as you think.)

Grading approach seems to not change for decades, maybe it should or maybe new tech is needed to help home viewers. Today's TVs can do realtime adjustments as they're very powerful.

Actually, my grading approach has not changed that much from the 1980s (though I hope my expertise has improved), but I almost always advise our clients, "let's err on the side of being a little brighter and more open." I don't always win that argument, but I make the effort. At the same time, there are scenes that deserve to be dark and realistic, like a night scene in a forest. For scenes like that, the DP has to manage the key-to-fill ratio, and that's always a tough battle because of time, logistics, and available lighting gear on location.
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Andrew Kolakowski

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Re: 35mm scan for HDR restoration

PostFri Feb 24, 2023 11:33 am

30K is just made up figure to show it's expensive.
Most sell these monitors per client- for you it may be 25K for other client it can be 20K (specially when you are big studio). List price is just list price.

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