Welcome, Guest
Username: Password: Remember me

TOPIC: Help with workflow: old SD TV archive filmed with a 4K camera

Help with workflow: old SD TV archive filmed with a 4K camera 13 Aug 2019 22:44 #100863

  • manoucho
  • manoucho's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Platinum Boarder
  • Posts: 578
  • Thank you received: 46
  • Karma: 3
Hi guys,

I hope you're well. I haven't posted for a while. I really need your expert help :)

I'm preparing my next film, which has the following set-up: the film takes place in an office in 2002. The actors are watching TV and commenting on what they are seeing. What's on TV comes from TV archive, therefore SD or even lower, and the camera we will be using will be a high end 4K camera.

As you can imagine, I'm quite concerned:
- will the SD footage look so degraded that it will be akward to film it in 4K ? Or will it look natural ?
- what kind of TV would give me the best results ? (I believe there were some flat or Plasma screens at the time, not sure)
- shall I try to upgrade the footage first to 4K with a special plugin or hardware ?

Thanks a million for your help !!!
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Help with workflow: old SD TV archive filmed with a 4K camera 14 Aug 2019 17:10 #100881

  • John G
  • John G's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Senior Boarder
  • Posts: 60
  • Thank you received: 5
  • Karma: 0
Apparently, the first consumer-available flat screen TV came from Philips in 1997, but in the UK (where I am) I certainly don’t remember people generally having flat screens until some years after that.

In 2002 I think it would be more likely that an office would have an analogue CRT screen, but probably a 16x9 rather than a 4x3 screen. In the UK by 2002, if I’m remembering correctly most television receivers you could buy were 16x9 - although still SD and CRT. (Like the Sony one below.)

In terms of re-shooting the footage on set… Are you thinking of actually playing the footage onto a real TV screen on set? Assuming you are, then obviously you’ll need a way to send the footage to the TV. This could be done using any I/O device (such as a Blackmagic or whatever) which has analogue outputs. Then you could send the footage from FCPX on-cue to the TV. You might find an issue with ‘rolling bars’ shooting a CRT TV, but this is usually solvable by careful camera setting. I don’t see any point in converting the SD material to a higher resolution before you use it - you can’t get back what was never there.

If you also intend to cut the archive footage directly into your film full-screen (rather than playing on an on-set TV) then just experiment and see what it looks like. Drop the archive footage into your 4K timeline and scale it to where you need. You might find it looks just fine for what it is - old archive SD footage.

Ron Howard’s films often contain heaps of archive film or video and make great use of it. Look at ‘Apollo 13’ or ‘Frost / Nixon’. Sometimes the footage is played out to monitors on set (or perhaps in some cases composited, not sure) or is blown up to fill the entire cinema screen. The quality is often pretty bad, but that’s fine, it’s all part of the history.

Hope this helps!

sony_crt.jpg
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Help with workflow: old SD TV archive filmed with a 4K camera 14 Aug 2019 20:10 #100884

  • FCPX.guru
  • FCPX.guru's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Platinum Boarder
  • bbalser.com
  • Posts: 2824
  • Thank you received: 372
  • Karma: 34
Just a note; Do not assume just because we watched SD TV back then it was poor quality. Broadcast quality was very good back then. Check out MeTV, retro TV from the 50's and 60's with pristine quality. Degraded video is not what was being watched on TV in 2002.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Help with workflow: old SD TV archive filmed with a 4K camera 14 Aug 2019 23:32 #100886

  • manoucho
  • manoucho's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Platinum Boarder
  • Posts: 578
  • Thank you received: 46
  • Karma: 3
@John Thank you, this is very useful indeed. I was under the impression that some algos can scale up SD footage better than just what FCPX would do. The film will be in the UK so your experience is helpful as well.

@Ben yes that's actually what I've been wondering. I was never under the impression that what I was watching was crap. So option 1. it was and we were used to it, or option 2. we have used bad digitization ??
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Help with workflow: old SD TV archive filmed with a 4K camera 15 Aug 2019 03:16 #100888

  • FCPX.guru
  • FCPX.guru's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Platinum Boarder
  • bbalser.com
  • Posts: 2824
  • Thank you received: 372
  • Karma: 34
Well... if I understand, and I'm not sure I do, what your goal is, if you want to show full HD screen what's being watched on the TV, I'd recommend a trick we did many years ago when something similar came up. We did not go full screen with the SD image, we enlarged it just a little, not enough to degrade it too, too much. Placed it inside the TV set which filled up the rest of the HD screen. Tripod and carefully lined up a DSLR on the TV set itself, take a good photo. Then mask out the interior of the screen, place the SD footage "inside" the set.

Now, as for quality, if your target audience is older, get as clean an SD image as you can. For a younger audience, degrade that SD signal with some noise or something. Younger folks think SD was really bad (it wasn't unless you were watching a cable public access channel) to cater to that. Just saying, something to think about.

CRT all the way. As stated, flat-screen was fairly new-ish then, so I'd use an old CRT to sell it. I'd even look up what was selling in 2002 and see if I could find one of those cheap on eBay. You may have someone like me watch your film and point out that TV set was discontinued by 2002. HA-HA!
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Help with workflow: old SD TV archive filmed with a 4K camera 15 Aug 2019 09:20 #100894

  • arc
  • arc's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Expert Boarder
  • Posts: 86
  • Thank you received: 11
  • Karma: 1
I am not 100% sure what your end result will be but the video link below might be worth watching for a multitude of reasons. Older CRT monitors can have flat screens. Flat screen simply means a flat screen. Some CRT monitors were vertically flat but horizontally they still had a curve. The CRT TV in the video is horizontal flat and vertically flat. I image that is what type of flat screen TV they would have used in 2002. You can upscale SD video but just how much depends on the quality of the video. VHS might let you upscale 120% percent while HI-8 might let you upscale 180%. If the individual hair follicles end up look like rabbit fur you up-scaled to much. I used a Canopus ADVC 110 to capture the video. Premiere Pro can playback to an NTSC monitor using the Canopus ADVC 110 but FCPX cannot. FCPX can playback a SD timeline to an old NTSC TV using the BMD Intensity Shuttle. I can say that outputting to an old CRT TV using FCPX and the Intensity Shuttle will look fantastic. I would also like to ad that the Intensity Shuttle can capture uncompressed 10 bit but it cannot capture old VHS tapes with out a TBC. I should also ad I am not saying the ADVC 110 is your best bet.

The administrator has disabled public write access.

Help with workflow: old SD TV archive filmed with a 4K camera 17 Aug 2019 01:13 #100927

  • haysoos123
  • haysoos123's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Platinum Boarder
  • Posts: 389
  • Thank you received: 70
  • Karma: 6
What are the characters watching on TV? In office, in a break room or something like that? And it's just normal broadcast TV?

I don't know if the other poster was misremembering, but 16x9 CRT TVs were not really that common. Certainly, most offices depending on the type of company would not have them. They would most likely just have a normal 4x3 CRT TV. What type is up to you... I would think about it in storytelling terms. It's a prop that can help tell the story after all. Is it a high-end ad firm in New York? Maybe THEY would have a fancy 16x9 flat Trinitron CRT tube, or even an early HDTV. Is it an old-school plumber's office with a similarly old-school, old tube? Does the office have cable, satellite (so pretty much a clean picture), or just rabbit ears or an indoor antenna which could have transmission problems at times?

You should think about putting a green signal on the TV (with cross marks to help tracking). Then, comp in the screen later. This is often done, especially for extended scenes where people are watching TV. This is because it's very difficult to maintain continuity in the playback of the TV while you're shooting the actors in different angles. This is why you often see kind of questionable comp jobs even on high end shows. I've seen it done well, and I've seen it look really fake. The details matter a lot: reflections on the screen, the subtle curvature of the tube if it has any, the "bloom" of the CRT phosphors.

If you choose to shoot the actual program playing on the TV, be aware that there could be flicker issues if your shutter angle is not in sync with the refresh rate of the TV. Most high end cameras have a 'clear' mode that lessens this flicker. Of course the DP should be aware of this and take care of it (not to mention the exposure difficulties of CRTs that often appear very bright and could easily blow-out).
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Help with workflow: old SD TV archive filmed with a 4K camera 17 Aug 2019 04:31 #100929

  • arc
  • arc's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Expert Boarder
  • Posts: 86
  • Thank you received: 11
  • Karma: 1
You should think about putting a green signal on the TV (with cross marks to help tracking). Then, comp in the screen later. This is often done, especially for extended scenes where people are watching TV. This is because it's very difficult to maintain continuity in the playback of the TV while you're shooting the actors in different angles. This is why you often see kind of questionable comp jobs even on high end shows. I've seen it done well, and I've seen it look really fake. The details matter a lot: reflections on the screen, the subtle curvature of the tube if it has any, the "bloom" of the CRT phosphors.


Wouldn't it be better to just place bright green construction paper to the glass of the monitor if it will be keyed out later? Having said that I don't think it will be keyed out.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Help with workflow: old SD TV archive filmed with a 4K camera 17 Aug 2019 13:44 #100937

  • FCPX.guru
  • FCPX.guru's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Platinum Boarder
  • bbalser.com
  • Posts: 2824
  • Thank you received: 372
  • Karma: 34
In the past, I've just put tape on the corners, when the camera is moving across the room. That gives me tracking points to anchor an image to. But that was mostly because back in the day it was tricky to record a live TV screen without getting the interlace flickering. Today, that's not so much an issue. Today, I'd play the image live on the TV. Save yourself a lot of time in post. And your characters' reactions are much more authentic.
Last Edit: 17 Aug 2019 13:45 by FCPX.guru.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Help with workflow: old SD TV archive filmed with a 4K camera 21 Aug 2019 02:32 #100994

  • manoucho
  • manoucho's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Platinum Boarder
  • Posts: 578
  • Thank you received: 46
  • Karma: 3
Guys,

I'm immensely grateful for the answers, and I apologize for the late answer, lots of work lately.

The setup is very simple: the actors are watching the news on TV (high end office). But those news come from TV footage from 2002, and as you can imagine what the TV channel will give me won't be more than SD.

Green screen is not an option as that would add too much to postproduction.

@arc, very interesting setup you have here. I must admit my complete ignorance with the equipment you mention. Is that expensive to get or rent ?
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Help with workflow: old SD TV archive filmed with a 4K camera 21 Aug 2019 04:36 #100996

  • arc
  • arc's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Expert Boarder
  • Posts: 86
  • Thank you received: 11
  • Karma: 1
If you don't need to capture old VHS tapes you can use the Intensity Shuttle ($190.00) and FCPX to output to the old NTSC/PAL monitors. You can drop HD video into the SD timeline/sequence. The Canopus ADVC 110 is no longer made but you can buy them on ebay. Having said that any IEEE Fire Wire DV converter will work for capturing VHS tapes.


The administrator has disabled public write access.

Help with workflow: old SD TV archive filmed with a 4K camera 22 Aug 2019 03:53 #101014

  • manoucho
  • manoucho's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Platinum Boarder
  • Posts: 578
  • Thank you received: 46
  • Karma: 3
Thank you Arc.

I don't need to capture any VHS tape indeed. Here is the workflow with some questions:
- I will receive some digital, SD archive footage from the TV station (is there any point in enlarging that ?)
- I will edit it, and add some graphic design and voiceover, and export a final film (in SD?)

While shooting, it's probably best for us to have as little hardware around. I was thinking using a hidden computer (with FCPX or Premiere Pro or Quicktime?) or even a DVD player, unless you think I will lose quality ?

Thanks to the great answers in the forum, I've decided to use a CRT screen. Only, I will take the fanciest I can find (high end office).

@Ben. Tip to show the footage full HD duly noted. Thank you. (Although I probably won't need this in the film, it's good to have the option).

I'm so happy about this community, as always.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Help with workflow: old SD TV archive filmed with a 4K camera 22 Aug 2019 04:12 #101015

  • arc
  • arc's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Expert Boarder
  • Posts: 86
  • Thank you received: 11
  • Karma: 1
Your best bet would be to get the Intensity Shuttle. You can use Premiere Pro but FCPX will output to an old broadcast compliant monitor provided you are using a 720X480 NTSC timeline/sequence (you might need to use PAL) The motion graphics will look super smooth on the broadcast compliant monitor. Much better than on your computer screen. Having said that Premiere Pro can allow you to use the Intensity Shuttle in ways it was not intended to be used for playback. I love having the Intensity Shuttle for real-time playback. It is my favorite piece of hardware. You might find the link below helpful.

The administrator has disabled public write access.

Help with workflow: old SD TV archive filmed with a 4K camera 22 Aug 2019 04:54 #101017

  • manoucho
  • manoucho's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Platinum Boarder
  • Posts: 578
  • Thank you received: 46
  • Karma: 3
Thanks a lot ! A blessing to have you onboard.
The administrator has disabled public write access.