Friday, 10 February 2012

Getty Images Gallery - EAST exhibition preview

Westfield Stratford City is home to a Getty Images pop-up Gallery which is currently displaying their EAST exhibition, a collection of black and white photographs set in east London over decades gone by, and Toast's Sylvie went along to the preview last night.

When we think of East London now we think of Dalston cool kids and hip Shoreditch haunts (and also on occasion Pat Butcher's humungous earrings), but EAST shows archive images from Getty's vaults that take us back in time to the heart of east London and truly captures its working class spirit.

The candid photographs feature classic pearly kings, rag and bone men and a royal visit from King George VI and the Queen Mother. 

The exhibition is on display from 10th February until 18th March and it's definitely worth a visit. The images are available to purchase. Good news for our walls, bad news for our bank accounts!

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Red Epic camera vs Arri Alexa

Having recently worked on a few moving image projects with leading DOP Brendan McGinty, we asked him why he prefers the Red Epic camera system over the Arri Alexa.

Brendan said: "At the moment the Red Epic camera is the highest resolution motion camera in the world, capable of a massive 5K resolution."

The chart below shows how large 5K resolution is when compared to the Alexa's HD.

And below is a frame grab comparison of what this extra resolution means in terms of sharpness
These are the magnified corners of a resolution chart shot with the same lens, same light etc on an Alexa and on the Epic. This was an independent ratified test by the ASC in the States. 

The Epic (on the right) is significantly sharper and its resolution holds the fine detail to the outer edges of the circle, where the Alexa falls off into some quite apparent 'aliasing' ( the ringing / reversed circles ). 

This fine detail rendering of the Epic is particularly crucial for composite work.

All this makes pretty good sense but here's the bit we didn't know; the Epic provides a considerable level of resolution that you then sharpen to your taste. The chosen level of sharpening is never baked in to the Raw R3D files, but rather optional. This is considered the beauty of shooting Raw. 

By comparison the post-processed-HD-footage that emerges from 'prosumer' or 'broadcast' HD cameras is filled with false detail, ramped up electronic sharpening or edge enhancement with no increase in scene detail. All this is widely considered not so good news for serious composite work.

Ok, so producers and their clients don't hit the panic button when they first see the rushes coming in to the edit suites the pictures that emerge from today's cinema cameras ( Arri's Alexa Raw, Phantom's Flex, The Epic or even a 4K film scan) generate images that appear 'soft' but are in fact far more detailed than any others going. 

They are images that are simply waiting to be sharpened to the levels you desire without the ringing, aliasing and bristling that is 'baked-in' to the pictures from lower-end HD cameras.

But, as with everything in the world of the moving image industry, by the time it's written it's all change.