Kodak will again be presenting a case for using Super-16 film for High Definition at NAB this year. From TV Technology, here’s the announcement.
16mm is hardly just for penny-pinching film students anymore. In fact, it hasn’t been for quite a while, especially since the advent of Super 16, which can achieve remarkable HD quality these days (as long as it provides that required 16:9 aspect ratio). Upgrades to Kodak’s Super 16mm film system–designed for HD and SD television–will be on display at the NAB show. The Kodak Vision2 HD System uses a new type of film with an advanced hybrid motion-imaging processing technology that takes advantage of proprietary Kodak coloring techniques. High-profile Kodak Super 16 HD motion pictures already aired have included “The Dale Earnhardt Story” last December on ESPN, and the mini-series “The Reagans” for CBS (which aired only on Showtime after a political firestorm over its portrayal of the former president).
Kodak said its new HD-worthy film system is designed to take advantage of breakthroughs in emulsion and film scanning technologies, enabling cinematographers to maximize production values and the “superior quality of a film look” with the flexibility of using 16 mm cameras. The system combines the Kodak Vision2 HD Color Scan Film 7299 with Kodak’s HD Digital Processor, which is a post production tool used to adjust digital files of scanned film to imitate the imaging of any Kodak negative–including “film elements” of grain, contrast and colors.
It’s interesting to note that a number of filmmakers I know in New York have reported an upsurge of 16mm use. One thing that may account for this is while many filmmakers who shot their first features on DV want to move up to film, the portability you give up with 35mm (unless shooting with a Aaton 35-III) is a problem. Shooting in 16mm gives you small, mobile cameras that weight less than their HD counterparts (Panasonic’s Varicam and Sony’s Cine Alta) and with the new postproduction options, small 16mm or Super 16 cameras can provide you with spectacular images that only a few years ago required shooting in 35mm. Now you can get that quality in 16mm. It’s not just about cost: 16mm cameras are more portable, mobile, and downright more usable in many shooting situations. And with the ease of mixing film originated material, DV material, and HD material when editing with a master high definition format like DVCPROHD 720p at 24p on a Final Cut Pro system, one can really choose the right medium for different scenes. There’s no reason not to mix film and various video formats in one piece these days, and bringing everything together into a common format for final editing.