During the August meeting of Rochester Movie Makers, Derrick Petrush of D Train Media shared the following pointers during his presentation titled “Improving Your Digital Filmmaking: Five Things You Can Do to Make Your Production Better.”
Always shoot in progressive scan
- Progressive scan offers clean, full images for every frame.
- The images are easier to filter and rescale.
- It offers cleaner compression.
- Progressive scan is always denoted with a ‘p’ for progressive, after the resolution (i.e., 720 p, 1080 p).
- All cinema cameras have progressive scan, but video cameras may shoot in progressive or in interlaced.
About the interlaced format: It was invented in the 1920’s, and the images are split into two fields. It allowed 30 fps to display 60 images per second. As a result, the edges can have “combed” or jagged edges that is unattractive on most platforms.
Progressive imagery can be stored as interlaced in order to maintain compatibility with traditional video systems (e.g., mini-dv, HDV, etc.). Progressive scans are not currently supported in video display, except in 720 p, on systems in North America. In order to work and edit in progressive, interlacing must be “undone” prior to editing.
Always shoot in 24 frames per second (24 fps)
- 24 fps is the standard cinema frame rate, and it is compatible to all uses including cinema, internet, streaming, on demand, Blu-ray, etc. Film and projection runs at this speed. Very few cameras shoot this frame rate, but all true “Digital Cameras” support it.
- It is easily convertible for broadcast in North America by the Telecine[i] It is easily convertible to European broadcast by speeding up 4%.
- 24 fps may actually be 23.976 fps, depending on platform, and the two are compatible, not interchangeable.
- 976 fps is for NTSC broadcast compatibility, as it can easily fit into 29.97 fps via the Telecine process.
- In 1953, as a protocol, 1 frame per 1000 was dropped, to add color to the broadcast signal. That dropped frame concept carried over into digital video broadcast.
- Always shoot in the highest resolution possible, within reason, depending on the camera and format:
- 480 NTSC
- 576 PAL
- 720 P
- 1080 P
- 2K Digital Cinema
- 7 K Arri Alexa
- 4 K Red One, Sony F5, Canon C500
- 5 K Red Epic
- 6 K Red Dragon
- There are two primary Resolutions used in cinemas across the U.S. at this time: 2K and 4K. Most in Monroe County are 2K.
- 1080p and 2K are very close in size. 1080 p will be upsized slightly to fit a 2K cinema.
- Shooting in higher resolution allows for:
- Increased image quality and decreased noise
- Flexibility in reframing
- Ability to remaster to a higher resolution in the future.
Some cameras offer the possibility to access the RAW data from the camera, which has both up and downsides.
- Big frames take up big data and require big processing power.
- At some point, it’s overkill.
- Use your best judgment on working with RAW data – balance the time and money against the quality needed.
- 4K, 2K or 1080p offers a great viewing experience. You don’t need to feel that the quality will be sacrificed if shooting in 1080p.
Always Edit Natively or in post-production codec
- Edit in a workspace native to your camera (e.g., DVCPro HD)
- Use an intermediate/working codec like Apple Pro Res or Avid DNxHD.
- Be aware that some codecs cannot be worked in natively, such as most variants of MPEG.
- Processor time can be spent on effects and fast response time.
- If you shoot in a non-edit-ready format, transcode prior to editing.
Make a Master File
- Make a file with your final, fully rendered, finished movie in a single file.
- Be sure that it is created in your working codec for minimal processing and faithful reproduction.
- It can be easily converted for finishing and distribution.
- Making encodes for deliverables is faster and easier to automate.
- The movie is already rendered and all processor time can be dedicated to conversion.
Don’t forget the Sound!
- A viewer will watch a film with somewhat faulty imaging, they won’t watch a film where the sound is substandard.
We thank Derrick Petrush and Rochester Movie Makers for allowing us to share the summary of Derrick’s presentation.
Derrick Petrush is the owner and mastermind behind the company,
Derrick is a native and lifelong resident of Rochester, Derrick’s Digital Cinematography has been causing a stir in the Western New York production arena. Derrick and his crew are ever determined to breathe new life into our market with fresh talent and production value at affordable rates.
Derrick Petrush is an active member of the Upstate NY production community. He’s a member of the Rochester Advertising Federation, Rochester Film Lab, and currently sits on the board of Rochester Movie Makers.
To contact Derrick, email info@DTrainMedia.com, call 585.586.7980 or visit dtrainmedia.com/gallery to see his work.
[i] Telecine is the process of transferring motion picture film into digital video format.