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[filmscanners] Re: film and scanning vs digital photography



On Jul 4, 2007, at 11:28 PM, Arthur Entlich wrote:

> However, if the same processing that is done to digital images in
> camera were done to the film image, a lot of the grain could be
> suppressed.

Yeah, but would you want to suppress the grain? I did a test for a
video camera manufacturer last year. They were interested in seeing
if their mpeg encoder would be practical in a telecine situation. To
the encoder the grain structure is just noise, so it ground away
ruthlessly trying to suppress as much of the "noise" as possible. The
up side was that 720p transfers of 8mm footage were possible and
looked pretty decent. The down side was that if you stopped on a
frame and examined it closely there was a sort of cross-hatch
aliasing pattern all over the image where the mpeg encoder had tried
to smooth out that hideous noise that seemed to be absolutely
everywhere. At the end of the day the thoughts of the engineers were
that to get close to an acceptable mpeg compromise would result in
very large files and require a lot of processing power to encode
them. The market was really too small for them to bother.
Uncompressed video still seems to be the best format for capturing
telecine passes.

IMO, most "noise reduction" attempts at reducing grain in scanned
film looks bad. I use ICE occasionally or Noise Ninja sometimes in
selected problem areas and then fade it a bit to reduce the grain
when something is particularly grainy, but it can look really bad if
you aren't careful. The ideal situation, IMO, will arrive when
scanning at resolutions sufficient to completely and accurately
reproduce the grain structure exist and are practical for
photographic use. Look here:

http://www.imx.nl/photosite/technical/Filmbasics/filmbasics.html

See the 400x magnification? If that level of capture detail existed
in your film scans and you had no issues with aliasing I think it
would be pretty significant. The files will be enormous, though, and
you'd have to really enjoy the artifacts of the medium to even
bother. I'd bother, though. I imagine it will be another decade
before that kind of technology is accessible to people for fine arts
use in any practical sense, but I'll be at the head of the line.

-Rob

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