October 6 2012, 04:06 PM
Re: Season TWO OFFICIAL TNG Blu-Ray Discussion Thread
Enterprise on blu ray? Well, I'll be damned. Did not expect that coming out before the completion of TNG Remastered. Crazy thing is I would probably buy it. One, to show my support for Star Trek on blu ray and two to give the show a second chance after it tanked so badly on its original run (I personally hated the show back then). But how will they do it if the CGI is supposed to be in 720p? Thats too low for blu ray.
It worked for Firefly and I believe Battlestar Galactica. Both shows had there FX rendered at 720P.
Correction. The Firefly-Effects were done in 480P and upconverted for the Blu-Ray.
Doug Drexler who worked on the effects for TNG, DS9, Firefly, Serenity and Battlestar posted this about FX created in 720P. Very interesing read:
RE: CGI@720 VS 1080
I’ve seen a lot of discussion about the fact that the CGI on BSG is rendered “only” at 720 and upscaled to 1080 for the final. Everyone should understand that render time was the LEAST important factor in this decision.
The fact is, at 1080, the CG just came out WAY too crisp. When intercut with the live action (or even composited), the CG popped off the screen and didn’t match the look and feel of the rest of the show. I’m sure all of you have had the experience of watching computer generated material on a flat panel or other high quality display and noticed just how razor-sharp it can look. It can often appear unaturally crisp.
This was the case with BSG. In tests, footage rendered at 720 and upscaled later naturally took on a slight softness which made it a much better match with the live action footage. THIS was the most important deciding factor in going with 720 (the break in render time, you could say, was a happy side effect).
The over-sharpness of CG is actually something I’m always fighting even in my own projects. It’s one of the things that “gives it away” if you’re trying to make a render look photoreal.
When I was creating images for the “Ships of the Line” Star Trek calendar series, one of the little tricks I came up with was to manually trace the edges of the ships in Photoshop with the blur tool – it made a night and day difference in the overall perception of the ships looking real. In reality, objects in photographs simply do not have those razor-sharp edges, which is what you get “out of the box” with anything in CG. Rendering at 720 and adding a little bit of grain goes a long way towards combating that effect.
If I were to supervise the visual effects for a movie RIGHT NOW, I would probably do something similar and render at a slightly lower res. Nearly every time I’ve either done or witnessed tests of CG, the results are always the same – you can get away with MUCH lower resolution than you think.
When I was working on Serenity, there was a lot of arguing between the Lightwave and Maya artists about texture resolution. The Maya folks, who had worked on a lot of big movies, swore up and down that, for a movie, your texture maps had to be AT LEAST 4k or else the models would look like crap.
The Lightwave artists, who had mostly come from TV projects, said that was bullshit and lower res maps would hold up just fine.
But something had to be done, because 2 gigs of RAM was the maximum our machines could utilize at the time, and the shots were choking on all those hi-res image maps.
So, we all agreed to do a test. We rendered 4 versions of identical shots in which the models had image maps of 4k, 2k, 1k and 512 pixels. Then we went to a theater and screened them all to see what differences we could visually perceive.
My favorite moment was hearing the Maya guys in the back go “wow, I can’t even see the difference between the 4k and 512 versions!”
Yes, the Lightwave folks walked out of that test screening very smug.
We deciced to use 1k maps for everything, and if an object got REALLY close to camera, we’d up it to 2k.
I think we did render everything at 1080, but I’m sure, even for a movie, you could get away with 720 and upres it. No one would know the difference.
In fact, the upcoming Blu-Ray release of FIREFLY is going to be interesting. All the effects on that show were rendered in standard def only! So it’s going to be a mish-mash of 1080 live action and 480 CGI. Will anyone notice? I bet not.