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Super16mm Film Makes a HD Comeback But The BBC Says That It Is Not HD:

DPP Delivery Standards… You up to code on what is expected of you to successfully deliver broadcast-able programming? Did you know Super16mm film is making a late surge to get on the HD only TV channels?

Super16mm Film

The Digital Production Partnership (DPP) is a not-for-profit partnership funded and led by the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 with representation from Sky, Channel 5, S4/C, UKTV and BT Sport. The DPP leads the standardisation of technical and metadata requirements within the UK broadcast industry.

Did you know the BBC website says Super16mm is still not HD regardless of what the Digital Production Partnership has recommended for Super16mm film commissioned programmes?

In the end it’s no big deal how the BBC website sees Super16mm film as long as it gets the green light for shows to be shot on it.

So let’s move on to the real news that Super16mm film is A-OK to be aired as HD according to the DPP Super16mm Supplement which can be found with their technical requirements for the delivery of TV programmes to UK broadcasters.

Here is a little rip from the DPP Super16mm Supplement:

Film Stock and Processing

Where Super16mm (S16mm) film is used for acquisition in new productions, the full quality potential inherent in today’s film stock must be used, taking into account the entire production chain from shooting to postproduction.
Excessive grain can create distracting artefacts where high compression rates are used, significantly reducing the image quality delivered to the audience.

Film Requirements

The following require special attention:

• Only high quality film emulsions must be used preferably with an exposure index of 250 or less.
• Modern emulsion technology offers a wide dynamic range (currently around16 f-stops). However, proper exposure of the film stock is essential. Excessive granularity by underexposure, causing noise in the darker areas of the image, should be avoided if at all possible.
• S16mm film should be de-grained, however to prevent a loss of resolution, de-graining must be used sparingly. To keep de-graining to a minimum, film speeds that meet production requirements should be used with adequate lighting so there is no need to push the film during processing.
• Only lenses with high resolution, excellent MTF factor and minimal chromatic aberration should be used.
• In the camera, the entire available area of the negative frame must be used.
• The negative must be thoroughly cleaned before final transfer.
• High definition or 2k film scanning is preferred.
• All subsequent finishing post-production must be carried out at a minimum of 185Mbs.

Here is what the BBC website is saying about Super16mm film:

Film for High Definition Acquisition

Super16 film is not considered to be high definition no matter what processing or transfer systems are used.

The following 35mm film types and stock are acceptable for high definition acquisition;
• 3 perf – any exposure index although an exposure index of 250 or less is preferred.
• 2 perf – only if daylight stock with an exposure index of 250 or less is used
To avoid causing problems with high definition transmission encoding film should be well exposed and not forced more than one stop.

The BBC does have a little note on that statement which directs you back to the DPP: “Requirements for programmes commissioned to acquire on Super16mm film can be found here.
Well that’s clear then!

Forgot what film can do / looks like if handled correctly?

Feast on this from KODAK, their VISION3 500T Colour Negative Film 5219/7219:

So there you have it Super16mm film still looks great, the DPP says handle it right for a HD broadcast world, and the Beeb says it’s not HD but follow what the DPP says for you to follow to get it to air.

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