Recently received a 444 HDCAM SR of a finished film project. The video is of high quality and was mastered at a reputable facility out of NY. We don’t see many 444 tapes so curiosity got me and I took a look at it on a scope. The bars line up as expected, but in viewing the program the whites frequently peak above .7 which is quite unexpected compared to the tv projects we work on which are almost always under control. It actually peaks more like a home grown/amateur video master that we do often see.
So that made me wonder, if by chance if this is a D.I. ready for film out, are video levels more relaxed for that purpose?
I know there is super white in RGB, not sure if this is related.
To simply answer your question; yes – film has more latitude than a conventional video master and so a DI master will as well… Typical CPD log range is 64-685 where 685 is 90% white on a grey card. So there is latitude above 685 for super-whites, etc that film can handle. Spectral highlights can go much higher at times, but one needs to be wary of going too high as whites above 940 or so can overload the laser on the film-out.
Generally speaking a projection master (4:4:4 or 4:2:2) that simply has the viewing LUT baked in, can have levels from 0 – 1024 and needs an additional video color pass to create a broadcast legal master honed for a television rather than projection or film-out.
For more information on Cineon Print Density, you can see the official PDF with lots of graphs of curves!