Optical Process Chart

For Class #7

 Instructor: Norman Hollyn T.A.: Beth Moody
 Office: 310-821-2792 Phone: 323-472-1164

 E-Mail: nhollyn [at] cinema.usc.edu

E-Mail: elizabethmoody [at] gmail.com

In general, there are two ways to manipulate the already shot negative image, that is, to create opticals. The traditional film process shoots new negative using an optical printer (essentially a camera which is pointed at your original negative and allows a wide variety of manipulations to be performed on it). The CGI process puts each necessary frame into a powerful computer which then manipulates the images. The resulting effect is then scanned back out onto a new piece of negative.

There are plusses and minuses to each process, though cost is probably the only factor left in the traditional film's favor. Even that is fast disappearing. The copying of the negative onto IP creates a loss of image clarity and adds grain. CGI is often faster, more interactive (the editor and director can usually see the new effect on the computer before it is output to film), and has no generational loss. It is also possible to create more complex effects. It is also fast becoming just as cheap as film for even the simplest of effects -- fades and dissolves.

The chart below compares the paths that an optical would take from original shot negative to the creation of the new negative.


Though I've tried to accomodate other browsers THIS SITE IS DESIGNED FOR BEST USE WITH IE for the PC, SAFARI for the Mac, and FIREFOX for both the PC and the Mac. It also looks reasonably good on the iPhone. Lucked out on that!

All material, except where noted, ©1999-2008 by Norman Hollyn. Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Send me an e-mail at my office
Last Modified - September 30, 2008