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ZAP Uses Tachyon 6’s New Low Frame Rate Converter for Challenging, Theatrical-Grade Conversions

Published: March 15th 2016
 “We do post finishing on many documentaries for theatrical and broadcast. Many films come to us with mixed frame rate source materials – most commonly SD and HD 29.97 fps interlaced, destined for a 23.98 progressive HD master. We’ve relied on Tachyon for four years to do the best frame rate conversions, removing pulldown from film original transfers, or for motion compensating interlaced sources and scaling up to HD. But for completed films that come to us already mastered in 29.97i, we tend to use a hardware solution to make a real-time format conversion to 23.98 for theatrical DCP; this is because we can charge less for this service and provide a decent solution (the hardware processor adds some motion blur to minimize strobey-ness and other motion artifacts, but at a cost of softening the image in general).

But last week, we had a very challenging project; a 60 minute documentary that was shot over 3 years with hand held small digital video cameras with small aperture and tight shutter angle. The combination of sharpness and very shaky handheld videography in a small and chaotic retail environment (a nail salon) meant the source material presented great difficulties to our real-time hardware converter. We tried dialing in many settings into the box for motion compensation, but no matter what we tried we got results that were wanting.

We hadn’t suggested the Tachyon solution on this project as the cost was beyond our clients’ limited budget. But we did a 5 minute test to see what the results would look like. The resulting 23.98P conversion from Tachyon was such a vast improvement over the hardware box that our client found a way to pay for the improved conversion. More importantly, the film will look great on the big screen where strobey-ness and motion artifacts such as judder can be very apparent.

The new Tachyon 6 low frame rate conversion solution opens up even more opportunity for our business, and the results are truly excellent.”

– Kim Aubry, ZAP Zoetrope Aubry Productions