There is really no questio

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There is really no question that using unadulterated video will provide higher quality than efx’d video. So if you have easy access to the artwork, there’s no reason you can’t shoot by hand and get exactly what you desire.

In case you care, here’s the problem with using your stills. Zooming into a bit-mapped graphic is no different than cropping the image (or the electronic zoom.) Whether you start with 2.4 meg or a 12 meg photo, there is a point in cropping where the dpi & size combined becomes less than the number of required pixels. So your first step should be to crop the photo to your maximum desired zoom and examine the image. I’m guessing you’ll find the source of the degradation once you do this. Keep in mind that pixels in a photo are like film grain, the closer you zoom, the bigger they get. If the cropped photo, enlarged to TV size still looks sharp, We should look elsewhere.

Another problem spot is in the file type. Except for .BMP’s (and RAW’s?), all still image formats are compressed in one way or another. During the calculations required to expand the image ever & ever larger, tiny errors are accumulating into a kind a pixel soup. This would be a variable dependent upon the algorithms used to perform the the compressing & decompressing. So there may be an upward limit of zooming for each set of codecs (or the rules for saving & opening files.)

But come on, if we could just enlarge a photo like they do on crime shows, we wouldn’t actually need to shoot close ups. The amount of enlargement any image can sustain is limited by the data in the file. Film is limited by grain, digital files by the data encoding & file size. But both constitute real limits. A common error we make is when we zoom in to half the size of original image we think we are ignoring half the data. Actually it is three-quarters of the data we are ignoring. So if we start with a 8×10 inch print and reduce it by half to a 4×5 print, the 4×5 only uses one fourth of the available data. (8×10 is 80 square inches, 4×5 is 20 square inches and 20 divided by 80 is 1/4th.) So we are not realizing how much we’re throwing out when we zoom in.

Now if we apply this math to your zooming situation, I’m pretty sure your final frame is less than than what we call halving the frame size. Going from the full image of a typical painting into what is generally considered a detail shot for a painting reduces the dimensions of the frame by more than 1/8th. So if we have a 8 foot by 10 painting, we are talking about a one foot by one and quarter foot area, it’s a size where brush strokes can be clearly seen. But let’s jump up to the two foot by two and a half feet size. Simple math reveals that from 80 square feet of data to 5 square feet of data is a reduction of 1/16th in data used. So If you started with a 16 meg file, you are now dealing with merely a 2 meg file. But both images are being displayed at the same size & resolution. So you gotta think we’ll notice a quality loss pretty soon. Now to avoid this problem, you’d have to start with a mosaic of mammoth proportions. But it can be done.

Still, I think you’re the kinda dude who wants to show the delicate details you can’t see from books & reprints. You can probably work out the details for electronic zooming. But there’s a reason pros use optical zooms. And you’re not going to be satisfied with adequate. To get excellence in images you are best served by recording the real thing. And I think it is tons more fun to shoot artwork than push pixels around anyway.

Good luck with whatever you decide.

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