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Old March 14th, 2004, 10:55 AM   #1
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curious about video or film background

How many of you guys started using this with a video background as opposed to a film background. I see more curiosity from film folks and wondered if that was related to who used this?
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Old March 19th, 2004, 08:31 AM   #2
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My background was camera for live broadcast video, event coverage (better way of saying fashion shows & weddings) before owning the mini35 system.

I might be stretching it to say that if currently you do not shoot on video in all manual mode, then using the mini35 will pose quite a challenge for you. There is far more planning involved and you should forget that the camera's electronics are going to focus, zoom and control light for you - it does not work that way.

What you should expect shooting with the mini35 is what you'd find if you were shooting on film. I'm real tired of the skeptics, whiners and complainers of the mini35 because they ask for too much out of nothing. Good film making or just good shooting in general will always require skill, talent and perhaps a bit "artistic" element to it. Too many people have digital video cameras these and want miracles from something that only costs $999.

The mini35 is the best tool I've ever used. The mini35 will give you the depth of field found when using 35mm lenses which is what you get when you shoot with 35 film. I will not dismiss the other differences between the two mediums - but each of course have their pros and cons.

Now I'm getting real off topic here but I have to share this story with the members here. I'm a relatively new independent filmmaker to the scene and my goal is exposure and to crank many high quality short films per year. My last short film was screened at the 2004 Kingston Film Festival here in Canada last month and was greatly received. I expect it to screen at other Canadian film festivals throughout the year. It is a 6 minute short film shot with the mini35 and Canon XL1se (Yes I use PAL). I own the mini35 so it cost me nothing to make, I already have expressed interested by a few potential broadcasters who pick up shorts to air on their channels.

A fellow film maker shot a short film on 35mm film which costed approximately $20,000 from production to post to make. Due to lack in funding it screens on DVD (720x480 incase I need to remind anyone) and projected digitally looks no better or worse than my short. Now because it was shot on 35mm film it is somewhat expected to screen on 35mm film - but because the footage was telecined into digital, edited digitally in post production, tweaked, had a complex cut - a 35mm print would not look the same as what was created digitally. The option which remains is to now go from the digital master back to 35mm which for this particular short will cost $10,000.

For what it cost so far you could have bought a mini35 and then put a nice down payment on a new car. You might ask well why was it shot on 35mm film then? For the look of course!

Does this piss off the people in the "industry" who are seasoned 35mm camera & film users? YES it does. I spoke with many of them who criticized my film, told me it had flaws yet the festivals and potential buyers I speak to have no problems with it. Why? Because the average viewer can not tell the difference and to be honest I don't think even with the trained and critcal eye of a seasoned 35mm vetran is the a major difference.

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Old March 19th, 2004, 09:42 AM   #3
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You are looking at this from the wrong angle. You are saying that if your friend had shot with the mini35 system to begin with he could have saved a lot of money and had just as good an image as his 35mm final product and that this makes film users upset.

However, you miss the point that your friend transferred to digital from film and stayed all digital from that point. If he had edited on film originally, he would have had the flexibility for dvd, hd, and theatre film projection, all much cheaper than trying to transfer from digital back to film.

I also question whether transfering from digital to film would be cheaper than just editing the original footage. The transfer back to film might even be unviewable.

If it cost $20,000 from start to finish that is no indication of the cost of digital production vs film production costs.

In any case, if his original goal was theatre projection then he did the right thing. If he had shot on mini35 and then wanted to transfer to 35mm film, it would have been unviewable.
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Old March 19th, 2004, 10:16 AM   #4
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I guess what I'm saying is that for the approach this particular person took with their "35mm" film they might as well have used the mini35. I think editing on digital was the mistake they made but they probably did it due to inexperience or lack of money. I'm not sure.

Also I'm not sure how close you are to the film circuit scene, but if you take your film to a festival and tell everyone you shot on 35mm but are projecting on DVD the first question they ask is why are you projecting it on DVD. When you tell people you shot on digital and your film looks "above" what is expected from digital, if people are impressed with the work somehow they can easily "forget" that it was digital much easier.

You are right though - the most important thing to consider when chosing a format is knowing how you intend to exhibit the final product.

As for your comment that mini35 footage transferred to 35mm is unviewable - I don't know what you base this statement on when there are many 35mm projected films that originated on digital which look fine.
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Old March 19th, 2004, 10:43 AM   #5
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Correct me if I'm wrong. The mini35 system is taking the image off a ground glass. Since a ground glass is refractive and, essentially, blurs the image, I would think that blowing it up to 35mm and projecting it would look gawdawful.
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Old March 19th, 2004, 11:22 AM   #6
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My experience with the Mini35 leads me to believe that the ground glass does not contribute to a softening to a degree where blowup would be out of the question, no more so than the artifacts present in standard DV to 35mm blowup. The issues of compression, aliasing, color rendition and resolution would not be affected one way or another. My sense is that due to the decreased depth-of-field, the elements in the frame that become out of focus while using the Mini35 will actually lead the eye to believe that the image is sharper by creating a visual contrast (in the same way that having a hot element in a frame will make the blacks seem blacker).

This is all based on viewing the results on a good broadcast monitor, not on projection. However I have overseen a few projects transferred from digital to film, and thus have a sense of the results from looking at the image on tape beforehand.
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Old March 19th, 2004, 12:15 PM   #7
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I may be wrong but viewing it with a filmmaker his comment was that it looked much sharper than video... lens resolution? Compared to the stock 16x xl1 lens... I'd imagine a blow up could be done if you doubled the footage digitally (something that may or may not be done).
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Old March 19th, 2004, 12:56 PM   #8
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In theory, a blow up from miniDV (720x480 for NTSC or 720x576 for PAL) to film should not look better or worse just because a mini35 system is being used into the equation.

I was told by ZGC that the mini35 system with 35mm lens can resolve more lines of resolution than can possibly even be captured by the CCD. As always the key is with the lowest common dominator in the chain - in this case it is the CCD.

From what I understand digital video to 35mm film transfers undergo a variety of processes before being transferred, one of them being "up-rezzed" which mearly means increasing the frame size & resolution to 2k. Other processes may involve digital noise reduction on channels and other anti-aliasing processes.

For anyone out there creating material that originates on miniDV I would strongly suggest you check out programs like the 'Grain Surgery' plugin for Adobe After Effects or something similar. The before and after image results will blow you away.
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