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HD and UHD ( 2K+ ) Digital Cinema
Various topics: HD, UHD (2K / 4K) Digital Cinema acquisition to distribution.


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Old April 15th, 2008, 08:03 PM   #1
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Digital Cinema Cameras Not There Yet

So i saw 21 the other night and about 10-15 minutes into it i realized it was filmed digitally as opposed to film and for the rest of the film i was picking out little faults with the picture that you would rarely see with film. So is it the case that these digital cinema cameras that we have heard so much about are not up to scratch yet in competing with the likes of 35mm film. Or is it that the operators are not yet familiar with them.

Anyway there were parts of this that i looked at that were either obviously shot digitally like outdoor shots at night that were reddish or nighttime shots which were really grainy.

While it didn't ruin the film i think that we should not heap as much praise onto these cameras as they are getting at the moment because i feel that it is going to be another few years before they can truly say that they have caught up would film.

Would anyone agree
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Old April 15th, 2008, 08:41 PM   #2
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Having done a shoot and post work with Red ONE - I would say the while 4K Digital and 35mm Film are DIFFERENT tools, there is definitely no longer an out and quality level that is unachievable with digital cameras compare to 35mm film (just like in the stills world 35mm still cameras are no longer out and out better than digital still cameras). And there are certainly some things that said digital cameras achieve better than Film (and vice versa.)

Looking at a particular movie and saying "That night shot looked dark and grainy, it's all digitals fault", especially a night shot, is fairly silly, because it might have been more a case of "This shot COULD NOT been have achieved with 35mm film without a significant increase in the lighting budget, but in this case could be achieved digitally with the compromise of having to live with digital noise/grain."
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Old April 18th, 2008, 06:10 PM   #3
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Let's also remember that the graininess might have been a stylistic choice on the part of the director and/or DP, or maybe the shots looked grainy because the director/gaffer/DP/producer/whoever decided it would be best for the project in question to shoot with only natural light, for some reason.

Film can be quite grainy too, of course--it depends on the stock, the way it's exposed, and the way it's processed.

The existence of one grainy digitally-shot movie doesn't necessarily mean that all digital cinema has to be grainy.
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Old April 20th, 2008, 02:36 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Mark Doherty View Post
So i saw 21 the other night and about 10-15 minutes into it i realized it was filmed digitally as opposed to film and for the rest of the film i was picking out little faults with the picture that you would rarely see with film. So is it the case that these digital cinema cameras that we have heard so much about are not up to scratch yet in competing with the likes of 35mm film. Or is it that the operators are not yet familiar with them.

Anyway there were parts of this that i looked at that were either obviously shot digitally like outdoor shots at night that were reddish or nighttime shots which were really grainy.

While it didn't ruin the film i think that we should not heap as much praise onto these cameras as they are getting at the moment because i feel that it is going to be another few years before they can truly say that they have caught up would film.

Would anyone agree
You have a good eye.

Digital still technology is probably the real state of the art of digital technology since it is only doing one frame at time rather than 24 images per second. I don't know how far behind video technology is from digital still technology but I would guess about 5 years.
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Old April 20th, 2008, 01:54 PM   #5
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I totally agree.
I can't bear to watch certain films (like Starship Troopers II) because if you run II after I, it looks very silly. When badly made, my suspension of disbelief is totally screwed and I have had to leave the cinema or stop the disk.

Also, even when the digitally acquired story is faultless and I can sit through an entire show, the digital cinema experience is totally unlike the 35mm film experience, to my gestalt.

It's almost as if 35mm film (I call that "sprockets" when at work) has a slightly retro feel to it these days, whereas something on UHD seems like a "through a glass" feeling - definitely different, probably more like newsy, reality, somesuch, but those words don't convey the feeling accurately since they too have history.

'Course, the digital acquisition / DI / 35mm print experience is another animal as well. There's a big difference between the eye's capacity to resolve detail, the theatrical specifications of circle of confusion, and the industry's idea of what's good enough for resolution and something isn't matching up there too.

This is strictly IMO and definitely YMMV. I'm over 50 and for me, drama is gamma, not chroma. (i.e. take a scene played passionately - for me, if you take out the color you can still get the emotion and power. Take out the gamma (black and white) and you have pastel performances too.

I don't buy 24p at all, I got to see it accurately at work when we finally got in a decent full HD monitoring system and I now shoot everything 1080p30 or p60.

I have almost every film look plug-in and trick in the book on my edit systems, and have come up with a few new ones besides.

And guess what? If I needed a perfect film look, I'd still pick up my film cameras.
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Old April 20th, 2008, 02:41 PM   #6
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......This is strictly IMO and definitely YMMV. I'm over 50 and for me, drama is gamma, not chroma. (i.e. take a scene played passionately - for me, if you take out the color you can still get the emotion and power. Take out the gamma (black and white) and you have pastel performances too.....

This is very interesting. Back in the 90's when I was editing from source tapes that were given to me by the client I was able to super charge them by using my white clip function and expanding the chroma with various adjustments I would make. In essence I was supercharging the chroma and clipping the luminence to make the picture appear sharper and more vibrant because the original image might only be VHS. (Actor's demos, etc).

lol, now this technique is status qu to help make flat screens pop. Even though the high end studios rely on CRT technology for the most accurate view for color correction, flat screens seem to scream out for ultra contrast and excessive colors to make up for lack of "depth" that a CRT offers.
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Old April 20th, 2008, 05:24 PM   #7
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Tell me about it, Alessandro! LOL!!!
I'm sitting in front of this 30" Dell with my trusty old 22" CRT Viewsonic next to it, and of course the Dell "pops". However, you start to play drama on the thing and...
JM2C, YMMV. That's why I still run both types of monitors...
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