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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 December 13th, 2008, 02:39 PM   #1
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The impact of Digital Cinema Production & Technologies

Is film dead? Have we seen the last films shot on 35mm and 70mm film. Various Hollywood Directors are exploring the benefits of Red, Genesis and Viper camera systems. Rodriguez favours digital (Genesis) while Tarantino sticks with film, Fincher uses viper. With various digital cinema cameras entering the market, this year has seen the launch of Scarlet, the little sister to the Red camera and its cost brings in into the reach of the low budget film maker but offers 2k quality. Explore the impact of this technology on the film industry, is it changing production approaches, is it influencing narrative structure, who is shooting on HD and how has it affected their production style. You are able to shape this project to your area of interest, from exploring digital cinema production technologies/systems to the influence on a director’s style. Basically, How is digital cinema production affecting the film production industry – have we seen the last of film and is digital cinema production as good as its claims to be?
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Old December 13th, 2008, 02:45 PM   #2
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"Is film dead?" The short answer - no.

"Is film dying?" The short answer - no.

"Will digital production eventually reach a point where MOST feature films are made completely in the digital realm, with no film intermediaries at any point?" The short answer - yes.

"How soon will that happen?" - That's anybody's guess. And I think it's the question you mean to ask.


I think the biggest effect of the so called digital film revoloution, has been on the ENG and documentary filmmaker. Much easier to shoot free-form documentaries - true 'Cinema Verite' is now possible in long form. Delivery is much easier - though making money is still just as difficult.

By the way, welcome to the forum. The search function will turn up LONG threads on this topic.
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Old December 13th, 2008, 05:04 PM   #3
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Cheers Richard...
Basically I am writing a report on the impact digital cinema has had on prouctions and about how it ultimately compares to celluoid.
The above statements are the topics I plan to cover. So all opinions and knowledge will be of great help to me.
Cheers guys
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Old December 14th, 2008, 05:38 AM   #4
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Some other points to consider Sean, if you're planning to use those particular directors as examples, are the ways they each shoot. Both Fincher and Rodriguez are fairly well known for clocking up lots of footage (Fincher apparently gets up to 40+ takes of a single shot on regular basis) shooting film that's simply not possible, a producer would kick you off the project for raking up excessive stock costs.

Also, in many cases shooting digital cinema doesn't offer all that many cost benefits. So it's a complicated issue.
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Old December 14th, 2008, 07:03 AM   #5
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Shooting 40 plus takes is possible with film, it's also happened in the past as well, Kubrick used to hit 70 takes on occasions. If you''ve got the budget it's fine, those high end actors are much more expensive than the film stock bill.

Seemingly, some directors also don't stop the 35mm cameras whilst talking to the actors.
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Old December 14th, 2008, 09:31 AM   #6
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The cost of film is a very small portion of the production budget on a major feature. It's simply not that big of a deal. It's a HUGE part of small indy budgets, so in that sense, an all digital workflow has helped make smaller productions possible.

Indy 'films' are usually straight to DVD anyway, so the cost of film-outs is always (hopefully) pushed off to the studio for distribution.

The cost of film DISTRIBUTION is a major sticking point in the studio/distribution chain. When will the changeover to digital projection/distribution happen, and who will foot THAT bill is a far bigger stumbling block to an all digital workflow at this point. For all the talk about digital projection being 'just around the corner' - I'm not sure it's going to happen any time soon in this economy.

If you compare apples to apples - and you talk about major feature production workflow of film vs digital - I think the workflow has altered to meet the technology. There will always be directors who work extremely fast, and those who work slow. Some will demand many takes, others will move quickly. My observation with digital work flow on what would have been a 35mm shoot, is that 'post' has moved ONTO the set. By this I mean, that instead of watching dailies later - or simply watching a poor videotap playback to check performance - a LOT more watching and tweaking is going on in the 'video village' that is set up on the set. It CAN slow production pace, like a car wreck slows traffic flow. That's not ALWAYS the case, but I've seen it happen. Lighting CAN be more exacting, and therefore take longer - so again, it CAN take longer than film to get your shots.

But those delays are getting shorter as crews and directors become more accustomed to the digital workflow.
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Old December 15th, 2008, 11:42 PM   #7
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Well, a Film-out goes at about 22,000-24,000 including negative, developing, data to film, sound optical track (analog), and 1 (maybe 2) sound projection copies.
So I don't see why it is considered so expensive.Isn't it the cost of a brand new car?
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Old December 16th, 2008, 10:42 AM   #8
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The film-out is expensive for an indy producer - not a studio. No, it's the cost of the multiple PRINTS and DISTRIBUTION/MARKETING that costs a fortune, that the studio has to incur. Most major features will have in the neighborhood of several THOUSAND film prints.
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Old December 17th, 2008, 11:03 AM   #9
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In the U.S, an Arrilaser film-out for a feature is more in the $40,000 to $50,000 range. But of course, there are more costs than that for a D.I. once you toss in conforming, color-correction, etc. -- and at the other end, there are still some home video mastering costs despite having done a D.I.

The transition to digital origination has been very slow since 24P HD appeared in 2000 (that's nine years ago when the Sony F900 came out and Lucas announced he was shooting "Star Wars: Attack of the Clones" on it... and so many people said that film was dead...) but the inevitable transition will not be evenly paced -- it will accelerate towards the end.

Most feature films above a certain budget are shot on film, and so are most of the major network dramatic TV shows.

But in this past year alone, we've seen a fast rise in the number of TV shows switching to digital origination, thanks to higher-end cameras like the F23, Genesis, and RED becoming available to larger numbers of people. "Smallville" and "Law and Order", for example, switched to the Genesis camera this season. The release of the Sony F35 will push this transition from film even faster for television work.

And this year has seen a major bump up in the number of significant features using digital cameras for all or part of the movie, after years of it being only a steady but small percentage of the work. Well-over half of "Slumdog Millionaire" was shot on the SI2K Mini, and "RockenRolla" was shot on the Arri D20. "Forbidden Kingdom" was shot on the Genesis, as was "21", "Walk Hard", "The Other Boylen Girl" and "Get Smart". I just saw trailers for "The Spirit" (Genesis) and "Knowing" (the RED ONE.)

But still, today, most studio movies are being shot on film and I suspect that trend will last longer than it will for television production, which is making the transition earlier (as you'd expect.)

The rise in the number of movie theaters with 2K digital projection will also help encourage more digital shooting -- some of these new cameras seem to look better when digitally projected, a close match to the look of film digitally projected... and are less impressive in film outs. So that becomes less of an issue if there is more digital projection available.

But for studio feature filmmaking, I wouldn't write-off film yet, not for a couple of years or more.

I don't think film will ever die, but as for it being the major acquisition process for feature films, it's in its final decade probably, but that all depends on the next generation of digital cine cameras. We've only just now reached a point where the quality is high enough and there are enough options out there to rent, and the post is becoming streamlined... figure a few more years for better cameras to come out for this sort of work, and a few more years for those cameras to become widely available and affordable for more and more people, etc.
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Old December 17th, 2008, 04:06 PM   #10
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Off topic, David, what did you think about RED's Epic-announcements?
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Old December 17th, 2008, 07:41 PM   #11
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My only disappointment was that there isn't a 16-bit Monstro sensor for the Epic that is 5K to 6K... but Super-35 in size. Of course, you could use the 6K FF35 Montro sensor and crop it to S35 / 4K. But I was looking forward to shooting in 5K to 6K in order to get "true" 4K resolution -- while sticking with cine lenses with their S35 coverage. And I don't relish dealing with FF35 depth of field problems, but I will if it gets me a better picture (though a 4K shot quickly becomes 1K if slightly misfocused...)

Otherwise, it's all extremely exciting, I can't wait to try ALL of the different formats, 645 and 617 included...

I think the modular approach is a great idea, as long as they solve issues regarding heat and noise. Don't know if having more connections to more discreet modules helps or hurts in that regard.
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Old February 9th, 2009, 12:18 PM   #12
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Thanks so much guys, i got my first report handed in before christmas and found your opinions and insight EXTREMELY useful...im now knuckling down into writing up my main dissertation draft.
Ive done a decent amount of research but found it VERY difficult to get much insight into into 35/Super 16mm film. It seems to be a given at this stage but I really need more information for my research to go into the actual technology, resolutions and how they are measured and digital aliasing and also how the workflows compare i.e Film Vs Digital.
All and any input is useful here.
Thanks,
Seán
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Old February 9th, 2009, 10:16 PM   #13
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Well, I guess it's a little late for my input considering your report has been handed in ... but I found this topic interesting nonetheless.

Might we find that the death of film does not have to do with director and artistic choices, but ... maybe economic?

I think I remember reading about Kodak struggling in both still photography and motion picture film recently due to the digital era onset. With the economy the way it is ... or, if things get worse anytime soon ... maybe that will be the final blow on film?

Seems more likely to me since it would be kind of the tipping point.
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Old February 10th, 2009, 03:10 PM   #14
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oh no, your not late at all, i jus had to hand in a progress report. I have yet to write up a 6000word dissertation and find this as one of my best resources for primary research. So all input is useful to me as I have a lot to learn being a media student:P
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Old February 10th, 2009, 05:30 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Juan M. M. Fiebelkorn View Post
Well, a Film-out goes at about 22,000-24,000 including negative, developing, data to film, sound optical track (analog), and 1 (maybe 2) sound projection copies.
So I don't see why it is considered so expensive.Isn't it the cost of a brand new car?
If you're only doing a couple of 35mm prints for the festival circuit, the Cinevator makes sense.

Cinevation

Perhaps not the sharpest, but still pretty good.
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