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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 13th, 2009, 11:04 AM   #46
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Originally Posted by Ethan Cooper View Post
I'm highly curious to see what Crank, High Voltage looks like on the big screen. A prosumer HDV big (relatively) budget Hollywood film. You kidding me? It'll be interesting to see how that holds up in the theater.
I've seen "Once" that was shot on Z1 as a 35mm film out, it looked rather like 16mm blow up, which given the figures I've seen for that particular camera seems about right. OK for the closer shots, but weak on the wide shots. But still workable for the right story.
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Old April 13th, 2009, 06:40 PM   #47
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Dof

I could certainly almost always do with a little more DOF on interiors. I think the 2/3" is actually a great trade off. I remember seeing Gladiator a long time ago and thinking that it was not a very positive thing that the DOF on some of the candle lit scenes was so razor thin. I personally did not like it much.
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Old April 20th, 2009, 05:12 AM   #48
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Originally Posted by Graeme Sutherland View Post
I'm a DV wannabe, so don't take this as being written by someone who knows what they're saying. :)

I've just stumbled across Charles's post, but have been having similar thoughts. Only mine were prompted by learning that Crank 2: High Voltage was shot with an XH-A1.

I'm looking forward to seeing this film, not only because I've got the IQ of a 14 year old boy, but also to see how it's been shot. My guess is that the film makers felt that XH-A1 produced sufficiently good image quality, and they felt that the benefits (lower cost, ability to film with multiple cameras and from otherwise inaccessible locations) outweighed the opinions of a few film geeks.

The film look strikes me as being an attempt to replicate the quirks of an obsolete technology because that's what we associate as being better, but not necessarily having an objectively higher image quality. It's like musicians talking about analogue warmth being preferable to a digital recording.

I love shallow depths of field and a nice bokeh, but is it really necessary? Pulling focus to shift attention from one actor to another is surely a cliché by now. Does the audience really notice, or are things shot to impress peers?

My point is that we should be looking at the new tools available, and seeing what we can do with them. To paraphrase the old punk saying: Here's three shots, now make a movie.
I am sorry to say it, but your words are almost an insult to me. "...an attempt to replicate the quirks of an obsolete technology..." This is an art form with a tool that has been around longer than you. "...Pulling focus to shift attention from one actor to another is surely a cliché by now" So how about I just keep them soft and not focus at all? how about we just shoot everything so sharp and in focus the audience can sit there for 2 hours and not have any clue as to what the director or DPs intentions were?

Maybe its because I've been up all night, but I have to say these words are war to me. If you don't know film history or if you aren't a Cinematographer for a living you should not comment so strongly where others are surly to shoot down your comments of what seem to be a person who just doesn't know any better.

And just since we are throwing around opinions "Crank 2: high voltage" Cinematicly looks like crap.

The audience does realize the difference. They just dont know how to explain the difference because the aren't educated the way we are to explain footage. I can bet you anything that if I sat 50 people in a room and showed them footage, one from an HVX200 and the other shot on an Arri 435, the would be able to tell the difference the second the footage was played. They might not know what makes it different, but believe me they know its different, and one "looks much more expensive and movie like than the other."

"WE" the Directors of Photography, and Cinematographers, and Camera Ops (yes there IS a difference between all 3) have a duty to uphold in this time and age. Because of new technology and price drops, people are becoming dumb-ed down to their visual expectations. So much "crap" is being shot with cheap cameras and being thrown on TV and on the web, the general audience is getting use to anything better than "crap" is good. Instead of people holding the high standards there was, its being dropped for cheap, and ugly footage. "WE" need to keep shooting on film or digital equivalent, and "WE" need to keep lighting perfectly, and moving the camera perfectly, and picking the best lenses, and doing the best post work possible. "WE" need to keep pushing to the producers that it will benefit the program if you spend a little extra on good lighting, or a better DP.

This is a very rare age we are in, never in film has such (in my own opinion and others with standards for visuals) "Crap" been pushed to the big screen in all of cinemas life. The past 15-20 years has really changed the look of film for the worst. Sure "content in the story comes first" as people like to say... But this is an ART! You are throwing it away because you don't know any better, and would rather make a cheap looking film instead of the way its been done for 100 years? Thats not a "maturing" way of shooting, like when we went from 16mm as cheap shooting, to a Sony F900 in 1080p... no that's just getting lazy and cheep because you dont know any better and thinking things are cliche so you'll shoot a feature on an HVX and think it looked good.

As to the topic of this for 1080p 2/3 I do agree, this is still very strong format and we are getting a bit greedy with resolution and not enough with the lighting and work behind it. "Benjamin Button" is a great example of BEAUTIFUL cinematography with a tool at 1080p 2/3 dof. There is still the case that 35mm dof is needed, and its all to the story. But this again holds that 3k, 4k, and beyond can still be useful for SFX and other applications that the more resolution the better for a good outcome.
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Old April 20th, 2009, 11:18 AM   #49
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I can actually agree with part of what both Graeme and Guiseppe are saying (as they said in Spinal Tap, I'm between fire and ice, making me lukewarm water!)

I think embracing and exploring new technologies are worthwhile if interesting things are being done. I'm not a fan of much of the "lazy" shooting style I see in many indie projects that are shot small format, mostly from a lighting standpoint. As new technology like the 5D MKII moves us into a place where lights are no longer needed for pure exposure, we will be seeing more and more material that is not so much shaped as captured. Available light can be gorgeous, in some ways it is a cinematographer's dream to shoot in, but you also have to know how to shape it and capture it and often remove it (negative fill, for instance) to make the most beautiful image.

Since posting the beginning of this topic I have shot a project on the EX3 and had an absolutely fantastic experience with it. I love the portability and speed of working with that camera and was able to do more setups as a result. There were times I missed being able to throw the background out a little bit for a given shot but I simply worked around it and looked to create depth via lighting.

Also since then I have seen a feature that I shot on the F900 come out theatrically (transferred to 35mm) and have really been able to analyze for myself what 2/3" 1080 looks like and more importantly, FEELS like on the big screen. Interestingly there were some sequences shot on the Genesis (full-size sensor) and I could also evaluate the difference in a way that a reference monitor couldn't deliver. There were instances where the reduced resolution of the F900 was actually preferable, particularly on our female lead Roslyn Sanchez. I could see the extra clarity in the Genesis material but it didn't necessarily always feel more film-like. Very interesting. (if you want to see the trailer, visit theperfectsleep.com--sadly it's not in HD).

I'm not sure I would equate any recent 1/3" camera to having a "retro" look or to compare it to analog audio equipment, that is a bit of a stretch. Analog video was not so lovely. It would be cool to shoot with a truly retro camera like the Ikegami HL-79 just for fun, and I have (courtesy of our own Lorinda Norton) an 80's era home video camera that has an amazingly retro look with the smeary old tube sensor. However I think A1's and the like are what they are, not presenting too much of their own aesthetic at the current time.

Finally--Guiseppe, I don't know if I would draw a division between "cinematographer" and "Director of Photography". Certainly some DP's prefer the naming of convention of being called a cinematographer, but the jobs are the same.
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Old April 20th, 2009, 01:27 PM   #50
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Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post

Finally--Guiseppe, I don't know if I would draw a division between "cinematographer" and "Director of Photography". Certainly some DP's prefer the naming of convention of being called a cinematographer, but the jobs are the same.
I perfectly respect what you are saying, but I still feel that the difference is there, I can even give an example :)

I believe the "Director of Photography" can be a person that does not have to necessarily operate the camera, there are DP's out there that will work on the look, lighting, colors, and feel, but not actually operate the camera, they have a camera op A to do the actual moving of the camera and they direct him/her.

I believe a "Cinematographer" IS also the camera operator, and not someone who could be away from it like a "Director of Photography" could be. And a Cinematographer is more mending that world completely. You are doing lighting, color, look, and feel but also moving the camera A and controlling the pan, tilt, push, dip, whatever move you can do, by him/her self.

hey everyone has their own right? haha. by the way Charles, did the 900 have the feel/movement more natural than you expected, I just shot my first film-out from the varicam and I cant wait to see it on a 40ft. I have been so used to seeing the varicam in a digital state, I am really excited to see what the transfer will look like.
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Old April 20th, 2009, 09:33 PM   #51
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Hi Guiseppe:

That is an interesting distinction however I have not heard of it. I would thus have to say that this distinction is not made in the film industry at large. There may well be exceptions of course. As for me, I call myself both interchangeably.

anyway:

the transfer of "The Perfect Sleep" was fantastic, the movement was very natural and did not have that blurry quality that can sometimes indicate a digitally originated project. It was indeed a thrill to see it on the big screen (not my first, but I am particularly proud of the way this project looked, it was a rare opportunity to really imprint on the look significantly).
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Old May 8th, 2009, 06:05 AM   #52
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Let me give my 2 cents over this.

Shooting at higher resolution than target resolution it's always better when it comes to technical quality, in my opinion.

Take the following footage sizes and resize them and see for yourself as follows:

1. Footage shot at 4k resized to 1080p compare to footage shot at 1080p.
2. Footage shot at 1080p resized to DV resolution compare to footage shot at DV resolution.
3. Noisy footage at highest res you can get, resize to 1080p, 720p, 480p and compare with noisy footage shot at those resolutions.

You would be able to notice the great differences in technical quality. If I would had this decision on my hands on a project, I would go shooting in the highest resolution available to my budget and scale down as needed (editing, distribution etc).

Shoot higher than your target resolution if your budget/skills/time permits. Remember, scale down using a proper scaling algorithm such as "lanczos3" etc.
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Old May 8th, 2009, 09:54 AM   #53
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You would be able to notice the great differences in technical quality. If I would had this decision on my hands on a project, I would go shooting in the highest resolution available to my budget and scale down as needed (editing, distribution etc).

.
There are other factors to consider besides shooting in the highest resolution - although I'm not sure where this places the F35 and Genesis which have high resolution sensors, but downscale in camera to 1080p. For a particular film you may wish to have a camera which is extremely good at dealing with highlights or has a large DOF or has wonderful skin tones or looks gritty, when making the camera choice the sensor resolution (4k or 1080p) is only one element to be considered.
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Old May 9th, 2009, 06:43 AM   #54
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Originally Posted by Brian Drysdale View Post
you may wish to have a camera which is extremely good at dealing with highlights or has a large DOF or has wonderful skin tones or looks gritty, when making the camera choice the sensor resolution (4k or 1080p) is only one element to be considered.
Fully agree, my comment refers strictly to the resolution aspect.
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Old June 8th, 2009, 02:54 PM   #55
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Just a few things.

First off I wouldn't consider 720 a legacy format, it's one of the 18 ATSC formats available for broadcast. 720p evolved because a ton of broadcast/electronics guys said progressive frame capture couldn't be done! So what happened, 3 guys in a garage in Boston using a Philips HD camera proved it could be done, this was the late 80's early 90's. 6 months I think was the development time. Polaroid sponsored the effort but not with huge cash just a few bucks. I remember seeing the camera demo in LA at the Showbiz Show, very impressive. Film cameramen wanted progressive frame capture, which is far superior to interlace. Interlace is a holdover from the 1920's-30's when bandwidth and electronics were a huge issue in the broadcast world. I personally like 720p24, the images look just awesom on a 40 ft screen even compared to 1080 interlaced.

1080 is more of a legacy format than 720. 1080 is an offshoot of analog 1035 of the early 1980's which NHK of Japan developed to succeed 480 analog. In the early 80's there was a rash of films shot on 1035 analog but it was difficult to say the least. Recording out to film posed problems since the image was captured interlaced and brought all those problems since de-interlacing required huge computing power. I only saw a few of them but they were there. Like DV films there was a lot of experimentation but not many great scripts or well funded films.

Now Japanese companies are at it again with 8k cameras. Saw a great effort at NAB, NHK again, but I would love to see a great visual artist show what is possible with that format. The demo wasn't bad but it was shot by TV guys with a thin premise, it was colorful though. Most of the high definition development in the past 40 years has been done by the Japanese though. US companies just let the R & D go to someone else so they can take the profits. What a shame!

A true artist will always learn the tools and then use the best one for the project.
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Old September 27th, 2009, 10:17 AM   #56
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To really judge a format you have to project it onto a 25 ft to 40ft screen, then the flaws really jump out at you.
Yes, and if you would use a 10.000ft screen every pixel in a 32K projected film would be visible. But this is not the problem.

If you want to project on a very large screen and want to satisfy the people on the front row you should not use 128K cameras. Use interpolation instead.
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Old September 27th, 2009, 01:21 PM   #57
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Yes, and if you would use a 10.000ft screen every pixel in a 32K projected film would be visible. But this is not the problem.

If you want to project on a very large screen and want to satisfy the people on the front row you should not use 128K cameras. Use interpolation instead.
There are always cost trade offs for a system and since most audience members don't sit in the front they don't put in that investment. However, if you want to tell how good a camera is sit at the front, not the usually best place for viewing the film, but if you want to spot the flaws that's the place to be.
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Old September 27th, 2009, 08:40 PM   #58
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And unless the projector's lens is optically perfect, the flaws you see on the screen could as well be attributed to the lens and have nothing to do with the acquisition system.
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Old September 28th, 2009, 04:03 AM   #59
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And unless the projector's lens is optically perfect, the flaws you see on the screen could as well be attributed to the lens and have nothing to do with the acquisition system.
That could be the case and if you were testing different formats you'd have to be aware of any flaws with the projection system. However, when comparing formats these flaws would apply to all the shooting systems being projected would exhibit the faults of that particular projector. The projection quality can vary between theatres, but once you've been to a few you can tell which ones have the best projection systems.

Camera lenses are usually tested in a projector that only has a test pattern that's projected by the camera lens, so nothing else comes into the equation.
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Old October 18th, 2009, 01:33 AM   #60
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Hi Guiseppe:

That is an interesting distinction however I have not heard of it. I would thus have to say that this distinction is not made in the film industry at large. There may well be exceptions of course. As for me, I call myself both interchangeably.
This is actually a proper linguistic distinction, even if its a bit archaic now.

A DoP, or DP, is someone who directs lighting and camera.

A cinematographer is a DP who operates a camera.

Having said that, I don't know anyone outside of Europe who really uses this distinction. Even there I think its anachronistic.

We could probably have a whole discussion on the terminology of our profession. How about "first cameraman" for starters?
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