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Old March 19th, 2003, 02:29 PM   #1
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HD Future and the Art of Filmmaking

HD Future and The Art of Filmmaking

Here are answers to some of the raised questions.

My background in the past was mainly in film and TV education. My last projects – editing an indie Super 16 mm commercial art feature and currently getting fully involved with writing a comedy feature with an Oscar winning director – is taking up all my time.

Film speed: 30p, with proper shutter speed gives you a better approximation of the 24 fps projected film than 24p with its pulldown artifacts. Is 24 fps the ideal speed? It’s the most ideal speed to transfer to film, PAL and NTSC, however it gives you too many motion artifacts, that may be desirable for certain type of look but it is not the ideal artistic speed. It’s dated to 1929 and has everything to do with economic and technology limitations, not with the art of filmmaking. The ideal speed would produce similar effects as if you pan with your eyes. That happens at about 72p/fps.

What is most important for film look from the art standpoint is a shallow depth of field. It is poor with HD and SD compared to 35 mm film. 35 mm uses 2.5x longer focal length than 2/3” chip lenses, which use 2x longer focal length than the ones for 1/3” chips (e.g. JVC HD1/10). So you need to use telephoto a lot and compose differently than you’d do with 35 mm film.

JVC HD1/10 camcorder: Is it a pro production tool? No. Will work with it be slow and difficult for anyone wanting to use it to make a film? Certainly. Will it give you enough resolution to be able to project it on a theater screen? Yes. This is the first low cost camera that will be able to do that. That is what’s important. Unless you have this capability, you can’t shoot anything to be called even entry-level commercial film.

A photographer can get himself $1000 equipment, which allows him to produce presentation level commercial photographs. Now the student or other low budget independent filmmaker will have a tool that will not be expensive and the media will hardly cost anything. This very low budget filmmaker will be able to produce a film with minimum equipment and media cost that will look OK when projected to a theater screen – not a large theater screen, but to a theater screen.

He will be able to do basic cuts and transitions, will use a separate audio recorder to record more than one sound channel, will be limited to art houses (movie theaters) with digital projection. Their number, by the way, is constantly increasing.

The person who wants to make a video will be able to produce a program that will have life beyond the time when SD becomes obsolete.

There is vector interpolation software available to slow down 30p to 24p. For instance Twixtor has that capability, but does not work very well with complex motion or rapid movement. To do quality conversion, you’ll need to do manual corrections. It is slow work and if you leave it to pros, they’ll charge some $200 for each minute of your film. In the future these products will naturally improve in performance/speed.

MPEG2 – you need about 19 Mbps bandwidth to broadcast 1080p. With more bandwidth becoming continuously available, combined with advances in display technology, and combined with the fact that 350 1080p CineAlta camcorders were sold in the US alone, 1080p is likely to be the future HD standard, with a 16:9 aspect ratio naturally. If you produce in 720p, you’ll be OK. If you produce in SD, your material will be dated.

Is 1080p enough for future film production? No. The resolution is less than 35 mm film, even after it went through all its generations. 1080p will be the starting point of future film production, not the end point. As the technology advances, it will not be difficult to make better resolving systems. And the 16:9 aspect limitation of CineAlata too will be overcome. You need to be able to shoot wider aspect, without limiting resolution. Spielberg used letterboxing on the latest Star Wars, because of a wide aspect ratio. The quality was not there. Rodrigues used straight 16:9 on Spy Kids 2 and the quality/resolution was superb.

The claim that low cost HD is not being made because there is no demand for it does not make sense. There is no supply and not enough awareness. Once there is supply of quality MPEG2 low cost production HD equipment, together with awareness that will naturally follow, there will be little demand for SD.

Art and business of moviemaking: Although there are some forums that cover the production business issues, on the low budget levels, there is generally lack of forums that cover the overall art of filmmaking. There are some forums dedicated to specific areas of the art, but overall these forums concentrate on technical issues, and do not cover the overall art issues sufficiently.

Here are the best camera choices for digital cinema. The cameras start with the JVC HD1/10 (19 Mbps MPEG2 , 720p, 4:1:1, $4K); next is Panasonic SDX900 (50 Mbps, 480p, 4:2:2, $35K), Panasonic Varicam (100 Mbps, 720p, 4:2:2, $63K), Sony CineAlta (1080p, 140 Mbps, $103K), Sony CineAlta SR (1080p, 440 Mbps), Thomson Viper (1080p, Gbps). The Viper system has as much exposure latitude as negative film stock.

Have a great whatever. In the very near future I’ll be in the middle of nowhere, away from civilization, with my girlfriend, the script co-writer, and his girlfriend. No fast food, Internet, cell phones, and other vices that civilization brings.

Joseph George
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Old March 19th, 2003, 08:02 PM   #2
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Re: HD Future and the Art of Filmmaking

<<<-- Originally posted by Joseph George : HD Future and The Art of Filmmaking

JVC HD1/10 camcorder: Is it a pro production tool? No. Will work with it be slow and difficult for anyone wanting to use it to make a film? Certainly. Will it give you enough resolution to be able to project it on a theater screen? Yes. This is the first low cost camera that will be able to do that. That is what’s important. Unless you have this capability, you can’t shoot anything to be called even entry-level commercial film.
-->>>

Shhhh..... Don't say that out loud. If JVC finds out your even considering the possibilities of making movies with this camera they'll degrade it even more. They'd put an antifilmmaking chip in the camera if they could.

<<<-- Originally posted by Joseph George : Art and business of moviemaking: Although there are some forums that cover the production business issues, on the low budget levels, there is generally lack of forums that cover the overall art of filmmaking. There are some forums dedicated to specific areas of the art, but overall these forums concentrate on technical issues, and do not cover the overall art issues sufficiently. -->>>

Interesting, I don't know why there is not more demand for forums on the art side. Perhaps there are much fewer artists that need information or community. Maybe they can't be bothered to discuss art issues because they're too busy working in obscurity. Or maybe there are none left.

Thank you for the list of best camera choices for digital cinema, anyone know what the going rate to rent a Viper for a day is?
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Old March 19th, 2003, 08:45 PM   #3
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Same thread title and the same post word for word in DV.com. Nothing wrong with that but I can feel an ulterior motive.
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Old March 19th, 2003, 11:47 PM   #4
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Actually Bryan, I can't complain about Joseph's decision to post the same content elsewhere. He is well within his rights to do so and it makes perfect sense. He obviously took the time to write a very long, article-style post and with all the effort he put into it, I would want to give it as much exposure as possible if I were in his shoes. More power to him.

I had an email recently where someone wanted to know if I wanted his review of this camcorder for dvinfo.net and would I be willing to pay for it. Well, I replied, of course I would love to run it but we simply can't pay for submissions. Our minimal ad revenue pays our operational overhead but that's it. We get superb contributions all the time from people who just want to help other people and I believe very strongly in that. Once you start paying for articles, then you have to generate a bigger revenue, which means it's no longer a free site. We're not about that.

So he took it to a competing site, where I'm sure he made his hundred bucks, but their community doesn't hold a candle to this one of course, so the conversation over there about his article is pretty limp. That's what he gets for going for a few dollars instead of the spirit of freely sharing information. But we can manage without him, because we have excellent folks like Joseph George and Steve Mullen already kicking in with better info and they're not charging me to show it to you.

Sorry for the rant there. I hope Joseph posts his stuff far and wide, and I also hope he keeps coming back here because I think we've got a better core group of community members.

Information wants to be free. Much respect,
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Old March 20th, 2003, 09:12 AM   #5
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I only said that it sounded like an ulterior motive and it was my opinion. To say other sites are not as good is your opinion and you are entitled. To say they are different would be more correct in my opinion.
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Old March 20th, 2003, 09:58 AM   #6
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Bryan,

Chris did not say that this site is better, he said the community. (..."but their community doesn't hold a candle to this one of course...") While that may sound like nitpicking on the surface, there's a big difference. Saying "community" gives the credit to the many people who come here to answer and ask questions. That's what keeps me coming back here.
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Old March 20th, 2003, 10:16 AM   #7
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I would still disagree, I am a member of several virtual communities but this is Off Topic and might be disruptive to this thread.
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Old March 20th, 2003, 11:20 AM   #8
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This original post is intended to fuel argument, thus indirectly promoting JVC's 2 new 1 chip HD/MPEG2 cams. There's nothing wrong with promoting these cams, if one keeps the facts in perspective; I think that Alan (peping) has pretty much kept the facts in perspective.
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Old March 20th, 2003, 04:46 PM   #9
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"The ideal speed would produce similar effects as if you pan with your eyes. That happens at about 72p/fps."

Ideal for you. I don't think many filmmakers want their film looking as though you're looking through a glass window. Just like you don't want an oil painting looking like a 300 dpi offset-quality photograph. Just because the one is a more accurate reproduction of reality does not make it good.
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Old March 20th, 2003, 06:21 PM   #10
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Bryan -- you are right this is off-topic -- but I wanted to clarify that the other community I was comparing ours to was *not* the one at dv.com. As you know I belong to dv.com also and I have a link to it. You're also quite right, to say dvinfo.net is different is definitely more accurate. Back to the topic.
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