What do they shoot on? at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > Open DV Discussion

Open DV Discussion
For topics which don't fit into any of the other categories.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old March 24th, 2004, 10:36 PM   #1
Major Player
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Colorado
Posts: 316
What do they shoot on?

I am having an argument with a friend here and need some clarification. He doesn't understand why "Hollywood" shoots movies on film stock and not on VHS or DV. I have tried to explain that they shoot on film stock for quality and he argues then why edit it digitally. Maybe I am wrong, but I thought that most hollywood moive are shot on film stock, telecined and edited, and then telecined back to film. Is this true? Please help me clarify (I am a horrible arguer) to him why they use film stock...thanks in advance...

Clay
__________________
I understand everything about nothing.
J. Clayton Stansberry is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 24th, 2004, 10:54 PM   #2
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Toronto, Canada
Posts: 4,750
Film is a better capture medium than video in many ways (and vice versa). Some of the benefits of film over video are:
A- exposure latitude Film has better exposure latitude than video.
B- greater resolution. Resolution versus HD is arguable. Film's resolution is much greater if you ignore grain (people's eyes don't ignore grain though).
C- film has a more artistic look than video (this is subjective)
D- has grain, which some people like
E- saturation increases with darkness (I think)
F- (related to A) when close to overexposure, film "compresses" the highlights down (AKA soft knee/shoulder) so they gradually blow out. Video can do this too but when it's close to overexposing colors change. You see this often on consumer cameras on the highlights.
G- Hollywood has always been using film so it's still used because that's the way it's always been. Hollywood knows how to get the most out of film.
H- In the past video was not very good compared to film.

Some Hollywood films are scanned digitally (2k scans) and color graded digitally, then printed back to film (using an Arri laser).

Film is much better visually than DV, which is much better than VHS. HD is arguably close in quality
Glenn Chan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 24th, 2004, 11:48 PM   #3
Wrangler
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Vallejo, California
Posts: 4,049
Re: What do they shoot on?

<<<-- Originally posted by J. Clayton Stansberry : I am having an argument with a friend here and need some clarification. He doesn't understand why "Hollywood" shoots movies on film stock and not on VHS or DV. I have tried to explain that they shoot on film stock for quality and he argues then why edit it digitally. Maybe I am wrong, but I thought that most hollywood moive are shot on film stock, telecined and edited, and then telecined back to film. Is this true? Please help me clarify (I am a horrible arguer) to him why they use film stock...thanks in advance...

Clay -->>>

With regards to editing, that's not exactly how they do it. Or at least some of it is done differently.

What they do is get a Digital Intermediary (I think that's what they call them) and the project is edited with that. But it carries the equivalent of the timecode of the film stock. So the editor edits the digital copy of the film on a NLE. (Avid is a company that makes this type of system.)

When the edit is complete, a file is created that holds all of the editing information but in terms of the footage of the camera masters. That file is used by a film editor to cut and otherwise make a finished film master that matches the digital master but with far better quality.

Where they use HD, a low-res edit copy may be used but then the final edit master is made from the HD original.

As for special effects and computer-generated scenes, those are printed back to film stock with a laser or CRT output device.
__________________
Mike Rehmus
Hey, I can see the carrot at the end of the tunnel!
Mike Rehmus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 25th, 2004, 09:19 AM   #4
Major Player
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 817
They are shot on film for the look. They are editted in digital because it is easy.

If it is a TV movie, then they output from the digital edit and they are done.

If it is going to be a film, mostly they take what is called an "Edit Decision List" from the digital editting program and use it to cut actual film based on the decisions made in the digital version. The final version you see was never in the digital domain.

There are some films (especially effect-heavy ones) captured in high resolution, manipulated and printed back to film from the digital, but that is more costly and rare. I saw in the special features of "Oh Brother Where Art Thou" that is the was the first film that was digitally graded all the way through and then output to film. I am guessing this will become more popular as the economics allow it.
Barry Gribble is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 25th, 2004, 09:51 AM   #5
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: San Mateo, CA
Posts: 3,840
Shot on film, edited on computer, printed on film, projected in the theatre.

This is the workflow for MOST films these days. The more effects heavy films will rely on the digital interpositives, or skip film altogether and work in HD.

In the credits, you see names for "Negative Cutter'. These are the people who take the reference numbers generated by the computers' "EDl" Edit Decision List, and... VERY CAREFULLY and with GREAT SKILL (shudder...) actually cut the camera negative into the corresponding scenes from which the master prints are made.

Aesthetically film and video have different "looks". Grain, frame rate, lattitude, resolution and other factors contribute to this difference.
Richard Alvarez is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 25th, 2004, 10:52 AM   #6
Obstreperous Rex
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: San Marcos, TX
Posts: 26,900
Images: 513
I like to think of it this way:

The job of video is to make the subject look very real.

The job of film is to make the subject look better than real.
__________________
CH

Search DV Info Net | DV Info Net Sponsors | A Decade (+5) of DVi | ...Tuesday is Soylent Green Day!
Chris Hurd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 25th, 2004, 02:00 PM   #7
Major Player
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Philadelphia, PA, USA
Posts: 548
The key factor is that film is MUCH higher in resolution than video.
That "higher resolution" is present in terms of possible frames per second, pixels per frame, and colors per pixel.

1) Time Resolution
Smooth slow motion in film is trivial. Assuming you have enough light, all you need to do is crank up the film speed and you get slow motion. On the other hand, almost all common video cameras are limited to a pre-defined frame rate. Intead of being able to capture real slow motion, you are limited to "calculating" missing frames.

2) Frame Resolution
Video is limited by how quickly a CCD can be read and digitized and stored to media in time for the next frame to be recorded a fraction of a second later ... all in a system that can fit on a person's shoulder. As a result, the highest pixel resolutions available for video are in High Def. Even this is only a fraction of the size of a film frame scanned to 2k or sometimes even 4k resolution.
A film scanner doesn't have to be portable (they often look like those big computer tape drive machines you may remember seeing in the 70's and 80's) and it doesn't have to even be fast (though now-a-days the high end scanners are talking about real time capture). It just has to scan film with high quality and high resolution.
To get an idea about the difference this makes, look at an 8.5"x11" sheet of paper in landscape orientation. If a 4k film scan fills the length of the 11" side, a 2k flim scan would be about 5.5" wide and NTCS video would be LESS than two inches wide.
This hi resolution is preserved throughout the digital post-production process, requiring more storage, faster processors, and robust software.
The benifit to all this is a clear, detailed image, even when enlarged to being 20' high and 40-50' feet across.

3) Color Resolution
Again, to accomidate the realtime recording requirements of video, the dynamic range of color channels in video is very limited compared to film.
For any given RGB channel, video usually only has 256 possible (0-255). Film scans, however, can have 1024 or even 4096 possible values PER CHANNEL. While the human eye cannont perceive this many colors, it gives film makers significatly more freedom to make color adjustments as well as greater accuracy in creating compositing mattes than is available to video editors.

As an example, imagine portraite photo that, for whatever reason, ended up being developed such that it appears all gray, with only a subtle indication that there is a face in the picture. A video image of this photo would look all gray. The RGB values might all be between 120 to129 for, maybe 10 shades of gray.
That very same image processed by a film scanner could have as many as 160 shades of gray, allowing for much more freedom to recover details out of the original portrait.


So, that may answer the why shoot on film, what about why edit digitally...


It's faster, less labor intesive and (perhaps most importatly) non destructive.
Even just simple editing of film means literally CUTTING the negative with a blade. That's destructive. You're only "undo" is adhesive tape.
Digital allows for editors and artists to try many "what if" experiements with the same shots without ever damaging the negative.
Digital also allows for software to perform all sorts of special effects with mathmatics rather than expensive, high maintenance optical rigs.

In terms of the process...
Most Hollywood films are shot on 35mm film.
Telecined to digital for editing and effects.
Digital effects shots are rendered to film.
Then the final edit list is cut together the old fashion way, cutting and splicing the original negatives and digital film outputs to form the master negative for duplication.
This master can then be duplicated and distributed optically using industry standard equipment that has been around for decades.

In Summary
Film is very expensive when compared to video, BUT possesses quality and detail advantages that are several orders of magnitude greater than video. This quality holds up to close scrutiny even when projected onto HUGE movie screens.

Video, on the other hand, is fast and inexpensive and more than up to the task of providing the image quality needed for TV. (both SD and HD)

For both mediums, digital has become the domain of choice for editing and effects due to its flexibility, speed and non destructive nature. (assuming your hard drive doesn't crash and you haven't made a backup in months ;) )

Have fun.
Nick Jushchyshyn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 25th, 2004, 02:13 PM   #8
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 6,781
Well, there you go J. Clayton--print this thread out and show it to your friend, hopefully this will convince him!
__________________
Charles Papert
www.charlespapert.com
Charles Papert is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 25th, 2004, 02:33 PM   #9
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Toronto, Canada
Posts: 4,750
Quote:
2) Frame Resolution
Video is limited by how quickly a CCD can be read and digitized and stored to media in time for the next frame to be recorded a fraction of a second later ... all in a system that can fit on a person's shoulder. As a result, the highest pixel resolutions available for video are in High Def. Even this is only a fraction of the size of a film frame scanned to 2k or sometimes even 4k resolution.
...
To get an idea about the difference this makes, look at an 8.5"x11" sheet of paper in landscape orientation. If a 4k film scan fills the length of the 11" side, a 2k flim scan would be about 5.5" wide and NTCS video would be LESS than two inches wide.
...
Film scanned at 2k and 4k will have less resolution than a camera with pixel dimensions of 2k and 4k. Film is scanned at a higher resolution because film is an analog format. You squeeze out extra resolution by increasing the number of samples.

Another thing you have to consider is film grain. Some people find it objectionable and would consider lower resolution video to be subjectively better.

I'm not too sure on the nitty gritty details on film vs digital (considering only resolution), but digital is definitely catching up. There are high definition cameras out and the 2k Dalsa Viper (I think I got that right) and a 4k prototype.
Glenn Chan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 25th, 2004, 03:25 PM   #10
Major Player
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: St. Louis, MO
Posts: 581
There is this constant harping about film having grain as if every film image has noticeable grain. This is as correct as saying every video image has noise. Film has grain as much as video has noise.

Grain is an artifact of using film. It can be reduced to where it is not noticeable depending on lighting, stock used, and other techniques.

Grain is appealing only when there is an artistic reason for it. Just as drop outs and noise are used to simulate a real time dramatic news situation.
Rob Belics is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 25th, 2004, 07:20 PM   #11
Major Player
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Colorado
Posts: 316
Thanks for all the response. My buddy had no idea what he got himself into.

One more thing...
What percentage of movies do you think are shot on film? I said 98%. I am talking Hollywood feature films.

Clay...
__________________
I understand everything about nothing.
J. Clayton Stansberry is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 25th, 2004, 07:42 PM   #12
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia
Posts: 8,308
<<<-- Originally posted by J. Clayton Stansberry : What percentage of movies do you think are shot on film? I said 98%. I am talking Hollywood feature films.

Clay... -->>>

Of all time or just this year?

I'd say 99.999% for all time, and otherwise 95%+

Someone could post an argument that films like The Matrix and Lord Of The Rings are only shot about 50% on film, and the rest digitaly created on video, so only count as half shot on film. But thats an argument for a long cold winter night... :)
__________________
Need to rent camera gear in Vancouver BC?
Check me out at camerarentalsvancouver.com
Dylan Couper is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 25th, 2004, 07:45 PM   #13
Major Player
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: St. Louis, MO
Posts: 581
It's more than that and you can probably name all of them. Off the top of my head, last year, it was "28 Days Later" and Rodriguez's film.
Rob Belics is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 25th, 2004, 07:47 PM   #14
Major Player
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: St. Louis, MO
Posts: 581
Dylan, much more than 50%. Only backgrounds were created digitally along with certain effects and characters.
Rob Belics is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 25th, 2004, 09:49 PM   #15
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia
Posts: 8,308
<<<-- Originally posted by Rob Belics : Dylan, much more than 50%. Only backgrounds were created digitally along with certain effects and characters. -->>>

I was joking. :)
__________________
Need to rent camera gear in Vancouver BC?
Check me out at camerarentalsvancouver.com
Dylan Couper is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > Open DV Discussion

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:52 PM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network