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Old July 14th, 2005, 01:25 PM   #1
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Hmm, wondering here...

Obviously 35mm film owns dv, however how much better(in terms of quality)are the films that have been shot on 35mm film and have been transfered to dvd than dv from lets say Panasonic AG DVX100a that's been transfered to dvd. I know the Depth of field is obviously shallower but in terms of quality is there a big difference?
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Old July 14th, 2005, 03:35 PM   #2
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Films shot on 35mm typically have bigger budgets as well as very experience and talent people working on the shoot. With DV, the budgets and level of experience are on average much lower (I'm not saying that you're not talented or experienced). What this means is that for non-technical reasons, 35mm footage does look a lot better than DV.

If you have talent and experience, I think you could achieve very high production values with a DVX100. For example, take a look at the film "broken" in the DV for the Masses forum. The filmmakers behind Broken have years of working in the industry, which is probably one reason why the film looks so good.
There have also been some Hollywood films that have been shot on DV... you might want to take a look at the DVD for "28 Days Later".

If you want to get down to what's practical, I'd try to advantage of the differences between film and DV:
A- Cost. You don't need to waste time getting funding. If you have an idea, go out there and shoot it.
Also, you free up money for other things and you can shoot more films.
Deeper depth of field can be used to artistic advantage.
Or it just makes your life easier because you don't have to worry about focus as much.
C- Speed
You can just shoot a lot faster with DV. The price of tape means you can shoot things without having to waste time on rehearsals.
D- Ease of use?
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Old July 14th, 2005, 04:22 PM   #3
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thats not what i meant, I meant in terms of quality...actual quality in difference between 35mm film transfered to dvd, and panasonic ag dvx100a transfered to dvd, is there a noticable quality difference other than DOF?
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Old July 14th, 2005, 04:42 PM   #4
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I think a lot less detail in the wide shots...
But 'untrained' eyes won't notice such things, I think, on a television set.
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Old July 14th, 2005, 05:19 PM   #5
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You have to understand that the encoders they use for DVD compression from large budget film is much more expensive and capable than run of the mill desktop solutions. So, your at an unfair advantage.

I also believe DVD is more suited to 24 fps that film provides. I've read that it's best to convert your video to 24p prior to encoding, as it's allows for a larger data-set per frame due to having less frames vs. fielded or 30 fps video. You can crank up the temporal quality in absence of the extra frames. (Yeah, clear as mud).

Last edited by Peter Ferling; July 14th, 2005 at 05:20 PM. Reason: should check my spelling...
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Old July 14th, 2005, 06:09 PM   #6
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If you search through the film look form here (towards a film look using DV) there are lots of posts discussing quality differences between film and DV. A good one is Define/Quantify Film Look

A quick summary:
Film has greater resolution; for DVD, this may be a moot point
Grain versus noise
Exposure latitude (film's is much greater)
Film's gamma curve gently rolls off highlights and shadows, which many find aesthetically pleasing. Video gamma is mostly linear.
Depth of field
Film can under/overcrank
Film doesn't have video artifacts (excessive edge sharpening, color shifting on highlights [although CCD-based telecine can introduce these artifacts?], stair stepping, vertical streaking, etc.)
Color Gamut
DV uses 4:1:1 color sampling and 5:1 DCT-based compression
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Old July 15th, 2005, 06:40 AM   #7
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After both reading other's experiences and having had my own, the DV-vs-Film debate reminds me of the Tube-vs-Transistor debate among guitarists.

Tube guitar amplifiers have allot in common with film; the more subtle transition into overdrive, lower perceived signal-to-noise ratio, etc. But when a guitarist selects an amplifier it's not because of the specifications on paper, it's because of the "sound".

Just like DV, transistor amplifiers came along and were able to out-perform tube amplifiers at the low-end of the spectrum. They were smaller, lighter and gave you more power for the dollar in the low to medium power ranges. However they also "sounded" different. Many artists, especially ones who don't have a firm grasp of the technology, will simply run away from something that is different because it's more important to them that their tools just work and don't affect their actual goal (which is getting the idea out of their head). Many years were spent (and still are) trying to make the transistor amplifier "sound" like a tube amp.

In the meantime a new generation of guitarists came along and embraced the cheap transistor amplifier. It allowed them to do things that they never could have done with tube amps if for no other reason than they could actually afford to purchase a decent amplifier. This generation created a new "sound" by embracing the strengths of the transistor amplifier. By using the transistor amplifier in it's own context (as opposed to forcing it into being a tube amp) this new "sound" evolved which was just as pleasing to it's audience as the tube sound was to the previous generation.

I understand you are asking for a quantitative comparison in quality between Film and DV, however I feel that such a comparison is meaningless. If you try to use DV as if it were film the result will be less like film than film itself. Conversely, if you try to use Film as if it were DV, you will be similarly disappointed.

On the other hand, if you embrace the medium for both its strengths and its weaknesses, and make a conscious effort to take advantage of it's strengths, you will end up with something that is pleasing to your audience, which is more important than satisfying a technician or an oscilloscope, correct?
Jason J. Gullickson
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