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Old October 24th, 2011, 02:20 PM   #16
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Re: Do we really need this stuff?

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Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
My job has always required me to be something of a technologist, and never more so than these days as cameras and formats come hurtling out of the gate far more frequently than ever before, however at the same time I am less and less interested in those nuances and would rather focus on the craft of filmmaking and storytelling........

......Honestly, I think we may be heading towards a new golden age in that regard. The outlook is a bit bleak for those who currently make their living in this industry (myself included), and for those who hope to break in and make a living down the road, but if one is simply hoping to create for art's sake and tell stories, the time has never been better.
I don't disagree with any of this, and while maybe not well said, that was what I was attempting to say. The current technology and the reduced expense for it, give a better chance that the master story teller will be able to get through the guantlet a bit easier.

You are working in the professional field, and I am a local enthusiasts without a real plan of ever making a living doing this. The ability to tell a story with improved imagery has been a major boon to people on my level. I bought the 5D within months of coming out.

On this board, before the 5D, I had pled with Sony and Canon, and Panny, to come out with a camera with a large sensor, that would provide a more filmic look. Shallower depth of field is part of the benefit. But I also think it is used to the extreme. The idea of using shallow depth of field in my mind is to isolate your subject on the screen to enhance the story telling. Most of the time, with a human subject, and a portrait lens, that means somewhere around F 5.6 to F 8. Not these crazily extreme f 1.2 setting some seem to love to crank out.

I think the bigger benefit of the large sensor cameras like the 5 D, is the ability to shoot with available light. While you as a professional on a set will have a crew that works hard to balance lighting with all kinds of lighting gear, I, working with volunteer and untrained enthusiasts, will be limited in the lighting I can employ. And my skill set with lighting is so much less. But the 5 D, if properly exposed, and perhaps with use of the Cinestyle preset, does allow me a lot of latitude to fix my sinful mistakes in post. Not the best way to do things, admittedly.

And in the end, I think it is because of enthusiasts like me, who are out there willing to spend money on these mass marketed cameras and who are demanding more professional features, that the professional users are reaping a great benefit of reduced cost on good equipment.

I can remember when I first came on this board as an enthusiast, I was just thrilled to be able to hear from folks like you who were in the professional trenches. It helps me do all the things I could with my limited budget to improve my product. At the same time, I know there were some who resented my attempts, because I was not truly professional, ie., earning a living from this.
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Old October 24th, 2011, 02:46 PM   #17
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Re: Do we really need this stuff?

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...do we really need this stuff?
Of course not. All we *need* is clean air, clean water, food, and shelter. Maybe clothing depending on your climate; you could lump that under shelter if you wanted.

But what does *need* have to do with it? For tens (hundreds?) of millenia, humans have used art to document what's going on in their world, to communicate with others, and to express themselves. They have generally always striven to do better, to have better materials and tools, to develop better techniques.

Now I'll admit that the advent of yet another DSLR isn't on the same plane with the invention of brushes. But I submit that it's part of a long chain of tool development, the vast majority of which is incremental improvements.

Tool development is one of the distinguishing characteristics of humanity. I for one hope it never ends.
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Old October 24th, 2011, 09:35 PM   #18
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Re: Do we really need this stuff?

What happened to all good filmaking? It went to tv. Narrative shows these days, at least some, are freakin amazing. This is further evidenced by the fact that actors that many people would only consider "movie actors" are now STARRING, not just making cameos but starring in their own tv series.
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Old October 25th, 2011, 02:06 AM   #19
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Re: Do we really need this stuff?

Crap is made on all levels...on the pro level and on the non-pro level. On the pro level, it's about the dollars --quick, assembly-line films with big names, grand stages, special effects, and shallow scripts. On the non-pro level, it's a lot of individuals who lack the know-how to make a good film.

The great technological and digital advancements of the last several years have opened the door to all kinds of filmmakers, good and bad. Granted, many of these individuals have lost sight of the ENTIRE package required to make a good film, or have not been educated enough to know better. But there are still many who've properly and/or wisely harnessed the tools at hand and have accepted them as merely a piece of the entire pie.

Ironic. These great, old, classic films that are being referred to here...now filmmakers today (or rather, people who want to make films) are being chastised for wanting tools that would allow them to emulate these films of yore in terms of their look. Individuals are just excited that they are THAT much closer to a professional-looking film.

This is the new age; this is what we've currently evolved to. Yes, the industry is heavily saturated with crap. Films by individuals who thought a camera or software was gonna make their movie. But there've been plenty who've handled the craft with wisdom and respect while still taking full advantage of the new tools at hand.

The beauty of these types of forums is we can utilize them to educate film makers of all sorts on the in's and out's of good filmmaking...the craft as a whole, not just the camera used to shoot it.


P.S. Crap films have been getting made for decades, even during those days of yore. It's quite naive to think otherwise. There's only more today because of the all the new outlets available today for everyone to use and see.
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Old October 25th, 2011, 08:21 AM   #20
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Re: Do we really need this stuff?

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Originally Posted by David Rice View Post
But, do we really need this stuff?

Yes, the genesis of film/video is technology.
If you want to revert to stage production, then no.
You may be at a point where you don't want to buy/use newer technology. But that just your perspective.
What survived from the past is the good stuff. Plenty of good stuff being made each year now too.
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Old October 25th, 2011, 05:39 PM   #21
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Re: Do we really need this stuff?

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Originally Posted by David Rice View Post
Why do the photo's taken with the latest DSLR and Photo Shopped to death, don't have the mystery and appeal of a black and white photograph by Ansil Adams?

Look at what was filmed in the 1920's with old technology. Last night I watch film clips of Buster Crabbe. How did those guys film and produce material like that? No computers, no FCP, and no “this years latest gadget”.
Good artists will always outshine good technicians. No surprises there. And someone who is both a good artist and master technician, like Ansel Adams? Game over.

On the topic of Adams, he was shooting 8x10 most of the time, so the tremendous level of detail in his images is not surprising. I shot 4x5 for many years, and my DSLR doesn't even come close to the same level of detail. Moreover, Adams was a master in the darkroom and had perfected the process of bringing out just the right contrast in just the right spots to make his shots so compelling. I have to believe Adams would be all over Photoshop these days, but still producing work that stands out because of his fine artistry.

In short, we don't need this stuff, we just like to play with it. The technology is so accessible now that it makes for a much larger pool of mediocre work, I agree, but good artistry will always stand out from the rest.
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Old October 25th, 2011, 06:27 PM   #22
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Re: Do we really need this stuff?

A marketer told me this about stuff acquisition. People will want anything that they perceive gives them an advantage and they'll pay through the nose to get it.
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Old October 26th, 2011, 02:05 AM   #23
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Re: Do we really need this stuff?

I have total faith in audiences to recognize a good story, and reward good storytellers. Technology may have changed over the centuries to the point where it dazzles us . . . but it's still the story that captivates.
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Old October 26th, 2011, 02:52 AM   #24
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Re: Do we really need this stuff?

I have a new NEX 5n on the way and due here in a few days. Do I need it; no, not really but I want it as it will enable me to explore hitherto unexplored shooting methodologies. Keeps me off the streets and it helps keep Sony in business...

Last edited by John McCully; October 26th, 2011 at 02:03 PM.
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Old October 26th, 2011, 05:06 AM   #25
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Re: Do we really need this stuff?

You have to read to write.

That is, reading good writing helps you write better. Watching good media helps you create good content. i.e. great effects on lousy story telling can still influence your effects. Ditto other various aspects of the art.

To Dave's point, the low barrier to entry and democratization of distribution channels (enabling anyone to publish) has created a vast ocean of content that makes finding the good stuff more challenging. A great example is the fine work produced by Dave himself on Alaska. Had it not been for DVInfo, I'd never have found it and been able to enjoy some of his pieces.

Irrespective of the skill, equipment or techniques used, until TVs have full and efficient access to internet media, Cable, Air and Satellite distribution channels and their program schedules will control what we have access to from the Barcalounger.
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Old October 26th, 2011, 08:42 AM   #26
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Re: Do we really need this stuff?

I guess I'm just becoming a cranky old man stuck in his ways, and destined to become a Soylent Green Wafer.

Thank God for Turner Classic Movies........
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Old October 27th, 2011, 01:06 AM   #27
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Re: Do we really need this stuff?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Brockett View Post
I too agree with you that most films of the past decade look like moving Photoshop, everything looks fake, synthetic and empty, especially in action and adventure films. For me, it all ended with Bladerunner, that was the last big sci-fi film that sold me that I was seeing a real world. Everything past that is moving Photoshop. Sadly, to most people under about 35 today, they accept "moving Photoshop" as real because with the digital world, video games, avatars, social media, a "fake" virtual world is where most of them exist. So for them, there is no distinction between fake, overly Photoshopped stills and motion footage and their reality.

Dan
...Hi Dan:
I too very much agree with your assessment of the situation. I find it interesting you chose the end of film art looking cinema to finalize with the movie BLADERUNNER. This was the last big budget Hollywood Film to photograph all of its visual effects plate shots in the 5 perf 65 mm motion picture format. Douglas Trumbull and Richard Yuricich ASC shot all of the city scapes with hand modified rack over Mitchell FC 65 mm (Fox Camera) 5 perf 65 mm motion picture cameras fitted with Zies and Nikon lenses and MOCO stepper motor 12 axis drives. Today all feature films are transferred to 5/65mm film negative before they are put into the vault at the studios - even if they were originated digitally.

In my opinion, 65 mm motion picture negative produces movie resolution with a gamma curve as of yet unobtainable digitally. Everyone wants to purchase the latest gear, but I must also agree with others on this thread that the latest and greatest isn't always the way to go. For example, we do extensive acquisition at my production company with the Canon XL H1 HDV camcorder. Now this is a circa 2005 technology, and by no means anywhere close to the bleeding edge Sony F3 of Panasonic HD cameras now on the market. But we can change out the glass and tweak the image in the camera in ways no other camcorder can be adjusted. The XL series HDV camcorders are wonderful for being able to dial in a specific look and save that look to an SD card ! Even recording to thick raster HDV cassettes in camera yields a final result which can be very easily cooked during primary and secondary color correction to look like it was shot with a much higher end broadcast camera. We have ceased to have been amazed at what good lighting and careful composition can do this now older camera. We also use the uncompressed HD-SDI out to a Flash XDR solid state digital recorder to bump up the raster to 1920 x 1080 and the audio from 48 KHz 16 bit to 48KHz 24 bit.

Also, let us not forget there is an amazing remote software via Fire Wire total camera control, which we have installed on an HP laptop PC giving us unprecedented waveform and vector scope, focus, hyper-focus, live on set. On big conference shoots we do, we often simul - record to laptop, in-camera tape, and the Flash XDR. This is all old stuff now, but flexible in so many ways and totally cheap to run. Always upgrading your gear isn't always the way to go. I know that the Sony F3 is an amazing camera, and far superior, but the look we can obtain from the old XL H1 looks better to us - even though we know technologically speaking it is not. Here's an example of a Fall Colors Promo we shot for a local client last week. Sorry, this is only 720p on YouTube, but we will be posting a full resolution 1080p shortly.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RayHuCSdp1M

Don't by gear just for the sake of it. Learn to use the gear you already have and you might be surprised at what you can obtain.
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Old October 28th, 2011, 03:36 AM   #28
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Re: Do we really need this stuff?

Same reason SNL used to be good.
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Old October 28th, 2011, 10:14 AM   #29
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Re: Do we really need this stuff?

If Canon comes out with a under $5,000 camera that uses EF lens and a XF 4:2:2 codec next month, I take everything back!
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Old October 28th, 2011, 11:05 AM   #30
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Re: Do we really need this stuff?

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If Canon comes out with a under $5,000 camera that uses EF lens and a XF 4:2:2 codec next month, I take everything back!
It is likely 50mbs 4:2:2, but it doesn't have to be under $5K. Neither the AF100 or FS100 are making people swoon from their IQ, so there doesn't seem to be a reason to undercut Sony and Panasonic.

It would be fun for Canon to make a shocking announcement. But I think the 1DX indicates that Canon isn't morphing into Red.
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