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Old June 19th, 2005, 09:10 AM   #106
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I recently had the chance to do a visual comparison of formats. Our short film "After Twilight" screened in LA at the Raleigh Studios, Chaplain Theatre last week, as part of the Texas Film Commission Filmmakers Showcase. Of the eight shorts selected, One was shot in 35mm (ours) One shot in HD, One was a digital composite of old found footage, all the rest were shot in 16 and Super 16.

They were all burned to a beta tape and projected on a large screen in a nice theatre.

The HD did NOT look as good as the Super 16 or 16mm films. It was decidedly different.

How much that is attributed to the inherent skills of the production team,or the transfer process I can't say.( I suspect much of it was) But when it came up on screen, it was obviously not film. A nice piece, by the way, but the image was not as good as film.


I also got a chance to go to Parmount's camera department and talk to the guy there. He said that most of the sitcoms are moving to digital, but the episodics are staying with film. He said Kelsey Grammer's new sitcom was picked up, and that Grammer INSISTED it be shot on film.

I also got to handle one of the cameras that shot "The Ten Commandments"... cool mojo.

I think ultimately digital will take over most of the workflow in television, and high end effects films. But I don't think film will ever 'dissappear'. Different tools from the toolbox for different jobs.
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Old June 19th, 2005, 12:45 PM   #107
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mathieu Ghekiere
1. original question: what would look better on the big screen, pure technical, 16mm or HD?

2. another question: what could you deliver with the HDX200 in combination with a Mini35?

3. And another off topic question: are there many differences between the Varicam and the Cinealta, and exept for bigger chips, are there other differences between that and the HDX?
1. It depends on what HD? F950? FX1? It depends what 16 mm? What film speed? DI? To make simple: If someone is buying under 10.000 USD camera and is not experienced filmmaker, just forget 16 mm. As to HD, can get superb results with F950, with sharpness (not resolution) of 70 mm, and you can get OK results with FX1 and slightly better with HDX.

2. You'll get film-type DOF. That is important. Picture will look more artistic, more pleasing, if you know what you doing.

3. CineAlta will look better on large theater screen, on HDTV Varicam may look better. Pro cameras will have better DOF, sharper lenses, more sound channels, better adjustments. better low light performance, etc.

Radek
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Old June 19th, 2005, 01:53 PM   #108
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[QUOTE=Bill Anderson]Talent must prevail? I think not, history is replete with the husks of the talented, the geniuses who died in penury listening to the vacuous din of the pop culture of their day. One has to look no farther than most "Top One Hundred Movies" lists to see the atrocious relegation of talent and genius.[Quote=Bill Anderson]

So there are hundreds of films out there like Pulp Fiction, Night of the Living Dead, Memento and Do the Right Thing that haven't seen the light of day?

Where are they? I have spent hundreds on underground horror DVDs, I really don't see the next George Romero or Clive Barker.

I have sat through a hundred films at various film festivals and markets and ended up watching hundreds of bad movies. Two of which I am responsible for making.

I find it hard to believe that distributors are passing up on films that were made by talented people that could make them money. Or festival attendees have a grand conspiracy to suppress films that are of excellent quality.

And top One Hundred lists doesn't prove anything. George Romero will never make a top one hundred list, but a lot of people know who he is. Same with Cronenberg, Barker, the Farrell Brothers......

I have seen too many bad films shot on 35mm, Super 16mm, 16mm, Super 8mm, HD, Betacam and Mini DV to believe that the format has anything to do with whether the film gets distributed or not. Talent and something that could be market easily to make a quick buck are what I think matters.
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Old June 19th, 2005, 02:00 PM   #109
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Radek Svoboda
1. It depends on what HD? F950? FX1? It depends what 16 mm? What film speed? DI? To make simple: If someone is buying under 10.000 USD camera and is not experienced filmmaker, just forget 16 mm. As to HD, can get superb results with F950, with sharpness (not resolution) of 70 mm, and you can get OK results with FX1 and slightly better with HDX.

2. You'll get film-type DOF. That is important. Picture will look more artistic, more pleasing, if you know what you doing.

3. CineAlta will look better on large theater screen, on HDTV Varicam may look better. Pro cameras will have better DOF, sharper lenses, more sound channels, better adjustments. better low light performance, etc.

Radek
Thank you.
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Old June 19th, 2005, 02:08 PM   #110
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If one can survive the low budget filmmaking process and actually shoot film, I think the odds are higher for distribution than video, not because film is better, but because there is more dilution of content among mini-dv projects, meaning it's easier to attempt a mini-dv project, no matter how it turns out.

Lets say 10,000 mini-dv projects are offered to distributors and they purchase 100 of them, and lets say 1,000 Super 16 projects are offered to distributors and 50 are purchased by distributors.

Both mini-dv and super-8 16mm advocates can claim victory. Super-16 can claim victory because percentage-wise 5 times as many Super-16mm projects were purchased by distributors as was shot on mini-dv, but mini-dv advocates can claim victory because overall twice as many mini-dv projects were sold as compared to Super-16mm.

I just use those figures without any actual data back-up to illustrate that nowadays, any set of numbers can pretty much be used by either side to make their point.

I think the healthiest scenario is to be flexible enough as a filmmaker to not be shy to use either method.
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Old June 19th, 2005, 02:15 PM   #111
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I did some tests prior to shooting a feature called "The Perfect Sleep" last winter, which was slated to shoot on HDCAM (Cinealta) and deliver on 35mm. Since the director and I wanted a 2:40 aspect ratio, I needed to see for myself what that crop would look like after the film out to anamorphic (compared to a 1:85 "flat" film out). I was happy with the results, but we wanted to fight for film origination with a "poor man's DI" aka transfer to HDCAM for color correction then film out.

We looked at some Super 16mm footage that had gone through this process onto HDCAM and HDCAM SR then filmed out. I was surprised to see how much grain was present during this process--I would have expected a bit less. Even though it certainly had the film "look", it wasn't a clear win over the HD footage, which looked sharper and cleaner, for better or worse. The 35mm material we also screened was the obvious winner, but that format was unquestionably beyond our budget.
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Old June 19th, 2005, 03:06 PM   #112
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Charles,

Do you recall which S16 stocks you tested?
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Old June 19th, 2005, 03:06 PM   #113
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Papert
We looked at some Super 16mm footage that had gone through this process onto HDCAM and HDCAM SR then filmed out. I was surprised to see how much grain was present during this process--I would have expected a bit less. Even though it certainly had the film "look", it wasn't a clear win over the HD footage, which looked sharper and cleaner, for better or worse. The 35mm material we also screened was the obvious winner, but that format was unquestionably beyond our budget.
That's exactly. HD gives 70 mm sharpness and 16 mm resolution.

Radek
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Old June 20th, 2005, 04:13 PM   #114
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary McClurg
I think the odds are going to 35mm are slim.

I say write a really good script. Then rewrite that really good script a dozen more times.

Put the money into an actor like Michael says for distribution. I've seen some nice stuff come out of the DV world. So going to HD with the new Panny is going to help.

Using a great DP will also help to bring up the production value.

But I still believe if someone is being entertained, they won't care what it's shot on.
To this I'd add "Use a good sound person." Really. Occasionally iffy photography will be forgiven much more readily than badly recorded sound.
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Old June 20th, 2005, 04:28 PM   #115
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Alvarez
Charles,

Do you recall which S16 stocks you tested?

Richard:

We actually didn't shoot the 16mm footage--the film-out house had it from another project that had gone through their post process. They weren't able to tell me what stock was used, but it was a day exterior, so it is reasonable to assume that it wasn't over 200 ASA. I don't think it was 7245 though.
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Old June 22nd, 2005, 10:15 AM   #116
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I didn't want to start a whole new thread, but the comparision I've been losing sleep over is HVX vs. Cinealta (or Varicam for ease). I'm going to be shooting a feature this winter on a 100k budget, and while I know nobody not fully aware of the production could answer the question of what camera to use, I'm really not sure what would make the most sense. We'd like to position ourselves that if needed we could do a decent film blow-up, and I'm wondering if the 1/3" chips of the HVX are simply not large enough to compete with the Cinealta. While, it would cost slightly more to rent a package then buy the HVX, I'm focused on making this movie the best it possibly can be. Any suggestions?
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Old June 22nd, 2005, 10:21 AM   #117
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Since nobody's seen the image from the HVX, it's a bit hard to say but empirically, a 2/3" camera will win out over a 1/3" camera every time. It's just a smoother image. Especially if you are able to use the Digiprimes with that 2/3" camera.
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Old June 22nd, 2005, 11:07 AM   #118
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Radek Svoboda
That's exactly. HD gives 70 mm sharpness and 16 mm resolution.

Radek
What does that mean?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Rosenberg
I didn't want to start a whole new thread, but the comparision I've been losing sleep over is HVX vs. Cinealta (or Varicam for ease).
Rather than inadvertently hide your question in this topic, it seems like everyone, including yourself would be better served if your question were presented as a new topic.

---------------------------

I would never rely on a test in which one doesn't know the film stock of origination, how and who shot it, and under what conditions.

Also, Film Transfer facilities themselves vary in quality.

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Old June 22nd, 2005, 11:08 AM   #119
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Jeff,

Interesting article in the newest Videography magazine about an indy shoot with digital workflow. Some good advice in there. Of course, it was a 'low budget' 1.5 million flick, but good advice nonetheless.
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Old June 22nd, 2005, 04:43 PM   #120
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alessandro Machi
I would never rely on a test in which one doesn't know the film stock of origination, how and who shot it, and under what conditions.

Also, Film Transfer facilities themselves vary in quality.
Alessandro, I'll assume this statement is directed towards my post. I agree, I wouldn't want to rely on a test like this; but I wasn't looking to rely on it, it was a preliminary comparison. The grain pattern was pretty consistent with most Super16mm releases I have seen (including those that I consider to be quite good, such as Leaving Las Vegas and The Station Agent). In comparison to HD originated material, the grain really popped.

Certainly transfer facilities vary. The house in question was iO Film in North Hollywood, and after extensive discussions and viewing of their demo material I decided to go with them for the filmout of "The Perfect Sleep" as I felt they not only provided a quality product but had excellent customer service. My associate Jim Muro who had "Crash" DI'd there had a good experience also.
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