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The challenges of creating Digital Cinema and other narrative forms.


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Old April 24th, 2002, 05:01 PM   #31
 
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For artistic quality, film is second to none. I don't think even the honorable W. Whitman would disagree. But, things in this world are rarely such absolutes or black and white...excuse the pun. For scientific merit, video provides a very clinical picture....not to mention the position and scale.

Mr. Wiley has a valid point....but then, that's just my opinion.
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Old April 27th, 2002, 01:10 AM   #32
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Film vs. video isn't just a question of quality, resolution or pixels. I work mainly with video, but I also work in 16mm film. Bolex anybody? :)

Video is wonderful at providing "instant gratification". Plus, it's just plain easier to work with. You can see any mistakes easily and correct them while still onsite. Not so easy to do with film. Plus, anybody with a computer and a cheap video editing board can work with it, it's very inexpensive (once you get past the initial equipment costs). Film post production costs are a lot more expensive.

But video also seems more technical than artistic at times. Computers, hard drives, video editing boards, drivers, it's a very technical medium where the quest to have the biggst, baddest, latest equipment is, like the computer industry, an ongoing battle.

Film, however, seems more artisitc to me. It is a very tactile medium. You can physically touch it and cut it. It's almost like sculpting. Film needs really only two things - a camera and a Steinbeck-type device for editing. The Steinbecks at my University where I work are 40 years old - and work perfectly. Unless you are shooting Star Wars, technology really isn't much of an issue with film.

In the end though, it doesn't really matter what you use. You can have the best rig on the planet but, if your script blows, your project will too.

Personally, I mainly use video (Canon XL-1) because it's easiest to work with and still allows you to get your point across. Plus, I spent $3500 for that XL-1 and I'm sure as hell gonna use it :)

Though I admit I do use various techniques to get my video to look like film. What does that say? :)
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Old April 27th, 2002, 11:55 AM   #33
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Im wondering why so many people in this thread have stated the cost effectivness of HD vs. Film.

The HD cameras used by George Lucas cost just as much as a Panavision 35 mm camera. Lets not forget that some of the editing systems that cut HD cost more than most peoples homes!

Right now, there is no way DV or HD can stand up to film. Dark movies like "Seven" would look absolutley horrible on DV because DV just cant handle lowlights and shadows as well as film.

Black on film is beautiful. Black on DV is not. HD is a little better with this, but still doesnt compare to film. However, DV is getting some credit now finally. Some people think film=cinema and DV=cheap amateur. But with people like Soderbergh using DV it gives the medium some credit. Although I highly doubt that Soderbergh is making a full transistion to DV.

In my opinion, the most important factor in why hollywood isnt going to make a DV or HD transistion soon is because of the huge amounts of assets invested in film. Many people who make movies (DPs, Dirs, gaffers, etc.,) probably don't want to "re-learn" how to do their jobs so they can use an "inferior" media. Switching formats is a huge investment and the studios are just waiting until things have settled down, standards have evolved, etc...
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Old April 27th, 2002, 12:07 PM   #34
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It's not that video equipment is cheaper or more expensive than film equipment. In fact, the best 35mm "Hollywood" film cameras run $500,000. I don't think there is a video camera ever made that was that expensive.

I think most people refer to cost of video vs. film as a function of post production. Post production is very expensive in film compared to video. The last 16mm film I did (about 20 minutes worth) cost about $200 to process. You can figure that if a video editing rig costs you $3000 and the average project length is 20 minutes, then after 15 projects, you are caught up price-wise and anything after 15 projects is basically free in video when compared to the cost of processing film.

As far the quality of DV vs. film, I think that if you are good in your techniques - lighting, filters etc - and want to throw some dollars at the right software, then DV can be made to look as good as film. It's all in the technique and how far you are willing to go to make the perfect project.
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Old April 27th, 2002, 01:21 PM   #35
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For George however, his cameras are not costing him anything. I believe he is using them free of charge. Despite that, the rental is probably comparable. His post is pretty much already set up for what he needs, so that cost is minimal.

I think Rick McCallum clearly stated the cost savings for EP2. Those savings are mainly in prints. dailies and scan times. So there is a savings.

BUT, most people feel that video is also faster on the set than film. With EP2 that's probably not the case (though they say it is) I would imagine it's about the same for a production of that scale. Setting up the video shack is (which is about half the size of a cargo container) a time suck, and you still have to check calibration and spot your hot and low signals. Plus the cameras are HUGE. Loading, prep and gate checking is probably just as time consuming in film.

As for smaller films with miniDV, the process is faster. I know my shoots are.
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Old April 27th, 2002, 03:53 PM   #36
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"In my opinion, the most important factor in why hollywood isnt going to make a DV or HD transistion soon is because of the huge amounts of assets invested in film.

dv is not in hollywood future but it is in no budget projects - .. HD24P is HERE NOW ... studio's RENT ..they don't care if they are paying 1000 day for a arri or 1000 day for 24P ..so it's the rental houses that must make the investment ..and if panavison has 100 cinealta's then other camera rental's will get HD 24p camera's .. they are there to serve the hollywood industry!
the assets that studio's have are their film library's , sound stages , lighting equipment, stage/grip equipment, backlots - ALL can be used today on any format project. they rent it all to anyone that will pay $$$$.

hollywood post production houses will get the equipment to meet the needs of hollywood if they don't they will go under ...

what's the BIG deal ... HD 24P is allowing movies to get made that might NOT have got made. also for many it is giving them better quality then if they had to shoot on a different format ... studio's will be shooting FILM for another decade. enjoy the transition - go with it - .if you got the $$ shoot film - if you don't choose another format ... prosuper 8 is offering shooting film at reasonable cost.


"Many people who make movies (DPs, Dirs, gaffers, etc.,) probably don't want to "re-learn" how to do their jobs so they can use an "inferior" media. "

HEY if the production company is paying big $$$ there is NO problem finding a crew. i would hope that a crew would say NO to a bad script before they say no because it's being shot on 24P ???
there is NO re-learning .. the light set up is the same for any format. KEY , fill, back etc the units may be smaller but you still have 10 ton grip trucks .........

"Switching formats is a huge investment and the studios are just waiting until things have settled down, standards have evolved, etc"

true it is expensive BUT the $$ that will be saved using 24P & digital projection will save BIG $$$$$ in long run and in CAPITALISM $$$ always runs over ART ...

did you see KODAKS financials last week ... kodak is taking hits from all areas. still film , still film processing, photo papers , photo chemicals, 16/35 movie film ALL sales are down. the motion pitcure division is a very small unit of kodak.

for info: panavision does NOT sell their camera's/lens they rent ONLY ...
i saw the new 35mm arricam at NAB - body only 183K ... well that seems to be a GOOD sign if they are bringing out new film camera's they must see making $$ from it in the future ..
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Old April 27th, 2002, 04:44 PM   #37
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>>there is NO re-learning .. the light set up is the same for any format. KEY , fill, back etc the units may be smaller but you still have 10 ton grip

Not so. Lighting ratios are definitely different for film and digital, what looks great on 35mm will likely need alteration to look good on digital (and usually needs the same amount of units!). Today's vogue in cinematography can incorporate radical over-exposures of elements, which of course is not a strong suit on HD. Depth of field changes, color rendition changes (skintones are not predictable at several stops under key, they have a tendency to go grey). Sets that look fine on film suddenly look fake on HD because of the increased detail. Makeup must be re-evaluated.

On-screen results aside, there are practical issues to be dealt with. There are a lot of problems reported with shifting back focus on HD lens mounts; cables are a nightmare; using downconverters for compatibility with NTSC monitors such as on Steadicam or remote heads; etc etc.

None of this is unsurmountable, but it is a trying transition for crews that are used to working with established formats. We all want to keep working so we put our best foot forward, but I can assure you that given a choice, virtually all DP's in LA would opt to keep shooting on film given the current state of the technology.

The Arricam is a bit of a surprise but until the writing is on the wall for real as far as film emulsion is concerned, they have to keep moving forward and stay competitive with Panavision. I went to the Arricam product rollout a few months ago where they screened a (somewhat biased) comparison of 35mm and 24p which was intended to bolster their film acquisition division. That was immediately followed by a great looking trailer from "Attack of the Clones" which was promoting the filmout from the Arrilaser system. It's a snapshot of the industry right now that they are simultaneously embracing and decrying digital filmmaking, even in the same breath.
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Old April 28th, 2002, 02:14 AM   #38
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also on the otherside to consider:

TRUE lighting ratio's will be different BUT the basic lighting steup remains the same ..KEY , fill, back light , sidelight etc. flags,nets scrims, cable still need to be set - the electric's and grips do the same JOB .. the DP will decide the lighting ratio's not the crew. shooting FILM the lighting ratio's is slightly different depending on the film stock you use, so a DP either put in more/less fill - BUT it is NOT the basic crew deciding the ratio's.

all the back focus/ cables etc all solved everyday . AND there are always problems to be solved on sets doesn't matter what format is being shot something always pops up ... whatever the problem you look for a solution -that's why we get paid the BIG $$$ .... you pay my day rate i'll shoot on any format -pixel vision, super8 , 35mm - before 2000 one could choose to shoot only FILM ( FILM DP from 82-97 refused to shoot video even if they offered day rate ). but now in 2000 a DP must be able to switch between film, HD , video - UNLESS you can afford not to ..

"None of this is unsurmountable, but it is a trying transition for crews that are used to working with established formats. We all want to keep working so we put our best foot forward, "

bottom line is it doesn't matter what crews want/prefer - they are not going to decide ... the $$$ people will decide - crews either adapt to the new equipment/technology or they don't work... how many sound cutters are cutting MAG these days? if they didn't change to digital they aren't working as sound cutters today.

"but I can assure you that given a choice, virtually all DP's in LA would opt to keep shooting on film given the current state of the technology"

agree with you 95% ....... the other 5% thinks that there are Dp's that look at 24P as another tool and would choose it based on the look they want for a project is the 24P look? ...
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Old April 29th, 2002, 11:05 AM   #39
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"Dark movies like "Seven" would look absolutley horrible on DV because DV just cant handle lowlights and shadows as well as film. "

I agree with this, and thus goes a list of films from the top pf my head to name with the same attributes.

if you look at some films such as seven, or saving private ryan..you can see the artistic and organic "feel" the film gets by defualt.

this however will be harder to duplicate on video, though possible with
the right post editing. For me this would be a draw back if you were a distinctive film maker like Spielberg or Fincher.

On the other hand, you can get a quite distinct look with video as well,
good videography and post editing can get you not only a "film like"
look but a distincitve touch which makes for good video.
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Old April 29th, 2002, 02:36 PM   #40
 
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"...because DV just cant handle lowlights and shadows as well as film. "


I disagree, completely!! DV may not have the latitude of film, but it's certainly got MORE low light sensitivity. You will sacrifice detail in the highlights, hell you'll blow the highlights out...but, you WILL have great shadows!!
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Old April 29th, 2002, 02:36 PM   #41
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Yes. BBC dramatic video productions, which are often quite good, have had a unique, crisp, look for years, one that rises to a "style" in my view.
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Old April 29th, 2002, 04:29 PM   #42
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yeh,

true, yet you do suffer in picture under low light situations(hence low light not staged light). Maybe you have more creative balance when using film.

damn, im starting to sound like a Kodak spokesperson.

Im a true video connoisseur, believe me!
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Old April 29th, 2002, 04:36 PM   #43
 
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...LOL.....

sure...sure....

Just Kidding, redone.

Well, you've got some limited options with GAIN....just turn it up....;o) well, at least a little. It's easier than changing to faster film or push processing slow film, eh?
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Old April 30th, 2002, 10:44 PM   #44
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Famous quote:

"If God had intended man to fly, he'd have given him wings." - ?

I'd be careful about saying video will NEVER look like film. Just look at that computer equipment sitting in front of you as you read this and think how improbable it was 20 years ago that something like it would ever exist.

I say give it 5 years...10 years tops. Then, we'll be recording with new technology that we don't even know about now. And I'll wager that the film-look problem will be finally taken addressed in that new technology.

BTW - another unrelated quote:

"I drank what?" - Socrates
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Old May 1st, 2002, 06:52 AM   #45
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Yes, sooner than one thinks.

Take a look at this link:

http://www.nytimes.com/2002/02/11/technology/11FOVE.html

On new CCD technology said to rival film. See also www.foveon.com.
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