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Techniques for Independent Production
The challenges of creating Digital Cinema and other narrative forms.


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Old September 7th, 2005, 07:28 AM   #1
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The better than film look

Why the hell not? Look at Sin City. :D

I think we're setting our sights too low here.
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Old September 7th, 2005, 07:52 AM   #2
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There's without a doubt use for every kind of way of creating motion, via a variety of methods. I don't think in 2005 everything should look like it was created on film stock at 23.967fps just because close to a century ago, that was the best way of doing things... its why I've never been hung up on making my video look like its something else for the majority of my work.

Sin City looks amazing, there's no way shooting it on standard filmstock without CG would it look like a true comic book adaption.
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Old September 7th, 2005, 11:31 AM   #3
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CGI and film acquisition are two different animals...

I think had "Sin City" been shot on film and still composited in the same way it would have still been effective.

Rodriguez has, to his credit, done very well with presenting HD images. It's worth noting that HD can really shine in an entirely studio-originated environment such as was used in this production. It's still a bear to deal with on location, especially day exteriors, between the fundamental issue of overexposure latitude and the complication of the workflow on set.
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Old September 12th, 2005, 01:24 PM   #4
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Amen, brother, amen.

People rave about film because they do not know how to color correct digital video.
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Old September 12th, 2005, 02:46 PM   #5
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I think that's oversimplifying things, Emre. Digital video has only recently been able to CAPTURE the subtlety and nuance that is part of the film look--some may even debate that. And we are talking the high end of HD here, like the Genesis or Dalsa. A lot of it is personal preference. If you present a scene shot on 35mm and HD and projected side by side, certain people (probably the majority) will prefer the 35mm image, regardless of how well color corrrected the HD footage.
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Old September 12th, 2005, 05:02 PM   #6
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There are multiple issues on a set with HD, it is not forgiving and make-up/costumes/sets/etc. will show every imperfection that the natural softness of 35mm will smooth out. I did a Titanic parody video with Al Yankovich shot on 35mm and all the fake sets looked great. When they edited the B-roll (shot with an Xl1 and Sony 2/3" CCD cam) for a "making of" piece, everything looked very fake.

It is not just about color correcting, there are many many issues that still need to be worked out. RR seems to be the closest right now...




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Old September 12th, 2005, 05:17 PM   #7
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I find the "forgiving nature of film" argument incredible. Here is the chance to capture a more faithful likeness of reality, and people reject it? I believe that once people become accustomed to the heightened reality afforded by HD, they will not want to go back. We are in a transition phase right now, and we all know people are resistant to change. Anyway, I don't care what other film-makers do as long as I can shoot with what I want. Live and let live.
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Old September 12th, 2005, 06:44 PM   #8
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I think some of the things more filmmakers should consider is:

A- Make things look better than film, don't limit yourself to making things look as good as film. I think in this case, the "CGI look" makes Sin City look better than film.

If you limit your thinking, you end up with Star Wars 1-3. Does it look better than film? No. (Just my opinion here!)

B- Exploit the differences between film and video.
The big advantage for video is that it frees up time/money elsewhere. Filmmaking is a little more affordable (although at the feature film level, the cost savings aren't that much).

We're getting closer to the point where it doesn't really matter if you shot on video or film. I think Sin City is an example of this, although its shooting style wouldn't work for other films.

C- A lot of the filmmakers here probably can't afford to make a feature film. Never mind affording 35mm or high-end HD cameras. Craft services alone could cost ~$1 million for a feature film. So at some level, you have to make do with what you have- the main factors being limited experience/expertise/knowledge, limited money.

1- Matte painting
You can make scenic/landscape shots look a lot better with matte painting. It makes sci-fi films more achievable.

2- 3D:
Typically looks cheesy / unrealistic, unless you're specialized in this. An example would be Star Wars: Revelations (fan film).
Spaceships and space scenes are easier to do and can look good. Space means less interactions between the 3D objects and other things (shadows, atmosphere, collisions, etc. i.e. the little details that give it away)

3- Color correction/grading/enhancement
IMO this is the #1 thing you can do to film or video (other than good lighting of course).

It's not particularly hard to learn, especially if you just use Magic Bullet Editors (not the best tool, but the easiest).

Quote:
If you present a scene shot on 35mm and HD and projected side by side, certain people (probably the majority) will prefer the 35mm image, regardless of how well color corrrected the HD footage.
I think the color corrected HD footage would look better, but it'd be hard to test something like this since color correction is subjective.
One person might like the Sin City look while someone else may not.

In this particular case, I would think that Sin City looks better as color corrected HD than it would had they shot on film (and not colored it the way they did).

Anyways that's my thoughts on this.
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Old September 12th, 2005, 11:51 PM   #9
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Why is that argument incredible? Instead of building an actual house, you can use a makeshift faux front of a house. You DO realize that movies are NOT real life, they are shot on sound stages and for the most part are manufactured. Film forgives this more than video. Part of the reason they went with digital Yoda was because the puppet looked terrible in HD.



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Old September 13th, 2005, 06:58 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ash Greyson
Why is that argument incredible? Instead of building an actual house, you can use a makeshift faux front of a house. You DO realize that movies are NOT real life, they are shot on sound stages and for the most part are manufactured. Film forgives this more than video. Part of the reason they went with digital Yoda was because the puppet looked terrible in HD.
I agree with everything you said, but I draw a different conclusion. The greater the detail captured by medium, the greater the work required by the film-makers to achieve immersion. But once this immersion is achieved, it is more intense than that imparted by a medium capturing less detail.
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Old September 13th, 2005, 07:05 AM   #11
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Emre,

Impressionist paintings capture less detail than photo-realistic ones and are more compelling to most because of it. Capturing details is not what it is about. Some people prefer photo-realistic paintings, and you might be in that group. Try to understand that it is just your preference.
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Old September 13th, 2005, 07:19 AM   #12
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There is definitely an element of preference, but my argument is that the medium should be able to capture all the detail. One can then decide how much of that detail is needed. For example, to get a B&W image, you can start in color (i.e., with more detail), then decide how to desaturate it rather than using B&W stock. The reins are in the artists' hands rather than the designers of the stock. I like to keep my options open.
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Old September 13th, 2005, 12:37 PM   #13
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Well, the truth is that what they are doing in many projects is continuing to build the sets the same and adjusting the way they look in post. I personally think the best CGI is CGI that accentuates not dominates. I have a friend who was in Jurassic Park and I once asked her if it was hard to act in that environment. She said that 80% of the time there was an animatronic dinosaur there, it wasnt just CGI...




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Old September 13th, 2005, 04:59 PM   #14
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emre Safak
For example, to get a B&W image, you can start in color (i.e., with more detail), then decide how to desaturate it rather than using B&W stock.
That's not entirely accurate, Emre. When a B&W film is designed/shot properly, i.e., for B&W, it's not at all like designing and shooting a color film. The color palette for a movie shot in B&W is significantly different from that of a movie to be shot in color. It has to do with how colors are seen in B&W (black, white, and shades of gray). For example, in color "red" and "green" are seen with excellent contrast, one against the other. However, when shot in B&W that same red and green, more often than not, will come across with little or no contrast because the two "different" colors are rendered in B&W as the same, or nearly the same, tone of gray!

The lighting for B&W is considerably different than that for color, too. There have been many books written (and many articles in American Cinematographer) about this over the years. A trip to the library might be helpful.

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Old September 14th, 2005, 02:19 AM   #15
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This is true... you are really oversimplifying B&W if you merely define it as lack of color. I think B&W is GREAT for big wide cinematic scenes, not moves, just stories told in the cut.



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