The Man Who HATES Film - Page 3 at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > Special Interest Areas > Techniques for Independent Production

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


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old January 24th, 2004, 11:16 PM   #31
Major Player
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 215
Stanley Kubrick Prediction

In 1969 Stanley Kubrick predicted dramatic changes in the film industry:

Its now getting to the point where a filmmaker almost has the same freedom a novelist has when he buys himself some paper. Stanley Kubrick.

In speaking of independent filmmakers, he went on to say "...at some point someone's going to do something on a level that's going to be shattering."

For those who have neither read Robert Rodriguez' book "Rebel Without A Crew" nor closely studied the manner in which 'El Mariachi' was made, the era predicted by Stanley Kubrick is upon us, and RR happens to be leading by example. Anyone who can hold their own camera should realize we are in the middle of a paradigm shift. Everything has gone back to point zero.

The HD vs. Film debate is entirely misunderstood and misconstrued. No one said that just shooting HD alone saves you all this money. But what it does is to fit in closely with RR's implementation of the same style, manner, and techniques, which led to El Mariachi, and are the same techniques anyone else is free to use.

After El Mariachi was completed RR attempted to explain how he did it and was repeatedly told by 'experts' that "you can't do it that way". This was a 23 filmmaker who went to Mexico with a borrowed 16mm camera, two light bulbs, and a tape recorder. Editing was originally done by connecting two VCRs together to edit the transferred footage.

Say what you will about the final product, but the limited resources are indisputable.

When told 'El Mariachi' cost only $7K to make, one industry doubter claimed it was impossible, that the food for the crew alone would surpass that budget. Surprise. No crew.

This is the real argument. A locked in dogmatic belief of what can be done, or worse, what cannot be done- some people cannot comprehend anything less. Such hard set beliefs only serve to handcuff the creative individual out there who might otherwise try something ambitious if only he realized the tools were so close in hand.

Clearly RR is not hyping HD for the sake of HD, but because he has found an additional tool that allows him the freedom to do what he does best. Whether you shoot film or video, pixel-vision, RR's techniques and creative solutions over spending money philosophy should be prized by any aspiring filmmaker. RR's 10 minute film school segments on his DVDs are remarkable simply because his common sense secrets are so freely shared.

A key aspect of a Paradigm Shift is that when the shift occurs, some people see it, some don't, while others have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo.

Knocking RR is like knocking the guys who first conceived NLE.

Stanley Kubrick himself, who was one of the first to adapt video replay for his on set direction may not have used DV or HD, but he probably has more in common with RR than may on the surface be apparent. Nicole Kidman, who had been accustomed to a style of production, was surprised by the small crew and methods used by Kubrick in Eyes Wide Shut. At times Kubrick and only one or two others would be present making the movie. She commented that it felt like she were working on a student film. This comment was not intended as an insult, but as commentary on how Stanley Kubrick simplified his process, creatively using available resources to allow him the independence he sought.

And Danny Boyle? Yeah, Mini DV may have fit the story, but guess what? 28 Days Later was his THIRD DV film. Danny Boyle has been open minded to the idea of using alternative methods to achieve his desired ends.

James Cameron just announced his first narrative film project since Titanic will be shot on HD. I believe he can afford film.

The point is to unlock your pre-formed opinions and look beyond the apparent 5K vs 1080 and realize that even if you only have a 16mm camera which runs louder than a sewing machine, a cassette tape recorder and a turtle, you can still do great things as long as your limitations do not extend to the space between your ears.

Brian
Brian Mitchell Warshawsky is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 25th, 2004, 12:25 AM   #32
Major Player
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Fort Worth, TX
Posts: 414
Thank you. . .

Okay, I may be thick headed and like to argue for the sake of arguing and get really off topic. . .but this is exaclty what I've been trying to say. . .

You don't need the other $3.9 million dollars if you're doing your own thing and you don't pay unions. Forget everything you've been told and do what your creativity demands!

Thank you for saying what my stubborn ass couldn't.
Kevin Dooley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 9th, 2004, 10:13 AM   #33
Major Player
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Posts: 331
Of course you can capture the sweat in Lee van Cleefs eyes shooting HD. Leone used Techniscope - a format close to 16mm in resolution. Tecniscope i 2 perf 35mm using regular spherical lenses. The camera original had to be printed (optical) to a 35mm anamorphic print. You loose a lot of quality in the process. I don't don't doubt for one second that Rodriguez can do that with a modern day HD camera and still have a better image.

Everyone whos ever seen how Rodriguez shoots his movies knows why he loves HD and zoom lenses. The guy get's six shots when a regular director get's one. Take a look on the outtakes on some of his DVD's. The guy isn't wasting any time and practically edit's in camera zooming in and out of compositions and doing quick setups to get maximum of cuts for that typical Rodriguez style of editing.

Not all of his films are my cup of tea but I admire him a lot.
__________________
Martin Munthe
VFX Supervisor/DP/Director
Martin Munthe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 9th, 2004, 10:47 AM   #34
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: santa fe, nm
Posts: 3,264
Images: 10
I find this thread quite ironic given that not 3 years ago the celluloid zealots were everywhere. Now we have here a whole series of postings by respected videographers praising the advantages of DV. Given that DV has come a long ways in three years, including the evolution to SDI/HD. More evolution to come, stay tuned.
Bill Ravens is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 9th, 2004, 11:25 AM   #35
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Gainesville, FL
Posts: 47
Digital is fine for films but it has to be used right. George Lucas uses it for all the wrong reasons - he has the money for film, but he just wants to make it easier to create effects. Frankly, Episode II especially boasted some extremely fake looking sequences. Whether or not this is directly attributable to filming in CineAlta is arguable, but the fact that nearly every shot in the movie was an effects shot, and most sets were done in the computer and bluescreened, made it extremely cheesy.

Rodriguez, OTOH, still has sets, props, and the normal aspects of film production. He's using digital for the speed and convenience of shooting quickly and watching the dailies without developing. IMO, this is a much more valid reason. Once Upon A Time in Mexico had wonderful colors and a very textured look. I wonder why Lucas wasn't able to use the medium so effectively? He probably doesn't want to...
Evan Kubota is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 9th, 2004, 11:47 AM   #36
Major Player
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: St. Louis, MO
Posts: 581
"Techniscope - a format close to 16mm in resolution."

Huh? Techniscope was shot on 35mm.

"The camera original had to be printed (optical) to a 35mm anamorphic print. You loose a lot of quality in the process. I don't don't doubt for one second that Rodriguez can do that with a modern day HD camera and still have a better image."

You lose quality in an optical process but it doesn't degrade to the level of HD. Because Techniscope wasn't squeezed, some think it had a better picture than Cinemascope. Something like they do with Super35 today. There is more of the negative used than Academy 35. So, if anything, you could say Tech was better due to the larger image.

RR gets more shots because he doesn't plan ahead of time to the detail that film directors do. So he wastes more time getting those shots and having to review them later.

RRs use of zoom lenses is a step down in quality from primes. He is not to be commended for this.
Rob Belics is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 9th, 2004, 03:56 PM   #37
Trustee
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Somewhere in the Negev
Posts: 1,189
If you guys want a real treat, rent Robert Rodriguez' DVD "Once Upon A Time In Mexico". His six featurettes are awesome. One is a ten minute lecture he gave at Sony's Cary Grant Theatre concerning his use of HD 24p, four fantastic behind the scenes featurettes about the movie's production and how easy it was for him to manipulate his images in order to add special effects (case in point: he showed how he digitally manipulated a gunfight scene where he added, in post, a bullet hole effect in a bad guy's forehead. Can you imagine how much money he saved doing it that way as opposed to actually squibbing the actor's forehead which looks cheesy as hell anyway? He also showed how he added machine gun muzzle flash effects in post when, during the early shots in production, Antonio Banderas had to use a non-firing rubber machine gun and "pretend" to be firing it by mouthing the machine gun noise. Rodriguez showed the before and after examples and I swear to you, I could not believe how real the muzzle flash looked when he added the effect in post. Amazing!) Plus, the DVD version shows the movie the way it was meant to be shown: In it's original HD 24p format. The picture is fabulous with no filmout fuzz. Give yourselves a treat and rent this DVD.
Hugh DiMauro is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 9th, 2004, 06:20 PM   #38
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 132
Film-out fuzz? I'm not sure I understand what this means.

First of all, if it's a DVD, it's in SD resolution and heavily compressed in MPEG-2 so you're definitely not seeing it in its native HD 24P. In fact, unless you have a higher end television with a progressive scan DVD player, you are seeing it with a pulldown added, which I've heard further degrades the image, if only slightly (not having the upper level gear myself with which to compare).

Second of all, I've never heard of any "fuzz," or loss of resolution, or anything of that nature, when up-rezzing to 35mm and then telecining back to SD. Perhaps you're referring to the wear and tear that happens to a film print over time in theaters which may show up on projection. Of course a fresh print is used for telecine to SD, or increasingly HD, from which to make the DVD compliant MPEG-2 file, so the wear and tear is nonexistent.

I'm curious what you mean by fuzz.

mg
Matthew Groff is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 9th, 2004, 07:01 PM   #39
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: San Jose, CA
Posts: 2,222
I rented this DVD and noticed the lack of film grain animation, or what Hugh refers to as film-out fuzz. The DVD looked great (much better than anything I've ever shot), and, unlike the DV feature "28 days later", I was unable to notice any DV artifacts on the DVD. I wish I had seen this movie in the theaters. Before this DVD, I thought that I needed to add this noise to animate edges for a good film-look. Vegas grain animation isn't particularly convincing, so I had thought about writing code for
my own plug-in. Not anymore.
Gints Klimanis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 9th, 2004, 10:04 PM   #40
Major Player
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: 32 44' N 117 10' W
Posts: 820
I'm afraid this discussion will rage on until film is, well, dead.
John Hudson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 9th, 2004, 10:11 PM   #41
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 132
Which, as digital formats have shown thus far, will probably be never.



mg
Matthew Groff is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 9th, 2004, 10:14 PM   #42
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 6,781
Hugh:

By "real" looking muzzle flash, presumably you mean that it looks just like the effect we are used to seeing in movies when blanks are fired, which are more aggressive than actual rounds!!

Gints:

"28 Days Later" was shot on DV, "One Upon a Time in Mexico" was HD. If there had been the same level of artifacting, I would say that Rodriguez had spent about $47K too much on his cameras....

Film grain and image weave fall into the category of "things to emulate to duplicate the fillm look that are soon to be obsolete". My firm guess is that within ten years, we will have become so conditioned as a culture to digitally originated images that these aspects of film imaging will be considered old school. I don't doubt that period pieces made in the future will call for an emulation of the "film look". I now think of this when I watch trailers at the theatre and notice the weave and dirt on the green MPAA ratings screen, having experienced the same with digital projection.I haven't forgotten how much crackling and popping used to accompany that ratings billboard on the soundtrack in the days before digital sound, although it's hard to imagine now.
__________________
Charles Papert
www.charlespapert.com
Charles Papert is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 9th, 2004, 10:19 PM   #43
Major Player
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Fort Worth, TX
Posts: 414
<<<-- Originally posted by Matthew Groff : Which, as digital formats have shown thus far, will probably be never.



mg -->>>

You're kidding right? Look at where video has come in just the past 5 years--let alone where it was 20 years ago! There is no comparison--and not just shooting, but the whole digital process. In 10 years kids will be editing HD in their family rooms because it'll be the low end of what's produced if things keep going the way they are now.

Everything just keeps getting better and cheaper. . .
Kevin Dooley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 9th, 2004, 10:40 PM   #44
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Posts: 1,929
When it comes to the old digital vs. analog debate, "better" is a relative term.

We just got a new HDTV at home, top of the line. It's great that we don't get ghosting any more, as we did with analog transmissions. But in most cases the digital artifacts are more distracting than any of the signal distortions that came with analog broadcasts ever were. A commercial displays black text on a white background, but it doesn't get read--I'm too busy allowing myself to be hypnotized by the mosquito noise swimming around each edge. Don't try to watch a movie that puts its detail in shadow--hard as you may look, all you'll see are banded macroblocks.

Similarly, there's no indication that the HDV standard will substantively improve consumer video presentations. The higher resolution comes at the price of signal integrity, and for many, this may not be an appealing tradeoff.

Lucas was overzealous in his push to put out an all digital film with Episode II. The video noise and limited dynamic range in that early generation of HDCams yielded a picture marred by flatness and a frenzied video grain far more flustering than film grain had been on the 1970s stocks used to shoot the first STAR WARS films. (Cf. the screen captures printed as stills in childrens' picture books for Episode II with those in picture books for the original STAR WARS. The 2001 images are densely speckled with polychromatic CCD noise, while the 1976 blow-ups suffer from relatively benign photochemical grain.) Hopefully, we can look forward to an improvement with Episode III.

There's little doubt that film will inevitably be replaced by digital systems in the next two decades, but if I were to shoot a feature in 2004 and my foremost value was image integrity, I'd pick 35 mm stock over a CineAlta or a Viper in a heartbeat.
__________________
All the best,
Robert K S

Search DVinfo.net for quick answers | The best in the business: DVinfo.net sponsors
Robert Knecht Schmidt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 9th, 2004, 11:07 PM   #45
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 132
<<<-- Originally posted by Kevin Dooley :
You're kidding right? Look at where video has come in just the past 5 years--let alone where it was 20 years ago! There is no comparison--and not just shooting, but the whole digital process. In 10 years kids will be editing HD in their family rooms because it'll be the low end of what's produced if things keep going the way they are now.

Everything just keeps getting better and cheaper. . . -->>>

I'm not kidding. I find it interesting that in this "age of DV," the most recent super low budget feature to get any publicity (Primer at Sundance) was shot on the ultra cheap on film.

Apparently you think that kids editing HD in their family rooms will mean anything. If the "DV revolution" has taught us anything, it's that video is still second fiddle and there is no reason to believe that it will change anytime soon. It's also taught us that access to equipment means relatively little.

I'm a member of this board because I shoot video from time to time and I want to know what people are up to and things that would help me, and I own a GL-1. But film. It's always film. Nothing compares to it, and I don't want to hear about budgetary concerns. The way I see it, if you really believe in your project, you find a way to shoot film.

mg
Matthew Groff is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > Special Interest Areas > Techniques for Independent Production

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 02:34 PM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network