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The TOTEM Poll: Totally Off Topic, Everything Media
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Old May 22nd, 2002, 04:32 PM   #91
 
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ROFL....you got a point there!! Back to economics, then....ironic.
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Old May 22nd, 2002, 07:29 PM   #92
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I read that George Lucas used the term "jitter" in relation to a film projector gate, as though the gate itself moves. As the gate is stationary, the only aspects that could cause something like that would be either a mis-timed shutter that may cause ghosting as the film is advanced to the next frame, OR inadequate gate pressure OR a worn intermittent mechanism. None of those is a given, and as in the case of "micro-scratches," need not occur with proper care and maintenance. Martin, you should go to a different cinema if that's all your getting.

Granted, it's a great deal easier showing something on my DVD, than on the Simplex. But there's something there with the film that I feel is worth all the effort.

Everyone here seems interested in improving their technique and provide better stories through this new technology. I also have seen threads on several boards regarding attempts to duplicate that elusive "film look." That's what many are striving for, as the video look is best suited for documentaries, as it is often not distancing enough to aid in the willing suspension of disbelief. I just find it interesting that some people are attempting to emulate the look of archaic film while eagerly anticipating its demise.

I've read about the Foveon chip (already installed in some SIGMA digital SLR's). That's pretty exciting, as the company is comparing it with many of the best qualities of film, including better lattitude, and since it doesn't have pixels, a more 'fluid' look to the images. I've been disappointed before, so I'll reserve judgement until I use a camera so-equipped first hand.

I've been experimenting with applying an electronic version of "contrast masking," a faint negative image used when printing slides (also known for their rather narrow lattitude) to control the contrast on the print. This in addition to polarizers and split density filters to control contrast at the camera stage. Gotta work with what you have.

All of those previously mentioned technological improvements involved ONE THING: more for the audience. Sound, color, stereophonic sound, wide curved-screen images. All designed to increase the vividness of the experience. Right now, the only thing that current DLP offers is a cost savings for the studio. In spite of the press releases, the pitfalls of film projection are not universal, but only exist because there are those who do not care for proper presentation. And those kind of people will still be working when the switch is made. Regardless of the boundless promise inherent in such new technology, the utopian ideal will still never be realized.

Bill,

I've not been calling for better than current standards, just equivalent. And it isn't there yet. And as long as the public swallows the current hype, it never will be.
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Old May 22nd, 2002, 08:57 PM   #93
 
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Hillary...

Perhaps the standards aren't there yet because they can't be met technologically yet...but, I don't really know.
On the subject of the general public determining an inferior product, I can't bring myself to believe that that would happen. But, I've been wrong before.
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Old May 22nd, 2002, 09:21 PM   #94
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Bill,

Hopefully, the current generation DLP is the first step (which is probably why most theaters are hesitant to invest--obsolescence at the speed of light) in what may someday be spectacular beyond film's capabilities. There's work in projection using lasers, now THAT would be sharp!

I agree with you on the public. VHS beat Beta even though the latter had a sharper picture.

At least it's nice to know that miniDV is so much better than either, and it's being so readily embraced by the public. There may be hope yet :)
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Old May 23rd, 2002, 03:55 AM   #95
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Hillary,

"Martin, you should go to a different cinema if that's all your getting."

I can't. We don't have those in Europe. I don't know about the US - I've been to a bunch of theaters in New York and San Francisco/Bay area and didn't find any there either.

As to "film look" for video I think most of the folks doing that seriously (like The Orphanage) is trying to find ways to manipulate colors and lattitude the way you would in a telecine/transfer situation. Without adding grain. Magic Bullet adds no grain and they produce the best results yet. No one shoots 35mm and considers that finished. You color time. "Film look" is color timing video. Then everyone wants progressive so you have to invent different deinterlacing methods to achieve that. If there was true progressive prosumer camcorders everyone would buy it.

Joe,

I think you and I have different levels of tolerance to the problem at hand.
As a consumer I have never in my life watched a film on a big screen that did not have frame jitter or scratches. I go to the movies at least once a month. I have been doing so for 28 out of my 32 years on this planet. Even my local Imax theater have this "problem". This "problem" is often refered to as "organic film" by others.

As a DP I've shot hundreds of jobs on film. I've shot 16mm, S-16mm, 35mm and 35mm "scope". I always work in the best labs/telecine/transfer suites and go to Digibeta and D1. Some of the things I've done through traditional labwork and negative cutting for final work on 35mm prints. I have never in my life shot more than a few feet of film that did not have any microscratches clearly visible in the telecine suite. I have never ever shot a foot of film that did not have any jitter whatsoever. This is not due to my poor "education" - it's the fact of film. Some like the look. I shoot 35mm only because of the lattitude. Everything else connected to it is in the way of my filmmaking. Too many steps in the process is depending on "the human factor" - at my expence. The ultimate destruction is often in the theater (when Kodak, my assistants, the lab guys or some one else did not f*** up). HD minimizes "the human factor" incidents. A security guy opened up a can of exposed film once at an airport. If only it would have been a HD tape...

By the way - how come the first question I always get in every 35mm transfer suite all over the world is -"Do you want noise reduction?" I bet if they had some technology to reduce microscratches they would offer me that too...

35mm? - Don't believe the hype :-)
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Old May 23rd, 2002, 06:29 AM   #96
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Joe,

Thanks for the clarification. I certainly wouldn't want to give 'credit' to the wrong person for that lucid statement.

Martin,

I'm sorry you have such bad luck with film presentations. While I've seen some bad film shows, I've not had to problems you encountered.

A few years back, I rigged up my tripod to hold a video camera along with my Bolex. I wanted the video in case something happened to the film, as I couldn't repeat this event. The video looks good--I filtered it to minimize contrast and have played around with color on it, but when I got the film back, transferred to video, the picture quality (that esoteric look) was so much richer and just visually so much more appealing. The effort and expense in this case were justified. BTW, I also made a one-light work print of the film, and when projected, still looks excellent. You are aware of the difference, and it takes more than manipulating the color on video to make video look anything like film.

I just can't afford to shoot film everytime for these projects. I'll make do with DV, working with subject matter more appropriate to the format, and try to make the best of it, but I'm not fooling myself. Guess I'll have to get Rick McCallum to hype my next video.
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Old May 23rd, 2002, 09:14 AM   #97
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Hillary,

I wrote this before: In Scandinavia we do subtitling on films. These are produced by burning the titles onto the actual prints using laser. When projected in the theaters the subtitles are steady (well; almost) but the actual visuals - the film itself - have great frame jitter. This means that no projection in the world can produce a steady image on screen (unless they invent some form of digital motion tracking device that can work in real time). The jitter is produced in the lab with the prints.

A lot of people connect this jitter (the eye constantly moving up and down about an inch on a big screen) to the look of film. They praise it as "film having more soul" or "being more organic". I'm really surprised none of you guys have ever experienced this.

Since jitter is more common in prints than in the actual originals I tend to think that DLP projection will make movies shot on film look better. That way you can stabilize the image in post, paint out scratches and do over all degraining. Most major 35mm films are transfered from 35mm to 2k uncompressed and out to film again anyway. There is no need to step out to film again in my opinion.

In a hundred years some people are going to complain about some new technology not looking as good as digital. Not having the richness and emotional content that pure video stock has. I agree with Bill here; video is just different.
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Old May 23rd, 2002, 11:25 AM   #98
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I think it's safe to say that in some significant ways, film is more *delicate* than video, especially in terms of physical handling.

Please folks, let's leave accusations like "ignorant and uneducated" out of this discussion. Obviously there are different sides to the arguments here but for the most part this has all been very civil. Let's keep it that way, and show some mutual respect for each other. This is an amazing thread, and I wouldn't want to see it terminated due to hurt feelings or bad manners. You guys are doing an excellent job here for the most part; let's keep it that way, please.

And by the way, as far as the Ep2 story is concerned, remember Lucas patterned this whole thing off those old Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers serials, they were a little light in the plot and heavy in the capes and tights; personally I didn't expect much more from the whole SW saga.
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Old May 23rd, 2002, 02:49 PM   #99
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Martin,

I've seen some examples of those laser-subtitles. They do look sharp, and it is some indication of the weaving of the image. Granted, modern high-speed prints can be VERY unsteady. I wasn't aware that's what you meant by jitter. I've heard others call that particular tendency "float" I have also seen collectors' prints (mainly black & white and IB Technicolor) which have a rock-steady image. Of course, those were printed when labs had an adequate amount of time to print them properly, regardless of the process. Today, deadlines are so hurried that these high-speed prints are the norm. And that is not the BEST film has to offer. A steady picture is preferred, and if the photochemical labs are unable to provide prints with a more stable image, then a digital projection would have an edge in that aspect.

Whether it is cultural or physiological, the percieved difference between film and video is significant. Some projects lend themselves better to one format than another. Fantasy and science fiction, for example, seem to require a 'distancing' that film provides. But documentaries and personal stories can work very well shot on video. No better, no worse, just different. I just hope those visionaries who would make unique and fantastic films with great production values continue to use the best tools for their needs, and not necessarily the most expedient.
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Old May 23rd, 2002, 03:38 PM   #100
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Martin_M, my presentations have NO scratches. None. Zero. Am I doing something wrong? According to your "logic" every film everywhere should have at least some visable scratches, no exceptions. Well since mine don't and countless other theaters do not have these scratches then that kind of puts your theory out to pasture since you say it is the nature of film to have these scratches. Jitter is caused by high speed printing. If your camera negative has jitter and scratches then you are using poor equipment in the first place. There have been many films projected on DLP that were shot on film that look completely steady. They do not use motion-correction during the transfer. Also, do you think that they motion-correct every single movie when it gets transferred to home video? That would be time consuming and tough to do, as all film cannot bob and weave in the exact same pattern each time.

Last edited by Joe Redifer; May 24th, 2002 at 12:17 AM.
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Old May 23rd, 2002, 05:18 PM   #101
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Just a thought to the "whatyouseeiswhatyouget" philosophy... George Lucas and Jim Cameron, will never see what they get, because all they get is an actor in front a bluescreen talking into infinitiy. :-))

Cheers,
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Old May 23rd, 2002, 06:20 PM   #102
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i saw a film the other day entirely in 35mm.

after seeing how poor the films condidtion was in...and after hearing from
all the former or present film projectionist on this thread..i was dissapointed
in the physicall downfall of the film itself. ...Never would of known before hand that film exist beyond these conditions..hehe............just some thoughts
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Old May 23rd, 2002, 06:25 PM   #103
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There have been constant slams against FILM, primarily because it's 'old' and not digital video. Among those; blanket statements about his own profession of projectionist (if I'm omitting anything from your title, Joe, I'm sorry). And the majority of those statements (regarding film projection) seem to me as uninformed. For someone currently projecting, this is a direct insult, and if the insults are based on nothing but press releases and personal bias, and not on first-hand experience, then it could be accurately and dispassionately described as "ignorant," and "uneducated," both terms defining a lack of knowledge of the subject at hand. Having an opinion does not automatically make one an expert.

I haven't projected professionally for nearly twenty years (GAWD! CAN IT BE THAT LONG?!?!?), so the comments don't affect me personally, but today's PROFESSIONAL projectionists have a right to be sore. They have made good points of which I was not aware.

Those here defending the proper projection of film are trying to put things in perspective and point out the inaccuracies of the wild statements made by those promoting DLP. Some of those anti-film posts appear to be purposely inflammatory, regardless of the language used.
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Old May 23rd, 2002, 07:54 PM   #104
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Thanks for your comments Hillary,

Actually as a former projectionist myself, I'm on Joe's side and I too understand his frustration. Frankly I think it's eventually inevitable that digital projection will take over, but I firmly believe that we're much, much farther away from having that happen than most people "on the other side" would like to believe. Thousands of US theaters switching to digital by the time Lucas releases Episode 3? Not bloody likely, unless his movie is delayed at least a decade or more. It's not a function of the availability or even quality of the technology, it's a function of business and real-world economics.

Regardless of how inflammatory or baiting someone's comments may seem, my issue here is that we are first and foremost a polite, tolerant, civil and forgiving bunch. I'm most grateful for the massive amount of experience and insight that Joe and Martin and everybody else brings to the table; all I'm asking is that we treat each other with the utmost respect and good nature regardless of any fundamental differences or disagreements.

Thanks,
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Last edited by Chris Hurd; May 24th, 2002 at 12:27 AM.
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Old May 23rd, 2002, 10:10 PM   #105
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This has to be the longest thread ever on the site. Whew! I think that darn near everyone put their 2-cents into this. Even a few new folks joined into this party.

I do not feel as impassioned about this particular subject, and kindred topics, as many others so clearly do. Whether we're watching film or digital projections sourced on tape or film, shot with ccd's, Foveons or shutters is, to me, of secondary importance. I just want to see more original, imaginative, mature stories told visually.

Nevertheless, this thread has been educational to me. Thanks for such a good debate. It's part of what makes this such an enriching place.
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