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-   -   "film look" ironies (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/canon-xl-h-series-hdv-camcorders/67144-film-look-ironies.html)

Steve Rosen May 11th, 2006 11:54 AM

"film look" ironies
 
Let me preface these comments by stating that I, too, prefer the look of 24p or f or whatever. Several years ago that preference led me to the Panasonic 100A, with which I shot several films. I then acquired an XL-2, and shot a 30 minute documentary that is currently being projected in a museum theater to rave revues..

Here's the first irony. Although I primarily make documentaries, I also occasionaly shoot commercials in film - 35mm or 16mm. When I shoot larger budget spots the client usually wants the film to be originated at 30 fps so that there will not be any judder in the transfer to tape... So much for "film look" there.

Additionally (and I've commented on this before) most of what I shoot ends up on television - particularly on PBS. The tech people in broadcast standards are still very nervous about 24p originated video for NTSC. As a matter of fact I've had several pans arbitrarilly cut into (without consulting me, by the way) because they felt that the judder was objectionable.

Here's the second irony: Depth of field. I, like many here, try to shoot with the lens as wide open as possible so that the chosen subject is in focus and the stuff in front and behind falls off, thereby drawing the eye to the subject. Film look, right?

Well, take a look at some of the truly classic films from the '30's and '40's. Especially the old standard film-school icon, CITIZEN KANE... What stands out is that everything is in focus from foreground to background - as a matter of fact cinematographers like Greg Toland and James Wong Howe fought with slow film and huge, hot lights to achieve that look.

Point is - working with the scene files (which are now downloadable from this site) and finding something that feels like film to you is something that can be done today, this afternoon, without waiting for technology to catch up with tastes...

Transfer to 35mm for projection is another issue altogether. I know that 24p is the way to go in that scenario - but I also know that the possibility of it ever happening is slim (very, and I mean VERY, expensive unless a major distributor jumps in). I'm not trying to discourage anyone, but I've seen some people lose their homes for a dream - and, yes, one or two I know succeeded, although those were shot on 35...

I chose to not fight the issue. The H1 delivers an outstanding image at 1080i and, for now, that's good enough for me..

Chris Hurd May 11th, 2006 01:08 PM

I read you loud and clear, Steve. Agreed right down the line.

There's a great book by Robert L. Carringer, "The Making of Citizen Kane," which describes the lengths that Toland went to in order to achieve deep focus. The most famous deep-focus shots in Kane, such as The Bottle In The Foreground While Kane Breaks Down Susan's Bedroom Door (you know the one) were the result of multiple compositions with in-camera mattes. I can understand how some folks equate shallow DOF with the "film look," but here's the most famous (American) film in history going out of its way to get deep focus. Go figure. I think what's really happening in this business is that people aren't trying to emulate a "film look" so much as they're wanting to get aqway from the "video look."

I've always understood it this way: the ultimate goal of video is to look as real as possible. The ultimate goal of film is to look better than real. These days the camcorders are capable of producing that "better than real" look, with the variety of custom preset parameters in the XL H1 providing a very easy and immediate way to do that.

You mention James Wong Howe -- that hits close to home as "Hud" is one of my favorite movies of all time. Not just the Larry McMurty story or the cast or Ritt's direction, but the visual style as well, which is all JWH.

Marco Leavitt May 11th, 2006 01:29 PM

I think progressive video looks great, but I've never gotten the 24 fps thing either. It looks too jumpy to me in way that I never notice in a movie theater. Something's just not quite right there when playing back on an NTSC monitor. I don't really get the obsession with getting the narrowest depth of field possible either, although I do wish it was possible to get a little more control of it using prosumer camcorders. Deep focus photography can look great for some subject matter, but it is a little annoying to be stuck with it all the time.

Steven Dempsey May 11th, 2006 02:40 PM

Steve,

That's so funny that you should mention Citizen Kane as I watched it again a couple of nights ago (really studying b/w composition and lighting) and it struck me that the depth of field was wide in most shots except for the ones where he was trying to convey intimacy and emotion.

People I know tend to pick one thing (like shallow depth of field or 24fps) and assume they will have an instant film look. There is a reason hundreds of people are involved in making a film, there's a lot more that goes into it than the lens and temporal cadence.

Anyway, I'm wasting my time because I'm preaching to the choir over here...

:)

Luis de la Cerda May 11th, 2006 03:26 PM

The Beach is a recent film that comes to mind with a lot of deep focus technique. It looks as if a lot of compositing took place and I think it looks fantastic. Both shallow and deep DOF have their place, and 35mm adapters are here to give us the flexibility to choose which one we want for each shot. Ironically, the cheaper 1/3" HD cams are the most flexible solutions here, because if you do choose to have deep DOF for a particular shot or scene, the smaller sensor helps a lot. Larger sensor cameras might have to be stopped down way too much, softening the overall image because of diffraction and pushing down their "superior" sensitivity even below that of the smaller cams.

Michael Wisniewski May 11th, 2006 04:06 PM

Kurosawa also liked to use deep focus shots. His DP used to complain that they used more lights for their day shots, than most movies ever used for their night shots.

Bruce S. Yarock May 11th, 2006 04:42 PM

"I chose to not fight the issue. The H1 delivers an outstanding image at 1080i and, for now, that's good enough for me.."

Steve,
Are you saying that you prefer shooting in 60i on the XLH1?
Bruce Yarock

Steve Rosen May 11th, 2006 06:04 PM

Bruce: What I'm saying is that that is what is working right now and I accept it.. as progessive compatible TVs and HD players begin to dominate the marketplace, things will change...

The TV world is still holding on to NTSC standards, even the networks that broadcast HD - reason? playing to the lowest common denominator - it's similar to 4x3 - many good folks with beautiful big Sony CRTs do not like losing real estate with black bands top and bottom... That has been transitioning for ten years or so... I won't even get into the black level thing...

But I don't like people I've never met cutting into my shows because they have personal issues with 24p... This too shall pass...

As I said, I personally like the look of (good) 24p acquisition because it has a more tactile film-like feel - but it's really psychological - if you asked the man (or woman)-on-the-street he or she wouldn't know the difference - unless it looks bad - then you'll hear it for sure...

By the way, HUD is one of my favorite films too.. I was lucky enough to take a cinematography seminar with James Wong Howe at UCLA in the 60's (as well as having Haskell Wexler as an instructor) - did you know that Paul Newman shot the hand held stuff during the greased pig contest?

Chris Hurd May 11th, 2006 06:30 PM

I did not know that! Nice Hud triva there Steve. Kinda coincidental, The Day The Earth Stood Still was just on AMC over here a little while ago, I walked in just as Gort abducts Patricia Neal, and I said to Kelly, "now we know the real reason why Alma left town and headed west to keep house for the Bannons."

Bruce S. Yarock May 11th, 2006 06:56 PM

Steve,
Did you ever run into Haskel Wexler's son,Jeff? He's a well known production sound guy who has worked on many BIG movies. In addition, he regularly posts and answers questions on ramps, and is a helpfull, down to earth guy.He answered one of my questions, and a local sound guy/friend told me to google his name.
Bruce Yarock

Steve Rosen May 12th, 2006 08:29 AM

Bruce: No, I haven't - I moved to Monterey to shoot my graduate thesis film, an environmental documentary titled DDT - KNOWING IT SURVIVES US, in 1968 - after that I sorta turned my back on all my LA contacts - something I occasionally regret (hard to raise money in the hinterlands - especially back then), but it was sure better for my physical and mental health... It was the "turn on, tune in and drop out" era - and I definitely dropped out...

The "independent film movement" was only a gleam in people's eyes then - this current technology has made the process available to everyone - which is viewed as having both it's good and bad points... I like to think that it is the democratization of the story-telling process...

Charles Papert May 12th, 2006 09:49 AM

Essentially to echo what Chris said, shallow focus will help video look better. The other way to capture moving images is film, thus making video look better makes it look more like film (or, I would say, FEEL like film).

Deep focus video, particular from 1/3" cameras, looks nowhere near as good as deep focus 35mm. It's just something about the way each medium resolves a background full of detail. While I've always been one to trot out "Kane" as an argument for why one should not discard deep depth of field as an artistic choice, I do feel that the extended depth of 1/3" video is not a particularly attractive look, unless it is being exploited in an obvious way (extreme closeup on one side of frame, full figure on the other etc).

Steven Dempsey May 12th, 2006 10:11 AM

I'm sorry Charles but I just don't agree with this particularly with the advent of cameras like the XLH1. Depth in a deep focus shot is all about creative sculpting with light. If a DP knows what he is doing, even with 1/3" cameras, I think it can look very well.

The amount of creative lighting that went into the sets of Kane is quite obvious. There is a painful attention to details when it comes to expressing shadow and light and it's that, in my opinion, that makes it look so good. Flat lighting in the same shot would make a dramatic difference to the perceived "quality" of that footage.

There is no question that film trumps video every time but there are many creative ways to make video look really good.

Steve Rosen May 12th, 2006 10:26 AM

Also Charles, the thing that makes deep focus not look good is what is included in the frame... if everything is in focus you have to use an Art Director's eye to draw attention to the desired subject, using color or texture or light..

If one just aims a camera at a scene without taking into account the entire composition, then you end up with a junky looking image, like having old car parts on the lawn in front of a newly painted front door (unless of course that's the look you're going for)...

To be honest, and I don't mean this as a put down to anyone, I think the "film look" has more to do with composition - shapes, color, textures and the quality of light - than it has to do with internal mechanics.. much video is shot by people who have never even studied art or photography (I know, because I've taught several college advanced video classes and have been astounded by this fact)...

The thing we have now is the ability to tweak those internals to our liking - that is a GREAT thing to have at our fingertips - and we can thank Panasonic for that breakthrough, at least in the realm of affordable cameras.

So, when you combine a good eye with good technology, what do you get? As has been said many time before - it may not be film, but it isn't what we think of as video either - it's a whole new ballgame-

Charles Papert May 12th, 2006 10:28 AM

Actually I don't think we are disagreeing. My first time shooting with an XL1, I put a lot of time into creating layers of depth via the lighting as I saw the immediate need to do so. However, that's not of much help when shooting day exteriors (and I've never been much of a fan of shooting arbitrarily extended focal lengths just to soften a background, unless it is an interview).

I do agree that the HD/HDV breed of 1/3" cameras are an significant improvement over DV in this area, but I still see tendencies towards "twittery" backgrounds, especially in foliage.

So yes, well-shot 1/3" video can look quite good. Often it needs more attention than film would.

I'm a big believer of making whatever medium you are working in look as good as possible. There's not much use in shaking your head and wishing you were shooting something else. But my preference with shooting narrative on 1/3" video is to use a Mini35 whenever possible...and 24p.

Charles Papert May 12th, 2006 10:42 AM

And once again, we agree that composition and attention to what it is and what is not included in the frame is the most important thing to creating a "filmlook".

My shopping list then continues as follows, in order of priority:

Exposure/lighting
24p (or at the very least, 30p)
Depth of field management
Camera movement (which sometimes means none at all)
Production design, makeup/wardrobe/hair etc.

At different times and for different shots, some of the items slide up and down the list...i.e. production design may be as simple as removing a lampshade from behind someone's head, which may be the most important element of one setup; whereas a room with white walls can be creatively shot so that it is not a noticeable issue, but it would be preferable to have it painted a more appropriate color.

Steve Rosen May 12th, 2006 10:47 AM

You are right - Twittery background foliage is probably the most annoying thing about this medium, and unfortunately the Canon cameras have always been the worst of the breed in this regard - I get nervous dialing the detail and the coring, but sometimes you just have to..

Surprisingly, when I look back at footage that I shot with my DSR300 in the 90's, I don't see near the artfacting that appears with the H1 (and the XL2).. Not being a technical person, I've never been able to figure that one out to my satisfaction. I'm sure there are contributors who have a better handle on it.

As for shooting exteriors, there are many here who have posted very nice looking stuff, so it is possible.. But even with film, shooting in the middle of the day results in poor looking exteriors - I use polarisors, ND grads, ProMists when I have to, but in general I try to shoot exteriors before 9:30 and after 5 and reserve the middle of the day for interiors - not always possible, I admit, but I do it when I can...

Charles Papert May 12th, 2006 11:11 AM

Nice looking exteriors are definitely a function of picking the right time and direction to shoot. When I shot the pre-release test of the HD100 last summer, I picked a courtyard garden location that had a lot of shade but the open top delivered an ambience like a huge silk. I avoided any direct sun in the frame but took advantage of the natural bounces created by sun hitting the concrete floor and walls.

This week we shot tests for a feature with the Genesis, and subjected the camera to the worst kind of mid-day sun to see how it would handle it. It really does seem to have a latitude almost that of 35mm, and when it does clip it does so cleaner than any camera I've seen to date.

I've only had one shooting experience with the XLH1, and that was as a last-minute second camera to cut against an F900. The reports I've heard back from the client is that it looks very good, although the difference is noticeable (I expect a certain amount of that is due to the HDV compression) and they may degrade the F900 footage to help it match. Overall I was very impressed with the image from the camera when I switched between the two on the monitor. Shocked, really!

Steve Rosen May 12th, 2006 11:24 AM

Yeah, it's a great looking image - the clipping doesn't bother me as much as it would some because I always dial my master ped down anyway because I like a contrasty image (I started shooting B&W and can't get over it) - And the H1 looks very good when used for B&W by the way...

The biggest problem that people will face with HDV in general is the fact that exposure has to be very clean, kind of like shooting with a reversal film like Kodachrome... even a slight under or over exposure is very noticeable, and (since I shoot docs and therefore have to use the finder instead of a monitor to judge) very easy to screw up...

Cole McDonald May 12th, 2006 01:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Charles Papert
My shopping list then continues as follows, in order of priority:

Exposure/lighting
24p (or at the very least, 30p)
Depth of field management
Camera movement (which sometimes means none at all)
Production design, makeup/wardrobe/hair etc.

This is the list I use, but I bump Production design to the top of the list...moderately OK pictures of interesting things are still interesting. Beautiful pix of uninteresting things is uninteresting. I learned taht the hard way as I was able to dial in the settings of the camera to be less "Video". I found the locations shoots where I was able to position my actors in front of neat backgrounds that I could blur out slightly look heads and shoulders better than the shots I got where I could do the same with an uninteresting background.

I've also seen really crappy 35mm film images, so I've shied away from going for the "Filmlook" and veered more toward working within the medium of video to get compelling pictures. The learning curve is steep as Video has alot of arbitrary boundaries that are imposed by the format. Once you learn to work within those limitations, you can get really nice images out of just about any camera. Not the least of which is the resolution limitations which are over come by not using deep focus in DV. The other is contrast range which is overcome the same way it is in film, through appropriate use of lighting.

Film manufacturers have spent the last x-hundred years making film have less grain and better color reproduction. The first thing we do to get video to look like film is to alter the color reproduction and add grain...isn't this taking a step backwards to try to adapt a new technology to the limitations of the old one?

Steven Dempsey May 12th, 2006 01:26 PM

Well said, Cole.

Charles Papert May 12th, 2006 01:46 PM

<<moderately OK pictures of interesting things are still interesting. Beautiful pix of uninteresting things is uninteresting.>>

This is obviously a matter of personal choice, but I would say that there's tons of amateur video shot on vacations in gorgeous places that I would find underwhelming (always fascinated to see tourists walking down a street with camcorder pointing randomly here and there like an afterthought). Whereas even a seemingly mundane environment can be improved with the right approach and a good eye. One can make the uninteresting become interesting! And as I indicated--"production design" incorporates certain things that should be an initial consideration but could be bundled under composition, etc.

<<Film manufacturers have spent the last x-hundred years making film have less grain and better color reproduction. The first thing we do to get video to look like film is to alter the color reproduction and add grain...isn't this taking a step backwards to try to adapt a new technology to the limitations of the old one?>>

I personally don't add grain to video (I wish the Mini35 did not have that side effect), but I do feel that traditionally, video has always rendered colors more garishly than film and thus it's not a bad thing to emulate. Not all film stocks are designed to reproduce colors just as the eye sees it--there are low-contrast stocks, ones with pastel or super-saturated palates; then there's the various lab process that contribute to desaturation and contrast manipulation.

A large percent of what we think of as a modern film look is being created in digital post now anyway, and that will surely continue to be the case in the future. The paradigm that is being followed by most of the high-end HD cameras is to capture a neutral image with as much dynamic range as possible while creating a LUT with the desired look, then using that as a template in post for further tweaking.

Cole McDonald May 12th, 2006 02:23 PM

Agreed on the point of tourists shooting stuff and careful composition improving boring subjects. Agreed that there are a variety of film stocks...but these are a matter of choice, not necessity. Personally, I desaturate my shots a bit, but that's stylistic as are all of the stock choices, etc. If a particular look is chosen because it'll look right for the vision of the piece, then by all means, go with that...but not just to not be video, that's just silly. My take on it is to make great photography with whatever medium, not trying to get one to look like another...unless that is the point of the piece.

Steve Rosen May 12th, 2006 08:33 PM

I'm glad that my initial post in this thread has generated these responses. Filmmaking is an art form, and as such is highly subjective. It's great to see that the people here are thinking about the medium and are open to other's views.

Robert Rodriquez has made HD sing in a way that I would have never thought possible, but he has a great eye and a vision. Now tools somewhat similar to the ones that he uses are available to nearly everyone.

I think that the technical pros and cons of the H1 and HD/HDV in general are valuable and need discussing. But so does the philosophy, the 'why", of creating compelling images... I have found this forum refreshing compared to several others that I have visited...

Cole McDonald May 12th, 2006 10:15 PM

Alot of what is important in any artform is learning to use the cons of the format into pros.

When I started making my feature 3 years ago, I spent lots of time researching what everyone hated about DV and what made video look like video. I applied what I know of optical physics to this and what I knew of photography to overcome these limitations - still working within the medium. The movie is a learning piece.

We started it to have a compact learning time (as opposed to many shorts). As we progressed, you can nearly see the improvements to the images. They started out looking very "video" and ended up broadcastably delicious.

I found that even when I had dialled in the camera to the best possible picture for the scene, without decent and convincing costumes or at the very least, an interesting background, it still looked hollow, low budgety.

By throwing actors in front of a plant or a fountain, it became much more convincing with the background having character and life to it...much less "one actor in one location with no/minimal set design" indie fare. The goal is eventually to be able to make Hollywood looking movies with DV and HDV looks like the holy grail for that, it allows backgrounds to be in focus and look interesting...it allows for a much more subtle DoF effect than the one that has to be applied in DV to hide the low resolution in the backgrounds.

I'm going to be getting a JVC HD100 at some point in time, and am very excited by that from a Videographer's standpoint as it will allow me to have more creative control over my frame...my canvas just got larger. This artform is no different than any other. We need to work with the medium to get our vision across to the audience. They don't care that it's not film, but they'll be able to tell if you try to convince them it is.

I really like this thread too, I find it very stimulating to be able to discuss my views on the Digital vs. Film debate. Thanks guys!

Rogelio Salinas May 13th, 2006 10:32 AM

The reason the "film look" is so important, especially to low-budget indie filmmakers is that each and every one of us grew up watching movies produced on film and admired that look. As video has progressed, we have done our best to make our projects not look like they were just shot with Dad's home video camera, and more like something that would actually be taken seriously on the big screen. An intelligent script, great acting, directing, and cinematography with a VHS-C camera can make more of an impact that a horribly created, acted, and written movie on 35mm, but when you can get the best tools available to the right filmmaker, the outcome can be riveting. If a filmmaker wants to make a cinematic feature, and they cannot afford to use film, a camera such as the HD100 or the HVX200 will allow the filmmaker a low budget alternative that can acheive higher resolution shots with a filmlike appearance. If I had a high enough budget, I would shoot it on film. Lower budget, I will use the next best alternative, HDV or DVCPro HD. Many of the incredible videographers on this websight have shown what both of these cameras can produce, and I would be blessed to have any one of them.

Ash Greyson May 13th, 2006 11:10 AM

CK is one of my favorite movies ever but to me that argument is old... B&W film and color video are apples and oranges. I still fight with people about 24P all the time, I have shot THOUSANDS of hours of non-24P that doesnt have that live video look. Long lenses, warm colors, nice framing, etc. are IMHO more of a factor than 24P. Of course 24p is the ONE thing that you cannot overcome without tech but it alone does not achieve film look...



ash =o)

Steve Mullen May 13th, 2006 12:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Charles Papert
... but I still see tendencies towards "twittery" backgrounds, especially in foliage.

I don't think this is 1/3-inch CCDs at work. It is small details moving from one interlaced line to another line. It's called interline flicker. It creates a busy pix and I see it constantly on Discovery HD (no 1/3-inch CCDs) and on all 1080i HDTV.

It can be made much worse if you do not lower your HDTV's sharpness to the point where NO outlines are created. That could be zero or up to about 15. Not much higher.

And, of course, it solved by shooting real progressive.

Test: watch the crowd in a wide-shot at a sports event on ABC, FOX, or ESPEN and compare it to NBC or CBS. Also look at signage. The 720p is very quiet.

Steve Rosen May 13th, 2006 04:31 PM

Steve: That's interesting because the worst I've seen it is in footage I shot with the XL2 at 24p. Moving on trees was nearly impossible - at the time I wasn't dialing the gain down to -3 and my detail was at 0 (I had been shooting with my DSR300 @ 60i for 4 years and didn't need to touch it), but I never tested the XL2 at 60i.

With the H1 I keep the gain at -3 until I completely run out of light. I've only dialed detail down to -4 though, because I like glass and use diffussion (ProMists mosly, 1/4 and 1/2) and don't want to overdo it... I still see some sparkling but it's not horrible. A friend has a Sony and I don't notice it from his camera at all, but his image is considerably softer too.

I'm trying some of the Presets from this site tomorrow to see what other people are doing.

Charles Papert May 13th, 2006 06:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ash Greyson
CK is one of my favorite movies ever but to me that argument is old... B&W film and color video are apples and oranges. I still fight with people about 24P all the time, I have shot THOUSANDS of hours of non-24P that doesnt have that live video look. Long lenses, warm colors, nice framing, etc. are IMHO more of a factor than 24P. Of course 24p is the ONE thing that you cannot overcome without tech but it alone does not achieve film look...



ash =o)

There were always some things that were fine at 60i, like headshots and doc style footage, but any time I had to shoot a narrative scene, no matter what I threw at it from the production value side of things, it always looked "fake" to me until I started playing around with a 30 fps look via a framestore in the late 80's. (later via the Filmlook process, and of course through to 24p cameras today). Of course it's possible that I had a more visceral reaction to the footage than other people did.

A. J. deLange May 14th, 2006 09:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steve Rosen
Steve: A friend has a Sony and I don't notice it from his camera at all, but his image is considerably softer too.

That, in a nutshell, describes the trade space. This is hardly the first time this has been discussed in these fora but digital cameras sample the picture and sampled systems are subject to aliasing. The way to eliminate it is to soften the image before it reaches the sensor so that there is no energy at spatial frequencies higher than the pixel spacing. If a manufacturer does that he is faulted for producing a camera with poor resolution. If he doesn't he is criticized for "jaggies", twitter, moire or whatever you want to call it. Canon, in the XL2 caught it for the latter more than most because they had a darn sharp optical system for SD. Subsequent investigations have shown that the SD lenses are about as sharp as the HD one. Their MTF's don't even start to roll off until about 400 lines and are about 90% at 480 lines, the resolution of the sensor. This did allow aliasing in many situations like the ones people have described here. Where the picture didn't contain high frequency components we sang the praises of the camera for it's sharpness. Where it did we moaned about jaggies and crawling except for the guys who understood how to get around them (i.e. diffusion filters, going to the p modes which reduce vertical resoultion, moving the camera to a position where the beat frequencies were not noticeable etc.). I applaud Canon for giving us the option to have the shapness when we wanted it and combat the jaggies when we had to.

With the H1 the ultimate resolution of the sensor is 1080 in the V direction and the lenses still break at about 400 though the response is still 50% at about 600 and 20% at about 800 it's only a couple of % at 1080, the folding frequency. Thus less aliasing is to be expected with the H1 and I have certainly noticed this. Reducing resolution even further by going to the f modes makes it even less likely.

BTW I believe "crawling" leaves to be largely caused by the compression algorithms (DCT in straight DV and DCT plus prediction/interpolation residuals when further compressed by MPEG) though aliasing doubtless does contribute to it.

Steve Mullen May 14th, 2006 11:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by A. J. deLange
BTW I believe "crawling" leaves to be largely caused by the compression algorithms (DCT in straight DV and DCT plus prediction/interpolation residuals when further compressed by MPEG) though aliasing doubtless does contribute to it.

Great explanation. And, aliasing being TINY unwanted detail further stresses the compression system. (As do edge outlines.)

Gary L Childress May 17th, 2006 10:09 PM

Just getting back for a moment to depth-of-field and the "film look". Every time I have seen people talk about the use of shallow DOF, it's described in a dry "these are the rules" kind of way. You use shallow DOF to direct the audiances attention. The better creative DPs' or directors I have worked with use short DOF more for the artistic feel of the look than to "direct the audiances attention". And if you look at it as more of a emotional choice than a narrative one, there are just as many reasons to use deep focus shots as short focus. One of my favorite action films is John Frankenheimer's "Ronin". The director's commentary track is really interesting, and he talks alot about using big deep focus shots. He explains his use of deep focus really well. If you have not seen the movie and listened to the commentary track give it a try.

Steve Rosen May 18th, 2006 12:26 PM

A.J. I certainly would never be said to have a problem with the sharpness of the image from the H1... The problem, I think, is that in an effort to offer the most resolution possible, the detail default is somewhat exagerated.. as I've said before, a good image isn't all about resolution. As a matter of fact, I tend to use diffusion (1/4 and 1/2 ProMist or SoftFX) most of the time to soften the edges, especially when photographing people... I do this in 35 and 16 as well... and dial the Detail down on the Canon...

Gary. It's interesting that when you study films of the past you see that shallow depth of field didn't really become "in" until foreign films of the 60's, particularly French films, hit US distribution. They were shooting with relatively slow film, minimum, sometimes no lighting, and handholding those old 35mm Eclair Camerettes with their lenses wide open, and were forced by necessity to develop a new style of cinematography, a style that was heavily dependent on skilled assistants pulling focus. Now it has become what many people think of as "film look" - Funny, if they'd had 1/3" cameras like the H1 that style may have never happened...

Just yesterday I viewed a contemprary French film, READ MY LIPS, and boy does that AC have his act together...

A. J. deLange May 18th, 2006 05:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steve Rosen
The problem, I think, is that in an effort to offer the most resolution possible, the detail default is somewhat exagerated..

There is no doubt about it - the default is for in-camera sharpening. This shows up very plainly when one reconstructs the edge from a test target for MTF estimation.

Steve Rosen May 18th, 2006 06:26 PM

Well, you're way more sophisticated than I am - I go as far as film stock tests in film and experimenting with presets shooting typical footage in video, but that's where my expertise comes to a screaming halt...

I have got to say that the footage from this camera is pretty remarkable.. I just re-edited a show I originally made 2 years ago for a client that I originally shot with my old DSR500 in 16x9. I had to add some new down-rezed footage from the H1, and I was a little nervous about it - Except for having to do some color correction, the footage actually looks better than the DSR stuff, and it was a top-o-the-line 20K DVCAM camera...


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